You're probably familiar with this saying: purchasing a home could be the most significant investment you'll ever make. Does that idea make you anxious? Well, let me tell you, it can also turn out to be one of the most rewarding decisions you'll ever make.
Imagine the sense of pride you'll experience as a homeowner and the added advantage of tax deductions that come with owning a home. The benefits are numerous. If you're ready to embark on the journey of becoming a homeowner, let me introduce you to the my Home Buyer's Guide. This guide is designed to personally assist you in getting acquainted with the home-buying process. It provides you with essential information, such as a comprehensive list of terms, key considerations when choosing a home, and a helpful checklist to ensure you make the right decisions for yourself.
9 Steps to Buying a Home:
Know your budget.
Explore mortgage options and get pre-approved.
Choose a real estate agent that suits your needs.
Schedule home tours and identify the ones you like.
Make an offer.
Arrange for a home inspection.
Close the deal.
Transfer services and update utilities.
Finally, move into your new home!
By following these steps, you'll be well on your way to becoming a proud homeowner.
Getting pre-approved for a home loan can feel overwhelming at first. The first step is to find a mortgage lender whom you feel comfortable working with. Your lender will assess your financial situation to determine your borrowing capacity, affordability, and suitable loan options. The mortgage application process involves submitting a written application along with supporting documents. While it may seem slightly intimidating, being prepared and aware of what to expect when meeting with your mortgage lender can ease the process. Here are a few key points:
Credit Score Check: Your credit score will be assessed by lenders to gain insights into your credit history and habits. This information helps them evaluate your eligibility for a loan. Credit scores typically range from 300 to 900, and a higher score is favorable.
Employment History Verification: Lenders will request details about your past employers, the duration of your current employment, and your annual salary or take-home pay. They want to ensure you have a consistent income with no significant gaps and can make regular mortgage payments.
Assets and Debts Assessment: You should be prepared to provide your past tax records, recent bank statements, and current debt information, including credit card balances, car loans, or student loans. Lenders examine your debt-to-income ratio to determine if you have the capacity to manage the mortgage payments with your current income.
By understanding these aspects and being ready with the necessary documentation, you can navigate the mortgage approval process with confidence. Remember, Anastasia is there to support you throughout this journey and refer you to the right mortgage professional.
Start The Home Search
As a home buyer, you can expect to see an array of different home styles and designs. You’ve got the choice of single-family, condo, townhome, lakefront, acreage, luxury; you can also choose bungalow, multi-storey, or split-level. In addition, you can choose a pre-existing home or new construction. In other words – you’ve got options. But what’s most important is that you choose a home that complements your lifestyle and your income.
To narrow down your choices:
• Know your budget and stick to it.
• Determine a desired location.
• Consider how many bedrooms, bathrooms and sq ft you need.
• Decide which amenities are must-haves versus like-to-haves.
• Consider your needs for outdoor space, like a yard or balcony.
Once you’ve identified your must-haves, ask Anastasia to send you listings that meet your criteria via email, text message or social media. She will coordinate showings for properties you’d like to see in person.
When Searching Online Consider these 4 things:
When browsing houses online, there are four important factors to keep in mind. These considerations can help potential buyers gain a better understanding of a property by making the most of the available online tools. Additionally, Anastasia can provide valuable insights and information about the property that may not be covered in the MLS listing description. They serve as an excellent resource to rely on throughout your house hunting journey.
Analyze the Photos: Ensure you thoroughly examine all the photos provided and take note of the window placements and natural lighting in each space. Additionally, consider how your furniture would fit and visualize its arrangement within the rooms. If the photos show an empty home, mentally envision where your furniture would look best. If the property is staged, observe the placement of furniture pieces and imagine how you could modify the layout to suit your preferences and style.
Take Note of Potential Fixes/Renovations: When browsing through properties online, pay attention to aspects that may not align with your personal style or require upgrades. Identify what elements of the home appeal to you and which areas you would consider renovating or improving in the future. Remember that painting the walls is a relatively inexpensive change that can make a significant difference in the overall ambiance of a home.
Consider the Outdoor Space: Don't overlook the outdoor space when viewing a home virtually. Whether it's a small balcony or a spacious backyard, take into account the available outdoor area. Consider the type of furniture that would fit in the space and any maintenance requirements. Additionally, think about how different seasons may impact outdoor maintenance, such as tree trimming or snow clearing for a larger driveway.
Utilize 3D & Virtual Tours: Many realtors now offer 3D tours or virtual walkthroughs of their listings. Take advantage of these features to explore a property from the comfort of your own home. These tours allow you to navigate through the property virtually, providing a sense of the floor plan and layout without physically visiting the location.
By considering these factors and utilizing the available online resources, you can gain valuable insights and make informed decisions when browsing for a new home.
Storey-and-a-half: This architectural style features a steeply pitched roof and a clean, minimalist design. Dormers can be added to the roof to introduce windows or create usable space on the upper level.
Split Level: Also known as a split entry, this home style typically consists of two short sets of stairs leading up and down from the entry point. It may or may not have living space at the entry level.
Bungalow: Also referred to as a single-level, this style is characterized by a long and low design, with the majority or all of the living space situated on the ground level. Many single-level homes have a basement that can be finished to provide additional living space. In some cases, a lower level walk-out allows for direct access to the exterior.
Detached Two-Storey Home: A two-storey home encompasses two full levels of living space. The ground level often houses the main living area, while the second floor typically contains the primary suite and additional bedrooms. Some two-storey homes may also feature a basement level.
Condominium: A condominium refers to an individually owned unit within a larger property complex comprising multiple units. Condo owners pay a fee that covers shared monthly expenses for the maintenance of the building and its facilities.
Townhouse: A townhouse is an individually owned unit that is part of a row of attached houses. These units often have a condominium fee that covers shared monthly expenses for the upkeep of the exterior and any shared facilities.
Semi-Detached: A semi-detached home consists of two single-family dwellings that share a common wall and have mirror-image layouts. These homes usually have separate street addresses and can be owned by different homeowners. It is important to consider shared expenses, such as maintenance of house siding, windows, and the upkeep of common spaces like the yard, landscape, or a shared driveway, as these responsibilities fall on the homeowners.
Duplex: A duplex is a home that comprises two separate dwellings, either side by side or stacked on top of each other. These dwellings typically have identical layouts or mirror-image designs. A duplex typically has one street address with unit numbers, and it is owned by a single property owner.
When you're ready to make an offer on a home, there are a few important steps you need to take. While Anastasia handles the paperwork and negotiations, you have tasks to complete as well.
Determine the Status of Utilities: In a traditional home sale, check the status of the utilities required by the home. Ensure that outstanding invoices for water, gas, and electricity are paid in full by the sellers before closing. Transfer the services to your name for future billing. If it's a foreclosure or vacant home sale with the water turned off, contact the municipality to have it turned back on and inspect for any broken or damaged pipes.
Get a Home Inspection: Arrange a home inspection, which may cost a few hundred dollars. This inspection will identify any major issues or concerns with the property. The Purchase Agreement can be contingent on the inspection's outcome, giving you the option to withdraw your offer if necessary.
Purchase Insurance: If you have a mortgage, it is mandatory to obtain homeowners insurance. Make sure you purchase enough coverage to fully protect your home and belongings in case of a total loss.
Reliable Resources: As you agent Anastasia is a valuable resource throughout the home buying process. Feel free to ask for referrals if you need assistance with various services such as:
*Tax Break: As a first-time homeowner, preparing your taxes may be a bit challenging. There are new tax considerations, including deductibles such as mortgage insurance and property tax. If you're unsure about what you can claim, consider consulting a tax specialist or visiting canada.ca/revenue-agency for more information.
Remember, by familiarizing yourself with these home-buying basics, you'll be better equipped to make informed decisions and a wise investment.
Home Inspection: The home inspection is crucial as it helps identify any existing or potential underlying problems in a home, allowing you to make an informed decision and potentially negotiate a reduced selling price.
Closing: The closing process signifies the final step of the real estate transaction, where ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer. Understanding the closing process is essential for a smooth and successful purchase.
Deposit: Providing a deposit demonstrates your seriousness as a buyer and shows the seller that you are committed to the purchase. The deposit amount is typically held in trust until the deal closes and is applied towards the purchase price.
Amortization: Understanding the length of time allotted for loan repayment (mortgage) is important for financial planning and budgeting. Most maximum amortization periods in Canada are 25 years.
Comparative Market Analysis: A comparative market analysis helps determine the accurate value of a home by comparing it to similar properties in the area. This analysis is useful for assessing the fair market value of a property.
Contingencies: Contingencies are conditions that must be met for the home purchase to be finalized. Examples include mortgage loan approval or the appraised value aligning with the final sale price.
Condominium Ownership: Familiarity with condominium ownership is important if you are considering purchasing a condo. Understanding the responsibilities, fees, and shared elements of condo living is crucial.
Buyer's Market: Recognizing a buyer's market, where there are more homes available than buyers, can provide more choices and increased negotiating power.
Down Payment: The down payment is the initial amount paid upfront to secure a mortgage. In Canada, the minimum down payment is 5% of the home's total purchase price, and down payments below 20% require mortgage loan insurance.
Balanced Market: Knowing whether the real estate market is balanced, favoring buyers or sellers, can impact your negotiating power and the length of time homes typically stay on the market.
Closing Costs: Understanding the various costs associated with closing a purchase deal, such as legal and administrative fees, is important for budgeting and avoiding surprises during the transaction.
Bridge Financing: Bridge financing can be valuable in a seller's market when you need to purchase a new home before selling your existing one. It helps bridge the financial gap during the transition.
Equity: Equity represents the difference between a home's market value and the amount owed on the mortgage. It signifies the portion of the home that has been paid off and is owned by the homeowner.
Home Appraisal: A professional assessment of a home's market value based on various factors such as size, location, and age. Lenders require appraisals to confirm the property's value for mortgage purposes.
Home Buyers' Plan: A federal program enabling first-time homebuyers to withdraw up to $35,000 from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) without interest to assist in purchasing or building a qualifying home.
Fixed-Rate Mortgage: A mortgage with a guaranteed interest rate for a specified period, typically five years. After the term expires, the borrower has the option to stay with the same lender or switch to another.
Land Transfer Tax: This tax is payable by the buyer upon transferring land and varies based on factors such as region and land size. It is levied by the province and/or municipality where the transaction occurs.
Home Buyers' Amount: A non-refundable federal income tax credit providing up to $5,000 in tax relief for qualifying homebuyers. This credit assists with purchaser-related costs and can provide up to $750 in tax relief.
Seller's Market: A market condition where there are more buyers than available homes for sale. In a seller's market, homes sell quickly, prices tend to rise, and there may be multiple offers on a property.
High-Ratio Mortgage: A mortgage where the borrower has less than 20% of the home's purchase price as a down payment. High-ratio mortgages with down payments between 5% and 19% require mortgage loan insurance.
Dual Agency: Dual agency occurs when one agent represents both the buyer and the seller in a real estate transaction, eliminating the need for separate buyer's and listing agents.
Land Survey: A land survey identifies the property lines and boundaries, providing clarity on ownership and jurisdiction. While not always required, it is recommended and may be necessary for mortgage lenders or future property changes.
Freehold Ownership: Freehold ownership grants full ownership rights and responsibilities over the property, both inside and outside the home.
Porting: Porting involves transferring an existing mortgage, including the interest rate and terms, from one property to another when homeowners decide to move
Virtual Deals: Virtual deals refer to completing the home-buying process through digital means, utilizing technologies like virtual tours, video showings, video conferences, e-documents, e-signatures, and e-transfers instead of in-person interactions.
Mortgage Pre-approval: Obtaining a mortgage pre-approval helps buyers determine the amount they can borrow before starting the mortgage application process. It allows immediate offers on homes by providing knowledge of the approved amount and locks in the current interest rate, protecting against near-term rate increases.
Mortgage Loan Insurance: When the down payment is less than 20% of the home's purchase price, mortgage loan insurance becomes necessary. This insurance safeguards the lender in case of payment default and is calculated as a percentage of the down payment, with premiums changing at specific thresholds (5%, 10%, and 15%).
Offer: An offer is a legally binding agreement to purchase a home. It may include conditions such as financing and a home inspection. If these conditions are not met, the buyer has the option to cancel the offer.
Title Insurance: Title insurance is not mandatory in Canada but highly recommended to protect both the buyer and the mortgage lender against losses related to the property's title or ownership. It covers issues such as unknown title defects, existing liens, encroachment problems, title fraud, errors in surveys or public records, and title-related issues that could hinder selling, leasing, or obtaining a mortgage. Seeking advice from a lawyer is advised.
Variable Rate Mortgage: A variable rate mortgage is linked to the prime rate and can fluctuate. While the monthly payments remain the same, the portion allocated to principal and interest may change over time.