For most people, buying a home is the biggest financial decision they will ever make in their lives. Whether you're a first time home buyer or an experienced investor, the decision to purchase a home is exciting but the process can be overwhelming. Equipping yourself with the right information and the right team of professionals will help to ensure that this process is as smooth as possible.
AM I READY TO OWN A HOME?
Before you begin your home search it is important to examine your personal and financial circumstances to determine if you are ready to buy a home. A few key points to consider:
- How much money do I have for a down payment?
- How much of a mortgage do I qualify for?
- What monthly payments can I afford (mortgage, taxes, utilities, etc.)
- Is my down payment money easily accessible? Are there redemption fees?
- Do I have enough funds set aside for closing costs (at least 1.50 - 2% of purchase price)
- Is there a home that I have to sell first?
- How stable is my job?
- Will my needs change in the next 1 - 2 years (e.g. growing family, new job, etc.)?
- How much time and energy can I devote to this process?
Examining your current situation will help you avoid disappointments down the road. Sit down with a mortgage specialist and get pre-qualified for a mortgage. This is the best way to determine how much house you can afford. There is nothing more frustrating than falling in love with a home, only to find out you can't afford it! Do not skip this crucial first step.
CHOOSING A REAL ESTATE AGENT
You've examined your personal and financial circumstances and decided that the time is right for you to buy a property. It's now time to find a Real Estate Agent to work with. Your Real Estate Agent should be a trusted consultant and guide you through the entire home buying process. This includes answering questions about current market conditions, the neighbourhood and schools, help you arrange financing and recommend or introduce you to other professionals you may need along the way. Find someone who listens to what you want and takes the time to explain things that are unclear to you. You'll be spending a lot of time with this individual so choose an agent who you feel comfortable with.
BEGINNING YOUR HOME SEARCH
Before you start to look at homes in person, you should have a general idea of the type of home that you want. We will discuss your homeownership goals and desires in order to create a complete list of characteristics you are looking for in your ideal home. Here are some important questions we will consider when compiling your wish list:
- Where do I want to live?
- What type of home do I want to live in? (Detached, Semi-Detached, Town home, Bungalow, Condominium, etc.)
- How big a house do I want? How many square feet?
- Do I want an older home or a new one?
- How much renovation and re-modeling am I willing to do?
- How many bedrooms do I need? How many would be nice to have?
- How many bathrooms do I need? How many would be nice to have?
- What features are important to me? (e.g. hardwood floors, finished basement, large backyard, separate dining room, large kitchen, den, etc.)
- Do I have pets to consider?
- Is being close to public transportation important?
- Is being close to a highway important?
- Are schools important? Now? In 1-3 years?
- Is being close to grocery stores, coffee shops or shopping malls important?
- Do I have special physical requirements? (e.g minimum amount of stairs, wheelchair access)
READY TO MAKE AN OFFER
After you find your dream home, we will begin the process of getting you moved in as quickly and as easily as possible. The process usually begins with drafting legal purchase documents that are tailored to your specific needs. These documents form the agreement between you and the seller for the purchase of their home. We will discuss what price you are willing to pay, the initial deposit you will provide, conditions of the purchase and the inclusions and exclusions of things like appliances and fixtures you viewed in the home. Acceptance of the offer by the seller forms a legally binding contract to purchase their home. Closing usually takes place between 30 to 90 days from the offer date.
CLOSING THE SALE
Congratulations! The seller has accepted your offer. Your dream home will soon be yours, but now what? This is now the closing period, which usually ranges 30 to 90 days from the offer date. During this time you will:
- Meet with your Mortgage Specialist to finalize the details of your financing
- Meet with your Real Estate Lawyer to finalize the details of the transfer of ownership
- Contact your Insurance Provider to arrange fire insurance on your new home
- Visit your new home via Buyer Access visits to take measurements, plan for renovations, interior decorating and to ensure the home is in the same condition as when you made the offer
- Start packing and contacting utility companies to inform them of your move
- Obtain Your New Keys
- Move In!