Could a Cosmetically Imperfect Home Be the Best Choice in Toronto?

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Buying a house in Toronto’s West End becomes more challenging as time goes by. High prices and demand fueled by population growth can make it seem like your options are limited, even with the new developments that are on the way.

What can you do to improve your chances of finding the right home? One idea may be to set aside your idea of perfection and instead open yourself up to a house that could use a little TLC. If a few minor improvements are all it takes, a cosmetically imperfect home can be a great option.

In this post, we’ll give you some tips on how to spot a great opportunity and show you what you want to avoid at all costs.

What Are the Benefits of a Cosmetically Imperfect Home?

The most obvious advantage of buying a cosmetically imperfect home is potentially getting it for a lower price. The existing homeowner may not have time to get it into tip-top shape before putting it on the market. Alternatively, they may not want the hassle of living through renovations and are willing to accept a lower price in favour of a fast and stress-free transaction. Either way, you win from a financial perspective. The benefits don’t end there, however.

With the money you save on the purchase price, you can renovate and mould the home into something that feels custom-crafted just for you. If the kitchen is the most important room to you, you can invest most of your resources there. Or you can invest in top-quality landscaping to turn your backyard into an absolute paradise. 

A cosmetically imperfect home is like having a blank canvas to make your ultimate vision a reality. You might not find this level of customization even with one of the newer, more expensive homes on the market.

Lastly, a house with minor flaws can allow you to buy into a neighbourhood or community that might otherwise be out of reach. Imagine wanting to be located next to your desired shopping district or a particular catchment area for schools, but the real estate values keep climbing. Buying something less than perfect can help you get your foot in the door. You can always bring the home up to your specifications later on as your equity increases. 

What West End neighbourhood is right for you? The posts below might help you decide:

Red Flags to Watch Out For

When opening yourself up to the possibility of a home with minor imperfections, the key word is “minor.” Overlooking a bad paint job is one thing. However, you never want to dismiss significant problems with a house that become far more stressful and expensive than you ever anticipated. 

Flaws like cracks in the foundation, a collapsing roof, or a leaky basement are automatic dealbreakers – unless you are getting the home substantially below market value. Even then, you will have to decide whether the disruption in your life is worth getting the house for a low cost. The exception to this rule is if you plan to tear down the house altogether and build a brand-new one instead.

If the market allows it, you might consider adding a condition of home inspection to your offer to ensure you are not biting off more than you can chew with your transaction. Other red flags to watch out for include:

  • Water damage that has resulted in mould growth: This can be a hazard to your health and isn’t worth the risk unless you can fix the problem before moving in.
  • Electrical problems: Overloaded circuits and faulty wiring can increase your chances of an electrical fire.
  • Plumbing issues: Damaged pipes can burst, which is an expensive and disruptive repair.

In addition to getting an inspection, a local real estate agent can help you avoid unforeseen problems when searching for your new home. 

Are you looking for even more tips for buying a house in the West End? The resources below are a great place to start:

What to Look for in the West End

Finding a house with minor flaws but that is otherwise structurally sound means seeing past simple imperfections like outdated home decor that might turn off other prospective buyers. For example:

  • Horrific paint colours and scuffs on the wall can make a house seem unappealing, but these are incredibly easy fixes. 
  • Peeling or discoloured caulking means some buyers will not give the house a second look. However, this is a simple repair that you may be able to handle yourself.
  • No one wants a house with leaky faucets. Unless all you need to do is replace a worn-out washer or O-ring.
  • Outdated door handles and knobs are one of the easiest and fastest upgrades to make. You can change the hardware in an afternoon and give the room a whole new look.

Depending on your budget and how much you love the layout of a house, you might consider putting a little more time and effort into the upgrades. Mid-level repairs, such as kitchen cabinet upgrades and new flooring, can freshen up the appearance of the house to the point of being almost unrecognizable!

Once you find the right opportunity, you will have plenty of time to decide what upgrades you want to make and when. Your timeline will depend on your budget and lifestyle, but you will get there in the end. Gradually, that once cosmetically flawed house will turn into your perfect dream home!

Are you on the lookout for the best value on homes in Toronto’s West End? We can help by scouring the market for you. Reach out today to or call 416-769-3437 to start a conversation.