Buying your home is probably the biggest investment you will ever make. You will want a team of skilled professionals working with you ever step of the way. We have compiled a list of resources that will help you through the process of buying your new home.

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Looking for a home

Searching for your new home can be a daunting process. There’s so many factors to consider such as lifestyle, location, future needs and, of course, budget. Fortunately, there are professionals who can work with you to help you navigate your journey to a new home.
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The Realtor

The journey to buying your home starts with your Realtor. No one will play a more important role in helping you find a home. Your real estate agent’s job is to:

  • Help you find the ideal home.
  • Write an Offer of Purchase.
  • Negotiate on your behalf to help you get the best possible outcome.
  • Provide you with important information about the community, arrange and coordinate the home inspection and essentially save you time, trouble and money.
  • Guide you every step of the way leading up to and after the purchase of your new home.

Hiring a Realtor is like hiring someone for a job. You’re the employer and you want your Realtor to be a good fit for the position.

Helpful Articles:
10 Questions a Buyer Should Ask Their Realtor
7 Tips for Buying Your Dream Home
7 Tips for Visiting Open Houses
10 Tips for the First Time Home Buyer

The Lender or Mortgage Specialist

If you haven’t already gone through the mortgage pre-qualification process, you will need to find a good lender to assist you during the purchasing process and for as long as you have your mortgage.
Remember that many different institutions lend money for mortgages, such as banks, trust companies, credit unions, pension funds, insurance companies and finance companies. It’s a good idea to shop around and speak with more than one lender because terms and options will vary.

Buying your home

You’ve found your dream home. You’ve done your due diligence. You’ve secured your financing. Now you’ll work with your Realtor to write an offer to purchase the home and present that offer to the seller.
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Making an offer

Writing an offer is a legal proposal to purchase a home. It’s a contract.
(If, for some reason, you change your mind after writing an offer, it’s still possible to revoke the offer. But there can be legal consequences for doing this, so you should seek professional guidance to ensure you follow the correct procedures)
Once you’ve worked out the terms of your offer, your Realtor will present it to the seller. If your offer is accepted, its terms are legally binding.
Most elements of an offer are negotiable to better suit your needs or to accommodate the seller. It may take several rounds of negotiation by your Realtor, in consultation with you, to reach an offer that is acceptable to you and the seller.
If you’re in a multiple offer situation, check out: Winning Strategies for Multiple Offers.
If you have concerns about the offer or the property itself, it is always recommended to hire a Lawyer.
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What you should know about your offer

An offer to purchase includes:

  • The purchase price.
  • A deposit. Typically it’s five per cent of the sale price, but is negotiable. In most cases the deposit cheque it is made out to the buyer’s Realtor’s brokerage who will hold it in trust until the Completion Date.  The funds will then be put towards the purchase price on Completion.
  • Conditions. Your offer can be clean and straightforward with no conditions. This is called a “subject free” or firm offer. If it’s accepted, the deposit is submitted and the property is yours.

More typically, offers are written with conditions, or subjects, that must be satisfied before the sale can proceed.  Typical subjects include: inspection, financing, title search, property disclosure statement, and reviewing property related documents (such as strata documents).
If the seller agrees to the conditions, and the offer is accepted, you then have typically 7 to 10 days (or whatever is negotiated) to fulfill the conditions. If you’re satisfied with the results and remove the conditions, the property is considered sold.

  • Terms. These are the deal’s nuts and bolts like the price, dates, deposit, items that are included as part of the sale.
  • Closing Date. This is when the property you’re buying legally becomes yours (title & funds transfer).
  • Possession Date. This is when you take possession of your new home.  You can negotiate any date in a contract, but in most cases it’s 30-90 days after the initial offer and one to four days after the Completion Date.
  • Adjustments Date. Typically the same as the Possession Date.  Items such as property taxes, strata fees, and utilities that have been pre-paid (or not paid at all) will be adjusted on a pro-rated basis from this date. You can review these items on the Statement of Adjustments provided by your lawyer/notary at Completion.

Seller’s options after receiving your offer

Once your offer has been presented to the seller, they have four options:

  1. Accept your offer outright: If the seller accepts your offer exactly as it was written if becomes a legally-binding contract.
  2. Reject your offer: The seller can just say no; they’re under no obligation to accept your offer or to even propose a counter offer.
  3. Ignore your offer: In fact, the seller doesn’t even have to acknowledge they received your offer.
  4. Make a counter offer: The seller could return your offer to you with some proposed revisions. This is considered a counter offer and returns the ball to your court to make another offer that is acceptable to the seller.

Steps from accepted offer to subject removal

Congratulations, your offer has been accepted! Wondering what’s next? Here are the steps from accepted offer to subject removal:

  • Financing. Obtain financing approval from your lender.  Send the Contract of Purchase and Sale, Property Disclosure Statement (PDS), and property feature sheet to your mortgage specialist.  For Strata properties they may request strata documents and a Form B.
  • Review all documents.  You will need to review the Property Disclosure Statement, which informs you of any known issues with the property and the Title Search for items attached to the title to the property.  For Detached houses (non-strata) review the permit history, oil tank scan certificate (if any), confirm zoning and whether there are any unauthorized/authorized suites. For Condos & Townhouses (strata) review all strata documents, and if there are any renovations confirm that they were done with strata approval.
  • Deposit.  Ensure that funds are available, and provide a bank draft made out to “Keller Williams Elite Realty” in trust (or to the Realtor’s brokerage, page 1 of offer).
  • Insurance. We recommend obtaining an insurance quote for the property. For detached homes, lenders insist on property insurance because your property is their security for your mortgage. Property insurance covers the replacement cost of your home, so premiums may vary depending on its value. An insurance broker can help you with your insurance needs.
  • Get utility bills. We recommend requesting utility bills (electric, gas, water & sewer). This will give you an idea of what it will cost to run your new home.
  • Get a home inspection. The home inspector’s role is to inform you on the property’s condition. He/she will tell you if something is not functioning properly, needs to be changed or is unsafe. You will also be informed of repairs that need to be done and he/she may even be able to tell you where there may have been problems in the past. If work is required, we will help with recommendations.
  • Contract changes. If you are requesting changes to the contract, prepare and sign an addendum. *Note that this could open up the contract and provide an out for the seller.
  • Remove subjects. Once you have fulfilled the conditions, written notification should be given to the seller that you are removing the subject clauses.

Buying a house? Check out: 10 Due Diligence Steps When Buying a House in BC

You’ve bought a home!

Buying your home should be a happy experience

Moving into your home

Once subjects have been removed, financing and legal documents have been signed, and your deposit is in the bank, the home is yours! Your Realtor will advise you when you’ll be getting the keys to your new home (Possession Date) and will help coordinate this for you. It’s time to start collecting boxes and packing your stuff for the move!

How to Get Rid of Unwanted Furniture

Set Up Utilities

When you’re on the move, there’s a lot to think about; first and foremost, making sure that your new home has the essentials: Power and Heat.
Companies like BC Hydro, New Westminster Electric, and Fortis BC have made it very easy to transfer or set up service at your new home.  Click the links below to take a look at the steps involved…

BC Hydro
New Westminster Electric
Fortis BC Natural Gas

Change of Address Checklist

When you’re on the move, there’s a lot to think about; first and foremost, making sure that your mail follows you to your new address! Here’s a handy guide on to who to alert when changing your address:  Change of Address Checklist

Additional Tools and Resources
Moving within BC? Quickly and easily update your address in seven steps using Address Change BC.
You can also change your address over the phone 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday:
Vancouver: 604 775-0011
Elsewhere in BC: 1 866 775-0011
Hot Tip: Mail Forwarding
Have some time before you take possession? Consider Canada Post’s mail forwarding service. It’s an ideal way to make sure that you don’t miss anything important!
Change of Address Cards
Change of address cards can be found free at your local post office. Simply add postage and send!

More helpful blog posts for buyers

Here are some articles that may be helpful when you’re buying a home.

Recommended Professionals

These are some of the professionals we’ve worked with over the years to help our clients through the buying process.