Step by Step Buyer’s Guide

Want to Buy Home in Toronto?

Home buying can be a daunting and complex process, which is why you should always have the help of a REALTOR at your side. Remember, your Sales Representative works for you and is there to look after your best interests.

If you’re thinking of buying a home, you’ve come to the right place. My website can fully prepare you for the home-buying process. Before we jump right in, you have to make sure that, it’s the right time for you to buy and I can help take care of the rest.

buy home in Toronto apartment

Step 1: Assess Financial Readiness

Assess your present household budget and your annual income to determine if you are eligible for a mortgage and how much you can comfortably afford. Also check out the Mortgage Affordability Calculator.

Calculator showed that you are not eligible? Don’t get upset – find good mortgage agent, to talk about your financial situation and lenders with a different approach to mortgage approval process.

Step 2: Is right now a good time to buy?

Markets go up, markets go down and even the smartest experts can’t accurately predict when a market will peak or bottom out. If you’re buying a home as a long-term investment and for long-term enjoyment, you should be protected from short-term changes in the market. Pick a home that meets the needs of you and your family. Then you’ll enjoy living in your investment as it grows in value.

Step 3: Decide what type of home you want.

By now, you probably have a good idea of location you want to live. Other thing is what type of home is right for you. To familiarize yourself with the terminology, here’s a quick overview:


As the name implies, the home is not attached to the home next door. Styles range from a single-story suburban bungalow, to a three-story Victorian.


Two houses that share a common wall, but usually less money than a fully Detached home.


A.K.A. Row House. Several homes, usually 3 to 6, joined in a row. They usually share walls on both sides. End unit Townhouse share only one wall, what make this type of property very similar to the Semi-Detached.

Condo Apartment

You own 100% of your unit and a share of the common elements. Condo owners also pay a maintenance fee. Be sure to look into condo fees, and how well they’re managed, before signing anything.

Step 4: New or Resale


Nothing can match the charm and character of an older home. As a bonus, the previous owner may have made improvements and upgrades and you get them with the house, usually for less than the cost of putting them in yourself. However, some may have a little too much ‘character’, like a leaky roof. Know what you’re getting into.


If you’re having a new home built from the bottom up, carefully examine the property, the blueprints and visit other homes built by the same company. Have your REALTOR® and/or lawyer review everything before you sign. While your home is being built, stay on top of the process. And remember, you have a legal right to make a full inspection of the house before you accept it as complete.

Step 5: You know what you want, but let’s talk needs!

Are you getting out of a two-bedroom apartment because it’s too small? Then your new home should have at least three bedrooms, and likely a second bathroom. REALTORS call these must-have features “needs”. Features you’d like to have are called “wants”. Your strategy should be to find a home within your price range that fulfills all or most of your ‘needs’, and as many of your ‘wants’ as possible.

Step 6: Sell your current home

Not too many people can hold onto two homes at the same time, so you’ll probably need to sell the one you have now. Be sure to check my incredibly helpful Selling section. In the meantime, here’s a quick overview.

Buyers Market

The supply of homes on the market exceeds demand.
High inventory of homes. Few buyers compared to availability. Homes stay on the market longer. Prices are stable or perhaps dropping.
Buyers spend more time looking for a home, and when they negotiate, they usually have more leverage.

Balanced Market

The number of homes on the market is roughly equal to the demand.
Demand equals supply. Sellers accept reasonable offers. Homes sell within a reasonable time period. Prices generally remain stable.
There is less tension among buyers and sellers. There is a reasonable number of homes to choose from.

Sellers Market

The number of potential buyers exceeds the supply of homes on the market.
There is a smaller inventory of homes with many buyers. Homes sell quickly. Prices usually increase.
Prices may be higher or perhaps climbing.

Buying decisions must be made quickly. Conditional offers may be rejected.

Should I wait for the market to improve?

If you’re selling one home and buying another, you don’t really have to worry about playing the market. If you sell your existing home for a ‘low’ price, you’re probably also buying at a low price.

Seasonality. Do home sales get frostbite?

It’s true. Winter sales tend to be slower, and spring sales are brisker.

I need to sell home fast

If you need to sell fast, ask a REALTOR for help establishing a price and making your home look attractive without making you look desperate.

Sell with a REALTOR, or go it alone?

Real estate transactions are complex, time consuming and involve a lot of legal documentation. Your REALTOR is knowledgeable and highly motivated to help you get the most for your home. Before flying solo, truly know what a REALTOR can offer to you. I can provide you really attractive bulk deals when you buy and sell with me.

Step 7: Figure out how much you can afford

Before you start looking for your dream home, let’s find out how big you can dream. Knowing your true budget is the first and most important step in buying a home.
A home is a big purchase. It’s probably the most expensive thing you’ll ever buy, and there are lots of expenses you might not even know about. Some of them include:

One Time Costs

Down payment
Legal fees
Title insurance
Inspection fees
Land Transfer Taxes

+ Monthly Costs

Property taxes

Everyone’s total costs are different, but it’s almost guaranteed you won’t have that much money saved up. Hopefully you have enough for a nice down payment, but for the rest…
Yes, you need a mortgage. So determine how much a bank will lend you. To make it easy please head over to Мortgage page of my website.

Step 8: Arrange a Mortgage.

Money makes the world go round, and a mortgage gives you the power to buy a home. This isn’t the most fun step in buying a home, but it’s vital. Who do you talk to?


A REALTOR can be very knowledgeable about mortgages and can give advice that will help you complete your purchase with no regrets.

Mortgage Broker

Mortgage brokers are another great resource. They find low rates for a living, and they usually don’t get paid unless you sign a mortgage through them, so they’re highly motivated to get you the best deal.

Banks and other Lenders

There are hundreds of banks, credit unions and other lenders out there who would love your monthly mortgage payments. Talk to your banker, other banks and people you know.

Family and Friends

So talk to everybody and don’t be money-shy! Talk to your parents, relatives, friends, colleagues and other people you know.

Step 9: Type of service

There are a number of different kinds of relationships that you can develop with your REALTOR®. However, they all fall primarily under two categories – Representation and Customer Service.

Single Agency

An agency relationship is one where the REALTOR represents you exclusively. In that respect, the REALTOR®’s primary obligation is to you, and they are required to act only in your best interests. Anything you tell your REALTOR agent is strictly confidential, and the REALTOR has an obligation to disclose to you any information he or she has that is related to the transaction.

Dual agency

Dual agency refers to the situation where the REALTOR® represents both the buyer and the seller as agent at the same time. In this case, both parties are required to sign a dual agency contract setting out the obligations of the REALTOR® to both parties, and obtaining the consent of the parties to this type of representation.


In this case, the REALTOR® can give you information, but cannot provide you with advice. There is a big difference between these two concepts. Nothing you say to a “non-agent” is confidential, so you have to be careful what you confide. As a buyer you will likely want your REALTOR® to act as your agent, but that decision is up to you.

Step 10: Find a REALTOR who is right for you.

REALTORS aren’t just people who help find you a home. They’re an invaluable resource for knowledge, contacts and advice that help turn buying a piece of property into a home. Interview two or three and pick the one you think will be your best “business” partner.
Stick with your REALTOR.
Your REALTOR® can become an expert on your specific needs and tastes. Scattering your time and energy amongst multiple REALTORS® will work against your goal of finding your best home. And because most REALTORS® have equal access to the same property listings, there’s no real advantage to having multiple REALTORS®.
Ok, you got the Sales Representative now, congratulations! What is the next step?

Step 11: See what’s out there

Your REALTOR can take you to areas you’re considering to get a feel for them. Make note of surrounding schools, shopping, and recreational areas. Keep an eye out for not-so-great things like large industrial areas, railway tracks and airports. Visit during the day and at night.

New Listings on your email

I can start sending you listings of potential homes right away.

REALTORS have access to incredible house-hunting tools called MLS Systems, which are operated by real estate Boards across Canada. You can view publicly available information about MLS listings at


A new way of working with Buyers. Flag your favorites, likes, dislikes, create your own custom searches, send and receive messages with your REALTOR to better get through the home buying process.

Open House

“Open Houses” are a great way to see inside the homes of your potential neighborhood.

Walking through a potential home is a thrill, but try not to lose your head. Don’t let a giant kitchen island or swanky hot tub distract you from your real goal, finding a home that meets all your needs and fits your budget.
You’ve found a home? Congratulations! Now, if you actually want to make it yours, you have to make a successful offer, one that the seller will accept.

Step 12: Preparing the offer.

Here are some terms you’ll see in the offer.

  • Buyer – That’s you.
  • Seller – The present owners.
  • Purchase Price – The most important number. Let’s hope the seller goes for it!
  • Deposit – A cheque you write to the seller or the seller’s broker. This is your way of saying ‘my offer is serious’.
  • Chattels included and Fixtures excluded – Be sure you know what is included with the house—the washer and dryer, the microwave, draperies, light fixtures. Don’t leave anything to ‘chance’.
  • Irrevocability of the Offer – The length of time you give the seller to consider your offer.
  • Completion Date – The glorious day you take possession! Usually 30 to 90 days after signing.
  • Clauses particular to this Agreement – Every transaction is unique, and you may want to add conditions that are important to you, such as a proper home inspection.

Step 13: Submitting the offer.

You’ve signed on the dotted line and your offer is provided to the Seller.

Your offer is accepted

Fantastic, when do you move in?

Seller can ‘sign back’ or counter your offer.

The seller wants to alter some part of your offer -– most likely the price. The seller will cross out the price on your offer and write a higher number, or delete or alter some conditions. Now it’s your turn to accept or sign back with any additional changes. Good luck!

The seller can reject your offer

It’s not common for an offer to be completely rejected. If it was, your REALTOR can investigate why and see if there was some misunderstanding.

Step 14: Final Mortgage approval.

In order to complete the process after you make an offer on a property, your lender will ask you to provide the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and MLS listing with the mortgage loan application. They will arrange for an appraiser to conduct a home appraisal on the property you wish to purchase to ensure that you didn’t overpay for the home – or, more accurately, that they’re not lending you more money than the fair market value for the home. If you have less than 20% for a down payment and require mortgage insurance, then the property also has to meet approval from the mortgage insurer, be it Genworth Canada, Canada Guaranty, or Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
Your lender will update any of your financial information that has changed (if any), add the specific property details to the equation, re-verify your credit score, income, and debt, and factor in the particular mortgage product that you’ve chosen.
If everything goes smoothly and you get final mortgage approval, congratulations – you’re on your way to closing!

Step 15: Home Inspection.

Home inspections rarely cost more than a few hundred dollars, and can save you from unpleasant surprises and long-lasting regrets. You may want to make a conditional offer based upon a satisfactory home inspection. This is an increasingly standard condition on any resale home. If the seller doesn’t want you closely examining the home before you take possession, you have to wonder why.

Go with a qualified Professional

Make sure your inspector is a member of a recognized professional organization. It helps provide some assurance they have the training and experience for the job.

What will be checked

Plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and the integrity of the foundation. They also check for lead paint, asbestos, mould, outdated and dangerous wiring, and evidence of pests like mice or termites.

Join the Inspection

Get up close and familiar with your new home. If any problems are detected, you’ll see them firsthand, and learn some maintenance tips from a pro.

Get it in writing

The report will summarize the condition of your home.

Step 16: Add a Lawyer to your team.

There are lots of experienced real estate lawyers out there. Ask your friends, family or co-workers. REALTORS will happily give you the names of several lawyers experienced in real estate. Be sure you ask your lawyer how they structure their fees, and get an estimate of the other legal costs you can expect.
There are many, many legal steps to transferring ownership of land from one person to another. Even if pitfalls like fraud, government legislation, zoning issues or unpaid taxes don’t come up, your lawyer will more than earn their pay by making the legal transfer of the home a smooth one.
He or she is here to help you. Ask questions if you don’t understand anything. Explaining legal jargon in plain language is a big part of their job.

Step 17: Close the purchase.

Your offer has been accepted and you can’t wait to move in. But don’t break out the bubbly just yet. You have to close the deal. Your REALTOR and lawyer will do most of the closing work, but here’s your checklist.

  • Immediately begin satisfying any conditions of the agreement that require action on your part. Your REALTOR can fill out the documents stating that the conditions have been satisfied.
  • Have your Lawyer begin searching title to the property. This can take a while, so make sure you allow ample time.
  • Well before closing, get your Homeowner’s Insurance to be effective on your closing date. Your Insurance Broker will give you a ‘binder’ letter certifying that you’re covered. You can’t get a Mortgage without this letter!
  • Contact your lender and have them finalize your mortgage documents. Have your lawyer review them before you sign.
  • Your Lawyer will transfer essential utilities like hydro and water, but you’ll have to make sure telephone and cable companies switch their services to your name.
  • If you rent, give notice to your landlord or sublease your apartment.
  • Begin planning your Big Move! Where are those cardboard boxes?
  • Send out your change of Address information and fill out a card at the post office. Contact the Ministry of Transport about changing your driver’s licenses.
  • Walk through your new home one more time with your REALTOR.
  • A day or two before closing, you’ll meet with your Lawyer to sign the closing documents. Your Lawyer will tell you in advance what certified cheques you’ll need to seal the deal.

Step 18: Move in.

Moving day will come sooner than you think, so get planning now.

Closing date Does not mean moving date

You may not get the keys to your new home until late in the day. So you may want to try and schedule the actual move for a day or so after closing. Contact a moving or truck rental company before they’re all booked.

Go with a reputable moving company

We’ve all heard moving horror stories. Go with an established, insured mover, so your items are protected.

Pack it yourself, and pack early

Nobody will take the same care you will. Start early and spread it out over many days. Label all your boxes by room so the movers know where to put them, and label anything that’s fragile.

Do you really need to take that with you?

A new home is a new lease on life, and a chance to liberate yourself from stuff you simply don’t need. If you haven’t used it or worn it in the last year, you probably don’t need it. Have a garage sale, or give it to charity.

The boxes are mostly unpacked and you’re settling in nicely. You will now feel a strange urge to begin making changes and improvements right away. That old carpet has to go, a bigger deck would be great for entertaining… slow down! Take time to get a feel for your new home, and more importantly, your new budget. Take a deep breath and enjoy what you have, your new home.