First-Time Home Buyers Guide: Buying a home in Calgary
Step-by-Step Guide to Buying
Congratulations on deciding to buy your first home. Not sure where to start? Buying your first home can be very exciting. But at the same time, it can also be an intimidating process. You more than likely have a few of the same questions most commonly asked on Google; how much is a downpayment on a house in Calgary? Is now a good time to buy a house in Calgary? Is buying a house in Calgary a good investment? How much does it cost to buy a house in Calgary?
There are many things to consider when buying a home, and even more so when you are buying your first home. If you want an edge in a highly competitive market and someone familiar with all of your questions, I suggest you partner with a Calgary real estate expert. Below are some steps to help you through the buying process.
Step One - Getting Started
When talking about one of the biggest investments of most people’s lives; it is important to be educated. Empowering yourself in the real estate process and industry will make you feel a lot more comfortable making decisions. There are several resources you can turn to for information.
The internet is truly the information highway. It is how you found this guide after all. Most general questions can be answered by simply typing them into google and clicking search.
Meeting With Your Realtor
While on the hunt for your first home, you must understand how the current real estate market will affect your situation. As a buyer, working with a real estate agent doesn't cost you anything. Sellers pay the agent a commission when the home is purchased. An agent’s job is to find the home of your dreams, provide valuable resources and information, and answer all your questions along the way.
Step Two - What can I afford?
There is nothing but options when it comes to financing, but you should have a good idea of how you will purchase your next home before you get too committed to looking. Luckily the Government of Canada website provides a lot of information and resources for first-time home buyers.
A pre-approval means that a lender will review the information you share with them to establish the amount of mortgage you can qualify for. At that time, the lender will provide you with confirmation of a fixed interest rate for a specific period. Your realtor can connect you with a mortgage broker or you can contact your bank to start the process.
As a first-time home buyer, you will have to come up with the cash for a down payment. The amount you will have to pay is determined by many different factors including property value, the amortization period, the mortgage rate whether a fixed rate or a variable rate as well as the percentage of your down payment.
Provincial housing regulations in Alberta state that the minimum amount you need to put down for your down payment is 5% of the value of the Home, however, if your down payment is less than 20%, you are required to purchase default insurance.
According to CMCH, sources of down payment include:
- Applicant’s savings
- RRSP withdrawal
- Home Buyers' Tax Credit (HBTC)
Step Three - The Fun Part
This truly is the fun part! You already know the price you can afford. All you need to do is decide what are the “must-haves” for the place you are going to call home. You can search through a wide array of properties by using The Calgary MLS® system. We will set you up with a property auto-search to notify you (typically via email) when a new house enters the market that matches your criteria.
Once you narrow down your search, we will arrange times to look at homes based on your schedule. Move on during showings if you don’t like what you see. However, if you’re interested add it to your shortlist or even write an offer. Quickly identifying a home that matches your criteria will save you the headache of viewing too many homes and getting discouraged.
Step Four - Writing an Offer
You have found the home and you’re ready to make an offer! Together, we will evaluate your prospective home’s value and the conditions that will protect you as a buyer. We write up an Offer to Purchase and begin the process. Some of the most common conditions presented in offers include:
- Home Inspection Condition
- Home Financing Condition
- Condo Document Review Condition ( Condo Buyers Guide)
Step Five - It’s Official
Once your offer has been accepted and all conditions are met, the documents will be sent to a lawyer of your choice for signing. We are happy to provide you with a recommended real estate lawyer if you don’t know one already. You will be contacted by the law office about a week before possession to sign all of the documents.
Step Six - Prepare for Moving Day
Moving into your own home for the first time has a few moving parts. You will need to set a date to move in! Typical possessions are 30 – 60 days, however, they may be quicker. If you purchased a condo, the date must be cleared with the building. Here are a few things to do to prepare for the big day:
- Make arrangements to hire movers and/or rent a truck
- Set up utilities (electric, gas, internet, TV etc.) in your name
- Complete an address change
Step Seven - Possession Day
Moving day is here! You’re a proud new homeowner. On your possession day, we will meet at the property for a personal inspection. Once all payments are received by the seller, keys will be released. Should any issues arise, you will be immediately contacted.
After you’re settled into your new home, we will contact you to make sure you’re happy. If you have any questions or concerns, we will take care of them right away.
Need a Hand?
Now that you have a better idea of how to buy a house in Calgary, you can start searching for your new lifestyle with confidence! Contact us today so we can get the process started.