Compare Listings

A. Plan before you dive into search

  1. Are you ready to buy now?

    See if you are ready to buy in the next section called ‘Ready?’

  2. Find a trustworthy realtor


    1. How well do they know your preferred neighbourhood(s)?
    2. Do they respond professionally in a timely manner?
    3. Do they have testimonials/reviews online that you can relate to?
  3. Set a strategy with your realtor

    It is a cooperation. Build the foundation of teamwork. Discuss:

    1. When you share why you are looking at this point in life with your realtor she or he would understand your motive better and find the most suitable property for you;
    2. What kind of property:  neighbourhoods (location), type, price, how many bedrooms and bathrooms; 
    3. The most import criteria for you: i.e. Primary school, Public transit, A separate door and finished basement for rental income;
    4. Method to co-operate to search: TREB Collab (Peter’s personal favourite) vs vs something else?
  4. Get mortgage pre-approval

    Find out:

    1. The maximum possible mortgage you can get based on your income and credit score;
    2. The monthly payment you would be paying based on the target home price and your down payment;
    3. Knowing how much you can afford will allow you to plan your search better and more importantly to have the peace of mind;
    4. Assuming all other conditions the same, sellers like a bidder with mortgage pre-approved;
    5. You might need your employment letter (proof of employment), T4 slips, and/or the prior year tax return to get the pre-approval;

B. Dive into search strategically

  1. Be a savvy inspector

    I always recommend having a home inspection done. However, you need to do an initial inspection before you get to the point of hiring an inspector. Use your senses!

    1. The most serious and costly issue usually comes from water damage. Check signs of warped or stained walls or floors; Foundation cracks; 
    2. Musty smells: it might indicate the presence of mold;
    3. droppings: maybe signs of mice, rats;
    4. Small pin holes, a hollow sound when you tap on the wall:  maybe signs of termites;
    5. Warped or stain floors or walls: maybe water damage;
    6. Don’t forget checking outside as well: roof condition, rotting wood or foundation cracks;
  2. Get a lawyer 

    1. When closing the deal you need a lawyer for paperwork and money transfers;
    2. Make sure she or he is insured to practise real estate law;
    3. FYI, she or he will give you the keys to the property after the closing;
    4. Have someone in mind or ask your realtor (She or he usual has a couple of them in her tool box).
  3. Prepare a winning offer

    1. Ask your realtor: a list of local comparables or CMA and transaction history of the property;
    2. Drive around and talk to people in the neighbourhood you like;
    3. Know the neighbourhood and the property;
    4. The more you know the higher position you can be in negotiation;
    5. The price is not all. Conditions, closing date, what are included or excluded. Everything is negotiable;
    6. Don’t forget that the human being is an emotional being. Appeal to the emotions of the owner;
    7. Most importantly, no deal is better than a bad deal. Be ready to walk away.
  4. Ask for extras

    1. Double-check what is included and not included in the offer;
    2. Is the wooden glass top table you saw not included? It can’t hurt to ask!
  5. Finalize the deal

    1. Congratulations on getting your offer accepted; 
    2. Make sure all clauses that protect your interests are included.
  6. Get it inspected

    1.  Get an inspector unless it is a new property or you are an inspector yourself;
    2. You can’t check everything yourself. Leave it to a professional. You are not buying a dining table or something. It is the most expensive asset for many. Treat it as such. You might be able to renegotiate if there is an issue or two based on the reports.
  7. Meet your mortgagee

    1. (FYI, You are a mortgagor and your bank is a mortgagee. Many people are confused about these two terms.); 
    2. and complete your mortgage paperwork.

C. Close and Enjoy your new home

  1. Plan your move

    1.  Whether you’re getting help from your friends(with a rented truck) or hiring professional movers, schedule in advance;
    2. If you are planning to paint or replace carpet with hardwood, it is better to get that done before the move.
  2. Change your mailing address

    1. Use this checklist for all the addresses you need to change:;
    2. It’s illegal to drive with a license with an incorrect address. You can’t put it off this one;
    3. You can also set up mail forwarding with Canada Post.
  3. Get the keys and walk-through

    1. On your closing date, conduct a final walk-through with your builder or realtor to test: Appliances, faucets, toilets, outlets/light fixtures, HVAC system, and etc;
    2. Ask your realtor to negotiate a credit if something is missing or not working.