When you’ve made the big decision that you’re ready to get started purchasing real estate, you’re going to want to know about the steps to buying a house (or condo, or loft); and there are a lot of them. Feeling overwhelmed? Relax. That’s completely normal. I mean, this is typically one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your life.

Here are some of the typical real estate questions I get asked when it comes to what the best steps to buying a house are:

A – Nothing at all. The seller pays the commission for both the buying and selling real estate agent. The standard payout is 2.5% of the purchase price. In the rare event the seller is offering less, I will let you know right off the bat and we will sit down to figure out something that makes everyone happy in collaboration with the seller.

A – Toronto is a global financial powerhouse that avoided much of the fallout from the 2008 global market trouble. It’s one of the safest places to park your money when it comes to purchasing real estate. Last year the housing market in Toronto saw 8% growth. Wow!

A – The MLS system was primarily designed for sale properties as opposed to properties for lease. But I still want you to contact me to find out how I or one of my colleagues at PSR Brokerage can help you find an amazing place to lease.

A – It’s just basic supply-and-demand. Toronto is home to millions of people, and there are only so many houses and condos to accommodate them all.

A – Yes! I would be happy to refer you to several of my trusted colleagues in mortgage financing. Just contact me for their information.

A – Well, no. You could monitor realtor.ca if you like (with new listings delayed to the public by a day), attend open houses, and work with the listing agent instead. But really, why would you work with the listing agent? He/she double ends the deal, pretends to represent you both, convinces you that you don’t need a real estate agent of your own, and in the end, the seller wins. Or you could find a real estate agent to advise you and you only about the steps to buying a house, connect you with properties as they get listed (sometimes even find them before they go on MLS) and negotiate on your terms, not the sellers (without cost).

A – A BRA is a Buyer Representation Agreement between your real estate agent and you. It’s an agreement that says this real estate agent is legally and ethically committed to providing you with the highest standard of service in helping you find a place to live and help you to get it for the best price possible. Signing a BRA makes you a client, different from a customer, who gets only the straight forward facts on buying and selling in Toronto.

A – Each strategy has its advantages and its disadvantages, depending on your unique situation. Contact me (PAGE: LETS CHAT) and together, we’ll put together a strategic plan that works best for you.

A – You need a minimum 5% downpayment and enough to cover closing costs associated with purchasing real estate in Toronto. Please contact me (PAGE: LETS CHAT) for a referral or to connect with a mortgage advisor to get yourself pre-qualified.

A – OMG no. Never. Sometimes, one day on the market and your real estate agent tells you it compares perfectly at others similar to it that sold recently, you pay the asking price. Other times, like in bidding wars, you pay a lot more; other times, more often with condos than houses, you offer and pay less. Talk to me about what you’re looking for so I can talk to you specifically.

A – Based on comparable recent sales and my real-life real estate experience, as well as any other relevant factors, such as competing offers, I will recommend an offer price that will protect your best interests and give you your best chance to get your perfect place at the best price possible.

A – When you put an offer in, a deposit needs to go along with it. Usually a deposit is 5% of the purchase price — 5% representing good faith to the seller that you will close on this property. Your deposit makes up part of your downpayment which is added to it upon closing.

A – Yes. And No. Though the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and related documents may be standard in the real estate buying process, your lawyer will need to search title for the property to ensure it is free from encumbrances, and other legal stuff. If you don’t have a real estate lawyer, I can recommend one to you. Don’t freak out. This is not all law and order-ish.

A – Closing costs, ranging from 1.5 to 4% of selling price, are the legal and administrative costs you will need to pay when your house closes. Usually this includes land transfer fees, legal costs, adjustments, etc.

A – Most closings are from 30-90 days from the date of acceptance of the offer, however, this can vary based on buyer and seller needs and other concerns.

A – A lovely, extra tax upon buyers in Ontario. The Toronto Land Transfer Tax is in addition to the Ontario Land Transfer Tax. There are (thank god) big discounts for anyone that is a first time home buyer.

A – A status certificate is a report on the current state of a condominium corporation, prepared by the building’s Board of Directors, which offers a financial snapshot of the well-being of the building and information on those who run it. Since you’re buying a unit in a building and not a whole property, it’s a good idea to see how the building is managed, if there are pending lawsuits and what the financial situation is like. Like it or not, you share a responsibility with all the other owners in the condo for upkeep of the property’s common areas and condo corporation future. Get more info on status certificates here.