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  Q1. How should I get started with HomeOptima? Back To Top

HomeOptima is offering two completely free plans as a part of its launch promotion that ends on May 31st. The basic plan gives you access to all features and provides you with a given number of searches per day. To upgrade the number of searches, please refer the website to your family and friends. See details on the membership page.

Real estate boards only allow the access to listings information if you register with us. Registration is easy and takes less than a minute. 

  Q2. How can I use the website to buy the home that is right for me? Back To Top

It is very easy to find your right home using HomeOptima. Just follow the three step process below. In less than 5 minutes, you will narrow down your right neighbourhood, shortlist a bunch of homes and compare them to see which one best fits your needs.

Find the right neighbourhood

First click on the “Where should I live” option on the home page. If you know the GTA, you may choose to skip our best city feature. Specify your three priorities and shortlist 2-3 top neighborhoods from the ones recommended by HomeOptima.

Shortlist Homes

Second, click on “view listings” for each of shortlisted neighbourhoods. Save the homes that you like.

Compare Homes

Third, go to Search Manager. You will find all your saved homes. You can compare them by just sorting the columns (example convenience score, school score, commute time, price of home, etc.) or you can do a detailed comparison of any two homes at a time. Select the homes you like and contact your realtor for showing. Before buying, conduct a full rating for the top three homes using our Home Rating feature for 100% peace of mind.  

  Q3. Tell me more about finding the right neighbourhood to live. Back To Top

If you are not 100% sure on where to live in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), HomeOptima can help you find the best city and the best neighbourhood based on your personalized family needs.

Our Advanced Search Engine supports many key factors important to homebuyers such as proximity to: good schools, 20+ amenities, highways, subway, GO transit, commute to work, family or even high population of ethnic communities, as well as demographics such as young adults, young families, and families with teenage kids or seniors.

 Best City

The best city feature is particularly helpful for people who are moving to Canada, new immigrants, people moving from another province or even from one GTA municipality to another.

 Best Neighbourhood

The best neighbourhood feature is useful to everyone, even for people who know the GTA well, because of the level of details of our data and versatility of our search engine. Our users are surprised by the accuracy of results the proprietary algorithms provides based on up to three priorities identified by the homebuyer. This feature is a must not only for users mentioned for best city but also for users who know GTA well.

Top 10

Our Top 10 feature is aimed for users who have made up their mind to live in a given GTA city and have one strong preference in the search of their next home. This may be proximity to key amenities, proximity to train (Subway or GO transit) or proximity to the best schools in the city. We have also added a list of Top 10 most expensive homes for sale in each GTA city for your surfing fun.  

  Q4. What if I know where I want to live? How should I decide which home to buy? Back To Top

We recommend you start with our Home Listing feature.

Home Listings

This feature is also called “View MLS Listings” on the home page. You can specify a specific city, neighbourhood or address in the search box, select your budget, type of homes, number of bedrooms, etc., and view all relevant homes for sale in the area. Any home you like, we recommend that you click on it to see more details. There are tabs above the home picture that can be clicked to see the schools, key amenities, makeup of the community and even the commute time to your and your spouse’s work location.

Search Manager

Click on the Save button as this populates the home in the Search Manager for future reference and comparison with other saved homes.

Compare Homes

When you compare any two homes, you can not only compare MLS data but also convenience, community and commute related information. We will surprise you with our proprietary Inside Home Compare™ feature. You can compare living rooms, kitchen, master bedrooms and other bedrooms of any two listed homes using this feature. 

  Q5. What is HomeOptima’s proprietary 3Cs approach? Back To Top

The three Cs represent factors that are critical to homebuyers when buying a home. These Cs are the DNA of our process and solution. The Cs stand for Convenience, Community and Commute. 

 

  Q6. Tell me about the data that powers the 3Cs approach. Back To Top

Our data team has gathered over a million pieces of insight for the Greater Toronto Area. The information has been collected from public and private sources.

 

Convenience

We have very diligently collected information about four major categories of conveniences that are important to homebuyers.

Shopping: All major malls, grocery stores, general merchandise, pharmacy, home improvement and hardware stores. 

Schools and Daycare: All schools listed in the websites of public and catholic school boards as well as daycare facilities listed by municipalities.

Public facilities: Parks, hospitals, libraries, kids gym, indoor pools, ice arena and conservation area

Transportation: East west highway, north south highway, toll highway, subway stations, GO transit and airport

 

Community

School Scores: Ontario’s Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO). We use past three year school scores for grade 3 (reading, writing and math), 6 (reading, writing and math), 9 (academic and applied math) and 10 (Ontario Literacy Test). An overall 3-year school score is calculated for each school by using available data and rolling up the scores bottom up. School ranks are done separately for elementary and secondary schools and are purely based on rolled up EQAO scores.  EQAO assessment results constitute only a portion of the information that would be needed to judge the quality of a school. A visit with the school principal would be recommended.      

Demographics and Ethnicity: We use information from Statistics Canada using 2011 Census and National Household Survey. We also use NHS 2011 for showing value of homes and age of homes in various GTA neighbourhoods.

 

Commute

We use google map services to calculate individual and family commute times. We do not include the delays in commute due to traffic conditions. Therefore, in peak hour travel, time experienced may be substantially higher than what we calculate on the website. We compare commute times for a user to other commuters in the GTA using a statistics Canada study. Please email us for any details. 

  Q7. How does HomeOptima calculate the best city for me? Back To Top

We rank all the Great Toronto Area (GTA) cities based on your preferences. By default, we give 100% weighting if only one preference is chosen. If you select two preferences, we give 80-20 weightings to the two choices. If you choose three preferences, we give 60-30-10 weightings to the top one, two and three choices. You can adjust the weightings to suit your needs.

 If commute option is used, personalized commute times are calculated from each city to develop commute ratings. School ratings for a city are calculated by rolling up the 3-year score for all schools in a given city that have EQAO scores. Demographic scores are calculated by using rolled up information provided by Statistics Canada. Value of home ratings are determined using the selling price of similar types of homes across various GTA cities. 

  Q8. How does HomeOptima calculate the best neighbourhood for me? Back To Top

We rank all the Great Toronto Neighbourhoods (GTA) for the preferences identified by you. At HomeOptima, the size of neighbourhoods is smaller (1000-5000 homes) than traditional definitions of neighbourhoods (10,000 to 20,000 homes). This is done to improve the quality of the neighbourhood search results. This way we can provide you with accurate information on commute times, schools scores, proximity to amenities, age of homes, demographics, etc.

By default, we give 100% weighting if only one preference is chosen. If you select two preferences, we give 80-20 weightings to the two choices. If you choose three preferences, we give 60-30-10 weightings to the top one, two and three choices. You can adjust the weightings to suit your needs.

If the commute option is used, personalized commute times are calculated from each city to develop commute ratings. Google maps features are used to calculate individual and family commute times. School ratings for a city are calculated by rolling up 3-year scores for all schools in a given city that have EQAO scores. Demographic scores are calculated by using rolled up information provided by Statistics Canada. Value of home ratings are determined using the selling price of similar types of homes across various GTA cities. 

  Q9. Tell me about the convenience score that is calculated in the home rating feature. Back To Top

Our proprietary method of calculating home ratings takes into consideration the amenities that are important to homebuyers. There are 24 amenities in total that belong to four categories: Shopping, Schools and daycare, public facilities, and transportation.

 In our calculation engine, first we calculate the rating for each of these amenities with respect the location of the given home address. The rating is calculated, comparing how far the amenity is from a the home address compared the average distance of the same amenity for an average GTA household. For example, on average, distance from a GTA household to a major grocery store is approximately 2 km. If a home is located 1 km away from a grocery store, it gets a higher convenience rating. If a home is 3 km away from a grocery store, it gets a lower rating. Once ratings of all amenities are calculated, they are rolled up to their categories. The average convenience score of the four categories is equal to the convenience score of a location. 

  Q10. What is the difference between Regular score and Personalized convenience score? Back To Top

Regular convenience score averages the individual convenience score of all 24 conveniences. The Personalized convenience score only takes into account the amenities that have been identified as important to a user. For example, a young adult (20-30) with no kids may pick shopping and transportation related amenities as more important than schools and daycare. In this case, their personalized convenience score will only include scores of amenities that are important to them.

  Q11. What is the difference between “In Feet” and “% Difference” in the Compare Dimensions feature? Back To Top

The home compare feature uses room dimensions from listing information to visually lay out similar rooms of two homes beside each other and compare them. The “In Feet or In Meter” views show dimensions of rooms in homes being compared. The % Difference View finds the percentage of how large or small is a room in one house compared to a similar room in the other house. 

  Q12. Tell me about the Your Opinion feature on the website? Back To Top

The Your Opinion feature is aimed at creating a connected GTA community where residents of the city can share their opinions and experiences about neighbourhoods and public facilities such as schools, community centres, parks, hospitals, public transit and much more. At HomeOptima, we feel that transparency and increased visibility will lead to a Greater Toronto Area that better serves its citizens. 

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