Buying a home is an important decision, both financially and emotionally, but the process need not be overwhelming. To set you on the right path, I have compiled a thorough guide to ensure you are confident and well-informed in your home buying journey.
Here is a simple guide to buying a house and how I can help you in this process:
Advance Financial Preparations
At least 6 months to a year before you buy your house, it is advisable to get your finances in order. Obtain your credit report and ensure you correct any errors and pay down your loan and credit card balances, since lenders will look at your income, debts, down payment and credit score.
Determine Your Position
Take the time to analyze if you are ready to become a homeowner. Is your job stable? How much can you afford for a down payment as well as monthly payments, including mortgage, taxes, utilities, etc.? Are your needs going to change in the next few years? Will you need to relocate for work, are you starting a family?
Ideally, you should pre-qualify for your mortgage so you know exactly how much you can afford and be able to make an immediate offer when you find your dream home. Pre-approvals will be in writing and include a guaranteed interest rate valid for 90-120 days. Then you can determine the amount of your down payment. The larger the initial deposit, the lower your monthly mortgage payment. Interview mortgage brokers as well as banks to find the most competitive rate and amount. I can provide you with contact information for qualified and reputable lenders if you require.
As Your Real Estate Agent
As a home purchaser, you want to protect your investment with a knowledgeable advocate who will guide and negotiate fiercely for you. There are many benefits to hiring me:
- Access to the broker’s version of the MLS (the public version has a delay in updates) and private listings
- Knowledge of the current market value of the home, so you do not overpay
- Trained in multiple offer situations and negotiation tactics
- Well-versed on complex clauses in purchase offers
- Educate and inform you on all aspects of the closing process
See what additional advantages you receive when you buy your home with me.
Choose Your Community
Toronto is a city of “neighbourhoods” and selecting your new community is as important as choosing your home. It is essential you find the locale that offers the lifestyle you want now and in the future. Transportation options, green spaces, recreational activities, proximity to shopping, dining and health services are all areas you should research. Try to visit the areas during the day, evening, and on a weekend to fully appreciate the environment. Having lived and worked in Toronto my entire life, my neighbourhood expertise will provide information on the amenities and features of Toronto’s best neighbourhoods.
Screening Potential Homes
One of the important steps in buying a house is determining what you consider your must-haves, and which features you are more flexible about. These may include the number of bedrooms and washrooms, yard space, the age of the home, distance to commute, etc. Viewing only those properties that meet your criteria will save valuable time and energy. Remember to factor in your future lifestyle and how that may change your needs.
Prior to purchasing a resale home, it is advisable to do a home inspection. A qualified home inspector checks heating and cooling systems, plumbing and electrical systems, the roof and foundation, and essentially all visible structures of the home to identify the need for any repairs and can include estimated costs. If you require, I can provide recommendations for qualified and reputable home inspectors.
Purchase Offers and Negotiations
Once the perfect home is found, the next step to buying a house is to present the seller with an offer to purchase, which includes the price, conditions, deposit, and closing date. The seller will then accept, reject, or send back a counter offer. If the listed property is highly desirable, you may find yourself in a multiple offer situation. With over 30 years’ experience buying homes in Toronto, this is an area in which I excel at and can help you draft a competitive offer.
Hiring a lawyer is required for the legal elements of your home purchase. From zoning issues to fraud and standard legal aspects such as liens, taxes and registered title searches, you need a qualified real estate lawyer who is familiar with all facets of the process to ensure it proceeds seamlessly. If you would like a recommendation for an experienced lawyer, I can provide you with contact information for some of Toronto’s finest.
Closing the Deal
Once all the legal and financial conditions have been fulfilled, you will take ownership and possession of the property, generally 30-60 days after your offer is accepted. Ensure you have purchased property insurance, which is required starting the day of closing, as the bank will not advance the funding until this obligation is met.