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Improve client relationships with insights for first-time homebuyers

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With the spring market blossoming and interest rates stabilizing, opportunity for first-time homebuyers continues to grow. While purchasing a home can be an exciting time for a client, navigating the complexities of the market and homeownership is often overwhelming. The role you play as a trusted advisor is crucial, especially for those entering the market for the first time.

Understanding how a property is assessed is one way prospective (and current) homeowners can make informed decisions on purchasing or selling a home. Here are three things to know about residential assessed values to help inform your conversations with clients.


1. Why values matter 


For many Ontarians, the place they call home is more than just a dwelling. It’s an investment, a cornerstone of financial stability and often their single largest asset. It’s also where they make memories with family and friends and connect with their community.

Knowing the assessed value of a home is an important detail to help ensure a first-time buyer is making an informed decision. The assessment data available through MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) offers insights into the local real estate market and can show how the home being purchased compares to others in the neighbourhood.

It can enhance decision-making efficiency and accessibility for real estate transactions and portfolio management. All realtors in Ontario have access to this assessment data along with other insights through This online platform allows users to access real-time property information for more than five million properties in Ontario and more than 10 million properties Canada-wide, making it easy to find complete profiles on a property, estimates of current real-time market values, maps and imagery that might be helpful for decision making. 

Understanding value can also help buyers anticipate and budget for tax obligations since property taxes are calculated based on assessed home values, at a tax rate based on what the municipality determines is needed to build and run a thriving community.


2. How residential properties are assessed in Ontario


There are more than 200 factors considered by MPAC when assessing the value of a property. The five key elements your clients should be aware of are: 

  • Location. The neighborhood where a home is situated significantly influences its market value. The desirability of the area often plays a crucial role in determining how much a buyer is willing to pay.
  • Lot size. The area of a property’s lot is calculated by multiplying the frontage by the depth.
  • Total square footage of living area. The exterior of the home is measured to determine the total area of the building. This measurement excludes areas like the basement, deck, porch or garage.
  • Building age. Property value is adjusted to reflect renovations or additions, considering the actual condition of the house rather than its original construction year.
  • Construction quality. The type of building materials used and the quality of finishes also play a role in determining a property’s assessed value.


3. The difference between property assessments and property taxes


First-time home ownership comes with unique experiences, like navigating property assessment and taxes for the first time.  Property assessments are available to both homeowners and local governments. Municipalities use these assessments to calculate property taxes. 

When it comes to property taxes, each of Ontario’s 444 municipalities decides how much money is needed to build and operate thriving communities – for example, building a new recreation centre and indoor skating rink, maintaining the scenic trail that runs through the neighbourhood and funding essential fire and ambulance services. The municipality then determines the municipal tax rate and collects property taxes to pay for the municipal services.


By helping your clients navigate their home purchasing journey and understand the real-time information available, they’ll develop a deeper understanding of how Ontario’s 5.6 million properties are assessed. This will help you strengthen those business relationships. 

To access resources to inform your conversations, check out our Realtor Training on topics such as how data is collected, the factors affecting real property value and how to correctly calculate property taxes. The First-time Homeowner’s Hub has also been developed to help your clients unpack property assessment, taxes and other commonly asked questions.


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