Where to begin, you ask?
There are so many questions when it comes to buying your first home. So today, I'm going to share with you the various steps to help get you started. For simplicity's sake, I've broken it down into 3 simple steps:
2. Home Search
3. Home Owner
Let's dig in, shall we?
HIRING A REALTOR
A Buyer's Agent will represent you and your best interests as a buyer. When you attend open houses, or call the realtor of a listed property, that realtor is representing the seller and THEIR best interest. As a buyer, hiring a realtor has no cost to you, buyers agents are compensated by the seller when you purchase a home.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
Required as of January 2022 (Real Estate Services Act), your realtor will ask you to sign a service agreement. This service agreement outlines the real estate services your realtor has agreed to provide to you on behalf of their brokerage within a specified time frame. It also outlines how their brokerage will be compensated for the services provided. For any realtor in Manitoba to provide any real estate services, a service agreement must be signed.
NEEDS VS. WANTS
Understanding the difference between your needs and wants will allow you to prioritize essential features and amenities ensuring your new home aligns with your lifestyle. This will also help save time by filtering out homes that do not provide you with those critical elements that your new home must have. Consider the following:
- Location: Research & drive around different neighborhoods that may interest you. The more areas you are open to, the more homes you will be able to choose from.
- Size: How many bedrooms/bathrooms do you need? Home office? Garage?
- Type of home: Condominium, townhouse, detached home, attached home.
A pre-approval provides you with a clear understanding of your budget and demonstrates your seriousness as a buyer. Put simply, being pre-approved means a lender has confirmed that you qualify to borrow a certain amount of money for the purchase of a home. A pre-approval also locks in your interest rate for a set amount of time which can help during a time of interest rate increases.
WHAT DO I NEED?
To obtain a pre-approval you can visit your bank or contact a mortgage specialist (your Realtor will be able to provide you with a trusted referral if needed). You will need to provide essential financial documents such as income statements, tax returns, bank statements, credit history, asset/liability information, personal identification, etc.
It’s time to start viewing properties! Remember, every timeline is different, the perfect home could be the 1st or the 15th! If you find a property you have fallen in love with, it’s okay to ask for a second viewing. Buying a home is the largest transaction most people make, taking a second look is a good way to ensure it’s the one and be certain you have not missed anything with the excitement on the first viewing.
MAKE AN OFFER
You have found your dream home, now it’s time to make an offer! Properties can either have an offer date or offers anytime. An offer date means that all interested buyers submit their offers on a specified date, this can sometimes result in competitive bidding situations. Your realtor will guide you on the best strategy during bidding wars. On the other hand, properties with offers anytime permit you to make an offer immediately after viewing, or give you some time to consider. It is crucial to be mindful that other buyers may also be interested and making offers during this period.
THE OFFER TO PURCHASE
The offer to purchase includes:
- Your legal name, the seller(s) name, the address of the property
- Purchase price & deposit amount (a deposit is a sum of money that a buyer offers as a show of good faith and commitment when making an offer. The amount of the deposit will vary depending on the property but typically 2-3% of the purchase price is sufficient. You will need to have this amount readily available; after the offer is accepted this deposit will need to be dropped off at the listing agent’s brokerage within 24 hours. The deposit is held in trust by the brokerage while your conditions are being satisfied and will go towards your down payment.
- Inclusions (appliances, window coverings, etc.)
- Possession date
- Financing condition (this is included to provide you with the necessary time to arrange financing)
- Home Inspection: A home inspection is a thorough examination of the condition of a property. The purpose of an inspection is to assess the overall condition and identify any potential issues or defects with the property. A home inspection is around $500 (based on sqft) and is around 3-4 hours.
- *These are two of the most common conditions, other conditions can be put in an offer based on your situation.
- Time in which the offer will expire at
- Any other terms (ex: all mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and appliances to be in working order on possession)
In addition to the purchase price of your home, there are other fees associated with purchasing a home, these are called closing costs. These fees are typically around 2% of the purchase price and may include the following:
- appraisal fee
- home inspection
- land transfer tax
- legal fees & disbursements
- mortgage insurance
- home insurance
- title insurance
- moving expenses
- utility hook up, etc.
- Your lawyer should be reaching out to you 7-10 days prior to possession and will release the keys to you on possession
- You now get to walk into your new home! It is important to ensure all appliances and major home systems are functioning. In terms of cleanliness, while you should expect the property to be in a similar condition as when you bought it, there is nothing that requires a seller to clean the property to a certain standard.
- Once you have taken possession, if you find the property is not in the condition it should have been left (something has been removed that was listed as included in the offer, etc.) call your lawyer and discuss with them. Your realtor should be checking in on possession to ensure a smooth turn over.
Congratulations, you have now officially become a homeowner! Now what?
- For security reasons consider changing exterior locks and door/garage codes
- Update addresses:
- Healthcare: Doctor, dentist, vet
- Personal: Family, friends, employer, schools/universities/daycares
- Service Providers: Phone, cable, internet, hydro, financial institution, insurance companies, lawyers, subscriptions
- Government: Driver’s license, health card, vehicle registration, Canada post, CRA
- Keep a binder with all paperwork from the purchase of your home and any information about appliances, home systems, etc. If you have it all in one place, it will be easy to find when needed.
- Keep on top of home maintenance! Home maintenance is crucial to help preserve the value, safety, and functionality of your home.
- Relax & enjoy your new home!
Have you found this helpful? Or do you have further questions? Please reach out! I am happy to discuss your real estate goals and develop a plan that works for your situation. Thanks for reading this far!
Phone: (204) 871-3228