The first question you're bound to ask is, "How much home can I afford?" That depends on a number of factors:

Your selected location. Are you set on a specific area? Downtown? Leaside? Davisville? Leslieville? Riverside?

Your preferred type of home. Detached? Semi? Duplex? High-rise? Townhouse? New or Resale? There are a variety of home styles you will want to explore.

Your income. After all, it's not just the mortgage you have to take into account. There are property taxes, utilities, yearly maintenance for a home and in some cases condo fees. As a general rule of thumb, your monthly home-carrying cost should not exceed 30-35% of your income.

Market conditions. Is it a buyers', sellers' or balanced market?

There are also additional costs to keep in mind. It's a good idea to work out exactly what you want and what you can afford before you begin the search. Be specific! After all, you don't want to suddenly come to the realization that your dream house has come with a nightmare of bills and expenses. Stick to looking at houses in your price range. The more you've thought it out, the better your sales representative can meet your needs. Don't forget to factor in closing costs - adjustments (for taxes, utilities etc. - your lawyer will figure these out for you and they are paid upon closing), lawyers fees, moving costs, hookup costs for some services; and don't forget these will include 13% taxes after July 1st, 2010 as a rule. Especially don't forget the big costs when buying: Ontario Land Transfer Tax and Toronto Land Transfer Tax if buying in Toronto (first-time buyers get a break on both of these under differing guidelines).

Meeting with your bank or a mortgage broker and negotiating a pre-approved mortgage should be the first step you take. There are many types of mortgages and many different terms. Research all of your options. This ensures that there are no surprises once you're ready to make an offer.

Once you've figured out your monthly expenses and what you can afford, you can start your search. Sometimes the first home you see is the one you want; or you might look at home after home with none of them catching your interest. Rest assured, the home you're looking for is out there, and when you find it, you're ready to make an offer. If your offer is accepted, the next steps are closing and moving into your new home.

Purchasing a home is easy once you put your plans into action.

Your sales representative is a trained professional who knows all aspects of the real estate market. Learn more about choosing your Sales Representative.

We provide our real estate services in the following areas: Toronto, Leaside, Davisville, Midtown, Mount Pleasant, Downtown, The Danforth, The Beaches, East York & The GTA.