YOUR HOME, YOUR NEEDS, THE PERFECT FIT.
My job is to listen to your needs. I consider myself a real estate psychologist, which relies on understanding you, what excites you, and what lifestyle suits you – to deliver more of what you need. For the right person, this process simply works better.
You want the best home for you. Not the one that checks some of the boxes, or is almost perfect. I do what I do, because you deserve the one. There’s a lot to know when it comes to buying a home. Whether you’re buying your first condo, moving to a bigger house or downsizing, our in-depth Buying Guide will take you through all the steps.
There’s a lot to know when it comes to financing your new house or condo. You’ll need to get pre-qualified for a mortgage, make some important financing decisions and of course, eventually choose a lender.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
There’s a reason we put this section first: the first step to buying a house or condo in Toronto should be finding out how much your bank is willing to lend you. When you pre-qualify for a mortgage, your lender will look at your income, your debts and your down payment. It’s important to take that pre-qualification to the next level before you fall in love with a house by getting pre-approved for a mortgage. A mortgage pre-approval will be in writing (generally valid for 90 or 120 days) and will require you to prove your income and credit history. Pre-approvals will include an interest rate guarantee.
Of course, a pre-approval is not a guarantee that a lender will lend you a certain amount of money for any home. Lenders want to know that the home they are purchasing with you (by lending you the money) is worth what you paid. In Toronto, banks generally order an independent appraisal of a home before they advance the mortgage money.
Getting pre-approved will ensure that you know how much mortgage you can get, which in turn will help you know what price range of homes you should be targeting in your search. It allows you to focus your house-hunting efforts and eliminates the risk and uncertainty of financing once you find your perfect home.
Let the fun begin! Whether you’re searching online, hitting open houses or searching with a REALTOR, hunting for your dream house or condo is both a science and an art.
Develop your Wish List
Knowing what you need and want in your home is critical. What are your must-haves, your nice-to-haves, and your no-way-absolutely-nots? How many bedrooms do you need? What kind of outdoor space do you want? What about counter-tops, appliances and floors? You can’t get what you want if you don’t know what you want.
Pick Your Team
Buying a house or condo will likely be the biggest purchase you’ll ever make – but don’t worry, you don’t need to do it alone. You’ll want to start by picking a great Real estate agent who works exclusively for YOU. You’ll also need a lender to take you through your financing options, and a lawyer to help with the legal aspects of the purchase.
Searching for Houses and Condos Online
You aren’t alone: 94% of Canadians search for their home online. While there are endless real estate websites out there, here are the ones you should consider:
- Realtor.ca is the website owned by the real estate association. It pulls available properties for sale directly from the system that agents use, the MLS (multiple listing services).
- Custom Listings from a REALTOR Another way to get quick and easy access to what’s available is to have a real estate agent e-mail you daily listings of available houses and condos that match what you’re looking for.
Offers & Closing
Making an Offer
Your house hunting efforts have paid off, and you’ve found the right home for you: it satisfies your wants/needs, it’s in your price range, and it feels right. The offer process is both exciting and nerve-wracking. We begin by drafting the Agreement of Purchase and Sale.
This is a legally binding document which contains everything from the price you are prepared to pay, to the inclusions you want (washer/dryer, TV, Fridge etc.) to your ideal closing date (the date you take possession), to conditions that need to be met for the deal to go through. Once you’ve submitted your offer, the seller can accept it, reject it or sign back a counter offer. During these back-and-forth negotiations, you may need to compromise on small things, but a good real estate agent will work hard to get you what you want. And if you’re in a bidding war, make sure you know the facts about Bidding Wars and How to Win in Multiple Offers.
Meet Conditions and Provide Deposit
Conditions are requirements within the Agreement of Purchase and Sale that must be met for the deal to go through. In your offer, you may have included a financing condition or a condition that allows your lawyer to review the legal details of the property, or a home inspection. Once the conditions have been met, the agreement is firm, and now it’s just a matter of waiting for your closing date. And of course, packing!
Once you have a firm deal (both you and the Seller have agreed on price and agreement terms, you’ve submitted a deposit, and there are no more conditions to waive), the closing process starts. This will require you to be in close contact with your lender and your lawyer – they’ll need lots of information, and of course, money, from you.
The few days before you take possession are the most critical – you’ll need to sign a lot of paperwork, provide a certified cheque for the balance owing and of course, pick up your keys.
Closing is the point at which the ownership and possession of the property are transferred from the Seller to you. It takes place after all legal and financial obligations have been met. Closing the purchase will be a team effort: in addition to yourself, your lawyer and your lender will all be involved in helping close the deal.