Step 1: The Search
- At this point you’re ready to start looking. By now we have already discussed what you want and need in your home. I will do an ongoing search of the MLS database based on your criteria and send you all the listings available that suit your needs.
- When you see listings that interest you, all you have to do is let me know that you would like to schedule viewings and give me your windows of availability and I will do the scheduling. Whenever possible I will schedule these as back-to-back appointments in order to reduce the amount of time you need to take out of your schedule.
- Some buyers will find the right house the first time out, and some may look at many houses before finding one that suits them. You can rest assured that I will not rush you to make a decision, push you to buy something you’re not comfortable with, or push you to pay a price for a home that you feel is too high.
- Once the appointments are set we will visit the properties for viewings. During the viewings we will look around to see if you think the property would meet your needs, if you think you would be happy living there, to see if we spot any potential problems, any defects that would impact the price you would be willing to pay should you make an offer, etc. Keep in mind that you will still need to get a home inspection, because it is impossible to identify all issues during a short viewing.
Step 2: The Offer
Once you have found a home you want to purchase, the next step is to make an offer.
- First you need to decide the price you plan to offer. I will research similar homes in the area which have sold recently, as well as those which did not sell, and those currently for sale to help you determine the approximate fair market value of the home, which may or may not be close to the listing price. Based on this information, our negotiation strategy, and your own personal circumstances, you will decide how much you want to offer the seller.
- There are many other things to consider when writing an offer, other than price. We will need to request anything you wish to keep (i.e. appliances, window coverings, etc). We will also need to include clauses to protect your interests, such as the agreement being conditional on financing, home inspection, etc.
- When the offer is made, the seller can either accept it, reject it, or make a counter-offer. I will work with you to help you decide how you want to proceed from there.
Step 3: Financing and Home Inspection
- When your offer on a property has been accepted we will schedule a home inspection prior to the deadline specified in the agreement, and I will send the paperwork to your mortgage provider in order to obtain a finance letter. The finance letter provides assurance for the vendor that your purchase financing for the home will be approved. It is different than a pre-approval letter. A pre-approval simply states that the lender believes you to be credit-worthy and indicates the amount you can borrow. A finance letter is specific to the home in question, because while your credit may be approved, the bank may not approve financing for a particular home if it does not meet specific criteria or if they believe the purchase price exceeds the actual value of the home. It is also possible that the bank is willing to issue financing, but the mortgage insurer (such as CMHC) may refuse to provide coverage, which is required for down payments below 20%.
- It’s important to keep a few points in mind regarding the home inspection. The idea of the inspection is not to identify minor cosmetic defects, but to identify issues with the structure, electrical, plumbing, heating system, etc., issues that may impact your safety and well-being. If serious issues are found by the home inspector we will notify the vendors in writing. At this point the seller has the right to agree to repair the defects, in which case you are still required to complete the purchase. If the seller does not want to make the repairs it is common to negotiate a reduction in the purchase price in exchange for the purchaser handling the repairs after the sale is complete. If the seller does not agree to make the repairs or agree to an acceptable price reduction you may cancel the contract and have your purchase deposit returned to you.
Step 4: Prepare for Moving Day
- Once any issues arising from the home inspection have been settled, the next step is to start preparing for moving day. You will need to contact your insurance company and arrange for a policy on the new home, starting from the day of closing. You will also need to arrange to have your phone, cable, and internet services moved and to contact the electric company to have the service switched to your name on closing day.
- You will need to book movers if you will be using them, keeping in mind that closing dates can often be delayed by a day or two, sometimes even longer, for a number of reasons. Therefore, you should always have a back-up plan.
- You will also need to schedule an appointment with your lawyer for just prior to closing to sign the paperwork and to deliver a certified cheque or draft to the lawyer for the amount of your down payment, legal fees, and other closing costs.
Step 5: Closing Day
- On the day of closing we will go to the new house first thing in the morning and do a quick walk-through just to make sure everything is as it was when you made the offer to purchase. This means checking to see no damage has been done since the offer, all items that were to remain as a part of the purchase agreement are still there, and that the appliances are still functioning. After we’ve confirmed everything is in order you will call your lawyer to let them know they can release the funds to the seller.
- When the funds for the purchase have been delivered to the seller’s lawyer we will receive a call to say the transaction is closed. At that point I will deliver your keys to you and you can start moving in!
Step 6: Enjoy your new home!