1 THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BUYING A HOME IN THE GREATER TORONTO AREA
2 Thank You. Whether you are looking for a house or condo, the journey to homeownership has many steps. This simplified guide will help give you a clear overview of how to navigate the home buying process anywhere in Toronto and find a home you ll love. This guide will go over the importance of getting pre-approved for a mortgage, figuring out what you can afford, the hidden costs that buyers typically overlook, creating a wish-list, how the home search process works, how to best view properties with your Agent, and how the offer process works. We ve even outlined how to choose a team of experts to help you through the entire process. We realize you have choice when choosing an Agent and hope you find this guide helpful in getting started on your path to homeownership. Jamie Kinch Partner & Salesperson Andrew Ezeard Partner & Salesperson
3 Overview Step 1: Get Pre-Approved For Your Mortgage Step 2: Creating A Wish List For Your Search Step 3: Pick Your Team of Professionals Step 3: The Home Search Process Step 4: Viewing Properties With Your Agent Step 5: The Offer Process Step 6: Closing The Deal
4 Step 1: Get Pre-Approved For Your Mortgage Not being approved is like trying to drive a car with a blindfold on It's a recipe for disaster! The "mortgage" word sounds a lot scarier to people than it actually is. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage just gives you the ability to understand how much you can afford when buying a home and makes sure you are in the possession to make a competitive offer when you find the right home. You have two options to get a pre-approval. You can talk with your bank or you can talk with a Mortgage Broker. We recommend a Mortgage Broker, simply because they work with different lenders, where as the bank only has one option to offer you. The bank or Broker will look at your financial situation, credit history, and the type of property you will be buying. It s important to let them know if you are buying a home or a condo, as the pre-approvals are calculated differently. This will let them know what the maximum purchase price is for you.
5 A good Mortgage Broker will also help you decide on what a comfortable home purchase price would be based on your financial situation. As what your maximum purchase price is may not support your lifestyle. Best of all, using a Mortgage Broker is FREE and doesn t commit you to anything when you re just getting a pre-approval. It's simply a way to lock in the best rates and understand your financial options better before house hunting. It s important to know that mortgage preapprovals are typically good for days, so you'll have plenty of time to buy once approved by a Mortgage Broker. To help you figure out what you might get approved for, we ve include a few scenarios on the next few pages of this guide, for common buyers that we come across.
6 Buyer Scenario #1 You re a single professional working in Downtown Toronto that has decided that paying $2,000/month to rent a 1-bedroom doesn t make sense anymore. You ve managed to save up a down-payment of $40,000 over the last few years. You re employed full-time at $60,000/year and you have excellent credit. You do however have a car-payment of $200/month. Based on this scenario your max purchase price would be. $354,628 Based on a 3.24% mortgage rate and a 25-year amortization.
7 Buyer Scenario #2 You re an engaged young couple looking to settle down in Toronto. You make $75,000/year and your partner makes $55,000/year. You ve got no car payment, but you have a student loan payment of $500/month. You both have good credit and are employed full-time. Your maximum affordability would be $670,882 Based on a 3.24% mortgage rate and a 25-year amortization.
8 Buyer Scenario #3 You re a couple with a household income of $100,000/year. You are currently renting and have a small down-payment saved up of $25,000. Your parents though has decided to help you out and give you a gift of $100,000 to use towards a down-payment. You have no debt and no car-payments or other loan payments. Your maximum affordability would be $625,000 Based on a 3.24% mortgage rate and a 25-year amortization.
9 Remember when applying for a mortgage, each situation is different so the scenarios above should serve as a guideline only. Speak with your bank or a qualified Mortgage Broker about your situation to figure out what you can afford. It's really important to figure out the maximum home price you can buy, but also what you can afford, while still maintaining a lifestyle you re happy with. It's no fun being house poor and eating Kraft Dinner and instant noodles like a college student each night.
10 Beware of The Hidden Costs of Buying Most people know that you need to save up a down-payment to buy real estate. Not everyone is prepared for the "hidden" costs of buying a home, they aren t really hidden, but most people don t talk about them, or aren t aware of the actual expense each adds. Beyond the down-payment for the home you ll also have the following expenses: Legal fees (roughly $1,500) Land Transfer Taxes (based on the purchase price, see chart below) PST on mortgage insurance if you re putting down under 20% (depends on purchase price) Appraisal Fee (typically $ ) Home Inspection ($400-$750)
11 Land Transfer Taxes When buying any property within Ontario you have to pay a land transfer tax to the provincial government. The tax is based on the purchase price of the home. If you are buying within the City of Toronto you also have an additional land transfer tax called a Municipal Land Transfer Tax to pay as well. Below are some examples based on purchase price and whether or not you are a first-time homebuyer. To find out what the exact land transfer taxes would be on ask your Buyer Specialist. Toronto & Ontario Land Transfer Tax on $300,000 $600,000 $900,000 $1,200,000 First-Time Buyer $0 $8,475 $20,475 $32,475 Everyone Else $5,950 $16,950 $28,950 $40,950
12 If you're a non-resident of Canada you may have to pay a Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) when buying in the GGH (Greater Golden Horseshoe). For more information on that NRST please click here. Your Realspective Buyer Specialist will help you make sure there are no surprise costs when you buy with us. If you have any questions about the typical costs, based on your situation, feel free to us at to reach the all team Partner s direct.
13 Step 2: Create Your Wish List This step is easy for most buyers! As they have typically been thinking about buying for a while. Before you get too deep into the search process you need to create 3 lists. 1. Must have items - These are the things you cannot live without under any circumstance 2. Nice to have items - Things you could live without, but if you can get them it s a big plus! 3. Can t live with X items - These are the deal-breakers or the items you just won t live with. Whatever it is write it down and share this list with your Agent. That way they know what to look for, as sometimes they ll hear about a property before it s listed, if they know what you want they can notify you before it s made available to the general public.
14 Some factors you'll want to think about when creating your wish list: Access to public transit Location. Location. Location House, Condo or Townhouse Parking (buy or rent) Amenities Urban vs. Suburban Lifestyle Total monthly carrying costs Types of finishes in the home
15 Once you have these lists organized, discuss your wish list with your Agent, if you ve chosen one already. Your Agent will be able to help you figure out what s realistic and what s going to be hard to find within your budget. Once you have your list and get pre-approved, it s time to start searching for your next home!
16 Step 3: Picking a Winning Team Purchasing a home will likely be the largest financial decision you ever make. You don t have to do it alone though. You ll want to assemble a team of experts who will be able to ensure your home buying experience is a positive and profitable one. To make this happen you ll need to hire the following: 1. A great Real Estate Agent or Real Estate Team 2. A Lawyer familiar with residential real estate 3. A Mortgage Broker who works in the city you re buying You may also need to find a home inspector, contractor, painter, cleaner, locksmith, or interior designer. Ask your Real Estate Agent or friends for recommendations to any trades they ve had a positive experience with. A home inspector should also work in the area you re buying, as they ll have more familiarity with the homes in the neighbourhood and how they ve been built.
17 Choosing A Real Estate Agent When choosing your Real Estate Agent you ll want to find someone who knows the real estate market and buying process inside-and-out. This is not the time to support your Aunt who sells real estate on the side, unless she s truly qualified. After all hiring an Agent as a buyer is FREE, but the cost of hiring the best or the worst is exactly the same. Many people are also shocked to learn that there are 45,000+ licensed Agents in Toronto. That s one agent for every 142 people in the Greater Toronto Area, so it s likely you already know one or two or three people who sell real estate. Less than 30% of Agents do more than 4 transactions in a year though. To make sure you re getting good advice, you ll want to make sure you hire someone in the top 5-10% of Agents in the city. That way the person you choose will have enough exposure to the market to properly advise you. That means finding someone selling between 1-2 properties minimum per month in Toronto.
18 Questions to Ask You ll want to make sure you ask Agents a few questions when deciding who to hire. Ask them the following to get a better understanding of who they are: How long have you been in real estate? How many transaction were you involved in last year? What s your biggest strength in terms of the home buying process? Do you sell real estate full-time? Do you work on a team or as an individual Agent? Why do you think you re best suited to help me?
19 Why Hire A Team Vs. An Agent Real estate teams are quickly taking over the real estate industry and offer buyers many advantages they won t get by using a single agent. Real estate teams are just that - a team. There is more than one person involved in the process, which means you get the most qualified person for each step in the process. Real estate teams will have team leaders who help the Agents when they have a problem or issue they haven t deal with before. The team will also have Agents that specialize in just working with clients buying or selling. A great team will even have a client care person to help you with coordinating things once your offer is accepted. This creates a much more streamlined buying experience vs. the Agent who is trying to do it all.
20 Step 4: The Home Search Process We re excited that you ve reached this stage! Hopefully you are too. Many online website such as realtor.ca, our Realspective website, and many other online portals are great for getting a sense of the market. Once you re serious about your search you need real-time information and listing alerts. None of these website provided that. The only resource that provides instant alerts is available through your REALTOR. Collab is a powerful search tool that gives you real-time access to properties and allows you to search for homes just like an Agent. Collab even allows you to receive instant listing alerts, putting homes in your inbox up to 48 hours faster than any other source or website available. Just like your favourite social media app, Collab allows you to like, share, and chat with your Agent about the listings you see during your search online. Collab is exclusive and you must be invited by a Toronto REALTOR. If you d like to get started on Collab just send us an to schedule a buyer consult.
21 When searching for homes online keep your REALTOR in the loop if your criteria changes in any way. If you have questions or see a property without photos, your REALTOR may be able to shine some more light on the property, to help you decide if it s worth considering. When you reach this point in the home search, it s important to have a listing alert setup in Collab, this way you are notified immediately of new listings matching your criteria. Though some homes may have an offer date most homes will accept offers anytime, so viewing the property quickly as possible is important. If you wait to view a home on the weekend or just check new properties every few days, you may miss out on the home of your dreams. Speak with your Agent if you re unsure about how to setup a listing alert in Collab.
22 Step 5: Viewing Properties With Your Agent Viewing properties is an art and a science. You have to be ready to view a property at the drop of a hat, as the best properties usually get snatched up quickly. When you initially start working with your Agent let them know the following information: The best way to reach you (FB Messenger, cellphone #, , et cetera) When are you free to see properties (after work, lunchtime, weekends, et cetera) What you re looking for and what area of the city Tip: When choosing an Agent think about hiring someone on a real estate team. One of the hidden benefits of working with a team vs. an individual agent is that if you need to see a property and your agent isn t available, someone on the team can show you instead.
23 When viewing properties you should do so with a game plan, otherwise different homes will start to blend together and you ll forget which homes had what features. Make sure to make a few quick notes (using your phone or pen and paper) after viewing each property and score that home from 1 to 10. That way you ll have a reference later when thinking about your options. On the next page you ll find a checklist you can use. Other things you ll want to think about when viewing the property include the condition, beyond just the cosmetic details. How old are the appliances? Do the major mechanicals need work? Is it really as updated as it looks? Is the staging being used to hide anything? Staged and cosmetically updated homes can feel newer than they are, so make sure you re allowing yourself to look past the initial wow factor of the property.
25 Step 6: Making An Offer Awesome! Congrats on finding a house you like. This step is a big one and this is where buyers typically get cold feet. If you ve followed the first 5-steps though you shouldn t have any worries making an offer. Your Agent will now draft an Agreement of Purchase and Sale (or APS for short) that you ll sign and submit to the seller of the property. The APS will outline the price you re willing to pay and the terms on which you re willing to buy the home. You ll include a list of any items that you want to remain in the homes (I.e. appliances, light fixtures, TV mounts, et cetera) and include any conditions you require (such as a home inspection or financing). Speak with your Agent to find out what terms can hinder or make your offer more enticing, you ll likely be negotiating with the seller on the terms of the sale. So figure out what you re willing to give up to find a win-win solution. Usually if you don t get to a win-win the deal doesn t happen in our experience. Everyone during a negotiation has to be willing to sacrifice something. What s a minor detail to you as the buyer might mean everything to the seller, so make sure your Agent asks before you make an offer what things are important to the seller.
26 A Note About Deposits & Down-Payments People sometimes get confused about the deposit and the down-payment, or they get them mixed up. It's really simple actually. The deposit is what you provide with the offer (or within 1-business day of acceptance) to the listing brokerage (to be held in trust) to guarantee and bind the offer you re making. The deposit on real estate is commonly 5-6% of the purchase price in Toronto. The down-payment is what you owe to the bank upon final closing. If you re putting down 15% for example and you provided a 5% deposit, you d owe the bank the remaining 10% on the day of closing.
27 Step 6: Closing The Deal If you ve reached this step, it means your offer was accepted! That s a great feeling, but it also means there is a few more things that you must do as a buyer to close the deal. The first thing you must do is deliver the deposit to the listing brokerage. Your Agent will help you do this via courier, they may personally deliver the bank draft for you, or help you send it via wire transfer (depending on the brokerage). The deposit is typical due herewith (I.e. submitted with the offer) or in many cases upon acceptance ( must be delivered within 1- business day). It s very important to make sure that your deposit money is liquid and sitting in your bank account as soon as you start looking at homes. Your money shouldn t be in an investment account, TFSA, or somewhere else definitely not shoved under your mattress. Why? Because most transfers take 2-3 business days from an investment account and therefore you wouldn t be able to deliver the deposit within time. Note: If your entire down-payment and deposit are coming from an RRSP, speak with your Agent about your options. It requires coordinating with your Mortgage Broker and bank in advance of making an offer. It s not a bad thing, but it does require extra attention and planning.
28 Fulfilling Conditions On top of delivering the deposit within 1-business day, you ll also have to fulfill any conditions that you had within your offer. In a perfect world all offers would be FIRM, but that s not always the case. If you have a financing, home inspection, or status review condition (if you re buying a condo) within your offer speak with your Agent. They ll remind you what timeline these conditions need to be fulfilled within. To fulfill the conditions you ll need to sign a Notice of Fulfillment and provide a signed copy to the seller of the property before the condition expires. Therefore it s important that everyone is aware of the timelines for any conditions. Loop in your home inspector, lawyer, or mortgage professional if needed when drafting an offer to make sure they can meet any timelines you re setting with the offer you are making.
29 Once you ve fulfilled all your conditions and delivered the deposit there s still a little left to do. First, you may have re-visits to the property (which have to be asked for in the offer). You ll schedule those through your Agent at a time that is convenient for all parties. It s best practice to provide at least 48 hours notice, as the seller may want to tidy up a little or may need to make arrangements for pets or children. You ll also want to touch base and schedule a time to meet with your Mortgage Broker to sign your mortgage documents and with your Lawyer to sign transfer paperwork. These appointments usually happen closer to closing, but reach out to your team and check on timing with them.
30 When do I get the keys? Great question! You get the keys on the day of closing once the title for the property has been transferred to you officially. This usually doesn t happen until between 2-5 PM though, so make plans for movers or other trades people for the afternoon or evening. If you need to be moving into the property before 2-5PM talk to your lawyer about this possibility. It s usually not doable, but sometimes it can be done.
31 Ready to get started? Our team of Agents is ready to help you get started on the path to buying your next home or condo in the city. To get started and chat about the next steps, please us at:
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SELLING THE FAMILY BUSINESS For owners of family businesses, the process of selling their businesses can be one of life's most stressful events. Often the owners have close emotional connections to their
HOW TO START BUYING AND FLIPPING HOMES IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TODAY Community Restoration Group Teaching Real Estate Investing Through Partnership Presenter: Stephen McKee Phone: (951) 777-9966 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lynn Thomas Real Estate Team s Exclusive Marketing Strategy Fast Proven Results Strategy for Selling Homes for the past 12 years It s Not Just About Closings It s About New Beginnings that determine
The Insider Pro s Guide to Profiting at Tax Sales Part Three Strategy 3 Overages The Savvy Insider s Strategy BY: Bob Diamond, Attorney at Law In this series we have covered buying at the tax sale, buying
Your guide to Shared Ownership www.whitehorsehousing.co.uk White Horse Housing Association Guide to Shared Ownership 2017 Who is White Horse Housing Association? We are a small not-for-profit housing association
Buying and Selling a Business If You re Not Careful You Can Get Stuck, But Buying and Selling a Construction Business Can be a Rewarding Undertaking if Done Intelligently. By Arthur B. Hollander On the
Welcome Families! 1 Department of Housing and Residential Life 2018-19 On-Campus Housing Options Contracts will be available in October for current residents in a limited supply Students who are currently
LeaseCalcs: How to ruin EBITDA results: Renew your lease. Marc A. Maiona June 20, 2015 Your client just renewed their lease and wrecked EBITDA in the process If You Care About EBITDA, You Shouldn t Renew.