Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you ever make financially. While it is a major commitment and responsibility, it can also be a thrilling experience and a very exciting time in your life. With that said, I would like to congratulate you on your decision to buy a new home! It is always a privilege to hand the homebuyers the keys to their new home and to be there for that moment of celebrating ownership.
Buying a new home can sometimes seem like a daunting process, but we want to assure you that my goal is to make that process as easy, carefree and rewarding as possible.
This home buying guide was put together with that focus in mind. It will inform you on what to expect throughout the home buying process, and it will also tell you what others involved in the transaction expect from you, as the buyer. You will find many helpful suggestions to help you make informed decisions, as an educated buyer, at each step of your purchasing process.
You will find this booklet most helpful if you view it as a “tool” you can use every step of the way. I’m also encourage my clients to use the blank pages at the back of this booklet – or to maintain a separate notebook – for jotting down specific questions and notations as they come up. Furthermore, carry your notebook to each home that you view to make notes that you can refer to over and over again.
Please review all of the information provided here carefully, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything you don’t understand. Although the information is covered as thoroughly as possible, every transaction is unique, and you may find that you have questions or concerns beyond the information presented to you in this booklet. That’s why I’m here – to assist you at each stage of the transaction, to answer your questions, and to help you find the home you desire!
As you embark on your mission of the finding the “perfect home”, remember that I’m with you each step of the way – I’m on your team!
Your initial impression may be that we have incorrectly placed the financing segment first. Actually, we’ve chosen to discuss finances at the beginning for a good reason; the buying experience usually goes smoother if the financing has already been secured before you begin searching for your home.
Most homebuyers find that they need to finance at least part of their home purchase. So, in many respects, owning your dream home hinges on your ability to get the financing you need, in the price range you can afford.
The very first step is ensuring that you are in an optimum buying position. This entails a careful review of your financial situation. Think of it as a means of “pre-qualifying yourself”.
Your Credit Report
A very basic, and yet very important, factor in your ability to get a mortgage is your credit rating. It is not a secret that the best interest rates, as well as the most flexible loan terms, are only available to those with the strongest credit scores. Your credit history is of the principal measures used by a lender to determine your interest rate. Not only will your monthly mortgage payment depend on your interest rate, but the amount you qualify to borrow will be affected by it as well. A higher interest rate translates into a higher payment and may reduce the loan amount for which you can qualify. You should make yourself aware of what information the credit reporting agencies have regarded your financial situation on. You can do this by obtaining and reviewing copies of your credit report from three main credit reporting agencies. Even if you are not planning to purchase a home, you may want to consider obtaining and reviewing your credit report on an annual basis to make sure that the information that is being provided is accurate, and to catch any discrepancies that could damage your credit. By making this task one of the initial steps in your house- hunting venture, you may save yourself from unnecessary delays later in the purchasing proves.
Credit report agencies
There are three major credit-reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian (formerly TRW) and Trans Union. Rather than contacting only one of them, we strongly suggest that you request a credit report from all three. Since not all creditors report to all three agencies, it’s not uncommon to find different information reported on each one. However, your goal in ordering all three credit reports is to make sure that all of the information stated on each report is accurate and correct. You can request your credit report from these companies for a nominal fee.
Once all of these costs are added up, you may become discouraged, thinking that you don’t have the necessary funds to purchase the home you want. However, chances are good that there are other possible sources of funds available that you have not yet considered.
In addition to savings accounts and proceeds from a home you already own, there are other less obvious sources of funding as well. These include:
Home Equity Loan – Your parents or other family members may have a considerable amount of equity built up in their own home that they were planning to borrow against in order to gift money to you for your upcoming home purchase.
Life Insurance – if you have a cash value policy, it may have accumulated an adequate amount of “available” funds from which you can borrow. More often than not, the interest rates on this type of loan are very favorable.
Stocks and Bonds – if you do not wish to sell your portfolio or feel this is an inappropriate market in to do so, then perhaps you can use it as a form of collateral.
Company Profit Sharing or Saving Plan – check with your employer to see about the possibility of withdrawing or borrowing from what you have in your account(s).
Retirement Saving Plan – if your employer offers this type of plan, inquire about the possibility of withdrawing or borrowing from this account as well.
If the suggestions above do not apply to you there are still other possibilities:
Mortgage Insurance – This insurance is required by the government if your down payment is less than 25% and is usually through CMHC, although there are other providers.
First time buyer financing – If you have not held title to a real estate in the past 3 years, you could qualify as a first time buyer.
Your lender can tell you about the ones for which you may qualify.
Determining your target price for a house is dependent upon the financing terms available to you as well as the amount you have available for a down payment. The monthly payment usually consists of principal with interest, plus taxes. There is also mortgage insurance through CMHC if your down payment is less than 25%
Banks Vs. Brokers – While there are many people who prefer to deal only with their regular banking institutions, it is suggested that you shop around for a lender and a loan most suited to your needs. There are so many different options available to consumers today, and with today’s competitive market, it may literally pay you to do as much homework as possible up front.
There will be some paper work we will need to go through of course. A contract between the two of us called a Buyer Brokerage Agreement, this covers how I represent you and our relationship together. Also, buyers do not pay commission I get paid from the seller 99.9% of the time. If it is a private sale by the owner I will approach them with a fee agreement.
LET THE HOUSE HUNTING BEGIN:
Once we have determined a comfortable price range, I will book viewings of the places you’d like to see! We’ll both send one another properties that you may be interested in viewing, and we will pick a couple days to book viewings at a time convenient for all. Each viewing usually takes 20-30 minutes.
YOU’VE FOUND THE ONE!
Once you want to make an offer on a property we will fill out an Agreement of Purchase and Sale and send it to the seller’s agent, we then negotiate until both parties agree on price and conditions, the time frame for this is usually within 24 hours.
MEETING THE CONDITIONS
Conditions that have to be met (on your part, with my help) within 7-10 days of the accepted offer are as follows:
**I will be here for you to help you through these 100% of the way!**
Once all of these conditions have been met, a SOLD sign will be placed on the property! (YAY!)
MLS® stands for "Multiple Listings Service". This is describes the system that the local governing Real Estate Board uses to publicize your home.
Newly listed properties are entered into the MLS® system once a new listing agreement has be signed. This is then downloaded to realtor.ca where everyone looking for a home can visit and view your home. Each week a smaller publication, the “Home Guide”, is distributed advertising the new listings for that week. This booklet is not only distructed to REALTORS®, but is free to the public.
The benefit of the MLS® system is information sharing. All of the Real Estate Agents now have immediate access to information on your home at their findertips. They can, in turn, pass this information onto their client. The successful SALE of your home!
For a Buyers point-of-view MLS® is a time saving device. The MLS® website (realtor.ca) sorts MLS® listings by the buyers criteria, area the city, and then by price within that area. There is also a corresponding map for those who may not be familiar with the city. You will know which houses will meet your criteria before you make an appointment to see them. It is then only a matter of charm and comfort as you will already have the facts
Each home listing on MLS® has photos and a detailed description of the property– this is called a “Cut Sheet”. A key to the information provided on the Cut Sheet, explaining the terminology, is provided on the next page...
A Real Estate professional will act as an expert– as a third party; we are in a much better position to maintain the asking price. When you try to sell your own home, the buyer becomes your adversary. You might not know whether or not the buyer is qualified. How about your asking price? Is it too high... too low?
Our objectives for you:
Service – Marketing, negotiating, helping. It’s our job. We service our clients. We succeed the old fashioned way – we earn it. Service is everything.
Knowledge – The road to enlightenment beings with knowledge. Knowledge + Experience = Success. We continually upgrade ourselves in our quest to better serve our clients.
Trust – We earn your trust. There are no shortcuts to building a trusting relationship. We treat each client the same way – with respect.
Experience – wisdom comes from experience. It’s a wise person who seeks advice from the most experienced. We know Real Estate.
Information – The key to success in Real Estate. The more information you have the easier it becomes to make intelligent decisions. We have experience and education to address all of your concerns.
Communication – opening the lines of communication between buyers and sellers is our job. One succeeds by communicating.
Integrity – Either you have it or you don’t. There is no substitute for honesty, integrity and knowledge. Our pledge is to be honest and “up-front” in disclosing information, to be straight forward in providing the details that you need when making one of the most important decisions of your life.
Ashley`s extensive knowledge and experience in Real Estate provides her a unique view of the real estate market and market trends that she is able to share with her clients to help them make the best decisions for their needs and desires. With her honest nature and outgoing personality, and with over 13 years of experience in sales and customer service, she is sure that you will enjoy your Real Estate experience with her!
A long time resident of Pictou County, and in the recent years Halifax (where she plans on growing old!), Ashley sells residential homes, including new construction, and commercial properties in the Halifax Regional Municipality and surrounding areas, as well as areas in Pictou County.
Over the years Ashley has had the opportunity to volunteer with many great organizations and loves helping out others when she can. Ashley was the 2013 Committee Chair for the Annual Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank’s dinner (30th Anniversary), she has spent many hours fundraising for; fostering and helping homeless kitties, has donated her time to the Nova Scotia Hospital in previous years, along with many other organizations.
Ashley takes great pride and specializes in finding first time home buyers the right home for them in the quickest time possible under the best conditions. At Royal LePage Atlantic, we use the latest internet technologies to market and find homes at an expert level.
“For all of your real estate needs and dreams, call Ashley, she can help!”
**Don’t forget to account for any moving expenses or hook up fees (Power, cable, internet, phone etc.)
WHEN PURCHASING A CONDOMINIUM:
Condo fees generally included city water, all exterior maintenance, snow and garbage removal, interior common area maintenance, and SOME include heat but not always, and also some times hot water.
You will be provided with a booklet on the Bylaws and Reserve fund study for the condo corp for your review. Many people feel it is beneficial to join the board/committee of your condo building.
You will provide your super/condo corp with a cheque from your bank account that your condo fees will be withdrawn from each month.
**NOTE: Read through the condominium by laws! There could be something in fine print you’re not happy with and could influence your decision to purchase**
DEED TRANSFER TAX – This is the tax that must be paid to the City or County in which the property is located. Halifax Regional Municipality charge one & half percent (1.5%) of the purchase price on top of his purchase price to reimburse the Vendor for taxes paid in advance, so be prepared. If you are getting a mortgage on the property, it may also be necessary to advance the mortgage company a portion of the taxes expected for the next year so that they can accumulate enough to pay your taxes for you when they become due.
FUEL ADJUSTMENT – A fuel adjustment is often made at closing. If the Vendor leaves two hundred or four hundred gallons of fuel on the property, then the Purchaser may have to come up with the current price of that amount of fuel at the closing. This is the usual procedure followed and is intended to help both parties get exactly what is due to them. It saves trying to guess how much fuel is in the tank.
LEGAL FEES – These are the fees payable at closing for the legal work involved in representing your interest in this matter. They do not include disbursements for things such as recording fees, tax certificates, abstracting fees, courier services, photocopying and deed transfer tax. It is extremely difficult to judge exactly what fees will be involved at the outset as it will depend on whether any problems arise and how much work is involve in straightening them out. Your lawyer will give a preliminary estimate to assist you in budgeting and will advise you as soon as possible if anything unexpected happens.
SURVEY CERTIFICATE – A purchase is strongly advised to obtain at least Cl Certificate of Location, if not a detailed boundary survey from a qualified surveyor. Your solicitor, can only advise if there is a good root of title to the metes and bounds description of your properly. A Certificate of Location is essentially a surveyor certifying that the building(s) on the property are located wholly within or not wholly within the boundaries as described in your metes and bounds description. A full survey involves the surveyor doing a detailed study and report on the property in question and the properties adjoining it. If Cl previous owner provides you with an old certificate, it is still our recommendation that you have this updated for your own protection, and that this be done forthwith. You should consider this carefully and advise your lawyer of your decision as soon as possible.
AMOUNT PAYABLE AT CLOSING – On or before the closing date, you will need to provide a cheque for the extra amount of money needed to do the transaction. This will be made up of the purchase price, deed transfer tax, recording fees, legal fees, disbursements, and any other adjustments less any credits to yourself. Your lawyer will advise what this amount is to be as soon as possible so that you can budget accordingly. Please note that because the lawyer will be issuing their own cheque on the funds immediately, trust regulations require that your cheque be certified.
DOCUMENTATION – The final documentation for your transaction, including the deed, detailed statement of adjustments and disbursements, etc., will be forwarded to you within a couple of weeks of the closing date.
FIRE INSURANCE – You will require at your earliest convenience, to provide a copy of the insurance policy protecting you against a financial loss from fire. The first loss· payable should be to your mortgage company. A letter signed by the insurance agent setting out the policy number, the insurance company, the amount of the coverage, effective date, location of property and full names of the insured with loss payable to the relevant mortgage company will be accepted in place of the actual policy. Your cooperation in obtaining such documentation will save work and consequently will assist in keeping your fees and disbursements at a minimum.
UTILITY CONNECTIONS – You should make contact with the various utility companies (telephone, cable TV, water, electricity, oil, etc.) as soon as possible to ensure uninterrupted service. Some may need several weeks advance notice to make the necessary connections.
PROPERTIES ON WELLS – If you are purchasing a property with a well, we strongly recommend that you personally attend to obtaining a water test immediately. The Pathology Lab on University Avenue in Halifax will give you the necessary information, test bottles, etc. If you find the water unacceptable, it is essential that you notify us immediately to discuss the situation further.
PROPERTIES UNDER CONSTRUCTION – If you are purchasing a properly under construction, we recommend that you visit the site regularly and keep us advised if the work is not progressing on schedule or if there are major problems. If you establish a good relationship with the contractor, you will probably be much happier with the end result.
On the day of closing, we will conduct a pre closing walk through inspection to insure the property is in the same condition (or better) than when we viewed it, basically making sure there’s no damage. Also, this allows us to make sure that all the things we have agreed to be included in the purchase ie: appliances, window coverings, shed etc., are all present. Once we are satisfied (or not satisfied) with the walk through inspection, it is time to call the lawyer to give the OK! The funds will then be transferred, which may take a few hours, but once they are your lawyer will call you to let you know you are now the new owner of insert property address here* and you now take possession and can move in!