Calgary is a vibrant city with a diverse population and plenty of opportunities for work, lifestyle and education. Before we talk about how to buy a home in Calgary lets explore some reasons why you might want to make Calgary your home:
Strong economy: Calgary has a strong and diverse economy. Long known for being the centre of the energy sector in Canada, Calgary is now emerging as a globally recognized tech and innovation hub with the fastest tech workforce growth in North America. Ties to the agriculture industry through ranching and farming there are numerous employment options for the residents of this fast-paced city.
Beautiful scenery: Located close to the Rocky Mountains, with stunning views and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Just a short drive to Kananaskis Country, Banff National Park and beautiful Lake Louise ther's unlimited opportunities to take in all the outdoors has to offer. The city itself is also home to many parks and green spaces, making it a great place to live for those who enjoy the outdoors.
Family-friendly: Calgary is a family-friendly city, with great schools and plenty of activities for children. With a median age of 38 years the population is young, relative to other Canadian cities. Calgary is considered safe and has a low crime rate, making it an ideal place to raise a family.
Cultural diversity: The third most diverse city in Canada, Calgary is home to over 240 different ethnic origins and 120 languages spoken. With a thriving arts and cultural scene residents enjoy festivals, museums, galleries, and live music throughout the year.
Affordable housing: Despite being a major city, Calgary has some of themost affordable housing compared to other major Canadian cities. This makes it an attractive option for those looking to buy a home.
Excellent healthcare: Calgary has a high standard of healthcare, with world-class hospitals and medical facilities. Residents can access quality healthcare when they need it.
Education: With 5 major post-secondary insitutions in Calgary the education opportunities are very good. The University of Calgary (UofC), Mount Royal University, Bow Valley College, SAIT, St. Mary's University and Alberta University of the Arts are all found in Calgary.
Overall, Calgary is a great Canadian city to buy a home for those who're looking for a high standard of living, great job opportunities, and a range of cultural and recreational activities.
So what are the steps you need to take in order to buy a home in Calgary? Follow these steps and you'll be well on your way.
Step 1: Get pre-approved for a mortgage
This is your most important first step when buying real estate. This wil help you to determine how much you can afford and where your payments will be so you can be. The easiest way to do this is to speak with a mortgage broker who will collect the required information and start the pre-approval process for you. Be aware of the difference between getting an pre-approval vs. a pre-qualification: You want to be pre-approved. Information you'll need to provide is your tax information for the past two years, employment history, debts you currently have (including personal loans, student loans and credit card debt).
Knowing your budget: this is the most important part of shopping for a home. The amount of money you want to spend on your new Calgary home will be the most determinant factor in your shopping, it will influence the location, size and type of home you'll be able to purchase.
Step 2: Find a real estate agent
A good REALTOR® can help you find the right home in the right neighbourhood and guide you through the home-buying process. Look for an agent you feel a connetion with whom you can trust and who listens carefully to what you're looking for in your new home.
Step 3: Choose a neighbourhood
Calgary has over 200 neighbourhoods to choose from, each with its own character and amenities. Consider your lifestyle and needs, such as proximity to work , schools, transportation and amenities when considering your neighbourhoods.
Step 4: Start your search
Once you have your budget, agent and location it's time to start your search. Your agent will set up a search to send you listings that match your criteria, and you can also search online on real estate websites. Diane-Richardson.com and CalgaryHomez.com are two sites that could help with this.
Step 5: View homes and make an offer
You'll start the shopping process by looking online but when you find something that looks interesting it's time to schedule a viewing (also referred to as a showing). Do this with your REALTOR®. It's important that your agent see all the houses you see, this will help when it comes time to write an offer, he or she will have a better understanding of the value of that home to you, not just based on the market conditions.
Step 5.1: Writing an offer
When you've found a home you want to purchase it's time to write an offer. This is where your real estate agent is really invaluable. There's lots of paperwork involved in a modern real estate deal and legal contracts that will bind you to an agreement once signed. Your REALTOR® can help you determine your offer price, conditions of the contract and additional terms that may form part of the offer to purchase.
Step 5.2: Negotiation
Generally your initial offer will be countered by the seller with what is referred to as a counter-offer. This will likely include some common ground based on your original offer but may have adjustments to the agreement that the seller wouldl like to see. These can include the possession date, the amount of the deposit or goods included/not included but most often, the difference will be the price. Your agent is going to help you through this negotiation process until you eithe reach an agreement with the seller or one side of the negotiation decides that an agreement can't be made and walks away.
If an agreement between you and the seller is reached you will be required to pay deposit to be held in trust by the seller's brokerage. This is known as good faith money and shows the seller that you are a serious buyer and are now going to make your best efforts to satisfy and condittions that were agreed upon in the purchase contract
Step 6: Inspections and Financing
As mentioned there will be conditions on your purchase contract, the most common of these are a property inspection and financing.
Step 6.1: Financing
This is where your mortgage broker gets cracking on the final approval for your purchase. If you're pre-approved you've probably submitted most of the required paperwork but there might be a few more items the lender will request. Your purchase contract and property details will be sent to your mortgage professional by your REALTOR®; just like you had to be approved for financing so does the property you're buying, after all it will be the collateral for the loan you're about to take. This part of the process will also likely require an appraisal which is a cost that you, as the buyer, will have to bear. Be sure to budget at least $300 for this.
Step 6.2: Inspections
Depending on the type of property you're buying there are different inspections that you may want to have done or that may be required. When buying a detached, semi-detached or townhouse in the city a home inspection can be a good way to determine the condition of the home, including the rood, furnace, hot water heater and appliances.
A home inspection can help identify potential problems that may not be visible to the untrained eye. This can include issues with the foundation, electrical system, or plumbing, that could be costly to repair. If the inspection uncovers any issues with the home, the buyer may be able to use this information to negotiate repairs or a lower sale price with the seller.
If the property you're buying is a condo or strata then a document review, by a qualified document reviewer is highly recommended. With a condo purchase you also want to know the health of the condo board, the bylaws that you'll be required to live by and whether there are any upcoming issues that may impact your enjoyment of your property.
If your purchase is an acreage it may also be important to have the water quality, well pressure and septic systems tested.
Step 7: Working towards possession
Once the home inspection is complete and your financing is secured and you have waived any and all conditions on the purchase contract you now have a firm sale. You still have a few things to look after in order for your deal to finalize but you're almost there. You'll need to get homeowners insurance if you are buying a house or townhouse and content insurance if you're buying a condo (your REALTOR® can help with this). Also, you will want to set up your utilities and arrange for your property taxes to be automatically paid every month (known as TIPP in Calgary). Maybe arrange for a change of address at the post office and give your new address to anybody who should have it.
At some point, usually two weeks to ten days before your possession date, you'll meet with your real estate lawyer who will go through your mortgage documents with you, have you sign them and show you the adjustments for taxes, condo fees or any lease amounts tied to your property. There will most likely be a difference between the deposit you gave to the listing agent's brokerage (remember that good faith money) and the balance of your down payment. This is the day you'll need to have that money available and you'll bring it to your lawyer's office, don't worry, your lawyer is going to tell you all of this well in advance of this meeting.
Step 8: Possession or Closing
Congratulations, the big day is finally here!. On this day your lawyer will transfer the outstanding balance owing on the purhase to the seller's lawyer. When the transfer is completed your REALTOR® agent will be advised that the keys can be released, that's when you'll at your new home and they'll hand over the keys. Ta Da! You're a home owner.
For help with your purchase (or to list your property) get in touch with me, Diane Richardson and I can help to guide you through the process and make sure things run smoothly. You can email me at Diane@mypadCalgary.com or call/text me on 403-397-3706.