1. Before Beginning Your Search, Think About the Most Important Qualities You're Looking for.
You may have an area in mind that you prefer, or maybe you don't quite yet. The area you choose will have a significant impact on your lifestyle because it will determine your commute to work or school and where you shop or go for entertainment. It's also a significant factor in the value of your home and may (or may not) be limited by budget restraints when choosing certain areas.
When considering your budget, remember to include additional expenses beyond the list price, such as legal fees, home insurance, home inspections, and numerous other costs. There is a good resource for Home Buying in Canada here: https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/buying-home.html
Besides the legal fees and home inspection costs, which we've already mentioned, there are other possible costs involved when purchasing a home that you'll want to be aware of:
· Appraisal fee
· A high-ratio mortgage insurance premium
· An interest adjustment for the mortgage
· Adjustments/Reimbursement to seller for the unused portion of any prepaid property taxes or utility bills
· Land transfer tax
· Mortgage broker's fee, if using one
· GST if new construction
Features of Your New Home
How many bedrooms, bathrooms and so on do you need? Is it different from what you'd "like" to have? Are there any must-haves like a garage or private yard? Once you make your list of features, prioritize them into "must-haves" and "would be nice".
Are you looking for a single-family detached home? Or perhaps you're wanting to live in town with walking distance to work and a condo suits you better. Or maybe something in between, a townhouse, would suit your growing family best? Consider the ongoing costs each of these options has as well, like strata fees, when deciding what suits you best.
2. When you're ready to search for your home...
Hurray! Now you've narrowed down what kind of home you're looking for and are ready to search! A real estate agent can help you find the perfect home by using online tools to identify properties that fit your requirements. As you likely know, the MLS® (Multiple Listing Service®) System can be set up by a Realtor to monitor new listings that suit you, and sent to you as soon as they arrive on the system. This will save you time constantly looking for new listings yourself. Contact us today and we can set you up with your own personal home-matching link!
3. Viewing Properties
It's exciting to search for a new home and once you're ready to go see some in person, be sure to double check your list of "must-haves". It would be disappointing to fall in love with a home only to realize that it's short one bathroom or some other feature that you really "need". Once you find something you love, you may want to consider a home inspection before going on to the next step, making an offer.
4. Making an Offer
Your real estate agent can help you with making an offer. They will include relevant details like the expiration of your offer, the closing date, conditions you wish to include and of course, the price you are willing to pay.
Some common conditions are: approval of financing, selling your home by a certain date, getting a home inspection done to your satisfaction, viewing the property title and agreeing on the inclusion/exclusion of any appliances or fixed items in the home. You may also want a survey provided by the seller that shows there are no encroachments on the property.
Along with your offer, you will want to provide a deposit to show good faith to the seller. The amount of the deposit will depend on the purchase price. Your agent can help you in determining this.
5. Getting an Accepted Offer!
When the seller accepts your offer and all the conditions are met, the contract becomes final and binding for both parties. This is why it's important to make sure you fully understand all the terms before signing.
The home is almost yours! Just a few steps to go and then you'll have the keys! If you have a mortgage, you'll have to show insurance to the mortgage lender. Your lawyer will also have to do the paperwork on the day of closing to arrange the transfer of the property title and the money will also need to be transferred to the seller via the lawyer's account. You'll pay any outstanding legal fees and once this is all complete, the home is yours!