Buying a home can be a daunting experience for anyone no matter how many times you have done it. We all have a long list of concerns and it’s my job to be able to answer your questions and work with you to find the correct path to a successful purchase.
I usually start by asking you questions and listening to your answers and opinions so that I can start offering you possible solutions.
How to Begin
The first consideration is always “What is it you want?” This is a harder question to answer than many people think. First, try to answer a few basic questions:
1. What type of home would best suit your lifestyle?
• What area of the city do you enjoy the most?
• Where do you usually dine out?
• Where are the venues that you most frequently attend – theatres, museums, art galleries, shopping?
• Do you travel a lot and are you looking for a home with less “hands on” maintenance?
• Do these preferred areas offer a lot of housing choices such as single family homes, condos, town houses, co-ops.
2. What kind of home would you like to live in – condo, detached, etc?
3. What are the neighbourhoods that attract you the most?
4. How far is work from your new home and what will the commute be like?
Depending on your answers I will probably have a host of other questions that will get both of us thinking along the right paths. Eventually I’ll have a very clear idea of what you want and we can now proceed to the next step – what you can afford.
The real question here is what you can afford. Many of my clients have no idea how to begin answering this question and frequently are frightened into thinking that owning a home is beyond their capability. Nothing could be further from the truth. Almost everyone can afford a home – it’s simply a matter of getting a little help to sort out your budgetary plans.
Right now with low interest rates it is the perfect time to investigate ownership. In my 25 years in the business I have never seen mortgage rates this low so it’s an ideal opportunity for newcomers or resellers to think of making a change.
If you have a home to sell (upsizing or downsizing) now is the time to start planning on getting your existing property ready to sell. Please refer to my other articles on this website for ideas and tips on how to do this.
I recommend that in any event you give me a call so we can sit down for a short meeting and I’ll show you how to make the money issues work best for you. Our goal will be to help you to prequalify for a mortgage. This way you can know with certainty the maximum value of the home you can afford and where you can get the money to finance it.
Now you can start looking with confidence.
Rather than get into the nitty-gritty of mortgages here I should simply say that there is a trove of information and guidance I can help you with regarding the best kind of mortgage that fits your needs the best.
Almost certainly most buyers have lots of questions as mortgage products have changed in many ways since the last time you may have used a mortgage.
We can cover off:
- Bi-weekly and weekly payments
- Making extra payments – balloon payments
- Reducing the CMHC fees on your purchase
- Advantages of bigger down payments
- Short Term Rates vs. Long Term Rates
- Special & new types of mortgages
- Should I go to a bank or a mortgage broker?
- What is the maximum GDS (Gross Debt Service Ratio) I can afford?
Plus many other questions that I can help you with when we meet. Additionally you will require some other documents in order to apply for a mortgage which I will help with.
- Credit Application
- Income Verification
- Confirmation of Down Payment
- Credit Bureau Report
Now you’re ready to go but you’ll still have a million questions – Call me or drop me a line to discuss this in more detail. It’s a bit daunting at it never hurts to get some help to ease the pressure.
Making an Offer
This is the time when I as your agent help you through all hoops necessary to put an offer together. The first step is to make a decision about the Home Inspection.
You should always have a Home Inspection but the question is whether to make it a condition of the Offer or to simply go ahead and pay for it in advance hoping that your Offer will be successful. This is something I can help you with as it differs from situation to situation.
Now this is where I come in. I am your buffer between you and the seller. Once we have prepared the Offer together with all the terms and conditions you need and we have prepared a negotiating strategy then I present the Offer to the Seller and their agent without you present. I can say things to the seller without embarrassment because I have no emotional involvement – I am a professional working on your behalf. This is one of the major reasons to always use a realtor.
Our negotiating strategy will have been worked out in advance and we will probably have a chance to discuss our tactics as the negotiations progress. It’s exciting and nerve wracking and yet there’s nothing like when you finally win. I can’t tell you how much I love the joy, the shouting and laughter when I can help people achieve their dreams.
Oh yes there are taxes – this is Canada after all. The tax we all forget is called the Ontario Land Transfer Tax otherwise known as the LTT. Here is a simple way of calculating the amount that will be tacked on to your purchase by the government.
Mortgage Payment & Land Transfer Tax (LTT) Calculator
- Up to $55,000 X 0.5% of total property value
- From $55,000 to $250,000 X 1% of total property value
- From $250,000 to $400,000 X 1.5% of total property value
- From $400,000 up X 2% of total property value
Note: The City of Toronto levies an additional LTT on Toronto real estate in addition to the provincial rate.