Step by Step Guide to Buying
Step By Step Guide to Buying
Step 1 – Educate Yourself
Given that buying a home is one of the most significant purchases you may ever make, before proceeding any further, we strongly recommend that you educate yourself about the real estate industry processes relating to property purchase.
There are plenty of resources available such as:
- The internet – there is so much information readily available online. For example, the following websites are an excellent source of Canada/British Columbia real estate information – www.realtor.ca, www.crea.ca and www.vreb.org.
- Book shops and libraries – Your local book shop or library will stock some of the thousands of books about real estate. Just make sure you pick something relevant to your country and area. The laws and processes can vary a lot between different places.places.
Step 2 – Initial Consultation
Once you’ve chosen your agent, organize a face to face meeting with them.
This step is so important because the real estate market is always changing and your real estate agent will be able help you understand the current market and how this could impact your situation.
And for your real estate agent, understanding your goals and requirements will help you develop an action plan together.
Step 3 – Sources of Financing
Before getting too committed to looking for a property, have a comprehensive idea of how you will finance the purchase. There are three primary sources of financing:
- Mortgage Brokers – They can use many of the major banks and also other lenders. They generally have the most choices, and they are your best source for finding the best option for your situation.
- Traditional Banks – This can be a great option if you already have a good rapport with your bank. You can often get a good deal on a mortgage from if you have a good relationship with your bank.
Step 4 – Begin the Search
This is when the excitement of the process begins. You’ve already dreamed of the kind of home you, want and you know what price you can afford.
Typically, your realtor will conduct a property search and create an auto-email that will update you when a property matching your criteria (for example, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, location, 2 car garage, etc) has entered the market. Once you have shortlisted some potential properties, it’s time to see them in person.
NOTE: during the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘Open Houses’ are advised to provide masks, hand sanitizer and distancing measures.
To make this step in the process easier and less stressful, it’s a good idea to keep in mind your original goal that was set during the initial consultation. Then, during your viewings, you can easily erase a property from your mind if it doesn’t fit your goal; however, if it does fit with your goals, then it’s easy to shortlist the property or even make an offer. Identifying a great property that matches your goals will save you unnecessary time viewing many properties and becoming disheartened.
Step 5 – Make an Offer
Once you’ve found a property you want to purchase, the next step is to make an offer. Take these things into account before making an offer:
- Property Research – This is the step where the selling history of the property and the relative market price is investigated. This is done by assessing the properties which have recently sold, and by looking at current properties for sale. This is where you become armed with the information you need to determine your offer price.
- Terms – These are the items in the contract that are mutually agreed upon and need to be fulfilled. If not, there could be a breach of contract. There is a standard set of terms that will be reviewed when making an offer, and there are terms that can be added or negotiated if required.
- Conditions – Unlike terms which can be negotiable, conditions are clauses in the contract that have to be satisfied for the transaction to proceed forward. Some of the usual conditions are for a home inspection to take place, or for the buyer to be accepted for financing. Conditions are usually for the buyer; however, you may have a seller’s condition as well.
- The buyer or seller is then granted around 7-10 days to fulfill the conditions. A property status of pending (P) or conditionally sold (C/S) is dependent on this. If there is an occurrence where the buyer or seller isn’t satisfied with the results in the fulfillment of the conditions, the offer may be considered dead.
- Deposit – You will need a cheque and some money available for a deposit in order to make an offer. This is to show good faith in the offer. It is usually due 2-4 business days after all conditions are met. The deposit is usually held In Trust with the buyer’s brokerage.
- Purchase price – Is determined by the market area and comparable properties that have recently sold. Price and Conditions are negotiating points in a real estate transaction. Other negotiable items can be Chattels & Fixtures, and sometimes odd requests like pets. This depends on whether it’s a Buyer or Seller’s market.
- Offer Presentation, Counter Offers and Acceptance – Once the offer is presented there often is a counteroffer which could affect the price and/or conditions. If both parties agree, changes are initialled (signatures are applied in original offers).
Step 6 – Satisfy the Conditions
If your offer is accepted, now is the time to satisfy your conditions. This often involves organizing and conducting a property inspection, sending all your property and personal information to your bank or mortgage broker, or researching to gather any further information required.
As real estate experts, we are here to guide you, to make sure the process is stress free.
Once all the required information is checked, an informed decision can be made whether or not to proceed with the purchase. The appropriate notice is sent to the seller and their agent. The conditions are removed from the contract and the sale is considered ‘Pending’. It is considered ‘Sold’ at the Completion/Adjustment date when the lawyer transfers title.
Step 7 – Preparing for Possession
Possession usually takes around 30-60 days; however, they can sometimes be much faster. Getting together the following information as quickly as possible will alleviate a lot of stress.
- Down Payment – You will need to transfer money, stocks, bonds, or move money another way, so now is the time to make arrangements to do this. Some assets can take up to 30 days to liquidate, meaning it’s important to be prepared.
- Lawyer – If you haven’t appointed a lawyer at this point, this is the time to enlist one, so we know who is dealing with the transaction. Your lawyer will need to be in receipt of all relevant information before you meet. Your agent will usually handle this. You will meet with the lawyer about one week prior to taking possession, and you will provide them with the balance of your down payment, fees payments, any taxes or adjustments, and your insurance information. You will then sign the required documents and finalize anything else needed prior to you owning the property.
- Removal Company – Movers can be booked very quickly, especially as possession dates often fall on the 1st, 15th and 30th of the month. It is best practice to book early and make arrangements quickly.
- Utilities – It is essential to change your utilities over to your new address in advance of taking possession of your new home. This means cable, internet, water, power, phone and gas services. Make sure you cancel the utilities at your previous address too.
- Insurance – When meeting your lawyer, you will need to provide a copy of your insurance as it is a requirement of your mortgage. Be prepared to answer questions about the house, such as age, electrics, roof and questions about the size and features.
- Mailing Address – The most cumbersome step of all, but it is very important all the same. It is best to handle this task by sitting down with all your paperwork and making a big list. This means all bills, statements, tax information, healthcare, subscriptions, clubs and gyms, etc. List them all out and start contacting them to begin giving out your new mailing address and the date you will be taking possession. It’s also good practice to set up a mail forwarding with the post office, just in case something has been missed.
Step 8 – Possession Day
We will meet at the property at least 30 minutes before key exchanges on possession day so that we can do a complete walkthrough of the home together. We look around each room in the property and make sure that everything agrees with the contract. Typical things we look for are damage from moving, appliances that don’t work, etc. By having the property walkthrough before midday, we have time to contact the lawyer if any problems have arisen before the keys officially exchange hands. If problems are noted, keys will still be exchanged. However, the seller is responsible for rectifying the problem or be in breach of the contract, and the buyer can seek legal action accordingly.
Step 9 – Follow Up Call
After you have taken possession of your new home, the transaction is final. However, you may still have questions such as ‘Who do I contact about that?’ or ‘What do I do about this?’. We will call you a few days after you’ve moved in, to make sure everything is in order. Be sure to keep a list of your questions handy so that you are prepared for this follow-up call.