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A Timeline for First-Time Home Buyers: Your Essential Guide

By Stephanie Leong (posts)

Buying your first home is an exciting and significant milestone. The process can be complex, but understanding the timeline can help you navigate it with confidence. Here’s a general overview of the journey from planning to moving in.

Months 1-2: Financial Preparation

Start by evaluating your finances, including savings, income, and expenses. Check your credit score and work on improving it if necessary. Establish a realistic budget for your home purchase, accounting for the down payment, closing costs, and moving expenses. Approach lenders to get pre-approved for a mortgage, giving you a clear idea of your buying power.

Months 2-3: Starting the Search

Choose a reputable real estate agent who understands your needs. Begin your house hunt, focusing on properties that fit your budget and preferences. Attend open houses to get a feel for different homes and neighborhoods. This phase is about narrowing down your options and finding a property that feels right.

Month 4: Making an Offer

Once you’ve found the perfect home, work with your real estate agent to submit a competitive offer. Be prepared for some negotiation with the seller on price and terms. This can be a tense but exciting time as you wait for your offer to be accepted.

Month 4: Conducting Due Diligence

After your offer is accepted, conduct due diligence. Hire a professional inspector to evaluate the property’s condition, and your lender may require an appraisal to ensure the property’s value matches the loan amount. Finalize your mortgage application during this period to secure financing.

Month 5: Subject Removal

Complete any subject conditions outlined in your purchase contract, such as securing financing, obtaining insurance, and conducting inspections. Once these conditions are met, formally remove the subjects to confirm your purchase.

Month 6: Preparing for Closing

Prepare for the closing process by reviewing the necessary documents, which your lawyer will prepare. Many documents can only be signed in person, so make sure your lawyer is aware of your travel plans or out-of-town work schedule. Ensure you have the down payment and closing costs ready. Tip, if you are withdrawing funds from your RRSPs or other investments this can take time to facilitate. Start the process early to ensure no issues at closing. Conduct a final walkthrough of the property to confirm it’s in the agreed-upon condition.

Month 6: Closing Day

On or just before closing day, sign all required documents, including the mortgage agreement and title transfer documents. Your lender will provide the loan proceeds to your lawyer. Your lawyer will register the transfer and deliver the sale proceeds to the seller’s lawyer, and you’ll receive the keys to your new home, officially taking possession.

If you need have any questions about these key dates, our Real Estate Law team is here to help.

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