Home Buyer Checklist

Some home buyers have been sitting on the fence waiting to see what will happen to the Mississauga real estate market ever since the Federal government implemented tighter lending rules.  It’s been about a year now and what we have seen are buyers who took the plunge were rewarded with year over year growth in their property values.  For those who waited now have to pay more as opposed to paying less like they were hoping for.  That said it’s still a good time to buy real estate in Mississauga as interest rates remain historically low and there are plenty of options to choose from including condos, town’s, semi’s and detached houses. 

Consult a real estate agent for advice regarding home ownership. 

Buying a new home especially for a first time home buyer can be challenging.  Realtors can make the process easier as that is what they are trained to do.  The buyer should certainly seek a professional with experience helping buyers find real estate in the area and neighborhood’s they are looking to live in.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Being pre-approved for a mortgage means the buyer is more serious and really able to make a serious financial commitment.  Many deals fall apart when the client was not pre-approved, but still made an offer and later finds out they really couldn’t get a mortgage in the first place.  Believe me, save yourself, your realtor and the seller and their agent from wasting their time, energy and money by making sure you are financially ready first.

Think about LOCATION!

There’s an old saying that goes…Location, location, location.  Where your home is located will affect many aspect of your life including your commute to work and the school your children will attend.  Think about if you want a city lifestyle or a country one.  If you are probably going to sell this property sometime in the future, how desirable is the location to others?

What type of home do you want?

Think about the type of home you can afford and try to buy the best possible for your situation.  Condo vs. town homes or semi vs. detached?  Do you desire a breath taking view or maybe a big backyard?  Can you buy a fixer-upper and do renovations or do you want a home that is ready to live in just the way you want it.  Make a list of must haves and order them by importance.  Your real estate agent will help you find a desirable house meeting most if not all of your requirements assuming you’ve been realistic.

Go on showings.

The internet is the biggest revolution to the real estate market.  It’s so easy for anyone to simply go online and start to window shop for that perfect next home to buy.  But, remember people spend lots of money on having professional pictures to make their homes look better than what they are.  Always go see the houses for yourself.  Your realtor will assist you to see the one’s you want to see as well can also show you ones you may not have thought of.  If you go to an open house or to a pre-construction condo sales room, remember to always say you have official representation as its important the selling party knows you have a realtor.

Have an open mind.

Often really good real estate is passed up on because the home owners may not have chosen the right décor and colour of paint.  It’s a fact that some people have a hard time seeing passed the superficial and understanding the house has “good bones”.  Try to see the space and the potential every house has.  Once you move in you can change anything you want and make it yours.

Plan B

If you like a condo or a house enough to want to put in an offer, there might be someone else who thinks the same.  There is no guarantee your offer is accepted based on price, terms or issues that may come up during a inspection or status certificate review.  Have a backup plan as an alternative so you are not 100% emotionally dependent on plan A.

Get informed.

Your agent can help you know about how your targeted house compares to previously sold homes and other homes which are currently for sale.  Having a CMA or a Comparative Market Analysis done by your real estate agent will help you understand the relative value of the properties, thus preparing you for making an offer to buy and also setting up how negotiations can play out.

It can help to do some research.

Take some time to research at city hall about permits that may or may not exist especially if there were big renovations done to any of the critical systems or structure of the house.   If you are planning to do changes to grading or making any significant alterations after purchasing the home, maybe check with the city before you buy to see if what you are trying to is permissible.

Building inspection uncovered a list of problems…don’t panic.

The job of the inspector is to find everything they can that is wrong with the property.  Usually there are lots of minor issues that are things you would probably overlook.  Even more major things are found that require a fix, find out from an expert an estimate and either negotiate a price reduction or have the seller fix it.  Your real estate agent will help you with any potential amendments to the agreement that needs to be put into place to protect your interests.  But remember this…there is no problem too big or small that money can fix.


14 Tips for Buyers

Outlined below is a very simple but highly successful 14-step approach to getting you the home that you desire and not ending up with a lemon.

1. Pre-approve it, Have you Toronto real estate agent help you determine how much you can afford and assist you in attaining the pre-approval for your mortgage or the transfer of existing financing.

2. Educate yourself, About the home buying process and then you will be comfortable actually doing it. Ask lots of questions. A good Toronto real estate agent will assist you throughout the entire process answering all of your concerns.

3. Design it, Based on your desires, needs and capabilities we will decide on the best neighbourhoods to target for the home that you want.

4. Shop for it, Now that we know what your goal is you can start shopping. You will have to stay informed about all the real estate activity in your areas of choice. That includes having your agent send you daily listings through email and have them arrange to show you as many as you want.

5. Do not settle, For anything but the right home, for a price you can afford, in an area you desire.

6. Buy It, When we have decided on your dream home have your agent draw up a Custom Agreement of Purchase and Sale to fit your needs. And then have them present it to the owners and negotiate it on your behalf.

7. Close It, After the successfully purchase your home stay in regular contact with your agent to ensure all of the details are being addressed. Your agent should work with you right up to and beyond the closing date.

What warning signs should you look out for?

Home buyers often pride themselves on knowing how to spot a solid home or one that needs serious work. Aside from the obvious warning signs – such as damp spots on walls or missing roof shingles – many home-buyers may remain unaware of serious yet hard to spot problems such as foundation damage.

8. Water damage. Porous grout and cracks less than one sixteenth of an inch in a ceramic tiled shower can allow enough water through to do thousands of dollars of damage over time.

9. Improper wiring. This includes such situations as amateur (often dangerous) wiring, ungrounded receptacles, lack of ground fault circuit interruptors in wet locations, overloaded breakers, etc. The homebuyer will be informed of the presence of aluminum wiring which was common in houses built in the 1960s and 1970s. These installations could be problematic and should be fully evaluated before closing the sale.

10. Attic issues. Home buyers almost never look in attics but inspectors always do, paying special attention to signs of roof leaks, missing support trusses, pest infestation, illegal venting, illegal electrical wiring, inadequate insulation, etc.

11. Chugging drains. Drains that chug like an upturned soda bottle or toilets that do not flush correctly could be signs that the plumbing system is not adequately vented. Make sure your dream home is free of costly repair problems before signing a contract.

12. Roof damage. Eighty percent of new construction litigation is said to involve the roof. If the roof is bad, the rest of the house is in danger of damage too.

13. Heating and cooling systems danger. Gas-fired furnaces have the potential to introduce deadly carbon monoxide gas into the living area. If the gas company decides your furnace is unsafe prior to your move-in, they may lock it out and require replacement before turning on the gas to your new home.

14. Foundation problems. Flower beds planted too close to exterior walls could draw too much water to the foundation of the home, causing damage. A damp basement might also be an indication that the foundation needs work which is one of the most expensive home repairs around. Before you buy, be sure that you are not going to be in the market for expensive home repairs down the road.

The best way to be safe is to get a complete home inspection from a reputable and established Home Inspection company. And include some of the mentioned items as conditions in your offer, just to be doubly sure that the seller is telling the whole truth about the condition of the property.