A Step by Step Guide to Buying Real Estate
Are you thinking about buying a house but not sure where to start?
In this Blog, I give you my expert advice on how to get started. So you can stop stressing and get on the path to homeownership!
Keep reading for everything you need to know about buying your first home!
My Top 10 Things to Know About Buying a House
#1 – FIND A MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL AND GET PRE-QUALIFIED
This provides you with an estimate of how much you can afford. Remember, it is not an approval or pre-approval, but the process sets a realistic price range for you.
#2 – GO THROUGH THE PRE-APPROVAL PROCESS
This will determines the price of home you can actually afford and helps set your maximum budget. Your Realtor can now set up your search perimeters, and it also lets potential Sellers know that securing financing will not be a problem.
You’ll be able to secure an interest rate which is typically held for 120 days. And, you’ll be able to calculate what your monthly mortgage payments will be which will alleviate some uncertainty around monthly costs.
#3 – COME UP WITH A FINANCING PLAN
Now is when you’ll want to secure your down payment & decide how much money you’d like to put down. In Canada, the minimum down payment is 5%. Anything less than a 20% down payment is possible, but subject to a mortgage loan insurance, typically through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Take time and go through bank statements and savings accounts to figure out exactly where you’ll get the money from and how you can start saving.
#4 – RESEARCH INCENTIVES THAT MIGHT BE APPLICABLE TO YOU
Are you a first time home buyer? If so, you may qualify for a number of great government incentive programs such as:
RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan– You may be eligible withdraw up to $25,000 tax free from your registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to buy or build a qualifying home.
First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit– a 15% credit on $5,000 worth of home purchasing costs to a maximum tax relief of $750. For example this would be on things like Legal fees, land transfer taxes etc.
Land Transfer Tax Rebates- Applies to Provincial taxes and may apply to Municipal taxes (Toronto) as well. The maximum Provincial rebate is $4,000 and the maximum Municipal (Toronto) rebate is $4,475.
#5 – START YOUR SEARCH. THE FUN PART!
Connect with a Realtor you know, like and trust and start searching for your home. Most people don’t know that Realtors have a fiduciary duty to protect the rights of their Buyer clients and to work in their best interest.
#6 – PUTTING IN AN OFFER. THINGS ARE GETTING REAL!
You’ve found a house and want to make it your home! Don’t get caught up in emotions, you’ll need to remain level headed for the negotiations. It isn’t unusual to be faced with Multiple Offers, so don’t get attached until the house is officially yours. Go back for a second, thorough inspection & expect this visit to take at least an hour. You want to know exactly what you are purchasing. You may even wish to bring friends or family members back for a third visit to get another perspective. After all, this is the biggest asset you’ll likely ever own. You want to make sure it’s right!
#7 – DECIDE ON AN OFFER PRICE
Your realtor will evaluate comparable properties that have sold and help establish an offer price you are comfortable with. This will be your starting point for negotiations and will usually be a range of your highest and lowest bid. I advise clients to know their top price in advance to avoid getting emotional in a potential multiple offer situation. Avoid over paying as this can affect your final financing approval.
#8 – YOUR CONDITIONS.
Your first offer will likely be contingent on conditions such as financing approval, home inspection, sale of your existing property (if applicable) and/or your lawyer’s review of the Status Certificate (if it’s a condo) to name a few. Before the contract becomes binding, you’ll negotiate with the Seller and ultimately waive or fulfill all of your agreed upon conditions.
Be Aware of Additional Costs
#9 – BE AWARE OF ADDITIONAL COSTS
Before your closing date, become familiar with the list of items that can have a significant financial impact.
Legal Fees: Call your lawyer for an estimate. You’ll have to pay for costs involved in drawing up the title deed, conducting the title search, preparing and registering the mortgage.
Title Insurance: A relatively low cost but provides coverage in case of problems with the property title among other things.
Appraisal Fees: Will depend on the size and complexity of the assignment. Some lenders may cover this cost.
Land Transfer Taxes: Provincial and/or Municipal land transfer taxes will apply to your purchase. Toronto properties are subject to double the amount in Land Transfer tax. For an estimate of costs, use this land transfer tax calculator.
Real Estate Fees: Buyers typically don’t pay commission to their Realtor, but verify that to be sure.
Moving Expenses & other costs: Don’t forget to budget for a moving company, boxes and professional cleaners!
#10 – MOVE IN DAY!
Congratulations… you made it to the finish line! Time to celebrate!!!
Written by Deanna Allegranza, Realtor.
If you have questions about buying real estate, or being a First Time Home Buyer, I’d love to connect. Email me at email@example.com