Seven Steps to Home Ownership
Making Your Dream Home a Reality...




When you work with Bruce Witchel, he wants you to be informed, educated and prepared throughout the home buying process. His job is to listen carefully to your wants, needs and priorities and provide you with customized advice until you find your next dream home. Bruce understands that you are not simply buying a home, but a lifestyle, inclusive of the neighbourhood, access to amenities, quality of schools and easy access to transit.  He will provide all the materials, knowledge and timely advice you require to assist you in making the right decisions; guide you through the entire process; personally present your offers and negotiate your deal to its final close.           

Having a clear idea of the steps of home buying will provide you with the confidence and assurance that your purchase will go according to plan. It will also assist you in knowing what your role is and what others expect from you. Whether you are planning to purchase your first home, or are thinking of upsizing, downsizing or buying an investment property, following this time-tested steps will set you up for home buying success!  

Step One: Making the Decision to Buy

· Define Your Wants and Needs: Make Your List of “Must Haves,” ”Would Like,” “Indifferent,” and “No Way!” criteria for your new home.

“Must Have” items are features in your new home that you can’t live without, like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, style of home, finished basement, location and proximity to schools and work. These are non-negotiable and are absolutely required or you will not purchase, for any reason.

Then, list “Would Like” items. If you could picture your dream home, what features and amenities would make you enjoy the home more than others, such as a master ensuite or a family room, or den/office, or walking distance to transit? Think of the nice-to-have features that would be welcome, but are not absolutely required.

Finish by listing features that you are “Indifferent” to and features you definitely do not want in your new home – your “No Way!” items. Your “No Way!” items are as important as the items you want as they will identify the type of home or location you would never purchase, and can narrow down your choices considerably, leading to less time spent on your search. By creating your Buyer Wish List in advance, you are creating a valuable document that will assist you, and your Realtor®, throughout the entire home search process.  

· Know The Types Of Homeownership.  Familiarize yourself with the difference between Freehold and Condominium – New, Resale or Conversions.  Considering a new build? Check out our resource Thinking About Buying a New Build?  and discover how Bruce can successfully assist you through that process.  

· Understand Market Conditions. Understanding the real estate market that you are buying into is critical. The real estate market is largely driven by a concept known as supply and demand and, depending on current conditions, can create advantages or disadvantages for the home buyer. Understanding Market Conditions will allow you to take the best advantage of current conditions in your local market.  

Step Two: Choosing an Agent

Purchasing a home is one of the most important financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. It is a complicated transaction that requires professional knowledge and guidance that only an experienced real estate sales representative can provide. A skilled Buyers Representative will guide you through the entire home buying process. They understand the local market conditions and are experts in their field. They are best positioned to negotiate with the Sellers Representative and act as your advisor, consultant and negotiator until the deal is closed. Choosing a Top Agent like Bruce - a consistent Top Performer and an Annual Sutton Group “Platinum Award” Winner- ensures you are working with a real estate professional who will make it happen! 

Step Three: Understanding Financing  



Planning ahead is the key to success. Before you start shopping for a home, you should know the price range you can afford. 

· Getting Pre-Approved: Mortgage Pre-Approval is a critical step needed before the house hunting process begins. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage confirms how much financing you are approved for to buy your new home, allowing you to start the house hunting process focusing on properties within your price range. Then, when you find that perfect dream home, you can proceed knowing that you have already met the necessary financing conditions. 

Step Four: Finding Your Home

Now it’s time to get out there and find your dream home. Most people start off by having a neighbourhood in mind but Bruce may suggest options that you may not have thought of. Here are some considerations as you set out on the house hunt.
 
· Choosing the Right Neighbourhood: Think “big picture” and consider your future lifestyle requirements. Do you need to be close to schools, public transit, highways or your place of employment? And let’s not forget proximity to other amenities like parks, recreational facilities, grocery stores and doctor and dentist offices. Drive around and check the appearance of other homes in the area. Are they well taken care of? Take a few minutes to speak with a potential new neighbor. Is this a neighbourhood that meets your criteria and fulfils your lifestyle needs? 

· House Hunting: Document each home you visit. Analyze how it compares against your Buyer Wish List of “Must Haves”, “Would Like”, “Indifferent” and “No Way!” items. Make notes, take pictures and don’t be afraid to ask tough properties about each property you visit. This process will help you to focus on the homes that meet your criteria and quickly eliminate those that don’t, moving your house search along much faster! 

· View All Properties With A Critical Eye: Assess such things as the age of the home, how the property has been maintained over the years and obvious signs of problems, such as a damp basement, aged windows and doors, water damage, squeaky floors, poor exterior drainage, damaged or missing shingles etc. This will help you in determining your final offer price for each home and assess upfront if this properly is right for you! 

· You are in Control: Bruce’s Exclusive, Advanced Email Notification will send you all of the homes that match your search – once every day. You set the pace and can choose any home that appeals to you, viewing the stats and pictures, even virtual tours, right from the comfort of your home. These homes will be sent to you as soon as they are listed on TREB, giving you access a few days before other buyers see the listing on MLS.ca. 

Step Five: Making an Offer
 
If you have fallen in love with a home, its location and area amenities, then it’s time to do some due diligence before making an offer. Bruce will assist you by showing you all the comparable properties that have sold and are available for sale in the area, so that you can have some idea of what you would like to offer when it comes to purchasing your home. You may wish to take a tour of the neighbourhood as well, speak with neighbours and even the city planning office to see what future changes may occur in the area.

A Few Things You Should Know About the Offer Process:
· Not All Offers Are The Same: The main factors on most offers will include price, deposit, terms, conditions, special items that are included or not with the home and the closing date. From there you can decide to make a ‘firm” offer which means that you are willing to buy the home exactly as it is. Or, you could make the offer “conditional” on things like a home inspection, approval of financing or the sale of your existing home.    

· Negotiating May Come Into Play: The seller can either accept your offer, make changes to your offer, present you with a counter- offer or reject your offer completely.  Generally, there are several counter-offers back and forth until a final agreement is made.  

You’re in Good Hands with Bruce at Your Side:
Bruce’s years of experience are with you when you choose to make an offer to purchase your new dream home. He will provide you with the highest level of service and get you the best deal by: 

· Helping you prepare your offer to purchase: Bruce will review all of the items in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale so that you are fully aware of all the legal aspects of the contract you are offering to the sellers, and what your responsibilities include. He will provide you with strategy options and you can choose how you would like to have the offer presented.
· Presenting the offer on your behalf: Bruce will follow your instructions and will use all of his varied skills to present your offer in the best possible light, making it that much more appealing to the sellers.
· Negotiating all terms and conditions and ensuring that your rights are protected: Bruce’s job is to get you the best home at the best price on your terms.

The Deposit:
The deposit shows the seller that you are serious and committed to buying the home.  It is held in trust until the closing of the sale and will be applied against the purchase of the home. You must provide a deposit within 24 hours to the listing Brokerage. This is usually a certified cheque in the range of 5% of the purchase price) unless stipulated differently in the agreement. Once completed, the home is sold conditionally until the conditions are waived or fulfilled.

Step Six: Doing Your Homework

At this stage in the home buying process, you will now need to consult with a few industry pros to help you get to the finish line and make sure the investment you are about to make is sound. Bruce Witchel works with a team of real estate industry professionals and will provide you with a list of several top mortgage brokers, real estate lawyers, home inspectors and qualified tradespeople for you to consult. Here a few key people you should be talking to: 

· A Home Inspector. Before purchasing a home, it is very important to know the true condition of the home. If the home is free of needed repairs, you can move forward confidently with your purchase price, knowing that you will not need to do costly repairs in the future. If repairs to the home are needed, you can negotiate with the seller either to complete the repairs prior to taking possession of the property or negotiate a reduced asking price. Based on the results of your home inspection, you can make informed decisions and move forward with confidence. Once you take possession of the home, it will be up to you to maintain and repair it. That’s why a home inspection is the most important step, following the purchase of a home. 
Bruce Witchel feels so strongly about this, that he will reimburse you for the entire cost of the home inspection upon the successful closing of a home that you purchase with him!  Bruce is very proud to offer you this unique benefit!   
· A Mortgage Specialist. Once your offer has been accepted, completing your mortgage approval is the next critical final step in securing your home. Meet with your mortgage professional to get assurance that the loan will go ahead as planned.  
· A Real Estate Lawyer. A Real Estate Lawyer will make sure that you and your investment are protected. A real estate lawyer will review the agreement of purchase and sale, do a property title search, check that your home complies with current building and zoning codes, ensure utilities and property taxes are paid, review the mortgage agreement and get all of the paperwork ready for closing. If you are purchasing a condo, have your lawyer review your status certificate and give you their opinion on the health of the condominium complex. Your real estate lawyer will turn over the keys to your new home on the closing date. 
Note: Notice of Fulfillment. Once you are pleased with all the information gathered and would still like to proceed with the purchase of the property, have your Realtor send the cooperating Agent a “Notice of Fulfilment” to waive any conditions. The property then becomes sold.     
Step Seven: Closing the Sale

Step Seven: Closing Day is the day you officially take ownership of your new home. It is an exciting time for sure but there are a couple of details you need to keep in mind before you get handed the keys.  

· Closing the Purchase: Secure a meeting with your real estate lawyer prior to the closing date to review and sign documents and pay fees relating to the purchase of your home.  This includes a certified cheque to pay for closing costs and any other fees that are still outstanding against your property. Your real estate lawyer will turn over the keys to your new home on the closing date. When all of the paperwork is complete for the purchase of your home, your mortgage and the deed for the property will be recorded in the land registry office. 
· Schedule a Purchaser’s Visit: Take an hour right before closing to check that all of the appliances are working fine, that there is no damage and you can even do some measuring and space planning. 

Congratulations! You are now officially owner of your new home!    

Bruce would be pleased to arrange a personalized visit to the homes that appeal to you. There is never any pressure, and Bruce is able to walk you through all of the home buying steps and answer any questions you may have in person! Call Bruce today at 416-WITCHEL (416-948-2435) or connect with him via text or email at bruce@brucewitchel.com.   
                                         
The information contained herein is accurate at time of printing and is copyright Bruce Witchel 2015.
For further information on real estate matters, please contact Bruce at 416-WITCHEL 416-948-2435 or by email at Bruce @ BruceWitchel.com.
Bruce Witchel, Real Estate Agent
Mississauga, ON,
(416) 948-2435