Home Buying Basics

Real estate mortgage & home-buying tips

Real estate mortgage

There are a number of stages in the home buying process. Here is an overview of what you can expect, along with some helpful tips to make it easier for you to achieve the home of your dreams.

1.0 Check your credit report

Order a copy of your credit report and make sure all of the information is correct. Fix any problems you discover. You can order a copy through the two major credit reporting agencies in Canada: Equifax and TransUnion.

2.0 Save for your down payment

Pay down debts and start saving to have as large a down payment as possible. The more you can put down on a house, the more you will save on interest payments and the sooner you can pay off your mortgage.

3.0 Find out how much you can afford.

Use our convenient CMLS Financial calculator to determine how much you can afford and what your payments would be.

4.0 Get pre-approved for a mortgage.

It's important to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start house hunting. This lets you know exactly how much home you can afford so you won't waste time looking at properties that are outside of your price range. Your mortgage broker will take you through the pre-approval process to secure the mortgage amount you need. If you don't currently have a mortgage broker, call our Residential Service team at 1.888.995.2657 or email at service@cmls.ca.

5.0 Assemble your home buying team.

Real estate agent
You can search plenty of home listings online, but a professional real estate agent can save you time and money. Agents can provide valuable market insight and guidance based on years of experience in the industry. They can help you avoid common mistakes such as choosing the wrong home or offering too much. They can also help with strategies during the bidding process to negotiate the best price for the home you want.

Mortgage broker
A mortgage broker saves you time and money. They provide impartial advice and help you find the best mortgages at the best rates. They handle all the details of the pre-approval and mortgage process. » Working with a mortgage broker

A lawyer understands the legal documents and other aspects of buying a home, from both the buyer and seller position. They work on your behalf, ensuring that all documents are properly prepared and you are protected. These legal details must be completed prior to possession date.

Home inspector
Hiring a professional home inspector will help you identify any major structural problems or issues with the home prior to submitting an offer. » What to expect from a home inspection

6.0 Avoid common home buying mistakes.

  • Find the right home in the right location that satisfies your list of priorities.
  • Research the neighbourhood before you buy - never overlook the importance of location.
  • Don't buy more home than you can afford.
  • Make sure to have the home inspected as a condition in your offer.
  • Include contingencies in the offer so you can walk away from the deal if problems arise prior to closing.

7.0 Don't underestimate the costs.

In addition to mortgage and closing costs, you'll need to account for moving expenses, furniture and decorating as part of the purchase. Once you own it, there are ongoing costs such as property taxes, monthly utilities, maintenance and repairs.

8.0 Make an Offer to Purchase.

The Offer to Purchase is an important legal document that says you agree to buy the seller's house (often contingent on certain conditions). Your real estate agent will work with you to prepare the offer and negotiate a good purchase price, along with any conditions of the sale.

9.0 Close on your home.

Closing day is when the sale is finalized and you can pick up the keys to your new home. Your closing day will be specified in your offer. Generally a home purchase closes within 30 to 60 days of the offer being accepted.
On closing day, your lawyer receives funds from your mortgage company and uses these funds, along with your down payment, to pay for your new home. Your lawyer transfers the money to the seller's lawyer who then sends over the keys plus all of the essential legal documents, including the deed that signs the ownership of the home over to you. Your lawyer will then register the deed and your mortgage, paying the registration fees and Land Transfer Tax from money you've set aside for this purpose. When all of this is complete, you'll receive your keys and the home is yours. Congratulations!

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