Information for First Time Home and Condo Buyers
Steps to Owning Your Own Home or Condo
* Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval! You need to know what you can afford. You have to be realistic before you jump headlong into it. We suggest making an appointment with your bank’s mortgage representative and having a serious talk. Don’t be afraid to shop around. Check all banks and compare rates. Don’t be afraid to haggle – most banks will knock off 1% from the posted rates. Ask for that. You deserve it. This is the biggest purchase of your life. Also find out how long the rate will be “locked in” for. Usually 60-90 days. If the rate does go down in that time period normally your bank will give you the lowest rate in those 60-90 days, make certain that this is the case.
* Make your Home Wish List. Do you want a townhouse, semi-detached or a detached home? What about a condo apartment? How many bedrooms do you need? What about a backyard? Is it something you want – will you be able to maintain it? Location – do you need to be near a school for your kids?
* Consult with a Realtor to find a home to suit your needs and price range. Be honest and explain your situation. We’re here to help you. And realize that is not always going to be easy. If you are pre-approved for a mortgage at $200,000 and you have a downpayment saved up of $10,000 then you can look at homes priced up to $210,000. If your chosen location is Central Toronto, it will be near impossible to find a 4 bedroom detached home for that price. You have to consider what is affordable. How much home can you afford in your chosen location? The farther you go out of the city the less expensive everything is. If you go to Ajax for example you could find a detached four bedroom in that price range. In Toronto, you are looking at $280,000+++.
* Search for your New Home. Be patient – it may take awhile to find the perfect home or conversely, it may be the first home you step foot in! A word of warning, in the current market homes are being sold at an alarming rate. If there is something you decide you like, it is better to jump on it then to wait too long and have it sold out from under you.
* Make an Offer on the Home you Choose. Your Realtor will take care of all the negotiations and will advise you on every aspect of the process. Standard conditions in the offer are: Buyer arranging financing and inspection of the home by a qualified home inspection professional. These conditions are included to protect you – the Buyer. The financing is approved by your bank and the inspection is done by a home inspector of your choice. Your Realtor will have names of inspection companies to choose from or check the yellow pages and compare rates. The standard is for the inspector to supply you with a report at the end of the inspection and alert you to any concerns he or she may have. Having a termite inspection in any of the older homes in Toronto is a good idea.
* Once the offer is accepted and the conditions are fulfilled then the deal (contract) is firm and binding. You just need the Seller to move out! You will need to prepare for moving expenses and utility set-ups (water, hydro, gas, etc.)
* Closing Day! This is the day that your Lawyer and the Seller’s Lawyer exchange documentation and funds and YOU GET THE TITLE AND KEYS TO YOUR NEW HOME!! It may well be a stressful day for you – actually, we know from experience (We’ve done this twice now) that yes, it is stressful. The relief of finally having your new house keys in your hand will be such a pleasure.
* Moving Day! Careful planning ensures a smooth and painless move. Whether you are hiring a moving company or you are doing the work yourself, make certain to assess the costs and be ready. Renting a truck and doing it yourself may be cheaper at times, but to save the strain on your back you may just let the pros do it. The costs can vary wildly.
For our first home we, with a few friends and family members, moved us in. We were going from an apartment to a house and it was easy. The initial cost of the truck was not too expensive, it was the additional mileage cost that was tacked on at the end that was not so pleasant. Not to mention the pain in our backs and knees the next day from all the lifting and stair climbing! And we weren’t out of shape, it was just crummy, hard work.
But here’s the truth, for moving into our current home we broke down and hired a moving company – not a big name but still a bonded, insured company and the guys were great. They brought the truck, emptied out our storage locker and got everything into our new home quickly and efficiently. Yay! No sore back and knees for us! We personally are in relatively good shape and not lazy by any stretch of the imagination, but we are also not into busting our backs again. So, ultimately, the choice is yours. Yes, it’s cheaper to do it yourselves just make certain you are ready for the work, that’s all we’re saying.
Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions or are ready to embark on your homebuying and selling journey!
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