Crystal Tost (403) 264-7653

How to Buy a House in Calgary

Couple buying a home

Buying a home in Calgary can be confusing. Check out some details about the buying process below and it may just make investing in that new lifestyle a little easier!

Have you decided to buy a house in Calgary but not sure where to start? If you want an edge in a highly competitive market, I suggest you partner with a true Calgary real estate expert. While there are many realtors who come and go during the good times, there are a few who can truly be called experts. I am a Calgary native with 16 years of award-winning experience helping Calgary homebuyers find the ideal property. Below are some details which may help you through the buying process.

Putting it down

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), for insured mortgage loans, the maximum purchase price or property value must be below $1 mill when the loan-to-value ratio is greater than 80%. The minimum down payment that can be made is usually 5% of the purchase price of a single-family or two-unit dwelling, or 20% down on three-or-four-unit dwellings. A larger down payment, however, can make it easier to handle your other expenses.

You have options!

According to CMCH, traditional sources of down payment include:

  • Applicant’s savings
  • RRSP withdrawal
  • Funds borrowed against proven assets
  • Sweat equity- i.e. unpaid labor resulting in increased property value vs. a financial contribution (<50% of min. required equity)
  • Land unencumbered
  • Proceeds from sale of another property
  • Non-repayable gift from immediate relative
  • Equity grant (non-repayable grant from federal, provincial or municipal agency)

Non-traditional sources of down payment are not directly tied to the purchase or sale of the property and include:

  • Borrowed funds
  • Gifts
  • 100% sweat equity
  • Lender cash back incentives

Consider your cash flow

CMHC reports if your down payment is under 20%, typically you’ll need a high-ratio mortgage. This usually requires mortgage loan insurance to protect the lender against borrower default. CMHC may provide the insurance, or the insurance premium may be added to your mortgage. Be aware that your lender might also ask you to pay the total upon closing.

If your down payment is 20% or more of the home’s purchase price or market value (whichever is less), CMHC states you could qualify for a conventional mortgage which may have no premium.

Agents await you...

As a buyer, working with a real estate agent doesn't cost you anything. Sellers pay the agent a commission when the home is purchased.  An agent can help you find the home of your dreams and provide valuable resources in addition to information along the way.  It is our job to answer all your questions and provide guidance.

Let's go shopping

One of the most important decisions of your life will likely be finding the right place to call home. You can search through a wide array of properties by using the The Calgary MLS® system . It will keep you updated on the newest homes as they hit the market.

When we are out looking at properties, I will provide guidance regarding the pros and cons of homes you are considering. We can narrow down specific areas, property types and details. Feel free to be as selective as you’d like about the number of bedrooms you desire in your new home, its proximity to downtown and whether you’d like a swimming pool. You deserve the best value for your dollar!

  • I will use the latest technology to keep you up-to-date on properties which interest you and include photos, videos, virtual tours and floor plans.
  • Once you narrow down what you want, we will arrange times to view homes of interest based on your schedule.

An offer no one could refuse

I will have an “Offer to Purchase” form readily available when the time comes! It only takes about 30 to minutes to complete offer documents and begin the process.

Keep in mind your best offer isn’t written first unless we are competing in Multiple Offers.  Together, we will evaluate your prospective home’s value until we come to an agreement. It is then the offer can be drawn up! Your offer includes conditions that will protect you. Below, are some of the most common conditions presented in offers:

  • Home Inspection Condition 
  • Home Financing Condition
  • Condo Document Review Condition ( Condo Buyers Guide)

Let's make it official

Once all conditions have been met, the documents will be sent to a lawyer of your choice for signing. I’m happy to provide you with a real estate lawyer list if you don’t know where to search. You will be contacted by the law office about a week prior to possession in order to sign a contract. You’ll be notified ahead of time with the exact down payment and legal fee amounts owed.

Ready... set...

You will need to set a date to move in! If you purchased a condo, the date must be cleared with the building company.  When preparing for the big day, take care of the following:

  • Make arrangements to hire movers and/or rent a truck
  • Set up utilities such as electric, gas, internet, TV and other services in your name
  • Complete an address change

The day has arrived!

Congratulations! The date that you have been waiting for is finally here– move-in day.

On the chosen date, we will meet on the property for a personal inspection. Once all payments are received by the seller, keys will be released. Should any issues arise, you will be immediately contacted. Congratulations, give yourself a pat on the back! You’re a proud new homeowner.

After you’re settled in, I’ll contact you to make sure you’re content. If you have any questions or concerns, I’ll address them promptly.

Now that you have a better idea of how to buy a house in Calgary, you can start searching for that lovely new lifestyle with confidence!

Reviews from First Time Home Buyers

"Crystal helped us buy our first house in Calgary. We appreciated that she understood what we were looking for and provided us an excellent selection to pick from. Highly recommended!"
Larry Gorluik

"Crystal helped us find our house in 2006. She set up multiple walk throughs based on the information that we had given her about what we were wanting. She was quick to point out things that might take us in the wrong direction. She has kept great contact and sends monthly market reports that I quite like to read when I get them. In 2008 my Grandma hired her to sell her house and Grandma was very impressed. Crystal had the house sold for asking in under a week even more impressive is that the house next door to Grandmas went up at the same time yet took three months to move. I would highly recommend Crystal and would not hesitate to use her again in the future. "
Danny Marshall

"Crystal was the third real estate agent that I worked with in my search for my first home, and the only one that I had a good working relationship with: she gave me great advice and I trusted her. Crystal listened to my needs, and worked with me in my preferred search area to find me the perfect property. The house that I ended up buying was fresh on the market and not in the public listings yet, I think I was the first and only person to view the property in a fairly hot market"
Michelle Boast

"Crystal is excellent at her job and takes pride in her work. She is patient and does not pressure sales. You can trust her and rely on her to find you a great home!"
Julie Branch

"Crystal helped me buy my first home. She was knowledgable, professional, and a real joy to work with. I would highly recommend Crystal for your real estate needs!"
Suzanne Kendall

"Crystal Tost is exactly what a young, modern professional wants in a real estate agent. She's smart, friendly, and tuned in to the areas of Calgary that are a good investment. She only showed me places that matched my interests, and was quick to red flag issues that might affect the resale value. Best of all, she's tech savvy – so every step of the purchase was easy and convenient"
Anders Svensson

"Crystal helped me find my house with an incredible amount of patience, availability and expertise in all house-related matters. As a real estate agent, Crystal is definitely in the ivy league. She required an exclusive relationship and more than delivered for it, visiting houses with us any day of the week or well beyond normal business hours. Her keen eye would spot hidden flaws in seconds and when we eventually bought, she right away showed us how to improve and market the house in a few years. As a client, I have been delighted by Crystal. And during some rough time afterward, she was by our side, proving that beyond the great professional is a wonderful person with a huge heart. Dealing with you has been one of our best experiences in Canada and God knows there have been quite a few. Thank you "
David Coulibaly

"I was referred to Crystal as my sister previously bought a condo from her colleague who was no longer working. Crystal assisted me in buying my first condo and made the experience very enjoyable. She was not only knowledgeable and professional but she was a joy to spend time with on my search. She is full of great advice and will take the time in takes to find a place that is right for your needs. Recently I recommended her to my sister who is now the happy owner of a new home thanks to Crystals assistance. I had nothing but an enjoyable and seamless experience with Crystals help. I would recommend her again and again without hesitation."
Julia Bonner

"We were very happy with the quality of service that we received from Crystal Tost throughout the entire process of purchasing our first home. Crystal always responded promptly to any questions or concerns we had, and made the process very easy for us. She was very professional and knowledgeable and made an effort to find out what we were looking for and the style of sales that felt comfortable for us. We appreciate her commitment to her clients and how good she is at what she does."
Del Holder

"Crystal was the best! She knows Calgary like the back of her hand and showed us as many properties as we needed to see until we found the right property for us. I'll be calling on her again in the future!"
Lauren Dunlop-Dorgan

"I bought my very first house through Crystal, and sold that house and bought my next and current home with her. Any time after that, that I've looked at other homes and considered moving has and always will be with her! She will work hard to get you the home you want and love!""
Stephanie Cheeseman

""I and my wife would like to thank you Crystal for her great help to find our first home in Calgary. We have nothing but good things to say about her commitment to finding us the right place. She is really hard worker and honest. She is knowledgeable about real estate and shared her knowledge freely with us. Thank you Crystal for all your efforts""
Ahmad and Sanaz C

"“Crystal was great to work with. We went with her because of the comments we read online in purchasing our first home. She’s every bit what people have said. She’s knowledgeable, experienced and professional. She was great at providing additional information of where to get the home inspection, lawyer, etc. We did not feel any pressure of pulling the trigger on any particular house and Crystal always gave her complete honest opinion (by pointing out the good and bad of each house we saw). We felt Crystal was patient in helping us find the perfect house. We’d recommend Crystal to all our friends and family“"
Ahmed I.

""Crystal was absolutely invaluable when I recently decided to purchase my first home. From start to finish she has been qualified, supportive and extremely helpful in walking me through the process and providing me with the information I needed to make necessary decisions. She was always there to answer any questions I had in a timely manner, advise me of what to expect next, and always demonstrated a high level of professionalism and caring to ensure my needs were met. I know I wouldn't have done nearly as well without her and it would've required a lot more effort on my part. I'll never forget all her hard work to ensure the transaction went smoothly and was completed within a short period of time. I will highly recommend Crystal as a realtor to anyone who is looking to buy a home.""
Chris and Krista Hillier

"They were excellent to work with. No issues or complaints. Very helpful."
Shannon and Jeff Davis

"We would like to thank Crystal and Tyler for helping us find the perfect home. Both were part of the entire process from start to finish. Professionalism and attention to detail second to none. 
We have and we will continue to recommend your services to our friends and family.  
Thanks again, Shaunna & Matthew"
Matthew and Shauna Wealleans