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Out of the top 10 most expensive places to live in Canada, Ontario has 3: Toronto, Hamilton/Burlington and Ottawa.

Process

While there are many steps to buying a house, it may not be as confusing as you think. A REALTOR® can help you through this process and ensure that your home-buying experience is a successful one. To help prepare you for what to expect, check out these steps below. While there may be some variations, every home buying experience essentially follows this process.

Step 1 – Decisions, Decisions
The first step to buying your home is one of the hardest. Are you ready to be a home owner? Home ownership is not to be entered into lightly as it can have serious ramifications in your finances and personal life. Before deciding, you should ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you financial ready?
  • Should you try renting first?
  • Are you ready to take on all the costs and responsibilities that come with home ownership? Ex. Repairs, maintenance, renovations, etc?
  • Does your lifestyle fit with home ownership?

Owning your own home is a big responsibility. Trust your instincts.

Step 2 – Finances
While you may be ready to move into your own house, is your bank account ready? The maximum home price that you can realistically afford depends on a number of factors:

  • Gross Monthly Income
  • Down Payment
  • Mortgage Interest Rate

Keep in mind that there are other various costs that are included in the process of buying a home which include, but are not limited to property taxes, maintenance, renovations, moving costs, etc.

Don't think you can afford to buy a house? Take a look at your monthly expenses. Where can you make cuts? How much can you realistically put aside for a down payment? Reexamining your budget can help you get into a home faster.

Step 3 – Needs
When buying a home, it is important to not only think about your present needs, but also what you may need in the future. You need to take into consideration 3 main factors:

  • Characteristics - What do you need from your home? (Number of bedrooms, parking facilities, air conditioning, fireplace, finished basement, etc.)
  • Location – What factors are ideal? (Close to work, close to highways, property taxes, city vs. country, etc.)
  • Lifestyle – Is this home right for me in the future? (Retirement, starting a family, mobility, empty nest, etc.)

These factors can help you determine the type of house you may suit your needs, preferred age of the home, and even what type of ownership you may like.

Having trouble deciding? A REALTOR® can help you make these decisions by offering great background information not only on areas and locations, but also what may be best for your lifestyle.

Step 4 – Find A REALTOR®
A REALTORS® job is to help you find your home. But that's not all they do. They also help write your Offer of Purchase, negotiate to get you the best price, are an extensive resource on community information, and offer connections to other professionals within the industry like home inspectors, lawyers, and more. For more information on how a REALTOR® can help you, visit our Why A REALTOR® page.

Once you've decided to use a REALTOR®, the next step is to find the right REALTOR® for you. Ask around with your friends and family, did they have a great experience with their REALTOR®? You can also find a local REALTOR® through our Find A REALTOR® page. HowRealtorsHelp.ca offers some great questions to ask before hiring your REALTOR®.

Step 5 – Search
While your REALTOR® can help you with this process, you may find it helpful to do some searching on your own as well. Be sure to check traditional methods like newspaper listings, word of mouth, and watch for “For Sale” signs, but remember to check non-traditional methods too. The internet has made it easier than ever to find what you're looking for, you just need to know where to look. Be sure to check www.realtor.ca or brokerage websites.

Step 6 – Assemble Your Team
It takes more than one person to buy a home. Having certified professionals in your corner means that you'll have a smooth purchasing process, with expertise and your best interests in mind. Aside from your REALTOR®, these other professionals can help you on your way to home ownership:

  • Mortgage Broker
  • Lawyer or Notary
  • Insurance Broker
  • Home Inspector
  • Appraiser
  • Land Surveyor
  • Builder or Contractor

While all of these professionals may not be used in all cases, your REALTOR® can help you decide what is needed and can offer you the resources to find the best.

Step 7 – Make An Offer
After you've found the home of your dreams, it's time to make an offer! Your REALTOR® can help you put together an Offer to Purchase and make sure to negotiate the best price.

Step 8 – Home Inspection
Your REALTOR® can help you arrange for a professional home inspector to come and view your house. A home inspector looks for things that you may not necessarily see the first time around. They can help identify problem areas, and even potential deal breakers. They'll walk you through a report that can help you decide whether you move forward with the purchase.

Step 9 – Mortgage
Once you've decided to move forward with the puchase, you'll have to decide how you want to finance your home. There are several options including banks, credit unions, and more, but always choose a certified and professional mortgage broker. Check out the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals website for a full list.

Step 10 – Close the Deal
You're just a step away from being a full-fledged homeowner! Closing day is the day when you take legal possession of your new home. The final contracts and official documents need to be signed, and your down payment will be paid. Your lawyer will then pay the vendor, register the home in your name, and give you the deed and keys to your new home!