Six Critical Factors to Consider Before Buying Your Next Home Posted on October 3, 2022Introduction Over the years we’ve been asked many questions relating to real estate, mortgages and home purchases. This blog post focuses on six of the most frequently asked questions we receive about our client’s home purchase journeys.Real Estate Processes Change Over TimeThere may be many reasons why you are considering your next home purchase.Perhaps your family is growing, you want to change your neighbourhood environment or home style, or perhaps you want to upsize or downsize your current home.Regardless of your reason, unless you are purchasing real estate on a frequent basis, you may not be up to date on the recent changes to processes with buying and selling real estate.Who Is This Blog Post For?This blog post is written for both those who have purchased a home previously, first time home buyers, or those who are also selling their home.Purchasing your next home can be as much of an undertaking as buying your first, especially if it’s been a while since you purchased your current home.We trust that this post will assist you with your next home purchase endeavour.There will be many acronyms and terminology used during your home buying or home selling process, many of them may have the same meaning, so we’ll try and highlight as many of them as possible.Our Blog Post ObjectiveThe objective of this post is to provide you with insights, suggestions, and recommendations, based upon a collective of actual experiences with our own clients.We’ve gathered these experiences into the ‘Six Critical Factors to Consider Before Buying Your Next Home’.Whether you’ve purchased previously, or this is your first time, you may be surprised by the amount of work involved throughout the entire home purchase process.From the very beginning when you first thought of buying a new home, to the very end, when you finally moved in and began settling into your new home.Our clients often ask us similar questions, including:1. Once we have signed the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS), what do we have to do next?2. Why does the mortgage approval and home closing processes take so long and seem so complex? What actions lead to disappointments?3. Why does the whole home ownership process appear to leave everything until the last two weeks?4. What can we expect after Closing, what should we expect next?5. How do I make sure the appliances we agreed upon in the offer are included? And in working order when we move in?6. When can the deal be cancelled, if we decide not to buy the home after we have signed the legal paperwork? What happens to our deposit?We’ve included experiences and insights within this post which will try to answer those six questions.The information in this post may also serve as a reminder or as additional reference material for you if you are already familiar with these questions and experiences.This post will focus on the real estate home purchase steps that attract the most attention and questions, especially in the last two or three weeks of that home buying journey.Some of the most common issues we have experienced with our clients when real estate is being purchased:✓ Home inspection issues✓ Property Title issues✓ Seller ownership title issues (seller does not have legal ownership)✓ Appliance inclusion or appliance condition, and workability issues✓ Fixture inclusion or fixture condition and workability issues✓ Fixture removal home damage✓ Legal survey issuesWe’ll provide additional background about these issues throughout this post. We will also be referencing many real estate terms. We’ve highlighted the primary terms, which you may want to re-familiarize yourself with below.Terms and Key Documents To Know Before You Get StartedAlthough very rare and unlikely, your agent or broker, may still be entitled to their commission even though the property sale didn’t close.There is a clause in the listing agreement you should be aware of which entitles the broker, realtor, or agent to claim their commission, in the event an offer to purchase the property is received, at the listing price. Even though it’s rare, talk to your lawyer prior to signing any agreements. We’ve provided two relevant articles in our Sources and Links at the end of this post.1. The Realtor ‘Buyer Representation Agreement’ and the ‘Listing Agreement’ (if you are selling).2. Mortgage Lender Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval process documents, including application, credit check and Commitment Agreement.3. Agreement of Purchase and Sale.Buyer Representation Agreement and Listing AgreementOne of the first resources you will need to work with is a real estate agent. Professional real estate agents and realtors want to provide you with the best service that they can and work in your best interests.In order provide these services, and avoid any misunderstandings, they will want to outline the services they will be providing to you, and what they also expect from you.Buyer Representation Agreement (BRA)If you’re buying a home, the outline of services provided will be in the form of a representation agreement called the Buyer Representation Agreement. This contract will define the business relationship with your real estate agent.This agreement will enable your real estate agent to work on your behalf throughout the home buying process, including home buying selection, negotiating, some level of informal inspection assistance, and the paperwork involved.Legally, you will need to sign this contract if you want to engage the real estate agent with your home buying process.Listing Agreement Essentially, if you’re selling a home, the outline will be in the form a representation agreement called the ‘Listing Agreement’. This document is a formal contract between the home seller and the real estate brokerage who represents the homeowner after this agreement has been signed.Your realtor can expand on the importance and details of these documents.Most importantly and depending on if you are selling or buying (or both), if you are uncomfortable with the document(s) or do not understand either of them, do not sign them until you do understand their contents and are comfortable with them.You can always ask your lawyer for direction prior.Although this blog post doesn’t cover every real estate and home purchase component and issue, we’ve highlighted other critical components within this document based upon our own client-based experiences.A few additional terms to be clarified:Closing Date, also known as Completion Date, are terms related to when the transaction closes.If you are purchasing, this is the date on which you get keys and possession of your new home.This is the date that the homeowner usually takes possession of the home. This is the step when the buyer receives the keys to the home and is legally allowed to move in, usually no later than 6:00 p.m. on closing day. Which allows the sellers and buyers lawyers to settle the last paperwork and process requirements, and the previous owner to vacate the premises.If you are selling, this is the date on which funds are delivered to your lawyer and the date by which you have to relinquish possession.The timing on when you as the seller will receive funds depends on how quickly your lawyer receives funds from the buyer.If funds are received early to mid-day, it is likely that you will receive funds the same day. However, our experience is that funds are generally not receiving until the afternoon, pushing the actual receipt of funds by the seller to the following business day.Please continue reading for details related to ‘‘Six Critical Factors to Consider Before Buying Your Next Home’. Six Critical Factorsto ConsiderBefore Buying Your Next Home 1. We’ve Signed the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. Now What? The Closing DateOnce you have signed the APS, you will soon be in your new home, as outlined by Closing day in the agreement in the APS.The Seller and Buyer will agree on the Closing Date, on average once the APS has been signed you usually have approximately 30 to 90 days, more or less, to start your preparation to move into your home.Activities After the APS Has Been SignedWhen the Agreement of Purchase and Sale has been signed and all terms and conditions have been satisfied by both parties, the contract is a legally binding agreement. This leaves a period between the APS being signed and the Closing Date.It is this period of time that you will use to finalize your financing, insurance, moving arrangements, setting up utilities and work with your lawyer to satisfy any other conditions required for closing.Timing VariesThe amount of time you have prior to closing varies and will be detailed in both the Offer to Purchase and the Agreement of Purchase and Sale.This duration of time for closing is agreed upon by the Seller and the Buyer, although this period is usually depending on the seller’s needs and is usually disclosed when the property is listed.Here are the most important tasks you need to do once the APS is signed:1. The DepositOnce you have signed the APS, you usually need to get the deposit to the Seller’s real estate agent promptly, usually by the next business day. So, a visit to your bank or financial institution is essential to get the deposit.2. Financials – Mortgage Lender/BankingBe Proactive and Be PatientIn most cases you will have limited time to get your financing organized, this allotted time will be outlined and agreed upon in the APS.As soon as you sign the APS, you need to visit or contact your mortgage lender and provide the details of your offer to purchase, so they can get your funds approval process started.Mortgage Lenders Can Get Very BusyMortgage lenders can be very busy, they may need day(s) to process your mortgage financing.They may also need to schedule an appraiser to validate the value of the home. Scheduling an appraisal may take some time, if so, the three to five days agreed to in the APS could be exhausted quickly.Finance Conditions and ClausesYou and your real estate agent most likely requested ‘conditions or clauses’ in the APS, one of them is often a ‘financing condition’ and the other is an ‘inspection’ condition.Having a finance condition protects you if you cannot get financing and it also ensures your deposit is returned.You will need to get the mortgage financing in order as soon as possible to have the finance condition waived on the APS. Having the ‘finance condition waived ‘is important, it demonstrates that you have the required funding and that the deal is likely to be successful.Finance Arrangement TimingMost sellers will agree to three to five days for the buyer to arrange financing which will usually be specified and detailed in the APS as a ‘finance condition’.Sellers usually don’t want to go much longer than 5 days, that is a long time to have their home off the market if a buyer’s financing falls through.3. InspectionIf a home inspection (as per the APS, you probably included a condition/clause for home inspection) hasn’t been completed prior, now is the time to schedule the inspection, which is usually scheduled 2-3 days after the signing of the APS.You don’t have an inspector? Your real estate agent will probably have afew inspection references for you.Complete This Task ASAPThe inspection condition is another task you want to complete as soon as possible..You will want to have the inspection, get the inspection report, and discuss the findings with your real estate agent.In addition to the core inspection criteria, ensure that appliances that are included are inspected and are in working order.Inspection Is Not a Negotiation ToolKeep in mind that unless the inspection discovers and identifies a severe issue with the home, or other serious issues, like missing or broken appliance(s), the inspection is for identifying future maintenance or updates for buyer and the new homeowner.The inspection is not usually a negotiation tool, although if the issue discovered is severe, it could be a deal breaker.Buyer Visits or WalkthroughsTesting On Closing DayBe aware that you will usually be allowed a couple of ‘buyer visits’ or ‘walk throughs’, these visits are not inspections or a time to test appliances.If the appliance works today, there is no guarantee that it will work when you take possession, so leave the Closing Date to test everything in the house.In addition, if you were to test an appliance, like a washer or a dishwasher and there was a flood or damages (it’s happened) during a walkthrough, you could be liable for damages.Other Purposes for InspectionBuyer visits or walkthroughs help you plan for decorating and design, purchasing fixtures, paint colors, fabric choices, fitting your current furniture and buying new, among other planning ideas.Keep your visit brief, you are usually only provided with about an hour per visit.4. Waiving of Conditions and ClausesOnce you have secured your mortgage financing and have your inspection issues or other condition actions satisfied, you will want to inform your real estate agent to have your conditions waived.With the conditions waived, your home purchase can proceed towards closing day.5. Home InsuranceNow is the time to re-connect with your home insurance provider.You will need to provide home insurance details and coverage to your lawyer.Your mortgage lender should have provided you with the details of insurance required. Contacting your home insurance provider well in advance of closing day is highly recommended.6. Utility AccountsIf you haven’t already, create a checklist of all your utility accounts and provide notice of terminating your current address particulars and if applicable transfer to your new address.7. Keys and AlarmYou will receive your keys shortly; however, you will want to change the locks on all the doors, change security alarm codes (make sure your lawyer gets them during the transfer).During your home inspections and walk-throughs, take note of the doors with locks and how many door locks you will require.8. Mover/MovingPrepare a project plan and check list of your moving activities.9. Current Occupants Haven’t Left the HomeAlthough it’s very rare, prepare a back-up plan in case the previous owners haven’t vacated the home when they were supposed to, it can happen (see in our Sources and Links at the end).An additional condition or clause in the APS, outlining the clear expectations and an understanding of when the previous owner will be totally vacated from the buyer’s new property may be of interest. 10. Furnace FilterIt may be a good idea to prepare to change the filter when you arrive at your new home. Perhaps get the filter part# in advance, during a walkthrough so you can have a new filter the day you take possession. 2. Be Patient, Mortgages Can Take Some Time Many of our clients have asked us why the purchase process takes so long. Especially the mortgage lending process.We’ve provided some insights that may help you with these questions. Also included are a few critical insights that you should be aware of, insights which could not only delay the mortgage process, but could terminate the home purchase altogether.Once you have decided to start looking for a new home and have been in contact with your real estate agent and your lawyer about your next home purchase plans, there are many processes and steps which are about to be set in motion.Over the course of your next home purchase journey, you will be contacting, working with, and communicating with many stakeholders, including your:LawyerMortgage lenderReal Estate agentInsurance agentHome InspectorOthersBeing Prepared Is KeyTo limit and reduce last minute items which can delay or even terminate the home purchase process altogether, your preparation is crucial with each of these stakeholders.The work effort of these stakeholders will significantly increase as the Closing Date nears, especially the last two weeks, so as a buyer (or seller) ensuring that you are not a bottleneck or obstacle in these important and time sensitive milestones.Being ProactiveBe proactive and ensure that they have all the documents, your attention and your response when needed. Ask them how you can ensure the process is flowing smoothly from your end.Get Started EarlyThe involvement of key stakeholders as early as possible in the process, including your mortgage lender, lawyer and real estate agent is critical. Re-familiarizing yourself with the mortgage lending process is very helpful, if you haven’t purchased or sold your home in a while.This particular has become incredibly important, as the rules for mortgages have changed drastically over the past several years, in what is a relatively short time span.Your home purchase stakeholders will often use different names for the same terms. For example, a ‘Pre-Qualified’ and ‘Pre-Approved’ mortgage are the same.There are ways that the home buyer can assist with the process. Being prepared with up-to-date documents for your mortgage lender. These documents include:T4 slip from previous yearNotice of Assessments for the previous 2-3 yearsCurrent pay stubsAll Credit and debt detailsDetails about your employment historyIdentificationProof of Citizenship and Residency statusCredit Checks and Purchases During the Mortgage Approval ProcessHaving credit issues or applying for credit during the mortgage process can have a severe effect on your mortgage application and approval process.During this period, take a break or pause any debt applications and any credit application activities, including credit checks, which may affect your credit.It may be a good idea to defer these activities until you have moved into your home and the mortgage has been closed.Pre-Qualified and Pre-Approved MortgagesPre-Qualified and Pre-Approved Mortgages – Similar TermsEssentially, these two terms are similar, mortgage lenders and real estate stakeholders can often use these terms interchangeably. However, being ‘pre-qualified’ doesn’t not mean you have been ‘pre-approved’ for a mortgage.Being pre-qualified by your mortgage lender is usually an initial step towards mortgage approval, however your mortgage has yet to be approved.Pre-Qualification ProcessPre-qualification discussions with your mortgage lender usually focus on affordability, your debts, your income, and debt serviceability (and other items), it may even include a mortgage ‘stress test’ to ensure you can make your mortgage payments.Many Steps in the Mortgage Financial Approval ProcessThere are many steps prior to having a mortgage approved, pre-qualification is only the first step.Your mortgage lender may need an appraisal performed on your home, which may or may not be the same as the purchase value. If the appraisal is lower, that could be a big problem, and may require a larger down payment.It is possible that the appraisal may only be performed once you have signed the ‘Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS) and have requested a mortgage approval, which may affect closing timelines.Be ProactiveBeing proactive with your mortgage lender, early in the home buying journey is essential. Discuss these potential issues with your mortgage lender and ask for advice to limit any last-minute frustrations or surprises.Your mortgage lender can help you navigate proactively throughout the process to limit approval issues.Be Thorough With Your Mortgage LenderDiscuss and understand the entire mortgage approval process with your mortgage lender. Review the value of the homes you are considering along with your affordability and being able to service the mortgage payments.Ensure that you understand the mortgage lender’s appraisal process and it’s timing, and how that may affect your home purchase.Mortgage Calculators Are Not CommitmentsDuring your mortgage application meeting or discussion, most mortgage lenders provide you with simple mortgage payment calculators that will show you how much your payments will be based on varying down payments.These calculators are not commitments.A verbal approval or email may not be an official commitment to provide you with funds you will need, although it might be with some lenders. It is critical to understand the mortgage lending process specific to your lender.Your mortgage specialist will need to outline their mortgage lending approval process with you and when your funds would be available.Contact a Lawyer Early in the ProcessAt this early phase in your home purchase, it may be a good time to contact a lawyer. If you still have your lawyer from your last home purchase, great. If not, contacting a good lawyer (e.g., referral) early in your home purchase journey is vital, and who you should speak withprior to signing important documents.Mortgage Lender CommunicationsMost mortgage lenders have a formal communication process that includes notification of your mortgage approval, based upon current home appraisal, debt, credit history and income details.This communication is often an email referencing your mortgage approval details, and perhaps an email attachment with an approval letter. Ask your mortgage specialist how they will communicate that official approval to you.Mortgage Commitment LetterNot be confused with ‘Pre-Qualified’ or ‘Pre-Approved’ mortgage terms, this term is usually used for the formal communication from your mortgage lender directly to your lawyer, indicating that mortgage funds have been allocated or available for transfer, usually the day of closing.Obtaining a mortgage commitment letter indicates that the bank is satisfied that you are able to afford a certain loan, at a qualified interest rate. However, the mortgage commitment letter will contain various conditions requiring approval, prior to funding taking place.Mortgage Approval Process Awareness – Selling Price vs. Appraisal ValueAppraisal DetailsAnother critical component that can affect the duration of a mortgage approval duration and process is the appraisal value of the home you want to purchase. Especially if the appraisal is performed during the mortgage approval process and the home appraisal value is now lower than the selling price.Property Appraisal Process and TimingThere is a bit of a disconnect in the mortgage application process, in this regard.It is uncommon for a lender to conduct an appraisal on a property until and unless you have signed and accepted an Agreement of Purchase and Sale. However, the appraisal of the property will directly impact the amount your lender is willing to lend you.The reason being lenders have very strict rules on debt-to-equity ratios. That is, the lender will not loan more than a certain percentage of the value of the property (a value that is confirmed by their appraiser). It is a very much a chicken and egg scenario, as you won’t know what your lender will agree to lend, until your appraisal is completed.But you won’t get an appraisal completed, until you have signed and accepted an Agreement of Purchase and Sale. This is why it is important to be very diligent when it comes to submitting an offer close to your “spending-limit”.If the selling price of your home is higher than mortgage lender’s appraisal, this can cause stress, disappointment, and frustration, along with delaying, or even terminating the home purchase, and possible loss of a down payment.Mortgage Approval ExampleAs an example, if the home you want to purchase is selling for $1,500,000, you will need 20% down for the mortgage (mortgage lender/bank lending maximum for your home is 80%).The maximum mortgage amount (80%) would be $1,200,000 and your down payment would be $300,000.However, if home values in your area have been declining, and the mortgage lender or bank’s appraiser now values the home for $1,350,000 instead and the house sale value is $1,500,000, the down payment will need to be increased to make up the difference. Which would be $420,000, a possible gap of $120,000.This could be a deal breaker, if the home buyers are unable to increase the down payment.Finance Conditions or ClausesBe Careful Removing Conditions and ClausesCompeting for the purchase of a home is not uncommon. To be successful with the purchase of a home, agents and buyers often remove conditions or clauses that the seller may find obstructive compared to other buyers offers (e.g., finance or home inspection conditions).Tread carefully with the removal of conditions which are included to protect your interests.Risk Reward of Conditions and ClausesYou and your real estate agent will need to balance the risk/reward of adding or removing conditions and clauses.As stated in the Mortgage Approval Process Awareness – Selling Price vs. Appraisal Value previously, if the ‘financing condition’ had been removed, the buyer would need to increase their down payment, and if not, they may lose their deposit or may be liable for other costs incurred by the buyer for the terminated deal.Two of the most helpful suggestions based upon our experience, for prospective home buyers are as follows:1. Ensure that you read and re-read documents, and thoroughly understand the entire process, and what you are signingIf you are unsure or uncomfortable, ask your lawyer, mortgage lender, or real estate representative for clarification or advice.Start your planning early.For example, ensure you understand the mortgage lenders approvals processes, sometimes ‘Pre-Qualified’ or ‘Pre-Approved’ doesn’t mean your lending institution has funds ready for you. Confirm the process with you mortgage lender, and when the funds would be available for you to make an ‘offer’.2. Set your expectations accordinglyThe mortgage process takes time, there are many ‘moving parts’ and stakeholders. Some of these processes can work at the same time, others, need to wait for the previous step or process to be completed. Sometimes steps can get delayed, which can impact the next step in the process.Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS)One of the most important documents you will be signing will be the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS). You should become very comfortable in understanding the contents and the importance of this document.The Agreement of Purchase and Sale is the written contract between the seller and the buyer. The specific details of the APS are the offer to purchase real estate property, land, and the purchase of a home.The APS is referenced by the Ontario Real Estate Board (OREA). The APS includes the agreed upon price and the terms and conditions. This form contains page detail requirements and numerous number clauses and requirements.To familiarize you with the APS, we have provided many of the items on the APS, detailed below:The Agreement of Purchase and Sale includes:Buyers and Seller namesAddress and precise specifics of the property and it’s exact locationThe purchase priceDeposit detailsHome value balance funds payment detailsIrrevocability dateCompletion DateNotices: Who is appointed and responsible for providing and receiving noticesChattels: What is ‘included’ with the propertyFixtures which are excludedRentals items and rental contracts. Equipment that is being rented, e.g., water heaterHST obligationsTitle Search and Requisition DateFuture use details, e.g., warrantyTitle, details including registered restrictions, charges, liens, encumbrances etc.Closing Arrangements, including lawyer APS completion details, location, funds exchange details etc.Documents and Discharge, title deed detailsInspection, buyer inspection process and detailsInsurance, insurance responsibilities of the seller and the buyerPlanning Act detailsDocument Preparation, Transfer/Deed detailsResidency, residency/non-residency declarationsAdjustments, any outstanding items, such as rents, mortgage interest, realty taxes details etc.Property Assessment detailsTime Limits detailsTender, funds details, including dates and acceptable transfer typesFamily Law Act, includes spousal consent detailsUFFI, Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation declaration detailsLegal, Accounting and Environmental Advice, advice disclosureConsumer Reports, Buyer credit checkAgreement in Writing. Buyer and Seller agreement fundamentalsTime and dateSuccessors and Assigns. Stakeholder signaturesSpousal Consent, signaturesConfirmation and Acceptance, signaturesInformation on Brokerage(s), Listing and BuyerAcknowledgement, signatures3. Timeline Expectations – What to Expect in the Last Two Weeks Before Closing Closing Day Timelines Vary and FluctuateA typical home purchase to closing process can take 30 – 45 days, more or less. Each situation is different and can be affected by the many different circumstances. There are many stakeholders involved with diverse responsibilities.The Last Two Weeks Are the Most ActiveThere are many variables which can affect the entire timeline and duration. The last one to two weeks of that process are the most active and can require a great deal of your time and attention.Real Estate Agent – APS Handoff to Your LawyerOnce the Agreement of Purchase and Sale has been signed off and all conditions waived, and completed, and prior to closing, your real estate agent will send the copy of the signed APS to your lawyer who will begin the processes to complete the purchase.Although the lawyer has received a copy, many home buyers have their lawyer read the APS in advance of its signing, which may help avoid disputes.Understand Key Stakeholder Roles, Including Your Real Estate Agent and Your Lawyer’s RolesWhen buying a property, you will want to meet with your lawyer to discuss their role, fees and how they can be of assistance to you.During these discussions it would be worthwhile to discuss the services and searches available which of the lawyer’s services are appropriate for your purchase transaction.Search of the Title of the PropertyOne of the primary functions of your lawyer’s responsibilities to you will be the ‘Search of the Title of the Property’ and ensure there are no prior claims.The APS specifies that you will receive title to the property ‘free and clear’ of any claims, builder’s liens, easements, leases, judgments, previous mortgage declarations etc. Your lawyer will review many documents, including:Mortgage details, any outstanding mortgages on the property by the sellerHome/property insurance coverageIf a condominium, documents related disclosure statements, financial statements, bylawsIf applicable, the property survey certificateAppliances, fixtures, and chattels included with the home purchase (APS)Mortgage financials. Ensuring that adequate financing is available on the day of closingSeller’s lawyer documentsZoning bylaws complianceIf a new home, any warrantiesProperty taxes are up to dateNo outstanding utility accounts balancesIf applicable, the property survey certificateDocuments related to the condo, for example applicable bylaws, financial statements, disclosure statements, etc.Be PatientSome processes are aligned and are processed along the same timelines; however, many processes are sequential, or happen one after the other, which can take time as one stakeholder will be waiting for previous stakeholder work effort.Be patient with your stakeholders. Your home purchase stakeholders are actively representing your interests.Be Organized and ThoroughThere are many factors which may help reduce timeframe prior to a home closing.One of the factors is having a home buyer that is properly organized and prepared in advance of important milestones.The home ‘closing’ can be a complex process, which includes:NegotiationEscrow DepositTitle Search and Title InsuranceHome InspectionHome walk throughsOffer to Purchase preparation and submission (with your realtor)Purchase agreement preparation and finalizingMortgage application completionMortgage lending institution home appraisalFinal mortgage loan approvalOffer to Purchase, including:purchase pricedeposit amount and particularsThe Closing Date (the day you also take possession)Request for Land Survey of the propertyConditions of offer, including financing approval, home inspection etc.extra items to be included such as appliances, windows coverings, fixtures etc.)Agreement of Purchase and Sale acceptance signaturesPrepare for Closing Day Home InspectionThe Purpose of the InspectionClosing day inspections are not an opportunity for additional negotiations.Inspections are intended to ensure the home and its contents (fixtures and appliances) are aligned with the conditions of the sales agreement and that everything in the home is in working order.Despite what the Agreement of Purchase and Sale may state regarding the number of visits you as the Buyer may be entitled to, the common-law provides for Buyers to conduct a final inspection of the property.Our recommendation is to take advantage of such final inspection to ensure the condition of the property has remained unchanged.In addition to a home inspector inspecting your home, you will need to thoroughly check the entire house and its contents the day of closing.You should be preparing a checklist of every item and appliance which needs testing, including electrical, plumbing, gas, mechanical (e.g., garage door opener)The day of closing is your only opportunity to ensure that everything in your home meets your APS expectations. After this day, any defects are the responsibility of the new homeowner.Inspection ChecklistHaving a pre-prepared checklist will help you stay focused and will help keep you from missing or overlooking something. A testing and verification checklist could include:Light fixtures and switchesFaucets and taps. Running water, check under sinks for leaks. Check walls, ceilings, all floors for leaks or damageTurning all appliances on and testingOpen and close all doors and closets, make sure they are workingCheck and test all plumbing fixtures (toilets, showers, tubs, laundry room area etc.)Open and close all windows and doors, including the garage door itself.Check the atticCheck the entire outside of the property, any debris, garbage, or previous owner propertyAdditional Items to ConsiderContacting your utility accounts in advance of Closing Day is important. Contact them early in the process, to understand how much notice they need for transfer of the utility accounts. Do not leave this until the last minute.Utilities to contact, include:ElectricGas (is the hot water heater rented or owned?)Cable and internetPhoneAlarmInsuranceMoving companyOthers4. It’s Closing Day, What Can We Expect?Closing day, or completion day, is one of the final steps in the home purchase journey. You haven’t received the keys to your new home; however, you are very close to it.Your lawyer will have some work left to do, however you should have the keys to your new home no later than 6:00 p.m. on the day of closing.Here are some practical steps to prepare you for your home on your Closing Date:Moving out, what appliances, fixtures, furniture etc. will you moving with you and what will you need?Unlocking your new home… but first things first. Before moving anything into your property on Closing Day, you will need to do a thorough final walk-through and inspectionCheck for damage or missing items. If appliances, fixtures, or other items were included, are they there? Do they work? Check all the electrical outlets, open and close all the windows, check the plumbing, look for any leaks, especially in the basement and on ceilings. Is everything operational and as they should be based upon the Agreement of Purchase and Sale.Once you have your walkthrough and inspection, prior to moving in, you may want to consider having the home completely, cleaned, carpets shampooed, windows cleaned, fireplace checked and cleaned etc.Prior to moving in, this may be a good time to do any painting or home improvements, while the house is empty. Having your home professionally cleaned, prior to moving in and after any renovations, should be scheduled in advance of moving your valuables into the home,Although a pool check should have been performed during inspection, check around the home and on the outside, for any damage or issues. If there is a pool, ensure that it is in running order, especially the pump, chlorinators, filters, heaters, skimmers etc. Check for leaks.This is what to expect on closing day.Provided that you have signed the necessary paperwork and documentation with your lending institution; on closing day your mortgage lending institution and your lawyer will be coordinating the transfer of funds to the buyer’s lawyer, and other home title and deed transfer duties. Your real estate agent may be contacted, if necessaryOnce the funds have been transferred, your lawyer will register the home purchase at the Land Title Office, and you will be listed as the new owner of the propertyThis usually requires the whole closing day, your home keys (don’t forget to prepare to change all the locks) are usually released sometime in the afternoon, by no later than 6:00 pm. Lately, practices have involved leaving keys at the property in a lockbox, to reduce the travel time for buyers, so that they may head directly to the property once the transaction closes;Your lawyer will also ensure that there are no last-minute claims on the property, release funds that have been held in their ‘trust account’, pay out adjustments as outlined in the APS ‘statement of adjustments’, including commissions, sales tax, and land transfer taxOnce the property is closed, and in addition to ensuring that the Sellers obligations are satisfied, your lawyer will provide appropriate documentation including a ‘Reporting Letter’, and an account of their applicable activities and fees related to the transaction5. ‘Are Appliances Included? Not So Fast. Don’t Make Assumptions.’The most common of issues which come up with home purchases are misaligned expectations, misunderstandings and disappointments related to appliances.Work With Your Real Estate Agent About Your Appliance ExpectationsThere are limited opportunities to ensure that your expectations are satisfied when it comes to appliances. Your real estate agent can ensure that your expectations are included and clearly outlined in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale.Appliance InspectionUnless agreed upon between the seller and buyer, appliance inspection (and testing) is not usually performed during ‘walk-throughs’.Appliance inspection could be included on home inspection. Ensure that they are the same appliances models and match your previous expectations and are in working order on the day of closing.Appliance FunctionalityAppliance inclusion is one thing; however, the condition and functionality of the appliances should be detailed.Your home inspector can include the appliances when they inspect the property. With your instruction and direction, they can test the appliances to ensure they are working the day of the inspection, however you as the homeowner will need to immediately validate all the appliances themselves and test them yourself again on Closing Day.Closing Day TestingOn Closing Day, walk through your entire home, test everything.Turn all the lights on and off, flush all the toilets, turn on faucets, etc., put the dishwasher on, the clothes washer, the dryer, the air conditioner, and other appliances.If your new home has a pool, check the filter, pump, heater etc.Unless otherwise provided for in the Agreement, the appliances are only required to be in working order up to the end of the Closing Day. As of 12:01 am the day after Closing, if an issue occurs with the appliances, then as the buyer, such issue will be yours to deal with.Appliances – Set Your Expectations AccordinglyAppliances breaking down on or before the Closing Date is an unfortunately common issue.It also happens to be an issue that is difficult to resolve after closing. Once you as the buyer spend your money and purchase your new property, trying to get a seller to reimburse you for a minor repair/fix of an appliance is very difficult.Notwithstanding that your agreement may provide for the appliances to be working as of closing, unless an issue is identified before closing, the seller may not feel “compelled” to compensate the buyer for the cost of the repair.Reading and understanding documents is critical. Being clear about the home inclusion details is important and should be shared with your realtor representative.The buyer’s real estate representative is a critical part of these details, ensure that the APS details meet with your expectations.There also may be appliances you don’t want (unwanted lighting, electrical boxes, receptacles etc., which when removed, may cause damage upon removal, these damages should be fixed prior to possession and part of the inspection.It is important for the home buyer to ensure that their real estate agent understands the buyer’s expectations regarding appliances included with the home purchase and the condition of the appliances and fixturesAppliances and fixtures can include:RefrigeratorRange/stoveDishwasherWasher and DryerWater HeaterFurnaceAir ConditionerWater softenerAir cleaners and purifiersAlarm systemPool appliances, including heaters, filters, chlorinators, and other pool accessoriesThese items need to be clearly detailed in the offer. What are the appliance and fixture expectations from the home seller, has it been defined prior? 6. The Deal Fell Through. What Happens to the Deposit?As mentioned in our section ‘Terms and Key Documents To Know Before You Get Started’ in our ‘Introduction’, a broker, realtor, or agent may claim their commission, even though the sale didn’t close. This could also be applied to any deposits currently held by your realtor’s brokerage. As we mentioned in the previous section, this would be very rare and uncommon. We’ve provided two relevant articles in our Sources and Links at the end of this post. As with most legal agreements, it may be a good idea to have a lawyer review legal documents with you prior to signing.The home purchase transaction required a deposit. The deal was defaulted, reneged, or terminated some way by the buyer, so what happens to the deposit?Seller and Buyer RightsIs the seller entitled to the deposit outright? Does the home seller need to sue the buyer to recover the deposit? Does the home seller attempt to negotiate with the buyer who terminated or reneged on the deal over releasing all or part of the deposit? We’ll provide some possible answers to those questions.Deposit LocationWhen a seller has signed a listing agreement with a Real Estate Broker, the buyer’s deposit will be paid into the seller’s Real Estate Broker’s Trust Account. Following which, the deposit can only be transferred out of the Real Estate Broker’s Trust Account, in one of the following situations:1. The purchase/sale is completed.2. The buyer and seller both provide unanimous direction to the Real Estate Broker specifying as to whom the deposit is to be paid; or3. A Court orders that the deposit be paid to one or both of the parties.The same principles apply in situations of a private purchase where the deposit has been paid to the seller’s lawyer, in Trust.OREA FormNearly all real estate agreements are completed on an OREA (Ontario Real Estate Association) form of agreement of purchase and sale, so we will begin there.Every OREA form has the following section pertaining to the buyer’s deposit:“[The] buyer submits ($xx,xxx.xx), upon acceptance by negotiable cheque payable to [the] “deposit Holder” to be held in trust pending completion or other termination of this Agreement and to be credited towards the Purchase Price on Completion.”None of the other provisions in the standard OREA form address the situation of what happens to a buyer’s deposit if he or she is unable or unwilling to complete the purchase.If the two parties wish, they may insert an additional provision into a schedule to the agreement, setting out the terms confirming to whom the deposit is to be paid upon the buyer defaulting on the purchase.Such provisions are typically rejected by buyers, as they do not want to risk suffering an immediate loss of their deposit, when the reason for their failure to complete the transaction, may be in dispute.Deposit OutcomesHowever, the law supports the seller being entitled to the deposit, in the event of a buyer defaulting under the agreement of purchase and sale and being unable to complete the purchase, (save and except what the contract may state or some rare exceptions).Despite this deceptively simple answer, how and when a seller can get possession of the deposit, is a separate question altogether.Unless both the seller and buyer can agree to what is to happen with the deposit in the event of the buyer defaulting, the Real Estate Broker/lawyer is typically restricted from releasing the deposit to the seller.Court OrdersWhere the parties are unable to come to an agreement with respect to what is to happen with the deposit, a Court Action must be started, and a Court order obtained, to determine who is entitled to the deposit.At this point, each party will be burdened with proving why the deposit should be released to them, as opposed to the other party. However, unless the buyer can show that the failure to release the deposit to them would result in an unconscionable loss to the buyer, the seller will most often, be awarded the deposit.Take-away pointsYou as the reader should take away the following points from this specific part of this post:The starting position as it relates to entitlement to the deposit is: if a buyer breaches the agreement of purchase and sale, the seller is entitled to the deposit.Where a buyer is unable to complete a purchase, and the parties cannot agree on what is to happen with deposit, then the deposit shall remain in the Real Estate Broker’s/lawyer’s Trust Account, pending a settlement agreement between the parties or a Court Order.Where a buyer is unable to complete the transaction, the seller is required to mitigate his or her damages by attempting to resell the property.Where the seller resells his or her property for less than the originally agreed to purchase price, the seller likely has a claim for the deposit, plus the loss suffered because of reselling the property at a less amount and any additional carrying costs.Conclusion Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of this article.Whether you have recently purchased or sold a home and are embarking on another home sale or purchase, or perhaps you haven’t purchased a home in a while, or if this is your first home purchase, we hope this article was of interest to you and that we have provided some level of value.We’ve included a couple of our previous posts which may also be of interest to you.You’ve Decided To Buy: 9 Insights To Help the First Time Home BuyerYour First Home: Is Buying a Home the Right Decision for You?If you would like additional information about Nichols Law, please visit our website. Disclaimer Sources and links are provided for source credit and attribution, and for additional information purposes only. Nichols Law is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsing/endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with any of the sources or links provided.Sources and Additional Information:The Globe and Mail; Seller beware: Even if the deal dies, the agent may still want their commissionCBC; Real estate agencies can collect their fee even if a buyer defaults on a sale, B.C. man learnsToronto Star: When you’ve got the keys to your new home but the sellers haven’t leftGlobal News: Home inspections aren’t always an option. Here’s how buyers can protect themselvesZOLO: Every Task a First-Time Homeowner Needs on Their Possession Day ChecklistCanadian Real Estate Wealth: How long does it take to buy a home in Canada?REMAX: Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) Form 100, The Agreement of Purchase and Sale (example)The Brel Team, The Real Estate Lawyer’s Job: After the Contract Is Signed WOWA: What Is An Agreement of Purchase and Sale?Ottawa Sun: Agreement of Purchase and Sale explainedSun Life: Buying a house: What happens after your offer is accepted?CMHC: Buying Your First Home in Canada; What Newcomers Need to KnowOntario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI): Should I sign a Buyer Representation Agreement with a real estate agent?CMHC: Finance your home.Mortgage basics, pre-approval, loan insurance and tips for meeting with your lender or brokerOREA Listing Agreement: Form 200 Fully ExplainedThe Brel Team, The Financing Condition: What You Need To KnowCMHC: Home buying step by stepThe Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO): If I buy a house, how do I know if the appliances are included?Bridgewell Real Estate Group: What Happens on Closing Day When Buying a House?Paradise Developments: What Happens on a Closing Day in Ontario? (2021)CIBC: How to avoid closing day problemsMortgage InGenuity Inc.: First Time Home Buyers Guide: What about Pre-Qualification, Pre-Approval, and Mortgage Commitment Letters?The BRELteam: Selling the House You Bought Last YearMortgage InGenuity Inc.: Your House-Closing Timeline: A Step-By-Step GuideRemax: 10-Step Guide to Selling Your HomeCanadian Real Estate Wealth: How soon can you sell a house after buying it in Ontario?The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO): Buyer Representation Agreements: Understanding the Fine-PrintCIBC, How To Avoid Closing Day ProblemsThe Balance, Tips for Doing the Final Walkthrough Before Closing on a HomeNested Sage Real Estate, Why You Should Take Advantage of Your Buyer Visits You’ve Decided To Buy: 9 Insights To Help the First Time Home Buyer Posted on October 8, 2021You’ve Decided To Buy: 9 Insights To Help the First Time Home Buyer Introduction As detailed in our previous post “Your First Home: Is Buying a Home the Right Decision for You?” the affordability aspect of purchasing your home may be the first step for your first-time home purchase journey.It goes without saying that everyone’s first home buying experience and situation is different. However, there are additional first-time home buying exercises beyond affordability that are worth exploring and researching. These additional exercises and thought processes can be related to your own specific knowledge, comfort level, lifestyle fit, geography and neighbourhood preferences, just to name a few.In addition to having a thorough understanding of your own motivations, mindset, and objectives, you may need to depend on and trust external resources.Trusting External Resources – First Time Home PurchaseExternal resources and professionals such as financial and lending institutions, realtors, real estate lawyers, your insurance broker, home inspectors will need to be part of your process. You may want to start asking friends, colleagues, and family now for referrals for these resources, if possible.When you have eventually selected your external resources, it may also be beneficial to share your first-home purchase vision, plans, requirements, lifestyle etc. (including the outcome of this post insights) with these external resources. Let them know about other relevant, important, and pertinent background information and any other insights that are specific and important to you.Over the next few pages, we will try to highlight the possible steps and processes that you may encounter once you have decided that a ‘first-time’ home purchase is affordable and the right fit for you.Let’s get started. Home Selection ProcessOnce you understand the affordability part, one of the next steps is the type of home you may want to live in.The home selection process essentially comes down to personal tastes, needs and requirements, geographical and environmental preferences to name a few. However, there are a few insights we can share to help you get started with the type of home you may want to consider.First Time Home Purchase – Home Selection InsightsA simple first home purchase research exercise of driving or walking around different neighborhoods, may be beneficial. Look at different styles of homes, floor plans, locations, for example:CondoSingle Family (Detached)Two Storey (accessibility concerns, stairs, more privacy)Bungalow (accessibility friendly, limited or no stairs)TownhouseCape CodFarmhouseColonialContemporaryCottageFrench CountryMediterraneanRanchSplit-LevelTudorVictorianWhat size of home do you need or want? Square footage, # of bedrooms, bathrooms, guest quarters, extended family needs, garage etc.?The size of the lot the home is situated on (how much land do you need?).Give some consideration to the location of the home and the lot:Big lot or small lot (lots of room to play and entertain, space for a new pool, lots of maintenance, lawn mowing, leaves in the fall),Busy street (accessible, noisy, traffic)Street corner (people cutting across your lawn?)Ravine (airy, spacious, wildlife)Lots of trees and tree canopy (shade, green factor, cool in summer, lots of leaves to rake)The type of neighborhoods. Research the neighborhood, is the neighborhood community oriented, looking out for one another or do they keep to themselves and keep neighbor engagement and communication to a minimumWould you prefer your neighbour’s home be within a couple meters or do you prefer homes be much further away, or a ‘gated community’ perhaps?Proximity to schools, malls, grocery stores and other amenitiesLocation on a street, crescent, or courtHome Style Selection Next StepsIt may be beneficial to collect all the relevant data specific to your situation into an expanded ‘first draft’ list of your needs and wants. Once you have that initial list, you may want to prioritize, refine, and shorten the list based upon what your primary needs and preferences are.Having this list of insights, detailed primary needs and preferences will be helpful with your own decision process about the purchase price, type of home, location, style etc. This exercise will also help you by setting ‘budget and personal fit’ boundaries to work with regarding what you are looking for in a new home.These preliminary effort, proactive analysis and initial needs process will benefit your first-home purchase process by having many of the answers prepared in advance to the many questions that your external resources will be asking.Sharing this type of information with your real estate professional can help them improve their sort and search results for the home (and location) that will appeal the most to you. External Resources – Professionals, Experts and SpecialistsFor the most part you will be on this first time home purchase journey on your own. Most of the preference and decision making will all be ‘internal’ to you and you alone. However, there will be ‘external resources’ that you will need to assist you, those who you will need to depend on and trust throughout your entire first home purchase journey and process.You need to contact experts and specialists to help you along your first home purchase journey.These experts and specialists include:Mortgage SpecialistRealtor/Real Estate Agent/BrokerReal Estate LawyerHome InspectorHome Property Insurance AgentLife Insurance Agent Ask Your Personal and Work NetworkOne of the best sources for these external resources is from asking your network for referrals.Your colleagues, family, neighbors, people you know well, and friends are a valuable resource for these referrals. In addition to getting these referrals contact information, ask your source why they like this ‘expert or specialist’ and prefer them to others.Once you have collected numerous names for the resources shared with you will need to do some background research on them to ensure they are a fit for you.If a referral is from someone you know, like and trust, it’s likely that they may be a fit for you and your needs, however you should still do your homework, visit their website, call (or video call) the on the phone and if possible, meet with them before making (or signing) and commitments.Your first home purchase will include legal contracts and related complexities. You should be contacting a lawyer as early as possible, and before signing any documents, which we will detail in the Real Estate Lawyer section. You and Your Mortgage Specialist Your mortgage specialist should be one of the first resources you talk to once you have decided to purchase a new home. They will most likely be a part of your ‘affordability’ process and discussions.Your mortgage specialist should be able to lay out different mortgage options and alternatives.If you’re not familiar with mortgages, you should be knowledgeable in advance of meeting with your mortgage specialist. We’ve included a list of terms which you may want to research. Your Mortgage Specialist should also be educating you on the different mortgage processes and terminology, such as:Credit score. Information to income and debt requirements, along with formal proof and documentationMortgage Application processMortgage Pre-Approval (certificate)Home value and appraisalsHome inspectionMortgage (default) insuranceBorrower qualification and financial Stress TestsHome property and contents insurance requirementsMortgage financing specific terminology, including:down paymentamortizationmortgage terminterest ratefixed rate vs. variable rate mortgagesappraised valueGross Debt Service Ratio (GDSR) and Debt to service ratioHigh ratio and low ratio mortgagesLump sum paymentInterest adjustmentClosed mortgageOpen mortgageConventional mortgageConvertible mortgageEquityDefaultMortgage Life Insurance (vs. the benefits of separate life insurance)PenaltiesMortgage renewalLand transfer taxProperty surveyClosing costs You and Your Realtor/Real Estate Agent/BrokerNow that you have an idea about the size of your home and the type of home you want, you may want to do some research about the home’s location. An experienced and knowledgeable real estate professional can be of assistance with this exercise as well.Before contacting a realtor, brokerage or real estate agent, research your preferences on a search engine, Google for example. Visit Realtor websites and look at various homes, locations and maybe drive or walk around different locations and neighborhoods.Become an expert in your own needs and wants and share that information and those insights with your agent.Understand the difference between a Realtor, Real Estate Broker, and a Real Estate agent A Realtor belongs to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). A Realtor may have more professionalism, ethics, training, and experience. Realtors must continuously abide by CREA training, membership, ethics, and code of conduct.Real Estate Brokers have additional training and licensing which allows them to hire other real estate agents to work for them. They must be a licensed Real Estate agent for two years before beginning the additional licensing, training, and courses.Real Estate Agent is licensed (courses and pass exams) to help people buy, rent, and sell real estate, but doesn’t belong to CREA (unless they are a CREA member, then they would be a Realtor). A Real Estate agent must work for a real estate broker (all deals must go through a brokerage that operates a trust account).Being knowledgeable about your own needs and wants will help your real estate resource help you. They will gather necessary market and neighborhoods intelligence to help you on your first-time home buying journey. Your real estate professional should be proactively reviewing the types of homes and neighborhoods you want to visit and eventually, and if appropriate, home viewings and walk-throughs.Do your homework, it would be helpful to know (and share) your preferences for:Affordability and budgetGeography and location (What city, suburb etc.)Home style, floor plan etc. preferences. Lots size, maintenance comfort levelNeighbor type preferences (how close do you want your neighbors? What type of neighbors?Lifestyle (single, couple planning a family or not)Type of amenities or access you want to be close to (boutiques, shopping malls, transit, highways)Accessibility requirementsOther ?When you share this type of information and insights with your real estate representative, they can use that information through their own real estate ‘lens’ which will help them help you with your selection process.Be patient with all your external resources, especially your real estate resource. After sharing your preferences with them, they may also show you homes outside of the parameters you requested. They may just be trying to offer you information or alternatives that you may not be aware of, and they may also be trying to understand your boundaries, decision making process and preference levels.Sometimes the dream homes people eventually end up buying were outside of the information, preferences or details provided to the real estate agent. Be transparent and let them know if this approach is helpful or not. You and Your Real Estate LawyerOnce you have decided and confirmed that you can afford a new home, have discussed mortgage details and alternatives with a mortgage specialist, and have initiated the home purchase market activities with your real estate representative, you should be contacting a real estate lawyer that you are comfortable working with, this includes their staff as well.Your real estate lawyer will be fulfilling a critical role with your first-home purchase, so your real estate lawyer should be involved as early as possible.It’s imperative that your lawyer be a knowledgeable and competent legal specialist when it comes to helping you with your first-home purchase transaction. You will need a friendly, thorough, and detail-oriented lawyer and office staff who are client service oriented who will help you navigate through the entire process.Agreement of PurchaseAn Agreement of Purchase and Sale can deal with numerous issues and can be complex. Being proactive and transparent with your real estate lawyer is very important, in advance of signing any home purchase documents. You may wish to share the Agreement of Purchase and Sale with your lawyer, before signing. This can help avoid any disputes and lower your costs, if there are any disputes.The role of your real estate lawyer will include:Initial introductions, including understanding your needsWorking with your mortgage lender or specialist to make sure your financing is receivedReview of mortgage related agreements and documents, ensure you are aware of your legal rights and any obligationsTaking all the necessary steps to ensure your first home purchase is successfully completedAdvising you about including any conditions on the home purchase that can give you flexibility if you wish to withdraw from the deal. These conditions could include that the sale is subject to a home inspection, financing or review and approval from your lawyer. These conditions could be helpful if there is something wrong with the property and you want to withdraw from the dealReview of the builder’s purchase agreement if you are buying a newly built home. Ensure that the builder’s purchase agreement is fair to both partiesReview of the lot survey and deed to ensure there are no encroachment issuesReviewing the Agreement of Purchase and Sale from your real estate representative, ensuring the document is clear, complete, concise, and effectiveIf buying a condo, review of condo status certificates, and ensure that the condominium corporation is financially sound and stable. Examine any condo rules, regulations or provisions which would not be in your favorComplete property title searches. Your lawyer must ensure that your home and its title are free from any liens or other burdens or impedimentsEnsuring that that property taxes, utilities, are up to date. If any utility bills or taxes have been pre-paid by the previous owner, you will need to re-imburse these funds to the seller as part of closing, your lawyer will oversee this reimbursement as part of the overall transactionArranging title insuranceHome purchase ‘searches’ availability and discussionBuilding and zoning searchesNew home warranty or resale home warranty awareness and reviewEnsuring that any mortgages or lines of credit registered against the home’s property title are discharged and paid-outProperty fees collections, down payments, taxes, and disbursements paid out related to the property purchase or saleMortgage modifications (if required)If a private sale, provide transaction advice, negotiation of terms, preparing a sale or purchase agreementPreparation of closing documentsYour lawyer will:Let you know about your closing costs in advanceAlso process the mortgage funds from your lenderDeposit those funds in a trust while the deal closesDiscuss any other closing costs with you, including their fees and disbursements, and applicable title insurance You and Your Home InspectorHiring a home inspector can help save you a lot of headaches and potentially save you a great deal of money.How else would you know if the home you about to purchase has a leaking roof or basement, or the windows and home are in poor shape in need of an upgrade?If the previous owner hasn’t been properly maintaining the structural integrity of the home and the home has serious structural issues, then you may have many costly issues with the home going forward. This would not be a good experience for the ‘first-time’ homeowner.A home inspection prior to buying a home can identify significant issues with the property you are thinking about buying. These issues would need to be repaired to your satisfaction or you may want to back out of the home purchase deal altogether. Having a home inspection can help you avoid these types of issues.Home Inspectors Are Not RegulatedThe home inspection sector is not government regulated, so anyone who wants to can call themselves a ‘home inspector’. Perhaps asking your friends and family, a Realtor, broker, or real estate professional for a referral may provide the best inspector for your needs.Most credible home inspectors will have extensive background in home construction, along with expertise related to environmental or chemical sector. They often have civil engineering experience with diplomas or degrees, along with home inspection certification and training from inspection associations and colleges.You should keep in mind that a home inspection will identify only observable issues with the property. That is, issues which can be discovered by walking around and looking at the interior and exterior of the property. Issues that are hidden behind walls or buried in the ground, are likely to be missed by even the most experienced inspectors. This is why it is important to include warranties into the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, that protect you as the buyer, from any hidden defects that an inspection may miss. You and Your Home Property Insurance AgentThe primary objective of home property insurance is to protect your home, its structure and most of its contents in the event of loss or damages such as a burglary, fire, or a storm.Home property insurance ‘may’ also protect you when you are away from your home as well. It’s best to check with your home insurance provider, about coverage specific to your needs.Home property insurance can also cover your personal belongings, including your furniture, appliances and living expenses should a loss or damage event arise.If you have expensive items, you may need additional coverage also known as ‘endorsements or riders’.The Importance of Maintaining Your HomeHome property insurance will not cover neglect, so keep your home’s infrastructure up to date, including:RoofWindows and doorsHeating and air conditioningBasement (leaks)PoolOther ?Another component of home property insurance is personal liability. Home property insurance usually covers people who may be injured on your property or in your home, liability limits vary.Different types of homes and dwellings need different types of home insurance coverage:HouseCondoRentalAt some point in your first-home purchase process you will be asked for some type of proof of insurance. Home property insurance is a critical component of a home purchase and is required for one or more of your external resource’s stakeholders, especially your financial institution who is lending you the funds for the home. In fact, most financial institutions and lenders will not release mortgage funds until you have provided proof of proper and adequate insurance for your new home, to your lawyer.Be Thorough With Your Property Insurance Research and SelectionSelecting property insurance is not a detail you want to leave for the last minute. Property insurance should also be included in your affordability and budgeting process.Researching and selecting property insurance should be near the top of your list once you have decided to make your first-home purchase.Much of the planning and organization details we are discussing in this document will be helpful to have when speaking with a property insurance agent, they may ask many questions, including:Type of insurance needed. Home, condo, or rental (tenant)Home address and homeowner(s). Whose name is on the deed.You may be asked your age, gender, marital status, dependent children, and ages of people living at the homeOccupationType of dwelling and square footageGaragePlumping typeWiring typeExterior materials (brick, stone, siding etc.)Coverage start dateWhen was the home built?Finished basementOperate a business from homeRent any part of the home or propertyProvide a list of expensive items, such as bikes, watercraft, artwork, jewelry, wine, or spirits, otherHome alarm, covering water, fire, or theftClaims historyContact details, such as phone number, email, and addressesAlumni (preferred rates)When to Buy Home Property InsuranceIf you are in the process of bidding or making an offer on a home, if you haven’t already, be proactive and contact your preferred home property insurance company about your first-home purchase plans and activities.Once you have a bid on a home and have a ‘close and move-in’ date, you will need insurance when you assume ownership. Life Insurance Agent – Mortgage Protection InsuranceAt some point during your mortgage discussions, you will be asked about ‘optional’ life insurance for your mortgage also known as mortgage protection insurance. You can purchase this type of insurance through your financial institution, or you can purchase it separately.Ultimately, the decision is yours to make regarding the type of insurance you need, we will try to outline a selection of pros and cons, and alternatives.Not to be confused with mortgage default insurance (less than 20% down payment), like the type we detailed in “Your First Home: Is Buying a Home the Right Decision for You?” that is available from CMHC.Mortgage protection insurance covers you if you die or become disabled. Some financial institutions offer a ‘death only’ component. The premiums are added to your mortgage payment.Advantages and DisadvantagesThere are advantages (convenience) and disadvantages (cost and eligibility when you need it) of purchasing from your financial institution.You have a few options and questions to think about:Do I need life insurance for the new home’s value? What liabilities do I have should I die or become disabled?Do I already have life insurance separately that already covers the house value? Can I increase that coverage with my current life insurance broker?Is the cost of adding insurance coverage from the financial institution greater than purchasing life insurance separately from an agent? Mortgage insurance purchased from a financial institution shrinks as your mortgage decreases, yet the premium often stays the same, is this good value?Can I purchase life insurance from an agent or be refused insurance? Is the life insurance being offered only available from the financial institution?Will the financial institution honor the coverage? Insurance from financial institutions is often provided without a medical examination requirement, yet when a claim is made the coverage may find an issue or violation of the insurance and leave you exposed with no insurance when you need it.When you purchase life insurance through your financial institution and you renew your mortgage, the premiums could go up.If a claim is made from a financial institution’s life insurance, the bank or financial institution usually receives the insurance funds directly, those insurance funds do not go to the homeowner. From a financial planning perspective, this may or may not be the best option at the time for your beneficiaries.If you need additional life insurance coverage for your home value, speak to a financial planner. Or speak to a qualified and knowledgeable life insurance agent and provide your situation and particulars. There may be some longer-term advantages and benefits to purchasing your own life insurance on your own. Decision Making – Making an Offer and Closing Date ActivitiesAt this point in your first-home purchase journey, you have decided you can afford a home, have performed all the activities leading to the selection of the home you desire, and now you and your real estate representative are ready to make an offer to buyer or their real estate representative.This is your first home purchase, so you’re going to be exposed to many new terms, complexities, acronyms, processes, and information that will be foreign to you.Talk to a Lawyer Sooner Than LaterWhen it comes to signing any contracts, agreements, or documentation, it would be prudent and best advised to talk to your lawyer prior to engaging in any signing of documents. At least initially, and even for the more harmless looking documents that your real estate representative will ask you to sign before you begin your first home purchase journey.Inform your lawyer or legal representative that this is your first home purchase. They should guide you through the process, and let you know which documents you will need their help with and when. There may be documents that appear harmless to sign, however having a discussion with your real estate lawyer beforehand will give you some peace of mind for your first-time home purchase transactions.There is only one legal expert who is qualified from a legal perspective, that is your lawyer. That doesn’t mean that real estate representatives are not familiar or have knowledge about the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, however they are not experts on the legal conditions, clauses, or their ramifications, to name a few reasons.When you hire a lawyer to assist you with the purchase of real estate, the lawyer should perform a number of searches to ensure that the possibility of problems with the real estate is minimized. You, as a buyer, should discuss with your lawyer what searches are available to you and which are appropriate for your purchase transaction.Get Comfortable With Paperwork and ContractsThere are many documents and paperwork involved with buying or selling a home in Ontario.The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) has developed a set of standardized forms that are most commonly use for the resale of residential or commercial property. These forms are generally very good and complete, but they deal with a lot of issues and can be complex.Most agreements to buy and sell real estate are created on pre-printed forms which have been created by the real estate industry or by lawyers.Understanding your obligations and entitlements of your Agreement of Purchase and Sale before you sign it can avoid disputes and lower your costs. Having your lawyer review the Agreement of Purchase and Sale with you before you sign it can ensure that understanding.These documents may include:Agreement of Purchase and SaleAgreement of Purchase and Sale CondominiumBuyer Representation AgreementBuyer Customer Service AgreementConfirmation of Cooperation and RepresentationListing Agreement – Authority To Offer for SaleSeller Customer Service AgreementWarrantiesSome properties are bought as new homes, and some are bought as resale homes. New homepurchases are covered by Ontario’s Tarion Warranty. Resale homes are not covered by any warranty other than what is given by the seller and agreed to in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale.It is therefore imperative that buyers negotiate for warranties to be given by Sellers to protect themselves from any issues which arise after closing.The Sales Agreement ProcessNot sure how the home purchase process work? The primary document at this point would be the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (Agreement). Every home purchase is different; however, this is a typical home purchase sale process:The first-home buyer will have their real estate representative assisting them with the finding, locating, and selecting the home they wish to purchase. They will also be involved in negotiating the first-home purchase.The Buyer’s agent will prepare an offer to purchase and submit it to the Seller or his or her representative.Once both parties have executed the Agreement, the signed agreement is then sent to a lawyer who is requested to complete the purchase.Once signed by both parties, an agreement of purchase and sale cannot be amended without the consent of all parties.Once the Agreement is signed, the final closing processes begin. All legal documents must be signed, and all payments must be paid out. In most cases, once all the closing details and transactions are completed, you will receive the keys to your first home before the end of the closing day. However, there could be factors that impact whether you get your keys at the end of closing day, these factors include mortgage funding, courier delivery of keys, online registrations completed.Don’t forget to bring your identification when you are signing documents with your lawyer. They usually need to make two copies of your ID. One must be photo ID (not Health card), your passport can be your other ID.Picking Up the Keys to Your New HomeOnce you have picked up your keys, you can start the process of moving in, or in some cases some first-time home buyers take some time to do some renovations, painting, cleaning, upgrades before they move in, providing they have a place to stay. Conclusion – Next Steps Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of this article, and perhaps you’ve already started your first-home purchase journey.In our previous first-home purchase post “Your First Home: Is Buying a Home the Right Decision for You?” we provided insightful details about the most important part of your first-home purchase process, Affordability. You will learn about the critical next steps once you have decided that you can afford your first home.In addition, if you’d like to read more about purchasing your first home, we have linked several articles below discussing similar topics. In addition, please visit our Real Estate Law and Buying A Property sections on the Nichols Law Professional Corporation website. Sources and Additional InformationDisclaimerSources and links are provided for source credit and attribution, and for additional information purposes only. Nichols Law is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with any of the sources or links provided.CMHC: Home buying Step by Step: Your guide to buying a home in CanadaYour First Home; A Buyer’s Kit for Condos and Houses book, by Kimberley Marr, CAAP, ABROttawa Sun, When To Contact a Real Estate LawyerGovernment of Canada, Before You Sign Any Contract: 10 Things You Need To KnowGovernment of Canada, How Much You Need for a Down PaymentCanada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Debt Service CalculatorTD Bank, Mortgage AffordabilityGlobal News, Banks Sell Mortgage Insurance, but Independent Experts Say You Shouldn’t Buy ItCanada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, CMHC mortgage loan insurance costsGovernment of Canada. RRSP. How To Participate in the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP)Financial Services Commission of Ontario, Understanding Home InsuranceMitchel and Whale Insurance Brokers, What Questions Do I Need To Answer To Get Home Insurance?Ottawa Sun, Four Closing Day Questions Answeredca , How To Buy Homeowners Insurance in 2020Desjardins Homebuyers GuideCanada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), The first-time home buyer incentiveGovernment of Canada Homebuyer Incentives and RebatesMoneySense, 6 smart strategies for first-time home buyersGenworth Canada/SAGEN, A step-by-step guide for first-time homebuyersca, First Time Home Buyer GuideToronto Star, First-time homebuyers see new opportunities, challenges in pandemic economynesto, Closing Costs: What are They And How Much Will You Pay?Toronto Star, ‘An unexpected prize for young Canadians’: How the pandemic helped a wave of first-time home buyers get into the marketFivewalls, Toronto Real Estate – Prices and StatsRocket Mortgage, 20 Popular Home Styles And Types Of HousesRoyal Homes, Comparing Bungalow Floor Plans Over Two-Storey HomesRoyal Lepage, 4 Important Things to Know About the Difference Between a REALTOR and Real Estate AgentRE/Max, Ontario Real Estate FormsBRELteam, Real Estate Paperwork Explained: For Ontario BuyersYoung&Thrifty, Buying a House in Canada: A Guide to Buying Your First HomeGovernment of Canada, CRA Principal Residence Capital Gains Exemption?Storeys, What’s the Difference Between Realtors, Agents and Brokers? Your First Home: Is Buying a Home the Right Decision for You? Posted on October 8, 2021Your First Home: Is Buying a Home the Right Decision for You? Introduction A home purchase is most likely the largest financial decision a person, couple or family will make in their lifetime.A home has an important purpose, it provides you with shelter. In addition to shelter, your home can be a place to rest and relax, provide opportunities to entertain your family and friends, and perhaps raise your own family.There could be numerous reasons why purchasing a new home could compel you to venture into the real estate market. If you’re renting, you may have driven or walked past a ‘dream’ home that was for sale and wondered “what if”? Perhaps a home of a friend or acquaintance came up for sale, a home you could see yourself living in, which compelled you to look at or visit the home’s ‘open house’.Can I Really Afford To Purchase a New HomeRegardless of the reason for looking at first time home possibilities, at some point during your ‘thinking about it’ home purchase exercise, you ask yourself “Can I really afford to purchase a new home” The primary information within this post is intended to guide the first-time home buyer who is thinking about buying their first home and is comparing home ownership with renting. The first-time homeowner may need answers about whether they can afford to purchase their first home or not.Although this post is written for first-time home buyers, there may be insights within the post which may help some buyers who have previously purchased a home.Let’s get started. Taking Your First Home Buying Steps Deciding to finally purchase your first home can be somewhat overwhelming. Where exactly do you start?Before you get started with your ‘First Time Home Purchase’ research on Google and visiting realtor websites, take some time and reflect about whether buying your first home is the right decision for you. The answer to this question is based primarily on an individual or family’s financial resources and whether buying vs. renting is a better investment or decision.AffordabilityMost prospective homeowners start with affordability, which we will expand upon in the following pages. Do you have the financial means to save enough for a down payment, pay realtor and legal fees, and sustain the ongoing costs of owning a home?Most first home buyers start with comparing the costs of owning a home vs. renting. In addition to a mortgage payment, home ownership costs also include many other factors such as on-going municipal taxes, home insurance, maintenance and upkeep, furnishings, day-to-day items, among others. In most cases, renters don’t have to worry about most, if not, all of these ownership related costs.These home ownership costs and financial responsibilities should be ‘top-of-mind’ when you are deciding whether you should continue to rent or purchase your first home.Home Ownership Vs. RentingWe’ll be going into a bit more detail in the next section, however it’s critical that you reflect on your own situation and whether home ownership is a fit for you. Perhaps you’re better off renting and continue building a first home down payment nest egg or investing elsewhere?Home Ownership Investment Advantages From an investment perspective, home ownership may have an advantage over renting, although your specific situation may differ.On average, the Toronto real estate market has increased 5% year-over-year, for the last 50 years. This type of growth can fluctuate and vary, meaning there are peaks and valleys and highs and lows. While this growth hasbeen the average, there are never any certainties. With the understanding that home ownership will likely cost more than renting, you may wish to compare whether you are able to save/earn on investments, at an equal to or better rate, than the average increase in home prices. You may be surprised by the comparison.If you are purchasing your first home strictly for investment purposes, perhaps having a discussion with a financial planner may be beneficial. There may be other investment alternatives that may be best suited for you from a strictly investment perspective, depending on whether the investment is short-term or long-term based. Home Ownership ResponsibilitiesHome ownership has many responsibilities, including the on-going repair and upkeep of your home and its structure.Structural repairs such as plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning and the roof for example, are critical home components which need to be kept in working order and functional. These repairs need to be performed by qualified and or licensed professionals.If you’re not sure about a repair, call a qualified professional first. Most maintenance, and minor home repairs like painting or cosmetic changes, or lawn mowing for example don’t necessarily need a qualified or licensed expert. Many homeowners do the simple stuff on their own, with varying levels of quality and success.If you’re not familiar or comfortable with minor home repairs, your maintenance costs may be higher if you have someone else do it.In most cases, working on your own home, such as gardening, painting, minor repairs etc., can be very enjoyable and rewarding. Ultimately, the decision is yours to decide whether home ownership is a fit for you or to continue renting without the benefits of home ownership. These are only a few examples of additional costs that you should be considering if home ownership is a serious consideration. The ‘Pros and Cons’ of Renting vs. Home OwnershipAs we mentioned in the previous section, it’s imperative you explore the benefits and risks associated with renting and home ownership specific to your financial affordability and lifestyle, for example.Home Ownership ResearchHome Ownership Research includes (but is not limited to) understanding the following:Realtor contracts and their rolesThe role of your real estate lawyerHome inspection and other possible stakeholdersUnderstanding how mortgages work, along with the role of financial institutions, including financing and lending optionsYour credit history and debtHome ownership insuranceHome contractors for any renovation needsMoving expenses and closing costsHome Ownership Benefits and DisadvantagesIn addition to providing shelter, home ownership is an investment. You are building equity. A home is in a general sense, a forced savings planFinancial loss. Your home value is not a liquid asset. If you need to sell during a low real estate market, you may lose money (lower property value, mortgage penalties, realtor fees, legal fees)Eventually your home will be paid off, with the benefits of increased property growth and equityYour first home can be your entry point into the real estate market and allow you to upgrade your home based upon your family, lifestyle, or geographic needsYou can renovate or upgrade your home and its property based upon your personal preferences and tastes, and have the benefit of potential increased property valuesRental income. Homes can be a flexible asset. If you want to move on from your current home, but don’t want to sell, you can always rent itStability, control over your living space and the pride of ownershipRenting Benefits and DisadvantagesIf you are currently renting, you are already aware that it usually costs less to rent, here are a few advantages and disadvantages of renting:AdvantagesLower costs. Aside from your rent, and perhaps a couple utility bills (e.g., electricity, cable), your total monthly costs are much lower than they would be with a mortgage payment. However, your monthly rental payments can increase each year, as is permitted under the Residential Tenancies Act.Less worry about repairs and maintenance. In most rental situations, it is up to the landlord to look after any major repairs to the propertyA shorter commitment with renting. Which makes it much easier to move to a new premises, home, or geographyThe difference between what you would be paying for a mortgage and other home ownership costs and your rent, can be saved and is readily accessible, or used for other investment purposes or to save up for a new homeIf you’re renting, you don’t have to worry about municipal taxes, repair, maintenance, and upkeep of the unit you are renting, those fees and costs are usually the responsibility of the ownerIf the property value of the rental decreases, it’s of no concern to the renterDisadvantagesRenting is not an investment. As the rental unit’s real estate value increases, you do not share in that investment value. Your rent continues to be due every month, without any ownership benefits and your rent may be increased from time to timeIf the property owner decides to terminate your rental (within the terms of the rental agreement), you will have the burden of finding a new place to liveHome Ownership AffordabilityIf you don’t have the financial means of:Saving for a minimum down payment (usually 5% of the home purchase price)A sustainable income and savings to make your mortgage payments and weather any future income or employments gapsPaying to keep your home maintained and structurally sound… then perhaps home ownership may not be for you.If you don’t have the funds for a down payment, however you have the financial means to save for a down payment, then now is the time to start.Home Purchase Down PaymentIn most cases you will need a minimum of (not including closing costs, which we will get to) *:Home Purchase ValueMinimum amount of the down payment$500,000 or less– 5% of the purchase price$500,000 to $999,999– 5% of the first $500,000 of the purchase price – 10% for the portion of the purchase price above $500,000$1 million or more– 20% of the purchase price*Government of Canada According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, the average home value in Canada is $538,831, a 5% down payment for this average home would be $30,826. Obviously, that home value may be much higher in major Canadian cities.Home values in the suburbs of major cities may offer a lower home value and subsequently a lower threshold for a down payment. The average home value in the Greater Toronto Area in April 2021 was $1,090,992, which would represent a down payment of at least $54,550.Home values on the border of the GTA may be even lower. Whitby, Ontario for example, may have average home values which are slightly lower than the GTA, which would mean a lower down payment.Whether you need to save $25,000, $35,000 or $55,000 or more, saving up for a down payment will need focus, discipline, sacrifice and hard work.There are a variety of ways to start, and grow your first home down payment, including:Focusing on your career. Putting in longer hours, along with promotions and raises in salaryFreelance or gig work as an extra incomeNot upgrading your car, or buying a less expensive oneLimiting your discretionary spending. For example, less restaurant meals and take out, and more home cooked mealsReducing your entertainment expensesPerhaps putting those vacations on hold until you have saved for your down paymentFinding a rental that costs lessContribute to your RRSP. The Canadian government will allow first-time home buyers to use up to $35,000 (no withholding tax) of their RRSP for a qualifying home purchase, provided they pay it back over 15 years ($35,000/180 months = $195 per month). For those that have used this plan previously, there may be exception, if you haven’t owned a home for a minimum period.Government Assistance and ProgramsHome Buyer’s Plan (HBP)First-Time Home Buyer IncentiveHome Buyers’ AmountGST/HST New Housing RebateCanada Greener HomesMortgage Loan InsuranceMortgage loan insurance must be purchased if you are obtaining a mortgage from a regulated bank and your down-payment is less than 20% of the price of your home. Obtaining a mortgage from a private lender does not carry with it the same requirements to obtain mortgage insurance, but does carry with it increased closing costs. You may wish to read our post on private mortgages ‘Six Factors To Consider Before Contacting a Private Lender’.Mortgage insurance protects the mortgage lender in the event you fail to make your mortgage payments and are in default. The premium can be added to your mortgage; however, you will pay interest on it and in some cases provincial tax will be applicable.If the home value is $1 million or higher and if the loan doesn’t meet mortgage insurance standards, mortgage loan insurance will not be available.The fee for mortgage loan insurance ranges from 0.6% to 4.50%, the rate depends on how much your down payment is, the larger the down payment, the less the mortgage insurance rate will be.Mortgage loan insurance providers:Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)SagenCanada Guaranty Mortgage Insurance CompanyClosing CostsClosing costs are ‘all’ the fees that will need to be paid to finalize the closing and sale of your home. Approximate closing fees range up to 3 to 5% or more of your home’s value.Closing Cost FeesThese fees may include:Appraisal feesLegal fees, including disbursements, title, mortgage, adjustments, and administrative feesTitle InsuranceLand Transfer taxHome inspection feesInterest adjustments if there is a gap between the closing date and first paymentH.S.T on new homes or commercial propertiesRebatesAs a first-time home buyer, there may be rebates available to help with some of these closing costs, which should be investigated. Of note is the first-time home buyer land transfer tax rebate, which provides a rebate of up-to $4,000.00 on Provincial Land Transfer Tax and a rebate of up to $4,475.00 on Toronto (Municipal) Land Transfer Tax. Qualifications for the rebate are subject to a number of factors, so it is best to speak with your lawyer to determine whether you qualify or not.Conclusion – Next Steps Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of this article, and perhaps you’ve already started your first-home purchase journey.In our next article “You’ve Decided To Buy: 9 Insights To Help the First Time Home Buyer” we provide insightful details about the first-home purchase process. You will learn about the critical next steps once you have decided that you can afford your first home.In addition, if you’d like to read more about purchasing your first home, we have linked several articles below discussing similar topics. In addition, please visit our Real Estate Law and Buying A Property sections on the Nichols Law Professional Corporation website. Sources and Additional InformationDisclaimerSources and links are provided for source credit and attribution, and for additional information purposes only. Nichols Law is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with any of the sources or links provided.CMHC: Home buying Step by Step: Your guide to buying a home in CanadaYour First Home; A Buyer’s Kit for Condos and Houses book, by Kimberley Marr, CAAP, ABROttawa Sun, When To Contact a Real Estate LawyerGovernment of Canada, Before You Sign Any Contract: 10 Things You Need To KnowGovernment of Canada, How Much You Need for a Down PaymentCanada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Debt Service CalculatorTD Bank, Mortgage AffordabilityGlobal News, Banks Sell Mortgage Insurance, but Independent Experts Say You Shouldn’t Buy ItCanada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, CMHC mortgage loan insurance costsGovernment of Canada. RRSP. How To Participate in the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP)Financial Services Commission of Ontario, Understanding Home InsuranceMitchel and Whale Insurance Brokers, What Questions Do I Need To Answer To Get Home Insurance?Ottawa Sun, Four Closing Day Questions Answeredca , How To Buy Homeowners Insurance in 2020Desjardins Homebuyers GuideCanada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), The first-time home buyer incentiveGovernment of Canada Homebuyer Incentives and RebatesMoneySense, 6 smart strategies for first-time home buyersGenworth Canada/SAGEN, A step-by-step guide for first-time homebuyersca, First Time Home Buyer GuideToronto Star, First-time homebuyers see new opportunities, challenges in pandemic economynesto, Closing Costs: What are They And How Much Will You Pay?Toronto Star, ‘An unexpected prize for young Canadians’: How the pandemic helped a wave of first-time home buyers get into the marketFivewalls, Toronto Real Estate – Prices and StatsRocket Mortgage, 20 Popular Home Styles And Types Of HousesRoyal Homes, Comparing Bungalow Floor Plans Over Two-Storey HomesRoyal Lepage, 4 Important Things to Know About the Difference Between a REALTOR and Real Estate AgentRE/Max, Ontario Real Estate FormsBRELteam, Real Estate Paperwork Explained: For Ontario BuyersYoung&Thrifty, Buying a House in Canada: A Guide to Buying Your First HomeGovernment of Canada, CRA Principal Residence Capital Gains Exemption?Storeys, What’s the Difference Between Realtors, Agents and Brokers?