Home Buyer’s Guide

The home buying process is often described as stressful, whether this is your first house or if you’ve done this before.

How will I know what I can afford or where to find it? What are the steps involved? What is the current real estate market doing? Who will take care of the many transactional details? Should I sell or should I buy first?

These are some of the many questions we encounter every day from people like you who are excited about making their housing dreams come true, but who are concerned about how they’ll get there.

We at the Julie Kinnear Team have over twenty-five years combined real estate experience working with buyers in all kinds of markets. Our expert negotiating skills, knowledge of homes, construction, neighbourhoods, and administrative expertise ensure that you will receive world class service when working with us.

To begin the process of guiding you home, we have put together this collection of insider information for you. It is over a decade in the making and is constantly refined and improved with information to be of maximum value to The Julie Kinnear Team’s clients as you look for a home. You will find out:

  • What makes us different from the "traditional" real estate agent
  • How to obtain financing
  • The costs involved when buying
  • What costs are involved when a home inspection turns up a problem
  • How to decipher listings and legal documents
  • How to attend showings and look at homes like a professional
  • How the offer process works
  • What Buyer Representation is and how it benefits you
  • Information specific to condominiums
  • Information on a home’s major mechanical systems

Experience has shown us that buyers who are best prepared and know most about the home-buying process are most successful in getting exactly the property they want in Toronto. They also enjoy it a lot more as there are no surprises. And the most important thing is that with our knowledge we help you save money!

We Provide Help


When we meet, we help you to simplify the process, discuss our role as a realtor, tell you about the advantage of Buyer Agency and make sure all your legal rights are covered. After the meeting, we will give you a free comprehensive Buyer Manual to take with you so that you can study it at home. If you have any additional questions, you can always ask us.

Based on your buyer profile and discussions, we will set you up in our automatic prospecting system, which will sweep the entire MLS® on a daily basis to find homes that match your needs, wants & desires. You will receive a daily email entitled "Prospect Matches" that will show you all the homes that have come on the market for that day or that have been revised or updated in any way.

Your profile can be changed as we go along, as we both learn more about your likes & dislikes. Just let us know if you’d like to expand, narrow down or change your search criteria at any time, eg. include/exclude parking, heat, number of bedrooms etc.

Your primary agent receives a daily email with the same homes you do – so if you have an inquiry about any of the homes, we will have the same info you do, plus broker notes specifically for REALTORS®. Don’t be surprised if you are the one to mention your interest in a property to us rather than the other way around — with the web’s instant access, you might see your dream home before we do!

Find our more about Searching for Home: How the Process Works.

First Steps in the Buying Process


Your crucial first step in the buying process is obtaining a pre-approved mortgage. Having a pre-approved mortgage will give you the confidence of knowing exactly what you can spend on a home before you start looking. It will also protect you against interest rate increases while you look for your new home. This is also important when we present our offer to the seller – as it means a condition can be removed.

Examples of good mortgage brokers to call will answer your questions and help you determine which financing terms and options are right for you. Your mortgage specialist/banker will help you select the best financing just as we will help you select the right home!

If you currently have RRSP’s, please be sure to ask your lender about the federal government’s Home Buyer’s Plan which allows you to put up to $25,000 of your RRSP (per person) toward a down payment on a first home.

You can find the basics of the plan here.

Main Costs Associated with Buying a Home


Purchasing a home involves one-time costs and monthly expenses such as mortgage, maintenance, insurance, property taxes, and utilities. The largest one-time cost is the down payment. It is usually between five and twenty-five percent of the total price of the property.


In addition to the actual purchase price, there are a number of other expenses that you might be expected to pay for. You can find their list in the following part of this guide.

Typical monthly costs incurred with home ownership are: Mortgage payments, Maintenance, Insurance, Condo fees, Property Taxes, Utilities and Alarm System.

Home Inspection Has a Lot of Advantages


Inspection by a qualified home inspector can give you the added confidence that you’ve made the right decision. In the past, it was done after an offer had been made. These days with multiple offers often this condition is either waived or we do an inspection before an offer. When the procedure is complete, you will receive a written report. You may wish to ask for estimated costs for any necessary repairs.

When viewing an open house it's extremely important to have your eyes open. It's easy to fall in love with a home's appearance, blind to problems that may make it unsuitable.

While aesthetics can be an important consideration, it is necessary to look beyond window-dressing. A qualified home inspector should be hired before purchasing a home, but there are areas that consumers can examine on their own. This will shorten your list of potential homes and reduce the likelihood that a home inspector will reject it as unsafe or unsuitable.

Learn more about being careful when viewing open houses.

It's Very Important to Have a Reliable Lawyer when Buying a Home

It is very important to have a reliable lawyer available for a transaction that is as important and as large as the purchase of a home. We have a team of reliable lawyers to refer you to or guide you. The essential tasks performed by a lawyer include searches and the title transfer. If they are executed improperly, in an extreme case you could end up being homeless.

Your Buyer Profile

Please fill out this form and press submit to send us your buyer profile directly. We will call you back with any questions.

If you'd rather speak to us personally before filling out the form, don't hesitate to call.

5 comments on “Home Buyer’s Guide

  1. What percentage of buyers use an estate agent in Canada?

    What percentage of sellers use an estate agent in Canada?

    …As opposed to buying or selling independently

    Thank you

  2. Hi,
    Im a first time home buyer here in Toronto, and Im read you buyer’s guide and it was a huge help for me, but the thing is, I have trouble using the calculators base on mortgages…

    1. Hi Bryan,
      If you’d like to fill out a buyer profile, found on the left hand column of our website, it will give us some further information of what you’re looking for. We can have someone give you a call and answer any questions you have regarding first time home buying and mortgages.

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