For Buyers


Qualifying for a mortgage
Your Royal LePage agent can arrange to have you pre-qualified for a mortgage before you start shopping for a home. It’s easy, and you’ll avoid possible disappointments down the road if you fall in love with a place, then find out you can’t afford it. Plus, once you do find the perfect home, it will mean you can make an offer immediately.

Here’s how mortgage approval works: the amount of money you qualify for, plus the amount of cash you can put down equals the amount you can afford to spend on a home. Most lending institutions won’t allow more than about 30% of your income to support a mortgage. If you have other debts, they usually won’t allow your debts and your mortgage to exceed 40% of your income.

Finalizing your mortgage
Once you’ve found the home you want to buy, you’ll need to finalize your financing. You’ll need to provide your lender with the following documents:

1. A copy of the real estate listing of the property. If the home is still to be built, the mortgage lender will need to see the architect’s or builder’s plans and details on lot size and location.
2. A copy of the offer to purchase or the building contract, if this document has been prepared.
3. Documents to confirm employment, income and source of pre-approval.
4. If you have a pre-approved mortgage, it’s a simple matter of finalizing a few details with your mortgage specialist.


8 things to look for when you buy
When you fall in love with a home, the things you like about it can blind you to its problems. Next time you go to an open house or tour a property with an agent, keep your eyes open with these top tips:

1. Take a look at general upkeep. Is it clean? Are lawns left uncut? Do walls need paint? If the small stuff hasn’t been taken care of, there’s a good chance that bigger issues have been ignored as well.

2. Test it. Try out lights, faucets, toilets, air conditioning and major appliances.

3. Check for water damage. Look at ceilings and drywall for stains and bulges. Water that works its way in through a leaky roof or a cracked foundation can rot wood, create mildew and destroy possessions.

4. Watch for "spongy" floors. Take note of soft, springy sections, squeaky or uneven areas - these can be a sign that costly floor repairs are needed.

5. Check doors and windows. Make sure they fit snugly in their jambs and operate smoothly. Feel for drafts. Look for flaked paint and loose caulking - if wood isn’t protected from moisture, it will rot.

6. Look at the foundation. If you see deep cracks or loose mortar and bricks, there may be a significant structural problem. Soggy areas near the foundation are also a warning sign.

7. Make sure there’s enough storage space. If you are moving from a home with large closets and a shed, make sure your new house is able to store an equivalent amount of belongings.

8. Measure. Make sure your furniture will fit into your new house.

These tips are for your own first (or second) look at a home. For true peace of mind, you should always hire a certified home inspector before you buy.


Options for empty nesters and retirees
The kids have grown and retirement is just around the corner. You’ve decided it’s time to move to a smaller home with lower costs and less maintenance.

Figure out what you need
You have a number of decisions to make before you start looking for your new home:
  • Do you want to stay in the same neighbourhood? If not, remember that moving away means you may have to build a new network of acquaintances, find a new doctor, get to know a new area, etc.
  • If you decide to move out of your neighbourhood, where would you like to go? A better neighbourhood within the city? A community outside a major center? Someplace closer to your kids? Somewhere warm?
  • What type of property would suit your lifestyle? Is it a condo that needs no upkeep or a bungalow that would still allow you to garden?

Condos - less work, more rules
Short on maintenance and long on amenities, the condominium lifestyle is a favourite of empty nesters and retirees. Condominium apartments and townhomes are available in almost every neighbourhood and price range. Many offer pools, tennis courts and fitness areas - some even include golf courses. It’s an easy, hassle-free arrangement.

However, owning a condo means you’re governed by the rules and regulations established by the condominium board. Generally, these rules are necessary to ensure the enjoyment, safety and cleanliness of the building; when you’re doing your research, you may want to find out about the condo bylaws, especially if you have a pet.

Bungalows - small homes with big rewards
Bungalows offer the best of both worlds - a detached house and a yard, with less space to take care of. It’s a great way of preparing for the future, since living with fewer stairs makes it easier to get around should you slow down a little.

Retirement communities - a neighbourhood of friends
Adult lifestyle communities offer smaller homes, amenities often associated with condo living, and the opportunity to live with like-minded people. They tend to be resort-like in nature, and are built in rural areas that are close to large urban centres. Units range from apartments to detached homes. The focal point is the clubhouse, where you’ll likely find fitness facilities, tennis courts, games rooms and swimming pools. Some areas also feature golf courses.

If you’re not sure what option is best for you, please contact me. I’d be happy to talk to you about the possibilities that are available to you.


Glossary of terms

Amortization period: The actual number of years it will take to pay back your mortgage loan.

Appraised value: An estimate of the value of the property, conducted for the purpose of mortgage lending by a certified appraiser.

Assumability: Allows the buyer to take over the seller’s mortgage on the property.

Closed mortgage: A mortgage that locks you into a specific payment schedule. A penalty usually applies if you repay the loan in full before the end of a closed term.

Condominium fee: A payment among owners, which is allocated to pay expenses.

Conventional mortgage: A mortgage loan issued for up to 75% of the property’s appraised value or purchase price, whichever is less.

Down payment: The buyer’s cash payment toward the property that is the difference between the purchase price and the amount of the mortgage loan.

Equity: The difference between the home’s selling value and the debts against it.
High-ratio mortgage: A mortgage that exceeds 75% of the home’s appraised value. These mortgages must be insured for payment.

Interest rate: The value charged by the lender for the use of the lender’s money, expressed as a percentage.

Land transfer tax, deed tax or property purchase tax: A fee paid to the municipal and/or provincial government for the transferring of property from seller to buyer.

Maturity date: The end of the term of the loan, at which time you can pay off the mortgage or renew it.

Mortgage: The financial institution or person that lends the money.

Mortgage insurance: Applies to high-ratio mortgages. It protects the lender against loss if the borrower is unable to repay the mortgage.

Mortgage life insurance: Pays off the mortgage if the borrower dies.

Mortgagor: The borrower.

Open mortgage: Allows partial or full payment of the principal at any time, without penalty.

Portability: A mortgage option that enables borrowers to take their current mortgage with them to another property, without penalty.

Pre-approved mortgage: Qualifies you for a mortgage before you start shopping. You know exactly how much you can spend and are free to make a firm offer when you find the right home.

Prepayment privileges: Voluntary payments that are in addition to regular mortgage payments.

Principal: The amount borrowed or still owing on a mortgage loan. Interest is paid on the principal amount.

Refinancing: Paying off the existing mortgage and arranging a new one or renegotiating the terms and conditions of an existing mortgage.

Renewal: Renegotiation of a mortgage loan at the end of a term for a new term.
Second mortgage: Additional financing, which usually has a shorter term and a higher interest rate than the first mortgage.

Term: The length of time the interest rate is fixed. It also indicates when the principal balance becomes due and payable to the lender.

Title: Legal ownership in a property.

Variable rate mortgage: A mortgage with fixed payments that fluctuates with interest rates. The changing interest rate determines how much of the payment goes towards the principal.

Vendor take-back mortgage: When the seller provides some or all of the mortgage financing in order to sell their property.


Determine what you can afford
Buying a home involves both one-time costs and more regular monthly expenses. It’s important that you take both into account when you’re figuring out how much you can spend on a home.

The largest one-time cost is the down payment, which usually represents upto 25% of the total price of the property. Then, in addition to the actual purchase price, there are a number of other expenses that you may be expected to pay for.

Typical One-Time Expenses
  • Mortgage application and appraisal fee (paid at time of application)
  • Appraisal fee (paid at inspection)
  • Property inspection (optional) (paid at closing)
  • Legal fees (paid at closing)
  • Legal disbursements (paid at closing)
  • Deed and/or mortgage registration (paid at closing)
  • Property survey (sometimes provided by seller) (paid at closing)
  • Land Transfer, Deed Tax or PropertyPurchase Tax (in Quebec within3 months following signing) (paid at closing)
  • Mortgage interest adjustment andtake over fee (if applicable) (paid at closing)
  • Adjustments for fuel, taxes, etc. (paid at closing)
  • Mortgage insurance (and application fee if applicable) (paid at closing)
  • Home and property insurance (paid at closing and on-going)
  • Connection charges for utilities such as gas, water and electricity (paid on date of move)
  • Moving expenses (paid on date of move)

Other costs may include landscaping, decorating, furnishings, appliances and repairs. Typical monthly costs include mortgage payments, maintenance, insurance, condo fees, property taxes and utilities.


Types of home ownership

What type of home is right for you?
There are three categories of home ownership: freehold, condominium and cooperative. Each has its benefits and drawbacks - speak to your Royal LePage agent to figure out which type will work best for your needs and your lifestyle.

Freehold
Freehold homes offer two significant benefits: freedom of choice and privacy. Since you own the structure and grounds, you’re free to decorate and renovate whenever and whatever you want. However, all maintenance (indoors and out) is your responsibility - be prepared to spend time and money taking care of your home.

Condominiums
Condominiums are typically less expensive to own than a detached house. With a condo, you own (and are responsible for) the interior of your unit. Upkeep of the building and grounds is handled by the condominium association, which is funded by monthly fees collected from tenants. The down side? Condo residents enjoy less privacy than residents of detached homes, and often have to adhere to strict rules regarding noise, use of common areas, renovations, etc.

Cooperatives
Co-ops are like condominiums, except instead of owning your unit, you own a percentage of shares in the entire building. One drawback to living in a cooperative is that if you decide to sell your shares and move out, the co-op board has the right to reject your prospective buyer.


 
Linda Murphy
Linda Murphy
Sales Representative
Royal LePage Locations North , Brokerage (Independently owned and operated)
330 FIRST STREET COLLINGWOOD, ON L9Y1B4
Phone: 705.445.5520     
Fax: 705.445.1545     
Mobile:  705.351.1420     
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