First Time Buyers

Guide to Buying Your First Home

First-time buyers plan: 12 steps to buying smart

So you’re thinking about buying your first home. Your very own house. A place to call Home.

Buying a house requires a serious amount of money and time. The journey isn’t always easy. But when you get the keys to your new home — that, friend, can be one of the most rewarding feelings pretty much ever. 

You ready to live the dream? Here we go. 

Step 1: Figure out what type of home is right for you.

Sit down and make a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. Be realistic, but be clear about the features you can’t live without. How many bedrooms do you need? Bathrooms? Do you want a home office? A garage? How about a big backyard? Hardwood floors? Eat-in kitchen? Consider your lifestyle and your stage of life.

Step 2: Figure out how much you can afford.

Falling in love with a house you can’t afford can be heartbreaking.   Avoid disappointment by figuring out your budget before you start looking.

Step 3: Find a Great Agent

Your relationship with your real estate agent is the foundation of the home-buying process. (And your agent = your rock.) He or she is the first expert you’ll meet on your journey, and the one you’ll rely on most. That’s why it’s important to  have the Agent who's right for your specific needs. 

Step 4: Chose a Lender.

Once you’ve found your agent (AKA, your new best friend), ask him or her to recommend you some mortgage Lenders that meet your financial needs. This is another big step, as you’ll be working with your lender closely throughout the home-buying process.

Step 5: Start looking.

Go to open houses. Visit Check the classifieds. Drive around neighbourhoods you like looking for For Sale signs. Talk to me about your needs and lets start looking. 

Step 6: Build a team.

I will help you put together the right group of experts and find a lawyer, a home inspector and an insurance broker. I work closely with all of these professionals, and will be happy to recommend people you can depend on.

Step 7: Make an offer.

Once you find the perfect place – I will help you make an offer. An offer to purchase includes the purchase price you’re offering, chattels to be included in the purchase (like appliances or light fixtures), the amount of the deposit, the closing date and any other conditions.

I will then present your offer to the vendor, who will either accept it or make a counter offer (which asks for a higher price or different terms). You can accept or reject the counter offer and negotiate or keep looking.

Step 8: Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate.

Making an offer can feel like an emotional precipice, almost like asking someone out on a date. Do they like me? Am I good enough? Will they say yes? It’s stressful! Some home sellers simply accept the best offer they receive, but many sellers make a counteroffer. If that happens, it’s up to you to decide whether you want your agent to negotiate with the seller or walk away. This is an area where your agent can provide real value by using their expert negotiating skills to haggle on your behalf and nab you the best deal

Step 9: Get a mortgage.

Once you’re approved, you’ll need to decide what type of mortgage works best for your needs. Will you go with a fixed or variable interest rate? Will your mortgage be closed or open? What will your amortization period be? Will you make payments monthly, biweekly or weekly? Your mortgage broker or lender can help you find a mortgage that suits your needs – and saves you the most money in the long term.

Step 10: Get the place inspected

If your offer is accepted, then you’ll sign a contract. Most sales contracts include a home inspection contingency, which means you’ll hire a licensed or certified home inspector to inspect the home for needed repairs, and then ask the seller to have those repairs made. This mitigates your risk of buying a house that has major issues lurking beneath the surface, like mold or cracks in the foundation. 

Step 11: Close the deal.

The last stage of the home-buying process is settlement, or closing. This is when you sign the final ownership and insurance paperwork and make this whole thing official.

Step 12: Move in and enjoy!