Start House Hunting with an Experienced REALTOR®
Navigate the home buying & house hunting process from start to finish, ensuring everything flows smoothly without any surprises.
YOUR Edmonton REALTOR® CAN HELP YOU:
- Find the right home in a community you want at a price you can afford.
- Compare your property with similar Edmonton properties that have recently sold via a buyers CMA (Comparative Market Analysis).
- Know more about which Edmonton communities are best for you including the proximity of schools, parks, amenities and most important - resale.
- Find out if you are eligible for government homeownership incentive programs.
- Assess mortgage products and different types of lenders to see ensure you have access to the best interest rates.
- Negotiate in your best interest the purchase price, contract terms, date of possession, required repairs, furnishings or equipment.
- Direct you through complex contracts including Dower and other title contingencies.
- Find qualified Edmonton real estate professionals including lawyers, home appraisers, radon gas and home inspectors.
- Assess your financial readiness by balancing your present household budget and your annual income to determine if you are eligible for a mortgage and how much you can comfortably afford. Getting pre‑approved for a mortgage before looking at properties gives you a more realistic expectation of what you can afford. However, keep in mind that the pre‑approved amounts can overestimate what you can actually afford to pay. Pre‑approval does not guarantee you will be approved once you actually apply if market conditions, interest rates, or your personal circumstances change.
- A Mortgage Pre-approval is when financial lenders use two different calculations to help determine your eligibility – your Gross Debt Service (GDS) ratio and your Total Debt Service (TDS) ratio. Your GDS ratio is the percentage of your gross monthly income used for mortgage payments, taxes, heating costs/half of the monthly condominium fees. As a general rule of thumb, your GDS ratio should not be more than 32% of your gross monthly income. Your TDS ratio is the percentage of gross monthly income required to cover monthly housing costs, plus all your other debt payments, such as car loans or leases, credit card payments, lines of credit payments and any other debt. Generally, your TDS ratio should not be more than 40% of your gross monthly income.
- A mortgage is a loan, generally used to buy a residential property. How much you pay depends on how much you borrow (the principal), the interest rate, and how long it takes to pay off (the amortization period).
• A fixed-rate mortgage is when your interest rate is locked in for a specified period called a term. Your payments stay the same for the mortgage term. This is usually 3 - 5 years.
• A variable-rate mortgage is the rate of interest you pay may change if rates go up or down.
• A conventional mortgage requires a down payment of 20% or more of the property’s value. You are not required to get mortgage default insurance with a conventional mortgage.
• A closed mortgage cannot be paid off early without paying a prepayment charge.
• An open mortgage can be paid off at any time without having to pay a charge.
YOUR MORTGAGE DOWN PAYMENT
- A down payment is the portion of the property price not financed by the mortgage and is applied to the total purchase price. You will need a down payment of at least 5% of the purchase price of the home. For example, to buy a home for $300,000, you will need at least $15,000 as your down payment. If your down payment is less than 20%, you will need mortgage default insurance.
- There is a $5,000 non-refundable income tax credit on a qualifying home. The credit provides up to $750 in tax relief to assist first-time buyers with purchase costs.
- A one-time withdrawal up to $25,000 from a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) by first-time buyers to help purchase or build a home. Generally, you have to repay all withdrawals from your RRSP within 15 years.
- When you use CMHC-insured financing to buy or build an energy-efficient home or make energy-saving renovations, you may qualify for a premium refund of 10% on your mortgage default insurance and a premium refund for a longer amortization period (if applicable).
THE EDMONTON HOUSE HUNTING PROCESS
- Finding your perfect home can be a long process. Your agent will help identify the right type of home for you and continually research new listings, homes on Remax.ca and our MLS System in Edmonton communities that meet your needs. Your Edmonton RE/MAX REALTOR® can show you any homes listed on Realtor.ca including other real estate office listings and commission discount companies.
- Your HouseHunting Process starts with deciding what type of home is best for you. If you are not sure, check out a few different styles. Single-family detached homes stand alone on their own lot. Duplexes are joined on one side to another home. Rowhouses are several single-family units, located next to one another and joined by common walls usually with a small condo fee. Other types of homes include stacked townhouses, link or carriage homes, condominiums and co-op apartments. Most of these will include the heat and water in your monthly condo fee.
- Always choose two homes when you are house hunting. By the time an offer is accepted, another buyer may have already put in an offer or the property may have issues during your home inspection which may be a larger financial factor than you had anticipated or the possession/closing date may not work for the seller.
- While you are out house-hunting, remember - NO HOUSE IS PERFECT! However, if it is almost perfect, let your RE/MAX REALTOR® know, they may have a solution for you!
MAKING THE OFFER
An offer is a formal, legal agreement to purchase a home and is legally binding once accepted by the seller. Offers to purchase a
home can be made conditional on factors such as financing or a home inspection. If any of the conditions are not met, you can change or cancel the offer, even if the seller has already accepted it. An experienced RE/MAX REALTOR® will walk you through this process, working in your best interest, providing you with all relevant & known information about the property. Read more...
- Closing costs are the legal, administrative and disbursement fees associated with buying a home. Understanding these additional fees will help you budget more accurately. Closing cost fees can include:
- Real Estate commissions: Most Alberta REALTOR commissions are paid via the seller lawyer and will not be an additional cost to a buyer when purchasing their home.
- Property inspection: Whether it is a condo, single-family or a new build! A home inspector assesses a property’s condition and can tell you if something is not working properly, needs to be changed, or is unsafe. They may be able to identify where there have been problems in the past, such as a leaking basement or termite damage.
- Lawyer Fees: It is best to use a lawyer specializing in real estate to avoid unfamiliar or unknown items which can arise on title prior to possession.
- Tax Adjustment: Property taxes are adjusted on the number of days you own title to the property in the year bought and are paid on June 30.
- CHMC Fees: These "bank insurance fees" can be paid upfront or added to your mortgage.
- Rule of Thumb: Base your closing costs on 1.5% - 2.5% of your purchase price.