Mary Pinelli

Ready to buy a resale home? First time buyers may find the process a little overwhelming. Here are the steps you can expect to take during your home buying experience.

1. Decide on your "must haves" and your "wants". Knowing what is really important to you and your family will result in a better home search.

2. Get pre-qualified for a mortgage. It's important to know what you can afford and what you're comfortable paying on a monthly basis BEFORE you begin you search for your dream home. The loan officers at your bank have access to loans which originate from one lending institution. However, mortgage brokers have access to a wide variety of lenders and therefore may be able to offer you more options as a home buyers.

3. Hire a real estate agent to represent you as a home buyer. Buyer agents receive their payment through shared commission with the seller's listing agent. So the service is free to you as a home buyer while you benefit from having a professional guide you in the right direction. A competent real estate agent will be able to find your dream home in the right neighbourhood matching your needs and budget.

4. Your real estate agent will conduct searches to find the most suitable properties for you as soon as they come on the market. He or she will book showings for you to view the home when it's convenient for you. While at the showing, be sure to communicate your likes and dislikes so that your agent can better understand your needs.

5. Once you find the right house, put an offer on it. Your real estate agent will review with you what the recent comparable properties have sold for so that you can decide what price to offer. Remember the price you offer is your decision although your agent is there to give you advice if you need it.

6. If/when your offer is accepted, you will need to provide a certified deposit cheque within 24 hours of the offer acceptance time. The deposit amount is typically 5% of the purchase price. The deposit is held in trust with the listing brokerage and it will be applied to your purchase price upon closing.

7. You may decide to put an inspection condition in your offer that allows you to proceed with the sale only if you are satisifed with a home inspection report. A home inspection typically lasts about 3 hours and costs you about $400. It is your opportunity to identify any deficiencies about the home that you may want rectified before you move in. You can hire an inspector yourself or ask your agent for recommendations. Once the inspection is completed, you will receive a written report that outlines the findings.

8. You may decide to put a financing condition in your offer that allows you to proceed with the sale only after you confirm that you are able to obtain a mortgage in time for closing. This is your opportunity to take the paperwork to your lender to verify that you will be able to obtain a mortgage rate and terms that are suitable for you.

9. Once the financing and/or home inspection conditions are satisfied, usually within a 5 day period, your home purchase is considered firm and binding and you can begin to plan your move and follow the next steps.

10. Select a real estate lawyer. You may hire one yourself or ask your agent for recommendations. Confirm with the lawyer what fee they will charge you on closing, including disbursements and HST. You would typically meet with your real estate lawyer at his or her office twice; once shortly before your move in date to sign documents and a second time on your closing day to pick up the keys to your new home.

11. Call your insurance provider to set up insurance for your new home. Your lawyer may need a binder letter from your insurance company.

12. A few days before your move-in date, your agent will accompany you to the home for a final revisit. The purpose of this visit is to ensure that the home is in the same condition in which you first saw it when you bought it. You may test the appliances and check for any damage that may have occurred and needs to be corrected before you move in.

I hope that this guide has helped you to learn a little more about the home buying process. Of course, if you have any questions or if you're thinking of buying a home, call me today. I'm always happy to help!