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The seven most expensive homes on the market in Ottawa in February

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OTTAWA — The Ottawa Real Estate Board says 63 homes sold for more than $1 million in Ottawa last month, driving up the average sale price in the capital.

The average sale price for a home increased 31 per cent in January to $677,197.

CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at the seven most expensive homes currently for sale in Ottawa.

Christie’s International Real Estate says “The Address on Old Sunset Boulevard” at Dow’s Lake has three bedrooms, two full baths and a partial bath.

“Uncompromising design, unparalleled sense of style,” says the listing. “This home is unlike any other property ever to have come to the market in Ottawa. Its iconic vantage point over The Rideau Canal and Dow’s Lake, incredible use of space and design and unique interpretation of the outdoors make it a true masterpiece property.”

Christie’s International Real Estate says, “The third floor is taken up by the exquisite rooftop terrace, which has unbelievable panoramic views of The Canal, Dow’s Lake and the Arboretum beyond.”

CTV News Ottawa’s Tyler Fleming took a tour of the most expensive home on the market in Ottawa back in December.

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A Simplified Guide for Toronto First-Time Home Buyers

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Toronto is the largest city in Canada, the fourth largest city in North America, which makes it an exciting place to live in.

But as with other major cities, finding the perfect place to move to can get tricky. If you’re planning on buying a home for the first time in this city, it is indeed a big decision and there are things you should know in advance.

Don’t worry, this guide will help explain the basics of what you as a buyer should know when you decide to buy a home. It will make you feel like a true expert during the buying process.

Decide what type of home you are looking for

There is no right answer to what makes a good home. It all depends on your preferences and needs as the resident. It is, therefore, a good idea to determine as early as possible which features of a home are important to you. If you are buying a home and moving in with someone, it can be a good idea for both of you to make a list and compare.

Toronto is a city that offers different styles of living accommodations and its neighborhoods are quite versatile and diverse, same as the people living there who come from all parts of the world.

The most common forms of housing and real estate opportunities in this city include bungalows, two-storey houses, split-level homes, and the very popular Toronto condos. Due to the high property values, the city boasts of construction of many condominiums as they are a more cost-efficient choice and provide a plethora of benefits.

When you decide on the type of home you want to buy, it is good to do some research and learn the biggest differences between them.

What to think of when choosing homes in Toronto

There are certain things you need to consider when choosing your home in this city. 

Being close to the things you need to visit every day makes life a lot easier. Pay attention to the proximity to shops, preschools, schools, and your job. In addition, access to good public transportation is crucial. Being able to move around the city easily and the opportunity to commute is important to many.

Know that having a balcony can significantly increase the value of your home and improve your well-being. Being able to move easily in the area is something that many people underestimate, but can be very convenient, and this is why you should see if there are good cycles and walking paths. 

And finally, make sure that the house is well designed which is a quality that does not disappear with the age of the house or with renovations. 

Set your budget

Before you start the search for your new home, you must know how expensive of a home you can buy. It is preferable to know in what price range to look for. The budget is usually decided based on your mortgage and how large are the monthly costs you can handle.

A mortgage is always about a balance between risk and income for the bank. The higher the risk for the bank to lend to a particular home, the more expensive the mortgage will be. When it comes to the bank’s reasoning when applying for a loan, it is in principle always a question of whether you as a borrower will be able to repay the mortgage.

The bank also takes into account your financial history. If you are a person who has managed your finances well, the chance increases that you will get your mortgage approved. If, on the other hand, you have a bad reputation with banks, it is weighed in as an aggravating circumstance.

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First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes

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To ensure a smooth and successful experience, there are a few common first-time homebuyer mistakes to avoid:

1. Not Using a Real Estate Agent

While you might be able to house hunt on your own, there are many aspects of buying real estate that can be confusing to first-time shoppers. A real estate agent provides an essential service that you can rely on for negotiating offers, organizing inspections and other details. A good realtors experience is valuable and can help guide you through the process. In addition, whatever money you might save on commissions could easily be spent on a botched offer or overlooked repairs that could be avoided with the help of an agent.

2. Not Using the RIGHT Real Estate Agent

Not using a real estate agent has its issues, but so cannot using the RIGHT real estate agent. You don’t want to be halfway through your home search and then realize your real estate agent isn’t right for you. To avoid this, it helps to get a referral from a friend. If you don’t have any friends who recently purchased, take the time to ask around. Mortgage professionals are great resources to help you build your entire home buying A-Team! Also be sure to speak with your potential choices before you commit.

3. Getting Swept Away

While love at first sight is a good thing, it is always best to err on the side of caution when purchasing a new home. As one of the largest purchases of your life, it is ideal to keep an open mind when house hunting to ensure you are not jumping in too fast, going over budget or ignoring potential pitfalls.

4. Going Over Budget

When it comes to house hunting, budget is everything! As much as you might love the idea of that extra bedroom or a popular neighborhood, it is in the best interest of your future not to go over your predetermined budget. You don’t want to sacrifice your retirement savings or emergency fund and overextending yourself could put your investments – including your home – on the line. Click here to download the My Mortgage Toolbox app (or find it on Google Play and the iStore) today to help you plan your mortgage! From determining your affordability, mortgage payments, income required to qualify and more, our app has it all!

5. Fixating on Lowest Interest Rate

While a low interest rate has its perks and can be important, it should not come at the expense of heavy penalties or restrictions. When it comes to a mortgage everything from terms to penalty calculations to interest rates matter. Ideally, you want to choose a mortgage product that has the best overall contract to serve your needs – now and in the future. To ensure you are making the best decision, talk to a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional about all your options today.

6. Opting Out of Mortgage Insurance

Buying your first home is easily one of the largest investments you will ever make. Mortgage insurance can help you protect it. Not only does it provide you with peace of mind and coverage should anything happen, but mortgage insurance can also allow for more flexible financing options. In addition, it gives you the opportunity to take advantage of available equity to pay debts or make financial investments.

7. Not Researching the Neighborhood

The house of your dreams can only go so far if it is in the wrong neighborhood. Annoying neighbors or a nearby industrial zone can ruin that perfect home. Before committing, it is a good idea to get to know the area and the neighborhood before you make an offer. Talk to local business owners and residents to determine if there are any red flags you should know about.

8. Not Researching Your Lawyer or Notary

At the beginning we talk about not using the RIGHT real estate agent and mortgage professional. However, it is important to ensure that you are putting that same energy into finding the right lawyer or notary as well. Same as with finding a real estate agent, your best referral sources for a lawyer will be friends and business associates. Your DLC mortgage professional may also have some references or suggestions if you are not sure where to start.

9. Choosing a Fixer-Upper Based on List Price

A fixer-upper can be a great project – and of course a low price is appealing – but it is important to be extra diligent during inspections and considerations for these types of homes. On the surface, it might look simple enough to get the home up to code and give it a fresh new look but once you get started, it could be a bigger project than you anticipated. Negotiating a long due-diligence period can be a great option to provide you time to get estimates from contractors in case you need to back out.

10. Immediately Starting Renovations

Renovations can be fun and can often increase the value of your home, but there is no need to rush into them. In many cases, overextending your credit to get upgrades done quickly doesn’t always pay off. Before doing renovations, take time to ensure that you have a solid plan and understand the financial expectations so you can complete and enjoy your renovations without future stress! Living in your home for a while before renovating will also help you plan the best functional changes to the layout. If you are new to homeownership, don’t worry! Our Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professionals can help walk you through every step of the process and provide helpful insights and potential referrals to help you build your home buying team.

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10 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers

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Buying a home for the first time is exciting and a commitment to the future. It’s often challenging, too, and the process requires a lot of steps, many of which can be tricky to navigate as a first-time home buyer.

What are some things you should keep in mind as a first-time home buyer?

First-Time Home Buyer Tips

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind as you begin your journey toward homeownership.

1. Have Your Finances in Order

It’s wise to begin saving as early as possible once you’ve made the decision to purchase a house. You’ll need to consider the down payment, closing costs (which often range from 2% to 5% of the down payment), as well as move-in expenses.

You also need to understand the other costs of homeownership, such as mortgage insurance. property taxes, utilities, homeowner’s insurance, and more.

2. How Much Can You Afford?

Knowing how much you can realistically afford in a home is another important financial consideration. Look for the home of your dreams that fits your budget.

One way to avoid future financial stress is to set a price range for your home that fits your budget, and then staying within that range. Going through the preapproval process will help you understand what price range is realistic for your budget.

3. Make Sure Your Credit is Good

Another thing to keep in mind as a first-time home buyer is your credit score because it determines whether you qualify for a mortgage and affects the interest rate that lenders offer. 

You can check your credit score from the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

This is another good reason for getting preapproved before you start your search. Learn more about the preapproval process and your credit score.

4. Choose The Right Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent guides you through the process every step of the way. He or she will help you find a home that fits your needs, help you through the financial processes, and help ease any first-time buyer anxiety you may have.

Interview several agents and request references.

5. Research Mortgage Options

A variety of mortgages are available, including conventional mortgages – which are guaranteed by the government – FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans (for veterans).

You’ll also have options regarding the mortgage term. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is popular among many homebuyers and has an interest rate that doesn’t change over the course of the loan. A 15-year loan usually has a lower interest rate but monthly payments are larger.

6. Talk to Multiple Lenders

It’s worth your time to talk to several lenders and banks before you accept a mortgage offer. The more you shop around, the better deal you’re liable to get – and it may save you thousands of dollars.

7. Get Preapproved First

Getting a mortgage preapproval (in the form of a letter) before you begin hunting for homes is something else to put on your checklist. A lender’s preapproval letter states exactly how much loan money you can get.

Learn more about the preapproval process and how preapproval provides you with a significant competitive advantage in our article How Preapproval Gives You Home Buying Power.

8. Pick the Right House and Neighborhood

Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of the different types of homes based on your budget, lifestyle, etc. Would a condominium or townhome fit your needs better than a house? What type of neighborhood appeals to you?

9. List Your Needs and Must-Haves

The home you purchase should have as many of the features you prefer as possible. List your needs in order of priority; some things may be non-negotiable to you personally.

10. Hire an Inspector

Hiring an inspector is another crucial step in the home buying process. An inspector will tell you about existing or potential problems with the home, and also what’s in good order. You can learn more about home inspections and how to find a home inspector through the American Society of Home Inspectors website.

Buying a home for the first time is a challenge, but it’s one you can handle with the right planning and preparation.

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