Buying a Home: Step by Step
Buying a home can seem like a daunting task in the beginning. There are so many options to consider, let alone finding that dream home. You may be wondering what the main things to consider when you’re going to buy a house, and how the process works? With so much information surrounding the housing market, we’ve created a short step-by-step process to help you with all your home buying needs!
The daunting and confusing aspect of buying a home always lands in the finance department. Mostly because finances on a large scale become a stressful process for people. However, when it comes to organizing your finances to buy a home, it doesn’t need to be complicated or scary. Just keep these tips in mind:
- Determine what you can afford; remember that typically you require 20% down on your purchase. It is recommended that people look at homes that cost no more than 3-5 times their annual household income.
- Talk to mortgage lenders and your bank to determine your pre-approval status on a mortgage and ensure your credit score is in order
- Get prequalified and preapproved for a mortgage!
- Find the right realtor
When it comes to finding the right realtor, remember that they are an essential partner when you’re buying a home. They can provide you with helpful information on homes and neighbourhoods that you may not know or may not be public information. Also, they are your communicator when it comes to making an offer on your dream home. Take your time and ensure you find a realtor that you’re comfortable with and has the knowledge and expertise that you need.
- The “House Hunt”
Now the fun will begin! It’s time to go “house hunting.” You’ll spend plenty of time going over listings, scheduling showings, visiting open houses and ensuring that the homes you are looking for are what your future home should be. An easy way to narrow things down is to ensure that you have a list of wants and needs, so you know exactly what you’re looking for. You can also have your realtor set up a search for you, so you get the newest listings directly in your inbox (via realtor.ca
) Don’t rush the process. You want to take as much time as you need to find the right home.
- Making an offer
When it comes time to make an offer, your realtor will become your biggest advocate
. Typically offers are contingent on financing, and home inspection. This contingency protects you by allowing you to inspect the home and either renegotiate or withdraw your offer without penalty should there be an issue discovered during the inspection.
There are a lot of terms that are included in making an offer and how the seller handles the offer. Should the offer be accepted based on conditions (inspection, selling of your home, etc.) and all goes well, the house will be “conditionally sold”
meaning it is sold pending the resolution of conditions. If a condition is that you must sell your home, then you cannot become the official homeowner until those conditions are met. While the offers are on the table, the seller may “counteroffer”
meaning they may disagree with some terms of your offer but want to negotiate based on their counterterms. This negotiation process occurs using realtors as your main advocates. You would discuss the counter offer with your realtor, and either choose to accept or additionally negotiate.
An accepted offer
is an offer that has been approved by the seller. If the offer is accepted and all the conditions have been met, then the house is sold firm
, meaning you are officially buying a home! There will be a final walkthrough, and closing dates will be set throughout the negotiation process for you to take possession.
- Get ready to move
It’s time to get ready to move into your new home! Plan ahead of time about your move. In this plan, you should include how and when you’re going to pack, whether you are renting a moving van, or hiring a moving company, what day you intend to move things into your home, and so on.
Another significant aspect of getting ready to move will be to call all the necessary utility companies involved with your home (i.e., hydro, water, propane, etc.) to get accounts made in your name and ensure that these services begin on the day you take possession of your new home!
Once you are all set with your plan, it’s time to get packing! Moving day approaches faster than you think!
- Closing day!
The day has finally come! It’s closing day on your new home. Closing day means that the keys to your home will be officially transferred into your possession and the house now belongs to you. Typically, you pick up your keys from your realtor in the late afternoon that day