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There are a lot of things to consider and think about throughout the process of buying your new home or cottage. We have put together a helpful buying guide to walk you through the steps from the initial planning stages, right up to signing the final paperwork.

  • 1. Planning to Buy a New Home or Cottage

    As a "rule of thumb" you can afford to buy a home equal in price to twice your gross annual income. More precisely, the price you can afford to pay for a home will depend on six factors: 
    • Your income,
    • The amount of cash you have available for the down payment,
    • Your outstanding debts,
    • Your credit history,
    • The type of mortgage you select,
    • Current interest rates.

    Lenders will analyze your income in relation to your projected cost of the home and outstanding debts. This will determine the size loan you can borrow. Your housing expense-to-income ratio is determined by calculating your projected monthly housing expense, which consists of the principal and interest payment on your loan, property taxes and hazard insurance. The sum of these costs is referred to as "PITI."


    It is strongly recommended that home buyers are prequalified or pre-approved for a loan as their first step in the process. By being prequalified, a buyer knows exactly how much house they can afford. They can make more informed decisions in the market place. This does not mean they will definitely get the loan because their credit reports, wages and bank statements still need to be verified before you can receive a commitment from the lender for the loan.

    Almost all mortgage lenders prequalify people at no charge. Many of them will even do it on the internet. In order to be pre-approved, an application will be taken. For a fee, your credit report will be pulled, your employment and income will be verified, your checking and savings accounts will also be verified. In other words, all the necessary documentation will be completed in order for you to obtain a loan. The only things remaining will be for you to find a home, obtain an appraisal on it to prove its value to the bank and perform whatever inspections you may want on the property. This process considerably shortens the time frame to closing.

  • 2. Financing

    Mortgages can seem intimidating, especially for the first-time buyer. Once you’ve qualified for a mortgage, there are some basic decisions you will have to make before you take possession of your house or condo: Mortgage term, amortization, interest rate and type of mortgage.

    Conventional mortgage - Aptly named because they are the most common type of mortgage. The lender will loan you up to 80% of the appraised value or purchase price of the property (whichever is lower), and you generally need to come up with the other 20% as a down payment.

    Second (and third) mortgages - These are additional financing arrangements behind an existing mortgage, also secured by your property. Secondary financing is generally arranged at a higher interest rate and for a shorter term than the first mortgage.

    High ratio mortgage - When you don’t have the 20% down payment required to get a conventional mortgage, a high ratio mortgage can advance you up to 95% of the home’s appraised value or purchase price. However, since you are borrowing more than the usual 80%, the government insists that the mortgage is insured against default and that you pay the cost of the insurance. That cost can be a few percent of the mortgage amount, and is added to the mortgage principal.


    Mortgage term: is the amount of time a lender will loan you money for.

    Amortization: lenders calculate or amortize, the mortgage payments over a much longer time. They are calculating a payment schedule as if it will take you that long to pay back the principal plus interest. The longer the amortization period, the lower your individual payments will be – but this also means you’ll be paying more in interest.

    Interest Rates: interest is the cost of borrowing money. Interest rates fluctuate with the economy. There are two basic types of interest rates used in mortgage products: fixed-rate and variable-rate.


    There are many lenders and mortgages out there. Some options to explore may include your own bank or a mortgage broker.

    Occasionally some lenders are willing to negotiate on both the loan rate and the number of points. This isn't typical among many of the established lenders who set their rates. Nevertheless, it never hurts to shop around, know the market and try to get the best deal. Always look at the combination of interest rate and points and get the best deal possible. This is reflected in what is called the APR or Actual Percentage Rate. The interest rate is much more open to negotiation on purchases that involve seller financing. Generally, these are based on market rates but some flexibility exists when negotiating such a deal.

  • 3. Searching for Your New Home or Cottage

    Let the search begin... When you are searching you need to know what you need and want in your new home or cottage. You can’t get what you want if you don’t know what you want.

    Tips for looking for a home
    • Keep an open mind. Photos aren’t always representative of what the house looks like in real life.
    • Don’t always believe the description and read between the lines.
    • Remember that the asking price is very different than the sale price.
    • Make a plan when viewing homes.
    • Focus on the neighbourhood as well as the home.
    • Take notes and photos to help you remember.

    We can help you with the process of searching for your new dream home or cottage, we can weed through the clutter and bring a few options to the table that we know will suit your needs.

  • 4. Evaluating Your Choices

    We strongly recommended that you hire a professional to inspect the home before making an offer. Some things to look for are: interior and exterior walls, ceilings, roof, insulation, windows, fences, driveway, sidewalks, floors, doors, foundation, flooding/drainage as well as the electrical and plumbing systems.

    Ask us for a list of our trusted partners that we have worked with in the past and we know are high quality.


    Distressed properties or fixer-uppers can be found everywhere. These properties are poorly maintained and have a lower market value than other houses in the neighborhood. It is often recommended that buyers find the least desirable house in the best neighborhood. You must consider if the expenses needed to bring the value of that property to its full potential market value are within your budget. Most buyers should avoid run-down houses that need major structural repairs. Remember the movie " The Money Pit?" Those properties should be left to the builder or tradesman normally engaged in the repair business.

  • 5. Making an Offer and Closing

    The offer process is both exciting and nerve-wracking. We will begin by drafting the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. This is a legally binding document which contains everything from the price you are prepared to pay, to the inclusions you want (washer/dryer, big screen TV), to your ideal closing date (the date you take possession), to conditions that need to be met for the deal to go through. Once you’ve submitted your offer, the seller can accept it, reject it or sign back a counter offer.


    Different sellers will price houses very differently. Some deliberately overprice, others ask for pretty close to what they hope to get and a few underprice their houses in the hope that potential buyers will compete and overbid. A seller's advertised price should be treated only as a rough estimate of what they would like to receive.

    If possible try to learn about the seller's motivation. For example, a lower price with a speedy escrow may be more acceptable to someone who must move quickly due to a job transfer. People going through a divorce or are eager to move into another home are frequently more receptive to lower offers.

    Some buyers believe in making deliberate low-ball offers. While any offer can be presented to the seller, a low-ball offer often sours a prospective sale and discourages the seller from negotiating at all. And unless the house is extremely overpriced, the offer probably will be rejected anyway.

    Before making an offer, also investigate how much comparable homes have sold for in the area so that you can determine whether the home is priced right.


When dealing with Dolf, your not getting just any salesman, your getting some one with integrity and morals, you wont find a more honest salesmen in the muskoka area. Your in good caring hands with Dolf Witlox.

Bryan, Huntsville

We had our first Christmas in our new home this year! Thank you so much for helping us find our perfect place to live.

Emma and Mike, Huntsville

As first time home owners who are new to the area, we had a lot of questions and needed a lot of guidance. Anzie went out of her way to help us find exactly what we wanted, and she also made herself available to us at all hours of the day. Any questions I had she answered, and went way out of her way to make us comfortable and informed. I couldn't have asked for a better experience buying our first home! I would reccomend Anzie and Dolf to anyone!

Erin, Bracebridge

Absolutely amazing people to work with. Dolf and Anzie go above and beyond. If you are looking to deal with a couple who run their business with integrity, honesty and the love of helping people, choose them. You will not regret it! If there were more than 5 stars, they would be receiving them.

Kaitlyn, Port Sydney

They're both very professional and super nice people. They helped us buy our first house 2 years ago and we'd use them again in the future as well. I definitely recommend them to anyone! It was a pleasure working with them.

Krystal, Huntsville

5 Stars!!! Dolf and Anzie are honest, genuine, kind, hard working and friendly. You won’t find better real estate agents anywhere! Highly recommended!

Simone, Baysville

For attaining President's Gold or
higher for 14+ consecutive years

For achieving the top 3% of
market's sales nationwide



Real Estate Brokerage in Muskoka

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