As your professional guides and trusted representatives, we will always strive to give you the best of the best. Buying a home can be an overwhelming process and buyers will often ask us “What do I need to do when I buy a house? What should I do first?” Location, neighbourhood, schools, mortgages, and home inspections can be unfamiliar and seem impossible to sort out. We have composed a step-by-step guide that organizes the buying process to make buying a house as simple, stress free, and as fun as possible! Even though the buying process can sometimes be complicated, providing you with our expertise, professional services and a positive experience is always our goal.
Step #1. Hire a REALTOR®
There are many options when hiring a real estate agent. How do you choose one that’s right for you? You have to pick carefully. They will be acting as your representative and you will need someone to look out for your best interests. Choose a professional you feel comfortable with, that you can trust, and who understands your needs, your wants, and your budget.
Not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®. Only REALTORS® are members of the Canadian Real Estate Association.
There are a few ways to look for your perfect REALTOR® such as:
- Ask friends and family for a recommendation.
- Chances are someone you know and trust has worked with an agent that they have had a great experience with.
- Visit one of the local offices in your area.
- Working with a local agent is one of the best ways to ensure you are being handled by an expert not only in the homes you are viewing, but also in the areas you may be house hunting in.
Whomever you choose must be a trained professional who knows your market area inside out. A great agent is someone who takes time to get to know you, offers you quality services, and assists in accomplishing your goals. Help your agent help you! Be up front with them regarding your home requirements, financial circumstances and timeline. This will enable the agent to provide you with a list of the best potential properties without wasting your valuable time looking at homes that either do not meet your physical requirements or may be outside of your budget. By understanding your needs, a great agent can suggest the best plan of action.
Choose one agent and stick with them. It is much easier for you to explain your wants and needs to one agent rather than having to discuss this repeatedly with each different agent every time you look at a new property. This is the beauty of the MLS system! It allows you to choose one agent you are comfortable with and that agent can show you any properties you may be interested in even if another brokerage has the property of interest listed for sale. Building a relationship with one agent allows them to get to know you and your family’s specific needs. At the same time, it allows you to build rapport and level of trust with your agent. This gives you confidence in their ability to find the perfect property and best represent your needs
Step #2. Pre-Qualify for a Mortgage & Start “Window Shopping”:
We strongly encourage, before you go shopping, to make sure you are financially prepared. This is a very important step before you start shopping. By pre-qualifying for a mortgage you will have a clear understanding of your affordability which will identify a suitable price range. Nothing is more disappointing then going house hunting without being pre-qualified only to find out that the home you fell in love with is outside of your available budget. Contact your financial institution or a mortgage broker and speak with the lender. If you require assistance in choosing a lender we can refer you to some experienced professionals who will guide you through the process. For more information on the mortgage process visit our mortgage road map. If you want to do some quick calculations prior to meeting with a lender, feel free to use our handy mortgage calculator. Pre-qualifying also provides a seller with confidence when they review your offer. If the presenting agent can inform the Seller that the Buyer is pre-qualified for a mortgage it will automatically make your offer appear stronger in the seller’s eyes.
Keeping these things in mind, you are free to go window shopping! You can search for houses according to the different neighbourhood surrounding you, check newspaper listings, websites, or even drop by any open houses that are being held in your area. Looking for houses can be really fun and exciting! You can browse listings using our search option on our website. If you choose, one of our agents can set up an auto-email based on your requirements. This option will automatically and immediately notify you by email if a home that meets your criteria becomes listed for sale. It will also notify you of price reductions or other changes on house listings. If you would like us to set up an auto-email for you, click here. You can opt out of this service at any time with one mouse click.
Step #3. Organize Home Viewings with your REALTOR®
Together we will select the right homes to view at a time that is most convenient for all. If you are registered to receive auto email, when there are changes to your search criteria or changes to one of the listings, you receive immediate e-mail notification. A member of our team can show you the homes as soon as they come on to the market. Remember that your REALTOR®can show you ANY properties that are listed on the Multiple Listing System or MLS®. It is much easier to build a relationship with one agent who can get to know your wants and needs rather than having to explain them to several different agents – that is the beauty of the multiple listing system. Let your agents do the work you have hired them to do. Our agents will make all arrangements for any properties you wish to view and accompany you to all viewing appointments.
Step #4. Making the Offer
Once you find the right home and make the decision to purchase it, you will want to move quickly. Our agents will educate you in terms of overall market conditions and properties that have sold so you are able to determine fair market value and are comfortable with the amount you decide to pay for a particular property. Armed with all of the knowledge our professional agents provide will ensure you can proceed with confidence through the offer process. Your offer will include specific terms and conditions to reflect your needs; some of these may include the amount you are offering to pay, mortgage approval, satisfactory professional inspections, requested possession dates, inclusion of appliances or other items etc. With specific terms and conditions outlined in the offer for your protection, you can move quickly and confidently to secure the home you desire. Making an offer on a home is a process. Don’t be surprised or discouraged if your offer is not accepted or is met with a counter offer instead. We will continue to negotiate on your behalf and do our best to help you and the Seller come to an agreement.
When your offer is written you will be required to provide a deposit by cheque or cash to your agent’s brokerage (Buyer’s Brokerage) which they will hold in trust for you until it is determined if you offer is accepted and/or your conditions on the offer can be met. Prior to meeting with your agent it is important to discuss with them the amount of deposit that would be suitable to put forth. When you meet with your agent to write the offer you will need to bring photo ID and your cash deposit or cheque, made payable to the Buyer Brokerage.
Step #5 My offer was accepted! Now what?
Once your offer is accepted we can assist you with the next steps to ensuring all conditions are met by the required deadlines. From forwarding documents to your lender, to assisting with appointments for professional inspections, we are here to help. Time required to meet or remove any conditions written into your offer (i.e. Mortgage financing approval, home inspections etc) will vary but typically, depending on the type and number of conditions that must be met, you will usually request 10-15 business days to achieve this. Our agent will already have written this into the offer that was accepted. Keep in mind that it is extremely important to act quickly as soon as your offer is accepted. You or your agent will need to immediately forward all documents to the lender so they can submit your application. This allows the lender as much time as possible to approve your mortgage application. There are times when hiccups occur so it is better to err on the side of caution and give the lender all information they require immediately after your offer has been accepted. Schedule any required inspections ASAP. You are generally encouraged to be present at the home at the end of a Professional Home Inspection so the inspector can review his/her findings with you. If there are any issues with the home inspection now is the time to express any concerns to your agent so they can work with the seller/seller’s agent to resolve them.
Step #6 Removal of Conditions
If you are satisfied that all conditions have been met by the deadline date in the offer, you will need to remove all conditions in writing. Your agent will prepare a “Notice to Remove Conditions” form for you to sign which will then be provided to the seller. This step informs the seller that you have met all conditions and are prepared to move forward with the purchase.
Step #7 Closing the Purchase
Now it’s time to send all documents to your lawyer, contact utility companies, movers, schools etc. At your request, we can offer contacts for reliable professionals to assist in this final stage before possession date and moving into your new home. On possession date we will make arrangements to hand over keys and walk through the property with you to ensure that everything is in order. Congratulations on the purchase of your new home!