From Start to Finish—A Checklist for Buying Your Home

 

There are many factors to consider when thinking about buying a home, including, of course, the location of your practice or residency. The following checklist will help you determine your needs and help you plan for a move.

Things to think about before starting your search

  • Determine what you can afford: look at your net worth and cash flow; assess your debt-service ratios; figure out your down payment; estimate the upfront and one-time costs, including moving costs, legal fees and land transfer taxes. Be sure you have assets set aside in a secure investment for the down payment.
  • Establish your housing requirements: what type of home (detached, condo, etc.), new or resale, location, amenities.
  • Choose the right mortgage solution: compare interest rates, amortization periods, terms and pre-payment features. Find out your pre-approval amount so you know what you can afford, and be sure to lock in your rate, in case interest rates start to rise (if interest rates go down, you may get re-approved in certain circumstances).
  • Assemble your team of professionals: line up your financial advisor, real estate representative, lawyer, mortgage specialist, home inspector, insurance agent.
  • Understand the ongoing costs of maintaining a home: your budget should include taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc.

Leading up to moving day

  • Once your home purchase has been finalized, be sure to book all the services you require: moving company, elevator (if you live in an apartment building or a condo), rent reusable boxes.
  • Keep a file of all receipts, agreements, documents and store in an easy-to-find location.
  • Packing is a good time to go through your possessions and decide if you want to keep everything, or sell/donate some items; clearly label each box with contents and the room where it belongs; ensure your valuables are in a safe place.
  • Book your days off from the office, if you will need the time for the move.
  • Call your cable/internet provider and utilities to notify them of your change of address (and so that you have these services available as soon as you move in).
  • On the day you take possession of your new home, your lawyer will complete the transaction with your lender, deposit funds to the seller and pick up your keys.
  • Pick up your keys from your lawyer!
  • The day of the move could be stressful. Ensure you have easy access to kitchen and bathroom necessities, and have snacks on hand for everyone. Pets and children should stay at someone else’s home if possible, until the move is complete.
  • Change your address with Canada Post and notify your service providers, such as doctors, accountant, bank, insurer, etc. And don’t forget to notify medical associations (e.g., CMA, PTMA) where you maintain a membership.

Once you’ve finally moved in and have taken care of all the tasks on your checklist, enjoy your new home!

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