Buying and Selling: It’s so Much More Than a Sign on Your Lawn
Buying a home, especially for the first time, can be a little overwhelming. There is so much to think about and often things move at a faster pace than anticipated. It is so important to have an agent you can trust who will make the process as smooth as possible and protect your interests.
Since 2011, I have been helping clients find their dream homes by working with them every step of the way. Together we can determine your price range, search for the right home in the right neighbourhood, present an offer and close the sale.
My approach is always thoughtful and tailored to your individual needs. I understand just how important it is to be responsive and move quickly in order to ensure that my clients have access to the newest and best possible properties on the market.
Please feel free to contact me on my personal cellphone at 613-769-6222 and until we chat, please enjoy these eight helpful tips for buying your perfect home.
1. Deciding to buy
Preparation can really reduce the stress of buying a home. By planning ahead, you will be able to stay in control when time is of the essence.
Define Your Needs and Wishes
- Make a list of all the things you simply can’t live without, like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms needed, proximity to schools or work and storage needs.
- Next make a list of wishes such as a pool, finished basement or mud room.
Brush up on Types of Home Ownership
- Make sure you know the difference between freehold (it’s all yours), condo (you take care of the inside and pay fees to an association to look after the common areas and maintenance) and co-op (similar to condos but instead of “owning” your unit, you buy shares in the whole building and pay maintenance and repair fees).
Understand Market Conditions
- Supply and demand can change from neighbourhood to neighbourhood and region to region. Getting to know the market will most definitely help you to get more bang for your buck.
2. Choosing an agent
Buying a home is personal and emotional. The relationship with your real estate agent must be built on trust and mutual respect. As your agent, I will be act as your eyes, ears and voice throughout the process and uphold my fiduciary duty to act in your best interests. Here are just some of the things I will do for you during the buying process:
- Make sure you are aware of the most current market conditions
- Discuss and analyze your wants and needs against your budget
- Guide you to homes that fit your criteria
- Coordinate the work of other professionals you will need during the process
- Negotiate with the seller on your behalf
- Make sure all required paperwork is fully complete, accurate and that deadlines are met
- Work with you to resolve any challenges that may arise
3. Understanding Financing
Before you start shopping make sure you do the math.
The Down Payment
- A down payment is usually the percentage of the total cost of a home that you’ll need to pay upfront. The more money you put down, the more money you’ll save on monthly payments and, in the long run, interest payments.
Know Your Price Range
- Figuring out how much house you can afford comes down to three factors; your monthly mortgage payment, your down payment and the amortization period or length of time it will take to pay off the loan.
- Getting preapproved for your mortgage will really help you to figure out what you can spend and also provide protection against rising interest rates.
4. Finding the Right Home to Buy
It is now time to get out there and find your dream home. Most people start off with a neighbourhood in mind but if you let me, I might suggest checking out a few more options.
Choosing Your Neighbourhood
- Before purchasing make sure to evaluate the importance of your home’s proximity to schools, public transit, highways or the workplace.
- Make sure to check distances to other key amenities like parks, grocery stores, doctors and recreation centres.
- Drive around to inspect the appearance of other homes nearby. I will always be able to inform you of property values in the area and how they have fluctuated over the years.
The hunt for a house can be a lot of fun, especially if you keep in mind the following:
- When visiting a home, two sets of eyes are better than one. Take a partner, parent or friend along for the ride.
- Don’t be shy about asking the owners or their agent some tough questions about the home.
- Take some pictures or video to reference later.
- Look out for aging doors and windows, water leaks, squeaky floors, soggy areas around the yard, indicating poor drainage, and missing shingles etc.
5. Making an Offer
You’ve fallen in love but don’t let it show when making an Offer to Purchase. Remember, real estate is an investment and your agent can help you to make an offer you will feel good about years later.
Types of Offers
- The main components of most offers will include the price, deposit, terms (which includes financing details), conditions, specific items that are included or not with the home and the closing date.
- From there, you can decide to make a “firm” offer which means that you’re willing to buy the home exactly as it is. Or, you could make the offer “conditional” on things like a home inspection, approval of financing or the sale of your existing home.
- Once you make an offer, the seller will either accept, reject or make a counter offer based on things like the amount offered, closing date or other conditions. Receiving a counter offer may be unsettling, and I promise to use suggestions and plenty of experience to guide you through.
- When negotiating, make sure that what you are asking for is fair and equitable.
- Be polite and collaborative.
- Hold fast to your “needs” and be flexible on your “wants”.
- Know when to walk away, no matter how hard that may be.
6. It Takes a Team to Buy a House
In addition to your real estate agent, you will need a few more professionals to make sure that your investment is sound. As your agent, I will be able can connect you with the following key people and make the best recommendations based on personal experience.
The Home Inspector
A home inspection an absolute must when seeking to avoid unpleasant surprises down the road. A home inspector will check your property for any structural damage, perform a thorough examination of the heating and cooling system, plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement and more. Each inspection results in a completed written report detailing all of the inspector’s findings.
The Legal Professional
Today’s complex legal documents, require the expertise of a lawyer, experienced in Canadian real estate law, to help protect you and your investment. A real estate lawyer will review the agreement of purchase and sale, do a property title search, check that your home complies with current building and zoning codes, ensure utilities and property taxes are paid up, review the mortgage agreement and get all the paperwork ready for closing.
7. Closing Day
Closing day is the day you officially take ownership of your new home! It’s an exciting time for sure. But there are a couple of details you need to keep in mind before you get handed the keys.
- These fees need to be paid by or on the closing day and include mortgage application fees, inspections, legal fees, insurance, registration and more.
- All of these costs and associated paper work might make your head spin, but take solace in knowing that I will be of great help in managing all of this.
8. Smoothing the Move
Although moving is bound to bring a bit of sadness, a new home promises to compensate with plenty of excitement. Hopefully a few of these suggestions will help to smooth your move.
- Make a moving checklist, detailing a plan that moves from tasks to be finished weeks in advance all the way up to moving day.
- Cancel your cable and utilities and transfer any rented appliances (like water heater or furnace) to the new homeowners. Make sure to have gas, electricity, cable and phone service hooked up at your new home.
- Inform key contacts of your change of address.
- Collect competitive quotes from reliable moving companies.
- To save money, consider renting a moving van. (This is the time to bribe your friends and call in favours!)
- Simplify unpacking by clearly labeling boxes with their designated destination within the house. A small floor plan helps movers to work more efficiently.
- To make things easier for nervous children, let them choose the colour and décor of their new room. I have seen simple acts like this make a big difference.
- Remember that moving day is stressful and be kind to yourself!
- Finally, CONGRATULATIONS and I truly hope to be there to shake your hand.