Step-by-Step Process to Buying a Home
1. Find Out How Much You Can Borrow
Meet with your bank or a Mortgage Broker and get a pre-approval. Your mortgage agent will be able to tell you about your credit, how to improve it if necessary, as well as give you a price range that you should stay within when shopping for a new home.
It is important that you take the time to do this before you get too serious about house hunting. There's nothing worse than falling in love with a house and finding out that it's way out of your price range.
2. Define Your House Criteria
Make a list of everything you want in your new house. From there, determine what things are essential, and what things you could live without if necessary. Location is usually a high-priority item, as well as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, whether it has a finished basement or garage, or what amenities are close by.
Do your homework and try and find properties that are for sale with everything on your list. What are they listed for? Is there anything in your price range that you like? The more homework you’ve done the better prepared (and less surprised!) you’ll be once you start going to view properties.
3. Call a Kingstonhomes4u Agent and Begin Your Search
For obvious reasons we recommend working with a professional Real Estate Agent who is familiar with the city and surrounding area, and has experience with the recent market trends. We will will help you narrow down your search, book showings for you and point out things about the neighbourhood and property you might not have known, and most importantly – help you navigate the paperwork and legalities of putting in an offer.
4. Make an Offer & Satisfy Conditions
Once you’ve found your dream home we will put together an offer. You will determine the price you’re offering the sellers, as well as include any conditions to the sale – such as you being able to complete a home inspection, and get final approval on your financing/mortgage.
You will have a certain amount of time to complete your conditions, and, if the offer was accepted, only once you have these completed to your satisfaction a ‘Notice of Fulfillment’ is completed and the offer considered ‘firm’.
5. Offer Accepted!
Your offer was accepted, you completed a home inspection and everything looks good, and the house is officially yours! At this point you need to have a lawyer who is able to sell you Title Insurance. Your real estate agent can always recommend someone, and they will send all your paperwork to your lawyer for review. You will schedule a time to meet with your lawyer in person to bring your down-payment cheque, Title Insurance cost, lawyer fee, as well as to complete all loan paperwork for your mortgage.
A lawyer can charge anywhere from $500-$1500 for their services. Title insurance is around $350.00. Once everything is completed you will pick up your new house keys from your lawyer’s office on the closing date.
6. Scheduling Your Move
As soon as you have a date set you’ll want to either call and book a moving company or rent a truck. Certain times of year are busier than others, especially in the spring and summer, so this guarantees you won’t be scrambling at the last minute.
Make sure to keep important paperwork and documents in a safe place, and that all your boxes are carefully labeled by room to make the process easier for everyone!
You might also want to start thinking about selling any furniture you’re not keeping, booking time off work during your move-in day, as well as begin organizing and packing.
Begin calling your utility companies, and changing your address with places you receive mail from.
7. Post-Closing Cost
a) Changing the Locks – The previous owner may have given extra keys to neighbours, friends or family. This is optional but highly recommended.
b) Cleaning – You might want to steam clean any carpets, or call a company to clean the duct-work if necessary.
c) Decorating/Renovations – You’ve probably already given this a lot of thought. Make sure to budget for unforeseen issues when renovating, especially in an older home.
d) Appliances – If they weren’t included in the sale of the house than you’ll need to budget for getting new appliances. Try and purchases these as soon as possible to coordinate their delivery for your move-in date.
e) Tools & Equipment – If you previously lived in an apartment than you’re going to have to purchase new tools and equipment such as a lawnmower, snow shovels, basic tools, and possibly a ladder. Now that you don’t have a landlord you’re responsible for all the maintenance and upkeep!
Good luck, and don’t hesitate to contact kingstonhomes4u with any questions.
- Dan DaCosta