Buying your first home in Atlantic Canada

Getting the keys to your home is very exciting. There is nothing like the feeling of walking through the front door and knowing it is YOURS! One of the main reasons newcomers choose Atlantic Canada as the home is – buying a home is affordable.

While homeownership in Maritimes is exciting and affordable, it requires some homework – whether it is about getting the right house or carefully consider the costs.

Along with a realtor Cosmin Dinu and mortgage broker Mathieu Mccaie, we have designed the following points to consider when you are planning to buy a house. We also hosted a zoom conference and here is the link for it – 

The cost involved – working with your mortgage broker, you can determine what you qualify for.

As a tenant, we do not have to worry about landscaping, snow removal, water bills – however, when you are buying a house it really helps to know what are the initial as well as monthly expenses you should be prepared to know. Normally your realtor can collect the information about utility cost for you.

In addition to utilities, regular maintenance, and mortgage installments, property taxes are a fixed monthly expense. For New Brunswick, you can see the taxes for the house you are planning to buy online at https://paol.snb.ca/. Again, at times if the property has tenants, the taxes will be higher.

As Cosmin mentioned in the webinar, in addition to the down payment (typically Canadians pay from 5% to 20%), a newcomer needs to ensure they have close to 2% to 4% set aside for closing costs that include legal and administration fees, title insurance, etc.

A very interesting point Mathieu mentioned in the conference that if the house requires any renovations, it is recommended to check with the mortgage broker to see if that renovation cost can be included in the loan price.

Finding the right home – It really helps when your realtor knows your priorities, to show you the right houses.

The types of home – Canada mainly has houses that are Condo, townhouses, Duplex/Triplex, Single/Detached, Semi-detached, or units in apartments. Depending on your budget and other preferences, a realtor can guide you in what type of house fits you more.

It is recommended that sitting with a realtor – you create a wish-list of the things you would like to see in your house. Whether it is location or special features – if the homework is done, house hunting becomes a lot easier and fun activity.

Most of the decisions are made depending on what stage you are in your life.

For example – a newly married couple with very young kids would be fine with a semi-detached home to start the family. Or if you are at the retiring age, then condominiums or houses of one level without many stairs would be suitable.

It also depends on how long you are planning to stay in that house.

The cost involved – Here are the steps involved when you are ready to be a first-time homeowner in Atlantic Canada.

  1. Finding a realtor and a mortgage broker

I believe this is the easiest task, you can see their information right below!

  1. Getting pre-approved

Getting pre-approved basically helps you to understand the home price you can afford, allowing you to budget for home purchase and focus on your home search.

 

Cosmin made a very important point in the webinar that it is recommended not to make any major financial changes after getting a pre-approval. For instance, after getting pre-approved – if I end up getting a car loan, it affects my affordability and will hurt me in step 8. 

  1. Investigating mortgage options

There are several mortgage options, variable interest/fixed interest, number of years, etc. Recommended that you discuss your plans with a mortgage broker.

  1. Ensuring you have the down payment and closing cost set aside

As Cosmin mentioned, in addition to the down payment, it is recommended to keep around 4% aside for closing costs. 

  1. House-hunting with you realtor – (Wish list and checklist)

As above, you need a wish list to shortlist the houses you would like to go and see. However, from my personal experience – I recommend keeping a checklist with you as well. In one day, Cosmin showed us 5 houses and since they all were of similar budget and type – it was difficult to remember what house had what.

  1. Making an offer and negotiating

Again your realtor and SNB website can guide you on what your house should cost. The offer will also include conditions like closing date, deposit to hold the house, the price and what appliances are included in the sale. 

  1. Inspecting home

We recommend making your offer to purchase the home conditional on the outcoming of the inspection. If the inspection finds any major issues, you can renegotiate with the seller before the deal closes or legally withdraw the offer. If you are buying a recently built new home, most probably it would be with the new home warranty.

  1. Finalizing the deal with a lawyer

As mentioned in step two, here in this step – the bank will provide final approval. Normally there will be a meeting with a lawyer about getting insurance and title search.

  1. Moving preparations

Normally, when we say moving preparations, we mean packing the bags and finding the companies that would move the furniture. In Canada, it is required that you line up utilities, internet, phone, mail address change, and if you are renting – giving notice to your landlords (at times it requires 3 months notice).

This step will ensure that you will be making a smooth transition to your new home.

  1. Closing and getting the keys 

The day you get the possession of the house. The lawyer will complete the formalities and issue you the keys.

As mentioned, the video of the web-conference is available on YouTube and the contacts for Cosmin and Mathieu are as follows.

Cosmin Dinu

Keller Williams Capital Realty

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 506-860-0555

Mathieu McCaie

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 506-866-4654

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