Is there any Government money available to help first time buyers? Are there programs to help with closing costs? 

There are a number of programs to help first-time homebuyers, including the Home Buyer’s Plan from the federal government that allows people to withdraw up to $25,000 in one year from your RRSPs to finance the purchase of a house, as well as the Land Transfer Tax Refund for first-time homebuyers that gives you a refund of as much as $2,000 from the provincial government on the Ontario Land Transfer Tax, and the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit, which provides a rebate of $750 to first-time buyers from the federal government.

Can I get out of an offer if I have a financing condition? Do I have to prove I didn’t get financing?

If your offer is conditional on your obtaining financing, you must make a good faith effort to obtain financing for the property. If this was a condition of the offer, the inability to obtain financing can entitle you to get the full amount of your deposit back and back out of the contract. Whether you have to demonstrate that you attempted to get financing and failed is dependent on the terms of the contract, and how it was worded. In many cases, including a clause about the financing having to be agreeable to the buyer rather than just finding any available financing.

Can I avoid paying land transfer tax?

No – this tax is mandatory on all land purchases, including condominiums.

What is the normal number of days for closing when you purchase a house/condo?

This very much depends on circumstances, as it can be as little as a couple of weeks or considerably longer. When the closing date is comes as a result of the agreement between buyer and seller, and is dependent on their situations and what they can both agree to.

How much of a down payment is needed?

For first-time homebuyers, a downpayment of 5% of the total price is needed, and buying insurance will also be required, as it will be for any other buyer putting down less than 20% of the purchase price.

I found out I don’t qualify as a first-time homebuyer – Do I lose my deposit?

If your offer is conditional on financing, then you can choose not to waive this condition and get your deposit back. If your offer was firm or not conditional on financing then you will not receive your deposit back and are obligated to close on the deal.

How can I buy a house with bad credit and no money?

The answer is, you really can’t. Saving a down payment and working to improve your credit rating are important steps towards being able to purchase a home, and there aren’t really ways around it.

Does the Buyer or Seller pay the land transfer tax in Ontario – The Buyer or Seller?

The buyer pays this in Ontario.

How can I find out more about the City of Windsor/Essex County?

Visiting the City of Windsor website and County of Essex websites are a good start.

How much is a bank appraisal?

Appraisals are often a requirement of getting financing, and the cost for one varies depends on the individual appraiser. Some lenders, including many banks, offer to pay the appraisal fee for their customers.

Do I need a real estate agent to buy a home?

No, but having expert help when buying or selling a home is definitely a good idea. A real estate agent such as myself knows how to protect your interests, offer advice on the Windsor-Essex County area and its neighbourhoods, can negotiate the best deal for you, and can help with services like financing, home inspections, and more. Real estate is very complex, and having a professional who knows it inside and out on your side can get you the best deal and avoid a lot of headaches down the road.

How much does a house cost in Windsor-Essex?

That depends on the city/town you’re interested in, the size, location, and many other factors. This area offers houses to fit almost any budget, from great starter homes to luxury waterfront properties, so the cost varies depending on what you are looking for. In general, housing prices in Windsor-Essex are lower than in many areas of the country.

Should I ever waive the financial condition of my offer?

No. Confirming your financing is extremely important and you could end up losing your deposit and gaining a host of legal headaches for backing out of the deal. Making your offer conditional on financing protects you in case you aren’t able to get the financing you need in order to buy a house.

Are new or pre-construction houses subject to the Land Transfer Tax?

Yes – buying a house or condo is always subject to this tax.