If you’ve been thinking about purchasing real estate in Toronto, then you just have to be familiar with the real estate purchasing process. I mean, doesn’t that just make sense?

That real estate purchasing process might have your head spinning trying to figure out where to start exactly. Even if you’ve already been through the real estate purchasing process before, you might still have real estate questions about what to do and when to do it because in real estate, because in this business, things are ALWAYS changing. Regardless of your situation, here’s what I think is the best approach to take when it comes to purchasing real estate in Toronto:

1. You need to decide which real estate agent you’re going to work with.

This is really the first step in making sure the real estate purchasing process is successful for you. You need to find an agent you want to work with. I recommend not picking your uncle’s friend’s sister’s neighbour, but instead, working with a real estate agent that has the same values as you and understands what you’re looking for. The point of us meeting is to see if we’re compatible with each other and if we will work well together. When we meet, I’ll ask you questions so I can understand what it is you’re looking for. I’ll also explain what my role is for you, and help you get a sense of some of what is available out there that meets your needs and is in your budget.

2. We need to decide which lender you’re going to work with.

Having your financial ducks-in-a-row is absolutely crucial when you begin the real estate buying process. When you meet with a mortgage advisor or broker (which I am happy to provide you recommendations for), you’ll want to know what you can afford to spend each month on your home, strategies for keeping your monthly carrying costs within your budget as well as what costs and terms are associated with your mortgage in the future. You’ll want to get pre-approved at this stage so you’re 100% certain of what you’re eligible for. Do NOT (I repeat), DO NOT walk into your bank’s branch and get a mortgage from just another someone behind the counter.

3. We need to start the home searching process.

Yay! This really is the fun part. We’ll be spending a lot of time together as we look for your perfect new place to call home. Sometimes, that means driving around from house to house (or condo to condo) checking them out in person; sometimes that means getting notified daily of the new listings that have come on the market. Either way, it’s usually one of the best parts of the real estate buying process for both me and my clients.

4. We’ll need to put your offer together.

Once we’ve found that perfect place for you, we’ll put together an offer to purchase it. Here’s where we strategize about the best price and the best time to make the offer. Together we will make sure you have the best possibility of making this place become yours at a price you’re happy with.

5. We’ll need to negotiate that offer.

Chances are, the sellers will sign back with another offer. They may want a higher price, a short close date, or the financing clause removed. Either way, negotiating is usually part of the real estate buying process, but you can rest easy knowing that I have a lot of experience negotiating with sellers, and even hold a certified negotiation expert designation from the Real Estate Negotiation Institute.

6. We’ll need to reach a deal with the seller.

If negotiations have gone back-and-forth a bit, eventually, we’ll reach a deal with the sellers. That means that they’ve accepted your offer, and you’ve just purchased a new home. Congrats! Typically, deals can either be sold firm (there’s no conditions, and everyone involved is happy), or sold conditional (some things, like a home inspection or getting approved for financing, still need to happen before the offer is firm).

7. We’ll want to get conditions removed.

Conditions are things like financing (let’s make doubly sure you can afford this place), or lawyer review of status certificate (let’s make sure the condo’s financial and physical health is awesome) or a home inspection (a good home inspection just makes good sense.) Typically, I’ll advise my clients of possible conditions to add into an offer, which means that after it’s been accepted and before it’s sold firm, we’ll have the opportunity to get additional verification and piece of mind that this place is exactly what you’re expecting to buy.

8. Before the closing date…
Your lawyer (don’t worry – they are super nice and I have many great ones I can refer you to) will tell you exactly how much money you have to make out a certified cheque for. Everything that has to do with money in the real estate buying process goes through the lawyers. You’ll also be signing the final documents at the lawyer’s office.

9. On the closing date….

Before you move in, we’ll make sure that everything we’ve outlined in the offer is met. We’ll make sure that there aren’t any surprises, and that your new home is ready for you to move into.

10. You’ll want to plan a house-warming party.

Once you’ve finished moving in and you’ve had a chance to settle in and make the place your own, don’t forget to plan a housewarming party with your friends and family! Really, it’s an important part of the real estate buying process to let your family and friends see your new purchase and your latest accomplishment.

And don’t forget that you actually have a legal obligation to invite your real estate agent to the party; just kidding, but of course I would love an invite so I can see how everything turned out now that you’re finally ‘home’.