5 Step Home Buyers Checklist for Vancouver Property

Jul 6, 2020 | Buying, First Time Home Buyer, Property Ownership, Transfer Tax

Ready to purchase a home in one of Canada’s fastest-moving property markets? There are a lot of steps when it comes to purchasing a home in Vancouver, and they’re not always straightforward or easy to understand. So we’ve compressed them into bite-sized chunks! Our 5 step home buyers checklist can be used as a quick reference guide for your property purchases, and of course- we’re always here to help if you need anything further.

Vancouver Home Buyers Checklist #1: Engage a Realtor

There is a LOT of misconception when it comes to engaging a Realtor, or buyers agent when you’re on the property hunt. Many people are familiar with the commission structure of property sales, but for the most part, are unaware of how an agent can help you to purchase a property. The best part? It doesn’t cost you anything! 

Rather, when you utilize the services of a Realtor, the commission is paid by the seller’s agency after completion. By engaging an experienced, high-performing Realtor/buyer’s agent you are also given access to:

  • Behind-the-scenes and off-market property listings

  • Immediate and arranged property viewings

  • The Realtor’s, and brokerages, internal communications networks, where new listings are usually posted first, often weeks or months before they become available to the public.

Vancouver Home Buyers Checklist #2: Mortgage Pre-Approval

When it comes to the home buyers checklist, determining the amount that you can actually borrow is an imperative step in finding your new home in Vancouver. Your Realtor can help to put you in touch with a suitable broker, as well as helping you to collect and compile the necessary information.

There are a number of reasons why obtaining a mortgage pre-approval early on is important as:

  • It helps to set realistic expectations by taking into account your real financial situation.
  • With it, you can now establish a budget and narrow your search options.
  • It puts you into a stronger position to make an offer, as vendors know that you are a legitimate and capable buyer.
  • Mortgage pre-approval can help you to reduce the emotional and financial stress of the purchasing process, by giving you clear, definitive answers about your access to finance.
  • The process will also determine your monthly repayments, and help you to establish a budget. That way you can calculate what you can actually afford to spend each month, to be able to meet your mortgage obligations whilst maintaining the lifestyle you desire.
Finding out what you can spend will save you time, energy and money when purchasing a home in Vancouver

Finding out what you can spend will save you time, energy and money when purchasing a home in Vancouver

Vancouver Home Buyers Checklist #3: What Can You Afford?

When it comes to purchasing a property in Vancouver, it can be difficult to marry your wishlist with affordability. Whilst we will always work our hardest to ensure you are happy with your new home, we find that in most cases there is usually at least one compromise, and it’s important to be prepared for it.

However, once you are aware of the funding available, you can begin to establish your wishlist, and then decide what you are willing to spend to acquire those features. If the events of 2020 have been any indicator, it’s also important to establish a budget that accounts for contingencies, as well as any other future events that you can take into account. Start by asking yourself questions like:

  • Are you starting, or growing your family soon?

  • Do you really need a water view, or do you need more space to live in?

  • Are you purchasing the property as an investment, and will it generate an income?

  • Do you have the required downpayment?

  • Will you require mortgage lenders insurance?

  • Do you need to move into something immediately, or can you be patient?

  • How much do you need for normal living expenses per month? Does this allow for utilities, bills, food, education, and socializing?

  • What is the maximum repayment amount you can afford, taking into account your lifestyle and contingencies?

  • Are you prepared for the closing costs on your property? These can add an additional 2-4% of the total purchase price, and need to be considered. Again- your Realtor can help you to determine and establish these costs.

Vancouver Home Buyers Checklist #4: Let’s Find Your New Home!

After completing the first 3 steps of our home buyers checklist, you should have a wishlist compiled, and now be aware of what you can afford to spend to acquire them. With a definitive mortgage figure, you can also begin to narrow your property search, which usually begins with websites like REW.ca.

If you have chosen to engage a buyer’s agent, the chances are they have already lined up a number of viewings and opportunities to meet your needs. As we mentioned earlier- a high performing Realtor will often have access to properties before they become public listings. They also tend to have an ear to the ground within their own networks, which can lead to off-market opportunities, and making sure you have the first access to view properties.

key questions to ask when viewing a property.jpg

After viewing each property, ask yourself these five important questions:

  1. What did I like/dislike about the property?
  2. What would I have to change about the home in order for it to work for me?
  3. If the price were right, could I see myself living in this property?
  4. If so, what is that price?
  5. Did the home ‘feel right’ to me?

Overall, trust your instinct! 

Vancouver Home Buyers Checklist #5: Offer and Negotiations

When you’ve found a home that suits your needs (or your dreams) it’s time to make an offer. If you are using a buyers agent, they will be able to guide you to the right amount to offer, that is within your budget. However it is important to remember that there may be several offers on the table, and the list price is rarely the final sale price. 

Moreover, submitting an offer doesn’t necessarily mean it will be accepted, or that you must ‘go firm’ on the sale.

Rather, most offers come with ‘subject to’ clauses or conditions, allowing you the opportunity to fully inspect the property and its condition. It also allows you the opportunity to complete your due diligence on the property, and, once your offer has been accepted, we need to work to satisfy the conditions (or subjects). These most commonly relate to:

  • Financing

  • A home/building inspection

  • Reviewing the title search results

  • Reviewing the Property Disclosure Statement

  • Reviewing the strata documents (if applicable)

  • Reviewing the strata plan or survey

Once you have made an offer on a property, it’s time to complete your due diligence

Once you have made an offer on a property, it’s time to complete your due diligence

When the conditions of sale have been met, it is time to hand over a deposit. This is usually around 5% of the sale price and will be managed by your Realtor’s brokerage, your lawyer/notary, or both. This is also the time that closing costs need to be settled, including any property transfer tax, GST (on new properties), and legal costs.

Purchasing a new home can be a stressful and emotionally taxing experience. There are a number of moving parts that make the property industry what it is, and having someone experienced and on your side can make the process much easier and simpler. If you would like any advice or information about purchasing a new property, reach out and connect with our experienced team.

We look forward to working with you!

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