An Ontario Home Buyer's Guide
Buying a home is one of the most important financial commitments you will make in your life. Most people are excited when buying their first home because they are taking the first step towards long term financial security. If you are overwhelmed by the idea of buying your first home, this guide will make it easier for you.
What are the steps to buying your first home in Ontario?
Determine Your Needs
Make a list of all the things you would want in your home. Are you looking for a condo or a semi? Are you looking for a house with a small lot and spacious rooms? What type of neighborhood do you desire? Are you looking to buy a new house or resale? Bear in mind that a new house is more expensive than a resale.
Check Your Credit Report
Before applying for a mortgage or any kind of loan, check your credit score. Your credit score affects your ability to obtain mortgage financing. The numbers run from 300 to 900, the higher your score, the easier it is to obtain a loan. If your credit score is below 650, you may have trouble receiving new credit. Some mortgage lenders will require a minimum score of 680 to get the best interest rate.
Save for a Down Payment
When you make a larger down payment, the lender will be willing to finance your purchase. By making a down payment of 20% or more you will avoid Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation mortgage insurance and this could save you thousands of dollars in interest and fees.
Find a Real Estate Agent
Find a real estate agent who is familiar with the neighborhood. A certified real estate agent uses their resources and network to help you find the ideal home.
Get Financing and Preapproval
Once you have checked your credit score and determined the type of property you want, you need to establish how much money you need. A mortgage specialist at your financial institution will assess your financial situation and work with you to come up with a preapproval document. It outlines how much they will lend you for the purchase.
A preapproval helps you know what you can afford so you will not waste time looking at houses beyond your budget. Exercise patience when looking for the ideal home; you may have to view many houses before finding the one that’s right for you.
Hire a Real Estate Lawyer
Hire a lawyer who specializes in real estate. Lawyers are good at negotiating and it does not hurt to have a lawyer review your purchase agreement; he or she could negotiate a better deal for you. A real estate lawyer will conduct a title search and check for liens or debts borrowed against the home. You certainly do not want to end up paying other people’s debt.
Make an Offer
After you have found the ideal home, make an offer. Most sellers quote higher prices but you can make a counter offer. Make sure it’s around 5% less than the asking price; your agent will negotiate on your behalf. Once you agree on the price, make a good deposit.
Get a Home Inspection
An inspection reveals major problems in the house, you can use those faults as leverage to get the seller to reduce the price or withdraw the offer.
Close the Deal
Make sure you pay all the closing costs, which may include but are not limited to; inspection fees, attorney’s fees, appraisal fees or title fees. After closing the deal, you can now move into your first home!