5 Steps to First Time Home Ownership

Home for Sale

So, you’ve decided that you want to buy your first home. Maybe you’re sick of renting or maybe you’re ready to start building some equity! Whatever your motivation, home buying is an exciting step in your life! The best way to enjoy the excitement is to become an educated buyer, so that you will know what to expect along the way.


Step 1: Mortgage pre-approval

It’s easy to get excited about finding your first place! Before you get wrapped up in the shopping stage, don’t forget that the most important part of the process is securing your financing. The first thing to do is to get in touch with a mortgage broker. If you don’t already have one you want to work with, ask your real estate Sales Professional (“agent”). Pre-approval is a short process that will let you know how much a bank or financial institution will lend you. This step is incredibly beneficial before you begin your shopping, so you won’t waste time looking at homes above or below your price range.


Step 2: Be prepared for other related costs

When you buy a home, there will be other costs related to the purchase that can catch you off-guard.

The most important cost is your down payment. For most residential transactions, you will require at least 5% of the purchase price for your down payment. In some circumstances the down payment may be higher, but this depends on the property you purchase.

Other associated costs include legal fees, moving costs, home inspection fees, home insurance, mortgage insurance, deposits for utility accounts, and you may need some additional furniture or appliances for your new home as well.

Take some time to look at these costs and set out a budget for yourself to ensure that when they arise, you are prepared for them.


Step 3: Separating wants from needs

Before you get out looking at homes, the best way to start your search is to identify what you need in a home, and what you would ideally want to have.

Try making a checklist, starting with things that are a must. As an example: the house must be in town, have 3 bedrooms, at least 2 bathrooms, a finished family room, and a fenced backyard.

Once you know what you must have, have some fun and make your “wish list!” It might include things like hardwood floors, a back patio, a rain shower, or a master ensuite.


Step 4: Make sure you are represented!

A local Sales Professional is your inside track to finding the right home. They will ensure that you are finding the right home quickly and are well represented in your purchase. A common misconception is that you need to call the Sales Professional who has the property listed for sale; however, this is not the case. Any licensed Sales Professional has access to the properties found on the MLS system.

When you are choosing a Sales Professional to work with, it is important to make sure that you feel comfortable working with them. At any point in the process, you should be able to ask any questions you have and should never feel rushed or pressured into making a decision. Remember: their biggest concern is to make sure you find a home that will work just right for you!


Step 5: The offer and purchase

Once you have found the home that is perfect for you, the next step is making it yours! Your Sales Professional will prepare an offer, referred to as an Agreement of Purchase and Sale, and negotiate the terms of the sale on your behalf. Together, you will look at comparable sales in the neighbourhood to determine a fair purchase price to offer the sellers, and which items you may want to be included in the purchase price (such as appliances).

Your Sales Professional will also include the appropriate conditions to make sure you are protected during the process. This could include things like a home inspection and/or a financing condition.


Step 6: Move in and enjoy your new home

Remember: not everything has to be done right away. Take some time to enjoy this experience: cleaning, painting, and tidying will all be complete in good time. Welcome to the wonderful world of home ownership!



How do I choose the perfect neighbourhood?

Perfect neighbourhood house for sale

When you’re looking for a new home, you want to find one in a great area – or, invest in an up-and-coming neighbourhood. After accounting for your needs, you’ll also want to get an idea of the lay of the land.

Here are some common indicators to help you tell if a particular area is desirable:

Pride of ownership.
Take a walk around the neighbourhood. Do you get a sense that people take good care of their homes? Are the lawns mowed? Are flowers planted? Homeowners are more likely to look after their properties when they enjoy where they are living.

Home improvements.
Are people investing in their homes? Are they getting their driveways re-done? Are there signs of home improvement projects? If so, this is a clear indication that homeowners like the area enough to invest in their properties.

Real estate sales activity.
Do homes tend to sell quickly in the area? Do they sell for a good price? Are prices rising? If so, the neighbourhood is probably becoming in-demand.

Business investment.
Are businesses investing in the surrounding area? Is there an increase in the number of new shops, health clubs, or restaurants? Commercial businesses often locate near desirable neighbourhoods.

Community involvement.
Are there signs that the community plays an active role in the look and lifestyle of the neighbourhood? Are there neighbourhood picnics, yard sales, and other get-togethers? Google the area or check on social media to see if it has a community page.

City plans.
Find out what plans the city has for the area. Will there be road improvements done in the near future? Are there any major construction projects scheduled, such as a new school or community centre. Although such projects can be disruptive in the short term, they may improve the neighbourhood and, as a result, boost the value of the home you buy in the long term.

Of course, the best way to find out the desirability of a neighbourhood is to talk to a good sales professional who knows the area. CENTURY 21® Sales professionals are The Local Experts®.

Visit our community pages to get local knowledge of neighbourhoods in your area.

Spring curb appeal checklist: Get your yard ready to grow!

Curb Appeal Garden


Beautiful lawns and gardens, groomed and manicured year after year, add real value to your home when it’s ready to enter the market. Early Spring is the perfect time to prime your green spaces to nurture grasses, scrubs, flowers, and edibles. Use this handy checklist to prep your garden for the growing season ahead.

Spring curb appeal checklist:

Tip: To prevent soil compaction, wait until the soggy ground of early Spring has dried out before walking on lawns and flowerbeds.

  • Remove stones and debris that have found their way onto the lawn from the driveway. Make note of areas (natural or man-made) that could use a little patching and repair.
  • Look for damage from molds and lawn diseases caused by cool, wet conditions and rake it away. This may appear as a fluffy white, pink, or gray residue on the lawn.
  • Rake the lawn to remove dead grass and thatch, and clear away fallen tree branches.
  • Start seeds for annuals, tomatoes, and peppers indoors.
  • Give summer-flowering bulbs, such as cannas and dahlias, a head start by potting them indoors under lights until after the last frost date.
  • As soon as the ground is workable, plant cool-weather crops such as sweet peas, onions, cabbage, radishes, and leeks.
  • Prune deciduous trees and shrubs (except those that flower or flow with sap in spring).
  • Spray scale-infested trees and shrubs with dormant oil before their leaves appear.
  • Apply slow-release fertilizer to flowering shrubs and vines, including roses, rhododendrons, and clematis.

CENTURY 21 Canada Open House Weekend Blitz Contest Launches: WIN a Landscape Design Package!

Open House Weekend Blitz


CENTURY 21 Canada and international TV outdoor designer, Carson Arthur launched the CENTURY 21 Canada Open House Weekend Blitz Contest on April 15, 2013.

Consumers can enter online at century21.ca/OpenHouse to WIN a landscape design package: Arthur will personally visit and design the winner’s outdoor space, then present them with a $1200 Black Decker yard maintenance prize pack. Consumers can get a promo code at a CENTURY 21 Canada open house during the Open House Weekend Blitz across Canada on May 4 or 5, 2013 to receive 21 additional entries when they re-enter online!

“It’s important to launch this initiative at a time of year when property value is on consumers’ minds,” said Don Lawby, President of CENTURY 21 Canada. “Our System members are at the frontlines of the industry, and their role is to educate consumers on getting the most from their real estate investments.”

A vital component of this campaign is to help homeowners realize the impact of curb appeal on the value of their homes. CENTURY 21 Canada Open House Weekend Blitz will offer valuable landscaping tips by Arthur on social media throughout the campaign to help consumers make informed upgrades to their outdoor spaces. Keep an eye out for Arthur in the media, where he will be offering advice and promoting this event.

“I’m looking forward to getting home buyers and sellers excited about the potential value in their green-spaces” said Arthur. “A recent Gallup study indicated that landscaping can add up to 15% to a home’s value.”

Enter today for your chance to increase the value of your property with a landscaping design package!

The contest is open to residents of Canada (excluding Quebec) and closes at midnight on May 5, 2013. For complete terms and conditions visit: century21.ca/OpenHouse