If one of your plans for 2020 is to become a homeowner (or to purchase a new condo if you’ve owned before), then you’re on your way to making one of the biggest and most rewarding purchases in your lifetime. Historically, owning a home and building your equity is a sound financial choice; but more than that, owning a place of your own brings a sense a pride and let’s you settle in and personalize your home unlike renting.
To help get you ready for this big purchase, we’ve broken down the simple steps to buying a new condo with StreetSide. As always, our helpful sales agents are always available to guide you along the way and answer any questions you may have.
Step 1 – Identify your needs
The first step to finding your ideal condo is to answer some questions for yourself, to better understand what you need.
- How close do you want to live to your place of work?
- Would you like to live close to other family?
- Is it important that you live close to a school (college, university)?
- Would you rather a modern, new construction or an older building with character?
- Do you want to live closer to: restaurants, shopping, arts, cinema, transit, etc.?
- What kind of floorplan are you looking for? Will you need a dining area if you are the type to entertain, or simply a large kitchen island for meal prep and casual dining?
- How many bedrooms do you need? Would an open studio configuration work, a 1 to 2 bedroom condo, or would you like multiple levels in a townhome-style?
Step 2 – Financing
Prior to searching for the right condo, it’s important to get pre-approved by a mortgage specialist so that you know the maximum amount of mortgage you can afford. This is based on your income, debt, credit rating, etc. This amount isn’t necessarily what you should be buying – you should consider allowing some extra room for other monthly expenses.
They will also provide you with details on what your mortgage payments will be and the different options to repay the mortgage (monthly, bi-weekly, weekly, or accelerated).
Step 3 – Choose a unit
Once you have been approved for financing, the next step is to choose a builder. You may wish to visit a few display suites at condo developments that interest you, shop and compare competitors (and research their track record), and then, settle on a unit that you would like to purchase.
At this point, you could choose to place a reserve on a unit (with a smaller, refundable deposit) which allows you to put a hold on the unit you want, and gives you some time to get your financing approved and contact a lawyer. Once you determine it’s the one for you, your reserve can be applied to your offer to purchase.
Step 4 – Complete the offer to purchase
If this is truly the condo for you, you’ll want to write an agreement to purchase before someone else does! The builders’ sales agent will write this with you, and take you through it step by step.
Step 5 – Acceptance
If the agreement is firm – with no conditions, and both parties are pleased, then, you have an accepted offer. If the agreement is conditional (on financing or the sale of a home, for instance) those conditions must be satisfied in order for the agreement to be binding.
Unlike a residential agreement, as a condo purchaser you are entitled by law to a 7 day “cooling off period.” This time is your legal opportunity to review all your documents. If you are unsatisfied during this period, you are able to void your agreement without penalty.
Step 6 – Design centre meeting (when applicable)
If you purchase your home early (prior to construction being complete), you will have an opportunity to meet with StreetSide’s talented design consultant, Tammie Bennett. During a two-hour consultation, Tammie will take you through Qualico’s 3,500 sq. ft. design centre, where you’ll be introduced to a wide range of finish options to fit any style and budget. You’ll be able to touch and feel everything from flooring options, cabinetry, countertops, backsplash and more.
This is where you can make selections to really tailor your space to your tastes. Tammie has some great advice on our blog if you’re looking to make the most impact with your selections on a budget!
Step 7 – Closing
The lawyers meet and funds are exchanged for the title and keys to the property. The transaction is recorded at the land registry office. Once this has occurred, the property is yours. At this time you have taken possession (ownership) of the property.
Before the date of closing
Your lawyer will tell you how much money you will have to bring by way of a certified cheque, since all funds are coordinated through your lawyer. The signing of final documents is done at the lawyer’s office. You will also have a scheduled walkthrough of your unit with the builder to determine if anything needs to be touched up prior to your move-in date, and to get more information about your unit and how everything operates.
On the date of closing
Both lawyers will have staff attend the land titles office for the purchaser’s lawyer to update the title search, and for both sides to exchange documents and register them. Most lawyers now do this online.
Step 8 – Possession
You should check to ensure that all items listed in the offer are left on the property. If there are any problems, you should contact your sales agent. Later, your lawyer will send you a reporting letter, along with copies of various documents that you have signed. These should be kept in a safe place. Now, all that is left is to enjoy your new home!
If you have any issues with your home during your first year of ownership (such as defects in materials or workmanship), StreetSide’s warranty is there to offer you peace of mind with your purchase, and make sure you’re completely satisfied with your home. (A third-party, 5-year new home warranty also covers you for any larger items.) Our online form allows you to submit any issues easily right when it occurs, so our warranty representative can tend to it and make sure you’re happy in your home.
Think you might be ready for the move? Check out what’s now selling at StreetSide.