FIRST TIME HOMEBUYERS
Step 1: HOW MUCH CAN YOU AFFORD?
An important step before looking for your dream home is to know, in advance, the amount of financing that you qualify for. Getting a mortgage pre-approval will set you on the right track and your financial representative can discuss your options with you and answer any questions that you may have.
By having a budget based on knowing all the costs involved in buying a home, you can set a realistic expectation for your dream home!
Step 2: DO YOUR RESEARCH.
Before committing to any neighbourhood or home, see what’s available. There may be places where you can find information about local areas for you and your family. Try looking through local real estate newspapers, or visiting www.sutton.com. Other ideas may be visiting open houses in areas where you want to live, and taking the time to walk and drive around your ideal community.
Also, when doing your research, consider the type of home that would best suit your needs, lifestyle and meet your budget – are you raising a family and prefer a townhouse in the outskirts of the city as opposed to a condo in the city centre? Or, is a suburban single-family detached home more appropriate? Would a resale duplex be more affordable than a brand new condo in your desired community?
Spend time considering your needs first, and then look into your wants – many times, this is directly related to how much you can spend.
Step 3: HIRE A SUTTON REALTOR®.
A Sutton REALTOR® can be considered a consultant with an expertise in real estate and the process of real estate transactions. Your Sutton REALTOR® can:
- Assist in determining your price range based on your needs and wants;
- Help you compare homes and answer questions about the communities you’re interested in;
- Offer feedback on the mortgage process, and how much you can afford;
- Give you access to information and features of the MLS® System not available to the general public;
- Research and preview homes, so no time is wasted on places that do not meet your criteria and budget;
- Make appointments and accompany you in viewing homes;
- Offer a list of contacts for related services you may need, ie: lawyer, mortgage broker, home inspector;
- Negotiate, on your behalf, during the buying process, to ensure your interests are being served;
- Put together a legally binding contract;
All Sutton REALTORS® are members of their local real estate board, their provincial association, and the Canadian Real Estate Association.
Step 4: Sell Your Current Home (If applicable).
If you are currently a homeowner, you’ll also have to consider selling your current home. The most common question is: Do I Sell First or Do I Buy First?
1. If you find a home that you want to purchase before being able to sell your existing property, you can make a “conditional” offer on the sale of your existing home to avoid paying for two properties.
2. If you sell your existing home before finding your next home, you can extend the “closing period” to allow for more time in finding your next home.
Most home buyers with the assistance of their REALTOR® are able to successfully coordinate their “closing date”.
Step 5: Make an Offer.
When you’ve found the perfect home, it’s time to make it yours!
Your Sutton REALTOR® will walk through the offer process with you and they will prepare the offer on your behalf. Once you’re comfortable with it and you’ve signed the offer, your Sutton REALTOR® will present it to the seller’s agent.
During this stage, if you’ve gotten a preapproval for your mortgage, you know how much you can afford; do not allow your emotions to take over – bidding wars can be very costly. Your Sutton agent will also be able to offer you reports on recent sales activity in the neighbourhood and similar homes in the area that have been on the market, so you can be informed and make an educated offer you’re comfortable with.
At this point, there are several alternatives:
1. Your offer is accepted by the seller, and you can arrange a move in date!
2. Your offer is rejected by the seller, which doesn’t happen often, but your Sutton REALTOR® will be able to investigate to see what happened.
3. Your offer is countered by the seller, who signs back with a higher price compared to your offer during the negotiation, and it’s your turn to sign back with your number.
Step 6: Close the Deal.
We’re almost there! When the seller accepts your offer, there are several things that need to be done before you can move in.
- The agreement will have conditions to be satisfied on your part; start this immediately.
- Once these conditions have been met, your Sutton REALTOR® can fill out the
documents indicating completion.
- Advise your lawyer of your accepted offer, and instruct them to start a search for title
to the property; allow some time for this.
- Ensure you have your homeowner’s insurance, which you can get before closing. To
certify that you’re covered, your insurance broker can provide you a ‘binder’ letter.
- Advise your lender to finalize your mortgage documents. It might be worthwhile to ask
your lawyer to review them before signing.
- Ensure to switch services such as telephone and cable to your name, while utilities
such as hydro and water will be transferred by your lawyer. Your lawyer will also inform
you of the certified cheques needed to finalize the deal.
- Ensure to give your landlord sufficient notice if you’re currently renting.
- Plan and detail your move so nothing gets forgotten.
- Advise friends and family of your change of address, fill out a card at the post office,
and contact the Ministry of Transport to change your driver’s license information.
- Meet with your lawyer a few days before closing to sign the closing documents.
Step 7: Move in!
The closing date is when you take possession of your property. Pack early and book a reputable, insured, moving company well in advance of moving day. Planning ahead can save you money and minimize any last minute challenges.
When you’re all moved in, take some time to settle in to your new home, as it is, before making any major improvements. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings and neighbourhood as well as adjust to your new expenses and costs. Finally, sit back and enjoy!