Once you’ve decided on where in Canada you want to live, it’s time to take your first step down the path of finding and buying your dream home. There’s a lot ahead of you, from finding a trustworthy agent through to making the most of your viewing trip and securing the right mortgage. Here are the seven key steps to follow.

Step one: create a brief

Make sure you spend time working out exactly what you want and how you’re going to afford it. Your brief will help keep you focused and help your agent to fully understand all of your needs. To create your own, simply download your full guide below and update your answers to the perfect property questions in section one.

Discover how to get the best price on your dream home with the industry-insider tips and tricks in How to Negotiate Abroad. 

Step two: find the right estate agent

The right agent can make your search. Our Resource Centre can help you with recommendations – simply let us know what you’re looking for on +44(0) 20 7898 0549 and we’ll be in touch with names. Alternatively, carry out your own checks by making sure they fit these criteria:

A good agent:

Operates legally and ethically

Estate agents in Canada may only call themselves realtors if they are licensed by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

 

The estate agent is a key part of the process of buying a house in Canada.

The estate agent is a key part of the process of buying a house in Canada.

 

Is proactive and offers a good service

If you have a problem or a question, you want someone who takes action to get it resolved, or to provide an answer. Determining up front if an agent is helpful will give you a better chance of success. Before you visit Canada, send them your brief or an email asking a question to see how long they take to get back to you, and how enthusiastic they are about helping you.

Estate agents in Canada may only call themselves realtors if they are licensed by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

Has been operating for a while and has experience of working with UK buyers

You want an agent who knows the area, understands the market, and knows the politics involved to make things happen. Having experience with UK buyers is invaluable, as they will have an understanding of the kinds of issues that arise.

Stays with you until the end

A good agent doesn’t up and leave the minute the final contract is signed. They offer to help you further in terms of opening a bank account, finding a builder, a doctor, schools – whatever you need. You can find out if your prospective agent does this by asking for past-buyer feedback.

Step three: go on a viewing trip

If you are not yet living in Canada, and you have the time and funds available, we recommend that you visit Canada on a viewing trip. A trip of this nature will allow you visit the different towns in order to determine where you want to buy your new home or investment property.

Ready to start seeing some properties? Our Viewing Trip Guide covers what you’ll need to look out for.

Where possible, plan a trip that lasts between four to seven days, so that as well as having time to view properties, you will have time for some leisurely exploration, to try out the local amenities and to soak up the atmosphere. It’s important to get a feel of what everyday life would be like in Canada before you commit. It’s for this reason that many potential buyers opt to rent an apartment or villa in their target area, so that they can see what it’s like at different times of day and can meet some of their future neighbours. Before booking, check national holidays to avoid everything being closed when you arrive.

 

Your agent will be able to help you with choosing a sensible offer for the local market.

Your agent will be able to help you with choosing a sensible offer for the local market.

 

Step four: secure a mortgage

If you are planning on buying with a mortgage, it’s always advisable to have one approved before you start searching for property. That way, you avoid wasting your time and that of your agent until it is a certainty that you will have the finances to make the purchase.

If you are planning on buying with a mortgage, it’s always advisable to have one approved before you start searching for property.

Step five: make an offer

Once you’ve found your property, the time will come to make an offer. When doing so, make sure you take into account the sale price of similar properties in the area. Your agent will be able to advise what a sensible offer will be, especially if using a buyer’s agent. As well as the price, at this stage you can negotiate on the terms of payment, any repairs that need to be done, appliances and fixtures, and the time frame of the sale.

Learn more about the process of buying abroad, including managing finances, in our free Emigration Guide.

Make sure that the end result is favourable for both parties in order to avoid bad feeling and the chance of things falling through. Your realtor will make the offer in writing, including any conditions you would like attached, such as getting a mortgage.

Step six: offer of purchase and sale

With the price agreed, now you get a lawyer or conveyancer who will prepare the Offer of Purchase and Sale, which you sign along with paying a 10 percent deposit. This is now binding.

Step four: completion

The deal is completed between one and two months later, at which point the rest of the money is paid and the home is yours.

Download the Canada Buying Guide today

The Canada Buying Guide takes you through each stage of the property buying process, with practical recommendations from our experts who have been through the process themselves. The guide will help you to:


  Ask the right questions
  Avoid losing money
  Avoid the legal pitfalls
  Move in successfully

Download your free guide to buying in Canada

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