Who Should be on Your Team?
Purchasing a home is probably the biggest investment you will ever make, you will definitely want a team of professionals working with you throughout the process.
Here is a list of them to give you an idea of who is involved and what services they can offer you.
Real Estate AgentNo one will play a more important role in helping you finding a home than your Real Estate agent. A professional agent’s job is to help you understand the whole process of a home purchase, understand the current Real Estate market, find the ideal home, draft an Offer of Purchase, negotiate on your behalf to help you get the best possible deal, provide you with important information about the community, arrange and coordinate the home inspection and essentially save you time, trouble and money.
Financial Lender/Mortgage Broker
You will need to find a good lender to assist you during the purchasing process and for as long as you have your mortgage. Many different institutions lend money for mortgages, such as banks, trust companies, credit unions, pension funds, insurance companies and finance companies. It’s a good idea to shop around and speak with more than one lender because terms and options will vary. Some people find it helpful to use a mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers do not work for any specific lending institution. Their role is to find a lender with the terms and rates that best suits the buyer. To find a lender or mortgage broker, you can get a referral from your Real Estate agent, family members or friends.
Lawyer/Notary PublicYou need a lawyer to protect your legal interests such as ensuring the property you are thinking of buying does not have any building or statutory liens, charges, or clean-up orders associated with it. He or she will review all contracts before you sign them. Having a lawyer/notary involved in the process will give you peace of mind and ensure that things go as smoothly as possible. Lawyer’s fees range widely and depend on the complexity of the transaction. Remember that a lawyer should be licensed and full-time, should be local and understand real estate laws, regulations and restrictions and should have realistic and acceptable fees and most importantly, is able to explain things in plain simple language!
Home InspectorThis is probably the most important $300 - $500 you will ever spend. Although, sometimes a competitive situation would not allow you to have an inspection done, you should still consider having an inspection on the home you are thinking of buying by a knowledgeable and professional inspector whenever possible. The home inspector’s role is to inform you on the property’s condition. He will tell you if something is not functioning properly, needs to be changed or is unsafe. You will also be informed of repairs that need to be done and he/she may even be able to tell you where there may have been problems in the past. There is presently no uniform certification and no requirement for home inspectors to take any courses or to have passed any tests. Anyone can say that they are home inspector. However, a good home and property inspector generally belongs to a provincial or industry association such as the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors at www.cahi.ca. Home inspector fees are generally $300 and more, depending on the size and condition of the home.
Insurance BrokerAn insurance broker can help you with your insurance needs, including property insurance and mortgage life insurance. Lenders insist on property insurance because your property is their security for your loan. Property insurance covers the replacement cost of your home, so premiums may vary depending on its value.
AppraiserHaving an independent appraisal done on a property before you make an offer is a good idea. It will tell you what the property is worth and help ensure that you are not paying too much. Your lender can also ask for a recognized appraisal in order to complete a mortgage loan. The appraisal should include an unbiased assessment of the property’s physical and functional characteristic, an analysis of recent comparable sales and an assessment of current market conditions affecting the property. Appraisal fees may vary but you should not pay more than $250 - $350 in most areas for a typical single-family house. Your Real Estate agent should be able to refer an appropriate professional.
With all that is involved in purchasing a home, just remember to plan ahead, do your research and always use industry professionals. It will save you time, money and frustration down the road. After all, purchasing a home should be a fun and exciting experience!