Top 10 Tips for Buying a Home in Kingston

Buying a home is easy, right? Not really but the following ten tips will definitely help you out. Let’s get right into it:

#1: COMMUNITY FIRST

A good start is to look at your needs outside of the home and look more to the community and lifestyle that fit your present and future needs. Focusing on area and community needs that fit your lifestyle, proximity to work and family can be a great way to start your review.

#2: PRE-APPROVED FINANCING

Another key component to look at is how much you can afford. Let’s be clear here; the goal is to not just spend what you can afford. There is more to consider financially than just your mortgage. Future purchases, travel, retirement planning, educational investments and so much more are all valid considerations to what mortgage payment is right for you.

Another consideration is that while you may be pre-approved for lending, the home buying real guide real estate Kingston property you purchase also has to be pre-approved, so it is highly recommended that you do not purchase without a finance approval clause (no worries we have standard clauses for this and are ready to work for you). In addition, we have an in-house mortgage broker ready to work for you. A mortgage broker can go through the hurdles to not only arrange your financing but to shop around for a great rate! To learn more visit limestonemortgageadvisors.com or visit our lenders page for a host of lenders ready to assist you.

#3: OUR HOME

As the classic song goes (you may know it or not), “Our house is a very very very fine house”. It is a warm song that sings to what a house truly is, a home! So what does your home need to have to be the right home for you? Lets get away from just price and area (with no understatement to their value) and focus on your home.

We have a brief questionnaire you might find helpful. The focus is really about that future picture, you in your home. What do you need to have, what can you compromise on (you will need to compromise somewhere) and how does it fit you. If you enjoy upgrading, a fixer upper may be right for you. But let’s face it, if you want to do as little as possible and focus on other things, this isn’t for you.

#4: FOLLOW THE MARKET

We can really assist here in a whole host of ways:

i) New Listing Updates – working 24/7 by email to you, set to search criteria that you define to keep you current on home opportunities that are right for you. To put this program to work for you, just click here to sign up for our new listing updates.

ii) Current Market Analysis (abrv. CMA) – Some people think the only time to review comparable property sales is when you are evaluating your home prior to listing for sale. If that is the case then why not, as a buyer does the same thing a seller does when setting price, review the market not only what is listed but what is sold. We can help you with that!

iii) Property Tour – You can call seven agents to see seven different homes or make one call and our team of professionals will go to work to arrange a property tour for you, encompassing not just our listings but a review of the market. You save time and better still, have the benefit of someone on your team while you tour through.

iv) Market Reports – We regularly follow the market and produce market reports that will give you an informative edge on what the real estate market is doing. We even break it down into areas to assist you further.

v) Tour Open Houses – Kingston and Area Real Estate Association lists open houses. See something you like or want more info on, we are here to help!

#5: PRE-OFFER PREVIEW

As you tour through homes, keep in mind your neighbourhood and housing needs criteria. We will keep you posted on new listings through our new listing update program and arrange tours to preview homes that match your needs. When you find what you believe is the right property for you, we highly recommend that prior to doing the offer, we do a real thorough walk around. If there is a major structural problem, a full walk around outside would save you the home inspection fees.

We value the pre-offer inspection so much that we have created a handy guide to assist your review.

Last but by no means least, don’t just look at the home. Look at the surrounding properties, vacant land and other uses current and future. If that treed lot adjacent looks like a great park but is zoned for future commercial, now is the time to find out. We have software that will allow us to find out who owns the adjacent properties and most municipalities have zoning maps online to review future uses.

We can help here!

 #6: THE OFFER

First and foremost, a properly written offer is really an option to purchase if you are satisfied with the conditions that you have incorporated within. In addition, the type of property you are purchasing may call for completely different conditions for purchase (i.e. you don’t need to review the well water or septic on a municipal home). The good news here is that you have the support of a real estate professional who is also a REALTOR® working for you.

We have standardized clauses for each individual circumstance and years of experience to draw on for the unique circumstances that can arise with each individual purchase. 

As always, we are here with you to guide you through this process.

#7: YOUR BUYING TEAM

Your real estate team Your team needs can vary based on the type of property you are purchasing however it is important to understand that you do need a team to assist you with your purchase. The good news is of course, we are here to help you form your team whose sole purpose needs to be looking out for you!

 Key members include the following:

Home Inspector, Lawyer, Financial Service (Lender / Mortgage Broker), Movers, Home Insurance, Rural Purchase: well & septic specialist.

#8: YOU NEED TO BE THERE

There are circumstances where you cannot attend a key meeting for your prospective purchase, like a home inspection but we cannot stress enough the value of your presence for this exercise. The great thing about a home inspection is that the Home Inspector looks at the house from a whole different perspective… a good home inspector’s job is to tell you what your house needs and what you need to know about those needs. So it’s critical that you be there to hear it, discuss and ask questions.

A home inspector doesn’t work for the real estate company or the seller; they work for you and a report in writing can sometimes make more of a small item than a discussion or your review may miss a key item. The point is you need to make time for this major commitment.

Another key item is your “pre-close walk through”… this is highly recommended and a bit of a balancing act. Keep in mind in advance that the home you purchased will not look the same with everything packed for the move as it might be on a pre-close walk through. You want to do your pre-close walk through as close to closing as you can, recommend going the morning of or day before closing.

Last but by no means least, if there are offer negotiations going on, communication is key… a quick phone call and ability to connect to execute a small change to a contract can be key. You need to be accessible for communication for the offer and for the critical dates that follow… keep in mind that while you may be satisfied with your conditions, everything needs to be communicated in writing and within the timeline.

#9: AVOID CLOSING COST SURPRISES

It is important to understand your costs and that includes more than just closing costs; it includes where the deposit goes. If your deposit is made payable to a real estate broker for a prospective purchase, it is tracked, cashed into a trust account (non-interest bearing, unless otherwise noted) and held until closing, mutual release of the agreement or by court order. It is applied as a credit in favour of the Buyer as an adjustment on closing, so it is actually part of your down payment.

What a lot of people do not know and this is an issue that can create some frustration, is that once deposited, most real estate brokerages will not release from the trust account until the 10 day clearing rule has been met. This is not because they want to hold your money (they have no benefit to the funds, they are held in trust). It is simply because if they release the money from that account and your cheque did not clear, the brokerage would have been releasing funds they hold for someone else. They never want to do this and there are strict guidelines on real estate trust accounts.

Other costs to consider are home inspection reports (budget around $350 for a home inspection) and for a condominium, budget $120 for a Status Certificate. We are here to help you with estimating your closing costs and other costs associated with your purchase, just click here to see a summary of potential closing costs.

#10: NEGOTIATION AND THE SEAL

Let’s say it takes you one minute to counter the offer for one thousand dollars less and you are successful with the counter offer. That’s like getting paid $1,000 dollars a minute, great. Now here is the other side of the equation. You negotiate for the one thousand dollars less on your dream home, you absolutely love it and want it. The agent takes the offer and is racing over to see the selling agent to present this deal. That is just $1,000 dollars away from being sold and something unexpected happens… another offer comes in and you are now in a multiple offer situation.

You, as the buyer with your heart set on your dream home that was just $1,000 dollars away from being yours (and you were going to save a $1,000 for just one minute) are now in competition with someone else! Stop the presses you say! We will sign the original offer… not so fast folks. You have just countered that offer with a new offer and that has been done in writing and as the agreement shows on the signing section “under seal”. The under seal is old common law from the days of sealing the deal with real wax and it means you are bound by your offer per the time period you have applied to this for acceptance.

The point here, simply one of understanding that each sign back is essentially a new offer and your counter offer to the Seller holds no greater priority if another offer is presented during your counter offer, which in that instance opens the property to a multiple offer situation.

Hope this helps. For more information visit my home buying page. Feel free to connect, I’m happy to help you with your home buying experience.