header_image

Your search results

All About You

Buyers Information

You’ve made the decision. You’re ready to buy. Now what?

Buying a home can be a bit overwhelming. There’s so much to think about and do. So, it’s important that you have someone you can trust to make the process as smooth as possible and offer expert advice.

Since 1913, Royal LePage has been helping Canadians find their dream homes and guiding them every step of the way – from determining what you can afford and showing you homes that match your wants and needs to presenting an offer and closing the sale.

It’s all about helping you find the right home in the right neighbourhood at the best possible price. Below, you’ll find it all outlined in eight simple steps.

Deciding to Buy

To buy a home, you need to be prepared and we are here to help you.  Here are a few things to consider:

  • Define your needs and wants – make a list of the things you simply can’t live without, like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms your family needs, proximity to schools and work, or storage needs. Then list some nice-to-haves: maybe a pool or deck, finished basement or mud room. This will help you further down the road when you start looking at homes
  • Brush up on types of home ownership – make sure you know the difference between freehold (it’s all yours), condo (you take care of the inside and pay fees to an association to look after the common areas and maintenance) and co-op (similar to condos but instead of “owning” your unit, you buy shares in the whole building and pay maintenance and repair fees)
  • Understand market conditions – supply and demand can change from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, region to region. So, getting to know the market can help you get more bang for your buck. And so can your Real Estate agent

Which leads to Step 2…

Choosing an Agent

Buying a home is personal and emotional. So the relationship with your real estate agent has to be built on expertise, trust and mutual respect. After all, they will be acting as your eyes, ears and voice throughout the process. They have a fiduciary duty to act in your best interests, to be completely transparent and accountable to you. Here’s what a Royal LePage agent will do:

  • Educate you about the current market conditions
  • Discuss and analyze your wants and needs against your budget
  • Guide you to homes that fit your criteria
  • Coordinate the work of other professionals you’ll need during the process
  • Negotiate with the seller on your behalf
  • Make sure all the required paperwork is fully completed, accurate and that deadlines are met
  • Work with you to resolve any challenges that may arise

And while your agent will likely be a great source of advice on financing, it is ultimately your responsibility to understand and secure it.

So, let’s move on to financing…

Understanding Financing

Like many things in life, planning ahead is the key to success. So, you should know the price range you can afford before you start shopping. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Down payment – this is usually the percentage of the total cost of a home that you’ll need to pay. The more money you put down, the more money you’ll save on monthly payments and, in the long run, interest paid
  • Knowing what you can afford – how much house you can afford comes down to 3 factors: your monthly mortgage payment, your down payment and the amortization period or length of time it will take to pay off the loan
  • Getting pre-approved – this will really help you figure out what you can spend on a home because you’ll know before you start shopping. And you’ll be protected against rising interest rates as well

Finding Your Home

So now it’s time to get out there and find your dream home. Most people start off by having a neighbourhood in mind but a great agent may suggest options that you may not have thought of. Here are some considerations as you set out to house hunt:

  • Choosing the right neighbourhood – Do you need to be close to schools, public transit, highways or where you work? Those can be huge factors when choosing an area to live. And let’s not forget proximity to other amenities like parks, grocery stores, doctors and recreational centres. Drive around and check out the appearance of other homes in the area. Are they well taken care of? Of course, your agent will be able to inform you of property values in the area and how they’ve changed over the years.
  • House hunting – the hunt can be a lot of work but it can also be a lot of fun. So when you visit homes, go with a partner – spouse, parent, friend – because two sets of eyes are better than one. Don’t be shy about asking some tough questions regarding the home. Take some pictures or video on your smartphone so you can reference it later. And remember that checklist you made? It will come in handy now
  • View open houses with open eyes – curb appeal is one thing but try not to focus on the bells and whistles. Keep a lookout for things like doors and windows (are they new/old?), water leaks, squeaky floors, soggy areas around the yard that indicate poor drainage and could lead to a wet basement, missing shingles, lighting, etc. You’ll be getting a home inspection later, but it doesn’t hurt to start with your own observations

And when you finally find the home you can see yourself living in, it’s time for the next step…

Making an Offer

You’ve fallen in love. But it’s important that you don’t let your emotions get the better of you when making an offer. Remember, real estate is an investment. Fortunately, your real estate agent is there to help you put together an Offer to Purchase and discuss all the details. Here are a few things you should know:

  • Not all offers are the same – the main factors on most offers will include price, deposit, terms (which includes financing details), conditions, specific 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’re 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 will either accept your offer, reject it or make a counter offer based on things like price, closing date or other conditions. While receiving a counter offer may be unsettling, know that your real estate agent has plenty of experience to help you. Some good tips for negotiating are: making sure what you’re asking for is fair and equitable; be polite and collaborative; hold fast to your “needs” and be flexible on your “wants”; and know when to walk away no matter how hard that may be

After agreeing on terms and signing the offer, it’s time for the next step…

Doing Your Home Work

In addition to your real estate agent, you will now need to bring in a few pros to help get you to the finish line and make sure the investment you’re about to make is sound. Your real estate agent can put you in touch with these people and make recommendations. Here are a couple of key people you should be talking to:

  • A home inspector – an absolute must in saving you from some unpleasant surprises later on. A home inspector will check your property for any structural damage; perform a thorough examination of the heating and cooling system, plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement and more; then prepare a complete written report detailing all their findings
  • A legal professional – when it comes to complex legal documents, it takes a lawyer experienced in Canadian real etsate law to help 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 up, review the mortgage agreement, and get all the paperwork ready for closing

You’re almost in the home stretch now. Just a couple more steps…

Closing the Sale

Closing day is the day you officially take ownership of your new home. It’s 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 costs – these fees need to be paid by or on the closing day and include mortgage application fees, inspections, legal fees, insurance, registration and more.

All these costs might make your head spin. But you can take solace in the fact that your real estate agent will be a great help in managing all of this and get you to your last step…

The Big Move

The day has arrived. And there will be as much excitement as there will be sore backs. But you can take the pain out of moving day by planning ahead. Here are some tips for a smooth move:

  • Make a moving checklist that details a plan for things that need to be done weeks before you move all the way up to moving day itself
  • Plan for packing by clearly labeling boxes with the rooms they are to go to. You might even want to provide a small floorplan for the movers so they know exactly where to take them
  • Make sure you get competitive quotes from reliable moving companies. Or, to save money, find out how much it would cost to hire a moving van yourself (And bribe your friends to help you)
  • If you own your current home, cancel your cable and utilities and transfer any rented appliances (like water heater or furnace) to the new home owners. While you’re at it, make sure to have the gas, electricity, cable and phone hooked up at your new home
  • Inform your key contacts – work, Canada Post, doctors, friends, pharmacy, etc… – of your change of address
  • If you have children, make sure you talk to them and explain why you’re moving and reassure them that the friends they’ve made can continue to be their friends. Ask for their opinion too on things like what colour to paint their rooms. Try and make it exciting for them
  • On moving day, plan an easy meal like picking up some take-out. Moving is stressful enough without having to cook

Congratulations. You’re all moved in. Welcome home!

Sellers Information

Just as much goes into selling a home as it does into buying one.

It’s a bit of a science actually. You want to get the best price, but you can’t be out of line with market conditions. What to do? Start by being as informed as you can and by choosing an experienced agent who knows your neighbourhood inside out.

Since 1913, Royal LePage has been helping Canadians sell their homes and guiding them through every step of the process. From showing you how to increase the appeal of your home and setting a price that will maximize your profitability to discussing offers and closing the sale. Below, you’ll find it all outlined in eight simple steps.

Deciding to Sell

Everyone has their own reason for selling their home. One thing, however, is universally true: the desire to get as much as you can for your home. There are a lot of ways you can add value that you might want to consider, such as:

  • Renovating – this can be something as simple as freshening up the walls with a coat of paint or updating your door knobs and lighting with more contemporary styles all the way to major renovations like installing a new kitchen, bathroom or hardwood floors. Before you do anything though, it’s probably wise to know how much value a renovation or remodel will actually add to your sale price and how much other comparable homes in your neighbourhood are selling for. A Royal LePage agent is a great source of information. They can give you an assessment on your home so you don’t embark on expensive renovations before knowing
  • Enhancing curb appeal – first impressions mean a lot. Which is why you want your home looking its very best when a potential buyer is standing at the bottom of your driveway or simply passing through the neighbourhood. So, make sure the lawn is cut and raked. If there are some dead patches of grass, overseed or sod. Trim bushes and trees, even add a few brightly coloured flowers. Touch up any peeling paint around exterior windows and doors, stain the fence or deck, clean up your garage or shed and ensure that your home looks just as enticing at night by making sure it’s well lit
  • Getting a home inspection – the last thing you want is for the deal to fall through due to an unpleasant surprise. It’s also highly likely that the buyer will ask for a home inspection anyway. So you may want to consider taking the initiative yourself. That way, if there are any major repairs that need doing now, it won’t jeopardize the sale of your home or force you to lower the price later on

So, now you’re all ready to put that For Sale sign on your front lawn. What’s next? Find out in Step 2…

Hiring an Agent

Now that you’re ready to sell, the next thing you should do is list your home with a real estate agent. Because the reality is, selling a home involves a great deal of research, paper work, effort and most importantly, trust. Ideally, you should seek out an agent that has a good knowledge of your neighbourhood and local market trends. A good agent will provide a wealth of knowledge and breadth of services that will help you accomplish your goals. At Royal LePage, we’re committed to helping you and our agents have a fiduciary duty to act in your best interests, to be completely transparent and accountable.

Listing Your Home

Your home is about to make its big debut on the market. And there’s more to it than sticking a sign on your lawn and doing an MLS listing. Establishing a home’s true worth can be tricky. A Royal LePage agent will be there to make sure your home is poised for success. Here’s how they can help:

  • Set a price – this isn’t as easy as you might think. Price your property too high and buyers won’t be motivated. Price it too low and you stand to lose thousands. A Royal LePage agent can help by doing a complete property profile of your house, including current condition, location, surroundings, special features like a view from the property or high ceilings; a comparative market analysis that will show you what houses in your area have sold for in recent months, and a total market overview. Your agent will take into consideration as many factors as possible to accurately assess the fair market value of your property so it sells fast while maximizing your profit
  • Market your home – no matter how well your home is priced you will need a sound plan to attract buyers. That’s where your Royal LePage agent will offer invaluable experience. Aside from newspaper advertising and listing your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), they will work with you to create a “features sheet” or video to make your home stand out from the pack. They will also market it through blogs, social media channels, various websites and their own personal peer network. Royal LePage agents also have a national network of 14,000 on which to draw upon for contacts and referrals

So now you’re fully committed. It’s time to make your home shine. But how to show it in the best light? Keep reading…

Showing Your Home

The way your home looks to prospective buyers can make a striking impression. The goal is to get buyers to feel like they can already see themselves living in your home. There are a few tricks of the trade that can help you do this:

  • Home staging – this literally means, getting your “set ready” for buyers. In other words, cleaning your home from top to bottom including carpets and drapes, kitchen and bathroom tiles, walls, ceilings and trim. Next, dispose and declutter which entail getting rid of those items in your home that make rooms feel smaller than they actually are. Then, organize. Tidy up cabinets, bookcases, closets and toys and put away personal items such as photographs, souvenirs and other memorabilia. If your home has empty rooms, stage it with the right furniture. You may be able to borrow some nice furniture from family or friends. There are even places to rent furniture for staging. Keep it simple and classic, nothing too trendy that could potentially turn off a buyer
  • Prepping for an Open House – a successful open house is key for generating quick interest in your home. Some last minute tips? Make your rooms bright and airy by opening blinds and windows and turning on lights in darker rooms. Help the buyers imagine themselves in your home by setting the dining table or putting out some fresh flowers. Light a scented candle. Leave some refreshments out. And for your own security, make sure you store all your valuables. When the open house is over, ask for feedback so you can make a few tweaks before the next one

So, the crowds are pouring in and loving your home. It won’t be long until you get an offer…

Receiving an Offer

Not all offers are created equal. Fortunately, your real estate agent is there to help you review an Offer to Purchase and discuss all the details. Here are a few things you should do:

  • Get to know the terms – the main factors on most offers will include the price the buyer wants to pay, details about the offer and financing as well as any conditions, inclusions or exclusions the buyer wants to make contingent on the closing. These offers can be “firm” which means that they’re willing to buy the home exactly as it is. Or, the offer could be “conditional” on things like a home inspection, approval of financing or the sale of their existing home
  • Review every detail – it’s not just about price. The buyers may have asked for other things to be included like appliances, draperies or chandeliers. They may have even requested some minor renovations like reshingling your roof or repairing your driveway. Some buyers may have asked for longer or shorter closing periods or made it contingent upon something else like selling their current home. All these factors influence what the offer truly looks like. An experienced Royal LePage agent will help you decide whether to accept, reject or make a counter offer

If you accept, congratulations. If not, then it’s time to move onto the next step…

Perhaps the price was lower than you were expecting. Maybe the buyers have asked for some extra inclusions. In some cases, you may have multiple offers from different buyers to entertain. This is one stage where you’ll be glad to have a Royal LePage agent by your side to help. Here are some things to consider now:

  • Counter offers – take a good look at what the buyer is asking for, then ask yourself, “Is it worth losing a sale for a minor inclusion like a rug or drapery?” Maybe not. So, the best strategy is to have one. Know ahead of time what you’re willing to compromise on and, as far as price goes, how much. Finally, if you feel you’re not going to be able to come to terms, don’t be afraid to reject the offer
  • Multiple offers – you may be in the situation where you receive offers from several buyers. Now, you have the opportunity to compare and decide which offer, based on price and conditions best suits you. Things that could make one offer more attractive than the other are pre-approved financing, the buyer has already sold their existing home or they’ve agreed to all conditions of sale without exception. One thing to keep in mind though is that patience and respect are paramount. Your Royal LePage agent will certainly provide sound advice in this scenario to arrive at the best outcome for you and the fairest to all parties

Now, even though you have a signed the Offer to Purchase, it’s not quite done yet…

Closing the Sale

For sellers, closing day is payday. However, in order for your home to be officially sold, there are a few remaining things that you need to do:

  • Pay closing costs – these are the fees you need pay by or on the closing day. They include the real estate agent’s commission, legal fees and disbursements, utility and property tax adjustments, mortgage prepayment or discharge fees and more
  • Hire a lawyer – the costs above come with a mountain of paperwork. And when there’s a lot of money on the line, you want to make sure you hire a professional to take care of those complex legal documents. Your Royal LePage agent will be a great source for recommending a lawyer who specializes in real estate

Now, it’s time for the final step…

The Big Move

The day has arrived. And although there’s bound to be a bit of sadness about leaving your old home behind, there will be just as much excitement moving into your new one. Here are some tips for a smooth move:

  • Make a moving checklist that details a plan for things that need to be done weeks before you move all the way up to moving day itself
  • Plan for packing by clearly labeling boxes with the rooms in which they belong. You might even want to provide a small floorplan for the movers so they know exactly where to take them
  • Make sure you get competitive quotes from reliable moving companies. Or, to save money, find out how much it would cost to hire a moving van yourself (And bribe your friends to help you)
  • Cancel your cable and utilities and transfer any rented appliances (like water heater or furnace) to the new home owners. While you’re at it, make sure to have the gas, electricity, cable and phone hooked up at your new home
  • Inform your key contacts – work, Canada Post, doctors, friends, pharmacy, etc… – of your change of address
  • If you have children, make sure you talk to them and explain why you’re moving and reassure them that the friends they’ve made can continue to be their friends. Ask for their opinion too on things like what colour to paint their rooms. Try and make it exciting for them
  • On moving day, plan an easy meal like picking up some take-out. Moving is stressful enough without having to cook

Congratulations. You’re all moved in. Enjoy your new home!