Step 1-Find the right realtor for you

Finding a realtor is very important. This is the biggest investment you are going to make. Talk to a realtors about price, location, monthly payment, property tax, closing cost and possible utilities cost per month. “You should feel confident that your real estate agent has sufficient knowledge and experience to get you the best deal. Look for someone who is well versed with the neighbourhood of your choice.

Also, insure that the realtor you choose is a member of the local real estate board. And has access to the thousands of homes listed on the MLS. And if language is still a barrier for you, choosing a realtor who can speak the language from your country of origin can make the process more comfortable for you.

Step 2- Tell your realtor what you want

If you expect to find a home that matches all your needs, have a heart to heart with your realtor. Explain what you are looking for and especially what features you would like to avoid. For example, if noise bothers you, you need a house on a quiet street. The importance of “making sure that your realtor has understood your requirements because miscommunication slows down the entire process.”

Step 3- Listen to your realtor’s advice

I, Gurdev Singh, strongly believe that “your realtor should provide valuable advice with regards to your preferences and what they will mean for you, like a corner lot is bigger and the house has more windows, but it requires more maintenance. Or a condo saves the effort of snow removal and yard work, but sometimes includes high maintenance fees. Or a house on a quiet street or crescent has less traffic and is safer for kids who are playing out on the street. And if you are looking to keep tenants, then you should have a basement with apartment facilities.” All this advice will help you make an informed choice.

Step 4- Find financing

“If you have paid all your bills on time since you’ve been in Canada and have a steady income, you will have a good credit rating. This means that it will be easier to obtain a mortgage or housing loan. Getting ‘pre-approved’ ( by your lending institution) determines how much you can afford , what your financing options are, and saves time when you find the home of your choice.”

While recent newcomers who have not had time to build up credit rating in Canada may find getting a mortgage more challenging, many financial institutions are recognising this hurdle and making it easier to newcomers to buy a home.

In terms of how much you should spend, Gurdev Singh says: “if you choose to buy a house that is more expensive than you had previously budgeted for, it not only means a bigger mortgage, but higher taxes and bigger utility bills.” You must ensure that you will be able to make all the payments without overstretching your finances.

Step 5- Start viewing houses

Be realistic when you start looking at homes. They wont be perfect and many will need some work or what’s often known as “TLC”(tender-loving care). “ While the way the house is staged influences your decision, you should understand that this setting is just one of many options, Décor can be changed to suit your tastes. The location of your home, room sizes, closet space and whether your windows face your neighbours are more important things to pay attention to.”

Step 6- Do a comparative market analysis and land title search

“ I always do a comparative market analysis (CMA) to ensure that the home you have chosen is worth its listing price, and the land title search is crucial for preventing mortgage fraud.” The title search, which can be requested by a lawyer or financial institution, will show the current deed any liens or mortgages registered on the title of the property in question.

Step 7- Make an offer

“Your realtor will help you decide on an appropriate purchase offer. How much you can negotiate depends on how inflated the listing price was, the CMA, whether the seller is willing to lower the price, if it is a distress sale, how long the home has been on the market, whether there are multiple offers and how badly you want the home.” Except in the case of a For Sale By Owner home, you will not be able to negotiate with the seller directly.

Offers are generally written up by your realtor and presented to the sellers and their realtors. Offers are also usually conditional to certain subjects like home inspections and mortgage approvals.

Step 8- Get a home inspection

Home inspections address structural concerns and bring light issues about the home you may not have been aware of like, the need for a new roof, structural problems or mould in the basement. Your realtor will suggest names of inspectors or you can opt for one that you know. “Home inspections buy peace of mind and provide valuable tips on home maintenance as well.” Many buyers waive inspections if the homes are constructed by reputed builders and are still under warranty, but I would not advide that.

Step 9- Closing

“once the home inspection is done and your mortgage ha been approved, your lawyer(your realtor can help with the names) will prepare the necessary legal documentation. The seller and you can decide on a convenient closing date when the keys will be handed over to you.” Try to choose the middle of the week, because it gets delayed by a day or two, you wont have to wait out the entire weekend.

Step 10- Move in!

Buying your first home is a tremendous achievement. Be aware of your options, think about your choices and make a decision based on what suits your needs best.