We know that finding the perfect home takes time. It takes lots of work and careful planning. Below are a few tips to help streamline the process.

1. What kind of home am I looking for? Consider the following:

  • Location, location, location! - Where you live has an impact on your lifestyle and it’s also one of the most significant factors on the value of your home. Choice of location is sometimes limited by the price you can afford.

  • Your bottom line - Consider how much you have to spend, and just as importantly, consider how much you want to spend. Remember that buying a home includes other expenses above and beyond the list price.
  • Must haves - Consider your must haves in your ideal home. Make a list, then prioritize that list to help narrow your search.
  • Type of Home - What type of property you would like to live in that best suits your budget and desired lifestyle.

2. Let the Search Begin!

A real estate agent can help by using a variety of tools to identify properties that meet your requirements. One such tool is the local Board’s MLS® (Multiple Listing Service®) System. MLS can be searched for listings that best match your home’s Must Haves. Excellent real estate agents have additional tricks up their sleeves to find perfect homes as well – just by thinking outside the box!

3. Checking out the Goods

Keep your must haves top of mind to assess how well that property checks the boxes on your Must Haves list. Does the location work for your lifestyle? Is it close to transit? Also keep some of the technical considerations in mind, such as: wiring, power outlets, heating, foundation and roof maintenance, windows, plumbing etc. Home inspections can provide an assessment of the technical aspects of a property and it is a good idea to have a professional inspection performed.

4. Making an offer

When you find a property that you would like to buy, your agent can put together an offer containing the price you are willing to pay, expiration of the offer, a closing date for the purchase of the home and conditions for the purchase. In today’s competitive market, most offers don’t contain conditions however, in certain circumstances, commonly included conditions are:

  • Financing, which states you will be able to get a mortgage.
  • Survey provided by the seller that shows there are no encroachments on the property;
  • Title of the property being owned by the seller (your lawyer will confirm via a title search).
  • Home inspection by a qualified home inspector; and
  • Inclusion and exclusion of any appliances and other items - basically, what stays and what goes.
  • A deposit cheque in the form of a bank draft or certified cheque is given along with an offer. A deposit of appropriate value will show your good faith and financial strength to the seller.

5. Accepting an Offer

Once an offer is accepted and all conditions are met, then the offer becomes binding on both sides. If either party then does not honour the agreement, they can be sued or the deposit lost; therefore before signing, we’ll take the time to make sure be sure that you fully understand all the terms of the offer.

Before the property can formally be handed over from the seller to the buyer, a few more things must be done. You will have to show proof of insurance to the institution that provided your mortgage. On or before closing day, the lawyers from both sides will arrange to transfer the property title from the seller to the buyer. The mortgage will be transferred to your lawyer's trust account, and then to the seller. Your lawyer will bill you all additional expenses such as land transfer taxes or outstanding legal fees. Also be sure to check with your lawyer that everything is as stated in the offer-to-purchase.

Once this is complete and the keys are in your hands, then the home is yours and you can crack open the champagne!

6. Additional costs

Don’t forget purchasing a home may be associated with some extra expenses, such as:

  • Legal fees
  • Appraisal fee
  • Home inspection fee
  • Survey costs (if the seller didn’t have a current survey)
  • A high-ratio mortgage insurance premium
  • An interest adjustment for the mortgage
  • Reimbursement to seller for the unused portion of any prepaid property taxes or utility bills – the lawyers deal with this as part of closing adjustments
  • Land transfer tax for provincial and municipal – in Toronto we pay both