Never without my pre-approval!

The first step: Know your borrowing capacity! If you've already chosen your broker, he or she can refer you to a mortgage broker who will inform and guide you through the various options available to you. For example, obtaining a mortgage pre-authorization or taking equity in your property to buy.

Although optional, pre-approval offers several advantages:

  • It lets you know the maximum value of the property you can consider, based on your borrowing capacity and downpayment, and in relation to your credit;
  • Guarantee you a mortgage rate;
  • Prove your seriousness in the eyes of owner-sellers as a potential buyer, especially in a multiple-offer situation;
  • Avoid the disappointment that a house outside your budget could cause when the bank turns you down.

Depending on your situation, your broker will be able to refer you to a mortgage broker or a mortgage representative from a banking institution who can best meet your needs.

No broker?! No problem!

To find THE right broker, nothing beats a good reference!

Ask your colleagues, friends or family which real estate broker they liked working with and why. The answers will point you in the direction of a few choice brokers you can take the time to meet. Go with your intuition first (the "match" has to be right!), then do some checking:

  • Is he available?
  • How do their services differ from those of other brokers?
  • Does he specialize in the type of property you're looking for?
  • Does he have a valid OACIQ license, any administrative mentions in his file, or is he subject to any disciplinary measures
  • Are they familiar with the area or sector you want to settle in?
  • What costs can you expect?

Following this meeting, you can discuss the next step with your broker: determining your needs.

Determine your specific needs

The reasons and characteristics for buying a property vary from person to person. Talking to your real estate broker about your specific needs and personal situation can help him or her better understand your reasons for preferring one area over another, for example, so as to better target the properties that might be right for you. The questions below will help your broker understand you better. Be prepared to answer them!

  • What type of property are you looking for? Single-family, income, condominium? Bungalow or cottage?
  • What kind of environment do you prefer? City, country, suburb?
  • What nearby services are important to you? Elementary school? Public transportation? Proximity to work?
  • What are your priorities within the home? How many bedrooms? How many bathrooms? What type of heating system?
  • Are you ready to renovate? Kitchen and/or bathroom? Major repairs (foundation?)
  • What's important for the exterior? Number of parking spaces? With or without garage? In-ground pool?
  • Do you intend to operate an office or business, or to house a relative?

Ready for the house hunting?!

Finally, we're there! Often recognized as the favorite part of the buying process, finding the perfect home can be harder than you'd like! Here are a few tips to ensure that this stage remains enjoyable for you. Don't forget that the buying process can be a lengthy one. Be patient - few people buy the first house they see!

  • Wait outside for your broker before entering. He'll probably bring along some documentation that will come in handy during the visit.
  • Try to arrange childcare. Although they're welcome during visits, having them babysat will allow you to be 100% attentive and available. A 2nd visit can be made with them if the property interests you.
  • Please respect the visit schedule, out of politeness for the owners who often welcome us, but also to avoid the stress that a delay in the visit schedule could cause.
  • At the time of the visit, if you feel that the property does not meet your expectations at all, it is possible to politely shorten it by notifying your broker.
  • Feel free to open doors and cabinets!
  • Do not take photos during your visit without the seller's permission.
  • Remember, no property is perfect. The home inspector will give you his opinion on the property's current condition, what needs to be repaired and/or improved, and what you can do to avoid recurring problems.
  • One last piece of simple, but worthwhile (!) advice: Wear shoes that are easy to put on and take off!

The promise to purchase

The promise to purchase (or offer) process is a contractual document that confirms the intention of the parties: to buy the property, and to sell when signed by the seller. This promise commits the parties to concluding the transaction once all conditions have been met. A deed of sale must be signed to formalize the transfer of ownership. The promise to purchase is a pre-contract. When signed and accepted, it constitutes a legal contract under the Civil Code of Quebec.

The broker who accompanies you in the purchasing process has a wealth of information to help establish the value of a property, which he or she uses not only to market a property, but also before making a promise to purchase. Before writing your promise to purchase, the broker will check with you a number of things, including the fair market value of the property you're interested in. Having access to the prices of properties sold in recent months will protect your financial future by ensuring that you don't pay too much for your property.

You'll also need to read a number of documents just before writing your offer. The seller's declaration is one of the most important (and obligatory) documents in the buying process! The sale of a property involves various stages and obligations, one of which is for the seller to complete, with his real estate broker, the "Seller's Declaration" form on the immovable (or "SD form") created by the OACIQ to protect the parties involved. This mandatory form enables the buyer to obtain details on the condition of the property, and the seller to protect himself against possible recourse. Your offer price may be based in part on these declarations.

Once your broker has all the necessary information, they will send the application to the financial institution that will disburse the mortgage. The lender will then review your file to determine whether your application meets their requirements. If the lender is satisfied that your finances and property meet their criteria, they will approve your mortgage.

Building inspection

We strongly recommend that you have your property inspected. Inspectors or professionals (e.g., an architect, a building technologist or a building engineer) must meet the following requirements:

  • hold professional liability insurance against fault, error or omission;
  • use a recognized inspection service agreement;
  • perform inspections in accordance with a recognized building inspection standard of practice;
  • provide a written report to the party using their services.

The inspector you choose will evaluate everything that is visible: structure, roofing, plumbing, electrical installation, and so on. Once you've received the inspection report, read it carefully and ask any questions you may have.

**If you're buying without a legal guarantee of quality, an inspection is even more important. It will allow you to complete the information in the Seller's Declarations on the building by going into greater depth. It will also demonstrate that you have acted prudently.


It's time! The big day has arrived - the day you become a homeowner!

It's the notary's responsibility to draw up the deed of sale in accordance with the terms agreed in the promise to purchase, and to meet the deadlines. He or she will contact you a few days before the signing of the deed of sale to set up an appointment. You will need :

2 pieces of identification;
a cheque book (for adjustments);
proof of home insurance

It's important for the brokers in our team to be present at this very important meeting too! Our role is to ensure that the clauses set out in the promise to purchase are respected and/or transferred to the deed of sale.

Expenses to consider when buying a property

The purchase of a property often hides expenses that we forget (or want to forget?!) Here are just a few:

  • Inspection by a building expert
  • Tests at buyer's expense (vermiculite, pyrite, water test, etc.)
  • Opening of mortgage file with bank
  • Conventional loan (20% cash down)
  • CMHC-insured loan (less than 20%, minimum 5%)
  • Deposit on promise to purchase
  • Adjustments (taxes, condo fees, fuel such as oil or propane, etc.)
  • Notary fees
  • Electricity (Hydro-Québec) and gas (Gaz Métropolitain) meters: The buyer and seller must notify Hydro-Québec and Gaz Métropolitain (if applicable) of the date of the change of ownership so that the meters can be read on that date, and the amounts charged to the buyer and seller respectively on the date of occupancy of the property.
  • Homeowner's insurance: Don't forget that when you sign the deed of sale, you'll need to provide proof that homeowner's insurance is in force, for an amount equivalent to or greater than the existing mortgage.
  • Moving expenses, painting, decorating, etc.
  • Property transfer tax or "welcome tax": The municipality in which you've moved will send you a transfer tax bill within 30 days of signing the deed of sale. This is calculated according to certain criteria, which you can find at this address: Transfer tax.


Yes! Help me with my purchase!


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