Common Home Buyer Mistakes

Buying a home is one of the most expensive investment that people make. For home Buyers, knowing the steps, the buying process, is as important as using the right realtor or advisor. Knowledge is power, so prepare yourself as much as you can even before contacting a realtor.

This section of the site is dedicated to pointing some possibly expensive Buyer mistakes. Please check out the posts in the tabs below to learn more about some of the mistakes Buyers make. You should also read up on Buyer Tips and check out the Blog for more Buyer related posts.

LACK OF PLANNING MAY LEAD TO 7 BUYER MISTAKES YOU DON’T WANT TO MAKE

  • Buying The Wrong Home. Remember the budget you set and your list of needs vs wants you prepared? During the emotion of buying, sometimes priorities get forgotten and you will buy a home you really may not want.
  • Improper Value. Did you do your homework on area prices? Has your realtor informed you of what is selling and for how much? If not, how do you know what is a good offer?
  • Not Having Financing Pre-Approved. You found your dream home and want to put in an offer but your financing is not ready? Your offer just got a lot tougher to negotiate.
  • Not Getting a Home Inspection. Are there any hidden defects or issues that you may not be aware of? Seller should disclose any defects but may not disclose all. Protect yourself, have a home inspection performed on the house, if at all possible.
  • Not Budgeting For All Costs. There is a fairly long list of expenses, both on closing and before closing, that should be budgeted for. Do your homework and be prepared.
  • Wrong Closing Day. Picking an actual closing day may have some impact on your closing costs and your mortgage payment schedule. You also should plan your move ahead of time, finding a rental truck on the first or last day of the month gets tough sometimes.
  • Don’t Leave Things For Last Minute. Request that your bank and lawyer allow you to preview any documents you need to sign at least a day or two before you actually have to sign them. What if the mortgage rate you negotiated is not the mortgage rate in the documents you received? Verify and have some time to ask questions and make changes, if changes are required.

11 POTENTIAL COSTS YOU MUST INCLUDE IN YOUR PURCHASING BUDGET

  • Legal Fees. Your lawyer will handle the legal aspect of the transaction, preparing transfer of ownership, checking title, preparing “adjustments” etc. Some of the costs listed below may be included in the “adjustments” but obviously, there are legal costs to consider.
  • Appraisal Fee. Your lender may request an appraisal and the cost of the appraisal will be charged to you.
  • Mortgage Broker Fee. If you use a broker to arrange your financing, ask the broker if there are any fees the broker charges.
  • Canada Mortgage And Housing (CMHC) Insurance. If you are buying your home with less than 20% downpayment, you will be looking at the cost of application for this insurance, while the actual cost of insurance can be added to your mortgage balance.
  • Survey. If you require a survey and one is not available, you may need to pay for a new or updated one.
  • Property Tax. Obviously this will be an ongoing bill but you may have to have the taxes “adjusted” on closing. Done by your lawyer on closing.
  • Property Insurance. You have to buy property insurance before the deal closes and the bank releases the mortgage money to your lawyer.
  • Land Transfer Tax (LTT). Payable by the buyer on closing and will be calculated by your lawyer. Toronto charges additional tax. First Time Home Buyers have tax rebates available.
  • Maintenance Fees. Any condominium property will have maintenance fee that has to be paid and may need to be “adjusted” by your solicitor on closing statement.
  • Moving Costs. Don’t forget to price in the cost of the move. Hiring a moving company and doing a long distance move can get quite expensive. Regardless, even if short move and doing it by yourself, it is a cost that will have to be covered.
  • Local Improvements and Service Charges. Mostly apply to new homes, even hooking up your gas or hydro meter can run into hundreds of dollars, all at closing time. There may be other charges, like planting a tree on your lot.

CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING BEFORE OBTAINING A MORTGAGE

  • Get Pre-Approved. It is very important to get pre-approved as it will give you an idea as to what you can actually afford to buy.
  • Set a Monthly Budget. It will allow you to figure out just how you want to structure repayment of the mortgage. Many options are available, consider what would work best for you before signing a mortgage document.
  • Review Your Plans And Goals. Just because you are pre-qualified for X amount of mortgage, doesn’t mean you have to go to that amount. Consider your life situation, job security, potentially enlarging your family, your own personal situation. That too will have an impact on how you can structure a mortgage.
  • Research Your Options. What are the best current rates? Should you consider bi-weekly mortgage payments or stay with monthly? How would shorter amortization impact your finances short and long term? Is the mortgage assumable or portable? Is the rate being offered a “teaser” rate and how will that impact the payments? Open or closed mortgage? If you are totally lost right now, you need to read up on it and consider the next point.
  • Hire a Mortgage Professional. Whether your banker, a mortgage broker or a realtor, we can all offer advice and suggestions. Banks obviously sell their own services only but would give you a lot of options. Mortgage brokers usually have access to mortgage funds from multiple institutions and private investors and may be able to offer better terms. Some realtors may also hold mortgage broker licences but please consider any potential conflict of interest when obtaining advice.