Your home buying team
When you are buying a home there is an entire team of professionals ready
to assist you in the many details that need to be completed for a successful
real estate transaction. This article explains these key people and the
roles they will perform during the process.
Real estate agent
A real estate agent is a professional trained in all aspects of real estate.
This person can save you time and trouble. They may even save you money.
That is because a Real Estate Professional has access to all of the homes available
for sale, via the MLS® System. All licensed Real Estate Professionals use this national system.
A home listed on the MLS® System is available to any Real Estate Professional in Canada. This is
the number one place where buyers and sellers meet. More than 90 percent
of homes available are sold through the MLS® System.
Due to their training, experience, and industry connections, Real Estate Professionals
are an invaluable resource. They have access to resources, and possess
experience most people lack. They know the detailed steps involved to
assist you in finding a home that meets your needs. They are also good
negotiators who work on your behalf, to get you the best price.
Here are the valuable services your Real Estate Professional will conduct on your behalf:
- Clarify your wants and needs so you do not waste time
- Preview properties for ones that most closely meet your needs
- Arrange appointments and showings
- Put you in contact with a network of resources for additional needs you
might have, including mortgage brokers, lawyers, home inspectors and appraisers
- Tour the homes with you, and offer advice based on solid experience
and understanding of the industry
- Keep you informed of factors that influence your buying decision
- Assist you with all closing details ensuring all items are handled smoothly
If you are planning on making some improvements to your home prior to
move-in, or sometime in the future, you will want to enlist the help
of a credible contractor. This person can provide you with a price estimate
on the work you would like completed.
A good place to start looking for a reliable contractor is with your
friends, business associates and your Real Estate Professional. You could also check with
a home builder or hardware store. When you have collected two or three
names, arrange for estimates. Ask for references and a sample of the work
they have previously completed. When you speak with former clients, ask
about price, length of time to complete the project, communication during
the project and satisfaction with the completed project.
When meeting with the contractor, ensure that he or she understands your
needs and budget. They should inspect your home prior to giving you an
estimate. If the project is being completed from architect’s drawings,
be certain that the contractor has the specific details required.
When you have completed the three estimates, review each one carefully.
If there is a large difference between each price, get more explanation.
A low price does not mean you will get the best work. Or on the
other hand, the same could be said of the highest price. There are many
factors to consider in a home renovation. A low price might mean that
the contract has quoted low to get the work. Once the project is in progress,
he might request payment for additional items not covered in the initial
price. With a high price, the contractor may have factored in higher quality
materials and higher workmanship. Prior to signing, be sure you understand
the specific details of the contract including hours of work involved,
type of products installed and quality of finishing work completed.
Here are some guidelines to help you evaluate a quotation:
Details – are all aspects outlined
Costs – are all costs clearly stated
Extra costs – is there a provision for going beyond stated price
Project cap – the project cap should be clearly stated
Timeline – can the work be reasonably completed by the specified
Inspections – will all inspections be handled in a timely manner
Bookkeeping – ensure you keep all material receipts
Subcontract – will any of the work be subcontracted, by whom and how
long will it take, and who pays sub contractor as it clearly states.
In many cases, you may not have to hire an independent appraiser. Your
lender usually requires an appraisal from their approved professionals,
prior to the purchase of a home. Your Real Estate Professional will also prepare a CMA,
"Comparative Market Analysis" for you, to establish a value
range. If the home is unusual in some aspect, there are huge discrepancies
between the Real Estate Professionals and the bank’s appraisal, you may want to consider
an additional appraiser.
A lender is anyone (a bank, your mother-in-law, a credit union, an institutional
lender) who lends you money. As this financial commitment determines your
future for many years to come, you will want to ensure you have a
good relationship with this person or institution, with beneficial rates.
You can conduct your own search for a lender. First, get a copy of your
credit history, available through Equifax. Then review the newspaper and
other real estate publications and you will see the varying rates
for institutions and banks. When you have got all the details established
(employment history, credit history, price of home, etc), make an appointment
and negotiate your best deal.
A mortgage broker could save you time and money. They do the legwork in
finding the institution or lender which offers the mortgage terms and
conditions that are best for your situation. This person works for you,
not any particular lender, although they do have access to all available
lenders. The lender will pay the mortgage broker a finder’s fee.
Some, mortgage brokers, however may charge you a fee for these services.
A lawyer understands the legal documents and other aspects of buying a
home, from both the buyer and seller position. They work on your behalf,
ensuring that all documents are properly prepared and you are protected.
These legal details must be completed prior to possession date.
A professional home inspection could save you money, and headaches in the
future. In a few hours this person will provide a complete, written review
of your home, citing areas in good, fair or poor condition. With this report,
you will have a good idea of repairs which will be required in a few years.
You can make the purchase of the home conditional upon a satisfactory home
inspection. If the home inspection reveals some defects, you could cancel
the contract, renegotiate or require that repairs be completed by a specified
date. Your Real Estate Professional may be able to recommend a skilled home
inspector who has the background and knowledge to provide you with an unbiased
review. The $300 – 500 you pay for this service is definitely a good
investment. Scrimping on this detail or thinking you do not need an inspection,
could cost you in the future.
For your safety and to protect your belongings, you will need to ensure you
have insurance on your home and valuables. You can shop for insurance yourself,
by phoning several insurance companies and asking for a quotation. Or, a broker
can save you time and money, as they have access to information from insurance
companies. Since your home is used as collateral against your mortgage, the
bank insists you have full insurance to cover the property.