First Time Home Buyer Seminar

Are you thinking about getting into the real estate market as a home owner or investor for the first time? Or do you know of anyone looking to purchase their first home? We would be grateful if you passed along the invitation! 

Topics we'll be discussing at this First Time Home Buyer Seminar:

- The costs of home ownership vs. renting
- How to get started in the home buying process
- The process finding and purchasing your first home
- What your money buys you in different areas
- Hot spots to buy in

We'll have our mortgage specialist from Scotiabank on hand to explain the mortgage process and answer any questions and you'll also receive some information packages to help explain the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, a breakdown of closing costs and an overview of the process of buying your first home. AND it'll be in a fun and non-threatening environment.

Don't worry there's nothing for sale and there's no commitment, this is an educational event to demystify the buying process for our friends and their friends. Join us to figure out how to start building your wealth.

The event is limited to 30 seats so please RSVP to the link below by February 23rd.

First Time Buyer Series: Before Closing Day

Congratulations on purchasing your first home! We’ve put this together to help you figure out what you need to do before your closing day. 
What happens on the closing day? A few days before the closing day, your lawyer will meet with you and go over all the documents such as the statement of adjustments (a document that details adjustments to the purchase price based on bills/taxes paid in advance or owing by the seller). On the closing day, your lawyer will have all the details for your financing from your bank and will transfer funds  to pay for the remaining amount owed on the property (your purchase price minus your deposit check). Once this is done and the title of the property has been transferred into your name, you will get a call from your lawyer’s office to go sign documents and pick up the keys to your new home! This can take varying amounts of time depending on a few things so you might have to be patient, however this will absolutely happen no later than 6pm on the date of your closing. 
How can I prepare for my closing day? There are several things to do before your closing day:
1. Hire a moving truck.  
Just remember you may not get access to your home until 6pm on the day of closing so you might have to be flexible with your truck rental.
2. Arrange to have the bills transferred into your name.
The seller will ensure that they cancel all of their services and so they can  then be set up in your name. Sometimes you may need to call a technician to come and set up in your home for things like cable- we recommend calling a week or two before your closing to ensure you get an appointment. If you have just purchased a condo, your maintenance fees may cover some of these costs and you may not need to set up utility accounts. We have provided some of the main services and phone numbers you may need to call below (these may vary depending on your city):
a. Heat- Enbridge Gas: 1-877-ENBRIDGE (362-7434)
b. Water- Peel Water:   905-791-8711  
    Halton Water: 905-825-6000 
    Toronto Water: 416-338-4829
c. Hydro- EnerSource: 905-273-7425 (for Mississauga) 
d. Cable/Internet/Home Phone- Rogers Cable: 1-866-210-4059  
    Bell: 1 888 759-3474 Cogeco: 1-855-404-0005
3. Put aside money for closing costs.
Usually it is recommended that you put aside 1.5-3% of your purchasing price for closing costs (usually it will be on the higher end if you are purchasing in Toronto). These include adjustments for utilities, lawyer fees and land transfer tax. In Ontario, every time you purchase a property you must pay land transfer tax on closing. In Toronto you must pay both the Ontario tax and a Toronto land transfer tax. First time buyers receive a rebate on their tax up to $2000 and your lawyer can arrange for this rebate to be transferred back to you on closing. You can also receive a rebate for the Toronto tax if your first home is purchased in Toronto. To find out exactly how much you will owe, check out our land transfer tax calculator at
4. Arrange Home Owner's Insurance
Whenever you get a mortgage, your lender will always require proof  that you have acquired a home insurance policy. If you are purchasing a condo sometimes the fire insurance included in your maintenance fees is enough to satify this requirement, however it is recommended you get both even if this is the case. You can usually get a package deal with your auto insurance or you may be able to get home insurance through your bank. The cost will depend on the size of your home but as an example a home in the price range of $500,000 will be in the ballpark for $50-$75 per month. 
5. Wait to buy big ticket items.
Avoid purchasing new furniture or appliances on credit until after you have moved in as this can affect your credit score and potentially affect your ability to get your mortgage on closing day. 
For more information contact Melanie at 

First Time Buyer Series: How Much Money Do I Need?

When you are purchasing your first home it’s important to know the costs involved so you can plan accordingly. Talking to a mortgage broker is a great first step to figuring out a buying range. Here are some of the costs that you will incur once you decide to buy a home.

1.      Professional Agent Fees

a.      Great news! As a buyer, the professional fees for your agent are paid by the seller so you do not have to pay a fee to have a buyer agent working for you.

2.      The Deposit

a.      The deposit is an amount of money that you submit with your offer and is applied to your down payment on the day you take possession of the home. For first time buyers who are not competing on a purchase, usually this amount will range from $10,000 to $15,000. You will need to have this amount available in the form of a certified cheque 24 hours after an agreement has been accepted. This means if you are putting in an offer you should be ready to move around funds right away.

b.      First time buyers can use up to $20,000 from their RRSPs to put towards the purchase of a home- sometimes this money can be used as a deposit for a home depending on if your bank allows you to unlock them beforehand (this may vary from bank to bank).

3.      Home Inspection

a.      If you choose to do a home inspection (we always suggest that you do), the cost can vary depending on the size of the home. This can range anywhere from $100 (for a condo) to $500 (for a larger house) depending on the inspector you use.

4.      Lawyer Fees

a.      Lawyer fees also vary- but you can expect these costs to range from $800 to $1200. These fees are paid on the closing day (the day you move in) to your lawyer.

5.      Title Insurance

a.      You will also have to pay for title insurance on your closing day this is a standard fee of $430.00 for any purchase under $450,000. You lawyer takes care of this for you.

6.      Disbursements

a.      Disbursements is when the lawyer performs a title search on a home to ensure that the seller is indeed the owner of the home and is in good standing with their mortgage etc. This usually costs anywhere from $75.00 to $150.00.

7.      Adjustments

a.      These are when the lawyer makes adjustments to the purchase price based on the utility bills and property taxes that have been paid in advance or need to be paid still by the seller. For example, if the seller has paid the property taxes for the year in advance, then an adjustment would be made so the buyer would pay the excess amount the seller paid back to them on the closing day. Your lawyer will have an idea of what the adjustments are a few days before your closing day.

8.      Land Transfer Tax

a.      When you purchase a home in Ontario you have to pay a land transfer tax to transfer the ownership into your name. When you purchase in Toronto you have to pay two taxes- the provincial tax as well as a municipal tax. In cities outside of Toronto like Mississauga and Oakville, you only have to pay the Provincial tax.  First time buyers are given a rebate when they purchase their first home and this can be automatically filed by your lawyer on the closing day and the money will come right back to you. The rebate is up to $2000 (you can get the rebate for both the Toronto tax and the provincial tax if you are purchasing in Toronto). Go to  to use the land transfer tax calculator and see what kind of tax you’ll need to pay based on your purchase price.


Usually it is recommended by mortgage lenders buyers put aside an extra 1.5% of the purchase price for all of the items listed above, however this amount often does not take into account the rebate that you will receive for land transfer tax as a first time home buyer. This number may also be higher if you are purchasing in Toronto.


For more information contact Melanie -

First Time Buyer Series: The Conditional Period

First Time Buyers: They’ve accepted my offer, now what?
Congratulations! They’ve accepted your offer which is a big step in the process, but there are still a ton of things to take care of during the conditional period before the deal becomes firm. Here is a condensed list of what you’ll need to do: 
1. Provide the Deposit Cheque-  Once an offer has been accepted, the buyer usually has 24 hours from when the Agreement of Purchase and Sale has been signed to deliver the deposit check to the seller’s brokerage. If the agreement is signed on a statutory holiday or on a Saturday or Sunday the buyer will have 24 hours from the beginning of the next weekday to produce the cheque. The cheque should be certified by your bank or should be a bank draft and is made out to the seller’s brokerage. It is held by that brokerage in a special account to be applied to the buyer’s down payment on closing.  If there are conditions on the offer and they are not waived by the buyer, then the deposit cheque is returned in full to the buyer with no deductions.
2. Find a Good Real Estate Lawyer- If you’ve bought a condo or a condo townhouse your agent will almost always include  a condition on your agreement to state that your lawyer will review the status certificate for the condo corporation. The status certificate is the document that gives details on the amount of money in the reserve fund for repairs on the building and will state whether there is an expected increase in the amount you pay each month. It can also show pet restrictions on the building (some condos do not allow dogs of a certain breed or size and some do not allow pets at all). This can be an important document to show how well the building or complex is managed and can indicate future issues with maintenance fees. 
This condition can sometimes take several weeks as it takes time for the document to be sent and then reviewed by the lawyer. During this time the deal is still conditional. Your agent will likely be able to refer you to a trusted real estate lawyer that they have worked with in the past. Click the following link to see our list of preferred suppliers:
3. Arrange Financing – In most situations (except if you are competing with others for the house) your offer will also include a condition that will allow you a few days to be approved for financing on the home you have purchased. You may decide to use a bank that you have worked with in the past, use a referral from a trusted source, or shop around for different lenders. The financing condition will allow you to examine what kind of payments you’ll have to make on a mortgage each month and help you feel comfortable with the purchase you just made. If you are not approved by any lenders during the conditional period you have the opportunity to back out of the agreement and you will receive your deposit back in full. 
Even after you have been approved for a mortgage by one lender, you may still shop around for lower rates and different packages up until a couple weeks before your closing date. Again, your agent will likely be able to help you with that. We have a mortgage specialist at Scotiabank that we have worked with quite closely and referred several clients to. Mary keeps us updated on when rates are expected to go up often several days beforehand so we can keep our clients in the know and lock in rates before they purchase. Check the Preferred Suppliers link above for Mary’s information. 
4. Hire a good home Inspector – It is essential that you hire a good home inspector to ensure that the home you’ve just purchased is in good condition with no major defects. Major defects might include structural damage, foundation cracks, mould, water damage, leaks etc. They will also check all the appliances, electrical, water systems and the roof to ensure that everything is in good working order. Finding an inspector who you trust to be thorough and honest is important. You will likely need the inspector to do the inspection in the first five days following your purchase. If there are major defects, you have the option of adjusting the price on the offer, or adjusting the offer to ensure that the defects are fixed before you take possession of the home. You also have the option of backing out of the deal. Check out the “How Much Money Do I Need?” post in the series to find out information about the cost of an inspection. 
5. Waive conditions- Once you have done all the necessary things to satisfy yourself that the conditions have been met on your offer, you will have to sign a waiver before the conditional period is over to ensure that the deal becomes firm. Your agent will then send the waiver to the seller’s agent.
Are you a present buyer or potential buyer with questions? Contact Melanie at for more information.  
Check out the next post in the series: What do I Have to do Before my Closing Date?

First Time Buyer Series: Understanding the Agreement of Purchase and Sale

Great, you’ve found a home you like! Now it’s time to put in an offer- this will help explain to you what that entails.
1. Putting in an offer
 When you find a home that you love, your agent will be able to provide you with comparable homes that have sold recently to help you decide what kind of offer to put forward on the house you’re interested in. 
Once you have decided on the price, your agent will put together documents called the Agreement of Purchase of Sale. The Agreement of Purchase and Sale contains standard clauses from the Ontario Real Estate Association to protect both you and the seller, however there are added components that are negotiable and conditions that your agent may add to the Agreement of Purchase and Sale to ensure that you are protected. If a deal is conditional, that means that certain conditions must be met before a certain time period for the deal to be firm or complete. This conditional time is usually always for the benefit of the buyer. Some of these conditions and negotiable components are as follows:
i. The Deposit- The deposit is an amount of money that you will submit after the agreement is accepted to show the sellers that you are serious about following through with the agreement. The deposit is submitted and made out to the seller’s real estate brokerage within 24 hours AFTER the Agreement of Purchase and Sale has been signed and accepted by both parties. If there are conditions on the agreement and they are not waived or met by the buyer then the deal does not go through and the buyer gets their deposit back in full. 
ii. Financing Condition- Most first time buyers will need a financing condition to ensure that they can get the financing they need to purchase the home and feel comfortable with the mortgage payments they will be assuming once their offer is accepted. This condition is worded to say that buyers have a certain number of days to secure financing in “their sole and absolute discretion” and that the buyers must waive this condition before the time period allotted or the deal becomes null and void (usually 3-5 days). This gives buyers an escape clause should they find that they are unsatisfied with the mortgage they’ve been quoted. 
iii. Home Inspection Condition - Home inspections are one of the most important ways that buyers can protect themselves when purchasing a home. We always recommend that buyers do a home inspection once their offer has been accepted to ensure that they become aware of any defects with the home. If the buyer is unsatisfied with the home inspection report, they have the option of backing out of the deal or asking for a price reduction based on the issues in the inspection. 
iv. Status Certificate Condition
This condition is used only when purchasing a condo-townhouse or a condominium. The status report is a document the details the current financial state of the condo corporation. It will show exactly where the maintenance fees go and what they pay for as well as the amount of money in the reserve fund for repairs that need to be done within the condo building or the complex. It will also detail any restrictions on the building such as pet restrictions. 
This document must be ordered the seller and is usually paid for by the seller (it costs about $100 to order). The document is then looked over by your lawyer to ensure there are no red flags or concerns. 
This condition usually takes the longest as it can take several days and sometimes weeks for the document to arrive and then your lawyer is usually given a certain amount of time to review the document (3-5 days).
v. Closing Date
The closing date is the date on which the buyers take possession of the home. This is a flexible date and sometimes the sellers have a specific date in mind based on another home they may have already purchased or they prefer a longer closing date as they may not have purchased a home yet. If buyers are flexible about their closing date it can be beneficial as it can make their offer more appealing to the seller.  60-90 days from the purchase date is quite common for a closing date.
2. After submitting the offer
a. Once you have submitted the offer, it does not mean you have actually purchased the home. The seller has several options: they can either accept the offer, reject the offer completely, or sign back the offer with a counter offer. If they sign back the offer, the buyers will have the opportunity to either accept their counter offer, reject the offer completely  OR counter the counter offer with another offer. A good agent will help you negotiate this process and help you do what best suits your needs as well as doing their best to keep a good relationship with the selling agent. 

First Time Buyer Series: Starting the Process

We know that buying your first home can be a daunting and confusing experience! To help you understand the process, we've put together a series of posts that will explain everything from where to begin, to what the conditions mean on an offer, to your moving day and closing costs.

Today's post: How to get Started

1. Talk to a mortgage broker
  • A mortgage broker will ask you to submit an application so they can assess your financial situation and your ability to purchase a home. A broker will be able to help you find flexible solutions for your situation and give you an idea of what kind of buying range you should look in to find a home that’s right for you. They will give you a pre-approval letter based on your application and a credit check which you can then pass forward to your agent so they can help you find homes within that price range. They can also give you an idea of current interest rates and what kind of mortgage payments you will have based on the money you have to put as a down payment.
2. Choose a real estate agent
  • Hiring a real estate professional will ensure that each step in the home buying process is as stress-free as possible. When working with a real estate agent it’s important to find someone you trust to represent you and your family for one of your biggest investments.
  • An agent will also be able to direct you to their trusted partners for your real estate needs such as mortgage brokers, real estate lawyers, home inspectors and contractors to make the process a little easier for you. Professional fees for  buyer agents are paid for by the seller of the home- this makes it all the more beneficial for buyers to have representatives on their side.
3. Finding the home for you
  • Make a list of what you need and want in a home and what areas you are interested in. This takes some careful thinking and planning. Your realtor will be able to provide you with essential market information and recommendations on ideal properties that fit your criteria and your price range in the areas you are interested. When good properties come on the market they can sell quickly- your agent can ensure that you see those properties as soon as they become available so that you have the best chance of getting that home. Your agent can book appointments and start taking you through properties that match your needs. Once you find the right home for you, you can  put in an offer to purchase the property. 

Watch for the next post in the series: The Agreement of Purchase and Sale 

Contact Melanie if you're interested in receiving more information about the purchase or sale of your next home