CALGARY REAL ESTATE BUYERS GUIDE
Step 1. Deciding Where & What to Buy
Congratulations on taking this first step toward buying a home. Pride of home ownership is indeed one of life’s greatest joys and biggest accomplishments. It is an exciting time and my hope is that this guide will bring clarity and peace of mind during your home buying journey.
Let’s get started! The first step is deciding where you want to live, what type of home you are looking for and what features are “must have’s” or “would be nice to have’s” in a home. Invariably, there will be tradeoffs, but rest assured I am here to help sort through the options to find you the best house, at the best price and with as many of your wants and needs as possible.
Key Questions to Help You Get Started
- What type of home are you looking for? What style of home is best for you?
- What about the age of the home?
- How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?
- What are you looking for in a kitchen, family room? Do you want a separate dining room?
- What are your high priority features? Appliances, ensuite, fireplace?
- What other types of rooms do you need? Main floor laundry room, home office?
- What about storage space? Basements, lockers?
- Do you need a garage or extra parking spaces?
Step 2. Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
The mortgage industry is a highly competitive field and it is important to understand that interest rates can change at any time. Partnering with a mortgage broker or financial institution to help you find the right mortgage product at the best rate is key to your home buying process.
5 Easy Steps to Get You Pre-Approved For a Mortgage
- Talk with a mortgage specialist. There are hundreds of options to choose from when it comes to lenders. Independent mortgage brokers tend to offer the most options because they do not just work with one bank. However, if you have a good relationship with your bank or financial institution, contact them as your first step towards finding the right mortgage for you. But be sure to compare rates.
- Complete and submit your application with the mortgage broker. They will collect your financial and personal information in order to find out how much mortgage you can carry.
- Gather all the necessary documents. The mortgage broker will give you a list of documents that the banks/lenders need to finalize the mortgage.
- Verification of your details. They will do their checks and balances to make sure that you are not getting in over your head.
- Obtain a copy of your pre-approval. This is a powerful negotiating tool. The seller of your dream home will feel more confident that you are the right person.
Having that Pre-Approval Documentation Can Offer You Several Benefits:
- Save you time by only looking at properties that you can afford.
- Save you money. Rate guarantees and mortgage terms can save you money for years to come.
- Less stress throughout the process. You will know that you are ready and capable of buying a home.
- Get a better deal on the home that you want. Sellers like to know that buyers already have
- Financing in place.range and you help your competition sell faster.
- Is energy efficiency important? Newer windows or a high-efficiency furnace?
- How is your daily commute? How easy is it to get to the places you need to go?
- How close do you need to be to transit, shopping, schools, hospitals?
- Are there any important location factors? Backing on to parks, road traffic?
- What size of yard are you looking for? Is the backyard important? Or is a side yard okay?
- What other landscaping features are important? A fenced yard, play areas, pool, gardens?
- Is it important what direction the house faces?
- Who are you sharing this home with and what are their needs?
- How much do you want to invest beyond the purchase price of the home? MattCornelsen.com
- How long do you plan to live here?
Step 3. Choosing the Right REALTOR®
First, it’s important that you understand whose interests REALTORS® are legally bound to serve in a real estate transaction.
The Listing Agent
The Listing Agent is under contract with the seller to market and sell their property for the best possible price. Working with a listing agent means that they can:
- Arrange a showing of the property.
- Assist with financing the property.
- Provide details about the property.
- Explain all the forms and agreements related to buying the property.
Your Personal REALTOR®
When you engage the services of your own personal agent—someone who is under contract to work solely in your best interest—you get all of the same services listed above plus your personal Realtor® provides:
- Confidential assistance that addresses your needs first.
- Honest, loyal and diligent care, free from any conflicts of interest.
- Access to all listings including MLS, bank-owned properties, distress and estate sales, even homes that were previously on the market where the seller might still be interested in selling.
- Expert advice on useful clauses such as home inspections and financing to protect you fully.
- Expert negotiation of the offer to purchase, to achieve the best possible price and terms.
- Expert advice on market value, inclusions, location, as well as help you decide when you should walk away.
- Discovery and disclosure of all information about the property including liens, warranties, disclosures, seller’s purchase price, and market and planning activity in the area.
As your Personal REALTOR®, our job is to ensure you are an educated buyer in all aspects of your home buying process.
Step 4. Becoming an Educated Buyer
The Matt Cornelsen Home Buyer Service Program
My exclusive Home Buyer Service Program will empower you with key market information and every possible advantage to ensure you become an educated buyer. Educated buyers are able to make informed decisions creating a stress free and enjoyable home buying process. Here’s what to expect:
- Absolutely no fees or costs to you as my buyer.
- Access to property listings from a variety of advanced property search programs.
- Access to a database of expired listings that may reconsider selling.
- Proactive prospecting within your desired area to locate potential sellers with homes that match your criteria, that are not actively for sale on the market now but may be considering selling.
- Access to For Sale By Owner homes that match your criteria. » Up-to-the-minute access to the best deals on the market, including brand new MLS listings, newly price reduced properties, current bank power of sales, new home options, private sales and deals under contract that have fallen through.
- The most current real estate market information that may impact your buying decision, including mortgage changes, statistical sales data on median house prices, sales and months of inventory, local area market changes, trends and much more.
- Choose different styles and types of home that meet your needs.
- Drive by the home and area for your first impression.
- Select a maximum of 5 homes to visit in one day (3 to 4 is best).
- Schedule time after the showings to sit down and discuss the homes’ merits.
Step 5. Making an Educated Offer
The ongoing communication and education you will receive from our team will empower you to get the best possible deal on the home that you desire. You’ve found the one. Fantastic! Here’s what happens next:
You’ve found the one. Fantastic! Here’s what happens next:
- I will conduct a detailed CMA (Comprehensive Market Analysis) complete with comparable active and expired listings, recent solds and historical data relevant to determining the market value of the home. This will empower you to make an informed decision.
- I will prepare an offer that protects you, follows your instructions and matches your schedule and needs.
- I will explain the details of the offer, the terms and suggest options for specialty clauses ensuring you know exactly what you are agreeing to.
- I will present and negotiate the offer on your behalf to get you the home that you want at the price and terms you want.
What happens after this?
- The seller may accept your offer – congratulations!
- The seller may reject your offer – not common, but it can happen and I would endeavour to find out why.
- The seller may counter sign, changing the terms of the offer and present the offer to back to you.
- Our negotiations continue to reach agreeable terms between the seller and yourself, or until I know an agreement cannot be reached and it is time to walk away.
Step 6. Conditions, Home Inspections and Waivers
The offer has been accepted. Now we need to satisfy the conditions.
This usually involves performing a home inspection, getting the rest of your personal information and the property information to your mortgage broker or bank, and arranging for the other information that might be necessary, like surveys, water tests and condominium documents. I will help you make the necessary arrangements to ensure that the entire process runs smoothly before the deadline. Next, you will need to add some people to your team.
Finding a Home Inspector
Home inspections allow you to scrutinize the details of the home and save you from some unpleasant surprises. I would be happy to recommend a reputable home inspector, however, when making your decision:
- Ensure the home inspector checks for visible issues with plumbing, electrical systems, the roof, insulation, walls, ceilings, floors and windows, and the condition of the foundation. They can also check that included chattels, like furnaces and air conditioners, are in working order.
- Ensure your home inspector gives you an up close and personal look at your new home. They will also give you maintenance tips and easy fix-ups, if necessary.
- Ensure that in the end, you receive a detailed report that summarizes the condition of your home.
Choosing a Lawyer
Lawyers are an invaluable member of your team whose job is to ensure that you get what you are paying for. Your lawyer will ensure:
- There is nothing on title that is not supposed to be there.
- The property taxes, utilities and condo fees, if applicable, are up to date.
- You have all the information that you need about your new home.
- Your mortgage lender is satisfied and that your mortgage is secured on property title as required by your mortgage agreement.
- You know exactly how much money you will need in order complete the transaction on closing day.
Step 7. Preparing to move
Typically you will have anywhere from 30 to 90 days to get everything ready for your home. It could be shorter or longer, depending on what you need and have agreed upon with the seller. The closing date is usually the same as your move-in date. It is a good idea to get things organized well in advance of the closing date to reduce the stress of the move.
- Lawyers: I will send your lawyer the information about your purchase. You will need to provide the lawyer with some additional information: insurance, down payment information, fee payments, adjustment payments and possibly other signed documents that they ask you for. You will meet with the lawyer about a week before the closing to finalize everything.
- Down Payment and Closing Costs: Make the necessary arrangements to have the funds available when the lawyer asks for it. Liquidating some assets can require some additional time.
- Movers: Whether you are using professional movers, renting a truck or getting a bunch of friends together, plan and organize it early.
- Insurance: The lawyers will need a copy of your home insurance before closing so that the financial institution will release the money to them. Call your insurance broker with the listing information. They might also want to know the age of the house, the condition of the roof, furnace, electrical system, as well as other general information.
- Change of Address: It’s time to start giving out your new address to everyone. Use my checklist to make sure you have everyone covered.
- Utilities: It is important that you call the local utilities to get their services changed into your name. These include phone, internet, television, gas, electricity, water, and any rental agreements. Remember, too, to cancel the services at your old address.
Step 8. Move In - Enjoy!
Common Closing Costs
Funds to cover your down payment and closing costs will most likely have to be in the form of abank draft or wire transfer to your lawyer’s trust account. Your lawyer will detail the exact amounts required for:
- Balance of down payment after initial deposit with offer.
- Mortgage Loan Administration and/or Appraisal Fees, if applicable.
- Points, or loan discount fees, you pay to receive a lower interest rate, if applicable.
- Credit report fees.
- Mortgage insurance premiums if applicable (CMHC).
- Land Transfer Tax and Title Registration Fees.
- Title insurance policy premiums.
- Survey expense if applicable.
- Legal fees and associate disbursements (couriers, copies etc.).
- Pro-rated amounts for your share of any prepaid costs, such as utility bills and property taxes.
Initial Listing Commission: 7% on the first $100,000 and 3% on the remaining balance of the sale price.
The Break Down: The total commission gets divided between the buyer’s Realtor’s and the listing Realtor’s.
Develop a master “to do” list so you won’t forget something critical.
Purge! Get rid of things you no longer want or need. Have a garage sale, donate to a charity, or recycle.
Before throwing something out remember to ask yourself how frequently you use an item and how you would feel if you no longer had it.
Pack like items together. Put toys with toys, kitchen utensils with kitchen utensils.
Decide what, if anything, you plan to move yourself. Precious items, such as family photos, valuable breakables, or must-haves during the move, should probably stay with you.
Use the right box for the item. Loose items encourage breakage.
Put heavy items in small boxes so they are easier to lift. Keep weight under 50 lbs. if possible.
Do not over-pack boxes and increase the chances they will break.
Wrap every fragile item separately and pad the bottom and sides of boxes.
Label every box on all sides. You never know how they will be stacked and you do not want to have to move other boxes aside to find out what is there.
Use color-coded labels to indicate which room each item should go in. Color-code a floor plan for your new house to help movers.
Keep your moving documents together, including phone numbers, driver’s name and van number. Also keep your address book handy.
Back up your computer files before moving your computer.
Inspect each box and all furniture for damage as soon as it arrives. Remember, most movers won’t take plants.
My Service Providers
||Condo Doc Review|
Ryan Lannone – Dominion Lending Calgary
|Reagan Wright – First Choice Mortgage Solutions
|Nina Bhasin – condo doc inspection centre www.cdicinspections.com|
|Ryan Van Kessel of Prospections
|Don Letterio – Residential Valuation Services Inc.
|Reuben Meyer – Buyers choice home inspections
|Sean Green- Summit Legal Group
|Sarah Arcuri – Maxwell Canyon Creek
|Geoff Horne – Cameron Horne Law Office