From the very first step to the very last, buying a house proves to be a fairly demanding process. While exciting, there are many ducks to get in a row before saying, “I bought a house!” Whether you’re a first-time or a veteran buyer, the process of buying a house will remain virtually the same. We wrote this article to give you a peek at what you can expect as a home buyer!
Get a pre-approval
Your first order of business should be to get a pre-approval. Getting a letter of pre-approval means that a lender confirms your eligibility for a mortgage loan. The confirmation by the lender is based on the information you’ve provided. Getting this done gives you a better idea of what kind of house you’re able to afford. The pre-approval will specify your term, interest rate, and principal amount.
Head over to the internet
REALTOR.ca will be your trusty companion during this step. If you haven’t hired a real estate professional (hi!) yet, you can undoubtedly utilize the web to begin your search. If you have your letter of pre-approval, you should know what homes you can realistically look for. Use this time to dig deep into what you want in your home. Use the filter option and start to curate a list of homes you’ve got your eye on.
Begin to narrow your search
By this point, you should have a decent idea of what you’re looking for. And, hopefully, a list of homes you’re able to go and see in person. Schedule a time to view some of the houses on your list. We can almost guarantee you’ll know whether or not you like a home within the first few minutes. Seeing spaces in real life will help you narrow down your options, taking you closer to finding your new home.
Make an Offer
You’ve found the home your heart is set on, so it’s time to make an offer. Your REALTOR® will help guide you through the process and help you consider your offer’s different components.
- The amount you’re offering (aka the purchase price)
- The possession date (your move-in date!)
- The amount of your deposit. (Sometimes, having a bigger deposit can give you more leverage, so consider making a bigger one if you can.)
- The unattached goods you would like included in the purchase
- The conditions of your offer.
- Typically, your real estate professional will recommend a financing condition and a property inspection. If you are buying a property in a condominium, a condo document review is also highly recommended.
- The condition removal date.
- This is the date that your conditions need to be satisfied by. Make sure you give yourself enough time to make sure your financing gets final approval. We recommend ten business days!
- An offer expiry, if applicable.
Negotiation + Acceptance
By definition, buyer’s and seller’s needs are at odds. A seller wants to get the most for their property. A buyer wants to get that same property for as little as possible. However, they can find some common ground. The seller wants to sell it, and the buyer wants to buy it. But the trick is to hit that sweet spot where both sides can agree. For a buyer’s part, we recommend that you follow the advice and guidance of your REALTOR®. Keep in mind that when a seller is selling their home, a low-ball offer can be poorly received. This can result in the seller being resistant to working with you. If your offer isn’t met with an equally meaningful counter-offer, you can assume you went too low. But, no worries, try again! If the seller finds that you’ve set a fair offer, they should be more willing to negotiate. The sale of a home is driven by the market and how much a buyer is willing to pay. But another critical component is what a seller is willing to sell it for; if you can’t find that with a negotiation on a particular property, it’s okay to move on.
You’ve made the offer, negotiated, and it’s been accepted. So now it’s time to make your deposit! Generally, a deposit is paid via bank draft but can also be provided by a certified cheque or electronic transfer. This will depend on the policies of the brokerage collecting the deposit. The deposit is money that you put down after a successful agreement; it will form part of your down payment. Your deposit serves to provide security to the seller while also proving that you are committed to the agreement. It will also account for losses should you walk away from the deal and refuse to close. Your deposit is typically due within three business days on acceptance and is stipulated and agreed upon on the purchase contract.
Note! Depending on the deposit amount, your bank may require that funds are in your bank account for a specific time before making a draft. Check with your financial institution about their rules regarding making bank drafts for large amounts.
Satisfy the remainder of your conditions
Once you have a conditional sale, you should supply your contracts to your lender. There are many reasons why a final finance approval can be delayed. That’s why having your lender or broker get a jump start is so imperative!
Some buyers prefer to wait for financing to be well on its way to approval before booking the inspection. The cost for an inspection at a single-family home can be about $450. So, if you won’t achieve financing, it can be comforting knowing this before you find yourself out of pocket. On the other hand, it may be more advantageous to get your inspection out of the way early with older homes. That way, you have more time to consider and decide if you want to proceed with a purchase. If there is anything else remaining on your contract that needs to be completed, now is the time.
You’ve satisfied your conditions. You’re ready to complete your purchase. Congrats! Now is the time that your real estate professional will provide you with a waiver to sign. You will waive your conditions when you’re confident that you’ll be going ahead with the transaction. And guess what?! This is the moment when it’s official! The home is now sold to you!
Get your new home ready for you ahead of time
Once you’ve waived your conditions, you’ll want to start checking some other boxes. Surely you will wish your new home to be fully functioning when you get the keys. Thinking ahead so that you can set up the necessities before moving in will be helpful for you! It would be best to prepare yourself to set up services for your house to be warm and running. Ensure your home is ready for you by setting up your power, gas, heat, water, and WiFi.
Once your firm sale is achieved, your paperwork will be sent to your lawyer. So you will need one! Your real estate lawyer is the person who handles the land transfer. Their job is to prepare and review legal documents, the real property report, compliance certificate, or title insurance if applicable. They will help you understand any restrictions or caveats that are registered against the property. Your lawyer will also confirm closing costs and disbursements. They will ensure you sign documents that allow the legal transfer of the property’s title to you after your lawyer forwards the purchase funds to the seller.
Possession day + walk-through.
Finally! The day has come! You’ve already signed your papers at the lawyers and your bank. Today is the day that you get the keys to your new pad. Possession day allows you to verify the home looks relatively similar to what it looked when you submitted your offer. For example, any items that were supposed to be included should still be there. Also, the appliances should be in the same working condition. This is your opportunity to make sure that things in the home are as they should be.
So if you’ve got here, the chances are that you have finally secured your new home – congratulations! This is an inspiring time, and you’ve gone through a lot of work to get here. Soak it in and enjoy your new views!