If you are buying your first home in Ontario, you may be excited and nervous at this serious undertaking. Before you begin the process of purchasing real estate, you may have questions about how to proceed. Below are answers to four frequently asked questions to get you started.
Do You Need A Lawyer To Buy Real Estate?
Although not required, having a real estate lawyer is extremely helpful. This is especially true if you are planning to buy your first home. The legal process of purchasing real estate can be confusing and the lawyer can navigate you through the varying laws and requirement of home ownership.
If you do decide to hire a lawyer, do so as soon as you start looking at homes. They can guide you through such steps as applying for a mortgage and making an offer when you find a place you desire. They will also file any paperwork for you and guide you towards funding assistance sources, home inspection services, and mortgage insurance.
What Are The Types Of Property Ownership Available?
In Ontario, Canada, there are three types of property ownership available. The type you choose will depend on whom you wish to have included on the title. Your lawyer can help you decide which type of property ownership best meets your needs.
The first type of property title is sole ownership. Only your name will be on the title and you retain the primary rights to the property. However, if you are married, the property is still considered a matrimonial home because your spouse will have their own interest in the real estate.
The second type of title is referred to as joint tenant ownership where you and one other person are listed on the deed. For example, if you are married, you and your spouse are listed as the property owners and each has an equal share. Right of survivorship falls under this type of title, allowing one person to retain ownership if the other party were to pass away.
The third type of ownership is called tenants in common. Under this title, each party has a specific share in the property as decided upon and placed on the deed. For example, if you and a parent decide to purchase a property together, you may have a 60% interest while they have a 40% share in the real estate.
Do You Qualify For The Ontario Home Ownership Savings Plan Act?
Since this is your first real estate purchase, you may qualify for assistance under the Ontario Home Ownership Savings Plan Act, or OHOSP. Under this plan act, you may be able to receive a tax credits up to $2,000 per year of contributions. To qualify for funding under this act, you cannot make more than $40,000 per year by yourself. If you are married, your combined income cannot be more than $80,000.
If you decide to apply for funding under OHOSP, you will need a lawyer to handle the paperwork and money transfer from the government. If you qualify, the funds will be given to your lawyer so they can put it towards the closing costs of the property.
Do You Need To Have Mortgage Insurance Before Buying A Property?
Once you have applied for a mortgage and made an offer to the seller, the bank will require you to obtain mortgage insurance before the deal goes to closing. This insurance covers the bank and you in case you are injured or die before the mortgage is paid. The insurance will pay the remaining balance, protecting your interests, as well as your family's and the bank's interests.
Although the above questions and answers only offer some information about becoming a first-time homeowner, they can help you get started. If you have any further questions or want to know what steps need to be taken next, you may want to set up a consultation with a real estate law specialist.