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Chris Biasucci
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Information for Buyers

A REALTOR® can help you analyze all of these buying issues. A REALTOR® working as a buyer's agent works to find the connection between homes available in the market and the needs and financial capacity of buyers. Talk to and compare the services of REALTORS® to help you navigate through this complicated business transaction. Be comfortable and confident with the REALTOR® you are selecting as your business partner.

As your agent, the REALTOR® owes you the duties of utmost care, integrity, confidentiality and loyalty. Make sure you discuss agency with your REALTOR®. In most provinces, if a REALTOR® is showing you homes, they are automatically deemed to legally be your agent, and owe you all of the associated obligations.

A REALTOR® will use various tools to try and find properties that meet your specifications including the MLS® service. One of the important search tools will be the local MLS® system. By sitting down at a computer the REALTOR® can key in your needs, choice of neighbourhoods and price range and immediately come up with a list of suitable properties available through the MLS® system.

When you select a property and decide to visit a house, there are many things to consider. Does it have all the features you wanted? Is the neighbourhood what you expected? Try to picture your favorite furnishings in a room. Remember all of the technical considerations:

  • what type of wiring does the house have?
  • what about power outlets? Different appliances use different types.
  • what type of heating system does it use?
  • what about the roof and foundation?
  • what condition are the windows in?
  • what about the plumbing?

There are other things to look at as well. If you don't have time or don't feel comfortable doing it, home inspection services are available for a reasonable fee. Having a qualified home inspector look at the house is always a good idea. The older the home, the greater the need for professional inspection.

Once you find the house you want to make your home, work with a REALTOR® to develop an offer. In the offer, you should specify how much you're willing to pay. State when the offer expires, and suggest a closing date for the transaction. You can also propose some conditions on the offer. Some common types of conditions are:

  • getting a suitable mortgage (include the amount, interest rates and any other figures you feel important);
  • selling your current home (the seller may continue to look for a buyer, but will give you the right of first refusal);
  • the seller providing a current survey, or a "real property report," showing the location of the house on the property owned by the seller and that there are no encroachments;
  • the seller having title to the property (your lawyer will check this out when he or she conducts a title search to see if there are any liens on the property, easements, rights of way or height restrictions);
  • if there is a septic system, the seller should have a health inspection certificate, stating the system meets local standards;
  • if you still have any doubts about the home's safety and construction, you may wish to make the purchase conditional on an inspection by a qualified engineer;
  • any inclusions - basically, what stays and what goes.

You will need to present a deposit along with your offer. An appropriate deposit will show your good faith to the seller. The seller's agent is bound by law to bring all offers to the seller's attention.

After your offer is accepted and all the conditions are met, the offer becomes binding on both sides. If you walk away from the deal at that point, you may lose your deposit. You may also be sued for damages. Make sure you understand and agree with all of the terms of the offer before signing.
No matter what type of home or property you're buying, plan on some extra expenses.

You may also have to pay:

  • a mortgage Broker's fee:
  • an appraisal fee;
  • surveying costs (if the seller couldn't come up with a current survey); and,
  • a high-ratio mortgage insurance premium.
  • an interest adjustment. Mortgages are normally calculated from the first of each month: if your closing date is the same as the beginning of your mortgage, there will be no adjustment. However, if your closing date is July and you move in on June 15, those last 15 days are the interest adjustment period. Your lender will expect you to cover the cost of the interest during that time.

(The comments contained on this site are for information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.)

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