STEPS TO BUYING YOUR HOME
Buying a home can be overwhelming. Yet, with a REALTOR® at your side, it doesn't have to be daunting. Remember, a REALTOR®', works for you and must, by law, look after your best interests. So learn how REALTORS® can help you through this process.
Add a lawyer to your team.
Buying a home is a legal transaction. Therefore, it helps to have someone to translate the “legal lingo” and ensure your best interests are protected.
Finding a lawyer
There are many experienced real estate lawyers available. Ask your REALTOR®, family, friends, and co-workers for recommendations. Be sure to find out how the potential lawyer structures his/her fees and ask for an estimate of the legal costs you can expect.
How your lawyer can help
Buying and selling property requires many legal steps to transfer ownership from one person to another. Your lawyer is working to ensure your legal property transfer is a smooth one and avoids pitfalls like fraud, government legislation, zoning issues, and unpaid taxes.
Don’t be scared of your lawyer
S/he is your legal advisor so ask questions if you don’t understand something. Explaining legal jargon if a big part of their job
Close the purchase deal
It will be exciting when your offer is accepted. However, you still have to close the deal. Your REALTOR® and lawyer will do most of the closing work, but here's the checklist.
- Immediately take care of any agreement conditions that require action on your part. Your REALTOR® can fill out the documents stating that the conditions have been met.
- Ask your lawyer to begin the property’s title search. This could take a while, so allow lots of time.
- Arrange for your homeowner’s insurance to be effective on your closing date. Your insurance broker will give you a 'binder' letter certifying that you're covered. You can't get a mortgage without this letter
- Finalize your mortgage documents with your lender. Have your lawyer review them before you sign.
- Your lawyer will transfer essential utilities like hydro and water. However, you have to contact telephone and cable companies to connect their services to your name at the new property address.
- If you rent, give notice to your landlord or arrange to sublease your apartment.
- Begin planning your move. Shop around for moving supplies and services.
- Fill out a change of address card at the post office and send out your new address information. Contact the Ministry of Transport about updating your driver's license.
- Walk through your new home one more time with your REALTOR®.
- Meet with your lawyer to finalize and sign the closing documents. Your lawyer will tell you in advance what certified cheques you'll need to seal the deal.
Plan, prepare, and purge. Help make your moving day go smoothly by starting preparations and packing as soon as possible.
Your “closing date” is the day the property is officially transferred to you. However, it may not be wise to move in to the premises on this date. Schedule the actual move on a convenient day after the closing date. Professional movers and truck rental companies may give a discount for a mid-week or mid-month moves.Go with an established, insured mover, so your items are protected and your possessions arrive safely and intact.
Start early and pack it yourself. Nobody will take the same care as you. Start early and work at it every day. Clearly label all your boxes by room so the movers know where you want them placed. Label anything that is fragile.
Do you still need it?
A new home is a chance to purge stuff you don’t need anymore. If you haven’t used it or worn it in the last year, you probably don’t need it. Have a garage sale or give those extra items to charity.
After the move
Once the boxes are mostly unpacked, and you’ve settled into your new home, you may have the urge to start renovating and making changes. Don’t rush. Take time to get used to your surroundings and work out a budget for updates
Q1: What's the difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®?
The terms "REALTOR," and "real estate agent" are not interchangeable. The term REALTOR is a registered certification that identities the quality of services rendered by licensed real estate agents who are members of The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). All real estate agents are not REALTORS, but all REALTOR members are real estate agents.
REALTOR members are committed to a strict code of ethics known as the REALTOR Code, and are the only ones who have the right to list your property on the MLS Systems of their local real estate boards. To correctly be referred to as a REALTOR, a real estate agent must be a member of CREA.
Q2: What questions should I ask when looking for a REALTOR?
Here are 10 smart questions to ask.
1. How long have you been in the business?
2. What is your average list-to-sales-price ratio?
3. How will your marketing plan meet my needs?
4. Will you provide references?
5. What separates you from your competition?
6. May I review documents that I will be asked to sign?
7. Can you help me find other professionals?
8. How much do you charge?
9. What if I'm unhappy with the service?
10. What haven't I asked you that I need to know?
Remember, your REALTOR should be willing to answer any questions you have. After all, that's why you hire the pros.
Q3: How do I figure out what mortgage I can afford?
Determining your mortgage amount is based on a simple calculation of loan amount, down payment, interest rate, and amortization period.
A rule when figuring your monthly housing cost is that it should not exceed 32% of your gross monthly family income or 40% of your gross monthly income. Visit our Mortgage Calculator, plug in a few numbers, and see what you end up with.
Q4: Why should I hire a REALTOR?
You're trusting a REALTOR with your most valuable possession, your home. REALTORS take this responsibility very seriously. Here's what we promise you.
Your realtor continually keeps pace with changing market requirements by taking courses to upgrade their real estate knowledge and provide clients with relevant advice.
A realtor must be registered under provincial laws that govern exactly how real estate can and cannot be traded. This ensures your realtor does everything by the book. These regulations are your legal guarantee of professional behavior.
Your realtor is an ethical business person who adheres to the extensive Code of Ethics of the Canadian Real Estate Association. Several provinces have additional codes governing real estate professionals. Your interests must always be put first.
Opportunity for recourse
Should you have concerns about the professional behaviour of a realtor, provincial regulator and your local real estate board or association take these matters seriously and work quickly to resolve issues.
Your realtor has access to a local board’s MSL system. This system is the most powerful tool for buying and selling your home. Your realtor can provide you with exclusive features of the MLS system such as new property notifications.
Q5: What should I expect when I enlist the help of a REALTOR to sell my house?
- Help you get the best price for your home
- Remove the stress and confusion from the legal process
When you sign a "listing agreement" with your realtor, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions of the relationship with your Realtor.
Realtors know how to advertise to and attract potential buyers.
As an expert home promoter, s/he is connected to a network of agents and their buyers. Only your realtor can place ads for your home on the MLS system for others to see.
Realtors can increase the value of your home by pointing out areas you can quickly improve that will make it more attractive to buyers.
Realtors regularly study the housing market to stay current of what is happening and how to price your home for maximum return.
They keep track of the deals in progress and are great negotiators. When frustration sets in, Realtors are experts at smoothing things out.
Do I really need a Realtor to sell my home?
- Many people have tried to be independent when it came to selling their home, and eventually they turned to a realtor.
- The process is overwhelming, time-consuming, legally complex, and financially perilous.
- Realtors are experts. They know the market, they're prepared to advertise your home on a number of forums, they know how to navigate the legal process, and they have the time, since it is their full-time job after all.
People who try to sell their home without a realtor must be prepared. Otherwise, they could make costly mistakes like setting a price that is too low or too high.
When a price is too low, the seller loses money on the sale. When the price is too high, buyers will not be interested.
When an offer does come in, realtors are experts at negotiating and keeping the lines of communication clear and professional.