Buying A Home in Niagara
Buying a house can be exciting, thrilling, scary and confusing – often all at the same time. Here are a few tips to help you on your quest to becoming a property owner.
- Get Ready. Examine your lifestyle and your family. Are you settled in your job or are there changes on the horizon? A home is more than a place to live – it’s a commitment. Can you make repairs or do you have the resources to make repairs if and when the need arises? A house is also a financial commitment. You should be fairly adept at debt management and have a fairly good idea of what you make and where it goes.
- Figure out how much you can afford. There are many good income and mortgage calculators available online to help you figure out what kind of residence you should be looking for. This is often the point at which some people choose to seek pre-approved financing and if you go that route, your banking representative or mortgage broker will be able to assist you with this step.
- Decide where you want to live and what kind of residence you’re looking for. You may want to stay in the city, or move to the suburbs or to the country. Do you want a little bungalow? A grander estate? Something in between? You can also explore the condo option. With condominiums, you totally own your unit and a share of the building common areas (things like the elevators and electrical systems, but also the fun things like the pool or the health club!) You will pay monthly condo fees and these will be in addition to your mortgage, but these fees will cover things like routine repairs to the common areas, lawn cutting and snow removal. It might be worth it to never have to get up an hour early to shovel out the driveway ever again! Your condo association will have a listing of what exactly your condo fees cover.
- Find a REALTOR® to work with you on your hunt. As a bonus, if you’ve had trouble completing the previous three steps, they can offer valuable assistance in helping you decide what kind of house you want and whether your financial realities match up with your dreams.
- Now comes the fun part – seeing what’s out there! And there are a host of resources to draw from for possible homes. You can read newspaper ads, neighbourhood leaflets or watch local cable casts of homes for sale in your area. Open houses will also be advertised this way and you can go see the houses yourself, usually on a Saturday or Sunday. You can surf the net and check out the Multiple Listing Services online. Your agent can also take your around to view houses she feels meet your needs.
- Lawyer up. You will need a lawyer to help you with the legalities of buying a home and your REALTOR® can likely recommend a few good lawyers who are experienced in real estate transactions
- Make an offer they (hopefully) won’t refuse. Once you’ve found a house, your real estate agent will draw up a proposal, which they will take to the selling agent. In your agreement you will detail a sales price, your proposed move in date, and any chattels (such as appliances, etc.) to be excluded from the contract as well as any fixtures to be included. The sellers can either accept the offer, reject it outright or do what’s called ‘signing it back’, where they cross out some detail they don’t like and propose a counter offer. The balls back in your court. What will you do?
- Arrange your mortgage – you may have done this already, but if not, now is the time to pick up the phone and call your bank, trust company or a mortgage broker!
- Find a home inspector. This is not a mandatory step, but it’s nice to have an assessment done by a professional of any current or potential issues with the property.
- Close the deal. Now is the time to arrange your homeowner’s insurance (you won’t be able to get a mortgage without it!) There will also be final meetings with the lawyer to sign papers and transfer funds. You will also probably get the keys during the final signing. Now is also the time to book a moving company, arrange utilities and so on, as well as change your address with the post office.
- Make your move! Moving day is full of excitement and the potential for catastrophe. We have a few tips to help make moving day a lot smoother.
Market cycles can effect the buying process, click here to read more…