1. 1. Run a credit check on yourself and verify that the information is correct. Contact any creditors who haven't updated your record in terms of cancelled cards or balances that have been paid off. Paying off high interest credit cards as soon as possible will help make it easier for mortgage approval.
  2. 2. Get Pre-approved for a mortgage: talk to your mortgage professional about how much you can afford and get pre-approved before you start looking for a home. This will give you a better idea of what you can afford. A consultation with your mortgage professional begins with a mortgage application and credit check and should be completed before searching for a home. Pre-approval means you have an edge in home purchase negotiating.
  3. 3. Using a list, prioritize what you’re looking for in a home. Compile a list of desired home attributes and on a scale of 1 – 10, rate them based on 10 being an absolute “must have” to 1 being “not necessary”. The list will allow you to objectively assess each home and its suitability to you. Consider square footage, bedrooms and bathrooms, special features such as a home office or finished basement. Consider what you may need now in a home but also what is needed for future. How many years to you plan to live in this location and what changes to you forsee your family facing throughout that time?
  4. 4. Check out the neighbourhood: Make yourself a "home value expert." Investigate the areas and price ranges for the type of home you are looking for. If you find yourself becoming interested in a particular neighbourhood, familiarize yourself with the local amenities, schools, property taxes, crime rates, and other neighhourhood features. Talk with different people in the area and visit at different times during the day. The characteristics of the area may change dramatically during different hours of the day. Go to the local planning office to find out about the plans for the area. Research is half the battle. Remember, you're getting more than just a home - you're buying the entire neighbourhood package!
  5. 5. Get legal advice before signing the contract: Talk with a real estate lawyer and review the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS) with them prior to signing the contract. This will ensure you understand the exact terms and conditions of the contract, and that you know what's included in the purchase price. Be sure that any verbal agreements from the seller are included in written form within the APS. Be sure that you've negotiated a reasonable closing or occupancy date and make sure that all deposit details are documented.
  6. 6. Stay calm: Even in a hot market, be cool and calculated with your decisions. Your home purchase may be your single largest investment. Be sure to review the disclosure statement carefully. By law, you have a 10-day cooling off period once you receive the disclosure statement.