Whether you’re looking to buy your first home, upsize, or downsize – there is a lot to know. With the help of an experienced realtor, it can be simple and stress-free. This buying guide will take you through the steps you need to know when it comes to buying a home.
The largest step to buying a home is getting your finances in order and ready to go. This section includes important financial decisions, as well as choosing a lender and getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Ensuring you have this organized makes finding and buying your dream home a simple process.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage (Step 1)
Before you begin look for your new home, you need to determine how much money you have, and what you will need in order to afford to pay in monthly payments. Talking to a mortgage broker or bank will help you determine your price range and what you can afford. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is the first step in buying a house. When you pre-qualify for a mortgage, your lender will examine your income, debts, and downpayment. A mortgage pre-approval is in writing, and generally is valid for 90-120days. It requires you to prove your income and credit history. Getting pre-approved will ensure that you know how much of a mortgage you can get, and that will in turn help you to know what price range of homes to look at during your search.
Mortgage decisions (Step 2)
Mortgages can seem like an intimidating process, especially for a first time home-buyer. Once you’ve qualified for a mortgage, there are some decisions to be made before you can take possession of your new home.Mortgage Term and Amortization Mortgage term – The amount of time a lender will loan you money for. When the term is up, (typically set for anything from 6months to 5years) the remaining amount is due unless you arrange new financing terms. Amortization – The calculation or a mortgage over a longer period of time (example: 25years). They are calculating how long it will take you to pay the amount back, plus interest, over a 25 year period. The longer the amortization period, the lower your payments. You always have the option to change your amortization depending on market conditions, or your financial situation
Payments – mortgage payments consist of two parts: principal, and interest. This is known as a blended mortgage payment. Each payment reduces your balance owned on the mortgage by the portion of the payment that is credited to the principal.
The interest rate is the largest contributing factor to how much you end up paying for your home monthly, and throughout the life of your mortgage. The interest rate is the cost of borrowing money, and fluctuates with the economy.
A fixed rate mortgage means that you commit to a single interest rate that won’t change during the term of your mortgage. This locks down how much of your monthly payment is credited towards the principle of your mortgage.
With a variable rate mortgage, your interest rate fluctuates based on the bank’s prime interest rate.
House hunting is by far the best part in buying a home!
Whether you’re beginning your search online, or in person, having a good Realtor on your side can help you in finding your dream home. There are a few things you want to figure out when you begin your house hunt: your wish list, choosing an agent, and of course, finding homes!
Making your wish list
A wish list is composed of the things you that are WANTS and NEEDS in your new home! A want is something you’d like but isn’t
a deal breaker, for example a hot tub, while a need is something that you have to have, for example the number of bedrooms!
Choosing an Agent
Buying a home is a large decision, and the process can be stressful and emotional – but it doesn’t have to be. It is
important to find an agent you are comfortable with, who will help support you through the process and is experienced with negotiations. An agent who is dedicated to your goals and needs.
Searching for Homes online
94% of Canadians search for homes online, so you’re not alone. While there are endless real estate websites to choose from,
the main one to consider is Realtor.ca. Realtor.ca is the website that is owned by the real estate association and pulls available properties directly from the system that agents use.
When you’re searching for a home online, keep an open mind. Photos and descriptions are not always representative of what the
house looks like in real life. Remember to “read between the lines” when it comes to descriptions of homes for sale.
Real life House Hunting
House hunting in real life gives you the opportunity to get a feel for different neighbourhoods, ask questions, and refine your wish list as you go. Working with a real estate agent you trust is the only way to guarantee you’ll be able
to see the homes you want to see.
It is important to make a plan when it comes to house hunting, try to focus on one neighbourhood at a time so you’re not
driving back and forth. Remember to take notes and photos on the homes you visit to be able to look back on afterwards.
Making an offer is an exciting time, and with the right realtor it can be stress free for you. You want to ensure that your
offer includes everything from the price you are prepared to pay, to any inclusions that you want (such as appliances), as well as your ideal closing date and conditions that need to be met. Once you have submitted your offer, the seller can either accept, reject, or counter offer. During these back and forth negotiations, having an agent that is experienced is vital to ensure you get what you want.
Tiny Homes Provide Great Options for Homeowners
Tiny Homes provide great options for homeowners Tiny Homes can be a great addition for homeowners, especially those looking for an extra means of income. A tiny home, also known as a coach house, is a small free-standing apartment, detached from the principal dwelling but located on the same lot. Coach houses are intended to bring more density to established neighbourhoods without negatively impacting community spaces. This increase in neighbourhood density would naturally increase the number of affordable homes. The regulations concerning Tiny Homes vary from one municipality to another. Note: the following information is specifically regarding Tiny Homes in Ottawa. The Advantages of a Coach Home Building a Coach Home on your pre-existing lot can have countless advantages. The initial advantage is the extra means of income. The additional dwelling is connected to both city water and sewer lines through the primary residence. This means no new connections are required. Note, Tiny Homes don’t necessarily need to be a newly built structure. Accessory structures such as garages or sheds can also be converted into coach homes, as long as all building requirements are met. If having an extra income doesn’t lure you in, perhaps your in-laws are looking to downsize but your home just isn’t big enough to accommodate them. Tiny homes allow family members to reside close, while ensuring everyone has their own space and independence. Eligibility The rules and regulations concerning Tiny Homes vary from municipality to municipality. In Ottawa, not all lots meet the requirements for the addition of a coach home. In general, lots can accommodate a Tiny Home if the following requirements are met: The lot is serviced by municipal water and sewer lines, or if the lot is in a rural area, it is 0.4 hectares or larger and is serviced by a private well and septic system. The lot contains a detached, semi-detached, duplex or townhouse dwelling. Note, the requirements for a Tiny Home located on a lot where the primary dwelling is a rowhouse, the coach house must have direct pedestrian access to a public road. The pathway provided must be 1.2 metres wide. The primary dwelling unit does not already contain a secondary dwelling unit such as a basement apartment, garden suite or any rooming units. Other Important factors Other requirements, such as preserving mature trees and integrating with the urban context of the homes located in proximity must also be respected while building your Tiny Home. It’s important to note, coach homes must meet both size requirements and height restrictions. These regulations vary from one lot to another. Overall, coach homes must be smaller than the principal residence and not accede 40% of the main dwelling. As for height restrictions, urban areas must not exceed 3.6 metres in height, while certain rural lots allow for the possibility of a two story coach home. To ensure your lot meets the requirements implemented by the city of Ottawa, contact a Development Information Officer (DIO) to further evaluate your lot. Development Information Officers can be reached by simply dialling 3-1-1. Coach Homes can be a great asset to any lot, especially in cities like Ottawa where the need for affordable housing is always in high demand.
Summer Festivals Summer festivals are a great way to ensure you take full advantage of everything the season has to offer. The great thing about summer festivals, especially the ones in the west end of Ottawa, is that there is a large variety of events. This means, everyone is sure to find a festival that suits their interests. Here are 5 of the most popular festivals that take place in the west end of the city. Note the list also includes a rural festival, the Almonte fair. Escaping the city’s hustle and bustle can be fun all on its own. West End Food Truck Rally – August 10th 2019 – Christ Church Bells Corners What’s better than a fun event that supports a great cause? We agree, nothing’s better! This event has more than 10 food trucks that serve both sweet and savoury foods in support of The FAMSAC Food Cupboard. Enjoy great music, family friendly activities and entertainment while munching on some great food. Westboro Fuse- August 17th and 18th 2019 – Westboro Neighbourhood This festival is essentially a weekend long block party that showcases live music, family friendly-activities and great food. It’s sure to have you enjoying the modern vibe Westboro has to offer all while spending time in the sun. Folk Festival Birthday Picnic at Britannia Park – August 25th 2019 Britannia Park is a beautiful family activity all on its own but the Birthday picnic means you don’t have to plan lunches, or snacks or even activities. Join your community for this family friendly Birthday Picnic to celebrate the exact 25th anniversary of the first Ottawa Folk Festival. This will be a family favourite, with beautiful views for the adults and lots of activities for the kids. Bridge Street Summer Festival -August 3rd – Carleton Place This year’s theme is everything Motown! Seven bands will be performing various songs all in line with the overall theme. The festival doesn’t stop at live music, family friendly fun takes place all day long. Local shops also set up booths along the street while food vendors offer tons a yummy options to snack on. Almonte Fair- July 19th, 20th and 21st 2019 – Almonte Summer festivals like the Almonte fair add variety by offering events that tend to take place in the fall months. The Almonte fair has demo derbies to wrestling competition. Enjoy local food vendors and other more rural family activities. Whatever your interests may be, summer festivals are always a good choice when planning your time off, especially seeing the kids aren’t in school and the weather is beautiful. Just be sure to remember all the summer essentials like sunblock, water bottles and your favourite ball-cap to ensure you can enjoy all the festival has to offer.
How To Boost Your Curb Appeal This Fall
How To Boost Your Curb Appeal This Fall The cooler air is here and before we know it, the leaves will begin to change. Fall is a season of transition as we (and the world around us) prepare for the winter months ahead but this is no reason to assume that curb appeal doesn’t matter. If you have your home listed this fall, it’s important to remember the importance of first impressions. Ensure that your home looks its best inside and out. Keep Lawns Clean and Maintained Although you may not need to get the mower out every week, depending on the weather, the grass does still grow throughout the fall. Make sure that your lawn remains well kept and that you mow it when necessary. It’s also important to clean up any debris including leaves and garbage to ensure that everything is in top shape for buyers. Sweep the Front Step This may seem like a little detail but it can make all the difference as someone is walking up to your home. A front step that is neatly swept gives off the impression of a pride of ownership that is likely carried through the entire home. Bring in Fall Decor Adding some fall decor and plants to your front step can brighten up the space and provide a pop of colour. Consider including pumpkins and gourds in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Mums also look great in front of any home and do very well in the colder weather of fall. Paint the Front Door Even if you don’t have time to take on the whole front of your house, painting the front door can really freshen things up. Consider adding some colour to your home by painting the door a contrasting colour to the rest of your home. Red, yellow, and blue are all popular colours for front doors right now. Trim the Trees Fall is a great time of year to trim your trees. If your trees are growing too close to your home or driveway, it’s important to get them cut back. It’s also important to look for dead and broken branches and to get them taken care of as soon as possible as they may pose a safety risk. If you are not comfortable with heights or a chainsaw, it is always best to hire a professional. Clean the Windows Summer can be a very season. Dry weather can mean lots of dust and this ultimately finds its way to the windows. Make sure that all your windows are cleaned inside and out to ensure the best views of your now ready to list property!
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