BUYING A HOME

GUIDE TO BUYING A HOME IN OTTAWA

DECIDING TO BUY

 
No matter whether you are a first-time buyer, or someone who has experience purchasing a property, the decision to buy deserves careful consideration. Our team of experienced real estate agents will help guide you through this exciting time in your life.
 
What is your motivation for buying?

There are many factors that may have led to your decision to buy. Being clear about your motivations and goals is a paramount part of the process. Some of you may be looking to downsize, while others may have outgrown their current home. Maybe you are looking to live closer to work or school? Perhaps you want to live in a new neighbourhood or in an area that is closer to nature? Are you going to be living in the property, or are you simply using it as an investment and plan to rent out the space? These are the kinds of questions we'll prompt you to answer so that we can ensure that all of your buying objectives are met.
 
What is your financial capacity?

Investing in real estate is one of the safest ways to build equity. We will look at your current and future financial capacity to help you maximize your investment portfolio, while taking the time to explain every step of the process.
 

BEFORE YOU BUY

 
Before you start shopping for your property, there are a few steps you can take to ensure that you are in a good position to begin the process.
 
One of the first things you should do is build your green file. Your green file will contain all of your required financial documents. In order to secure financing for your property purchase, you'll want to include: financial statements, banking information, investment paperwork, credit card statements, auto loans, recent pay stubs, tax returns for a minimum of two years, copies of any other leases or investment properties, life insurance information, paperwork concerning stocks and bonds, and any mutual account information.
 
Your credit rating will be a huge factor in what property you can afford to buy. Make sure to check your credit score with a reputable financial institution prior to shopping for a new property. Our agents can recommend knowledgeable lenders for every type of property investment.
 
You will also want to make sure that this is the right time in your life to buy and that your lifestyle can support this large, financial investment. Your finances should be in stable standing and no major life changes, such as a career move, should be on the horizon.
 

SELECTING A REAL ESTATE AGENT

 
Buying a property requires making important financial decisions, understanding complex issues and completing a great deal of paperwork. It is extremely beneficial to have a real estate professional by your side when making such a large investment. Our agents will guide you through this process and can suggest property listings before they hit the general market.
 
When deciding on a real estate agent, make sure to look for someone who is experienced with the type of property you are selling and the area in which it is located.
 
Some of the questions you might want to ask when interviewing potential agents include:
 
• What are your credentials and level of education?
• What other properties have you sold?
• Do you have any references?
• How available are you on nights and weekends?
 
Make sure to select an agent that makes you feel comfortable, understood and committed to your goals.
 

SHOPPING FOR YOUR NEW PROPERTY

 
When searching for your ideal property, get to know the neighbourhoods that interest you. Select a few properties that grab your attention, and have your real estate agent make appointments to visit them. Make sure to ask your real estate agent all of the questions you may have about the properties you are considering.
 
You will want to work with your agent to investigate the potential costs and expenses associated with the new property.
 
Once you have decided on a property, your real estate agent can help you to construct an offer that will be appealing to the seller and give you an advantage over competing offers.
 

THE BUYING PROCESS

 
The Initial Agreement and Deposit.
 
An effective agreement is a legal arrangement between a potential purchaser and the property’s seller.
 
An effective agreement is a legal arrangement between a potential purchaser and the property’s seller. Laws vary from province to province, and your agent will know what needs to be included in this document to ensure it is a legally binding agreement.
 
Make sure to keep a written record of all verbal agreements, including counter-offers and addendums. It is important to have these documents signed by all parties. Our agents will assist you in drafting the paperwork and ensuring that everyone involved has copies.
 
We will also ensure that you stick to all agreed upon timelines and schedules. This will make for a smoother selling process and ensure that all parties are adhering to the terms of the agreement. Our agents will make sure to keep you informed of all of the required steps at every stage.
 
The Closing Agent.
 
Either a title company or an attorney will be selected as a closing agent. The closing agent will hold the deposit and will research the complete history of the property to ensure that the property is free and clear of encumbrances by the date of closing. Any new encumbrances will be added to the title. Some properties are subject to restrictions that limit various activities, such as building restrictions.
 
Holding Title.
 
You may wish to consult an attorney or tax advisor on the best way to hold title. Different methods of holding title have different legal, estate and tax implications.
 
Inspections.
 
When drawing up a contract, buyers will set a timeframe to have the property inspected by a licensed property inspector. In this “option period” the buyer has an unrestricted right to terminate the timeframe. Some buyers will elect to have several different inspectors, specialists in different areas, come by to inspect the property.
 
Once your offer is accepted by the seller, you will need to have a licensed property inspector inspect the property within the time frame that was agreed upon in the effective contract to purchase. In this “option period” you have an unrestricted right to terminate the timeframe. Some buyers will elect to have several different inspectors, specialists in different areas, come by to inspect the property.
 
Depending on the outcome of these inspections, either the contingencies will be removed, or you will request a renegotiation of the terms of the contract.
 
Appraisal and Lending.
 
Your lender will let you know what documents are needed to approve and fund your loan. If the agreement is conditional upon financing, then a licensed appraiser will appraise the property, via a third party, to determine its value. Appraisers will determine the value of your properties, based on factors like square footage, comparable properties and recent sales.
 
Association Approval.
 
If the property that you are purchasing is conditional upon an association approval, make sure you request the rules, regulations, and other important documents from the seller as soon as you have an effective agreement to purchase. Our agents will ensure that the application documents and processing fees are submitted to the appropriate association by the required time, and that you are providing all the information the association will need to process your application.
 
Insurance.
 
If you are obtaining a loan, you will be required by your lender to purchase a certain amount of insurance on the property. The value will depend on the lending institution and the purchase price of the property. Make sure that you shop around for homeowners insurance, as different lending institutions will have varying rates.
 
Things to consider are: increasing your deductible, asking your insurance lender about potential discounts for home safety upgrades and subtracting the value of the land from the amount of insurance you buy.
 
Our agents will be able to recommend experienced and reputable insurance agents.
 

YOUR NEW PROPERTY

 
Before you pop the champagne, make sure all of your ducks are in a row and all of the loose ends are tied.
 
On the day before or the day of closing, there will be one final inspection where you will walk through the property to make sure everything is in order. You’ll want to make sure that everything that was included in your purchase is in good standing at the property.
 
The closing agent will provide all parties with a settlement statement that summarizes the details and financial transactions and will certify its accuracy. If you are obtaining financing, you will have to sign all pertinent documentation required by the lending institution.
 
The agent will also provide you with a list of home services and utilities that you will activate after closing, and remind you of details such as ensuring that the keys are ready for you at closing.
 
It’s not over ‘til it’s over, and our agents will be there to ensure that any last minute complications are dealt with, even at this final stage.
 

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