My Pledge to the Home Buyer
Assure that you will see all properties in the area that meet your criteria. Walk you through the entire home buying process, from finding the home that is right for you, to getting the best financing. Ensure you don't pay too much for your new home and help you avoid costly pitfalls and mistakes Respond to all of your communications in a timely manner.
Things to Consider
Where would you like to live? Do you want to be near the lake, in town or rural?
What kind of house would you like (need)? Are you looking for a particular style or would you like to look at many styles?
How many bedrooms and bathrooms would you like? Do you want a large yard? Is a garage important?
How much house can you afford? Have you consulted a lender or mortgage broker to determine the size and type of mortgage you are comfortable committing to?
Once we find "The One"
The ultimate decision is yours, I will never sway your thought process one way or another. You can certainly ask me for advice though.
Once you decide you want to make an offer on a home, I will investigate the market to determine a fair value, based on comparables. I will act as your intermediary during this process, never speaking for you, but with you, in the negotiation process.
Once both parties come to an agreement, a sales contract will be drawn up and you will be asked to write a check for a deposit, typically between 5% and 10% of the sale price.
At the time of presenting an Offer to Purchase you will have to submit a deposit cheque, which will be held in trust by the listing broker if the offer is accepted. The cheque is usually between 5% and 10% of the sale price or more depending on the circumstances and closing date. The cheque is usually deposited the day after acceptance.
If the seller does not provide the Buyer with an up-to-date survey in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (showing the existing location of fences, buildings and structures), it will often be necessary to have a new one prepared by an Ontario Land Surveyor as mortgage lenders may require it. Solicitors will not give an unqualified opinion of title without an up-to-date survey. Typically and depending on the circumstances a survey will cost in the range of $1,000.
An alternative to an up-to-date survey is title insurance. There are a variety of insurers that provide this product including the Buyer’s lawyer. The cost of title insurance is based on a sliding scale depending on the value of your purchase. Typically, costs are between $300 and $500. A note of caution: title insurance does not correct title problems. It merely compensates the Buyer as a result of negative impact resulting from a title defect.
LAND TRANSFER TAX
Purchasers of real estate in Ontario are required to pay provincial Land Transfer Tax on closing. It is paid directly to the Province of Ontario. It is based on the following formula:
0.5% of the value of the consideration up to and including $55,000, 1% of the value of the consideration which exceeds $55,000 up to and including $250,000, and 1.5% of the value of the consideration which exceeds $250,000, and 2% of the amount by which the value of the consideration exceeds $400,000 for land that contains at least one and not more than two single family residences.
First time Buyers may be eligible for rebates under both or either of the provincial or municipal schemes. Legal advice should be sought as to eligibility. more info for first time homebuyers
You will require the services of an Ontario lawyer to act on your behalf to close your house purchase.
Your lawyer will charge you for services, including title searching, and for his/her expenses (disbursements).
I can recommend 3 lawyers to you if you do not have one already.
Before retaining a lawyer, you should ask him/her for a complete breakdown of fees, disbursements, and mortgage work. Most legal work for home purchases exceeds $1,500 and can be much higher under certain circumstances. Be sure to ask first.
There will be other costs which the lawyer will have to pay on your behalf. Basically things like photocopies, tax certificates, zoning clearance and work orders, couriers, registering of the deed and mortgages, searching executions, mortgage schedules, status certificates (for condominiums) and other incidentals. These disbursements will be in the range of $600 - $800.
STATEMENT OF ADJUSTMENTS
Balance due on closing - basically the balance due on closing is the difference between the sale price and the amount of your deposit that was presented with the offer. However, there are certain other items that will be adjusted at the time of closing.
Taxes - if the Seller has paid taxes for the full year, the Buyer will be responsible for his/her portion from time of closing until the end of the year.
Fuel - if the property is heated by oil, then the tank will be filled by the Seller on closing, and the Buyer will be charged on the adjustment with a full tank of oil (usually 200 gallons).
Utilities - all utilities and gas that are metered will be read on closing and the seller will be responsible for them up to the date of closing.
These are normal adjustments. Particular attention should be paid to new construction transactions, especially condominiums. There are numerous additional adjustments in these purchases. These adjustments, including the Ontario New Home Warranty Fee, could amount to $3,000 or more.
PROFESSIONAL HOME INSPECTION
This is usually around $400 and up. The cost will vary with the size of the home being purchased and the inspection company used.
This varies. Minimally, costs start at $500. Call for quotes. N.B. - 1st mortgage must be noted on policy.
(Home insurance has become a serious closing issue. See details below.)
These vary from $200 per hour and up, depending on the company and the number of movers. It will also depend on the size of the vehicle and the time of the month and year you are moving.
FIRST MORTGAGE COSTS
Interest adjustment - This is something most Buyers do not understand. Basically, if you are arranging a new first mortgage, your lawyer will receive the mortgage monies from the mortgage company on the morning of the closing date. However, most mortgage companies use the 1st or the 15th of the month as a payment date. Therefore, if you are closing a deal on, say August 10th, the mortgage company will deduct from the mortgage monies interest from date of closing (10th) to the first of the following month (i.e. September 1st) - interest adjustment date - and your first payment will then commence the 1st day of the following month (i.e.
October 1st), and continue on a monthly basis thereafter.
Example: on a $100,000 mortgage at 5.5% interest from the 10th to the 1st of the following month, interest would amount to approximately $316 and instead of getting $100,000 from the mortgage company on closing, you will receive only$99,684.
(Interest adjustment costs will not affect every mortgage, as some will have payment commencing one month after closing.)
Loan processing or bank appraisal fee - Usually about $300. High ratio mortgages will demand a higher processing fee. A high ratio mortgage is one in which the Buyer is seeking financing in excess of 80% of the purchase price, or in some cases the approved value of the property.
SECOND MORTGAGE COSTS
Usually require the payment of additional legal fees, appraisal and brokerage fees. These vary dramatically, depending on the transaction and the risk as perceived by the lender.
Re-sales - although most used residential re-sales are exempt from HST, almost all services involved with the transaction will be subject to HST, e.g.: real estate commissions, lawyer’s fees, appraisals, processing fees, home inspections, insurance, moving cost, etc.
Substantially renovated houses - are subject to HST if purchased from the builder/renovator.
Commercial properties - are subject to HST. This is a complex area and individuals should seek advice from a specialist, e.g. accountant, tax lawyer.
New housing - is subject to HST. It is also a complex topic. Often the HST will be included in the purchase price. There are also HST rebates available in a number of instances.
Vacant land - this is a very complex HST area. Vacant land attracts HST in most, but not all cases. As a cautionary note assume that it does until the nature of the land, its use and its ownership can be clarified by a specialist
Just a note at this point about the procedure on the actual closing date. It will be necessary for your lawyer to obtain the money from the mortgage company on the day of closing.
Lawyers often have many deals closing on busy days, and it is often difficult for them to arrange a closing time until later in the day. It is probably not advisable to plan for an early morning move into your new home.
Please discuss this with your lawyer.
Your lawyer should be in touch with you within the week prior to closing to arrange an appointment to sign and bring in the necessary closing money (appointment probably day prior to closing).
A number of insurance concerns have developed in the real estate industry that could have a financial impact for a Buyer on closing. Although an exhaustive explanation is not possible here, Buyers should be aware of the following:
1. Knob and Tube wiring
This is an older form of ungrounded wiring that some insurers may not cover or may only do so at greatly inflated premiums. In some cases buyers may be denied insurance altogether or until such time as the house has been rewired. These costs could easily exceed $5,000.
2. Hydro Service
Insurance companies are refusing to insure properties with 60-amp service and homes with fuse panels instead of breakers. As in the case of knob and tube wiring, hydro service may have to be increased to at least 100-amp service before insurance can be obtained.
3. Oil Tanks
Insurance companies are refusing to insure homes with oil tanks that have not been certified by a Technical Standards and Safety Association (TSSA) technician. This is particularly true for oil tanks that are older than 25 years. In addition, fuel oil companies will no longer provide fuel oil to homes with tanks that have not been certified. Cost of a new fuel oil tank can be in the range of $2,000. Underground fuel oil tanks are now subject to strict regulation and in most cases must be removed. Seek advice before buying a property with an underground tank.
4. Other Issues
Generally, insurance companies have been shedding risky (in their opinion) policies. In some parts of the country the age and type of structure have also become issues. In Ontario, galvanized steel plumbing is becoming an insurance concern as is insulbrick siding in some cases. Properties owned by absentee owners/landlords may also raise concerns.
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