10 Must Dos When Buying a Home
1. Research the costs
Apart from the house itself, make sure you know all the associated costs and fees which may crop up, such as
- The deposit (typically 5-10% of the purchase price)
- Home Inspection $400 and up or $200 and up to review the Seller’s report with their home inspector
- Appraisal ($250-$350, but may be paid by lender)
- Insurance for a high-ratio mortage (0.50%-2.75% if you borrow more than 20% of the purchase price)
- Land Transfer Tax ( check our calculator )
- Survey ($1,500 and up)
- Legal Fees ($800 fee + disbursements)
- Title Insurance ($350 and up depending on value of the home)
- Adjustments for prepaid property taxes or utility bills
- Moving Costs ($1,500 -$5,000 or more) depending on whether you use a rental truck or a professional mover
2. Have your mortgage pre-approved
Pre-approval is much more in-depth than pre-qualification, which only provides a rough estimate of how much you can afford to spend on a house. For pre-approval you will have to provide in-depth information to your lender about your finances, but in return you’ll be far more confident as you start the buying process. However, bear in mind, mortgage approval will still be subject to an appraisal of the property. Here are links to 3 Toronto Mortgage Brokers frequently used by our clients - Ramy Ibrahim , Karen Mann and Joanna Lang and follow this important checklist.
3. Check the school districts
Access to good schools is a driving factor for home prices. Even if you don’t have school age children, check the boundaries for local schools once you’ve found a home you like. Find out more about schools, here.
4. Find a reputable home inspector
Before committing to a firm offer on a home, it’s important you understand its physical condition and likely cost of any outstanding repairs. Particularly if buying an older home, we cannot over-emphasize the importance of a h ome inspection. Here are links to 2 Toronto Home Inspectors frequently used by our clients - Gordon Mathieu and Brian Hardie . If the Seller offers you his pre-sale home inspection, make sure their home inspector will provide you with a letter of transmittal (there may be a fee) so that you are covered by the inspector’s professional liability insurance.
5. What about the parking?
A private or mutual driveway will be marked on the property survey, but what about front pad parking? This is a common oversight made by Buyers in the central core, where parking is at a premium. Check with the city that the parking paid is legal and the fees are paid up-to-date. If you need a street parking permit, the city can tell you if they are available. The number to call is 416-392-7873 or visit the City of Toronto website.
6. Is the basement unit legal?
The possibility of renting out a basement unit can be a strong selling point, but it’s important to check that all approvals have been received and it meets fire and building codes. In depth information can be found here.
7. Understand what’s included and what isn’t
When making an offer on a property it’s important to understand exactly what’s included and what isn’t. Chattels such as appliances and drapes are usually mentioned in the listing, but what about the bracket for that wall-mounted TV that’s going to be removed? If in doubt, spell it out in the offer.
8. Use your Buyer visits
The offer will usually allow a limited number of Buyer visits prior to closing date. Often the Buyer wants to measure for window treatments or get quotes for painting or other improvements. Visits are generally limited to one hour and you want to make the best use of the time.
9. Check your monthly payments
It’s quite common for the lender to bundle your property taxes with your mortgage payment. If you’ve agreed to that, then a couple of months after closing check that in fact the tax payment is being made. We’ve seen cases where it’s been forgotten and the homeowner ends up with an unexpected bill for unpaid taxes from the city.
10. Get professional help
Does all this sound daunting? Not to a professional REALTOR ® . We solve real estate problems every day and can provide you with referrals to trusted legal and mortgage advisors, as well as a long list of service providers including cleaners, trades people and moving companies.
Did you know that those online listings can be 2 or 3 days old before you see them on your favourite websites? We can put you on automatic email alerts for listings so you are first to know about them. Often we know about properties coming on the market before they are on MLS® thanks to our extensive network of contacts and in-depth knowledge of the market.
Put us to work on your behalf (there’s no cost to you), we have your corner.