Step 1 – Find a Real Estate Agent
The search starts with finding a real estate agent that understands your wish list for a new home. The agent will meet with you to determine what you want in a home, and will start researching properties that are within your criteria.
Step 2 – Determine how you will pay for the home
When it comes to options for financing, you should do some research and determine what lender will be the best fit for you. There are three main sources of financing; traditional banks, mortgage brokers and private financing. It is important to start the approval application early in the home buying process to ensure that you understand your budget for your home search.
Step 3 – Start the Search
This is an exciting period. You know the type of home you want and the price you can afford, and now you can start searching for your new home. If you are working with a real estate agent, you will select and view properties listed through other agents. If you want to represent yourself and purchase a property privately, you can search for properties on websites like kijiji.ca, fsjnow.com or on Facebook.
Step 4 – Make an offer
Once you have found a home, the next step is to prepare and present an offer. There are several steps that have to be taken when you write your offer.
Property research – With the help of your agent, you can investigate the selling history of the home and determine if the house is listed for market value. To do an assessment, your real estate agent will compare current homes on the market and properties which have recently sold. This important information will help to determine what your offer price will be.
Terms – Terms are the clauses that make up the contract. These are the items that are agreed to and will be upheld, otherwise there is a breach of contract. In addition to the standard terms that will be reviewed with you when preparing the offer, you can add in whatever else you need to; however, these are open for negotiation.
Price – there are two things that are negotiable in a real estate transaction, price and terms. Once you know the terms and conditions you would like on the contract, and you have completed your property research, you can now effectively determine the appropriate offer price.
Conditions - Conditions, or “subject to” clauses, are clauses in the contract that must be fulfilled in order for the transaction to even proceed forward. Typical conditions are for the Buyer to get a home inspection and for the Buyer to be approved for financing.
Deposits – In order to write an offer, you need to pay a deposit. This is initially a show of good faith in the transaction and is refundable if the conditions on the purchase are not removed. After the conditions are satisfied and removed in writing, the deposit becomes the seller’s security that you will complete the purchase, and is now non-refundable.
Offer and acceptance – Once the offer is written and signed, your real estate agent will present the offer to the Seller. The Seller can accept your offer, or can counter-offer. You and the Seller will negotiate a price, and if the Seller accepts, you now have a pending contract.
Book in your File - It is now time to contact our office to represent you in the real estate transaction.
Step 5 – Satisfy the conditions
Once the offer is accepted, it is time to work on satisfying your conditions. The most common conditions are;
Subject to financing – This condition allows you to determine if you can get approval for financing to purchase the home. You will provide your mortgage specialist with your personal information and with the new home information. The mortgage specialist will request an appraisal and do a credit check. They will discuss options for down payment, whether it is 5%, 10% or 20+% down. The mortgage specialist will also discuss additional costs to budget for, such as; property transfer tax, title insurance, adjustments for property taxes or strata fees, and your legal costs.
Subject to inspection – A home inspection is a thorough visual assessment of the home conducted by a certified professionally trained inspector. The purpose is to reveal any issues that might become problems for you in the short or long term. An inspection will typically include a walk-through tour of the home, in which the condition of the property is closely scrutinized, any defects and deficiencies are noted, and recommendations for repair are made. During the inspection, the inspector will look for any problems that could have a significant impact from a health and safety perspective or that may cost money to repair in the future.
Subject to obtaining fire insurance – A condition of your mortgage is to obtain fire insurance. You will need to contact an insurance broker and get confirmation that you can obtain insurance on the home. Once the contract is firm, you will need to purchase fire insurance and provide our office with the name of the insurance broker.
After the information is collected, a decision to proceed (or not) is made, and the written notice is given to the Seller. Once the conditions are removed, the sale is considered “firm”.
At this step - your real estate agent will send our office the real estate documents and your lender will send us the mortgage instructions. Our office will contact you via email or phone to request your personal information required for your file.
Step 6 – the Legal process
In this step, our office will work diligently on preparing your file, and will be in contact with you to request information, verify the mortgage information, and schedule your signing appointment with the Notary Public. Typically, we like to schedule your signing appointment at least 2-3 days prior to completion. Prior to the signing appointment, we will email you the “statement of adjustments”. This statement will outline the exact amount of money required to purchase your home. Items that are included in the statement are;
Property Transfer Tax (“PTT”) – This is a BC tax applied when you purchase an interest in a property. The calculation for the PTT is 1% on the first $200,000, 2% on the portion greater than $200,000 and up to and including $2,000,000, and 3% on portion greater than $2,000,000. There are exemptions to paying the PTT if you are a first-time home buyer or if you are purchasing a newly built home.
Property Tax Exemptions: For First Time Home Buyer or purchasing a Newly Built Home
Adjustment for property taxes
Adjustment for strata fees (if purchasing a condo or apartment)
Title Insurance - Insurance policy required by your bank in lieu of a survey. The one-time cost ranges from $190.00 to $250.00.
Legal Fees & Disbursements – In addition to our legal fee, there will be disbursements due for out of pocket costs to prepare your file. Example of disbursements are; title search, tax search, land title office fees, etc. Contact our office for a quote on legal fees and disbursements.
Step 7 – Preparing for Possession
Typical possessions are 30 – 60 days, however, they may be quicker. The items below should be completed as fast as possible to alleviate a large amount of stress.
Notary Public - Sign the legal documents at our office 2-3 days before possession. At this appointment, you will bring in your down payment and closing costs that are outlined on the statement of adjustments. A bank draft or certified cheque is required for the funds, we cannot accept a personal cheque or cash.
Movers - If you are using professional movers, book early. Possession dates commonly fall on the 1st, 30th, or 15th of the month. Movers fill up their schedule very fast, so call ahead and make the arrangements early.
Utilities - When you take possession of your new home it is very important to change your utilities over to your address in advance. If you are buying in the City of Fort St. John, the utility account will be transferred into your name after completion. You will not need contact the city. You will need to contact BC Hydro for electricity and Pacific Northern Gas (PNG) for natural gas accounts. You will also need to contact Telus or Shaw for internet, TV and phone. Also, don't forget to cancel the utilities at your previous home.
Mailing Address - Gather all of your bills, statements, tax information, healthcare information, anything you make automatic payments on, any subscriptions, any clubs or organizations in which you belong, etc. Sit down and make a big list of these things early. Then pick up the phone and begin giving out your new mailing address and the date you will be taking possession or moving in. You might also want to have your mail forwarded, through the post office, for anything you may have missed.
Step 8 – Possession Day
Our office with complete the registration with the Land Title Office and contact your real estate agent once we have received registration. Your agent will contact you and ensure you receive the keys to your new home!
Step 9 – Reporting
After you take possession, the transaction is complete. We will send a reporting package to you in the mail with the registered land title documents and state of title certificate. We keep copies of your documents on file in our office, therefore, if you have any questions in the future, please feel free to contact our office.