Here at Move to Squamish we represent many first-time buyers and sometimes the process of buying a home can be stressful, especially when it’s considered a seller’s market. Understanding the amount to offer for a home, the steps to take after an offer is accepted, and the costs involved in closing can be overwhelming to buyers even if it isn’t their first time to the table. Here we hope to simplify the process of buying a home in Squamish so you know what to expect, and can anticipate the next steps as you move from offer, to subject removal and completion.
Step One- Finding the right property
This is the fun part. Browsing online listings, inspecting properties for sale and flipping through the pre-sales. Knowing what you want (and what you can afford) is important during this stage. Being knowledgeable of market conditions to ensure realistic expectations is important. Having a good knowledge of the different neighbourhoods and where you want to be will help narrow down options (organize a private tour of Squamish to get to know the town better). By having all mortgage pre-approvals in place you will be ready to jump when you find the right property. Being able to act when you find what you are looking for is imperative when buying a home in Squamish, especially in a seller’s market when homes are moving fast.
Once you find the right property the next step is to submit an offer.
Step Two- Submitting an offer and negotiations
It is now time to submit an offer on a property. Your buyer’s agent will be able to guide you on price, this will factor in what you can afford as well as what the market value is for the home. Comparable sales are used to determine the likely value. In some cases, there may be other parties bidding on the same property, this is called a multiple offer scenario. Circumstances like this can definitely be more stressful, and typically the best offer is put forward right away to come into the situation competitively.
A Contract of Purchase and Sale will be drafted by your agent which will detail the purchase price, important dates of the contract (subject removal, completion and possession), as well as subject conditions of the contract (such as inspection, financing, reviewing strata documents etc.). Your buyer’s agent will be able to advise on the subjects required to represent your best interests with regards to the contract. Once the contract is drafted it will be submitted to you for electronic signatures. Now the negotiation process begins and the real fun starts.
The negotiation process can be stressful, especially in multiple offer situations, but even if you are the only offer, there could be a lot of back and forth within tight time deadlines. In most cases a seller will respond to the initial offer with a counter offer, the buyer will then respond by accepting the counter offer or responding with another counter. This process can go on for a day or two. Sometimes the prices are too far apart and a deal cannot be reached, if an agreed upon price is decided you now have an accepted offer! The next step is to address all of the conditions required for subject removal.
Step Three- Subject removal process
Now that you have an accepted offer, it is time to shift focus to addressing the subject clauses of the contract. Typically the subject removal time period is 10-14 days. Some common subjects include:
- Subject to inspection (you will need to organize an inspection, your buyer’s agent can recommend building inspectors to do this, budget $500 for this).
- Subject to financing (you will need to send your lender/ mortgage broker your contract, and have them make final arrangements with the bank/ lender to arrange financing).
- Subject to strata documentation approval (if you’re buying a strata property, usually a condo or townhome, you will need to review all strata information including bylaws, minutes, financials and more).
- Subject to sale (if you need to sell you home first, you will need to do this before you complete on your new sale).
- Subject to fire and property insurance
There are many more subject clauses that can be inserted into a contract, your agent will be able to advise on these depending on your unique situation.
Once you are satisfied with all of the subject conditions of the contract you are now ready remove subjects, an addendum will be prepared for you to sign, and once this is done the home is considered sold. Congrats! Now it’s time to prepare for closing.
Step Four- Completion and possession
After subject removal there is a period of anywhere from a of couple weeks to a couple months (sometimes even longer depending on the situation), until the sale completes and the home is officially yours. Between subject removal and completion aspects of your mortgage are being finalized, your lawyer will begin the process of transferring the title of the property from the seller to you, and closing costs such as property transfer tax, legal fees and GST (if applicable) will need to be collected. If you’re not sure of what closing costs to expect, read this article.
You will also want to organize the move, so everything is ready to go for possession date (typically the day after completion). Completion date is when the title transfers name, when the mortgage is transferred and when all adjustments are made (property tax, utilities, pre-paid services etc.). Possession date is when you can pick up they keys, move into your home, kick off your shoes and enjoy your new pad. You survived the process of buying a home, now it’s time to celebrate.
If you’re looking to buy a home in Squamish, let Move to Squamish help you. We will guide you every step of the way from finding the perfect property, negotiating the best deal and ensuring your best interests are representing throughout the entire process. With 30 years of experience helping buyers navigate the property market in Squamish, you are in good hands with Meghan and Nanci from Move to Squamish! Contact us today!