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10 Most Commonly Asked Questions by Home Owners

Posted by kelly-r on November 8, 2021

Whether it’s your first time or fifth, buying a home can be exciting, stressful, and overwhelming all rolled into one. With the right preparation and support, you can take the stress and overwhelm out of the equation, turning your focus to falling in love with the right home. For over 15 years, our team has helped first-time buyers, seasoned investors, repeat clients and everyone in between – which have all had their unique questions and concerns. These are the 10 most commonly asked questions by home buyers and the advice we’ve given them along the way. 

10 Most Commonly Asked Questions by Homebuyers

Is there a best time of year to buy a home?

How much should I save for a downpayment?

How much do I need to pay for closing costs?

Lawyer Fees- $500-$1500

Home Inspection Fee – $400-600

Title Insurance – $400

Land Transfer Tax – $15,000

What is the first step of the home buying process?

What does a Realtor do when I buy a home?

Can I buy and sell my home at the same time?

Should I get a home inspection?

What happens if I change my mind about a home?

How do I know if I’m ready to buy a home?

Should I buy instead of rent?

10 Most Commonly Asked Questions by Home Owners

1. Is there a best time of year to buy a home?

There’s no easy way to say this, and we’re sure you already know – there’s no secret formula that will reveal the best month to buy a home. However, there is historical data that can help you make the decision of when to start looking. Once the summer ends and school is back in session, families with school-aged children tend to put their search on hold to avoid disrupting their school year, but this may not always be the case during unprecedented times. While the winter has been traditionally easier for buyers to navigate with less competition, there is typically less inventory to choose from during this time.

With low mortgage rates, less than ideal inventory numbers and a pool of buyers that have been patiently waiting, the best time is when you’re financially ready, when the right home comes up, at the right price. The best thing you can do is make a plan with your agent so you’re prepared to move quickly instead of scrambling to get answers to all your mortgage and real estate questions before submitting an offer.

2. How much should I save for a downpayment?

If you’re a first-time buyer, you’re one of the lucky ones that only have to put 5% of the purchase price down on your home. However, anything less than 20% will require you to apply for mortgage insurance to protect the lender if you’re unable to meet those monthly bills. If this is your second, third, or tenth home and you’ll require a mortgage, you’ll likely need to save 20% of the purchase price, plus extra for lawyers’ fees and closing costs.

The average price of a single-family home in Collingwood was $932,629 in September of 2021. Based on that, if you’re a first-time buyer, the down payment would be roughly $46,631 while a 20% down payment would be approximately $186,525.

3. How much do I need to pay for closing costs?

We would love nothing more than to tell you that once you’ve saved for the down payment, you’re ready to buy a house. Unfortunately, that’s far from it. You can expect to pay anywhere from $16,000-$17,000 in closing costs in the Georgian Bay area on a $925,000 home. However, if you’re a first-time buyer, that cost is significantly less due to the land transfer tax rebate in Ontario. Here’s the breakdown:

Lawyer Fees- $500-$1500

Buying a home is a lot more complicated than buying a car. It requires a real estate lawyer to act on your behalf of purchasing and mortgaging the property. In Ontario, it’s mandatory, so there is no way around it. The fees can range anywhere from $500-$1500 plus tax.

Not sure who to trust as your lawyer in the Collingwood area? We’ve met some fantastic people along the way. Contact us and we’d be happy to put you in touch.

Home Inspection Fee – $400-600

You don’t have to have a home inspection, but the last thing you want is buyers’ remorse when something goes wrong. The typical cost of a home inspector in the Collingwood area is $400-600. We know some great people that are able to help you confidently purchase with a detailed home inspection report.

Title Insurance – $400

If you’re purchasing a home with a mortgage, you may have no choice but to get title insurance. Did you know Wasaga Beach has been flagged as one of the most common places in Ontario for real estate fraud? Title insurance is a one-time fee that protects you forever (or at least, as long as you live there). Unfortunately, debt does not always follow a person but can at times, follow a property. It’s possible you may have a lien on the home due to an unpaid contractor bill that your lawyer didn’t know about. The next thing you know, you’re on the hook for $50,000. Title insurance is typically around $400 and can protect you from a long list of what-ifs.

Land Transfer Tax – $15,000

First-time homebuyers don’t have to worry about this one as the government has allotted Ontario, Prince Edward Island and British Columbia land transfer tax rebates. For everyone else, you’ll need to use a land transfer tax calculator to find out what you’ll owe on the purchase. On a $925,000 home, that could be nearly $15,000.

Don’t forget with this list of closing costs comes a separate list for your moving costs. Will you be hiring movers or doing it all yourself? Do the new utility services require a one-time connection fee? Is there any furniture you need to purchase? Keep this in mind when it comes to your financial estimates while purchasing real estate.

4. What is the first step of the home buying process?

While for many, the first step may be browsing online until they see the right place, it’s not necessarily the right step. Talking to a mortgage agent is the best first call you can make in the home buying process. It sets your expectations and will help you realize what you can afford so you can focus on homes worth buying instead of well-wished offers that will lead nowhere.

If you’re set on buying a $700,000 home in Collingwood, but you can only qualify for $625,000, your mortgage agent will walk you through your options to help you reach your goal. Whether that’s paying off debt, increasing the down payment, or finally asking for the raise you’ve been thinking about, walking into the home buying process with a financial plan in place will help you stay calm in high-stress situations if multiple offers are swarming.

5. What does a Realtor do when I buy a home?

When you work with a professional, local real estate agent when buying a home, you have someone in the industry that looks out for your best interests. Think of it like navigating a divorce without a lawyer. While you’re able to get it done, you may not realize when you’re being taken advantage of. You’ll have access to someone that knows the ins and outs that will guide you through the process. But in contrast to the lawyer, hiring a realtor as a buyer is usually free. When you work with them, rather than going directly to the listing agent with a home you saw online, you’ll get:

  • Someone who will write a competitive offer based on your financial needs and the current market conditions compared to the listing price.
  • A dedicated professional that will listen to your wants and needs list that will reach out to their network to find off-market properties.
  • Someone who will diligently coordinate the details while you enjoy the excitement of the sale.

When you buy a home with a realtor, you gain a trusted confidant throughout the transaction that can help you navigate the decision-making process. When you work with the Greg Syrota Team, you gain a life-long group of agents who will care for you beyond the sale.

6. Can I buy and sell my home at the same time?

The decision to sell first or buy first comes out to two factors – your financial means and the current state of the market.While you can list and buy during the same time period, some homeowners are unable to successfully purchase without the firm sale of their home due to mortgage lender restrictions. The best course of action is to first speak with a mortgage advisor to find out the implications of one before the other and run it past a local agent in the area who will tell you the possible outcomes based on the current market conditions.

7. Should I get a home inspection?

While during a buyers’ market, home inspections are common conditions to protect the buyer. During a sellers’ market, this environment causes panic where some buyers are willing to take the risk and forgo the inspection to win the home.

We always recommend a home inspection that will reveal if there are any damages that would change your mind about the home purchase. After all, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. However, your agent should merely be an advisor, not a commander. The decision is ultimately yours, but passing on the home inspection could result in an untimely home maintenance bill that could have been avoided.

8. What happens if I change my mind about a home?

While purchasing a home and signing the offer may seem firm and final, it’s not your last chance to back out if you change your mind about the house. However, you will likely lose out on the deposit money that was set out in your purchase agreement. It is typically anywhere from $5,000-$50,000+. Buyers also have to be aware that the sellers may sue them for damages. While this is rare, it does happen. Most of the time, the seller will relist, and you’ll be able to continue your home shopping experience.

9. How do I know if I’m ready to buy a home?

Deciding to purchase a home is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. While the benefits of growing assets, year-over-year appreciation and personal security are clear, you should refer to the following to know if you’re truly ready to buy a home this year:

  • You found an area that you’d be happy to live in with a reasonable commute to work.
  • You have the financial security to make monthly mortgage payments and three months of an emergency fund saved up.
  • You have the downpayment and closing costs available.

10. Should I buy instead of rent?

In 2021, rental rates were comparable to monthly mortgage payments, making it even more attractive to consider buying a home instead of renting one. However, what is keeping most tenants at bay from the joy of homeownership: the down payment. With rising prices, it is becoming more unattainable for many. With a savings plan from your mortgage agent and patience, buying instead of renting is the best option as soon as you’re able.

As a team of six real estate agents with over 15 years of experience, we have had hundreds of questions about the home buying process. It’s never safe to assume when you’re dealing with the most significant financial and emotional investment you’ll make this year. Our inbox is always open, and we encourage you to contact us at 705-999-7511 for all your real estate questions. Let us know if you’d like to receive a weekly email of all the new homes for sale in Collingwood!

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