A real estate sales representative, (Agent, REALTOR®) is a professional who will save you money and time, while simplifying the process and bettering ensuring your success in the marketplace. Real estate professionals have the home buying experience most people lack.
A sales representative will:
Help you refine your list of wants and needs.
Get special computer access to listing information and comparables data.
Screen properties to refine the search process and save you time.
Offer helpful advice about the neighbourhood.
Introduce you to trusted contacts who should be on your team, such as mortgage brokers, lawyers, and home inspectors.
Represent your best interests and negotiate a competitive offer that gives you the best chance to become the successful owner of your desired property.
Hiring an appraiser to value the property you are considering may seem sensible, but it is unnecessary. Your lender will want their own appraiser anyway, so you could be wasting valuable money. As well, most sales representatives are competent to perform a "Comparative Market Analysis" to establish a value. The only situation where hiring an appraiser would be necessary is when the property is unusual with no comparable sales.
The true test for a buyer is "What else can we buy for the same or less money?"
In short, a lender is anyone who will give you money. There are private lenders and institutional lenders, like banks and credit unions. Even your brother-in-law can be your lender. Of course, when you're looking for a lender, you're looking for a long-term relationship with terms and rates which are beneficial to you.
You have a few options. It would be best to go to a mortgage broker who 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 cloudier your credit history, the more likely there is to be a fee charged to you. A good mortgage broker will have connections to all major lenders.
You can also do your own search. With a good credit history, it's not that complicated. Go online and compare what the different lending institutions are offering. Find the institution with which you feel most comfortable and offers the terms and conditions that you're looking for. Then negotiate your best deal.
I'll go into more detail about this process in arranging a mortgage section.
This person will do the leg work in finding the institution that offers the mortgage terms and conditions that are right for you. Much like an insurance broker, this professional works for you and can provide you with an unbiased referral. Although the lender pays most brokers a finders fee, some will charge 2% of the total mortgage to find you a lender.
Lawyers & Notaries
A lawyer is there to represent your interest and process the required documentation. 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! Whether you make it a condition of purchase or not, having the property pre-inspected by a qualified home inspector will give you the added confidence that you've made the right decision. 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. Ensure your home inspector is a member of (PACHI) or (OAHI) for your protection. This is your assurance that they have met their education requirements, have the experience and carry Errors and Omissions 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.
If you've found the right property or house but decided more needs to be done to make it home, it may be time to look for a contractor. Before anyone begins work on your home, it is essential to do your homework.
Ask for Referrals
Your architect will make recommendations.
Your sales representative will offer suggestions.
Contact friends or neighbours who have had similar work done.
Ask at your local builder supply store.
When you're interviewing contractors, ensure they are credible. Contact their references. Ask to see samples of their work. Speak to their clients to ensure they were satisfied with the price, quality and duration of the project. You can also check with your local Better Business Bureau.
Once you have the names of a few contractors that look promising, arrange to get estimates. By arranging for three quotes, you'll get a good idea of the costs and quality of work.
When going over the project with your contractor, ensure that they understand your needs and budget. Each contractor will have a different idea of how to approach the work. They should inspect your home before giving an estimate. If contractors are bidding based on an architect's plans, be sure that they have detailed their approach to the job based on the drawings.
What's more, if there is a significant difference in the price, ask the contractors to explain their estimates. And keep in mind that the lowest price is not always the best. A price that's too low may mean that the contractor has undercut to get the project and then may submit additional project costs once the project is underway. As well, a high price doesn't always mean that you're getting gouged. The contractor may have budgeted for higher-quality materials and offer better quality work.
In every case, before you sign the contract, be confident that it is as detailed as possible to the point of noting the specific finishes and brand names of the products to be installed.
Evaluating a Quotation
Are the specific details of the project outlined?
Are the specific costs detailed?
Is there a provision for extra costs?
Has a cap been set for the total project?
Is there a firm project timeline?
Has the contractor allotted time for inspections?
Have you indicated that you wish to see all material receipts?
Will the work be subcontracted?