Buyer's Guide

Everything you need to know about the process of buying a new home.

A Step-by-Step First Time Buyer's Guide

Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide created by your agent will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.

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Step 1: Research

Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.

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Step 2: Decide on Your Budget

Notice I said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. This likely includes doing a full household budget and taking into consideration what changes other than a mortgage payment will occur once you move into your new home. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.

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Step 3: Get Prequalified

Just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may approve you for too large of an amount, they may also approve you for a lesser amount or deny you a mortgage altogether. Lack of time at a job, insufficient credit, past bankruptcies, or other financial issues can cause major problems when trying to secure a mortgage. Before you get your heart set on a home, talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. This will also be an advantage when you make an offer on a home, as some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.

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Step 4: Choose a Real Estate Agent

Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Technically yes, but why would you when it costs you nothing for an agent like me to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will I help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but I also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. I may be able to steer you away from certain homes or neighborhoods, suggest hidden gems, or give you pointers that will help you find your dream home for the right price.

My goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home.

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Step 5: Find the Right Home

This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). I will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.

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Step 6: Make an Offer

Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. I will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.

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Step 7: Have the Home Inspected

In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. I can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.

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Step 8: Select Your Loan

Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.

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Step 9: Get a Home Appraisal

Your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.

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Step 10: Finish Paperwork

No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.

Congratulations!

After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams. 

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Testimonials

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Jameena K.

My search for a home began with me looking online and this is where I met Sammy. I introduced myself and Sammy followed up with a phone call. After brief conservation, I explained to Sammy my budget and he was very positive in ...
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June W.

I have the honor to work with their top agent Sammy Kohn, damn I am impressed. I bought and sold properly multiple times, worked with 6 different real estate agents before, Sammy is easily the best in his domain. Sammy is dedic...
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Faig B.

We never heard of Properly before, and from day one, we're impressed with the professionalism of how the team handled the entire process. We had a pleasure working with Sammy Kohn, who changed our opinion about Realtors®. Sammy...
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Adelaide Y.

When I first met Sammy, he asked if I had a magic wand, when would I like to find a house to move into. I was 7 months pregnant at the time and said sometime in the next month so we could move in before the birth of our baby. L...
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Carol L.

We decided to use Properly due to their sales assurance. We wanted to purchase our new home before selling. My husband and I are in our 60s with 2 large dogs and a cat and knew we wouldn't be able to keep our home pristine duri...
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Sharon M.

During my time at Toronto Life, Sammy Kohn was our top ad sales account manager for a number of years. He excels at focusing on the advertising client's needs and recommending custom marketing solutions to assist them in meetin...
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Carla W.

This was our first time working with Properly, and with a pair of agents, and we'd do it all over again. Sammy and Rahim collectively brought experience and precision to the sale process, and their collaboration reflected the a...
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Jullane E.

Purchasing our first condo was a very daunting task as we had a small budget. After Sammy became our Realtor® the process become so much easier. He is very, patient, focused, knowledgeable, and is always on top of everything. I...
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Stefani L.

My husband and I met Sammy by responding to a postcard advertisement we found in our mailbox. We had no intention to put our house on the market but wanted to call him and start the conversation about selling in the future. We ...
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Lisa & Richard W.

We had the pleasure of working with Sammy is looking for a rental unit due to a recent transfer to the Toronto area. Consistently available, easily contactable, and always approachable Sammy exudes confidence, possesses outstan...
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Krista B. & William R.

We would strongly recommend Sammy Kohn as a Realtor®. He is professional, considerate, and genuine. As first-time home buyers, we appreciated his open and honest advice. He always had data on-hand with comparable properties and...
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Laura T.

As you can imagine, buying a home in Toronto when you are living in another city can be quite a daunting process. Sammy and his team were super accomodating to our requests, giving us remote video tours of houses we saw online,...
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Karen L.

My husband and I are very grateful for Sammy's guidance on the purchase of our new home! Sammy has been consistently professional, attentive, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic throughout the process, and with his help, we've now ...
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Taryn S.

Our experience with Properly so far has been fantastic. We thought it might be too good to be true but it has turned out to be very good, and very true. Our agent, Sammy, has gone above and beyond and really understood what we ...
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Amit P.

Hi, first of all, we would like to thank Sammy for all the help and patience throughout the whole process. We are very lucky to have had your services for our first home buying experience. He was so diligent in the whole proces...
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Leanne W.

I was always reluctant to rent out my condo in Yorkville, but when I decided to, Sammy was the first (and only) agent I called. Besides having a friendship that dates back years, I've worked professionally with Sammy in the med...
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Andy W.

I had the pleasure of working with Sammy Kohn. An extremely dedicated professional who always has your best interest in mind. You can always expect Sammy to be on the lookout for top properties across the GTA. Out hunt lasted a...
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Rhia B.

Being first-time home buyers, we were a little intimidated at first. Luckily we found Sammy Kohn, who made the process much easier, and any questions we had were answered quickly and efficiently. We were both very happy and cou...
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Terri M.

My husband and I bought our very first house with Sammy. At first, we didn’t really know what we wanted but with his patience and prudent guidance, we found a great little space for us on the East side of downtown Toronto! We’r...
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J. V. Bennett

Sammy is an exceptional Realtor®. His calmness and experience matched with his go-getter attitude really simplified the first-time home buying experience for me and my mother. We truly appreciate his dedication and hard work an...
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