It is said that buying real estate is the single biggest purchase a person will make in their lifetime. If you are planning on purchasing a home, there are many issues to address to avoid some common mistakes. Don’t worry, if you make a mistake, it won’t be the biggest mistake of your life. Use this guide to make your home hunting experience more enjoyable and stress-free.
Before you begin your search, you should determine your comfort level in terms of how much money you want to spend monthly on your accommodations. Helpful Hint: remember to factor in all fixed bills like a credit card, utilities and living expenses and investments such as RRSPs and savings. For more tips on a mortgage, read this article on what to look for in a mortgage.
Narrow down the type of home, the location and a list of reasonable wants and needs that fit your budget based on your rough search.
Visiting OPEN HOUSES Some properties offer an OPEN HOUSE to invite the public for viewing. Typically OPEN HOUSES are held on WEEKENDS between 12pm – 5pm. It is a great idea to visit open houses to preview the housing market before your home search.
As a Buyer, having a Realtor is a risk-free service that is paid for by the Seller. Had you gone directly to the listing agent, you must blindly trust that they will represent you equally when in fact, they represent the seller, and contractually, will not be working in your best interest. If this is the case, do you agree that having your own Realtor working for you is a good choice to make?
Another benefit of having your own Realtor is the consultation. It can be a dizzying experience trying to narrow down your search and research to determine what market value is. A Realtor’s job is to help you filter your search so you only look at properties that fit your needs, budget, and lifestyle, which will save you both time and money.
What is REALTOR®
– a person who is a licensed specialist acting as an agent for the sale and purchase of buildings and land; also known as a real estate agent.
After consulting with your Realtor, pick 4-5 properties you would like to view from the list that has been filtered for you. You must recognize that this is the tedious part of the search but also the most exciting part of the process. It is advisable to set aside 2-3 hours to go viewing properties with your Realtor to truly maximize the benefits of having professional representation. Your Realtor will guide you through the homes pointing out the pros and cons of the properties and neighborhoods, where you might have missed, had you gone through it alone. It is also a good practice to give feedback on each property after viewing so that your Realtor will be on the same page which will greatly reduce the time spent searching for your home.
★ ★ HAPPY HOME HUNTING TOUR ★ ★
A typical tour of homes will require 2-3 hours of your time together, depending on traffic and size of properties that we will look at. As long as there is no inconvenience to our customers , we are able to drive, so that they can focus their thoughts and energy on the tour and be able to ask questions about each property. The ideal number of properties is roughly 5 – 6 Listings in one day. It is not recommended to view anymore than that as it will cause confusion.
Once you have found a home that suits your needs, the time has come to go over some important questions you may have about the property. You may be asking at this point, how much you should offer and what the fair market value is. To help you answer these questions, your Realtor may review with you, what the industry calls a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), which evaluates what similar properties in the area have sold for, not sell for and/or are for sale on the market within a reasonable time frame. If at all possible, your Realtor might try and find out the seller’s motivation and/or their selling situation. If satisfied with the CMA, you may proceed with making an offer and have it negotiated through your Realtor. Some examples of what might be negotiated are price, dates (completion, adjustments, possession, due diligence), what is included, amount of time to complete your conditions. When all terms and conditions are agreed to by both the Buyer and the Seller, you may accept the offer and proceed to the next step.
The due diligence period is the time frame in which you will complete all the conditions your Realtor negotiated in your contract of purchase and sale. It may include reviewing documents such as the title search or Strata documents (if you are buying strata), conducting a home inspection or to arrange financing as discussed earlier. In some instances, and this is where a Realtor will prove their worth, you may opt to conduct an oil tank search or further investigate the title to verify charges/zoning/strata plan.
★ ★ Team work is the key to a smooth transaction! ★ ★
The Due Diligence Period is typically 5 – 10 business days. Therefore, cooperation with other experts in each field will be very important. For example, Home Inspectors, Mortgage Brokers or financial institutions such as banks, in the case of Strata properties such as condominium Strata Management company, Home Insurance Provider all need to be coordinated. Your REALTOR should be able to lead this team to ensure that the buyer successfully clear each hurdle.
If your offer includes a clause which allows you time to arrange a mortgage, simply provide your financial institution representative or mortgage broker’s contact information to your Realtor. Your Realtor will provide all the information regarding the property to get your application approved.
Simply put, removing the subjects means that you are happy with the information you received regarding the property and you are agreeing to buy it. In order to “remove the subjects,” you must confirm in writing that all conditions have been deemed to be satisfied or waived and signed and dated within the due diligence period.
When you remove the subjects, you will be asked to submit your deposit which forms part of your down payment or purchase price within a specified period of time that was agreed to in the contract. In some cases, you may be asked to perform this step at the start of your due diligence period. Deposit cheques are typically paid to the real estate brokerage or lawyer/notary public trust accounts and held until both parties agree to release the funds to complete the transaction. It is common for deposits to be 5% of the purchase price.
To handle the transfer of the title of the property and to register a mortgage, it is advisable to choose and hire a Lawyer or Notary Public as soon as possible and at the latest 3 weeks prior to the completion date.
If you are applying for financing, you should meet with your financial institution representative or Mortgage Broker to review the terms and conditions of the mortgage. If satisfied, you will be asked to sign the agreement which will then be sent to your Lawyer/Notary Public for registration on the title of your property.
With a minimum of two days prior to the completion date, you will be asked to go to the Lawyer/Notary Public’s office and in the presence of a Lawyer/Notary Public review and approve all documentation, which will be registered on the title at the Land Title Office on the Completion Date.
In most cases, you will need to bring with you 2 pieces of identification and a bank draft or certified cheque in the amount, which will be determined your statement of adjustments (approximately balance of down payment + closing costs/credits), to the Lawyer/Notary Public. Your Realtor should give you a rough estimate at the time of writing an offer or when you remove subjects.
The official date that you add the title of Homeowner to your name is the Possession Date. At this time, you should do a walkthrough inspection of the property with your Realtor to verify the condition of the property and receive instructions on the functions of the home. If there any discrepancies, you must communicate this with the sellers through your Realtor as soon as possible.
【COST OF PURCHASING PROPERTY】
- Property Transfer Tax The amount of the Property Transfer Tax is 1% on the first $200,000.00 of the property's fair market value, 2% on the amount between $200,000 and $2,000,000, and 3% on the amount between $2,000,000 and $3,000,000, and 5% of the remaining fair market value. ※Exemptions applicable if qualified
- LEGAL FEE $800-1100
- Property Tax Adjustment To be paid to Seller if purchasing between July – December (To be received from Seller if purchasing between January - June)
- Fire Insurance $600-2000
(Non-Strata Properties: Duplex, Detached Houses)
- Inspection Fee (optional) $400-600
- Appraisal Fee $200-400
- 1st Payment of Strata Management Fee $100-400
(Strata Properties: Condo, Townhouse, Apartment, etc)