Building Your Buyer Team
A real estate sales representative is a highly trained and skilled professional who can save you time and trouble; and possibly a lot of money. Sales representatives have the home buying experience that most people lack, being well versed in all of the various steps to buying a home. Your representative will be an advocate for you and possess strong negotiating skills that will ultimately work in your favour and best interests. Your sales representative will:
- Work with you to vet your list of needs and wants; fine-tuning your wish list against what is available and affordable
- Get special computer access to listing information not available to the general public
- Screen houses so as not to waste your time
- Arrange appointments and if you wish, pre-view available homes in your price range in order to further save you time.
- Offer helpful advice about neighbourhoods, local amenities, schools, etc
- Introduce you to trusted contacts who should be on your team, such as mortgage brokers, lawyers, and home inspectors.
- Above all, find a real estate sales representative who is a professional in the type of home you're looking for. A country home professional may not be the urban market specialist you need. And when speaking with your sales representative, be as clear as possible about your needs. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as need be in order to feel comfortable when selecting the right representative for you.
Hiring an appraiser to appraise the value of property you are considering to buy may seem sensible but oftentimes it is unnecessary. If you are among the vast majority of Canadian homeowners, you will be mortgaging your purchases and your lender will want their own appraisal on the property you offer to purchase. Most often, your lender will pay for their own appraisal and so you could be wasting your valuable time and money performing your own. Keep in mind that your sales representatives is a highly trained professional and would be happy to provide you with a "Comparative Market Analysis" (CMA) to establish a value range. The only situation where hiring an appraiser would be of benefit to you is where the property is unusual with no comparable sales with which to perform a CMA.
A lender is anyone who will lend you money. Lenders can be either private or institutional, like banks and credit unions. When searching for a lender, you want to remember that you are more than likely building a long-term relationship with them and so you will want to negotiate terms and rates which are beneficial to you.
There are options available to you when searching for the right lender who will suit your needs and offer competitive financing options. Unless you have already established a strong relationship with a particular lender, you should consider going to a mortgage broker. This individual will search the mortgage market for the best rates and conditions based on your circumstances. Usually the broker is paid by the lender without cost to you. However, the lower your credit score, the more likely there will be a fee related to his or her services. A good mortgage broker will be connected to all major lenders through the mortgage market.
You may also be able to perform your own search and with a good credit score, it’s a relatively simple undertaking. You can search online or search through a newspaper to determine what the different lending institutions are offering. Find the institution you feel you would be most comfortable with, and one that offers the terms and conditions you're looking for. Then, go in person and negotiate your best deal.
A mortgage broker will do all of the leg work for you in finding the institution which offers the mortgage terms and conditions that are right for you. Much like an insurance broker, this professional works for you and can offer you an unbiased referral. Although most brokers are paid a finders fee by the lender, some will charge 2% of the total mortgage to find you a lender.
A lawyer is there to represent your interest, and to process the documentation required. The legal aspects differ from province to province. Your sales representative can recommend lawyers to advise you on the steps to be taken before the keys to your new home are presented to you. A lawyer helps ensure you are protected.
Have the home inspected. A sales representative with your best interests at heart will always urge you to include a home inspection clause in your agreement to purchase. Having the property pre-inspected by a qualified home inspector will give you the added confidence that you've made the right decision and will protect your investment by making you aware of any deficiencies in the property that could, at a later date, cost you a great deal of money to remedy. Be very careful to verify the qualifications of your home inspector because there are no government standards or licenses for home inspectors. Some home inspectors in Canada do not have any form of accreditation. For your protection make sure your home inspector is a member of (PACHI) or (OAHI). This is your assurance that they have met their educational requirements, have the experience and carry E & O Insurance.
You'll want to make sure your property and valuables will be covered. A broker offers independent advice and can save you time, trouble and money. Plus, the bank will insist that you carry full insurance since your property is used as collateral against your mortgage.