The Buying Process

Making An Offer



When it comes time to make an offer you will require current market information and assistance in drafting your offer. You will need a Real Estate Professional.
A Real Estate Professional will communicate your Offer to Purchase to the seller, or the seller's representative, on your behalf. Sometimes there may be more than one offer on a property at the same time. A Real Estate Professional can guide you through this process.
Firm Offer to Purchase

Usually preferable to the seller because it means buyers are prepared to purchase the home without any conditions.
Conditional Offer to Purchase

Usually means there are one or more conditions on the purchase, such as "subject to home inspection", "subject to financing" or "subject to sale of buyer's existing home". The home is not sold until all the conditions have been met.
Acceptance of Offer

An Offer to Purchase is presented to a seller who may accept the offer, reject it, or submit a counter-offer. The counter-offer may be in reference to the price, closing date, or any number of variables. Offers can go back and forth until both parties have agreed to terms or either side ends the negotiations.

Closing Costs


Real Estate Closing Costs
Closing costs are a list of charges your lawyer presents to you on the closing date of your home. Many people are surprised at the additional costs over and above the price of the home. According to the CMHC and Genworth Financial you should have at least 1.5% of the purchase price for closing costs in addition to the down payment (have around 2.5% to be on the safe side). The costs vary among provinces and cities.
Below you will find a brief explanation of these costs. Please note these are some of the closing costs you may encounter depending on your specific situation. Use this as a guideline then talk with your lawyer who can provide a more realistic estimate for your situation.
Home Inspection Fee Generally Required with Resale Homes
Appraisal Fee Generally Required with New Homes

An appraisal provides the lender with a professional opinion of the market value of the property. This cost is normally the responsibility of the homeowner and it can cost between $100 - $300.
Home Inspection Fee Generally Required with Resale Homes

A professional inspection of the home, top to bottom, is for the benefit of the buyer. A home inspection can cost anywhere from $300 - $400 and is well worth the investment. When hiring a home inspector make sure the inspector has liability insurance just in case they overlook something.
Fire Insurance

Mortgage lenders require a certificate of fire insurance to be in place from the time you take possession of the home. The amount required is generally the amount of the mortgage or the replacement cost of the home. This cost can vary on the property size, amount of coverage, the insurance company and the municipality. The cost can vary anywhere from $250-$600 annually for most properties.
Provincial Sales Tax on Mortgage Insurance

If your mortgage is insured, (CMHC or Genworth Financial), you will be required to pay the applicable taxes on the insurance premium on closing. While the insurance premium can be added to the mortgage amount, the tax must be paid at closing.
Land Survey Fee or Title Insurance Fee

A recent survey of the property is usually required by lenders. If one is not available the cost can range between $600 - $900 for a new survey. In lieu of the survey most lenders today will accept title insurance which can cost considerably less.
Legal Costs and Disbursements

Lawyers and notaries charge fees for their services involved in drafting the title deed, preparing the mortgage, and conducting the various searches.
Disbursements are out-of-pocket expenses incurred during the process such as registrations, searches, and supplies.
Land Transfer Tax

Most provinces charge a land transfer tax payable by the purchaser. The amount varies depending on the province. Land transfer tax is based on the purchase price. First time home buyers purchasing a new or re-sale home may be entitled to a refund.
New Home Warranty

In most provinces new homes are covered by a new home warranty program. The cost to the purchaser for this warranty is approximately $600 and should the builder default or fail to build to an agreed-upon standard the fund will finish or repair the deficiencies to a maximum amount. For more information on Ontario new home warranty visit http://www.tarion.com.
Land Transfer Tax
HST

HST is payable on the purchase of a newly constructed homes only. If you are purchasing a new home make sure you know who pays this, you or the builder. On the offer the purchase price will say "Plus HST" or "HST Included" and who gets any HST rebates. Many builders have included this cost into the purchase price so the buyer does not have to come up with it at closing.
Closing Adjustments

An estimate should be made for closing adjustments for bills the seller has prepaid such as property taxes, utility bills, and other charges. Any bills after the closing date are the responsibility of the purchaser. A lawyer will let you know what they are once the various searches have been completed.

Land Transfer Tax


Purchasers in most large Canadian centres can add Land Transfer Taxes to their list of closing costs.
Unless you live in Alberta, Saskatchewan, or rural Nova Scotia, land transfer taxes (or property purchase tax) are a basic fact of life. These taxes, levied on properties that are changing hands, are the responsibility of the purchaser. Depending on where you live, taxes can range from a half a per cent to two per cent of the total value of the property.
Many provinces have multi-tiered taxation systems that can prove complicated. If you purchase a property for $260,000 in Ontario, for example, .5 per cent is charged on the first $55,000, 1 per cent is charged on $55,000 - $250,000, while the $250,000 - $400,000 range is taxed at 1.5 per cent. Your total tax bill? $2,375.00.
The following list shows Land Transfer Taxes by province.

Ontario

Land Transfer Tax
Up to $55,000 X .5 % of total property value
From $55,000 to $250,000 X 1 % of total property value
From $250,000 to $400,000 X 1.5 % of total property value
From $400,000 up X 2 % of total property value
British Columbia

Property Purchase Tax
Up to $200,000 X 1 % of total property value
From $200,000 up X 2 % of total property value
Manitoba

Land Transfer Tax
Up to $30,000 N/A
From $30,000 to $90,000 X .5 % of total property value
From $90,000 to $150,000 X 1 % of total property value
From $150,000 up X 1.5 % of total property value
Quebec

Transfer Tax
Up to $50,000 X .5 % of total property value
From $50,000 to $250,000 X 1 % of total property value
From $250,000 up X 1.5 % of total property value
Nova Scotia

Land Transfer Tax
Halifax Metro

1.5 per cent on total property value
Outside Halifax County

Check with local municipality.

How Much Can I Afford


Enter in the following information and click Calculate.
Note: This calculation is based on a 25 year amortization schedule. A longer amortization will positively affect the affordability of a property.

Annual Family Income:    
Annual Property Taxes: (estimate)    
Monthly Heating Costs/Condo Fees: (estimate)    
Minimum Monthly Payments for Loans/Credit Cards:    
Monthly Secondary Financing Payment:    
Interest Rate:    

Maximum Mortgage:         
Monthly Payment:         

Title Insurance Explained



Title insurance is growing in popularity in Canada. But what is it exactly? Should you get it? Do you need it? Whether title insurance is right for you is something you should discuss with your lawyer, as it depends on the circumstances of your transaction. This article will provide you with some background information about title insurance to help you make an informed decision.
Title to Property

Title is the legal term for ownership of property. Buyers want "good and marketable" title to a property - good title means title appropriate for the buyer's purposes; marketable title means title the buyer can convey to someone else. Prior to closing, public records are "searched" to determine the previous ownership of the property, as well as prior dealings related to it. The search might reveal, for example, existing mortgages, liens for outstanding taxes, utility charges, etc., registered against the property. At closing the buyer expects property that is free of such claims, so normally they must be cleared up before closing. For example, the seller's mortgage will be discharged and outstanding monetary expenses (such as taxes and utility charges) will be paid for (or adjusted for) at closing.
Sometimes problems (or defects) regarding title are not discovered before closing, or are not remedied before closing. Such defects can make the property less marketable when the buyer subsequently sells and, depending on the nature of the problem, can also cost money to remedy. For example, the survey might have failed to show that a dock and boathouse built on a river adjoining a vacation property was built without permission. The buyer of the property could be out-of-pocket if he is later forced to remove the dock and boathouse. Or, the property might have been conveyed to a previous owner fraudulently, in which case there is the risk that the real owner may come forward at some point and demand their rights with respect to the property.
Who is Protected With Title Insurance
Who is Protected With Title Insurance?

Title insurance policies can be issued in favour of a purchaser (on new/resale homes, condos and vacation properties), a lender, or both the purchaser and lender. Lenders will sometimes require title insurance as a condition of making the loan. Title insurance protects purchasers and/or lenders against loss or damage sustained if a claim that is covered under the terms of the policy is made.
Types of risks that are usually covered under a title insurance policy include: survey irregularities; forced removal of existing structures; claims due to fraud, forgery or duress; unregistered easements and rights of-way; lack of pedestrian or vehicular access to the property; work orders; zoning and set back non-compliance or deficiencies; etc. For a risk to be covered, generally it has to have existed as of the date of the policy. As with any type of insurance policy, certain types of risks might not be covered, for example, native land claims and environmental hazards are normally excluded. Be sure to discuss with your lawyer what risks are covered and what are excluded.
The insured purchaser is indemnified for actual loss of damage sustained up to the amount of the policy, which is based on the purchase price. As well, some policies have inflation coverage, which means that if the fair market value of the property increases, the policy amount will also increase (up to a set maximum).
How Long is the Insurance Coverage?

In the case of title insurance covering the purchaser, title insurance remains in effect as long as the insured purchaser has title to the land. Some policies also protect those who received title as a result of the purchaser's death, or certain family members (e.g., a spouse or children) to whom the property may have been transferred for a nominal consideration.
In the case of title insurance covering a lender, the policy remains in effect as long as the mortgage remains on title. A lender covered under a title insurance policy is insured in the event the lender realizes on its security and suffers actual loss or damage with respect to a risk covered under the policy. Lenders are usually covered up to the principal amount of the mortgage.
The premium for title insurance is paid once (at the time of purchase). Generally speaking, in Canada the purchaser of the property pays for the title insurance, though there can be situations where the seller pays for it. Some policies automatically cover both the purchaser and lender; others will cover both for a small additional fee.
How Long is the Insurance Coverage
Protection and Peace of Mind

Title insurance can help ensure that a closing is not delayed due to defects in title. And, if an issue relating to title arises with respect to a risk covered under the policy, the title insurance covers the legal fees and expenses associated with defending the insured's title and pays in the event of loss.

Renting Versus Home Ownership



This is a decision which many people face, and the decision is not as easy to make as it may sound.
As a homeowner, you can reasonably expect the equity in your home to increase over time as your mortgage is paid down. That, combined with regular appreciation in property values, can be a rapid and rewarding way to increase your net worth. In contrast, the person renting over the same amount of time is left with no property investment but may have enjoyed lower living expenses and the opportunity to invest in other opportunities.
When comparing owning to renting, you have to add up all of the figures, including the cost of your home, the size of your down payment, utilities, immediate repairs, interest rates and insurance, and compare them with how much you are currently spending on rent.
Of course, you also have to place a value on the enjoyment and satisfaction that you will derive from owning your own home.

Elements of an Offer Explained



There are six key components to the elements of an offer. They are:
Price

Depending on the local market conditions and information provided by me, your Real Estate Professional, the price you offer may be different from the seller's price.
Deposit

Your deposit shows good faith and will be applied against the purchase of the home when the sale closes. As your Real Estate Professional I can advise you on an appropriate amount.
Terms

Includes the total price offered and the financing details. You arrange your own financing or ask to assume the seller's mortgage, especially if it has an attractive interest rate.
Conditions

These might include "subject to home inspection", "subject to you obtaining financing", or "subject to you selling your property".
Inclusions and Exclusions

These might include appliances and certain fixtures or decorative items, such as window coverings or mirrors. These items would remain in the house.
Closing or Possession Date

Generally, the day the title of the property is legally transferred and the transaction of funds finalized.

Greater Savings with a Greater Down Payment



The size of a down payment can vary. Depending on the type of mortgage, down payments generally range from 5% to 20% of the purchase price.
To obtain a conventional mortgage, home buyers are required to put down at least 20% of the purchase price or appraised value (whichever is less) as a down payment. If you don't have the necessary time or resources to save a full 20% down payment, you can choose a high-ratio mortgage and buy a home with a down payment of as little as 5%. This option is called a high-ratio mortgage and it requires you to purchase default insurance.
Whether you choose a conventional or a high-ratio mortgage, one thing is almost always certain: the larger your down payment, the more you save in the long run.
Want more information? Visit the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency Publication.
A larger down payment...

Reduces the amount of your monthly principal and interest payment
Reduces the total amount of interest you pay over the life of your mortgage
Ask about the RSP Home Buyers Plan
Ask about the RSP Home Buyers' Plan

The RSP Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) lets a first-time buyer withdraw up to $25,000 from RSPs for a home purchase. The withdrawn amount must be repaid within 15 years, subject to a minimum annual repayment that is 1/15 of the amount withdrawn. If the full $25,000 is withdrawn, the minimum annual repayment is $1,333. If less than the minimum is repaid in any particular year, the balance is added to the taxpayer's income.
Insuring Your High-Ratio Mortgage

CMHC or Genworth Financial may insure a mortgage for up to 95% of the lending value of the house. Therefore, purchasers do not need a large down payment. Eligible borrowers include anyone who buys a home in Canada intending to occupy it as their principal residence. And the availability of government-backed mortgage insurance is restricted to homes with a value of $1 million or less
Purchasers can use up to 39% of their gross family income for payments of mortgage principal and interest, property taxes and heating. A buyer's total debt load (including consumer loans, etc.) cannot exceed 44% of the gross family income.
Insuring Your High-Ratio Mortgage
People who insure a mortgage loan with CMHC or Genworth pay a premium. The premium is based on the down payment and loan amount. A list of the mortgage insurance premiums can be found here.
Cost:
Premiums can be paid up front or added to the principal amount of the mortgage.
Loan Amount:
Up to 95% of the lending value of the house.
Mortgage Term:
To be set by the lending institution.
Max. House Price:
Varies by market.
Want more information? Visit the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation or Genworth Financial websites.

What to Expect from a Real Estate Professional An Explanation of the Process



What to Expect From a Real Estate Professional
A REALTOR® will not take it for granted that you know all the ins and outs of the buying/ selling process. Instead, he or she will provide you with a full explanation of what to expect and that's important so you're not faced with any surprises along the way.
An Assessment of Your Needs

One of the first questions a REALTOR® will ask is, Why are you moving? A REALTOR® will also explore any time constraints you might have (perhaps imposed by the need to relocate for employment), your financial situation and any future plans.
A Plan to Find Your Dream Home

A REALTOR® will help you identify what you want in your new residence. A pool? A garage? An extra room? A particular building design? What about the neighbourhood? Proximity to schools or work? A REALTOR® will compare your needs, wants and budget with what is available on the market and make recommendations that save you time and effort.
He or she will also accompany you as you view houses and help you assess their suitability and price. As an expert on a property, a REALTOR® can provide facts on the neighbourhoods, the cost of heating, the condition of the furnace, and so on. In other words, he or she will work with you to achieve your dream.
Access to Properties for Sale

Multiple Listing Service® or MLS® is an exclusive service accessible only through a REALTOR® and it can be a valuable tool. Through MLS®, the details of a wide variety of listed properties are made available to the REALTOR® you work with. That can save you a tremendous amount of time and effort in your hunt for the right home.
Knowledge of Financing Options

REALTORS® have extensive knowledge of the financing choices available to home buyers and their options and obtaining financing at the most attractive prevailing rates and terms.
A Skilled Negotiator
A Skilled Negotiator

REALTORS® are experienced in arranging fair deals. He or she will assist in negotiating an offer, acting as a mediator to head off potential conflicts between you and the seller, and draw up a legally binding agreement.
Honesty and Integrity

Most real estate professionals in our province are member of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) and only members of OREA can call themselves REALTORS®
When you work with a REALTOR®, you can expect not only strict adherence to provincial laws, but also adherence to a Code of Ethics. And that code is very important to you because it assures you will receive the highest level of service, honesty and integrity.
Highest Professional Standards

Before receiving a real estate license, candidates must successfully complete an extensive course of study developed by OREA on behalf of the Real Estate Council Ontario. That is only the beginning: in the first two years of practice, licensees are required to successfully complete three additional courses as part of their articling with an experienced broker. In addition, all licensees must continue to attend courses throughout their careers in order to maintain their license.
"The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license."
"The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Associate (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license."