Your First Year in Canada
14. Who can help me find a house to buy?
Homes for sale with photographs, brief descriptions and prices are available on the Canadian website Multiple Listing System www.mls.ca. Specify the area that you are interested in, the kind of home, and your financial capabilities: the lower and upper price limit. Further, you will need to specify the number of rooms and washrooms, and even select the desired view from the windows. You will receive a detailed description of the home, and such homes in your chosen area may be several dozen. How realistic the price is can be roughly set by comparing the price of the home you like with similar homes in the same area. If you already have a real estate agent, he or she will show you the home you are interested in; you can walk around the rooms and pretend that you live in this home. Home buyers in Canada generally do not pay realtors for the services in advance because the price of the work is already included in the price of home. The realtor will take off an agreed upon percentage.
15. What criteria should I use while buying a house?
When choosing a house you have to pay attention to such things as:
•The location (is it near any shops, parks, kindergarten, school, bus stop or subway station, clinic, pharmacy, etc.).
•When the house was built, when and what repairs were made.
•What are the sizes of the yards and how close are neighbouring houses.
•What is the siding of the home – e.g., brick or wood.
•How many cars can fit in the garage.
•How many floors are in the home, what sizes of rooms and closets, how many bedrooms and washrooms.
•What is the condition of the roof, windows, doors, and floors, and whether they need to be repaired.
•Is there a finished basement? Are there leaks? Is there a back entrance?
•The condition of the water supply, sewerage, electricity, heating, air conditioning, and whether they need to be repaired.
16. How much does it cost to buy a house?
The cost of houses in Canada varies widely: from a few hundred thousand to several million, depending on the city, the location, the age of the home, the number of floors, the number of rooms, the total area size of yards, etc. Houses in the city centre or in the quiet green areas are much more expensive than in the industrial suburbs. The website https://www.crea.ca/housing-market-stats/national-price-map gives the average prices for homes in large Canadian cities.
17. Where can I get money to buy a house?
When buying a house, many people take out a mortgage. To take out a mortgage with the bank you have to have an appropriate credit history, although, if you are ready to immediately pay 35% of the value of the home, you can get a mortgage without credit history. A good credit history in the country where you came from can sometimes be a factor for the lender. Mortgages are provided by banks, trust and insurance companies and credit societies. Arrange for the loan you need before finding a home. You can use a mortgage broker service. Before you take out a mortgage, you must agree on a system of payments: how often and how much money and what percentage of the loan you will pay.
There are "open" mortgages, when you can repay the debt at any time and any amounts and "closed" mortgages when you pre-negotiate when and how much you will repay the debt. The longer you take to pay off the mortgage, the more money you will pay in interest. Interest may also be constant or depend on the financial situation of the housing market. Once the mortgage is set, if you cannot pay the debt to the bank, your home can be taken away and sold, so in the case of financial problems, immediately contact your lender. Before you take out a mortgage consult with a specialist in order to avoid fraud. For more information go to the website: https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/finance-and-investing/mortgage-loan-insurance/the-resource/housing-for-newcomers.
18. Who can help me to buy a house?
Making the contract of sale is a serious legal procedure. It is believed that when buying a home, a buyer must have a support group, which will include:
•A real estate agent who will help you find and buy a suitable home, take care of all the steps associated with the process of negotiations with the vendor and supervise the whole process of making a contract on the purchase and sale.
•A lawyer or notary who will check the legitimacy of your transaction and the accuracy of documents.
•A Mortgage broker who will tell you where to find the best terms to take a mortgage.
•A home inspector who will check the technical condition of the house and determine whether the house needs to be repaired and if so, which repairs are needed.
•An insurance broker who will advise you about the best way to insure a home.
•An appraiser who will make a real assessment of the value of the home.
•A land surveyor who will make a topographic survey and site plan, if the former homeowner cannot provide one.
If you prefer to deal with specialists who speak your native language, you will find them in the newspapers in your community, but get advice from people you trust or contact the Housing Help Centres, which can be found at the website www.211toronto.ca/index.jsp (Housing > Housing Help Centres).
19. Are there any ways I can look over a house before buying?
Looking over a house before buying is easiest to do with your real estate agent. He will assign the day and time, and you can take a look around the whole house. You should keep in mind that the house is thoroughly prepared for sale by special agencies. The house can be set with beautiful furniture, carpets, crystal chandeliers and a large TV, which is turned on during your visit. After buying the house all this will be removed, so, looking at the house, it is better to imagine the bare walls, floor and ceiling, and focus on the quality of the house and all appliances. If you are looking for a house by yourself, you can often see street ads for an "Open house." When there is an open house, at the specified time, usually on weekends, you can go and look over the house if you are interested in living there.
(To be continued)