Purchasing a home can feel overwhelming. After all, it’s one of the biggest purchases you are going to make.
If you aren’t sure exactly where to start, don’t worry! You are not alone and you’re not expected to have all the answers – that’s where REALTOR’s® like myself come in. Below is a printable checklist to help.
Step 1: Financing
Figure out how much house you can afford.
- Determine your down payment (how much you can afford to put towards the purchase of the home)
- Get pre-approved: Speak to your bank or local mortgage broker to determine what they are prepared to lend you for your new home. They will calculate your income versus debt, perform a credit report and will require proof of employment. Your REALTOR® would be happy to provide you with recommendations of reputable mortgage brokers and specialists in the city.
Step 2: Choose a REALTOR®
Whether buying or selling a home, you can trust that your REALTOR® will ensure the transaction is completed competently and professionally. You don’t have to worry about the details – that is what REALTOR’s® are for. You can get advice from someone with an intimate knowledge of the local housing market. You can count on the help of a professional who has committed to serving with integrity and competence.
By using a REALTOR® you also have the peace of mind of knowing that your transaction will be insured should any issues arise (god forbid!). Homes are like people, they aren’t perfect, so you never know what could happen down the road. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry especially when it comes to a purchase or sale of this magnitude. So how to do you find the right REALTOR® for you?
I’ve created a short list you can work from:
- Is the REALTOR® working full-time? It’s important that your real estate representative is working in your best interest and is available to answer your questions at any time of day.
- Do they speak your language? In other words, do you understand one another?
- Are they easy to get a hold of? Do they return your calls, texts, and emails in a timely manner?
- Are they working in your best interest? A good REALTOR® won’t always tell you what you want to hear, they will tell you what you need to hear — this is why you’re hiring them.
- Are they reputable and well liked? In most cases REALTOR® ‘s work with other REALTOR® ‘s to close the transaction (listing agent and selling agent). If a REALTOR® is not well respected in the industry this could potentially hinder your chances of getting the home you want. REALTOR® ‘s are people just like everyone else and subconsciously they will work harder to close a deal with another REALTOR® they know they can trust.
Your REALTOR® will take the majority of the stress of purchasing real estate off your shoulders and ensure your transaction runs smoothly.
Step 3: Determine What You Want and Need in a Home
•Choose a location (downtown, urban, suburban, rural).
•Choose a type (single family, townhouse, condo, loft).
• Choose a price range.
• Choose a size.
• Choose an architectural style
Step 4: Research Your Target Neighbourhoods
Step 4: Research Your Target Neighbourhoods
- Look online for information on schools, crime rate, traffic, and zoning.
- Determine your work commute.
- Scout local amenities, such as parks, shops, and restaurants.
Step 5: Book Tours with Your REALTOR®
- Your REALTOR® may have you set up on an email system that generates listings that meet your criteria. Ask your REALTOR® to set up tours of homes that interest you and would make a possible fit.
Step 6: Research Each Home You Want to Buy
- Ask your REALTOR® for comps to estimate the property’s fair market value.
- Ask the seller’s reason for selling.
- Review all property disclosures.
Step 7: Make an Offer and Negotiate
- Determine the purchase price.
- Include contingencies, such as financial, inspection or purchase.
- Spell out any special requests and repairs you want to be included in the sale.
- Determine an earnest money amount.
- Define a move-in date.
- Once both parties agree to the terms, sign the Purchase and Sale Agreement.
Step 8: Choose a Real Estate Lawyer
A real estate lawyer is required in any real estate transaction.tacactionransfer of prop
Your lawyer’s job is to protect your rights by making sure that all the terms of your Agreement of Purchase and Sale are complied with and that you obtain clear title to the property. There are a number of lawyers that can close your home for you. With that said, in order to ensure the process runs smoothly I highly advise you to use a real estate lawyer.
A real estate lawyer can help you avoid potential issues with a home purchase or sale by outlining these at the outset to allow you to make a full and informed decision before going ahead with a transaction. In other words, your lawyer will show you the cards, explain them to you and be your advocate for your home purchase or sale by protecting your interests.
If you don’t know any real estate lawyers, ask your REALTOR®. Your REALTOR® can recommend three or more lawyers that they’ve worked with and trust.
Step 9: Finalize the Deal
- The house may need to be appraised or assessed.
- Home inspections are a very good idea. REALTOR® are not home builders or inspectors. Have a third party come in to evaluate the home in order to know exactly what it is you are purchasing. Be advised that no home is perfect. The inspector will find a honey-do list of minor contingencies for you to be aware of and mitigate as you go.
You are looking for major flaws like foundation problems, water damage, roof leaks, decks, etc.
- Just because you are pre-approved for a mortgage doesn’t necessarily mean that the lender will 100% provide you with the funding. This is why it is advised that you include a financing condition as part of your offer.
- Choose a home insurance company.
- Complete the loan process with the lender.
- Do a walk-through inspection prior to closing.
- Set aside cash for the closing costs and down payment.
Step 10: Close the Purchase.
- Review the settlement document at least 2 days before closing to see how funds will be collected and distributed.
- Your lawyer will provide you with the keys to your new home the day of closing. Know that your lawyer understands you want your keys at the earliest practical opportunity. They will call you to let you know as soon as they’re ready. In most cases be prepared to receive the keys in the later part of the day.
This is the day you’ve been waiting for! You finally take possession of your new home. I wish you the very best and all the happiness in the world as you embark on this next exciting chapter in your life.
If your experience with your REALTOR®, lawyer and mortgage broker was a good one don’t be shy to share your experience with others. The best compliment you could give is a referral.
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