Step 1. Get Pre-Approved & set a budget Budget

Head over to your bank and chat to a mortgage agent or get in touch with a mortgage broker (who, unlike the bank, will have access to many different lenders). They will tell you what you can afford, and what the monthly payments look like. During this step, it is also a good idea to budget for Land Transfer Tax, Lawyer Fees, CHMC Premium & related closing costs. 

Step 2. Think about what’s important to you


House or Condo?

While this can be determined by budget, it is also a lifestyle choice. Condos are low-maintenance living, while houses are better for those who want their own piece of the pie to work on.

Location, Location, Location

This is often at the top of the list for buyers. Pick a few areas that you like, and think about why you like them. Is transit accessibility super important? Do you want to be able to walk to a coffee shop or grocery store? Are you concerned about how good (or not so good) the schools are in the area? Is your commute to work going to be grueling if you buy in the West vs. East? All things to consider!

Must Haves, nice to haves & avoid at all costs

What’s important to one person in a house is not necessarily as important to the next, so think about what would be a must have for you. These usually relate to the functionality of the home, like the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, parking, size etc. Nice to haves are just that – not imperative, but you’d be pumped if you got them within budget. So be sure to think about these too! Avoid at all costs? If you are not interested in doing a renovation, no need to see a house stuck in 1972.

Step 3. Find a Realtor who’s going to have your back

What does this mean? Find a Realtor who is going to represent YOUR best interests throughout the entire process. Helping you focus your search on the right areas based on your budget, must haves etc. She/he should find you awesome listings (not just set you up to get automated emails) as time can be of the essence in this market. Not only should this person be great at their job, you should feel comfortable with them and like their personality. Remember, you’ll be seeing them on a regular basis and trusting them with the biggest investment of your life, so you better like them, and feel good about the job they are doing for you. One thing we will say is it’s amazing how often clients become our friends.

Step 4. Get Your Search on

Be prepared, searching for a property means evening, weekends and whatever spare time you have in between. We DO try and make it fun (we’re biased, and think it’s fun to begin with). When looking at houses and condos keep your original list of “must haves” in mind. Often buyers get taken away to a fancy dream world when they see really awesome staging. Just remember you are not buying furniture – you are buying the house or condo it’s in.

Step 5. Its The One – time to offer

Congrats! You’ve found the house or condo that speaks to you like no other house did (or at least ticked the most boxes!) and its time to put pen to paper. Your Realtor (the kick ass negotiator you hired to help you with this process) will put together an offer for you. The key negotiating points are:

  • Price (of course)
  • Closing date (the day it becomes yours!!!)
  • Deposit (money up front to show good faith)
  • Conditions (such as financing or home inspection)

A deposit of appropriate value is provided along with the offer, or within 24 hours of acceptance (depending on the scenario).

Step 6. Offer Accepted!

Once an offer is accepted and all conditions are met (if there were any to begin with) the offer then becomes binding on both sides. It’s a firm deal! So, before you sign, be sure you know what the terms are. If for whatever reason you do not honour the agreement, litigation could come your way and your deposit could be lost.

Between offer acceptance and closing day it’s normal to have a couple of visits to the property. This is a great time to bring family or measure for furniture. We also like to make sure (on the last visit) that everything is working, as it should.

Before the property can formally be handed over from the seller to the buyer, a few more things must be done. You will have to show proof of insurance to the institution that provided your mortgage. On or before closing day, the lawyers from both sides will arrange to transfer the property title from the seller to the buyer. The mortgage will be transferred to your lawyer's trust account, and then to the seller. Your lawyer will bill you all additional expenses such as land transfer taxes or outstanding legal fees. Once this is complete and the keys are in your hands, then the home is yours!