Ready To Become A Home Owner? Here’s How!
Buying a home may seem like a daunting endeavor, but with our simple guideline, it can be a smooth & simple process!
Click each of the 7 steps below for an expanded view with a more detailed description.
(Click Each Step For More Information)
1. Determine Your Needs & Wants
Determine Your Needs & Wants
Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to purchase a home, your first step will be to summarize your list of “needs & wants”.
Your list of “needs” are the most important features that will be required in your future home; items such as the number of bedrooms, location within the city, style & type of home that suits your lifestyle, size of backyard, specific school district, etc. These are the features that are essential to maintaining the quality of life that you expect from your future home.
Next is your list of “wants”. This is a list of preferable features that you desire in your future home, but perhaps aren’t as essential as the items on your list of “needs.” This could include features like a master ensuite, a swimming pool, a double garage, or perhaps a workshop.
This summary of “needs & wants” will help guide you through your home search.
2. The Pre-Approval
Once you’ve decided on the specific features that you want in your next home, you will need to know how much you can afford and how much money you need to make your dream a reality. This information is obtained through pre-approval. For this, we recommend that you meet with a mortgage specialist at your bank or financial institution. They will look at your current financial situation and inform you as to how much they will lend you for your home purchase. This will help you determine which price range that you should be shopping in.
3. The Home Search
The Home Search
This is the fun part! Now that you know how much you can afford and what you’re looking for, it’s time to start searching for your future home.
Although it is not set in stone, we generally recommend that all buyers should do some research and look at several homes before committing to a specific property. This will help educate you as to what your price range has to offer, and will also help you make a confident and informed decision when you do find a home that you would like to purchase. You may need to see 5, 10, or even 20 homes before finding the one that is right for you. With every home that you look at, it will deepen your appreciation and product knowledge for the current real estate market.
It is also important to look beyond the cosmetic details of a home and focus more on the “bones” and structure of the house. However, you must also know yourself and be realistic. Are you capable of doing upgrades & renovations on your own? Or would you like a home that is already renovated throughout, where you can just move in, put your feet up, and relax? Think about what is really important to you, because buying a home is often an exercise in compromise and managing expectations. Most of all, be patience in your search. Your dream home, the one that feels just right when you walk through the front door, is out there!
4. Find A Real Estate Lawyer
Find A Real Estate Lawyer
At some point during your real estate purchase, you will be required to hire a lawyer to assist you with closing your real estate transaction. It is important to hire a lawyer who specializes in real estate law. We recommend that you decide on a lawyer before you find a home that you want to purchase. In the event that you end up in a bidding war for the home you want, you will be all set to have your lawyer look over any offer to purchase before you submit it to the sellers of the property, rather than fumbling around at the last minute trying to find a lawyer to represent you. Having your lawyer review the offer to purchase prior to it being presented will help you to ensure that you’re making an informed and confident decision with your offer. During the offer process, your real estate lawyer will also conduct a title search and check for outstanding taxes and liens on the property.
5. Make An Offer
Make An Offer
So you’ve found the home that you wish to purchase, your next step is to make an offer to the seller. You can contact your lawyer for help with filling out the offer document, which can be downloaded in our documents section or provided to you by the seller. You then present the written offer to the seller. This document includes the price, conditions, deposit, inclusions, and closing date. The seller either accepts, rejects or counters the offer (also called “signing back” the offer). To view our forms available online, visit our “Offer To Purchase Forms & Documents” page.
6. The Home Inspection & Fulfilling Your Conditions
The Home Inspection & Fulfilling Your Conditions
Once you and the seller come to an agreement for the purchase of the property, there may be conditions contained in the agreement which need to be completed before the agreement is “firm and binding.” Typical conditions may include, but not limited to, the buyer arranging suitable financing, a home inspection, the buyer arranging satisfactory home insurance, and the buyer’s/seller’s lawyer reviewing the agreement of purchase & sale.
Although it’s not a necessity, we always recommend hiring a home inspector when purchasing a resale home. You can choose to make your offer to purchase the home conditional on obtaining a satisfactory home inspection. If your inspection reveals major problems, you can negotiate those repairs with the seller before your deal closes, or legally withdraw your offer.
Buying a home from a builder? It may come with a New Home Warranty. New Home Warranties are typically used when you buy a brand new home. The builder provides a New Home Warranty to cover things like deposits and completion dates, along with labour and materials for at least one year after the home was built. It also protects you against structural problems for a minimum of five years.
7. Finalize (Or "Firm Up") The Deal
Finalize (Or “Firm Up”) The Deal
Once you have fulfilled all of the conditions contained in the agreement to purchase (such as receiving final approval for your mortgage, completing the home inspection, etc.) you will need to formally remove them from the agreement by completing a document called a Notice of Fulfillment of Condition. Once all of the conditions have been removed from the agreement, it is officially a done deal and you can start counting down the days until the closing date, where you will receive the keys to your new home! You will need to meet with your lawyer to finalize the details like insurance, the results of a title search, and some other formalities as well.
Questions Along The Way?
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