Calgary Condos for Sale


Calgary Condos for Sale

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Get the latest scoop on Calgary real estate happenings and market info. This is a great place to ask questions or offer your comments to other home buyers and sellers. 

  • Calgary Housing Statistics 7 November 2017 ARE YOU THINKING OF BUYING OR SELLING A HOME? Give us a call at 403-271-0600 to learn more about how we can help with your real estate plans

    Calgary Real Estate Statistics:nbsp;October 2017

    Days on Market:nbsp;50 (Up by 8.7 from a year ago)

    Average Price: $475,918 (Up by 3.2 from a year ago)

    Active Listings:nbsp;6,463 (Up by 19 from a year ago)

    Sold Listings:nbsp;1,467 (Down by 10.9 from a year ago)

    New Listings:nbsp;2,604 (Up by 10.3 from a year ago)

    Sold to List Price Ratio: 97.13 (Up by 0.22 fromnbsp;a year ago)

    Sold Above Asking Price:nbsp;108 (Down by 38.9 from a year ago)

    Months of Inventory:nbsp;4.41 (Up by 33.6 from a year ago)

    Odds of Selling:nbsp;22.7 (Down by 7.63 from a year ago)

    Timing is an important factor when buying or selling a home. Used along with the advice of your REALTORreg;, these Calgary MLSreg; statistics will allow you to better understand the current real estate market in Calgary.nbsp;

    View detailed housing statistics by CREBnbsp;and find out what the real estate market is doing this year in Calgary.

  • How to Search for a Home Online 11 October 2017 Before the internethellip; There was a time when the only way to search for homes was with a real estate agent. REALTORSreg; were viewed upon as the gatekeepers of real estate listings. Itrsquo;s a strong contrast to how real estate listings are free to view by everyone today. Back in the days, they were printed in phone book style binders and were literarily kept under lock.

    Real estate agents only used to have printed copies of listings which were forbidden to be removed from their offices. Other than driving up and down the block scouting for sale signs, the only other options available for a home buyer was to find a local real estate agent. If a buyer wanted to view all the available homes that matched their search criteria, they would have had to talk to a real estate agent and visit them at their office.

    Leaving the good old days of doing real estate like a sloth – According to a report by realtor.org, over 90 of home buyers start their home search online. It makes a lot of sense to use the internet as it made the buying and selling process more efficient and up to date. The information of homes that are available for sale gets updated almost instantly, therefore viewing homes online can save a lot of time and helps buyers to quickly narrow down their search results to a manageable list.

    Over the last 10 years, we have witnessed a blast of online real estate services and it has fundamentally changed how real estate is being searched for today. You donrsquo;t really need to be tech savvy at all to find homes that may interest you. Itrsquo;s now possible with a click of a mouse to research communities, find information about schools, gather local real estate market statistics and to take a virtual tour into your neighbourrsquo;s closet.

    This wealth of free real estate informant has not wiped out real estate agents and the ice age is still far away from where REALTORSreg; will become extinct. The real estate revolution has changed how business is done. Abandoning the idea of guarding the listings, the role of a real estate agent is shifted towards being more of an educator and to serve as a guide to the client.

    …the role of a real estate agent is shifted towards being more of an educator and to serve as a guide to the client.

    You may find that many real estate websites offer much the same information of listings – itrsquo;s important to remember that the real estate agent standing behind the website is the one who is going to be representing you and not the website that you are visiting. Most likely a well-polished website it isnrsquo;t going to reveal the true personality of its owner.

    Below you will find some great tips on how to search for a home online. By following these tips and recommendations, it will transform your entire online journey to a much more enjoyable experience. Be sure to take notes and ask lots of questions from your real estate agent.

    How to Recognize a Great Real Estate Website?

    The internet is full of low-quality websites and opportunist who may be out there for a quick profit. By all cost, I would avoid using sites such as Kijiji or Craigslist and go to a website that offers a high userrsquo;s experience with an integrated MLSreg; fed listings. But how do you recognize a great real estate website? Most consumers explore the web to search Multiple Listing Service homes on the market. For example, consumers who may be moving to Calgary can find out a wealth of information about different types of real estate for sale in Calgary on our website.

    Below you will find several functionalities to look for when in search of the perfect real estate website:

    1. Does it Have Great Community Information?

    If you are moving to a new area, this is particularly important. Every homebuyer needs to study the local community ahead of time before deciding what communities they are going to be raising their children in. The more information you can learn about the place where you and your family is going to move into, the more peace of mind you will be having down the road.

    A well informed real estate website should equally provide real estate expertise and local community information: like guides and insights about subdivisions such as homes for sale in Silverado as an example. Real estate market data about communities can be very important to both buyers and sellers, similar to what you find on our website here if a buyer would want to view housingnbsp;statistics of homes in Walden.

    A community page should best describe everything you wanted to know about a specific neighbourhood. Including photographs of the area, recreational opportunities, things that locals do for entertainment and perhaps available information about schools nearby may become handy as well.

    2. Look for a Great Real Estate Blog

    Other than having lots of great information about the communities that you are interested in living in, a local real estate blog should be an integrated part of a superior real estate website. A blog allows visitors to get an idea of what it would be to work with that agent and his knowledge of the field.

    Since day one when I entered the real estate business, I had never considered myself as a salesman. I have always focused on educating them and to provide valuable information to my clients to help them to learn more about the buying and selling process of real estate.

    I strongly believe it is imperative to work with someone whose number one goal is to educate the home buyer or seller before making one of their lives biggest decision. A well constructed real estate blog is the perfect place for visitors to find a wealth of information about how to buy a home or everything that they need to know concerning the process of qualifying for a mortgage.

    3. Is the Website Easy to Use

    Finding your way around a website can sometimes be a real pain in the rear. Especially if you are not able to easily find what yoursquo;re looking for. Many real estate websites are set up to block people from getting to view listings by forcing them to register first. In my opinion, it only frustrates the heck out of most users and quite frequently users end up jumping to another website where they will eventually end up getting what they want. I really believe in providing exceptional service up front and offer free access to MLSreg; listings for home buyers to view.

    4. Is the Website Up to Date?

    The design of the website is also very important to reflect that its owner cares about innovation and wants to keep phase with new technology. A website that applies cutting-edge technology displays the agentrsquo;s willingness that he cares about the clientrsquo;s needs. Some websites are so outdated that I cringe when I try to use it. I mean there is a ton of irrelevant content on the page with a pop-up banner, sidebar ads and offers for other products which have nothing to do with real estate. When a real estate agent is able to demonstrate a highly competent service online, there is a really good chance that they will be just as good in real life when working with buyers and sellers.

    Look for Customized MLSreg; Search Options

    Finding yourself on a website that has been developed with the customer in mind is extremely significant. Once you have figured out the location and the details of a home that you are looking for, you will need to be able to filter the search results from the clutter of other listings that are irrelevant to your preferences.

    Far too many real estate websites only offer basic search capabilities. At joesamson.com when someone is searching for a home in Calgary, they can easily narrow their search results by lot size, type of parking, amount of condo fees and they can even set to view homes based on the number of days it has been on the market.

    Most IDX fed real estate websites allows users to set alerts that notify them when a new property goes on the market. This is extremely important in a competitive market. In order to up your chances against another home buyer, look for a website that has fresh listings which are being updated at least every 15 minutes throughout the day. Great opportunities tend to get scooped-up on the same day and you will need to hop on new listing immediately.

    How to Properly Configure Real Estate Search Settings?

    Ever since MLSreg; listings have become available online, home buyers have been undertaking home search activities on their own and they have become more hands on. This may have led many to believe that soon real estate agents will become extinct and their services wonrsquo;t be required as buyers and sellers will be able to find each other online.

    In many ways, the evolved real estate industry did make it easier for homebuyers to locate homes on the market. While the internet opened the gates of free access to view MLSreg; listings, it has also released a wealth of information that could suffocate the average home buyer. REALTORSreg; have listened to what the public wanted and they have made different kinds of search tools available to them. But at the same time, buyers must be cautious about how they go about using the online search tools as these tools bynbsp;themselvesnbsp;arent going to warrant the perfect outcome. The same way as if the best chisel in a sculptors drawer will not necessarily create a beautiful sculpture unless its owner knows how to use it properly.

    Common mistakes that buyers make while searching for a home online:

    1. Incorrectlynbsp;Interpreting the Data

    While many real estate agents have access to display all sorts of data and different types of real estate listings on their websites, it doesnrsquo;t automatically makes them the area expert in that community. Just because someone is displaying condominiums for sale on their website, it wonrsquo;t make them a condo specialist until they have a considerate amount of experience working with condos. The same example can also be projected out to commercial real estate dealings as well.

    Consumers could sometimes make false assumptions concerning the expert that they have stumbled upon just because of the aggregate data that is being shown on their website. Analyzing the data and helping the client to decide if this is a good match to their real estate needs will need to be discussed with someone who is well educated and well experienced in interpreting the information.

    2. Not Knowing Exactly What Theyrsquo;re Looking For

    I am sure that every real estate agent can relate to this – when someone calls them up and asks them to send them a good deal when they come across one. The novice REALTORreg; may jump at this opportunity and usually, it turns into a rabbit chase. While the more seasoned real estate agent would probe the consumer and find out a little bit more about their plans and create a customized search with laser-focused criteria.

    While many online home buyers typically set up their own searches to carpet bomb every neighbourhood in a wide array of price ranges. There is always a good chance that their search results probably isnrsquo;t even remotely within their budget. A well designed real estate website is going to offer its usernbsp;search capabilitiesnbsp;based on various home styles. As an example, if someone were to look at condominiums for sale in Calgary or townhouses in Calgary, the consumer would be easily able to sort through listings that only belong whiting that style of homes.

    3. Restricting the Search Settings Too Much

    The most common mistake that homebuyers make when viewing homes online is restricting the price setting too much. As an example, If someone is considering to buy a luxury home in Calgary for $900,000, they will often use that figure as their capped price and no other listing is going to be displayed beyond that figure. Buyers (and sometimes their agents) forget that homes that are selling for $950,000 may be purchased for $900,000 after negotiations are done. Expanding the maximum search price setting can be hugely favourable to the buyer.

    4. Looking at Homes They Canrsquo;t Afford

    Looking at homes for sale online is a great way to initially start the home search journey. As time passes, progression is expected to be made by funneling the information down. Many home buyers end up wasting time by looking at homes that are way outside their price range. The images of those luxury homes are pleasing to the eye, but they help very little, other than being a distraction.

    Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a crucial part of making sure that you are ready to buy a home. Finding out what price range you should shop within needs to be one of the first benchmarks that need to be confirmed in a mortgage pre-approval letter. Once you know your set budget, try to stay within those limits to maintain your focus on the homes that are most relevant to you.

    Things to Avoid While Searching for a Home Online

    Even though Irsquo;ve been a REALTORreg; in Calgary for well over a decade now, it never stops to amuse me when someone calls in and goes on to explain that they have found the perfect home online and they want me to immediately drive across town on a Sunday evening. Never mind the inconvenience to my family and personal agenda, but if these people havenrsquo;t seen any real estate in a long time, should they be buying the very first property that they visit?

    Itrsquo;s understandable that folks get overly excited as they may have been looking at homes online for many months prior to contacting a real estate agent. This is a very common occurrence among first time home buyers. Most often it turns out such way that once someone views a home in person, it quickly changes from being their dream home to something else.

    Buying a home isnrsquo;t like deciding where to go for supper. I constantly have to remind people to ground their emotions and be on alert about making an impulse decision. It is total nonsense to expect someone to drop everything and open a door for you right away. If you want to be taken seriously by real estate agents, then you need to treat them with a level of respect and be considerate of their schedule.

    Beware – Most Real Estate Photographs Look Better Online

    Kudos to all real estate agents who make the investment in taking professional photographs. I think all homeowners deserve to have their homes presented in the best possible light.

    In addition to using the proper equipment, there are many tricks of taking real estate photographs, including software to further enhance the quality of the image. As an example, professional photographers use an SLR camera with a wide angle lens attached to it. This allows the image to capture more area of the room and to portray the property to look more spacious.

    There are many other tweaks that go on to generate a high-quality image. Most importantly buyers need to be aware of real estate images looking better online than in real life. While a great image may initially peak someonersquo;s interest (thatrsquo;s the whole point), you need to be able to recalibrate your expectations once you decide to visit in person.

    When I started in real estate, REALTORSreg; were only able to showcase a maximum of 10 photographs online. This was good and bad at the same time. It was good because it forced the agent to select the top 10 images that show the best parts of the home. But it was disadvantageous because it limited the amount of rooms and features of the home that the listing agent was able to showcase on MLSreg;.

    Fast forward to today when up to 50 images of a listing are uploaded and available to view. In the past, you were able to flip through the images very quickly and decide if the home resonates with what yoursquo;re looking for. Now it takes a very long time to review so many images before deciding to consider viewing the home in person or to pass on it. I mean seriouslyhellip; why does someone need to take 10-15 images of the same kitchen?

    One of my personal pet-peeves is ldquo;homes with a viewrdquo;. Many times if there is a mountain-top showing through an upstairs window it is usually selected as the feature image. What the listing agent forgets to mention is that they took the picture while standing on a stool and had to peak out the small bathroom window and used a high powered zoom lens to take the shot between two apartment buildings. Yes, unfortunately, this could also happen and be prepared to be slightly disappointed every now and then.

    Bad Real Estate Images Can be an Opportunity

    Unfortunate for the seller, but fortunate to the buyer, homes with incredibly bad pictures can mean a huge opportunity for you. You see, not every real estate agent is created equally. While the best real estate agents are going to move mountains to sell a home, others may not worry too much about creating photographs that stand out from the rest. In reality, I find this to be a great disservice to the seller. The same way a quality photograph of a home can attract buyers, the opposite encounter can just as well repel home buyers from wanting to book a tour or to visit the open house this weekend.

    Just because a home has terrible images online, it doesnrsquo;t mean itrsquo;s a house that you should make a pass on. In fact, I encourage buyers to strongly consider homes with bad images. Often itrsquo;s the listing agentrsquo;s sloppiness that causes people to turn away from viewing listings with horrible marketing attempts. When there is little interest expressed by home shoppers towards a listing, the seller is often left without any other choice than to lower the price as they are not able to clue in why nobody is interested in viewing their home. If you are a home seller, this is one area that you want to keep an eye out for when hiring a REALTORreg; to sell your home.

    Final Thoughts on Online Home Searching

    Searching for a home online is a fantastic way to get started. It speeds up the learning curve for every home buyer and allows them to quickly familiarize themselves with the local real estate market. Reading lots and educating yourself about the how to buy a home and discovering things that sellers do to sell a home is going to be rewarding and help you with a trouble-free home buying experience.

    If you implement these tips on how to search a home online, you will find satisfaction in knowing that you are not only going to save an incredible amount of time and energy but most certainly you will find yourself working with a reliable real estate agent to find your next home.nbsp;Buying a home can be a long journey and if you arm yourself with the right resources, sealing the deal on your new home can be accomplished more easily and before you know it, it will become your reality.

    nbsp;

  • The Importance of a Mortgage Pre-approval Letter 12 September 2017 Are you considering going through the mortgage pre-approval process before you begin your search for a home? Great idea A couple of the most common situations you may avoid by making this smart decision include:

    Being turned down by an agent or seller to look at a home. This isnrsquo;t because they donrsquo;t want to help but simply because they wonrsquo;t know if you can afford the home or are serious about buying.

    Falling in love with a home that you cannot afford. What if you found a place that was perfect for you, but it was way outside of your budget? This could lead to a lot of stress, frustration, and disappointment for you, the seller, and your agent.

    Obtaining a mortgage pre-approval letter makes sense when you consider the stress that can be caused without it. The situations listed above are some of the most common, but they are not the only ones that may be experienced. By taking the time to get pre-approved before beginning to shop, yoursquo;ll have evidence of your ability to pay and the fact that yoursquo;re serious about buying as well. Real estate agents and sellers alike will appreciate this and be eager to work with you as a result.

    If you want to get the home buying process started with confidence, then taking the time to get a pre-approval is necessary to make sure that you are ready to buy a home. The first step is to find a mortgage lender, who will run your credit and obtain important financial information in order to determine your eligibility. Fortunately, once this is over and you have been pre-approved, you can begin shopping for your next home. With that pre-approval in hand, yoursquo;ll be treated as a serious buyer from the very first phone call, whether yoursquo;re speaking with an agent or seller.

    What is a Mortgage Pre-approval Letter?

    This letter, while it may not seem like a vital document to you, is incredibly important to real estate agents and home sellers. A mortgage pre-approval letter is an evidence of how much real estate you can afford and that yoursquo;re serious about taking the next step when buying a home. However, itrsquo;s important to keep in mind that while a pre-approval letter does carry weight, it is not a guarantee of a loan. Fortunately, itrsquo;s proof enough that yoursquo;re capable of buying, which is why agents and sellers value it so much.

    How Do I Get a Mortgage Pre-approval Letter?

    Getting a pre-approval letter is easier than you might think. Once you have selected your lender and received the thumbs-up from them to go and look for a home, you can ask them for an official letter to confirm their statement. It is a very common practice in the real estate and banking industry to obtain a mortgage pre-approval letter. When yoursquo;re working with a reputable mortgage team, providing this letter should be standard practice for them.

    How Long Does it Take to Get a Pre-approval letter?

    The answer really depends on how much time do you need to provide all the documents to the lender? The sooner you can send the lender or the mortgage broker the supportive documents, the faster you will be approved and provided with a mortgage pre-approval letter. Based on my experience it shouldnrsquo;t take them longer than 24-48 hours to provide you with an answer once you have provided all the supportive documents to them.

    Why Do I Need a Pre-Approval Letter?

    While you may be able to verbally express that yoursquo;re ready to buy, there are many great reasons fornbsp;being pre-approved for a mortgage. A pre-approval letter is physical evidence of the fact that you are a serious buyer with the capacity to purchase.

    Sellers really donrsquo;t know anything about the potential buyers coming through their door. And for valid reasons they are always skeptical whether the buyer is going to succeed at qualifying for the mortgage. You will find that sellers take you more seriously when yoursquo;re equipped with a mortgage pre-approval letter, and your agent is able to help you in a much more effective manner as well.

    For instance, with this letter, they may be able to help you to negotiate a better deal due to the fact that yoursquo;re a bonafide buyer. Most pre-approved buyers also find that sellers prefer to work with them over non-approved buyers, giving them an edge over the competition.

    Another important reason why you need a pre-approval letter is that it clarifies the amount that you can actually afford to borrow. This will make it easier to search for your next home and can save you from the heartbreak of falling in love with a home that you simply canrsquo;t fit in your budget. Making this even better is the fact that pre-approval can help speed up the closing process by the only having to approve the purchased property.

    Benefits of a Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter?

    1. Pre-approval Letter Provides Proof of Financing

    Most real estate agents request that clients obtain pre-approval before they ever show them a home. This is for good reason, as itrsquo;s an unfortunate reality that unqualified buyers waste their time and therefore money. Agents want security that their clients have the ability to buy, which is exactly what this letter shows.

    2. Negotiate Better Price amp; Term

    Do you want to be in a better position to negotiate on a home you love? A pre-approval letter will help, as it proves you have the funds and therefore the deal is more likely to go through. Even if a seller has multiple offers, you may gain an advantage over the others if they havenrsquo;t shown proof with a pre-approval. This letter is also paramount if yoursquo;re buying in an area thatrsquo;s high in demand, as some sellers may not even consider working with buyers who arenrsquo;t pre-qualified. To make yourself stand out, even more – work with a reputable lender. If you arenrsquo;t sure who to go to, ask your real estate agent for referrals.

    3. Savvy Sellers Want to See Proof of Approval

    An additional reason why top real estate agents request pre-approvals from buyers is the fact that an increasing number of sellers actually require it. This is because sellers only want to work with serious buyers who arenrsquo;t going to waste their time. They want security in knowing that the buyer is serious and financially capable of affording their property, which is exactly what the pre-approval letter shows.

    Of course, you can attend an open house because agents cannot screen walk-ins for this, but if you want a private showing, donrsquo;t take it personally if the agent asks you for your pre-approval letter first. Plan on making an offer? Your letter of approval will ease the sellerrsquo;s mind because they wonrsquo;t have to just take your word for being able to afford their property.

    4. Pre-approval Reduces Condition Time

    Obtaining a mortgage takes a lot of time, as you have to prove your income, dig up financial records, and meet all requirements of the lender. Fortunately, if you get pre-approval ahead of time, this process can actually be shortened considerably. While this takes a lot of stress off of your shoulders, thatrsquo;s not the only advantage. Sellers absolutely love buyers with a mortgage pre-approval letter, as it decreases the amount of time they have to wait between accepting an offer and removing all of the contingencies.

    5. A Good Real Estate Agent Will Not Work With Un-approved Buyers

    Real estate agents work hard for their clients by showing them properties, negotiating for them, and helping you navigate through the buying process. With all the time they invest in you, itrsquo;s easy to see why they want to make sure yoursquo;re a serious buyer from the start. This provides them with security that yoursquo;re not casually browsing and can actually afford the homes that you want them to show you.

    To ensure a more enjoyable experience for both you and your agent, get pre-approved before beginning the process. Your real estate agent will greatly appreciate you having a mortgage pre-approval letternbsp;and will be able to get started assisting you much more quickly.

    Pre-Qualification Letter vs. Pre-Approval Letter

    While a mortgage pre-approval and pre-qualification letter might seem like they are interchangeable documents, they are actually very different from one another and often befuddles even industry members. By understanding these differences, you can avoid major road bumps in the buying process.

    The process of pre-qualification only takes a few minutes. A mortgage pre-qualification gives you a slight idea of what kind of loan you might qualify for. Being an informal estimate, this is ideal for buyers are in the very initial stages of buying a home.

    A mortgage pre-approval is a more intensive process that requires a credit check, financial verification, and proof of down payment, a pre-approval is essential if yoursquo;re ready to buy a house. It provides a far more accurate idea of what you can afford so you can begin looking at homes within your realistic price range. A pre-approval letter will also declare your purchasing power once you do find a property that you like.

    Unfortunately, the term of pre-qualification and pre-approval are being used interchangeably and there is always great confusion between the two. At the end of the day, the lender is the only entity that can actually approve a mortgage and itrsquo;s best to get a mortgage pre-approval commitment letter from them. A mortgage commitment letter is going to cover all the conditions that need to be in place for the mortgage to be funded, which makes the mortgage commitment letter a more valid document than anything else.

    How long is a Mortgage Pre-approval Letter Good For?

    Interest rates tend to fluctuate based on many variables and lenders are only able to guarantee to the home buyer a fixed rate for a short period before buying a house. Typically banks provide a ldquo;rate-holdrdquo; for 90-120 days after pre-approving someone for a mortgage. Receiving a guaranteed interest rate until you find your new home is another benefit of getting a mortgage pre-approval/commitment, but you need to be careful about not to do things that could jeopardize your pre-approval.

    What Can Hinder a (pre) Approved Mortgage?

    Changing Jobs or Quitting Your Job

    Opening or Closing a Line of Credit Account

    Falling Behind on Payments/Missing Payments

    Opening a New Credit Card or Obtaining a Loan

    Closing Credit Cards

    Changing Your Financial Behaviour

    Withdrawing Large Amount of Money from Chequing or Savings Accounts

    Concealing Down Payment Gifts

    Although having a mortgage pre-approval is security knowing how much you can afford, there are rules and stipulations you must follow once your approval is finalized. In most situations, you must pay very close attention to your finances and major life-changing events such asnbsp;changing jobs or befriending a cosigner. This means continuing to make payments of your credit obligation on time and avoiding any new loans or credit cards that may affect your credit score. Any changes that occur in the time between having your offer accepted and closing can cause a re-examination of your pre-approval and result in a derailed loan. With the utmost certainty, lenders will verify employment and creditworthiness just prior to releasing the funds. Some specific activities you should avoid include:nbsp;nbsp;

    Final Thoughts

    As you can see there are many elements of buying a home and being well prepared in advance is going to serve you well along your journey. Having a mortgage pre-approval letter in place is not a prerequisite to purchasing real estate. Although sometimes it can be perceived as an extra hoop that others just want home buyers to jump through. By now I trust that you can see that foremost it is really going to benefit the home buyer by being organized and having the right mortgage team in your court.

    Be sure to ask your real estate agent for references and recommendations of banks and mortgage brokers that their clients had a great experience working in the past. You can have peace and comfort knowing that they will only steer you towards those individuals who provide an exceptional job to get your mortgage approved.

  • Reasons Why You Need a Mortgage Pre-approval 24 August 2017 When making financial decisions that will heavily impact your life, such as buying a home, itrsquo;s important to be informed before jumping into a decision and making sure ahead of time that you are ready to buy a home.

    This means asking questions and using all resources available to understand more about the commitment of purchasing a property. To gain this understanding, the first (and arguably the most important) step is to determine how you will pay for it. While paying all cash is ideal because it eliminates the need to pay interest, this isnrsquo;t something most people can do. This is when the majority ofnbsp;home buyers turn to obtaining a mortgage so they can secure the funds they need to purchase a home.

    Fortunately, as a buyer, you have many mortgage options available to choose from. You will find that each of these is different, as some will require more money down while others may have strict requirements dependent on their financial history. To determine which is best for your situation, getting pre-approval for a mortgage is crucial. In fact, doing this before you ever look at homes is highly recommended by real estate agents and it can even help streamline the entire buying process.

    With awareness of the fact that you need to get pre-approved for a mortgage, the next step is to understand more about the process of how to go about getting a mortgage pre-approval. The following guide will help you get started and anticipate what to expect. The information you learn through this can help you have a more enjoyable experience and smoother transaction in the future.

    Reasons for getting a mortgage pre-approval:

    Negotiate Better Terms amp; Price

    Build Trust amp; Win Multiple Offer Situations

    Take Possession of Your New Home Faster

    Get Your REALTORreg;rsquo;s Attention amp; Priority

    Seller May Request Proof of Financing

    Establish a Laser Focused Searchnbsp;

    Avoid Disappointment and Frustration

    Interest Rate Increase Protection

    What is a Mortgage Pre-approval?

    Each lender has a specific set of guidelines that they use to determine whether a borrower will get approved for a mortgage. These guidelines are more in-depth than those associated with a pre-qualification, as that only involves a superficial look at you as the borrower. Due to the fact that requirements can be so different with each lender, itrsquo;s easy to see why doing your own calculations is not recommended. An official pre-approval means that the lender has gone through your financial information and qualified you as a borrower. This will give you a more accurate idea of what your interest rate will be, as it will be based on your specific information as a borrower.

    Itrsquo;s always recommended to get pre-approved before you ever start looking at homes so you have a more realistic and accurate idea of what you can afford. In addition to saving money, itrsquo;s one of the most beneficial things you can do as a responsible buyer. The length of time it takes to get pre-approved will is usually no more than a few days once you have provided all of the supportive documents

    Most mortgage pre-approvals and interest rate holds are guaranteed for a period of 3-4 months, which is why itrsquo;s recommended to start the process up to 120 days before yoursquo;d like to purchase a property. By taking care of this early you will be able to look at homes with more peace of mind and avoid the potential stress of dealing with offer negotiations at the same time.

    Before filling out any paperwork, itrsquo;s important to gather financial documents that support your ability to afford a home. This may include paperwork proving income, proof, and source of down payment funds, asset information, and liability information. In addition this, you will need to provide personal information such as your social security number or SIN number, so the lender can review your credit score.

    How Do I Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage?

    To get the pre-approval process started, you will need to speak with an experienced mortgage broker (or lender) who can help you. If you arenrsquo;t familiar with any professionals you can rely on, then ask your REALTORreg; for recommendations. Once you meet with the mortgage broker ask them questions to help you learn more about their rates and programs. If you arenrsquo;t interested in interviewing different lenders, then go online and research banks or mortgage brokers.

    …if you work with a real estate agent who doesnrsquo;t mention getting a pre-approval letter at all, then they may not have the expertise thatrsquo;s so important in this type of profession.

    While doing this research is pretty straight-forward, itrsquo;s important to keep awareness of lenders that make things seem ldquo;too easyrdquo;. If you speak with any lender that claims they can provide you with a pre-qualification letter without taking a look at your financials, do not go with them. Also, if you work with a real estate agent who doesnrsquo;t mention getting a pre-approval letter at all, then they may not have the expertise thatrsquo;s so important in this type of profession.

    How Much Mortgage Can You Afford?

    With most buyers, therersquo;s a considerable difference between what they think they can afford and what they actually can afford. Getting the mortgage pre-approval will point you in the right direction, as it will give you the best idea of what you can realistically afford. However, itrsquo;s important to be aware that some lenders approve buyers for less than they want to spend while others will approve buyers for more. This is when itrsquo;s important to be self-aware of your finances and what yoursquo;re genuinely comfortable with spending on this significant purchase.

    The hard numbers you receive from the lender will be a great starting point that allows you to narrow down your search for homes. Knowing your price range will give you an idea of how many rooms you can afford, which area you might want to live in and if you can genuinely afford what you want. For most people, this is when shopping for a home becomes more real and they can finally picture themselves as homeowners.

    By taking the time to get pre-approved, you will ultimately be helping yourself avoid many pitfalls that first-time buyers run into. For instance, knowing your financial position can help you avoid looking at (and falling in love with) homes that you simply cannot afford. When yoursquo;re ready to start looking, analyze the approval letter and monthly payment information provided by your lender. Once yoursquo;ve determined the maximum that yoursquo;re content with, the down payment and closing costs can be calculated so you can look at homes within your ideal budget.nbsp;

    Obtain a Mortgage Pre-approval Letter

    A pre-approval letter is contingent on you as the borrower keeping your credit score and finances the same until you close. This is why most lenders warn their clients against making large purchases or taking out new credit cards, as these types of transactions can affect their credit score and financial situation. As long as they do this, the pre-approval letter will play an important role in the buying process. Sellers will appreciate the fact that a qualified buyer is looking at their home, and if you end up competing with another buyer, this could be what helps you secure the property. The pre-approval essentially shows that you are qualified and serious about purchasing.

    Negotiate Better Terms amp; Price

    One common and frustrating situation for sellers is dealing with buyers who arenrsquo;t qualified to buy their home. This wastes time because it generally results in the deal falling through and other potential buyers moving on. As a pre-approved buyer, sellers will appreciate the fact that yoursquo;ve proven your financial backing. Beyond that appreciation, this approval can act as a negotiation tool because yoursquo;ve already gone through the work of proving your ability to buy. This entices the buyer to negotiate with you, as they wonrsquo;t have to worry that the deal will fall through because you wonrsquo;t get approved for a mortgage.

    Your pre-approval may also persuade the seller to accept your offer rather than a higher one from a buyer without the same approval. In addition to this, an eager seller may be willing to change their terms of the sale due to the fact that your purchase would be a done deal. With the pre-approval being such a strong negotiation point, itrsquo;s easy to see why top real estate agents request that their clients take care of this before they are shown properties.

    Build Trust amp; Win Multiple Offer Situations

    The real estate market is always changing, therefore you can never anticipate whether or not a home is going to attract offers from multiple buyers at the same time. However, itrsquo;s important to be prepared just in case this situation does occur. A pre-approval letter from your lender is just what you need, as this will make you stand out. Sellers see this letter as security, not only because you have proven that you can obtain financing, but also because yoursquo;ve proven that yoursquo;re serious about buying the property. As a result, you will be one of the top candidates they consider accepting an offer from.

    Take Possession of Your New Home Faster

    Finally, your offer has been accepted; what next? If the home inspection turns out to not show any issues, then yoursquo;ll likely anticipate moving into your new home. While packing your bags is a great way to get started, there will be some waiting time before your new keys are in hand. Most of this wait time is the seller deciding whether or not to accept your offer, which will generally be minimized with your pre-approval letter. Even more beneficial is the fact that your bank will already have the paperwork and documents that are needed to approve the loan, so you can close the home as quickly as possible.

    To gain insight into what happens after your offer is accepted, the lender will need to have all your information in order to determine if you can afford the property. Having already done this legwork to get the pre-approval, your lender will be able to move on to requesting an appraisal of the property. Once everything is in order, you will finally be able to close the home, likely without having to wait the 45-60 days that most average buyers do.

    While choosing to get pre-approved for a mortgage is your decision, itrsquo;s a smart and beneficial move on your part. If you are serious about buying, itrsquo;s the very first move you should make. A top real estate agent will tell you the same thing, making it something you donrsquo;t want to wait to take care of.

    Get Your REALTORreg;rsquo;s Attention amp; Priority

    Getting pre-approval for a mortgage is not something that is guaranteed. Even if you think your finances are in order and yoursquo;ll be approved for a specific amount, you wonrsquo;t know for certain until you have that letter in hand. To avoid frustration and stress for you, your REALTORreg;, and the seller, donrsquo;t ask to be shown properties until yoursquo;ve taken time to get your pre-approval taken care of. Real estate agents want to spend quality time showing you potential homes you could buy, not homes you may only dream of living in.

    If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you will have the attention of your real estate agent if they are caught between deciding which client they can make time for. By showing that you are ready and able to buy, your real estate agent will know they arenrsquo;t wasting their time or yours by showing you properties.

    Seller May Request Proof of Financing

    There are many additional reasons, aside from time savings, why real estate agents request their clients obtain pre-approval before showing them homes. One of the most common is because the seller often requires it, as they donrsquo;t want non-qualified buyers walking through their home. This is most common with luxury real estate, although this seller preference is seen with budget-friendly homes as well. For these reasons, donrsquo;t take it personally when you are requested to have pre-approval done before yoursquo;re allowed to view a home.

    An added benefit of having this done is that yoursquo;ll be in a better position to present an offer on a home that you would like to buy. Sellers takenbsp;buyers who have pre-approval letters readily available much more seriously because they have shown their ability to pay. Without this, the seller would never know if you would be able to get financing for their home or if the deal with go through.

    Establish a Laser Focused Search

    Yoursquo;re ready to buy and donrsquo;t want to waste time looking at homes that may be outside of what you can afford. By taking care of financing before you search, yoursquo;ll have an accurate idea of the amount you can spend on a home. This is due to the fact that your lender will analyze bank statements, pay stubs, your credit report, and all other necessary financial information to determine what you can borrow. With that information, you can establish a much more accurate price range so you can search for homes you can afford with confidence.

    One additional highlight of knowing your budget is the fact that you will be able to narrow down your options for properties. This will give you a limited selection to choose from so your search can be expedited. Another advantage of knowing how much you can spend is that you will be less likely to find properties you like but cannot afford. You will only see homes that fit your budget so the entire buying process is overall more enjoyable and efficient.

    Avoid Disappointment and Frustration

    When you think about applying for a pre-approval, you may be intimidated by all that are involved. From digging out your tax returns to proving your income, it can be a lot to take in at once. However, this shouldnrsquo;t be a reason to postpone doing the pre-approval until you actually find a home that you like. To avoid disappointment and frustration, you should embrace your inner-strength and put all of your documents together. Once you have done this, yoursquo;ll likely find that the process isnrsquo;t as intimidating as you thought it would be.

    After the application is completed and yoursquo;ve been pre-approved, you will know exactly what your realistic budget for a home and taxes is. This means you wonrsquo;t waste time looking at listings that are far outside of your budget, such as homes that cost $400,000 whereas yoursquo;re only approved for $350,000. Ultimately this saves you from disappointment when home buying, making it clear why real estate agents request you do this from the very start. By doing something as simple as applying for pre-approval now, you will do yourself a great service that will make shopping for a home easier down the road.

    nbsp;

    Interest Rate Increase Protection

    Most pre-approvals for mortgages provide buyers with a 90-120-day rate guarantee to protect them in the event that rates increase when searching for a home. This essentially allows you to lock in a rate so you can shop for homes knowing you wonrsquo;t see an increased rate surprise when yoursquo;re ready to buy. However, if interest rates decrease while yoursquo;re shopping, most lenders will honour that rate instead. If no other reason compels you to obtain a pre-approval, this ldquo;lock-in advantagerdquo; may be just what does.

    Final Thoughts

    Buying a home is a huge financial decision and therefore should be treated with careful consideration. Real estate agents understand this, which is why they are likely to request their clients take care of this before they are shown homes. Walking through properties before doing so will be pointless as well as a waste of time for both you and your agent. If you are serious about buying, then prove it by obtaining your pre-approval as soon as you can. Once you know how much you can afford, yoursquo;ll find that buying a home is less stressful and yoursquo;re able to enjoy searching with confidence.

    nbsp;

    nbsp;

  • How Much Real Estate Can You Afford? 10 July 2017 One of the first things that you should be doing when buying a home is figuring out how much you can comfortably afford without putting any stress on your monthly budget. Once you have settled into your new home its going to be rather difficult and costly to change your mind about the home you have just bought. By reading this article, you will be able to figure out how much real estate you can truly afford to buy.nbsp;

    Questions to keep in mind when setting a real estate budget:

    Is it going to change my lifestyle?

    Can I live within my means?

    What is the maximum mortgage payment that I feel comfortable with?

    Have I created a monthly budget?

    Is it going to cause stress or peace in my life?

    Itrsquo;s fairly easy and straightforward to find out whether you even qualify for a mortgage. A responsible and well-planned home buying process must start out with getting a mortgage pre-approval so that you can benchmark your decision based on your purchasing power.

    Yes, as weird or perhaps somewhat belittling it may sound – we all have certain financial limitations that we need to keep in mind and not to exceed. Even the elite home buyers need to draw the line in the sand when they are looking at luxury homes in their local real estate market. In my years of experience of working with all categories of home buyers, I have found that those who have stayed within their means, turned out to be the most satisfied with their home purchase.

    Owning a home comes with many aspects of responsibilities, including the financial burden that buyers must keep in mind before they sign on the dotted line. Monthly mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance fees, common maintenance costs can add up really quickly. Not having enough money set aside in your budget to allow you to enjoy a certain level of lifestyle could really dampen your entire home ownership experience.

    Life Beyond Owning Real Estate

    Itrsquo;s so easy to get depressed these days with all the negative news that wersquo;re seeing on TV every day. A home should be a place where we go to find shelter, to relax and to reenergize ourselves, perhaps to have a bit of fun and to invite friends and family over.

    Irsquo;ve been in far too many homes which were by no means entry-level homes, yet Irsquo;d found that while it looked great on the outside, the owners had minimal furniture inside the house. Itrsquo;s quite demoralizing to visit a home where the owners canrsquo;t afford to have sufficient amount of furniture to make it feel like an enjoyable place to be in.

    But not having enough furniture inside a house is only a first world problem. Making sure that you can still have enough money for clothes and entertainment is going to be a great contributor to the level of satisfaction yoursquo;ll have in life.

    Embrace Living Within Your Means

    For many new homebuyers in todayrsquo;s real estate market, the phrase ldquo;living within your meansrdquo; is as foreign as the authentic hair on Donald Trumprsquo;s head. While our parents used to live with the belief of saving first and then spending what yoursquo;ve got – todayrsquo;s generation is trying to live their parentrsquo;s dream by spending first and then paying for it later.

    Unfortunately, this type of thinking often gets homebuyers into financial problems and creates extraordinary stress in their lives. Money problems usually snowball into other kinds of problems like having issues with relationships and the stress could also lead to health challenges if you are not careful about calculating how much real estate you can afford.

    While you may easily afford your monthly mortgage payments while yoursquo;re having a well-paying job – what would happen if that income source would stop all of a sudden? Can you go on and make the mortgage payments for two, six or maybe 12 months if needed?

    Having peace of mind knowing that you can easily afford your home is going to serve you well. Especially knowing that you have enough savings set aside when unexpected financial challenges happen. nbsp;

    How Banks Calculate Mortgage Approvals?

    For many decades now, banks have come up with a formula to calculate peoplersquo;s affordability levels. This formula is called the GDSR (Gross debt service ratio) and TDSR (Total debt service ratio). Banks have statistically proven that if they purposely limit how much financial debt people take on, then the likeliness of them defaulting on their mortgage is significantly reduced.

    The GDSR takes into account all of the monthly expenses associated with the property and compares it to your monthly income before taxes. Banks and conventional lenders like to make sure that homeowners donrsquo;t spend more than 32 of their gross monthly income on housing costs.

    What is included in the GDSR calculation? When the gross debt service ratio is used, it takes into consideration the following expenses: 50 of all condo fees (if applicable), heating costs, property taxes and mortgage payments.

    TDSR – total debt service ratio is another formula that lenders use when someone applies for a mortgage. As the name of the formula suggests, it adds up all the debt that you may have in addition to the expenses of owning a home. The TDSR formula includes all credit card, car loan payments and any other types of loans that you may be responsible for. The maximum amount that banks prefer limiting their clientrsquo;s mortgage payment amount is to be below 42 of the borrowerrsquo;s gross monthly income.

    Assuming that you have sound employment and a good credit history, along with a decent credit score, you should be able to easily figure approximately what mortgage amount the banks will consider approving you for. Below is a quick example of how banks may approach your mortgage application.

    Mortgage Calculation Example

    Cost of House

    $500,000

    Down Payment (5)

    $25,000

    Mortgage (95 LTV)

    $475,000

    CMHC Insurance fee (3.6)

    $17,100

    Total Mortgage

    $492,100

    Monthly Mtg. Payments (at 3 intr.)

    $2,328.84/mo.

    GDSR Calculation Example

    Heat

    nbsp;$150

    Condo Fee (50 if applicable)

    $200

    nbsp;Property Taxes

    $250

    nbsp;Mortgage Payments

    $2,328.84

    nbsp;Total Expenses

    $2,928.84

    Based on the above calculation, you would be required to have a gross monthly income of $9,152.63 to purchase a $500,000 home with 5 down payment.

    TDSR Calculation Example:

    Car Payment

    $530

    Credit Card Payment

    $200

    Other Loan Paymentsnbsp;

    $180

    Mortgage amp; Housing Costs

    $2,928.84 nbsp;

    Total Payments

    $3,838.84 nbsp;

    The above TDSR calculation works out to 41.9 of the gross monthly income which is just below 42 of the gross monthly income of $9,152.63

    How Much Mortgage Payments Can You Really Afford?

    Just because the bank had successfully approved your mortgage application, it doesnrsquo;t mean that they are providing you with a safety net. Itrsquo;s somewhat amusing that banks are willing to trust someone with hundreds of thousands dollars and project that they will have the same employment for 25-30 years to come.

    Sometimes it is just crazy for home buyers without any savings to use all of their approved mortgage amount. In the following example, you can see that there isnrsquo;t much room for error if the homebuyer did not have any money set aside for rainy days.

    Discretionary Income Calculation:

    Gross Monthly Income:

    $9,152.63

    Estimatednbsp;Income Taxnbsp;(36)

    $3,294.95

    Mortgage amp; Housing Costs

    $2,928.84

    Loan amp; Credit Card Expenses

    $910

    Discretionary Money left to spend

    $2,618.84

    While it may sound like lifes a peach with having an income in excess of $100,000 a year – it may not be very wise to tap out the mortgage amount that the banks might be willing to provide. After using data of average housing prices, debt levels and so on, it appears that someone who is considered to be a high-income earner may end up being worse off than someone earning much less and living within his means.

    There are other expenses that bank donrsquo;t keep in consideration, yet they play a very important role in the quality of everyonersquo;s life. Most of us could probably live without some of these expenses, but being accustomed to the western world, these items below have become a normal our lives. Therefore some of the figures in the list is an approximate estimate only to illustrate their presence in our everyday lives.

    Common Monthly Expenses

    Internet amp; TV

    nbsp;$120

    Telephone

    nbsp;$80

    Utilities (water amp; power)

    nbsp;$200

    Fuel

    nbsp;$200

    Car Insurance

    $120nbsp;

    Home Insurance

    nbsp;$110

    Fitness

    $50nbsp;

    Dining

    $200nbsp;

    Coffee

    $100nbsp;

    New Clothes

    $100

    Kids activities

    $150nbsp;

    Daycare

    $650

    Entertainment

    $150

    Groceries

    $1,000

    Home Maintenance

    $100

    Car Maintenance

    $75

    Vacation

    $250

    Total Expenses

    $3,655

    To maintain a comfortable quality of life, it turns out that one might need to spend $3,655 every month above and beyond housing costs and other loan payments. In the above example, it turns out that based on our calculations, you can be at least $1,037 short at every month if you were to buy the house that the bank had approved you for.

    Final Thoughts

    It is every individualrsquo;s personal decision to figure out how much money they need to set aside to have peace of mind. Some will want to save up enough to be able to maintain their lifestyle for many months in case there is a disruption to their income source. Or others feel itrsquo;s important to set aside at least 10 of their income for future use or to invest it.

    There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to personal savings. But as long as you figure out your own comfort level apart from the financial institutionrsquo;s approval formula, you should be very comfortable living in your new home knowing that you are not going to be financially stranded.

  • The Purpose of a Final Walkthrough in Real Estate 17 June 2017 When closing real estate transactions, sometimes an agreement on the price isnt the biggest obstacle for the buyer and seller to overcome. One oversight many buyers have is with the condition of the property, as some anticipate it to be different than what they see when theyrsquo;ve taken possession. Unfortunately, this generally results in a dispute, although even in situations where concerns are valid, therersquo;s not much can be done when the transaction has closed.

    By becoming familiar with the Purchase Agreement, the buyer can better understand what these specific terms and conditions include. When an agent explains this to their clients, this can help avoid frustration for both parties upon Completion Day. To further explain the wording of this contract and what it means for the buyer, the information below can help.

    Understand What You Sign Off On

    Most purchase agreement contracts will state in formal legal terms that the final walkthrough is done to show buyers what condition the property can be expected to be in upon possession. As soon as the contract is signed, the property should remain in the same or better condition when the offer was accepted. The terms and language used will differ based on local laws, so itrsquo;s important to consult with your real estate agent to determine the exact meaning of the fine print.

    To put this in perspective, take a look at the example of the term found in the Residential Purchase Agreement that is used in Alberta by REALTORSreg;: ldquo;On Completion Day, the Property will be in substantially the same condition as when this contract was accepted and the attached and unattached goods will be in normal working order.rdquo;

    As you can see, the adjective substantially gives some room for things to change. It essentially implies that normal wear and tear can be expected, as can small scratches or bumps caused by the process of moving.

    The terms of the contract are incredibly important for both parties that are involved in the transaction. If the buyer is interested in adding additional terms, such as those that guarantee repairs will be done, then those must be agreed to and incorporated into the contract before both parties sign.

    Spelling Out the Terms

    In most purchase contracts, the seller isnt required to make small repairs, take care of updates, or even clean up the property after its under contract. The only exception to this is with appliances, as they must be in proper working order. However, even in situations where an appliance doesnt work or there is damage in the home, the buyer may not be able to claim a breach of contract if its discovered on the day of possession. In scenarios like these, the buyer will likely have to continue with the purchase and can only refuse to close if there is a material breach of the agreement.

    If this type of breach does occur, the first potential outcome is that the sellers lawyer would convince their client to give the buyer compensation, a monetary holdback, or a guaranteed repair to continue the sale. In some situations, agents even recommend that a monetary holdback (such as $500) be incorporated into the contract to ensure the buyer has a predetermined amount set aside in the event that the property is not substantially the same. The unfortunate caveat with this is the fact that the majority of buyers are likely to take advantage of the holdback and it would become a loss for the seller.

    The second outcome is that the seller does not take responsibility for the issue, which leaves the buyer with the only option to recover compensation in small claims court in the future. Of course with the time and energy required to go to small claims, most buyers would take this as a loss and end up paying for repairs or a new appliance out of their own pocket. If youre the buyer, its easy to feel like the contract takes the side of the seller. However, keep in mind this will favour you in the future when you decide to sell the property yourself. Ultimately the contract is set in place to help protect both parties.

    Should You Make Time for a Walkthrough?

    For those who do plan to do a walkthrough, this should occur within 24 hours the closing is finalized. This will ensure you dont walk through the home too early and potentially miss damage that occurs after you leave. It will also ensure anything that was supposed to be left behind (based on the contract) is in fact there. Its important that when you do this, the seller has vacated the home and taken all of their personal items with them. If anything has been left behind, it will be your responsibility to deal with it at that point.

    Keep in mind that a final walkthrough before the closing is not the same as a home inspection. Occasionally home buyers tend to get carried away, and they expect to spend a long time looking at the details of the property. This is not the opportunity to climb into the attic or to inspect the furnace. Itrsquo;s okay and recommended to do spot checks. However, during a walkthrough, you are only trying to determine whether the home has been still taken care of after the ink dried on the contract.

    Making Sure that a Walkthrough is Effective

    Many buyers are under the impression that scheduling a walkthrough will help them get a better idea of the condition of the home theyre about to pay for. While this is partially true, going as far as to add an inspection provision into the contract before agreeing to buy is not a guarantee for a positive outcome. This is because most damage only occurs or is uncovered during the moving process. Unless the home is 100 empty when the walkthrough is done, its very unlikely youll see all holes in the walls, scratches on the paint, or flooring blemishes when you do walk the home.

    If the buyer does insist on special tasks to be done before they take possession, such as removing junk from the garage or painting the walls, this must be agreed to and incorporated into the terms of the contract. The buyers lawyer should also designate a deadline and any provision for a monetary holdback as well. Additionally, repercussions for the work not being done as agreed upon should be clearly stated in the contract.

    What to do if you Find a Problem During the Walkthrough?

    From time to time, some issues do arise at the date of the final walkthrough. As already discussed, legally there is usually very little that can be done at this point. However, dont despair, as lawyers sometimes are able to find a common bridge between the seller at the buyer. Most of the time a seller is a reasonable person and they will acknowledge their fault. Because lawyers are really good at explaining these situations, Id say there is a good chance for the problem to be nabbed right away. But you will need to take action really fast by calling your lawyer right away and submitting some proof to him as well.

    Final Thoughts – Making Your Decision

    For the home buyer, the final walkthrough is a chance for them to see their new home right before they close. This gives them the opportunity to make sure its in the same condition as it was when they first completed an inspection. For most, this offers peace of mind knowing exactly what they are investing in before the deal is completed.

    While the final walk is not mandatory, we recommend it, so there are no surprises when the buyer walks into his or her new home. Although you may not have any intentions to complete a final walkthrough, we do recommend adding a term to the contract that says that the seller needs to guarantee you with an opportunity 24 hours before to complete a walkthrough. This will drastically reduce the chances of the seller not respecting (your) property after the documents are signed.

    nbsp;

  • Top 10 Reasons Why Your Home isnt Selling 2 June 2017 Homeowners who are in the market to sell their home tend to face several challenges throughout the selling process. Many of these challenges are not in your control: unrealistic home buyers, local market conditions, low-ball offers, and more are just some examples.

    However, there are also many things that are in your control. You may not know it, but there are factors that can also scare away potential buyers. Even the most minor details can scare away some buyers, while other factors are more significant. If you are having trouble selling your home, these are probably the top 10 things that might be scaring away potential buyers.

    1. Asking Above Market Value

    One of the biggest and most common mistakes in selling property is overpricing. An overpriced home is a guaranteed way of scaring away potential buyers, and itrsquo;s unlikely that they will ever come back for a second look.

    Most buyers wonrsquo;t waste their time inspecting a home that has too high of a selling price. Potential buyers are aware of the selling value of your home because theyrsquo;ve done their research on the internet and hopefully theyrsquo;re working with a competent real estate agent whorsquo;s job is to verify the market value of the home. They have access to resources at their fingertips that will instantly tell them if your home is overpriced. If your home is $15,000 more than others in the same neighbourhood, they will most likely assume that your home is priced too high.

    Avoid the use of internet tools such as Zillowrsquo;s Zestimate in determining your homersquo;s value. Your real estate agent is well equipped to provide a more accurate price point that will result in a sale of your home. Appropriate pricing is critical from the very beginning of the selling process, otherwise this can cost you time and money.

    nbsp;An overpriced home is a guaranteed way of scaring away potential buyers..

    2. Poor Quality Photos and Video

    The internet is usually the first stop many people make when researching about almost anything: from booking vacations to books, and even real estate. More than 90 of home buyers start their research online, and what they find on the internet is usually what will prompt them to call up a real estate agent to schedule a visit to the property. In the same vein, if they donrsquo;t like what they find online, you can be sure they wonrsquo;t be scheduling a visit to see your home.

    Poorly taken photographs and videos is a sure way of scaring off potential buyers. Typically, an experienced realtor will ensure that you have excellent photos and videos of your home. As a seller, it is also recommended to ask the realtor what kind of photo equipment they use and even ask for a sample of their work. If you find that the quality of media they produce is low, you can supplement it by hiring a professional photographer of your own.

    3. Dirt and Grime

    Yoursquo;ve probably walked through someonersquo;s house and thought to yourself, ldquo;Wow this place is filthyrdquo;. If this has happened to you in the past, yoursquo;ve likely done everything you could to get out of there as soon as possible. Imagine if a potential buyer walks through your home and thinks the same thing?

    When inspecting a home for sale, some buyers will even walk through your bathroom and open kitchen equipment such as the oven and refrigerator. The presence of dirty burners and oven filled with burnt food and grime will not give a lasting impression, causing the buyer to want to leave immediately. It gives a poor perception on the owner, causing the buyer to think that the home has been neglected. Whatrsquo;s worse is that it will also leave them wondering what else in your home you havenrsquo;t been taking care of before you put it on the market.

    4. Foul Odour

    You may not notice any foul odours in your home, but thatrsquo;s because people tend to develop an immunity to certain smells over time. If yoursquo;ve been living with pets over the last few years, you probably wonrsquo;t notice that there are any pet odours lingering in your home. The foul scent of pet odours is a surefire way of scaring off potential buyers, killing off what could have been a sale.

    If a buyer walks through your front door and detects a bad smell, this will send them running away as fast as they can. They might not even want to complete the entire inspection especially if the odours are unbearable. The most common sources of bad odours include spoiled food, trash, cigarettes, and pet odours. Before you put your home on the market, ask a realtor or someone else who doesnrsquo;t live there to come in and check if they identify any unpleasant scents. If they do, address the problem before inviting potential sellers into your home.

    5. Too Much Clutter

    One of the top things any real estate agent would recommend to a seller is to remove clutter before putting their home on the market. Your home may have all the fixing of a luxury home and is in a prime location, but if itrsquo;s filled with clutter this will scare away potential buyers.

    The presence of clutter makes it difficult for buyers to envision themselves living in your home. A simple and effective way of getting rid of things you donrsquo;t need is by donating them to a charity.

    6. Personalized Deacute;cor

    While personalized deacute;cor may look great in your current home, itrsquo;s time to remove it when you are ready to sell. Once you put your home on the market, ask yourself if something in the house is something that a potential buyer would like to see. Itrsquo;s unlikely that any buyer would appreciate personalized deacute;cor the way you have. Remove any personal items hanging on the walls, and paint the walls with a neutral colour.

    7. Presence of Mold

    There is never any occasion when the presence of mold is acceptable. Itrsquo;s definitely one of the top reasons that you could be scaring away a potential buyer. Aside from being unsightly and disgusting, mold is detrimental to human health. You should never sell a home that still shows signs of mold; the best way to avoid this is to schedule mold inspection.

    Most homeowners arenrsquo;t aware that they are living in a house that has a mold problem. Mold can thrive in many areas that are not easily visible to the human eye. The attic is one of the most common areas that molds will attack, including ventilation fans as well.

    8. Nonfunctional Components

    Major home components are the air conditioner, furnace, roof, electrical system, and windows. These components also require the most amount of money to repair or replace. Selling a home with nonfunctional components will scare off potential buyers.

    Keep in mind that most home buyers arenrsquo;t looking to shell out much more money after theyrsquo;ve just spent on a new home. One of the worst things that can happen to a new home owner is to have to pay for repairs a few weeks or months into their move. Repairs for major home components can cost anywhere from several thousand dollars up.

    9. Still Showcasingnbsp;Grandmas Furniture

    Most home buyers wonrsquo;t shell out money on a home that they need to update later on. In some cases, outdated deacute;cor can scare away potential buyers. Despite requiring inexpensive repairs and minor updates, many buyers donrsquo;t want to have to shoulder the responsibility of doing the updates themselves. Before you sell your home, ask for third-party opinions of your home deacute;cor. Ask for the honest opinions of young people, even including millennials who these days have more purchasing power and are in tune with the pulse of whatrsquo;s trendy. Even minor updates such as adding new carpets, installing new light fixtures, or getting rid of old wallpaper can make a big difference and increase your chances of selling your home in a shorter amount of time.

    10. Unattractive Curb Appeal

    When inspecting a home to buy, potential buyers will usually do a drive-by for the properties that they are interested in. They do this to check out how the exterior of your property looks, while also inspecting the neighbourhood. Itrsquo;s always in your best interest to make sure that your home has exceptional curb appeal. Even if the interior of your home may look better than others in the community, having poor curb appeal can scare off potential buyers. This can easily be addressed by ensuring that you have well-groomed landscaping, planting bright flowers, and ensuring that the exterior of your property is always clean.

    Final Thoughts

    Finding a buyer isnrsquo;t always easy, even if you have a beautiful home in a stunning location. While pricing you home has a big impact on attracting potential buyers, the last thing that you need as a seller is to scare away buyers with problems that you could have addressed early on. These are the most common issues that you need to keep in mind when preparing your home to sell. By being aware of how a buyer experiences the visit to your home, it will most certainly help you to realize your plans much faster than you might have thought

  • Are You Ready to Buy a Home? [INFOGRAPHIC] 20 April 2017 The idea of buying your first home can be incredibly exciting, especially considering the fact that your monthly payments will no longer be lost on rent. However, making this investment requires focus, dedication, and a willingness to learn whatrsquo;s necessary to get through the buying process. With these qualities and an eagerness to be a responsible homeowner, yoursquo;ll be on your way to having a much smoother experience with real estate.

    Whether yoursquo;re just beginning the buying process by searching for homes online or have gone through the steps to determine your budget, there are many more steps to take before yoursquo;ll be ready to make an offer. First, itrsquo;s important to recognize how emotionally and financially ready you really are. Is this just a dream for now or do you want to make this happen in the near future? If yoursquo;re ready to make this a reality, take a look at the housing market.

    One of the best parts about getting involved in real estate right now is the fact that the housing market is strong. Interest rates are low, and with high rent prices, itrsquo;s often a better financial move to buy. Once yoursquo;ve taken a closer look at how the market will play a role in buying, the next step is to prepare yourself for the buying process. Real estate pros recommend looking at the signs below to see if yoursquo;re prepared to embark on this journey. With these, yoursquo;ll have a much better idea if yoursquo;re really ready to buy your very first home.

    nbsp;

    Do You Plan on Sticking Around?

    Do you have a steady job that you plan on staying at for a long time? If there is the probability of you relocating in the foreseeable future or arenrsquo;t set on a particular career path, then renting may be a much better option for you. Although buying might be more appealing than renting, but it can turn out to be more expensive and itrsquo;s more of a long-term commitment.

    For example, if you decide to purchase a home, you will have to pay a commission to your local real estate agent for helping when you decide to sell your home, there could be significant prepayment mortgage penalties, lawyer fees, home inspection and appraisal fees when buying, and many other costs along the way. The advantage of renting is that you still get a nice place to live without all these expenses and the burdens of actually owning the property.

    The last thing you want to do is turn your finances upside down just a few short months after you get the keys to your real estate. It is essential to consider what your 5-10 year plan is going to be. What city will you live in? Do you have plans on changing careers in the near future? If you donrsquo;t have answers to these questions or a 5-10 year plan, then yoursquo;ll only want to invest in a home that is affordable and will be easy to sell quickly if necessary.

    However, short-term home ownership may not offer the investment potential that you may want. For example, you still have to pay for the down payment, repairs, upgrades, maintenance, and other expenses related to running the home and satisfying the mortgage. Considering those, paying for a home that yoursquo;re only going to live in for a few years may end up actually costing you more than renting.

    If you are thinking short term, the only exception to buy vs. rent is when you are looking for an investment property. Real estate markets go through cycles every 5-7 years and if you are confident that prices are on the rise, then you may have a great opportunity at your hands to get a great return for your investments even in a few short years. Your REALTOR should be able to provide you with informative statistics on local real estate prices and trends.

    Are You Aware of What You Can Afford?

    Yoursquo;re likely aware that buying a home is one of the biggest purchases yoursquo;ll make in your life, which is why you have to carefully consider what you can afford. Just like yoursquo;d double check your finances before investing in a new car, you must know for certain what your maximum budget for a home is. If you canrsquo;t find the time to do this, then you may not be completely ready to make this move. However, if you are on top of your budget and how much you can spend, then thatrsquo;s a good sign you may be ready to take the next steps towards ownership.

    Before meeting with a bank, take a look at your income. On average your mortgage payment (including interest, insurance, principal, and property taxes) should be no more than 42 of what you bring in. Of course, spending less than this is ideal, as it ensures you have enough room in your budget every month for savings or unexpected expenses. Not to mention insurance as well as property taxes will increase over time, and if you canrsquo;t afford a big down payment, then mortgage insurance is going to add up. In addition to this, you should consider the fact that you may have to deal with chaining condo fees, HOA fees, high utility bills, repairs, upgrades, and other household expenses.

    Another aspect of considering what you can afford is thinking about the options you have for loans. Interest rates can vary considerably, depending on whether you get a fixed or variable loan. To put this in perspective, if you had a 2.5 fixed 25-year mortgage for $350,000, your payments would be $1,568 a month. On the other hand, if you had a 2.5 fixed 15-year mortgage for $350,000, your monthly payments would be $2,3320. In the long run, the second option actually saves you the most due to the fact that yoursquo;d save over $50,671 in interest.nbsp;

    Have You Been Approved for a Mortgage?

    nbsp;While it would be ideal to pay for your first home in cash, thatrsquo;s not the situation that most first-time buyers are in. Instead, you have to rely on a mortgage through one of the many lenders that are out there. Itrsquo;s important to make this your first step before looking at homes, as this will ensure REALTORS take you seriously and yoursquo;re able to move quickly on a home that you like.

    To get started, yoursquo;ll need to get pre-approval by answering questions about your income, debt-to-income ratio, and monthly expenses. In addition to this, yoursquo;ll likely need to have good credit to get the nod to start looking at homes. There are many options available for home buyers to successfully approve a mortgage. You can choose to visit your favourite bank or talk to a mortgage broker who can advise you about the different mortgage options among banks that have to offer.

    Do You Haven Enough Money Saved?

    Once you have pre-approval and know how much you can afford to spend on a home, it will be time to create a nest egg. This will not only help fund your down payment but will also ensure you can cover unexpected expenses and moving costs. In addition to this, yoursquo;ll appreciate having some savings when it comes time for maintenance (such as mowing the lawn) and upgrades (such as replacing the roof) on your property. Even with strong do-it-yourself skills, yoursquo;ll have to invest in the tools, materials, and other equipment needed to get this type of work done.

    Did You Create a Monthly Budget?

    nbsp;Budgeting is especially important for first-time buyers as it helps to make sure you can still have a life while owning your first home. After all, how will you afford to take vacations, have a gym membership, or do leisurely activities that you love if you have a mortgage payment at the top of your budget? When making your budget, make it a point to give yourself a little bit of wiggle room to do something like a hobby or sport. If this results in not being able to get the home that you want, then you will have to decide whether yoursquo;d rather put your hobby on the back-burner or settle for a more affordable home.

    There are additional homeownership expenses that you have to budget for, including HOA fees. These are common with four out of five home purchases, so make sure you know whether or not this is something yoursquo;ll have to deal with in the future. Itrsquo;s also important to consider the fact that the HOA can charge special assessments and fees that arenrsquo;t covered by this monthly expense.

    Do You Know What You Want to Buy?

    What type of house do you want to live in? Whether you enjoy luxury homes, townhouses,nbsp;condominiums or detached properties, you should make this decision before you ever start browsing. Fortunately, if you have already looked at your budget, then you should know which type of home that you can afford. In fact, if you know what you can afford then you should also be aware of the area that is within your budget as well.

    While these considerations are important, you should also take a look at your lifestyle, your commute, kids (now or in the future), transportation, and even shopping. This will help you narrow down which community that you like and if you want to commit to one certain area at the moment. If you arenrsquo;t ready, then you may be better off leasing rather than buying and losing money in the long run.nbsp;

    Are Your Expectations Realistic?

    nbsp;Although home ownership has become increasingly common, itrsquo;s not exactly easy. It takes time, it takes money, it takes patience, and it causes stress. By understanding that there will be some compromises to be made, yoursquo;ll be in a much better position to make a decision down the road.

    For example, did you know that there is no such thing as a perfect home? If you know that you canrsquo;t expect this, then you wonrsquo;t have such a difficult time finding a place that works for you and your budget. Itrsquo;s also important to adjust your expectations, as you may not be able to (yet) afford the type of lifestyle that yoursquo;d like (such as what your parents have).

    Do you tend to react based on your emotions? When it comes to buying a home, this could end up hurting you. Instead, your decisions should be based on practicalities so yoursquo;re making a solid and worthwhile investment.

    Sitting on the fence and being hesitant about putting in an offer on a house that could work for you could end up breaking your heart by letting someone else buy the property ahead of you. Missing out on an opportunity is not the end of the world. There are always new listings coming on the market and perhaps the next time you will be ready to act faster when opportunity shows itself

    Do You Know Your Real Estate Market?

    Have you taken a look at the market conditions in your area? This is something that is constantly changing, which is why itrsquo;s so important to always consider it before making an investment. You should also know that the market varies in each area, so look at the place where you want to live rather than the city as a whole. As a home buyer, I would keep on eye on the selected few communities that I would love to live in to learn what real estate prices are. As an example, I would frequently visit online real estate listings in South Calgary or monitor every home for sale in Silverado.

    Home prices fluctuate all the time and if they appear to be in a downtrend, then economically it probably makes more sense to hold-off with buying real estate and invest your money somewhere else.

    Understanding what the current market condition is, could also help you to better prepare your offer for a particular property. Real estate markets vary from city-to-city and while some markets may be struggling, other real estate areas could be booming and you may need to act faster and be a little more aggressive with your offer price to avoid missing out on a great deal.

    An experienced real estate agent should have this conversation with you in order to prepare you for the buying process so that yoursquo;ll know what to expect.

    Final Thoughts

    There are many things to consider when purchasing a home, which is why you shouldnrsquo;t take this decision lightly. Some of your top priorities should be figuring out things like:

    Home Affordability

    Your 5-10 Year Plan

    Your Budget

    By looking at these important things, yoursquo;ll be much better prepared for buying a home. In addition to this, yoursquo;ll be much more likely to avoid mistakes that are incredibly common with first time home buyers. Last but not least, donrsquo;t forget to use the resources around you. Local real estate agents, in particular, will help make sure you negotiate a good deal and get through the home buying process in a smooth manner.

  • How NOT to Screw-up Your Mortgage Approval 4 April 2017 How to Prevent the Financing Blues?

    Avoiding disappointment is always the best thing that you can do, but occasionally it does happen when some mortgage brokers are just utterly incapable of getting things done with the lender. Selecting a great mortgage broker is essential for getting the financing approved. Choosing to work with the wrong person can be detrimental. Let me explainhellip;

    Donrsquo;t tell this to anyone else, but just because the banks have the money that you need, sometimes they may try to make it sound like they get to do anything is not always the case. At the end of the day, banks still want your business.

    So if the bankrsquo;s business also depends on securing the next mortgage, then it still didnrsquo;t make sense to me why would they be so willing to drop the ball and not communicate anything back to the mortgage broker so that the buyer and seller can stay informed?

    Then I remembered a conversation that I had with a good mortgage broker associate of mine – he told me that they have an excellent relationship with the underwriter of a particular lender and often they can get borderline applicants approved and faster than anyone else.

    Then I had an ldquo;ahhhhh sohellip;.rdquo; moment. So if a mortgage broker can have a preferred treatment with a lender, then the opposite must also be true.

    Reasons Why Banks May Have Peripheral Service

    Mortgage brokers are responsible for collecting all the documents from the purchasing clients and presenting it to the lenders for approval. But because mortgage brokers are on a commission based compensation model, they may have tried to bend the truth in the past to squeeze the mortgagenbsp;approval through or may have given other reasons why lenders may not like dealing with them.

    If a particular bank becomes suspicious or has a reason not to trust a mortgage brokerage – then a clientrsquo;s file may end up receiving subordinate attention (I am going to explain this in a bit). nbsp;Hence may be the explanation why banks are not giving them the courtesy of keeping them updated on time.

    The second reason why banks may prioritize one application over another could be because they probably try to provide the best service to their most appreciated clients and everyone else has to stand in line to have their files reviewed.

    There arenbsp;mortgage brokers who sendnbsp;a ton of customers to a particular bank. There are also smaller mortgage brokerages who only send a few clients to the bank, and their lack of ability to refer more business naturally means that they are positioned at the back of the queue.

    Specific banks provide a designated underwriter to only handle the clients of a high volume mortgage brokerage, while othersrsquo; application may get sent to the head officersquo;s approval centre (a.k.a. ldquo;the black holerdquo;). If the application gets reviewed at the head-office, then itrsquo;s anybodyrsquo;s guess when they will respond as the mortgage broker has no direct communication with the underwriter.

    As a disclosure on my part, this is simply the best theory that I was able to come up with and I know for a fact that you wonrsquo;t find a single lender that will admit to this business practice. But if you can confirm or deny this theory, I would love to hear your comments below.

    Never Give Up Control of the Situation

    One of the most important steps that a home buyer or their REALTORreg; can do to keep the transaction on time is never to give up control of the situation.

    Far too often, people like to point fingers at each other as to why things didnrsquo;t get done on time and even less often do they want to take responsibility fornbsp;the negative outcome. If you want to have a positive result, then you will need to be able to control the entire buying process. Otherwise, you are at the mercy of somebody else.

    From the minute you decide to purchase that property, you will need to control the terms of the agreement. It means that you will need to make it very clear to the lender that they need to have the mortgage approved before the conditions deadline rolls around.

    But, if the real estate agent doesnt have any relationship with the lender or the mortgage broker, then it may be a bit difficult to exercise any leverage over them. By leverage, I mean that Mortgage Brokers love getting referrals from real estate agents and the only way they can keep those referrals coming is if they do a great job servicing the client.

    How to Win Before the Bank Lets You Down?

    Fortunately, there is a way of ethically ldquo;controllingrdquo; the lendernbsp;and gaining the upper hand even when they let you down by requesting an extension on the property that others may be standing in line and waiting for your offer to collapse.

    Most certainly everyone is under pressure at their job, and that also includes the underwriters working for the lender. Just imagine someone plugging away with their work and every time they look at their inbox tray, there is another file that they have to get to, but they have another dozen approvals to review beforehand. Underwriters always end up with more work than they can handle. On top of the overwhelming workload, they have tight deadlines that they supposed to keep. Wellhellip; sort of.

    For the underwriters to juggle things and try not to miss the deadline, they either need to work first on the ldquo;most preferred file.rdquo; Or prioritize the applications based on the deadlines by which they need to have the approval in place. Prioritizing means this means that if you were to give the lender 2 weeks to get a mortgage approved, most likely itrsquo;s going to sit on their desk for another week before they actually do anything with it as they have multiple other files with higher priorities ahead of yours.

    The Solution to Controlling the Bank

    The solution is simpler than you may have thought. While negotiating with the seller, I always find out from the sellerrsquo;s agent – ldquo;how would they like to have my client approved quickly?rdquo; The answer is always: YES.

    Then I point it out, that itrsquo;s great that our interests are the same. At this time, I propose that wersquo;ll agree on a short financing condition date (this is music to their ears). BUT in case the bank cannot complete the approval on time, then wersquo;ll have the option to extend the financing condition deadline by a few extra days.nbsp;

    By getting the seller to sign off on extending the condition date at the same time when the offer is accepted, it will automatically leave you with more peace of mind in case the bank needs a few extra days. This strategy imposes more pressure on the bank to giddy up and start working on the file right away.

    So the agreement may speak to a 4-day financing condition day which will ensure that the bank will keep a close eye on the file. But in case the bank drops the ball, I have already set up the expectation with the seller ahead of time by having them to agree to extend condition date.

    Final Thoughts

    It can be very disappointing for both the buyer and the seller when financing isnrsquo;t approved in time or all together. Although, its not entirely possible to plan fornbsp;every situation in advance. But if a home buyer is approved for a mortgage before starting their home search, then these tips above will most certainly ensure a positive outcome.

    It is important to understand how lenders and mortgage brokers operate so that you can be a few steps ahead of them and detect any problems even before they occur. Before consulting with a lender or a mortgage broker, check with your real estate agent to see if they can recommend someone with whom they had a great experience working within the past.

    If you had found the above information valuable, please share with your friends, and anyone that you may think would benefit from this article. Your comments are always welcome

  • How to Buy Real Estate in Canada 17 February 2017 In the recent weeks, there has been a lot of chatter about US Citizens wanting to move to Canada as a result of their presidential elections. I am quite certain that the expressed interest shown online is much greater than a number of people who are actually going to follow through. Setting all the hype aside, and for those who are actually very serious about finding out what it is like to buy real estate in Canada – below, you will find a general overview of the Canadian real estate system.

    Please note that the following information is for information purposes only and it is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice.

    Can Foreignersnbsp;Buy Real Estate in Canada?

    Buying real estate in Canada is fairly straightforward, however, a lot of questions arise when non-residents plan on buying property in Canada.

    Much of the confusion comes from individuals who wonder whether they are already residents or plan on becoming a resident of Canada. In order to be considered a resident, you must legally live in Canada for over 6 months of the year. Donrsquo;t spend this much time in Canada? If you are in the country for fewer than 6 months, then you are simply a non-resident. However, you can still purchase a home, open a bank account, or establish yourself in other ways.

    Luckily for those who are not residents of the country, most of the provinces in Canada do not restrict foreign buyers from owning real estate. Though itrsquo;s important to note that some of these provinces do set limits on how much land or property a non-resident is allowed to purchase. Fortunately, if yoursquo;re just looking to own a primary home, you shouldnrsquo;t have any issues no matter which province yoursquo;ve set your eyes on.

    Home Buying Process for Foreigners in Canada

    The process of buying a home in Canada is very similar to our neighbours south of the border. Most home buying process should begin with securing a mortgage approval that will give you an idea of how much money a homebuyer can spend. After this, the next step is to select a REALTORreg; who is experienced and ready to help you to find a property. Once that home is found, theyrsquo;ll help you make an offer that will hopefully be accepted. Canada law requires the offer is made in writing and that it clearly lists all of the terms and conditions of the transaction. For instance, if the carpets, appliances, hardware, or other interior additions are included, then they should be included in the offer as chattels included.

    There are two very common conditions that buyers should include when making an offer on a property, both of which must be satisfied in order for the continuance of the offer.

    The first should state the requirement of a property inspection.

    While the second should note your ability to meet your financial obligations.

    After the offer has been completed and yoursquo;ve signed on the dotted line, yoursquo;ll be legally bound to complete the details set forth in the contract and you cannot change your mind without facing legal consequences. If you choose to do so, then you could be sued for damages and most likely completely forfeit your deposit. After your agent presents the offer to the seller, itrsquo;s then a waiting game to find out whether or not theyrsquo;ll accept.

    In most situations, there will be at least a few negotiations going back and forth between the buyer and seller once the initial offer has been submitted. While all negotiations are unique, most are based on items that the seller is willing to leave behind, the price of the property, possible repairs needed, and the completion date when the keys will be handed over is usually up for discussion.

    After the dust settles around negotiating the details of the purchase agreement, every change must be documented and signed off by both parties. At this point is when yoursquo;ll need to provide a deposit as agreed upon in the offer to purchase agreement. Rather than going to the seller, the funds are customarily placed in the selling REALTORreg;rsquo;s trust account or outlined in the agreement. The deposit is part of the total purchase price and it is only released to the seller on the closing day.

    While it might sound intimidating doing all of this back and forth work to buy a home, it is usually a very smooth process when working with a real estate agent. As the buyer, yoursquo;re not tied to using the agent that was responsible for listing the property. In fact, to avoid any conflict of interest, it is recommended to have your own REALTORreg; to represent your best interest during the buying process. In most scenarios, the buyerrsquo;s real estate agent is being compensated by the listing agentrsquo;s brokerage and you shouldnrsquo;t have to pay any extra fees for having an expert to represent you unless itrsquo;s otherwise agreed in writing. Every province in Canada has their own rules and regulations that govern real estate transactions. Be sure to ask your real estate agent to explain the home buying process to make sure that you are ready.

    Mortgages for Non-residents in Canada

    When it comes to financing the property, whether or not you are a resident is a detail that will come into play. Canadian residents are typically able to finance over a 25-year term for 80-95 of the purchase price. Non-residents will face a different lending process by having to pay a minimum of 35 down, leaving them with 65 to finance. The mortgage qualification process is generally the same for both. The qualification process usually starts with a phone conversations to gather information such as income, tax information, and so on. E-mails, faxes, and the mail will be used to get any additional copies and documents that are needed. Only after all pertinent information is ready will the application be sent into a lender for approval.

    In most situations, the approval will be ready one to two days after the application is submitted. However, the process can be stalled if tax returns, a bank report, confirmation of down payment, credit report, copies of personal identifications, real estate appraisal, or bank statements are not adequate. Another bump in the road can be experienced if you go to the wrong bank. Not every bank in Canada is willing to approve a mortgage application for foreigners. For this reason, itrsquo;s crucial to work with a Canadian mortgage broker from the very start. If yoursquo;re not sure who to go to, then ask your real estate agent to refer you to someone theyrsquo;ve worked with in the past.

    As the borrower yoursquo;re also going to require the services of a Canadian lawyer to help you wrap up the legal documents, such as the registration at the Land Titles Office. If yoursquo;re not in the country when these need to be signed, then you can always request your lawyer to courier you the documents that require signing. The only drawback is that this takes more time, yoursquo;ll need to hire a Notary Public to witness your signatures and it is going to add extra cost to the total legal bill. So it does require some careful planning on your part.

    Keep in Mind When Selling Property in Canada

    When it comes to selling a property in Canada as a non-resident, things are a bit different than they are for residents. This is because non-residents are required to pay a certain amount of taxes on capital gain. To put this in perspective, Canadian residents are not required to pay any taxes on capital gains as a result of their primary residents going up in value over time. However a non-resident is required to pay around 25 of the gain, and this will have to be paid before the sale is completed and the proceeds of the sale are disbursed. The funds for this will go to the sellerrsquo;s lawyer and will only be cleared when Canada Revenue Agency forwards a clearance certificate.

    In order for the clearance certificate to be sent, a few requirements must be met, such as a contract of purchase that has all conditions of the sale removed. Once satisfied, the CRA will submit the certificate to the seller, which normally takes 6-8 weeks to receive. If the requirements are not met and the certificate is not obtained, then the sellerrsquo;s lawyer must withhold 25-50 percent of the selling price from the sale proceeds.

    While the work of purchasing the home is done, the matter of taxes is still at bay. A non-resident seller will have to file a Canadian income tax return for the year that the sale went through. A refund may be expected for the taxes that were paid, although this depends on the transaction details. The way Canadian real estate is taxed depends on what the property is being used for. For example, a rental property will require 25 of the gross rent a tenant pays to be paid by the non-resident owner.

    If you live in the United States and are worried about being taxed in the states as well as in Canada, you can put your mind at ease. The U.S., as well as many other countries, have tax treaties that prevent you from being taxed in both countries. If you donrsquo;t live in the U.S., then itrsquo;s recommended to speak with a tax accountant to learn more about the specifics.

    Additional Fees When Buying and Selling Property in Canada

    Just like with any major purchase, itrsquo;s always important to keep in mind that there may be additional costs and fees when buying real estate. This varies by Province, so make sure your REALTORreg; takes time to explain this before you get the ball rolling. Some common additional costs include:

    1. Land Transfer Taxes

    Property Transfer or Land Transfer Fees: These are determined based on 0.5-2 of the total value of the property. In most situations, they will be 1 of the first $200,000 and 2 for the rest. This is not applicable in Saskatchewan, rural Nova Scotia, and Alberta.

    If yoursquo;re looking to avoid this tax, you may be able to do so under a special circumstance. In 2005 the Provincial Budget made exemptions from the Property Transfer Tax for individuals who were buying their first home. However, they must meet the following criteria:

    Be a Canadian citizen

    Must be a resident of Canada

    Do not own a home anywhere in the world

    In the past 6 years have filed at least 2 Canadian tax returns

    Lived in the province for one year (or longer) before the purchase

    Residence must be principal residence for the first year itrsquo;s owned

    For vacant land, a home must be constructed within a year after the closing date. The buyer must live in the home for the following year.

    Other exemptions do apply, although these vary based on region as well as the value of the property being purchased. This applies to both resale and newly constructed homes as of 2007, so many buyers can now take advantage of it. If yoursquo;re thinking about buying in Toronto, they have their own Land Transfer Tax, which offers a rebate for first-time buyers as well.

    2. Cost of Clearance Certificate

    Paid by the seller, the normal fees related to preparing and filing for a clearance certificate can range anywhere from $300 to $1000. If the transaction is complex, itrsquo;s likely the amount will be at the higher end.

    3. Property Tax

    Property tax is paid every year to the municipal government or in rural areas to the county. Rates vary in each province and city, as the fee is levied within local communities. The amount paid will also depend on current tax rates as well as the value of the property.

    4. Goods and Services Tax (GST)

    A 5 tax is required on newly constructed homes, although this amount is normally included in the sales price so it doesnrsquo;t surprise you later. It may also be eligible for homes that have been substantially renovated from the purchase condition. However, if you are purchasing a newly constructed home for less than $350,000, you can apply for a partial rebate of that 5. Just keep in mind this rebate is only applicable for those who will make this property their principal residence.

    If yoursquo;re buying a home over the threshold of $350,000 but below $450,000, the rebate of the goods and services tax will reduce proportionately. If yoursquo;re purchasing one over $450,000, then you will not be qualified to receive a GST rebate. For questions relating to this, one of the best sources is an experienced accountant or Revenue Canadarsquo;s website.

    5. Provincial Sales Tax (PST)

    Although normally factored into the sales price of a home, the PST is an expense that can range from 0-10 from province to province. Currently, Alberta is the only province in Canada that does not have a provincial sales tax.

    6. Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)

    Used in Newfoundland, Labrador, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, and Ontario, this is the combination of Provincial Sales Tax and Goods and Services Tax. Most services, consumer products, homes, and goods are subject to this tax. Additionally, this tax applies to costs as well as fees that are related to the purchase of a property, such as cable, commissions, legal fees, painting, etc. Itrsquo;s collected by the Canada Revenue Agency before being sent to participating provinces. Almost every province has a provincial sales tax or the HST, except for Alberta.

    Final Thoughts on Buying Real Estate in Canada

    Although there are many steps that need to be carefully considered when buying real estate in Canada as a non-resident. The overall process of buying a home in Canada is fairly straightforward when you have a professional by your side. Every province and territory in Canada will have different advantages and some disadvantages. Be sure to find a real estate agentnbsp;who can answer all your questions about the local real estate market and ease any concerns that you may have about becoming a homeowner in Canada.

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