Wednesday, October 31, 2012

1-10 Home Buyers Cheat Sheet

So, You've read all the posts so far...

Or you were lazy and just want the Coles notes version.

This is the cheat sheet!

Being a computer nerd, I will eventually be making something called a Critical Path Chart, as well as a Visio Diagram for process flow. For the non nerds, here's a quick itemized list, with links to further details from posts earlier in this blog.

Research and Prep:

  1. Decide if home ownership is right for you.
  2. Do some self Budgeting, determine a monthly mortgage payment that is approx 60% of your "spare" income (40% is for Utilities, maintenance, Taxes, Insurance, and savings)
  3. Contact a Realtor in the area you want to buy.
  4. Have Coffee with Realtor (hopefully his/her treat ;-) ) To discuss the process of finding a house
  5. Contact a "Mortgage Guy" and your bank, "Investments guy" for Down-payment advice, mortgage advice and pre-approval
  6. Make a list of things you want in your future house
  7. Go See some houses in your price range (3 is recommended. Open houses are fine.)
  8. Have your dreams crushed because you can't afford a dream house you stumbled into by accident
  9. Build a REALISTIC list of things you need in a future house
  10. Get a few (3,000-6,000) ready in case you need to jump on a property
  11. Obtain pre-approval from mortgage guy
  12. You are now ready to "jump" at the RIGHT house
  13. Look at some more houses
  14. Make an intelligent offer on a house with your three critical conditions
  15. Enter "the tango" of offers and counter offers
It's Go Time (Example using 90 days to closing/posession date)
  1. Accept an offer or counter offer
  2. Call Lawyer, e-mail or fax Signed offer
  3. Give your Realtor the Deposit (Bank draft/certified Cheque) (a few thousand dollars or more, depending on value/neighborhood)
  4. Call Building inspector. Book ASAP. (Inspection within the next day or two is ideal)
Within a week of accepting offer: (T-Minus ~85 Days) :
  1. Get Building inspection
  2. Confirm Financing
  3. Waive Conditions, OR go back to negotiation table if something isn't right. (go back to step 15)
  4. Check with lawyer, Make sure they have mortgage details from mortgage guy, Purchase details from Realtor.
  5. Book Moving Truck/service
  6. Give 2 Months notice to current landlord
  7. Book Moving elevator (if required)
  8. Look into Utilities at new place, Create new accounts for utilites you don't currently use
  9. 2 months prior to closing, Call Existing utilities if you have any, to cancel accounts
Approx 1-2 Months from Closing Date:
  1. Start packing
  2. Ask to see the house to take measurements for your couches. (make sure they fit down stairs) (Also to make sure they're taking care of your new house)
  3. At least 1 month ahead, Inform insurance companies of move for Auto rates
  4. Obtain House insurance effective Move in Date. (don't forget any jewelry, expensive bicycles, etc)
Approx 3-4 Weeks before Closing Date:
  1. 2 Weeks prior to Closing, Chase up lawyer. Get a status update. Most of the lawyer stuff happens now
  2. Get Down Payment Bank Draft, Run to Lawyer with it.
  3. Double-check with utilities that everything is honkeydorey. (Installation dates, billing, etc.)
Less than 1 Week before Closing Date:
  1. Go into lawyers office a few days prior to closing to sign off all the ridiculous amount of paperwork
  2. Create your "moving kit"  Generally paper towel, screwdrivers, Masking Tape, Styrofoam cups, Paper Plates, Plastic cutlery. Air Mattress, Sleeping Bag, Pillow, Various Cleaning supplies, Vacuum cleaner/Mops. (This allows you to clean before furniture gets in, and it also allows you to eat/drink when you order pizza because they're no food in the new place)
Closing Day! 
(...Assuming you actually got sleep last night and some energy, now is an appropriate time to do the happy dance)
  1. Get called from the lawyer late afternoon, and run there, as fast as you can, to excitedly pick up the keys to your new house. Don't get a speeding ticket.
  2. Speed to your new house.(Don't get ANOTHER speeding ticket)
  3. Take a corny photo of yourselves standing beside the SOLD sign. 
  4. Promptly post above Photo to Facebook. (optional)
  5. Get inside and do a mini inspection. Make sure all the appliances included are working, and that there is no substantial damage that was clearly not there during inspections/viewings.
  6. Turn on the fridge if off. Insert Beer. It'll be needed on moving day. (after the move, of course... you want your stuff INTACT.)
  7. Probably spend the night Cleaning. Crash at 3:30am on air mattress, wake up, late for work and speed there. (they'll understand...)
The following 3 days:
  1. Drop off/mail things like Cable modems, PVR's, Sat. equipment of your old house to the appropriate provider
  2. Change your addresses on your license, Health card, Outdoors card, Transferred utilities, Visa/Bank items, Magazines, etc.
  3. Internet/TV installation By Utilities. Be home for this as they screw up EVERYTHING!!!
  4. You might want to look at mail forwarding from your old address. I think its about 100 bucks for a year. (didn't do this myself)
  5. Final bits and pieces and packing for Moving. Bring your breakables in your own car. 
  6. Also, Bringing Microwave and some alphaghettis/Frozen dinners may be a good idea. Eating McDonald's or Pizza 4 days in a row is awesome, but horrible. (Thankfully it takes weeks for scurvy to set in)

There will be many more posts!  I've covered the very basics of buying a home... But Owning a home is a whole other world of hurt.   (I meant to type joy...  really.)

I will also be posting about the smaller details of buying a house, and things to consider. (Like Taxes... Insurance... Age of houses...)

If you find this blog informative, Please let me know in the comments!  It takes a TON of time to write.

Now I will be also posting about my personal experiences, and eventually this will turn into a DIY First Time Homeowner's Blog. A lot of life lessons have already been taught, so the posts will be frequent. I think it'll be at least a month before I convert to weekly posts instead of every other day posts!

Regarding the ads, I've screened them to only show ones related to my content, so there will be some useful ads Mortgage Calculators, Banks, inspectors, Realtors, etc. Don't be afraid to click on them. Right now I've made a whopping 6 dollars for over 15 hours of writing time... which equates to 40 cents an hour. *sadface*

Its a labour of love!

Also, if there are requests or questions, I'll either answer them in the comments, or if the question is "loaded" enough, it'll feature its own blog posting!

Hopefully I make a few regular readers!

The next post:  How to make your move go smoothly.


  1. Hey Sudz,
    This couldn't have come at a better time for me - planning on a place with the GF in spring/summer. Great posts!
    (Skip on TM3)

  2. Wow this list is great! Extremely helpful! My husband and I are from Jersey and are looking at South Carolina real estate but we're totally lost on how to start the home shopping process and what to consider and take into account when looking at potential homes. This is very helpful for those looking to buy a home anywhere.

  3. Thanks for posting this kind of idea it really helps the first timer owner. Keep up the good work.
    real estate marketing plan