An expat family have likely rented accommodation for some time before making a final decision on the area where they would like to live and invest their money into.
They know which schools their children have settled in to. They might even have already become part of a community and they certainly know what they need in a house; location, price, size, heating and so forth.
The expat family is now ready to settle down and make that final financial commitment to their new adoptive country – Canada. But being prepared to make, what is likely to be a family’s biggest purchase ever, takes research, planning and working with the right team of people who will get you through the process and into your dream home in no time.
Looking for a home
There are a number of options but using a Real Estate Agent is probably one of the most common ways of finding a home in Canada. A register Real Estate Agent will listen to your needs, arrange for home visits, arrange a professional home inspection and help you get a good price.
Finding property online is certainly as popular in Canada as it is in South Africa. This is a safe and convenient way of sifting through the houses on the market. By using a realty site’s built-in filtering systems you will be given options of homes that suite your needs in terms of price, location, size and amenities. By looking through the posted photographs you will also get a good idea of the style and condition of the house before deciding if you would like to see it for yourself.
Besides being sure that your family can afford the bond on the home you will also have to make sure that you have enough available for a deposit (sometimes referred to as a down payment), legal fees and then the monthly expenses such as property taxes, utility fees, upkeep (like garden and pool services) and home repairs.
Making an offer
Once you have found a home, it is time to make an “offer to purchase.” If you are using a real estate agent, he or she will help you make the offer.
If your offer of purchase is accepted, you will need to hire a lawyer or notary to transfer your home to your name. You can find one online or ask your real estate agent.
Financing your home
Most homebuyers need a loan from a bank (or other financial institution like a “credit union,” a “caisse populaire” or an insurance company). A loan for buying a home is called a “mortgage.”
You pay back a mortgage through regular payments over a period of time, usually up to 25 years. You will be charged interest to borrow this money.
Down payment and mortgage loan insurance
The amount of your bond (commonly known as a mortgage in Canada) is the price of the home minus the amount of your down payment. If the down payment is less than 20 percent of the price of your new home, you may need mortgage loan insurance.
Mortgage loan insurance protects the bank or financial institution if you cannot pay back the mortgage. It also lets you get a mortgage for a lower down payment and a lower interest rate.
Credit score and history
A good credit history is very important when you are trying to get a mortgage. As a newcomer to Canada, you may not have a credit history that Canadian banks recognize.
If you want to buy a home, you should start getting a new credit history as early as possible. Speak with a customer service representative at your bank. He or she can help you with a plan to get a credit history.
If you make an offer on a house, you should make your offer conditional on the home passing a professional home inspection. This lets you cancel or change your offer if the inspector finds serious problems with the house. For a fee, an inspector will make a detailed inspection of the property.
When you receive the home inspection report, you and your real estate agent will have to discuss how required repairs, if any, may affect the price you agree to pay.