THE BUYING PROCESS
The Thompson Team Guide
For most of us, home is the centre of our family universe. We watch our children grow up, eat our meals, work, relax, celebrate and live, all within its walls. So whether you’re a first time buyer or a seasoned pro, whether you’re trading up or chasing a new job, buying a home is an exciting time… with a number of complexities and considerations. Here, we’ve assembled a guide to the basic home buying process.
When to Buy?
If you’re buying inTorontoand you have a choice as to when to buy a home, some seasons are better than others. The heavy heat of summer brings the best luck – and best prices - for homebuyers, as the market slows down and people flee the city for their cottages. Since it’s known as a slow time, comparatively fewer sellers put their homes on the market during the summer – and homes that are for sale have often been on the market since the spring, and the sellers may be willing to adjust their prices.
That said, many buyers who are looking for homes – particularly those who are moving for a job opportunity – have less choice as to when in the yearly market cycle to make a purchase. Working with the right real estate agent can help you get the best price on a home no matter what the season.
Working With a Realtor
There are many reasons to work with a realtor. (Our brokerage, Harvey Kalles Real Estate, has a great article about some of these reasons.) You'll save time and money, you'll be protected against incorrect conduct by the other party in the deal, and - most importantly - you'll have an advisor on your side who will be your fierce advocate. A realtor will negotiate the best possible deal for you and will advise you as to any issues that may arise. If you choose to work with the Thompson Team, we will do everything necessary to make sure you are cared for. We've got your back.
Buyer Representation Agreement
A buyer representation agreement, or BRA, is a standard contract between a realtor and his or her client, stipulating that the realtor is the buyer's sole representative at the bargaining table. The contract is flexible and can be for whatever time duration is suitable for both parties - and it benefits both the realtor and the client. The BRA protects the client and ensures legally that the realtor is responsible for providing premier service to the client, without any conflicts of interest. The BRA does not require that the buyer make a purchase. You can find out more at www.brafirst.ca.
Location, Location, Location?
If you’re relocating toToronto, read our relocation guide for an overview ofToronto’s neighbourhoods. When you meet with us, we’ll discuss your goals and preferences, and devise a neighbourhood shortlist to supplement your research. Your preferences could include your children’s ages: are they old enough to take the TTC, or young enough to appreciate proximity to a wading pool? Are you location-focused, eyeing the bustle of downtown or hungry for hiking trails? Or do you just want a beautiful home, no matter where it’s located?
Toronto’s neighbourhoods vary tremendously, and suit a wide range of people and families. As well, if you’re looking for a more affordable first rung on the housing ladder, condominiums provide affordable living options throughout the city, offering dense built-in neighborhoods and a range of amenities.
The Right Home for You
Once you’ve settled on a neighbourhood, it’s important to consider whether you’re you looking to renovate, purchase a new home or settle into a historic-feeling home. We’ll discuss the character of your chosen neighbourhood – whether it’s quiet, prestigious and tree-lined, an up-and-coming hotbed of construction, or just next door to a raucous university campus. It’s extremely important to look carefully at each home you visit: we’ll help you figure out the the state of appliances, utility costs, and any repairs required, along with the million other things that make a home worth it or not. Try to imagine the home without the staging furniture and pretty touches: sometimes they conceal problem areas. Take notes if you can; these observations can affect the bargaining process.
After deliberation and triple-checking everything, from leaky faucets to the state of your savings, you’ve settled on a home. If you budget everything properly, you can expect a seamless transition to a beautiful new home and a steady long-term investment.
Since you’ve chosen buying over renting, you’ve set aside a down payment you can afford. Once you’ve cleared up your credit rating and financial health with EquifaxCanada, take the time to research your loan. We can help advise you of a mortgage broker or commercial bank you can trust, and we’ll settle on the kind of mortgage rate you’d prefer. The best rate will depend on market trends, and on the payment stability you need. Sometimes the previous owner can even transfer their mortgage to you. We’ll be right there with you to help you through this whole process.
Making an Offer
Now that you found your dream home, you need to make an offer. We’ll advise you during the offer process, and assist you in drafting the official offer contract. A legally binding document, the offer contract includes detailed information about you and your family, and terms and duration of your offer. Remember those notes you jotted on-site? They’ll come in handy now, as necessary repairs can detract from your price, and sometimes, during the negotiation process, you can request certain appliances or pieces of furniture as a part of the deal. Though it might feel like years, we generally set the closing date at 30 days from the date you sign the offer.
Once you’ve submitted your offer for consideration, the vendor could either accept your offer or make a counter-offer, in which they shift the terms or request a higher price. In this situation, you could adjust your offer based on their terms but at a lower price than offered, and submit the new offer for the vendor’s consideration. You could also reject their request, withdraw your deposit, and keep looking. Or, a third option: you can accept the vendor’s counter-offer, and move on toward closing. Be patient, keep calm, and remember: while the vendor might insist or resist, perhaps making the house seem more desirable, you shouldn’t offer more than you can afford. Again, we’ll be there to advise you every step of the way, and we’ll do the tough negotiations for you.
After negotiations, the vendor accepts your terms and your offer is accepted – congratulations! Work with your mortgage broker to finalize your mortgage application and triple-check the type and duration of mortgage rate that best suits you.
On Closing Day, bring a certified check for all closing costs – there are usually several closing fees, which we’ll go over with you. We’ll meet in your lawyer’s office and sign several legal documents, and activate your mortgage by transferring the mortgage and down payments to your lawyer, and the home to you. This process officially registers the house under your name, passing the deed and house keys – and perhaps a glass of triumphant champagne – into your hands. From here you’ll embark on a long process of turning the house into a home, but it’s important to celebrate this huge step: you’ve budgeted carefully for a long time, and worked hard to settle on the perfect house for you.