So you’re thinking of buying a home for the first time….what an exciting decision to make! Most first time home buyers I work with are excited to purchase their first home but are also nervous about the process. It is normal to feel this way. When you hire the right real estate agent, it is our job to help guide, educate and be with you every step of the way to help make the process smooth & easy. Once you’ve gone through it the first time, you’ll be a pro the next time around. Working with a first time home buyer recently inspired me to write this blog post. If you are a first time buyer and are unsure where to start, I hope this will calm your nerves and help you feel more prepared to start your house hunt!
Find A Realtor
The first step in the process is to find a real estate agent who is a good fit for you. Find someone who you feel comfortable spending time with, who listens and understands what you are looking for and can help you reach your housing goals.
Get Approved For A Mortgage
This is such an important step in the process and it is the key to formulating your home search plan. Without knowing what your budget is, there are no guidelines in place to help you find the perfect home. If you don’t have a mortgage broker, ask friends, family or your real estate agent to guide you in the right direction.
Get A Lawyer
If you are in the same situation as with a mortgage broker, getting a referral is the best way to find a lawyer to represent you for your purchase.
Budget For Closing Costs
On your closing date there will be various costs associated with closing your property These can include land transfer tax, statement of adjustments and lawyers fees.
If you are first time home buyer, you can take advantage of the First Time Home Buyer Tax Rebate which is a huge savings. In Ontario, you can receive a rebate up to $4,000. If you are buying in Toronto, you can receive a total rebate of $8,000.
A statement of adjustments will include any items pertaining to the home that have already been prepaid by the Seller. These can include rental items, property taxes, utilities, etc. On closing, you will pay the Seller for any items prepaid after you close on the property.
Lawyers will charge a fee to review and close your property and that fee typically ranges between $850-$1,500.
Decide Where You Want To Live
After discussing what your goals and budget are for your new home with your Realtor, figure out which area best aligns with what you’d like to achieve. Narrowing down the area can be a real time saver for you and also keep you focused on certain neighborhoods and housing options.
Go See Homes
Your Realtor will provide you with available properties for you to peruse and possibly visit in person. This is when the real estate adventure begins as you check out different neighborhoods and housing options. You can look at houses online for hours but to see them in person is a totally different experience and very educational.
Narrow Down Your Needs & Wants
After going on your “real estate adventure” it’s important to get real with your needs & wants for your new home. This is very important because as much as we want it all, sometimes it’s not possible. It’s important to decide which qualities of a home are absolute needs and which qualities would be nice to have but aren’t a necessity.
Making An Offer
At this point, you’ve seen your options and it’s time to place an offer. In a typical market (without offer presentation) your Realtor will prepare the paperwork using standard Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) forms.
The Agreement of Purchase & Sale Explained:
- Property Address Information: the address, lot size and/or unit number & legal description.
- Sale Price: agreed price by both the Buyer & Seller
- Deposit: amount given to the Seller within 24 hours of a firm deal, held in trust by the brokerage. Typically this amount is 5% of the purchase price.
- Irrevocable Date: when you make an offer, you will give the Sellers a date & time for which they need to respond by, if they do not respond by the irrevocable period, the deal is dead.
- Completion Date: the closing date of the sale. When you will officially own the property.
- Chattels & Fixtures Included/Excluded: chattels include anything that is not affixed to the property that is included in the sale. For example, these would include fridge, stove, dishwasher, washer & dryer. Fixtures are anything that is fixed to the property. For example, a chandelier. The agreement will designate what is included & excluded from the sale.
- Rental Items: any items within the property that are under contract must be disclosed. For example, a hot water tank rental is very common in a house.
- Title Search: your lawyer will conduct a title search on the property to make sure that there are no liens or encumbrances that you would be liable for after closing.
- Confirmation of Acceptance: the time & date in which the offer is agreed and firm and binding. The last party to sign will accept the deal and sign the confirmation.
- Conditions: these will be included for the benefit of the buyer/seller and will make the sale sold conditional until the conditions included in the agreement are satisfied. An example of these conditions could be financing or home inspection. If the conditions are satisfied, the property is sold firm. If the conditions are not satisfied, the buyer & seller will release themselves from the deal via a Mutual Release.
- Clauses: these are included for the benefit of both the Buyer & Seller to ensure that all parties are protected in the sale of the property.
- Notice of Fulfillment & Amendments: once conditions are meant, a Notice of Fulfillment document will be signed to confirm you have satisfied the condition. If any changes are to be made to the agreement, they must be done through an Amendment and signed and confirmed by the accepting party.
You’ve Purchase The House, Now What?
Within 24 hours of the accepted offer, you will provide your deposit cheque made out to the selling brokerage where it will be held in trust and released to the lawyers for closing. You will work with your Realtor to make sure that all paperwork and necessary documents are sent to your Lawyer & Mortgage Broker. From there your Lawyer & Mortgage broker will prepare the documents for closing.
A couple days before your closing date, your Mortgage Broker & Lawyer will have you sign the documents and provide the funds for the transaction. On closing, your keys will be released to you by your Lawyer.
I hope this blog post has helped you understand the home buying process and has calmed your nerves to feel more prepared and ready to start your new home search. I have worked with many first time home buyers and am here to help make the process easy and enjoyable. For more information about buying a home, please contact Alex Irish & Associates. Be sure to follow our real estate journey on Instagram @alexirishassociates.
Real Estate Sales Representative
Alex Irish & Associates
Sotheby’s International Realty, Canada