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Calgary Home Buyers Guide

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 Calgary real estate expert. While there are many Calgary REALTOR® s who come and go during the good times or bad, but only a few can truly be called experts. Don't be afraid to ask qualifying questions to your agent before you decide to commit.  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 minimum down payment that can be made is 5% of the purchase price of a single-family home under $500,000. Anything over $500,000 will require 10% down up to the $1M price points, and then 50% down over the $1M price range.

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 labour resulting in increased property value vs. a financial contribution (<50% of min. required equity)
  • Land unencumbered
  • Proceeds from the sale of another property
  • A non-repayable gift from an immediate relative
  • Equity grant (non-repayable grant from the federal, provincial or municipal agency)

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

  • Borrowed funds
  • Gifts
  • 100% sweat equity
  • Lender cashback incentives

Consider your cash flow

If your down payment is under 20%,  you will need a high-ratio mortgage. This requires mortgage loan insurance to protect the lender against borrower default. CMHC may provide the insurance and the insurance premium will be added to your mortgage. 

CMHC Premium Guidelines 

Loan-to-Value  The premium on Total LoanThe premium on Increase to Loan Amount for Portability
Up to and including 65%     0.60% 0.60%
Up to and including 75%    1.70% 5.90%
Up to and including 80%    2.40% 6.05%
Up to and including 85%    2.80% 6.20%
Up to and including 90%    3.10% 6.25%
Up to and including 95%    4.00% 6.30%

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. In some more rare circumstances, the lender may wish to insure the mortgage.

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 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 that 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 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
We have been dealing with Lara Underhill for several months now in the buying of a home and selling our home. She has been consistently attentive to our needs. Both my husband and I believe she went above and beyond her job as a realtor for us. When we had questions about the paperwork or procedures she was always there to explain and make it simple for us to understand. I would not hesitate to refer/recommend her to all of our family or friends. 

Sheila T
We purchased our first home with the help of Sohini Ruparell from Tost Realty Group. She was beyond amazing! Sohini really goes out of her way to ensure her clients are at ease and are looked after in every aspect possible. She provided us with such helpful resources and information throughout the process. Sohini shows a lot of care & professionalism in her work and we highly recommend her! 
Reet Sira
Tyler was fantastic to work with. When I first talked with Tost Realty I wasn't sure what I wanted - a larger house a bit further from the downtown, or an inner city condo. This was my first house and buying is a huge commitment. I felt comfortable with Tyler from the start. When we looked at homes he brought his knowledge to the table and gave me the pros and cons on houses - how good the furnace was, were the windows new, possible replacement/upgrade costs I might face in the next few years. By going through different properties I realized that I did want to stay in a smaller place where I could walk to work. The first place I made an offer on fell through after I had the condo docs reviewed and realized a special assessment was looming. Tyler stuck with me. I really trusted Tyler, there were places I like that he flat out said "no" to - telling me about the poor resale value or issues I would face. I also have Tyler to thank for the place I finally purchased. I was a bit turned off by the bright blue and yellow walls. Tyler pointed out that it had everything I was looking for, and the paint was just cosmetic. There was no pressure from Tyler to buy, but when I went home and thought about it I decided to make an offer. I've repainted now, and I love my home. Tyler made everything easy. I will absolutely be using him on my next house purchase.
Sierra Yanush
From the outset, Tyler and his team were head and shoulders above the others that we had met with. As first-time homebuyers, we immediately felt at ease and that we had someone in our corner to find exactly what we were looking for.
During our viewings, Tyler's experience was invaluable as he not only gave his unbiased and professional opinion on each home, but he also gave ideas as to how much certain renovations would cost etc.
You cannot go wrong with Tyler and we will be recommending him and his team to anyone we know looking to buy or sell! We look forward to working with him again in the future. Thanks again Tyler!!
Adam Gross
As first time home buyers, my wife and l were quite intimidated by the whole process. We were fortunate to meet Tyler after a couple of viewings with different realtors. What struck me immediately was how friendly and informative he was. In each viewing, he would point out potential issues such as the age of the furnace or state of the roof. We felt that he had our best interests at heart and was available the entire time either by phone or email to answer every question we had and we had lots. We never felt pressured into making an offer on anything that we were uncomfortable with and didn't stop until we found a house that both my wife and l loved. We are so happy in our new home and Tyler made this happen for us we are very grateful!
Malcolm Camsell
Crystal made the process of buying a house for the first time simple. Her knowledge of Calgary neighborhoods, and insight into the benefits and drawbacks of each property we looked at was invaluable
A very big thank you from me and my husband to Tyler Tost for helping us find our first home! Tyler was unbelievably helpful, going above and beyond to point out the features and deficiencies of each home we went to visit. Despite a little bit of a bumpy ride (as first-time buyers, we had a LOT of anxiety), Tyler kept us feeling confident through the whole process, and we were able to share more than a few laughs throughout. With connections to an extremely thorough home inspector, a great mortgage broker, and a lawyer, Tyler's guidance has made the whole buying process so seamless for us. Thanks for helping us make our dream of homeownership a reality!
We had such a wonderful experience with Crystal Tost and her team. We were first-time home buyers and she was patient with the process and never put any pressure on us to make a decision that was not in our best interest. She was extremely attentive, kind, knowledgeable, and professional. When we found the home she was thorough and made the closing very seamless and straightforward. Thank you Crystal and Team!
Jane R
Crystal made first-time condo-buying super easy, especially given the circumstances with a global pandemic. She was reliable, honest, and worked hard to help me find a place to live that was best for me. I rarely post on public social media platforms, but buying property is stressful enough at baseline that finding the right real estate agent truly makes all the difference. I would recommend Crystal to anyone looking for a reliable real estate agent in the future!
Cara M