First Time Home Buyer Tips – A Guide For Property Virgins

Getting into the real estate market is something everyone should strive for, but it’s something you should go into with your eyes fully open. There are a number of government programs to encourage you to buy for the first time, including various tax benefits and the first home buyers program that allows you to withdraw up to $25,000 from your RRSP account. Following the steps outlined in this article and make sure that you are fully prepared. There are quite a few different rules to know and regulations to be aware of and eventually paperwork enters the equation. Working with a REALTOR® will help you through the process towards your goal.

Making sure you are absolutely ready to buy is very important to the process. There is nothing worse than going through the real estate process only to have the deal collapse at the end because of an inability to secure proper financing. Meeting with an expert mortgage professional can be very helpful, I can make sure you have access to a great broker if you aren’t working with one already. It’s a critical financial commitment, so make sure you cover all your bases and you are fully prepared for the process.


Once financing is arranged you can get a good idea of what your budget range is. Then it’s time to identify what your ideal home is. If you are in the condo market, do you want a condo with one, two or even three bedrooms? Do you want to live in a concrete high rise building or would you prefer to look at townhouse style units? If you are looking for a house do you have a preference as to the neighbourhood you’d like to buy in? Size of lot? There are plenty of considerations to look at, and this part of the process is very exciting. At this stage, it’s my job to get as much information as possible so we can start looking at homes that match your criteria.

Keeping your overall goals at the forefront is critical to being successful during the process. It’s an emotional process and one that can be an awful lot of fun, but it’s always important to look at the process logically and make smart decisions. This is the hardest thing for most people to do, after all we are talking about your future home and a property that is going to bring you towards financial security. One suggestion I always give new clients is to sit down and make a list of priorities you have for your new home. This way you can refer back to it throughout the process and compare the different units we view. It’s my job to make sure you keep to the game plan and don’t get thrown off track, so I’ll ask you for a copy of this list so I can refer to it as well.

The next step in the process is to place a formal offer on the property you want to purchase. This is where my expertise really comes into play, a good real estate agent will give you succinct advise on the price you should offer, as well as the terms. Make no mistake about it, this is where we earn our money. This can be quite a stressful time, especially if you have your heart set on the home you are bidding on. We might receive word that the seller has decided to reject your offer outright, counter offer with a different price and/or terms, or simply accept what we have proposed. One critical thing to prepare for at this stage is you will need to submit a deposit via bank draft at this stage. If you aren’t able to do this, the seller will be advised not to even consider your offer. Everything starts to become very real at this stage.

When word comes back that your offer has been accepted, the next thing we need to discuss is getting a home inspector in to give the property a clean bill of health. Different inspectors will offer different packages and price points, and some will be more familiar with certain areas of the city over others. The only cost certainty at this stage is that inspecting a condo unit costs far less than inspecting a home, for obvious reasons. The unit will need to pass for us to proceed at this stage, if there are any issues with the home we’ll need to figure out how much it will cost to fix the issues and decide if you want to continue with the transaction or withdraw your bid. Every time you submit a real estate offer, it’s in your best interests to include a subject to clause that the property needs to pass inspection.


When the closing date comes closer we’ll need to get a lawyer involved to make sure title passes to you without any hiccups. Some clients will know a lawyer or two, but you’ll want to work with someone who works specifically with real estate transactions as they will know property law inside and out. Any fees that you may owe will be calculated at this time, which the lawyer will withdraw from your deposit. This is where the money you’ve budgeting for closing costs could be necessary to draw upon, so be prepared.

Once you’ve got the keys to your new home, it’s advisable to have a look around the home and make sure nothing has been altered since you last viewed it. Once everything checks out it’s time to start enjoy the fruits of your labour! It’s my goal to help you navigate this process successfully and in a professional, ethical manner. I’d be happy to explain the process in further detail, you can call me anytime on 604.773.2948 if you have any questions.