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Buyer Information


Finding the perfect home takes time. It takes lots of work and careful planning. Below are a few tips to help streamline the process.


1. Consider your requirements before beginning your search


Location


Where you live has an impact on your lifestyle and it’s also one of the most significant factors on the value of your home. Choice of location is sometimes limited by the price you can afford but it is still important to consider factors such as commute to work, schools, family, shopping and entertainment.


Budget


Consider how much you have to spend, and just as importantly, consider how much you want to spend. Note that purchasing a home includes numerous additional expenses above and beyond the list price.


Features


Is it important for you to have an ensuite bathroom, an attached garage or a private backyard? Would you like a fireplace, a short commute, or maybe minimal work? Once you decide which features you would like, then it’s time to prioritize the list.


Type of Home


You should consider what type of property you would like to live in. A single-family detached home is desirable to many because it typically provides more living space and land. Alternatively, a condominium may be a more appropriate choice, since condos offer low-maintenance living. It is important to determine what type of home best suits your budget and desired lifestyle.


2. Searching for a home


A real estate agent can help by using a variety of tools to identify properties that meet your requirements. One such tool is the local Board’s MLS�® (Multiple Listing Service�®) System. MLS can be searched for listings that best match your requirements such as location and budget.


3. Viewing properties


Once you decide to visit a property, keep your requirements in mind, i.e. does it have all the features you want? does the location work for your lifestyle? Also keep some of the technical considerations in mind, such as: wiring, power outlets, heating, foundation and roof maintenance, windows, plumbing etc. Home inspections can provide an assessment of the technical aspects of a property and it is a good idea to have a professional inspection performed.


4. Making an offer


When you find a property that you would like to buy, your agent can put together an offer. The offer will include, the price you are willing to pay, expiration of the offer, a closing date for the purchase of the home and conditions for the purchase. Some commonly included conditions are:


  • Financing, which states you will be able to get a mortgage.
  • Selling your current home.
  • Survey provided by the seller that shows there are no encroachments on the property;
  • Title of the property being owned by the seller (your lawyer will confirm via a title search).
  • Home inspection by a qualified engineer; and
  • Inclusion and exclusion of any appliances and other items – basically, what stays and what goes.

A deposit is given along with an offer. A deposit of appropriate value will show your good faith to the seller.


5. Acceptance of an offer


Once an offer is accepted and all conditions are met, then the offer becomes binding on both sides. If either party then does not honour the agreement, they can be sued or the deposit lost; therefore before signing, be sure that you fully comprehend all the terms of the offer.

Before the property can formally be handed over from the seller to the buyer, a few more things must be done. You will have to show proof of insurance to the institution that provided your mortgage. On or before closing day, the lawyers from both sides will arrange to transfer the property title from the seller to the buyer. The mortgage will be transferred to your lawyer’s trust account, and then to the seller. Your lawyer will bill you all additional expenses such as land transfer taxes or outstanding legal fees. Also be sure to check with your lawyer that everything is as stated in the offer-to-purchase.


Once this is complete and the keys are in your hands, then the home is yours!


6. Additional costs


Purchasing a home is associated with some extra expenses, such as:

  • Legal fees
  • Real estate agent fees
  • Appraisal fee
  • Survey costs (if the seller didn’t have a current survey)
  • A high-ratio mortgage insurance premium
  • An interest adjustment for the mortgage.
  • Reimbursement to seller for the unused portion of any prepaid property taxes or utility bills
  • Land transfer tax in certain provinces
  • Mortgage broker’s fee

Seller Information


Selling your home can take some work and time. Here are some tips to help with the process.


1. The listing agreement


The listing agreement is a contract that provides an outlines forms and negotiations related to the sale of your property. The contract is between you and your agent’s brokerage company. It is important that the agreement clearly outlines out the rights and obligations of you and your agent and that it is an accurate representation of your property details.

The listing agreement will outline:


  • The compensation for your real estate agent;
  • The duration of the contract;
  • The listing price of the property;
  • Mortgage details of the property, including the mortgage balance, mortgage monthly payments and mortgage due date;
  • An accurate description of the property;
  • The amount of annual property taxes; and
  • Any easements, rights of way, liens or charges against the property.

Ask your listing real estate agent about disclosure. Disclosure is the seller’s obligation to disclose any relevant facts about property for sale. Relevant facts include material details about the property such as anything that could materially affect the sale price or influence a buyer’s decision to buy it. Post-sale disputes and lawsuits often relate to defects and disclosure; however, many of these disputes can be avoided if accurate and appropriate disclosures are made. When selling a property, purposefully withholding information can have significant legal consequences.


2. Determining the listing price


You may have an idea of how much your house is worth but it’s important to have a professional value your home. You should be cautious about not pricing your property too high or too low. If it’s too high, it will be difficult or impossible to sell and if it is too low then you will sacrifice a portion of your investment


A real estate agent can review the prices at which similar properties in your area have sold, and thus they can help you determine an appropriate listing price. An agent can also provide market history including the number of properties sold in your neighbourhood recently.


3. Marketing your property


MLS Listing


If your listing is on the MLS system, then all other agent members can find and view information about your property, and have the opportunity to sell your property. This increases the exposure of your property.


Open Houses


Your real estate agent may recommend hosting open houses. There are two types of open houses: 1) an agent’s open house where agents from the listing company will be invited to view your house; 2) a public open house, where anyone is invited to walk in and view your home. Open houses are an efficient way to show your home to many potential buyers at once. Your agent will act as the host and answer any questions.


Social Media


Ensure your property receives maximum exposure through our multiple social media channels, including but not limited to: 


  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Linkedin
  • Paid social advertisements


4. Waiting for the right buyer


Sometimes a home takes time to sell, remember to be patient and persistent. There are three common reasons that a home may not sell quickly: location, condition, and asking price.

You cannot change the location of your property but you can improve the condition of your home and you can adjust your price. While your property is listed, you should be continuously comparing your asking price to similar properties in your neighbourhood. On a regular basis, review your marketing strategy with your agent. Your agent should provide you with updates on the following items while your property is listed.


  • The number of showings.
  • Feedback from showings.
  • Updates on the marketplace.
  • Your property compared to the competition.

5. Accepting an offer


When you receive an offer it will detail: the buyer’s price, any conditions that may apply, the desired date of possession and the date the offer expires.


The buyer will give a deposit with the offer as an act of good faith. You are able to make a counter offer if you are not happy with the offer from the buyer. The seller and buyer may go back and forth to negotiate the final terms and conditions of the sale.

Once the offer is agreed upon and signed off by all parties then it is a binding contract. Therefore, ensure that you understand and agree to all of the terms in the offer. In addition, you may want your lawyer to review the offer before you sign it. Your lawyer should also make sure that compensation is received for any prepaid expenses such as utility bills or property taxes. Once these expenses are paid, then you will receive the money from the sale.


6. Possible requests from the buyer

Before closing, the buyer may ask you to provide a number of things such as:

  • A current survey that shows that the house sits on the property that you own;
  • The title to the property;
  • A certificate for a well or septic system, stating that the system meets standards; and
  • Access to the property for a home inspection.