There’s so much to think about when buying a home. This crucial decision involves a series of steps that will define where and how you will live in the future, so it’s important to make sure you understand all the implications.
Since 1913, Royal LePage has helped Canadians make the best decision by guiding them every step of the way. In this buyer’s guide we summarized our main advice and tips to make the process as smooth as possible and help you find the right home for you.
Things to consider before buying a home
If you are not sure about being ready to buy a property, the first step should be analyzing your uncertainties. At Royal LePage, we can help you clear your doubts and make a decision before you start investing valuable time in this process.
Once you are fully decided to start your search, you will need to consider the following things:
Determine the basics, such as the minimum number of bedrooms and bathrooms for your family members.
Identify the things that would be nice to have, from functional things like a doorman to leisure amenities like pools and saunas.
Type of home ownership:
Know the difference between freehold, condo, and co-op. A freehold means that you are the owner, while in a condo you just take care of the inside and pay fees to an association to look after the common areas, and in a co-op you buy shares in the whole building and pay maintenance fees.
The market conditions:
Every region or area has a different supply and demand that affect the prices. Depending on your budget, this could limit your options.
Your preferred neighborhoods:
Most cities in Canada have a wide variety of neighborhoods. Depending on where you grew up or where your family and friends live, you might have a preference for certain areas over other. You will also need to consider the distance to your workplace or other places you visit frequently.
Having a clear idea of your budget and financial options will help you identify things like the right size, location or building type for you. If you are planning of getting a mortgage, it’s a good idea to become prequalified before starting your search.
What to expect from your Wedlake Team agent
The real estate market in Canada is large and dynamic, which make looking for a home a real challenge. This is why real estate agents exists, they know how to navigate the constantly changing list of options and have the experience to recommend alternatives based on your particular needs.
A Royal LePage agent will help you through the whole process, giving you:
- Information about the current market conditions.
- Guidelines to analyze your wants and needs against your budget.
- A list of options that match your interests and needs.
- Orientation to complete the paperwork required in a timely manner.
- Support to resolve any issues that may arise.
They will also coordinate the work with other professionals and help you negotiate an offer with the seller.
In most cases there will be two agents involved in the process: one for the buyer and one for the seller. They are usually paid a commission from the seller, meaning that there won’t be any additional costs to you for getting their help.
You will also notice that agents can specialize in particular areas or neighborhoods. Find a agent that fits your needs and work exclusively with him or her to find the perfect home for you.
Things you need to know about financing
Unless you already have the money, it’s important to be pre-qualified for a mortgage. Being pre-qualified will give you an accurate idea of the price range you can afford and it may be also a competitive advantage when making a final offer for a house or an apartment.
Additionally, you will need to consider the following factors:
Usually a percentage of the total cost you’ll pay. The more money you put down, the more you’ll save on monthly payments.
Monthly mortgage payment:
The amount you’ll be required to pay each month until the debt is paid off. It may or may not include taxes and property insurance.
The total length of time it will take you to pay off the loan.
Choosing the best home for you
No matter if you want to buy a condominium or a townhouse, you’ll probably find several options that match your general needs. Once you have that first list, analyze the pros and cons to make sure you choose the best option for you.
These are the most important aspect you’ll have to consider when comparing options:
Being close to your kid’s schools, the public transit, your workplace, or amenities like banks, parks and supermarkets, is an important factor when choosing where to live. Driving around to explore the neighbourhood will help you decide which home is best for you.
Particular details of the property:
Take pictures or videos to have references and remember little details of the house that you liked.
Common flaws or issues:
Most places will have flaws or issues you have to consider. Pay attention to water leaks, squeaky floors, humidity marks, the distribution of lights and plugs, etc.
A home inspector and a legal professional may also help you make a final decision. The home inspector will check the property for structural damage and issues with the different systems (plumbing, electrical, heating, etc), while the legal professional will do a property title search, check that everything complies with building and zones codes, and that property taxes are paid.
How to make a realistic offer
Real Estate is an investment and putting together an offer is a crucial part of the process. When writing your offer, you will have consider the following things:
Most offers include price, deposit, terms, conditions, and closing date.
Type of offer:
Offers can be either firm or conditional. A firm offer means that you are buying the home exactly as it is, while a conditional offer states additional requirements. For example, you can say that you’ll buy the house only if you get approval of financing or if you sell your current home.
The seller may make a counter offer to negotiate the price, closing date or other conditions. Your real estate agent can help you get a good agreement, but you need to make sure that what you are asking for is fair and equitable.
Tips for closing a home and moving
The closing day is when you officially take ownership of the home. Here are a couple of details you need to know before you receive the keys and move to your new home:
There are closing costs:
Things like mortgage application fees, inspections, legal fees, insurance, and registration, are charged in this stage of the process.
Moving companies have different fees:
Make sure you get competitive quotes or consider renting a van to save money.
Services and utilities have to be transferred:
Utilities, services and any rented appliances in your new home should be transferred to your name.