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Be sure you understand the responsibilities as well as rewards of homeownership

Owning a home is a significant financial decision and can help to secure your financial future and create your ideal lifestyle if you are thoughtful and well informed in the decisions that you make. Use this page to walk you through the many things you will want to consider whether you are a first-time buyer or real-estate veteren.

Assess all the cost involved upfront and ongoing

Upfront costs include: down payment, legal fees, inspection costs, survey and appraisal fees, property transfer tax, and pre-paid property tax and utility adjustments

Ongoing costs include: mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, insurance premiums, strata maintenance fees (if applicable) routine maintenance and repair costs

Are you Eligible for any Assistance programs?

There are Property Transfer Tax exemptions and down payment assistance programs available for some first time homeowners.  Are you eligible to use some RRSP funds to help fund your down payment?  If you are purchasing new product there are also PTT exemption programs and GST rebates available for qualifying purchases.  Enquire about what is available to you in your specific circumstances.

You may find the links we have provided on our USEFUL LINKS page a good place to start your research.

Think about what your needs are vs. your wants and prioritize your wish list
  • LOCATION – How far would you like to be from work? What schools, shops, recreation and amenities are nearby? What are the transit options?
  • SIZE – How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Do you need parking and storage space? What about outdoor space?
  • FEATURES – Are you a cook –  Is a chef’s kitchen important to you? Do you need to have a fireplace? Hardwood floors? Plenty of natural light?

Think about what on your list is most important and what you are willing to sacrifice to fit within your budget.


Engage an experienced agent to guide you through the process

Our job is to be your advocate, protect your interests at all times, manage your risk, and save you time, money and stress. We will get you in touch with a team of professionals that help you through all the different steps in the process of buying a home and be your liaison with these various professionals. We will provide you the information that you need to feel informed and empowered in your decision making.

Understand how REALTORS get Paid

Realtors get paid upon the successful completion of a transaction.  As a buyer, in most cases, you pay no upfront fees or costs.  The seller pays a commission to their agent for listing a property for sale and that agent in turn shares a portion of that commission with the cooperating brokerage (your buyer’s agent).  A fee agreement between you and your REALTOR may be necessary should you purchase a home where no or little cooperating commission is being offered (example: discount brokerage or for sale by owner listings).  


It’s important to understand what your financial picture looks like as a homeowner and what your budget will be

Your mortgage broker will look at your income, assets and liabilities, your credit score, and your down-payment and give you some mortgage options and provide you with a pre-approval letter.  Being well organised and having all the pertinent information at hand will make the process go more smoothly and save you and the broker a lot of time.

Understand the mortgage details, it’s not just about the rate!

What is the Amortisation period and term? Is the rate fixed or variable? What are the payment schedule options?  Is it open or closed?  Is it portable or assumable?

All of these details can make a big difference in the long-term financial picture.


Choose a lawyer experienced in residential transactions

Your lawyer will handle the logistics of the purchase and title transfer for you.  We recommend you choose your lawyer early on in the process as he or she can be a valuable source of information throughout the process.

Use one of our Trusted Referral Partners

If you do not already have a lawyer and are looking for a good one please check out our Trusted Referral Partners page. Please note we do not get any financial or other incentives to recommend these Law firms. We make these recommendations based on positive feedback from our clients.


Start your search online

We will set up an MLS concierge service for you based on the criteria you have decided on for your new home.  This service will deliver new listings that are suitable for you into your inbox as they hit the market and up to 48 hours before they are publicly available.

Time is precious in a hot market!

View Properties in Person

When you see properties you are interested in, we will arrange private viewing appointments for you and attend those viewings with you.  Viewing homes together with you allows us to point out specifics to you and more importantly, get to know what your likes and dislikes are.

Narrow the Selection

It’s more of a process of ruling out what you don’t want rather than finding what you do want.  You will find your criteria evolves as you see more and more properties and you will gain a better understanding of what you truly need.  Your Warren Realty Agent will help you view as many homes as it takes for you to find “the one”!


Conditional versus Unconditional offers

Ideally, your offer will be “subject to” various conditions that will allow you to have some time to perform due diligence on the property.  Your offer may be “subject to” you receiving mortgage approval on that property, an inspection of the property, reviewing certain documents, and etc.   

It is important to know that it has become more common for unconditional offers to be made in our competitive marketplace.  This type of offer should only be made with extreme caution and with proper due diligence carried out beforehand.  Once an unconditional offer is accepted by the Seller, the Buyer is bound to complete that sale.

Decide on the price, terms and conditions

Your Warren Realty Agent will provide you with comparable active listings and more importantly, comparable, recent sales along with sales statistics to help you decide what to offer for the property.  Other elements of the offer will include the amount of deposit, the conditions that the offer is “subject to” and how long you have to remove those conditions, what is to be included in the purchase (appliances, fixtures, etc.) when the completion of the sale will be and when you will be able to take possession and move in.


Accept, Reject or Counter

The seller can accept your offer as it is, reject it all together, or, more commonly, counter your offer by changing some of the terms and returning it to you.  The offer can be countered back and forth until an agreement is reached between both parties.

Keep it real

It is sometimes the case in competitive markets that when bidding there is a desire to win, perhaps at the expense of making a good purchase. Make sure to stick to your predetermined budget limits. There are usually lots of properties and few that are so unique they can’t be matched by another. Listen to your agent’s advice. They are there to help you make the right decision for your goals and budget.



You are now a prospective homeowner subject to any conditions that might be agreed to in your offer. If you have done your homework and have your finances all lined up then it’s a matter of completing the due diligence and legal documents, but the hardest part should now be behind you.


Review all Documentation

All properties should have a title search and property disclosure statement for you to review at minimum.  Strata properties will come with a lot more documentation than a detached property.  You will be provided with strata council meeting minutes, engineering reports and financial statements to help you understand the physical and financial health of the building and the strata corporation.

Appraisal and Final Mortgage Approval

Your mortgage company may have approved you already, but now they need to approve the property that you are purchasing and give you the final green light.

Home Inspection

It is strongly recommended that you have a reputable and professional home inspector look over the property that you are purchasing to help you understand the condition of the property, what maintenance is or will be required and help identify any potential problems.

Consult your Insurance Broker

Be sure you are able to secure appropriate and affordable coverage on the property.  If you are purchasing a strata property, find out what the strata corporations deductible is

Prepare your deposit funds

Your deposit will be due when you waive the “subject to” conditions.  Are these funds readily available or do you need time to get them out of investments?


You now have a firm and binding contract

You are now obligated to complete the purchase as is set out in the contract of purchase and sale.

Deposit is Due

Deposit is to be paid into your REALTOR’s brokerage trust account and will be released to your lawyer on completion and form part of your down payment

Inform your Lawyer and Mortgage Broker

They will begin preparing the paperwork to complete the sale – keep in touch with them as completion date approaches


Hire Movers, Pack, Contact Utility Companies, Change of Address

There are lots of moving companies around, but if you have not already picked one we recommend MOVEIT.CA. They have a FREE service that gets’s you competitive quotes and can save you significant money. The blog posts on their site are also helpful for packing tips etc.

For Strata Owners: Contact Strata Manager to arrange move in and payment of monthly fees

If you are moving into a Condo or Strata then be sure to contact the building manager and coordinate your moving date and things like where the moving truck can park and unload, getting elevator access and a change over for any building provided services.


Meet with your Lawyer

You will meet with your lawyer a few days before the completion date to sign the paper work and turn in your down payment and the closing cost.  Your lawyer will have a “statement of adjustments” prepared for you that outlines what money you need to pay upfront in addition to the down payment in order to complete the sale.  Your lawyer will send the paperwork signed by you to the sellers’ lawyer and will also work with the mortgage brokers for both parties to transfer the funds appropriately.

Transfer of Title

On the “completion date” the seller will receive the proceeds of the sale and the title will then be registers in your name in the land titles office.  You are officially a homeowner now!


Get your Keys and Move In!

The possession day is most often a day or two after the completion date to allow time for the title to transfer and the seller to move out.  The seller may be coordinating completion and possession dates with the seller of their new home also.  We will meet you at your new home to give you the keys and walk through the property to ensure it is delivered to you just as was promised in the contract of purchase and sale.  Now it’s time to move in and make it your own!