LOOKING TO BUY?

The purchase of a home is for most people the largest financial investment that they will make in their lifetime. There are a lot of important issues to be considered so that you’re not disappointed after you move in. A professional real estate salesperson along with other professionals can steer you successfully through this process.

This is first consideration that you must make when it comes to the purchase of a home. There is no point in taking a lot of time to view properties that are beyond your price range – you will only be disappointed when you have to face reality.

Mortgage interest rates fluctuate, as do government regulations regarding down payments and other purchase qualifications. So do federal, provincial and municipal government purchase incentive programs. All of these variable factors will determine the cost of the home which you can afford.

In addition to the monthly cost of your mortgage you must take into consideration all of the additional costs of home ownership (such as heat, hydro, water, insurance) as well as your other living expenses.

 

Your lender will require you to make a down payment on the property. This is your cash contribution to the purchase. This amount is generally between five and twenty-five percent of the purchase price. A portion of your down payment will be required when you make the offer to purchase after you have found a suitable property. This amount varies but can be as high as five percent of the purchase price. Your deposit is credited to your total down payment when the property becomes yours. You should also be prepared for additional closing costs such as land transfer taxes, legal fees, moving costs etc. A good agent will detail these with you as they can vary widely.

A good real estate agent can assist you with this process, however a really good real estate agent will recommend you to a professional mortgage broker who can do a much better job for you.

I’ll say it here and repeat it throughout my articles that you are always best served by dealing with a professional in the field in which you need assistance. A bad mortgage broker, like a bad home inspector, lawyer or even real estate salesperson may do you more harm in the long run or sometimes even in the short run – always deal with a experienced professional – ideally one that has been recommended to you.

This is generally the second major consideration that most prospective home buyers must deal with. Where you choose to purchase a home is generally based on what you can afford and the lifestyle that you wish to have. Purchasing a home in downtown Toronto will be considerably more expensive than purchasing a home outside of the city. Many purchasers prefer to have a smaller place in the city because they prefer the lifestyle that is associated with city living. Others prefer to purchase outside of the city core and are happy to commute, or they have jobs that allow them to work from home. Still other clients of mine have chosen to split their budget and purchase a small condo in the city and second home within commuting distance of the city.

A good real estate salesperson will listen to your needs and take the time to find you the best property to suit your needs based on your financial qualifications.

After qualifying for your financing and deciding on a location where you would like to live, choosing whether you will purchase a freehold home, condo or new construction project is often your next consideration. Choosing a freehold home or condo allows you to move in in a relatively short amount of time. A pre-construction purchase whether it is a freehold purchase or condo purchase, may not be ready for you to move into for many years. However, purchasing a pre-construction project allows you time to save for your down payment. An important thing to keep in mind regarding pre-construction is that you are only able to view an “artist’s concept” of the property. The completed project may look quite different from the drawing that you saw. With pre-construction condos there is also the phantom mortgage which must be considered. This is the monthly payment that you must make when your suite is ready for occupancy prior to the building being registered. This payment is made to the developer but is not credited against your mortgage.

 

Assignments are the purchase of a pre-construction offer to purchase from the original buyer. These must be very carefully negotiated as the wrong paperwork can cost you thousands of dollars. Depending on market conditions some assignments may be purchased for less the price which the original buyer paid. Further, assignments will be ready for you to move into sooner than had you purchased the property during the original pre-construction sales period.

 

As always, a good real estate sales rep will help you decide which option best suits your needs.

Once you’ve come to a general idea of what you can afford, where you would like to live, and what kind of property you would like to purchase you’re ready to start looking! This is where it gets exciting!

Your agent will show you a selection of suitable properties within your price range until you find the one that you would like to make an offer on.

 

The offer will include your name, the seller’s name, the property address, your offering price, the amount of your deposit, the closing day (when you would like to move in), what’s included in the purchase price (fridge, stove etc.) and the conditions (if any) for your offer to proceed.

The conditions which are included in your offer will vary according to the type of purchase that you make (freehold, condo, pre-construction) as well as market conditions at the time of offering. Typical conditions include financing, inspection, survey, status certificate etc. Selecting the right conditions for your offer is one of the most important duties that your real estate sales representative will perform for you. There are hundreds of conditions available for sales representatives to choose from however many are rarely used and only needed for very specific circumstances.

Your offer will be negotiated back and forth between you and the seller until you both agree on the terms contained therein. At this point you will be required to provide a bank draft for the deposit required in the offer.  If there are conditions in the offer (periodically the seller will include conditions also) these conditions must be met before the offer becomes “firm”. When the offer is firm that means all of the terms in the offer including the price have been agreed to by both you and the seller. At this point your offer is delivered to your lawyer who will now take charge of the paperwork. It is your lawyer’s job to see that you receive “clear title” to the property. Fundamentally that is to see that the property becomes yours on the day scheduled for closing without any headaches.

Your job once the offer becomes firm is to arrange for insurance for your new home and to make the necessary arrangements for you to move into your new home. Your lawyer will contact to make arrangements for you to go to their office prior to closing and sign all of the required paperwork.

Purchasing a home is likely the largest investment that you will make in your lifetime. It is important that you select a salesperson that you like and trust. Your relationship with the salesperson may last for quite a while so you want to get along with that person and believe that they have the experience to look after your best interests. Selecting someone because they’re your neighbour or your friend is not a good idea. Although you may get along with them, they often lack the experience necessary look after your best interests. Working with the listing agent is also not a good idea. You should have your own separate representative looking after your best interests. Choosing the top performer can also be a bad idea. Often they place their best interests above yours in order to maintain their sales quotas.