Finding the perfect home for you and your family

Steven's essential "ABC's" of home buying

Budget & mortgage pre-approval
Start by visiting with your bank or a mortgage broker. Establish what you can afford and what your down payment will be. This first step in the home buying process is critical for several reasons. Firstly, knowing what your budget is allows you to zero in on homes in your price range and secondly, with a mortgage pre-approval you are showing sellers that you are serious buyers. See the "Mortgage Financing" section of my web site for more information.
If you don't have a contact at your bank or a recommendation from someone Steven can refer you to several individuals at various banks as well as mortgage brokers. Past clients have received outstanding support and advice from these people as well as extremely good rates.

► Establish your initial home search criteria 
The next step is to establish what type of home you are looking for and the features that are essential to you. Being precise about your requirements allows you to focus your attention only on those homes that match your criteria versus visiting homes that you wouldn't be interested in. 
One of the key purposes of the first meeting with Steven is to determine what features you are looking for in the home you want to purchase. Sometimes initial decisions are a bit difficult to make. Buyers may not be sure of what features they want or not sure of what area they want to live in, etc. As you work with Steven, as you visit homes with him, the initial criteria will in most instances be narrowed down even further. When Steven's comprehensive criteria sheet is completed he'll be asking you about your occupancy date, the type of property you want (i.e. split, bungalow, cottage, etc.), the number of bedrooms and bathrooms/powder rooms. You will be asked what features are important to you or that may not be necessary in your new home such as an eat-in kitchen, a fireplace, a separate dining room, a main floor laundry room, the type of heating and cooling system you prefer, whether or not a garage is essential and if so single or double, do you want a pool and can it be an above ground, would you consider a home with an unfinished basement or does it have to be finished, are hardwood floors an absolute must or will you be amenable to parquetry or carpeting. What size lot would you like? Would you need to be close to public transportation? The list goes on.

► Determine what you can buy in your preferred area with the budget that you have
Before you even begin looking at homes another very important step in the home buying process is learning about the market in the area you would like to purchase a home in. Most buyers make the mistake of initially just getting information on active listings when in fact knowing what has sold in the recent past is essential. The more knowledge you have, the better position you are in to make sound decisions.
Steven's buyers are provided with valuable information on past sales activity in the area they are looking to purchase. They learn what the asking prices on the homes were and what they were then sold for. They learn about the value of different models, how certain features impact on price and so on. The initial exposure to both active listings and past sales history provides buyers with that extra insight and knowledge that allows them to eventually make more educated decisions as the home buying process moves forward. 

► Review your "other costs" 
There are other costs in addition to the purchase price if a home. You must factor these in!
Steven will fully review and clarify these "other costs" with you. Many years ago a minister named Bienvenue created what has come to be known as a "welcome tax" (i.e. bienvenue = welcome). In fact the proper terminology is "Transfer Tax." You receive the bill soon after moving in to your new home. Other costs are as follows: deposit cheque (although not required by law to accompany an offer situations often arise where a deposit cheque is preferable), notary fees, school tax and municipal tax adjustments, oil costs if applicable, bank fees for appraisal and application fee for mortgage, building inspection, CMHC premium for high ratio mortgage, moving coats and property insurance. As you can see there are thousands of dollars of costs in addition to the price of the home.

► Make sure you fully understand the home buying process and what you're getting into 
Today's buyers are inundated with available information from various real estate web sites and realtors. Often it is simply overwhelming. Now that your budget is established, you've got your mortgage pre-approval and you've taken the time to get the information you need regarding sales activity and active listings in the area you would want to purchase a home in, its time to make sure that what lies ahead is not a mystery. 
Whether you are a first time buyer or a seasoned veteran Steven's "Buyers Package" contains valuable information regarding every aspect of the home buying process. What he has done is put it all together in a simplified manner. Steve zeroes in on the most important issues in a logical and easy to understand format and fully reviews the contents of this buyers package with his clients. Included handouts contain valuable commentary and suggestions on the building inspection, your closing costs, the role of the notary, what to do and what not to do during visits, etc. From the start to the finish Steven will make sure that you are both knowledgeable and comfortable with the process. In addition the package contains a "Home Evaluation" sheet which allows you to very carefully record details on a home you may be interested in purchasing. Everything from the exterior features to the interior features including the condition of all components can be easily recorded and then appropriately analyzed. Its going to be your new home. Make sure its the right one!

► Search for your new home using all the resources available
Many buyers Steven meets tell him that their main approach to home buying involves visiting Open Houses and locating properties on the MLS. Homes that are shown during Open Houses are only the tip of the iceberg! These represent only a very small percentage of the homes that are available out there. If you're only visiting Open Houses you’re not getting all the information you need to make a good home buying decision and the MLS, although a great tool, is sorely lacking in essential information that buyers require. 
Finding your perfect home involves so much more than just navigating the MLS and going out to visit properties. If you're serious about buying and the home you would fall in love with hits the market, guess what! Chances are that you will not be the only buyers looking at it. Time is of the essence when a "hot" property is listed. Accessing a proprietary MLS system ("Matrix") reserved exclusively for agents and brokers numerous times daily Steven is able to alert you to a home ahead of you seeing it on the MLS system on the internet. Steven is continuously networking with numerous other agents often getting an "inside scoop" on properties about to be listed. In addition, if you are looking in the "Westpark" area of D.D.O., you can also benefit from his extensive knowledge of the various models available to you.

► Find your dream home and put in an offer
There are two conditions that have to be fully satisfied ahead of you taking the decision to put in an offer on a home. First and foremost, you must have gotten a warm and fuzzy feeling when you first visited the home. Then, after taking the time to walk through it you arranged for that all important second visit and got that same feeling again. Secondly, the home has met with most all of your specific criteria and needs. We say "most of" because truth be told, you will never find a home that matches those criteria 100%.
Imagine this scenario. Steven has been showing you homes and you've now found one that you absolutely adore. During the second visit you will be carefully examining the home using his "Home Evaluation Sheet" (see section D above). Most everything seems in order. Certain issues are not quite clear though. How many more years does the roof have? Have the heating and cooling systems really been well maintained over the years as the sellers are claiming? Are those windows OK or will you need to be spending money on changing them in the very near future? What about those cracks in the foundation? Has water infiltrated? Are they easily reparable? What you will be doing when you write up an offer is be making that offer conditional to a satisfactory building inspection. A qualified building inspector will be able to answer all of those questions and more (see the "Building Inspection" section of this web site). Should that inspection reveal the existence of problems that are not easily addressed or worse, serious issues with the home, you will easily be able to "walk away" from your offer. One other condition of the offer will be that you obtain your mortgage financing on the home. Since you've already been pre-approved, in most cases the final mortgage approval is more or less a formality. When you write up the offer it is important that you understand that a "Promise To Purchase" form and the related "Annexes" are, once accepted by the sellers, legal and binding documents. You will have obligations as a buyer and the seller will have obligations as well. All agents and brokers selling and buying residential real estate in Quebec use the same forms. Ahead of you signing the offer Steven will fully review these forms with you section by section so that all is clear and fully understood. Once you have signed the offer he will then make the appropriate arrangements to present it to the sellers and negotiate on your behalf. Upon presentation of the offer the sellers have several options. They may accept your offer as is, refuse it or prepare a counter offer. A counter offer contains changes to the initial offer. Buyers and sellers may have counter offers going back and forth several times in which conditions and/or price are addressed. The final counter offer forms an integral part of the Promise To Purchase and the related Annexes. 

► Offer accepted! Removal of "conditions"

Most offers are "conditional" offers. A satisfactory building inspection and obtaining your financing are two of the most common conditions of a Promise To Purchase on a home. Once the conditions are satisfied your offer becomes unconditional and the agent representing the seller can put the SOLD sign up. 
In your offer you will have specified within how many days you will be removing the conditions. The clock starts ticking from the moment the offer is accepted. It is important that you respect the time delays failing which the sellers may render your Promise To Purchase null and void. Should you not have a particular building inspector in mind Steven can provide you with a list of recommended ones. The choice is yours. Again, refer to the "Building Inspection"section of this web site for additional information. Steven is present at all building inspections for his clients. He is there as a courtesy to you should you require additional advice or explanations during the inspection. Steven also communicates with your bank or mortgage broker to assure that the final arrangements to secure your financing are underway. If the home is going to be visited by an appraiser, he will stay on top of that situation as well. He'll make sure that the removal of the conditions of your offer are met within the specified time delays and that the "paperwork" required to notify the seller of the removal of conditions is appropriately handled. 




BLVD Immobilier
Real Estate Agency
4030 Boul. Côte-Vertu, Suite 111
Saint-Laurent, QC H4R 1V4
Cell: 514-983-8485
Fax: 514-313-5777
Work Phone: 514-944-2583
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