Buyer's Guide

The Home Buying Process

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. From your very first home to your future dream home, it’s a big investment. And is very complex process, one that requires a lot of planning.

Here is a quick 5-Step overview:


1) Preparing to Buy

Buying a home will most likely be your most significant purchase of your life. Make sure you do it right with the help of of professionals: licensed Realtor, a Mortgage Broker and a Real Estate Lawyer. The responsibility of owning a home is huge and comes with sacrifices – from the financial commitment to the required care and maintenance. You’ll want to be sure both fit within your current or preferred lifestyle.

Next in line is the question: Where do You Want to Live? A Realtor can help you navigate homes in the areas that best suit your needs and lifestyle.

Once you’ve established a price range, it’s time to decide what type of home will best suit your lifestyle. Think about things like access to schools, recreational facilities, what the neighborhood is like, and so on. Why you’re choosing to buy should help answer these questions for you — so think about it carefully. You may want to put this down in writing and create a needs v/s wants list. Urban, Suburban, Rural, Small town or community. What type of home: Single-family detached, semi-detached or linked, duplex, townhouse or condo?

2) Planning Your Finances

You need to know what you can afford, and you’ll most likely need a mortgage. But before you do, take a look at how much you can afford each month. Based on your income and expenses, your Gross Debt Service Ratio (GDSR) should not exceed 32% of your gross (before taxes) monthly family income. And know that you’ll need (at a minimum) 5% of the purchase price of the home.

Next, you need to put money aside for a down payment. This amount is (at minimum) 5% of the purchase price of the home you’re planning to buy. And you’ll need to meet with a mortgage broker to further determine what you can afford. Shopping around for the best rate is highly recommended.

3) Searching for properties

You are now ready to find your Real Estate Agent. It’s important to partner with a Real Estate Agent you feel completely comfortable with. In looking for your dream home, a Realtor can help you meet both your needs and budget, bringing into focus the complicated process of buying a home.

Using the property search on this site and consulting with your Real Estate Agent, you will be able to find homes in your desired area. Your Realtor will then provide you with new and updated listings, and schedule your appointments with sellers. Your Realtor will help in determining your price range, as well as answering questions about the markets you’re interested in and helping you compare homes and neighborhoods.

Your Realtor can also provide access to exclusive listing information, preview properties to ensure you’re only shown homes that meet your needs and budget.

4) Making An Offer

So you’ve found the perfect home. But now you must make a successful offer, one the seller will accept. Your Realtor will help prepare the offer for you. Here are the main items:

Purchase price (what you’re willing to pay for the home)
Deposit (A cheque you write to the seller or the seller’s broker)
Chattels and fixtures (This clarifies what comes with the house)
Irrevocability of the offer (How much time you give the seller to consider your offer; Usually 48 hours or less)
Completion date (when you take possession)
Conditions (clauses particular to this agreement; add what is important to you)
Submitting the offer (You’ve signed; Realtor provides your offer to seller)
Acceptance: The seller accepted your offer
Rejection: The seller rejected your offer
Seller “signed back” or “countered” your offer (Seller wants to alter offer – probably price)

5) Closing the Purchase

After finalizing the offer, you’ll need to have a home inspection performed; finally, visiting your mortgage lender and signing off on ownership. You are now a home owner.

To complete this final phase you need to choose a real estate lawyer to help with the piles of legal documents required when transferring ownership of land from one person to another. This is to ensure issues such as fraud, government legislation, zoning issues or unpaid taxes don’t come up. Your lawyer will help make the legal transfer of the home as smooth as possible. A typical transfer of title will require two weeks to complete.

Next is move in day. Now remember, closing date and moving date aren’t synonymous. On closing, it’s likely you won’t get the keys to your new home until late in the day, so it might make more sense to schedule the actual move for a day or so after closing.