Real Estate 101

An Informed Decision: Buying

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Expectations of an agent

My clients know they can rely on me and know that I’m here for every step of the process when buying or selling a home. I am eager to share my expertise and knowledge in real estate to build that relationship and grow that line of communication. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, I want to help you make the right choice and find the home that fits your lifestyle.

While we continue to see a seller’s market, it’s exciting to watch buyers making smart decisions. They’re knowledgeable and won’t jump if the home they see isn’t exactly what they’re looking for, even when the inventory of properties remains low. I like to educate my clients and help them better understand the value of resale. It’s important buyers keep property value in mind and know what is and isn’t worth the money.

Pre-approval

Before we even begin house hunting, it’s important a buyer has met with their bank or a mortgage broker. I cannot stress how critical this step is, especially for first-time home buyers. I want to help set those realistic expectations and find something perfect that you can afford. It’s easy to get swept up in the process of narrowing down a few favourites to go and view, but it’s important to have a clear picture of your finances before the fun stuff can really begin. I have more information and recommendations on who to speak with on my blog.

Your needs

In order for me to find you that perfect property, I need to understand more about you and your lifestyle. I’ll ask clients a lot of questions in order to help focus on exactly what they want and need out of a home. 

What kind of property are you looking for? A house with a yard or a condo that’s a little more maintenance free? 

How important is the location? Do you want to be close to our parks and trail system? Or is it necessary to have shopping close by? 

I also want my clients to paint me a picture of what the future might hold. A young couple might be looking for a starter house, but need a place big enough to start their family. Young professionals may have their sights set on finding an income property, but also need space to entertain. Older families might be looking to downsize, but want that finished basement so they have space to play when the grandkids come and visit. Once I understand your needs, we can work together to find the perfect place that has everything on your wishlist.

Showings

I want to emphasize again the importance of having your pre-approvals in place prior to viewing any properties. COVID-19 has added a lot of stress to the home buying process for both buyers and sellers. Many people who have listed their homes don’t want someone doing a walkthrough without a pre-approval and will even ask the realtor ahead of time to make sure no time, or money, is wasted. 

Viewing a property can be overwhelming for some buyers, which is one of the reasons I suggest starting online. Pictures and video can tell a lot about a home and a quick Google search will show the neighbourhood. Start by narrowing down what you like and don’t like, but try to keep an open mind. Paint and new fixtures can make a house feel like your home. 

I encourage my clients to pick out between four and six properties they’re really interested in. I want to know what they like and dislike about each one while we take the time to look around. There’s a lot to see and explore and I try to point out more than just the finishings. Let’s consider the layout and begin thinking about some of the bigger expenses that may need to be replaced, like the windows or the shingles on the roof. It can be a lot to take in, but there’s really no limit on how many times you can view a property. It can be tricky, especially in a seller’s market when homes are selling fast. In those instances, I take extra time with my clients in that first showing and ask if this could be the one. If that’s the case, we spend more time going over some of the finer details of a home because we might not have the option to view it again. But in a buyers market, we can view a home as many times as necessary, whether it be to take measurements or to bring in someone close to you for a second option.

Offers

There is a lot of paperwork to get in order and a lot of documents to go through when beginning the offer process. I want to review the Real Property Report with you, as well as the Title so that you can understand exactly what is going on with the property. If you’re not comfortable with any of these documents, we can work through that together before a formal offer is written.

Negotiations

As we enter into negotiations with a seller, I’ll have provided you with a comparative market analysis so that you’re armed with the right information and can make the best offer from the start. I have your best interest and don’t want you overpaying for a property. 

In this stage, things can happen quickly and timelines are critical. It’s important that I know the situation you’re in as we move into this stage. If you’re coming from a rental into a new home, time isn’t necessarily on our side. Or perhaps your home is still on the market and you can’t afford paying two mortgages for long. Let’s spend the time working together on the contract so that everything runs as smoothly as possible.

Conditional offers

There are always a few conditions that need to be met before a house is considered sold. This usually includes finalizing financing on the buyer, as well as hiring a home inspector to view the property. I will work with you to make sure these approvals are met. A home inspector may find a few flaws with the property and it’s easier to go back into the negotiations to ensure any issues are fixed before final papers are signed. It may be something we can ask the homeowner to repair prior to our agreed upon possession date.

The same kind of process happens with condominiums. Your lawyer will review the documents from the condo and make sure things like finances and the reserve fund are in order, that the building is professionally managed, review the management terms and ensure that the building is in good structure. 

I want you to rest assured that the home will be in proper working order the day you move in.

Escrow

Once conditions are removed and the property is sold, there are still steps that need to be taken to finalize the deal. As the buyer, you will need to make sure you have a lawyer ready so that the transfer of land can begin, that documents can be written, and that necessary funds are received. This can be a bit of a waiting game depending on possession dates and any hiccups along the way. Insurance for the property also needs to be taken care of and utilities should be transferred over accordingly. 

I follow up with my clients to make sure they know what their next steps are. There can be a lot happening all at once and it’s easy to forget things, like forwarding your mail or changing your address on your credit cards and driver’s licence.

Possession

I will meet you on possession day and welcome you home. It’s the most rewarding feeling, being able to hand over a set of keys and is one of my favourite parts of being a real estate professional. 

Once inside, I always take my clients on a final walkthrough to ensure everything is in good working condition and that the property is as it was when we viewed it last. If any issues do arise, it’s important I’m able to note them immediately. Once the clock strikes midnight, the home is officially the buyers responsibility.

Otherwise, it’s time to start making your home your own, which is arguably the most exciting part.

Working together from the start

If you have more questions about the process, please reach out. I’m happy to chat in person or online and help get the process started. Showings can be a lot of fun, who doesn’t love house hunting?!

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