1. What is the first step in the home-buying process?
Hire a REALTOR® . 😜 Find one you trust, one you get along with, and one you think will best represent your interests moving forward. Don’t be afraid to interview a few. A good REALTOR® will have all the tools necessary in order to make the next steps of your home-buying journey as stress-free and easy as possible.
2. We’d like to start looking at houses right away, and then if we find something we like we’ll get pre-approved with a mortgage broker at that time. Is that ok?
No! Buying a home is a process. An exciting and fun one at that, but it’s still a process. A pre-approval with a mortgage broker before viewing any properties first is an absolute MUST. Sellers expect that Buyers viewing their homes are pre-approved, and can afford to buy it if they like it. A good mortgage broker will provide you with options for financing, secure you with a competitive interest rate, tell you what your monthly mortgage payments will be, uncover any potential surprises up front, give you a price range to shop in, and advise you on what needs to be fixed (if anything) before submitting any offers, just to name a few. Plus, the entire process is absolutely FREE! We work with some of the best mortgage brokers in the business – if you’re looking for a great contact, let us know – we’d love to introduce you.😃
3. We want to sell our current home and buy a different one. Do we still need to get pre-approved?
Yes! If you’re purchasing a home and will require a mortgage, then speaking with a lender or a mortgage broker is a MUST. There are a number of factors that will determine your purchasing power (and thus, your ability to get a mortgage) such as: has your job situation changed since the last time you applied for a mortgage? Have you bought a car recently? Is your spouse on maternity leave? Do you have outstanding credit card or student loan debts? Do you plan on porting your mortgage? Or more importantly, is your existing mortgage portable? The last thing we want to do is sell your home and leave you homeless. If you’re in need of a good mortgage broker, let us know and we’ll introduce you.
4. How many homes should we see before we write an offer?
That will depend entirely on you and your comfort level. Some people write an offer on the very first property they see, while others need to go out a few times before they can make any decisions. When you look at homes with us, there’s no pressure or time limit to buy. The choice is yours – we’re here to help.
5. What is a Buyer’s market?
A Buyer’s market is classified as having more homes available for sale than there are Buyers available to purchase them. Inventory is generally high, and in these cases Sellers are generally more apt to negotiate on price and other terms, as there are few Buyers.
6. We plan on buying a new home from a builder. Why would we need to use a REALTOR® for our purchase? Can’t we just deal with the builder/showhome rep directly?
There are so many reasons why you should use a REALTOR® to represent you in your new home purchase. Here are just a few: 1) The showhome rep works for the builder. Regardless of what they tell you, their job is to look after the builder’s interests, not yours. 2) Builders and their representatives are not bound by the same rules and regulations that REALTORS® must adhere to when representing Buyers and Sellers in a transaction. As REALTORS®, we have duties to disclose conflicts of interest when representing Buyers and Sellers in the same transaction – we can help facilitate the deal, but we can’t advocate for one party over another. Builders and their representatives are not bound by this rule. 3) Market value – are you paying market value for your chosen property? How do you know what market value is?
There are a lot of great builders in our area – if you’re considering purchasing or building a new home please let us know. We’d love to introduce you to some of our contacts. 😃
7. We don’t want to buy any stigmatized properties (i.e. murders/suicides/deaths in the home, etc.). That’ll be disclosed to us before we see any homes, right?
Unfortunately not always. Sellers are not required to disclose stigmatized properties to potential Buyers. That said, if this is of particular concern to you, please mention it to us so we can be prepared before your showings. As licensed agents, we have only 2 options when asked about stigmatized properties. We can 1) choose not to answer the question, or 2) answer honestly and disclose. We cannot lie, regardless of what our Sellers instruct us to do.
8. We’re afraid of buying a home with a leaky basement, or one that has mould. Will the Sellers disclose that to us before we write an offer?
Yes. Sellers are required by law to disclose any and all material latent defects to potential Buyers. That is, known defects that are not discoverable through a reasonable home inspection, ones that would be expensive to fix, lack of permits, and government & local authority notices, to name a few.
9. We want a good deal on a home. How much can we expect the Seller to negotiate on price?
The question here is, “what do you consider a good deal?” We believe that if we can negotiate a price at, or below market value on a property, you’re getting a good deal on that property regardless of how much (or how little) the Seller moves on price.
Which would you rather? Scenario 1 – no movement on price, but you’re paying market value for the home, or Scenario 2 – we negotiated $25k off the price of your home, but… you’re paying $10k more than market value.
The lesson here – don’t be fooled by the amount of money you’re getting off the list price of the home. Rather, focus more on what is market value. A good REALTOR® can help you navigate this. 😃
10. If we can’t remove conditions on a property we had hoped to purchase, will we get our deposit back?
Yes. So long as you entered into the agreement with good intentions (that is, with the intent to purchase the home).
11. Do you recommend a home inspection if we buy a new house? Won’t our New Home Warranty cover us?
Yes, your New Home Warranty will cover you. However, we always recommend a home inspection, regardless of whether you’re purchasing a new or a used home. Home inspections are a great tool to point out potential concerns, find items the builder may have missed during construction, and provide proactive tips to help prevent future issues.
12. We’re new to the area – who do we contact to make arrangements to hook-up our services?
We have a checklist we’ll provide you with outlining a number of service providers in your designated area.
13. Do I need a lawyer to purchase my home?
We highly recommend it. A lawyer will review all the documents, protect your interests within the contract, and ensure that your sale is completed properly. In fact, many lenders won’t fund a mortgage if there isn’t a lawyer there to represent the Buyer.
14. What costs can we expect to encounter when buying a home?
You can expect the following costs: property taxes paid from the time of your possession onwards, legal fees, moving costs, and deposits for utility hook-ups to name a few.
15. Is there really a difference between a REALTOR® and a LOCAL REALTOR®?
Believe it or not, there is. A local REALTOR® is one that lives, works, and breathes the “local” area. They know the ins & outs of local development, coming attractions, and areas to buy in (or stay out of). They attend local events, are invited to Broker Opens, and network with other local businesses. They pay local taxes, buy local groceries, and they have a vested interest in seeing their local community succeed. A local REALTOR® knows the area better than their competition, thus making them market/local experts.
A REALTOR® on the other hand, while they may have knowledge of the general area or inventory in a neighbourhood, might not necessarily have all the “ins” & “outs” that you’re specifically looking for. They may work in a designated area, but they’ll reside in another (or vice versa).