Step 1: Get Your Mortgage Pre-Qualification
Before you even consider buying a house in Mississauga, your first step is going to be to find out how much the bank is willing to lend you. When your mortgage broker runs your pre-qualification, they will look into your:
- Credit history
You want to ensure your broker has run your full credit history and verified your employment so you know you have a firm pre-approval (meaning there should be no surprises when you do buy a property). You should have your pre-approval in writing with your guaranteed interest rate (typically valid for 90 days). Getting a pre-approval ensures you are aware of exactly how much mortgage you can qualify for, which allows you to figure out what price range of properties you should make the target of your search. When you target your search based on your pre-approval amount you are focusing your house-hunting efforts (which is a good thing because searching for a home can definitely be overwhelming), and helps to eliminate risk and uncertainty of financing once you’ve found your perfect home.
Click here to find out more about Mortgages, Government Programs for First-Time Buyers and Closing Costs.
Step 2: Develop your List of Must-Haves and Nice-to-Haves
It is absolutely critical to know the difference between what you need and what you want in a home. Take some time to think about what your must-haves, nice-to-haves, and your not-a-chances are. How many bedrooms do you actually need? Do you have a dog and need outdoor space? Are finishes important to you or are you handy and looking for a challenge? It’s impossible to find what you’re looking for if you don’t actually know what you want.
We’ve all heard the age-old adage – location, location, location! One of the biggest factors to think about is the location- which Mississauga neighbourhood will make you feel at home? We put together a list of 88 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Neighbourhood to help you out.
Check out our in-depth Mississauga Neighbourhood Guides for the inside scoop on the hottest neighbourhoods.
Step 3: Choosing Your Mississauga Real Estate Team
Buying a home in Mississauga could very well likely be the largest purchase you will ever make and you’ll have a team of professionals to help you along the way. Your team will include:
- A Mississauga real estate agent who works exclusively for your best interest. Your agent is the captain in your home buying journey. Check out our blog about How a REALTOR Represents a Buyer for more important info.
- A lender – a bank or mortgage broker to help you figure out the best financing options for your unique situation.
- A real estate lawyer to fine-tune all of the legal aspects to your home purchase and help you close out the deal. Click here to read all about how real estate lawyers help Buyers.
When choosing an agent to represent you on your home purchase, make sure to hire for experience and expertise in the Mississauga market – it’s not the same as buying downtown Toronto and it’s important to work with someone who understands the market (and of course, then neighbourhoods).
Check out our list of 10 Questions To Ask When Hiring a REALTOR.
Step 4: House Hunting in Mississauga
Once you complete the steps we went over above (financing pre-qualification, figured out your specific list of must-haves for your search, and found a great Mississauga REALTOR to work with) it is time to start getting out to view houses! While realtor.ca is a good place to start searching for homes, your real estate agent will send you custom listings that match your criteria.
Pro Tip: Ask your agent to set you up on Collab – the consumer-facing version of the MLS that lets you control your home search with live-time updates.
When you start house hunting you can expect to first review listings electronically, previewing selected homes online, and then getting out to see houses once you have procured your list of interests. This is your opportunity to get a better understanding of each Mississauga neighbourhood, refine your list of must-haves, and ask LOTS of questions. Even though your list of nice-to-haves versus must-haves is important to fine-tune, the truth of the matter is that most people walk into their perfect home and just feel it. Of course, it helps when it satisfies your needs and wants too, but don’t underestimate the power of ‘just knowing’.
Click here for a tool to help you decide which property to buy.
Step 5: The Offer Process
The most exciting and nerve-wracking part of the entire process — putting in an offer. When you make it to this point, a (BIG) congratulations is in order because your house-hunting efforts have paid off: the house is in your price range, feels right, and satisfies some (if not all) of your wants and needs. In Ontario, your offer must be in writing and will form the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS). The APS is a legally binding document which contains:
- The price you are prepared to pay
- The amount of your deposit (typically 5% of the purchase price, due within 24 hours after the offer is accepted)
- Closing date (the date you take possession)
- Inclusions you want (washer/dryer, big screen TV)
- Conditions that need to be met for the deal to firm up and go through (Read more about conditions: financing condition, home inspection, status certificate review condition, sale of property condition)
Once your REALTOR has submitted your offer, the Seller can accept it, reject it or sign back a counter offer. During these back-and-forth negotiations, there may be some small things that you need to compromise on, but a great REALTOR will work hard to get you what you want.
If you find yourself in a bidding war, make sure you know the facts about Bidding Wars and How to Win in Multiple Offers.
Step 6: Deposit and Conditions
A condition in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale is a requirement that must be fulfilled in order for the deal to become firm and binding and the sale to go through. Two common conditions on freehold property purchases are a financing condition and a home inspection condition.
In addition to the conditions, another factor that will need to be completed will be the submission of the deposit required for purchase — an amount that is typically 5% of the purchase price in Mississauga (common for most of the GTA). This deposit is held in trust (typically with the listing brokerage) until closing (at which point it’s transferred to the seller) — the only way this money gets out of the trust account is by the deal closing or through a court order, so no need to worry about the safety of your funds. Once the conditions have been met, the agreement and sale are said to be ‘firm’, and now it’s just a matter of waiting for your closing date. And of course, packing!
Step 7: Closing the Deal
Now the fun part! Closing the deal is the point in the process in which the ownership and possession of the property are transferred from the Seller to the Buyer (you!). The closing takes place on the date agreed to in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (another point of negotiation, typically 30-90 days from the date of offer), once all of the legal and financial obligations have been met. Closing the purchase will be a team effort: in addition to yourself, your lawyer and your lender will all be involved in helping close the deal.
Click here to find out how much your Closing Costs will be.