Attention first time buyers, this post’s for you! Buying a home for the first time can be quite overwhelming, simply surround yourself with the right experts and you’ll breeze through the process. You may even have a bit of fun too!

Step 1: Find the right Realtor

Most people have a Realtor connection, either through family or friends. Although a referral or recommendation is the way to go, it’s always important to consider the neighbourhood or type of property and make sure your chosen pro has the right amount of experience to get the deal done. I’m sure your Aunt Bernice is a great Realtor out in the burbs but let’s keep her out of your first downtown pad, ok? Once you’ve zoned in on the right professional, do a quick Google Search on them. Are they tuned in to a certain neighbourhood? Are they active online? Don’t be afraid to ask for references, you’ll be glad you did!

Step 2: The Search

Most people know where they want to live but sometimes that dang budget get’s in the way of your preferred hot-spot. Take a peek at our fancy Neighbourhood Map and dive into a few hoods. Done your research? Good, now let’s go and find some places to see! I usually show a variety of properties on the first round just to gauge reaction and sometimes expose the Buyer to other options he/she hadn’t previously considered. Keep in mind that many homes look their best while on the market. Don’t get distracted by pretty furniture, fresh paint, and the lovely artwork. Stagers can work wonders to distract you from the “real”  home. Remember, when you move in all that pretty stuff will be gone. Instead, ask about the neighbours, go and knock on their door and introduce yourself. Google the property address, anything interesting pop up? A few years ago, a client Googled the address if a home they liked and discovered that the place had burnt down and killed 5 people! This wasn’t disclosed to us  and the Buyer had a major issue with this. If there were major renovations call the City of Toronto Building Permit Department. and check for the proper permits.

If it’s a condo you’re looking for you will always have the opportunity to review a Status Certificate before committing to buy. This document outlines the financial health of the condo and gives you a snapshot of its current situation, planned expenditures, rules, and By-Laws. A very important document that your lawyer will explain to you. Want to know if you can keep 8 cats, run a business, or modify the floor plan? The Status Certificate will tell you!

Step 3: The Offer

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the search and found the perfect property. Now it’s offer time! How much to offer and setting the terms is always a tough call if you haven’t gone through this before. Your Realtor will show you comparable sales, current availability, and paint a clear picture of potential selling price. Of course if you haven’t already done a home inspection or reviewed one that the Seller has provided you’ll need to insert a Home Inspection Condition. This condition gives the Buyer time (usually 5 business days) to conduct a home inspection and satisfy themselves of the current state of the home. Also important to insert a Financing Condition. This condition also gives The Buyer time (usually 5 business days) to secure a Commitment from their Mortgage Broker. If buying a Condo, an inspection isn’t always necessary but inserting a Status Certificate Condition is. This condition typically gives the Seller 10 business days to provide the document now giving the Buyer 2 further days to have the Lawyer review it. Many other conditions exist but these three are most commonly used.

When you make an offer there is something called an irrevocable date. This is an expiry date for the offer. Meaning if I submit an offer and set a time of “tonight at 6pm” that means after 6pm the offers expires and I can either make another one or move on to another property. The Seller will usually respond and the negotiation begins.

Step 4: Yay, my offer was accepted!!! Now what?

You’re now one step closer to owning your dream home but a few minor details need to be ironed out. Once your offer has been accepted you have 24hrs to provide a deposit cheque to the Listing Brokerage which is held in trust as applied to the purchase price on the closing date. The deposit is usually equivalent to 5% of the purchase price but I’ve gotten away with lower.

Now you need to notify your Mortgage Broker (or bank) and Real Estate Lawyer of the accepted offer and they will set the wheels in motion to process your financing.  If buying a condo, your lawyer will review the status certificate with you. Your Realtor will help you get all of this organized, it’s actually quite a smooth process. We’ve got great referrals for you by the way. Just ask.

Step 5: Closing day

The Closing day is the date you take possession of the home. By this time you’ve visited your lawyer, signed all the mortgage documents, arranged movers, and are likely getting your head around eating Kraft dinner and cereal for the foreseeable future.  An exciting time nonetheless. The “closing” usually happens after 3pm and your lawyer will hand over the keys once all the moolah is transferred. The Seller will usually leave the home in broom swept condition but you will enivetibly want to do some cleaning. This will be a learning process for you so be patient, keep an open mind, and ask lots of questions!

Once all the cleaning is done you’ll likely have a ton of garbage and recycling to take care of. Check the City of Toronto collection calendar for your local pick up times and dates. Also important to switch over your utilities: Contact Enbridge, Toronto Hydro, City of Toronto (water).

Any questions? Contact us and we’ll get back to you right away. Join our Spring Realty Insider club so you are kept in the loop. Spring Realty loves Facebook and Twitter so make sure you connect with us there too!