Buying a home is one of the biggest, and most stressful, financial decisions a person will make in their lifetime. The same can be said for those looking to sell their home. According to a recent survey conducted for the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), age Age and experience account for the biggest differences when it comes to consumers' confidence when buying and selling real estate in Ontario.

More so if you’re young (under 30 years of age) or if you’re a first-time buyer.

"The needs of consumers evolve as they enter different phases of life and therefore their concerns about buying and selling change too," said Kelvin Kucey, Deputy Registrar, Regulatory Compliance, RECO. "Consumers should take the time to get informed about the process of buying and selling a home and know that a registered real estate professional is a valuable partner when trying to navigate the real estate market."

The survey found that despite 87% of Ontarians feeling knowledgeable about the buying and selling process, most still have significant financial concerns and anxieties around the process. 74% worry about being able to afford the home they would like, and 68% worry about the cost of renovations and upgrades to the home they buy.

Does age make a difference? Yes, it does, and significantly, in some cases.

Of those aged 18-34, 70% are anxious about not being properly informed about the buying or selling process. Other top concerns centre on affordability:

  • 84% worry that they won't be able to afford the home they would like to buy 
  • 76% report they are concerned about affording possible costs of home repairs and renovations
  • 60% weren't sure if they could afford monthly mortgage payments on the home they buy
  • 68% are concerned about being outbid by others


Many Ontarians aged 35-54 whom have already bought and sold their first homes have fewer concerns than their younger counterparts. Their biggest concerns - very different.

  • 57% are most concerned with how long their home will sit on the market
  • 42% are concerned about whether to buy their new home before selling their current home
  • BUT…they are also less concerned (52%) that the real estate bubble will burst than younger people.

Older and wiser is the saying, and those 55 and older were the most confident in their knowledge of the home buying process, at a full 95%. They also have the fewest concerns compared to the others.

  • Only 33% are concerned about making poor financial decisions because they were not well informed
  • Only 15% were concerned about being able to afford mortgage payments
  • Then again, almost 7 in 10 boomers and seniors are concerned about getting the most value from their current home, and 48% worry about the real estate bubble bursting

Where you live makes difference, too. 

  • GTA residents are the most concerned that the real estate bubble will burst, at 64%
  • 92% of northern Ontarians are concerned with rising closing costs
  • Southwestern and eastern Ontarians are the least concerned about being able to afford monthly mortgage payments (35% and 33%, respectively)
  • 62% of Eastern Ontarians are more concerned with how long their current home will sit on the market

The one thing that most Ontarians agree on - regardless of age, experience, or where you live - THE REAL ESTATE MARKET HAS CHANGED!

  • 56 per% think that buying and selling a home has gotten more complicated over the last five years
  • 70% think the financial risks have increased
  • 90% state that technologies like online searches, documents, and payments have changed the real estate market

So…you want to buy or sell. Who do you call? How do you find the right real estate agent for you?

Like many real estate agents say…referrals are king.

  • 58% of Ontarians rely on word-of-mouth from family and friends to find and select a real estate professional
  • 30% use online searches
  • 15% still refer to lawn signs
  • 9% don’t do any research at all

"It's important to be thorough in your search for a real estate professional. A good place to start is by asking friends and family for referrals and meet with at least three candidates," said Kucey. "Ontarians can go to RECO's website to check the status of registered real estate professionals and find out what questions they should ask before deciding whom to hire."

There are three new RECO web links featuring helpful information, advice and insights that are relevant to consumers with different real estate questions and needs. 

  • Recently engaged? Newlyweds planning for the future? Anyone who is considering buying their first property can visit
  • Home owners who are looking to sell their current home and buy a new one, perhaps to accommodate a growing family, can go to for valuable information
  • Boomers who are considering a real estate change such as downsizing can find articles and helpful information at

RECO sponsored this recent survey as part of Financial Literacy Month to reveal and better understand the concerns and questions that consumers have about the current real estate market.

From October 21 to October 26, 2015 an online survey was conducted among 800 randomly selected Ontario adults who have either purchased their home in the past 2 years or are planning to buy a home in the next two years, and who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.46%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted on age, gender, and region to be as representative as possible of recent and imminent home buyers. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

All infographics courtesy of the Real Estate Council of Ontario