Buying a Property

Whether you’re purchasing your first home or an investment property, we’re here to help!

Are you a first-time buyer? Great! A seasoned investor? Awesome. Either way, the Shirriff Wells team offers years of experience and a wealth of knowledge to guide you through the process and ensure you get the best value for your budget.

THEShirriff Wells Advantage

More often than not, it’s the homes that pick their people. It’s a competitive market, and we understand that sometimes buyers have difficulty finding value in the homes they visit during their search. At Shirriff Wells, we believe that patience combined with a keen sense for identifying great opportunities is the key to a successful home buying experience.

Couple sitting on bed with dogs discussing if they should rent or buy a home.

Rent vs Own – what can I afford?

As a homeowner, you can reasonably expect the equity in your home to increase over time as your mortgage is paid down. That, combined with a regular appreciation of property values, can be a rapid and rewarding way to increase your net worth.

In contrast, the person renting over the same amount of time is left with no property investment but may have enjoyed lower living expenses and the chance to invest in other opportunities. To compare owning to renting, you have to add up all of the figures; the cost of your home, size of your down payment, utilities, immediate repairs, interest rates, and insurance, and compare them with how much you are currently spending on rent. There is also a value in the enjoyment and satisfaction that you will derive from owning your own home. As your Realtor, we’ll help you weigh the pros and cons and offer guidance on whether or not to buy now, or wait and save for a larger downpayment.

How much should I have for a down payment?

The size of a down payment can vary. Depending on the type of mortgage, down payments generally range from 5% to 20% of the purchase price.

To obtain a conventional mortgage, home buyers are required to put down at least 20% of the purchase price or appraised value (whichever is less) as a down payment. If you don’t have the necessary time or resources to save a full 20% down payment, you can choose a high-ratio mortgage and buy a home with a down payment of as little as 5%. This option is called a high-ratio mortgage and it requires you to purchase default insurance. Whether you choose a conventional or a high-ratio mortgage, one thing is almost always certain: the larger your down payment, the more you save in the long run.

Couple looking at their finances to save for a downpayment on a home.
First-time home buyers sitting in new home.

FIRST-TIMEHome buyer benefits

The RSP Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) lets a first-time buyer withdraw up to $25,000 from RSPs for a home purchase.

The withdrawn amount must be repaid within 15 years, subject to a minimum annual repayment that is 1/15 of the amount withdrawn. If the full $25,000 is withdrawn, the minimum annual repayment is $1,333. If less than the minimum is repaid in any particular year, the balance is added to the taxpayer’s income.

Lisa Shirriff and Andrew Wells

MEETShirriff Wells

With over 40 years of combined real estate experience, Andrew and Lisa have helped hundreds of clients purchase their dream homes and get the most value for their properties when selling. Through successfully renovating and selling several of her own projects, Lisa has a trained eye for presentation and property enhancements, and her background in building and construction is a critical asset in preparing a property to go to market. She is a firm negotiator with a soft touch for handling delicate sales and situations. When acting in a purchasing capacity, Andrew has a strong track record of interpreting sales data to identify exceptional buying opportunities for his purchasers. He is a marketing professional and a purchasing specialist with years of experience in a variety of sales-based roles.

When they aren’t closing their next deal, you can find Andrew and Lisa actively participating in their communities. Both Andrew and Lisa are supporters of the Terrequity Children’s Foundation, and support various charitable events throughout the calendar year.

TESTIMONIALSWhat our clients say about us

Lisa has been great!

She helped me find a property twice and both the time she has been amazing. Very responsive, extremely helpful in steering the research according to my needs and perfect timing in securing the property. Thanks!


Andrew was a fantastic broker for us.

He was a go-to resource, extremely knowledgeable, unfailingly responsive, and helped us to cut through the ‘noise’ and to make appropriate and informed decisions as we navigated a complicated process.


We don’t feel that we are just another name on a list.

 Lisa has not been pushy about any property she has taken us to see. She is always friendly and very understanding. She feels like more of a friend than a realtor. I thank her for her patience with us.


OTHER COSTSAssociated with your purchase

Now that you’ve found your perfect home, it’s time to make an offer. You’ve saved and budgeted and are able to come up with the downpayment – congrats!

However, purchasing a property is more than just the initial payment and a mortgage. In addition to these, there are a few other costs associated with your home, such as taxes, insurance, etc.

Couple looking at home for sale with realtor

Costs to consider when purchasing a property

Title Insurance

The title is the legal term for ownership of property. Buyers want a “good and marketable” title for a property – a good title means a title appropriate for the buyer’s purposes; a marketable title means a title the buyer can convey to someone else. Prior to closing, public records are “searched” to determine the previous ownership of the property, as well as prior dealings related to it. The search might reveal, for example, existing mortgages, liens for outstanding taxes, utility charges, etc., registered against the property. In closing, the buyer expects property that is free of such claims. So, normally they must be cleared up before closing. For example, the seller’s mortgage will be discharged and outstanding monetary expenses (such as taxes and utility charges) will be paid for (or adjusted for) at closing.

Land Transfer Tax

Land transfer taxes are based on the amount of consideration paid for the property at the time of closing. In some instances Land Transfer Taxes can be deemed to be at the “fair market value of the land”, but generally speaking they are based on the sale price of the property.

Use our handy calculator HERE to estimate how much you could pay in Land Transfer Tax for the property you want to purchase. It might also be beneficial to speak with a financial advisor or an experienced mortgage broker ahead of time to plan how you will financially cover these costs. Often your advisor, if experienced in investment properties, will have a couple of tips for you on where you can save costs.


HST is payable on the purchase of newly constructed homes only. If you are purchasing a new home make sure you know who pays for this, you or the builder. On the offer, the purchase price will say “Plus HST” or “HST Included” and who gets any HST rebates? Many builders have included this cost into the purchase price. Thus, the buyer does not have to come up with it at closing.

Closing Costs

Closing costs are a list of charges your lawyer presents to you on the closing date of your home. Many people are surprised at the additional costs over and above the price of the home. According to the CMHC and Genworth Financial you should have at least 1.5% of the purchase price for closing costs in addition to the down payment (have around 2.5% to be on the safe side). The costs vary among provinces and cities. An estimate should be made for closing adjustments for bills the seller has prepaid such as property taxes, utility bills, and other charges. Any bills after the closing date are the responsibility of the purchaser. A lawyer will let you know what they are once the various searches have been completed.

Additional Costs

Home Inspection Fee

A professional inspection of the home, top to bottom, is for the benefit of the buyer. A home inspection can cost anywhere from $400 – $500 and is well worth the investment. When hiring a home inspector make sure the inspector has liability insurance just in case they overlook something.

Fire Insurance

Mortgage lenders require a certificate of fire insurance to be in place from the time you take possession of the home. The amount required is generally the amount of the mortgage or the replacement cost of the home. This cost can vary on the property size, amount of coverage, the insurance company and the municipality. The cost can vary anywhere from $250-$600 annually for most properties.

Provincial Sales Tax on Mortgage Insurance

If you have insurance for your mortgage, (CMHC or Genworth Financial), then you will pay the applicable taxes on the insurance premium on closing. While you can add the insurance premium to the mortgage amount, you must pay the tx at closing.

Land Survey Fee or Title Insurance Fee

Lenders usually require a recent survey of the property. If one is not available the cost can start at $1500 for a new survey. In lieu of the survey most lenders today will accept title insurance which can cost considerably less.

Legal Costs and Disbursements

Lawyers and notaries charge fees for their services involved in drafting the title deed, preparing the mortgage, and conducting the various searches. Disbursements are out-of-pocket expenses incurred during the process such as registrations, searches, and supplies.

New Home Warranty

In most provinces, new homes are covered by a new home warranty program. The cost to the purchaser for this warranty is approximately $600. Generally, should the builder default or fail to build to an agreed-upon standard the fund will finish or repair the deficiencies to a maximum amount. For more information on Ontario’s new home warranty visit

Couple taking selfie after accepted offer on home.

WHAT HAPPENS WHENMaking an offer

Your Realtor will draft your offer as well as communicate your Offer to Purchase to the seller, or the seller’s representative, on your behalf. Sometimes there may be more than one offer on a property at the same time.

An Offer to Purchase is presented to a seller who may accept the offer, reject it, or submit a counter-offer. The counter-offer may be in reference to the price, closing date, or any number of variables. Offers can go back and forth until both parties have agreed to terms or either side ends the negotiations.

Firm vs. Conditional Offer

Firm: Usually preferable to the seller because it means buyers are prepared to purchase the home without any conditions.

Conditional: Usually means there are one or more conditions on the purchase, such as “subject to home inspection”, “subject to financing” or “subject to sale of buyer’s existing home”. The home is not sold until all the conditions have been met.


There are six key components to the elements of an offer.

• Price: Depending on the local market conditions and information provided by me, your Real Estate Professional, the price you offer may be different from the seller’s price.

• Deposit: Your deposit shows good faith and will be applied against the purchase of the home when the sale closes. As your Real Estate Professional, I can advise you on an appropriate amount.

• Terms: Includes the total price offered and the financing details. You arrange your own financing or ask to assume the seller’s mortgage, especially if it has an attractive interest rate.

• Conditions: These might include “subject to home inspection”, “subject to you obtaining financing”, or “subject to you selling your property”.

• Inclusions and Exclusions: These might include appliances and certain fixtures or decorative items, such as window coverings or mirrors. These items would remain in the house.

• Closing/Possession Date: Generally, the day the title of the property is legally transferred and the transaction of funds finalized.

Ready to start your property hunt?
Have questions? We’re here to help!