Buying your first home is a very exciting process and one that you'll need assistance with every step of the way. Both Stephanie & Steve are very well equipped to assist you will all of the required steps of the process and are ready to answer all of your questions. We've even put together a first time buyer's manual, which we will gladly mail out to you with no obligation. Simply contact us with your mailing information and you'll have one on it's way to you shortly!
First Time Home Buyer Steps
Here are the steps to buying your first home simplified, each home purchase is different, and every question is valid, so please don't hesitate to contact us if you need some additional questions answered or clarified.
Step 1: Mortgage Pre Approval
While looking at homes is the most exciting step of the process, getting a mortgage pre approval is one of the most important. Without a pre approval you won’t be sure what price range of homes to look at. By looking at homes that are within your range, you will avoid heartbreak from looking at homes that you cannot afford.
Step 2: Make a Wish List
Take a few moments to sit down and list all the features you want in a home. Once this is done, make sure to categorize the items into need to have, nice to have and willing to compromise on. Most often for first time buyers, some items will need to be compromised simply due to affordability.
Step 3: Find a Realtor
Make sure that you find a realtor you are comfortable with. Keep in mind that when looking for a new home, the buyer does not pay any realtor fees. The sellers of the home pay your realtor so you don’t have to. Remember you could be spending a lot of time with your realtor while looking for the perfect home, so make sure you are comfortable with them and able to voice your concerns and sometimes fears with the home buying process. Also make sure that you are confident that they will be able to walk you through all the steps of buying a home, often as a first time home buyer, you will have a lot of questions. Your realtor should never make you feel uncomfortable when asking a question, or that they are too busy or bothered by your concerns. Once you have found a realtor, they will ask you to sign a buyer’s agreement. This agreement outlines the role of your realtor and the time frame in which you will be working together. This contract is protection for the buyer and makes sure that you don’t fall into any of the house buying pitfalls This contract is a commitment to work with the realtor you have chosen, but it is also a commitment made with the realtor to you, which means that they are looking out for your best interests and no one else’s. They are now obligated to provide you with the best possible service, look for homes that are suitable for you, and to find those homes quickly to make sure that you don’t miss out on the home of your dreams. If at any point you are unhappy with the service that your realtor is providing, let them know, and if the problems still persist, this is a contract that can be cancelled if needed.
Step 4: Send your List to your Realtor
Once your realtor knows what your home criteria are, they will look for homes for you daily. Once a home that suits your criteria becomes available, they will email you the listing. By using a realtor instead of looking through realtor.ca yourself, you will receive the homes you are interested in quicker; realtors are able to preview the realtor.ca listing 24 to 48 hours before they are available to the public.
Step 5: Looking at Homes
Let the fun begin! You will never have more fun looking at homes than you will as a first time homebuyer. When looking with your realtor, they will book the appointments for you and you will be able to look at multiple homes at a time. All of the homes can start to blend together, so remember to take notes of what you do and don’t like. Your realtor will point out items about the home you may not have noticed, often these items are negative, since as a buyer, it’s easy to find all the great things about a home in the excitement, but often the small items that may be potential issues or annoyances are overlooked. Don’t blame your realtor for being negative during this process; they are simply protecting you from a potential future let down.
Step 6: You’ve Found the One!
Once you have looked at homes and have found the one, you are ready to place an offer. Your realtor will walk you through the offer and the meaning of this contract you are signing, this is one of the biggest purchases of your life and being prepared beforehand is helpful and can often save a lot of time during a time sensitive transaction. Each offer and it’s situation is unique, so your realtor will provide you with the steps and advice for each situation, including multiple offers, offers on power of sale properties or unique conditions in the offer or property that are specific to you.
Standard clauses that go into offers include:
Financing – while you have already received a pre approval from your lender, a final approval is required. They need to not only make sure that you are approved, but also the property that you are buying, they may also require a property appraisal, which is often done at your expense.
Inspection – a home inspection is highly recommended for all home purchases, new or old. This inspection not only gives you peace of mind that the home is great, but also allows you to become more familiar with the home, since this process can often take up to 3 hours.
Insurance- to fulfill this condition, a simple call needs to be made to an insurance agent. A simple verbal approval that the home can be insured is all you need to waive this clause, however, while this is a simple step, it often gets overlooked and it is an important call to make, without home insurance, your mortgage won’t be finalized.
Step 7: Complete the Waivers
All of the conditions that have been laid out in your offer need to be met within a specified period of time before you own your new home! Your realtor will provide you with a list of what needs to be done and when, then will walk you through the steps to completion. Once all conditions have been met, more paperwork will need to be signed, your first home purchase is complete!
Step 8: Choose a Lawyer
Once the offer is completed, the paperwork will be sent to your lawyer by your realtor. Your lawyer, like your realtor, works on your behalf to make sure that the home is ready for purchase, that there are no issues with the purchase and they complete all the final paperwork and work with your mortgage company to pay the sellers for their home and give you the keys on closing day!
Step 9: Time to Relax and Pack
Now that the offer is complete and all conditions have been met, you just need to wait until the final week before closing. So take this time to relax and pack, the week before the move may be a busy one! Please remember during this time period that you have a new mortgage upcoming and while you have been approved, small changes in your credit may affect this, so don’t make any major purchases on credit, cars, appliances or furniture. Feel free to make these purchases on credit once you have the house keys, but often a credit check is run again and those kinds of purchases on credit may jeopardize your approval.
Step 10: The Week Before the Move
Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork is what needs to be done in the final week. You’ll need to get a cheque from the bank for the down payment, you’ll need to sign the final mortgage papers, make sure that the insurance is in place and sign at the lawyers to get the keys! Also in this week, make sure that you have called to have all of the utilities set up for your new home and that your change of address has been set up too!
Step 11: You Have the Keys!
Once you get the keys from the lawyer, you are ready to move into your new home! A few things to remember the day of closing, test all the appliances in your new home to make sure they are working and check the home to make sure that everything you asked for in the agreement is there and that all the belongings from the previous owner are gone. Now you can move in and enjoy your first home! Congratulations!