How to Buy a Home in Vancouver: a quick overview

Are you a first time home buyer? Or maybe it's been a while since you bought a home? I am going to outline the process in 5 steps, nice and simple, so you’ve got a better idea of what actually happens.

If you're looking for a complete, thorough guide to buying a home, you can find my Home Buying Guide HERE!

Do you know how to buy a home?

And I am not just talking about what you see on TV when someone walks into an open house and says “I’ll take it!”... becasue it doesn't happen like that in real life.

Step 1: Find your people

This means, find your realtor and your mortgage broker. If you already know a realtor, it’s a good idea to talk to them first and they can pass along their trusted mortgage broker contacts. The same goes the other way; If you already know a mortgage broker, reach out to them for their trusted realtor contacts.

The reason for this? Not all realtors and mortgage brokers are the same. I had a transaction fall through recently because the mortgage broker representing the buyer on the other side of the transaction somehow screwed up after they already gave them the green light to buy. It's unfortunate for everyone involved in the transaction, but it does happen.

Step 2: Start the search

It’s really important in this step to make a needs vs. wants list, and go through this list thoroughly with your realtor. They can also help you look for homes online - as in set up a specified search for your criteria and set up notifications if you’d like.

Then you’ll start physically viewing homes! Which, to be honest, is one of the most fun parts of the process!

Step 3: Put in an offer

This step includes the most amount of paperwork you’ll see from the realtor, and can be very stressful if you end up being in multiple offers. However, if you make sure you have a clear goal in mind, and understand the amount you’re willing to pay for that home, it will ease some of the stress. Your realtor will help provide comparable sold properties so you’ve got some information to base your offer on.

Step 4: Due diligence

Typically when writing an offer you leave yourself a period of time, called a subject period, where you get to fulfil the subjects you’ve included in your offer. This period is typically about 7-10 days and usually includes reading strata documents, getting your financing in order, doing an inspection, getting insurance and reviewing the title (those are the "big 5" that are typically included). The subjects can also include other things, such as subject to selling another property. This one can be seen often for upsizers and downsizers, so ensure some stability when moving homes. It’s also a good idea to find your notary or lawyer during this time.

Once you’ve satisfied all of your subjects, you will remove those and submit your deposit to your realtor, which will be held in trust in their bank account. Then the offer goes firm, which leads us to the next step.

Step 4: Closing

The closing date will be negotiated in the contract and is typically 30 to 60 days after subject removal, but I have seen it as short as 10 days after subject removal to 3 months, so there can definitely be some room to negotiate that. If the owner is looking for another home, rezoning is involved, or for other reasons, the closing can be 6+ months. The timing can also differ greatly if you’re dealing with a tenanted property versus owner occupied or vacant.

Of course, this is also the best part because this is when you get the keys to your new home and celebrations can really begin!

Now that you know the process of buying a home, some questions may have arisen. Feel free to download my Home Buying Guide HERE. It has tons of information for any home buyer! If you have more questions reach out anytime, I am always happy to help!

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