Resources for Buyers
Steps to Buying a Home
- Financing – Most people need to take out a loan to buy a home. So that you’re prepared to make an offer when you find the perfect place, and to be sure you’re house-hunting in the right price range, it’s crucial to talk to a mortgage broker and get pre-approved before you start to shop. You’ll also need cash on hand for the initial deposit and closing costs. If you’re relocating from outside Canada, your downpayment will need to be in the country for 30 days before it can be used for a real estate transaction. You might also need to consider exchange rates, or capital gains taxes for resale. If you have questions or need a recommendation for a mortgage broker in your area, contact me.
- Research – Finding the right home can be time consuming, but it’s important to consider everything before you decide. What’s the commute like to work? If you have kids, what are the schools like in the area? How many bed and bathrooms will you need? Do you prefer a newer or older styled home? All are important factors to take into account during the home finding process. I’m dedicated to helping you sort out your needs and wants, and narrow down the myriad options to those that truly meet your criteria.
- Offer Writing – Once we’ve found the perfect home, I prepare your written offer. Well-written contracts are crucial — if you decide to proceed with the purchase, this contract encompasses the details of what might be the biggest investment of your life. We must be careful to protect your interests, while finding a balance that both fits your budget and has the best chance of being accepted. You can include conditions to your offer (such as an inspection), or write a subject-free offer — there are pros and cons to each so we should discuss all your options.
- Negotiations and Accepted Offer – An offer can be refused, accepted, or countered. And while negotiations really begin with the first handshake, they’re at peak importance during the back-and-forth of contract discussions — this is where my proven successful skills in interest-based negotiation are a real asset. Once we reach agreement, you have an accepted offer. Tentative congratulations! If your offer had conditions, the subject removal period begins. You might pay your deposit now, or on subject removal.
- Subject Removal – A negotiable timeframe written into the contract (offer), and a period during which you must satisfy any conditions to the contract. Typical conditions include financing, property inspection, and the review of certain documents — there are many variations, and we will have considered your particular needs beforehand. This is a period of discovery: you might discover that one or more of your conditions can’t be met, or that there’s a need to renegotiate contract terms, or that everything is perfect. Once your conditions are met (subjects removed) and your deposit is paid, your offer becomes a firm and legally binding contract. Congratulations! You will soon be a homeowner.
- Completion and Possession Dates – The completion date (closing date) is when you pay for your home and the title is transferred to your name, usually 2 weeks to three months after subject removal. Congratulations! You’re officially a homeowner. The lawyer or notary of your choice handles the payment and title conveyance — I can recommend some options if you don’t have someone already. The possession date is usually the next day, and that’s when you get the keys and are free to move in.
- Moving Time! – Make moving arrangements as soon as you have a firm contract — companies and moving trucks are often booked in advance especially at month end. If you plan on using a professional moving company, I can recommend reputable local movers. Don’t forget to set up a change of postal address, and inform the utility, cable and phone companies you’re moving.
Resources for Sellers
Get Started on the Right Foot!
- Why Hire an Agent?
Studies show that sellers who use a real estate agent generally get a better price than those who choose to sell the home themselves. It’s my job to stay up to date on market trends and price fluctuations, and keep you informed with the latest information at critical junctures so there are no surprises during the selling process. Fees are negotiable, covering marketing materials, advertising, photos and floorplans if appropriate, MLS listing, contracts, various insurance products to protect you and your property, enduring liability protection for your sale/purchase, and more. Expert negotiation and transaction management skills pay for themselves — let me put my experience to work for you to ensure you get the best price for your home!
- Before Your Home is Listed
Before listing, get everything in good showing condition for when buyers tour the home. Everything should be clean and in good repair — buyers tend to look at prospective homes in dollars and cents, and yours probably isn’t the only home available. Remember, this is a competition! Some suggestions for your consideration:
- Start Packing
Now is the time to put things in storage, clean out the basement and garage and start preparing to show your home. Remove any family photos or personal items to help buyers imagine themselves in your home.
- Spot Paint
New paint is a great way to make a room feel fresh and a home feel cared for — touch up inside and out as needed.
- Update Floors
Clean or replace carpet or wood flooring in areas with heavy wear. Do a quick sweep or vacuum before showings and open houses.
- Extra Cleaning
Keep things clean, tidy and odor free, inside and out.
- Curb Appeal
Trim any overgrown bushes, mow the lawn and keep it free of leaves or snow. Make sure the front of the home is clean and appealing. Many buyers drive by before arranging to see your home, and you want to make a strong first impression.
- Find Potential Problems Early
Once you’ve completed these steps you may want to hire someone to perform a pre-listing inspection. Buyers will be hiring professional inspectors too; this is your chance to find and address problems before it’s time to sell.
- Professional Staging
Consider hiring a professional stager to help give buyers the appeal they’re looking for. I can help with some basic advice and refer you to local staging companies if needed.
- Start Packing
- During the Listing Period
You’ll need to plan to have something to do outside the home during open houses and showings, and if you have pets they may need to be out too. If we’re not getting any showing requests, we may need to consider lowering the asking price — a lack of traffic usually points to a price problem. If initial offers don’t meet your expectations, don’t dismiss them immediately — we might still be able to negotiate terms that works for both parties.
- Offer and Sale
I walk you through any offer(s) we receive, making sure you know the pros and cons, and making sure you understand present market conditions and comparable sales activity in your area. I also ensure the purchase contract meets your needs and protects you legally moving forward. Once you have an accepted offer, and any conditions to the contract are met — congratulations! You have a firm contract you can take to the bank or use to make a subsequent purchase. Then you have a prescribed amount of time to pack up and move. There are reputable local movers I can recommend, and if you need to find a new home to move to, I can help with that too!