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Steps To Buying A Home

With every home buyer there will be nuances, but below are the typical key steps that I share with a potential home buyer.  The steps I’ve laid out below are in reasonable chronological order.  This is how I operate with my home buyer clients so they know what to expect and can anticipate what they need to do next. 

  • Figure out what you can afford!
    • Determine a price range that works best for you – give yourself a certain margin of safety so you don’t end up cash poor.
    • Get financing in place before you start looking – Pre-approval is critical because you can miss out on rare opportunities if your bank does not have the mortgage paperwork ready for you.
  • Nail down what you want/need in a home:
    • List the top 5 most important considerations in looking for your new home and understand why.
    • What are your preferred communities, style of home, age of home?
    • What is your ideal size of house, # of bedrooms, # of bathrooms?
  • Set up a 1 hour consultation with a realtor to educate yourself about the real estate industry & the technology available to help you (which is constantly changing).  Most importantly, have the realtor help you develop a plan that will get you what you want.  If you go into the home buying process without a strategy, you will waste a lot of time needlessly.
  • Assemble a team of experts – You will need professional help at various stages of the buying process:
    • There is no upfront cost in doing this & it saves you a lot of unnecessary stress later.
    • Use a Real Estate Professional that you like and trust – signing the Authorization form to have a realtor represent you means that the realtor is legally obligated to look out for your interests first & foremost.  And when you show that you are committed to working with a realtor they will go the extra mile for you!  This is to your advantage!! 
    • You will need a lawyer – to ensure proper title conveyancing and to work through unforeseen issues & questions if they arise.   
    • Home Inspector is always recommended to ensure there are no problems with your new home.
    • Condominium Document Reviewer to ensure the Condominium Corporation is well managed.
  • Get yourself set up on a Professional Home Search after figuring out your wants and needs:
    • A good realtor will ensure you receive immediate updates on all properties for sale that match exactly with what you are looking for.  No need to waste time trolling websites for homes.
  • Request private viewings through your realtor on your favourite homes:
    • View your favourite properties early to make sure you don’t miss any great buy opportunities.
  • Before making an Offer to Purchase on a home you really want, several critical things need to happen first:
    • A good realtor will:
      • Help you make sure the home meets your wants/needs and identify any concerns. 
      • Contact the seller to find out status of home (any offers or conditional sale).
      • Pull complete historical title search to check all registrations and encumbrances, liens, caveats, restrictive covenants, encroachments, HOAs or any unusual items tied to the property.
      • Obtain a current RPR and ensure property is in compliance with municipal bylaws.
      • Complete a proper valuation of the home before recommending a negotiation strategy.
      • Figure out what to include & exclude from an Offer to Purchase, along with key terms to include in the Purchase Contract (ie: possession date, subject to walk through, other terms as circumstance requires).
  • Realtor makes an Offer on your behalf, helps negotiate terms/conditions and finalizes the Offer to Purchase Contract.
  • Realtor helps you work through Conditions & any other items to finalize the transaction so it becomes a firm Purchase Contract:
    • Ensure your bank financing is in place.
    • Help you complete a home inspection to your satisfaction.
    • Help you with other tasks as required.
  • You will need to notify all affected parties about your move:
    • Stakeholders & service providers need to know your new mailing address.
    • Change of Address to magazine subscriptions, friends, employer, etc.
    • Set up utility services at new address & cancel at old address.
    • Arrange insurance on your new home for possession date.
  • Meet with your real estate lawyer to prepare for the “closing process” which occurs 1-2 weeks prior to possession date (money & title transfer process).
  • Pack down all your belongings from old address & arrange for movers.
    • You get keys to your new home on possession day around noon.
    • Budget time for yourself to clean out unwanted stuff from the old address.
    • Pack down all remaining items that you want to keep. 
    • Clean your old place for the next person(s) who will live there.

A good realtor should be your “go to” resource and trusted advisor on a real estate transaction.  Part of that responsibility includes regular communication to make sure everything is on track along the journey and help you out where needed.


Data is supplied by Pillar 9™ MLS® System. Pillar 9™ is the owner of the copyright in its MLS®System. Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by Pillar 9™.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.