Tips to Help in Buying A Home

Posted: February 24, 2012 in Buyers
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Buying the perfect home can be tedious work and it does not happen overnight. There are key processes to help simplify the home purchase which include locating the right neighbourhood, the preferred features and finally defining your financial parameters. Determining your needs will go a long way in assisting your Real Estate agent with which homes to show you. Is it an extra bathroom, a double garage, a fenced yard? What are your needs and those of your family. Is the drive to work a major decision factor or the closeness to schools so that the kids don’t have to bus? What is most important to your lifestyle? Is the cost of utilities or taxes a major component in  your decision? Make that list and then decided what would work for you. 

You’ve heard or seen it many times in Real Estate magazines – Location, location, location. It does affects your daily living and it is one of the most significant influences on value. Your budget might dictate your choice of location. Be sure to consider the distance and route that you and your spouse would need to travel to work. If you are a young couple with no children consider five years from now. Will you then be parents? Will you have to sell the house because it’s too small for even one child. What about day care, public school, high school, college and university? How far are they from the location that you are looking at? Will you have to cross town to pick up a child if he gets sick at school? And  you know they will. Consider shopping distances or places for your teen age kids to get an after school job. Will that be a problem with this location. And we haven’t even considered entertainment. As you can see there are lots of consideration to be made based on  your now family and five years down the road family. 

What type of property would you want? A single-family detached home might be attractive to you but if finances are limited a semi or a townhouse might be more in your range and still provide a yard for the kids or pets or even gardening. If you are looking to be maintenance free a condominium may be a more suitable choice for you.

This is the job of a REALTOR® to help analyze all of these buying issues and help you find your dream home.  The REALTOR® will connect the  homes available in the market and keep in mind your needs and financial capacity. Remember your REALTOR®  helps you navigate through this complicated business transaction and goes to bat for you in the negotiation process. Your selected REALTOR® can really be considered your business partner and owes you the duties of utmost care, integrity, confidentiality and loyalty. 

Once you have found some homes that meet your needs your REALTOR® will set up the viewings. Take you time when you go through as there are many things to consider. Are all the features that you wanted there for you? Does the neighbourhood feel comfortable? Picture your furniture in the rooms. Does it fit? There are also many technical aspects to consider such as the plumbing, the heating system, the wiring  and power outlets (especially if it’s an older home), the roof and the foundation, the condition of the windows just to name a few.

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 but certainly not limited to older homes. The inspection will not only give you greater peace of mind but will also provide you with an upkeep manual as things might be fine now but may need attention in three to five years.

Once you find the house that meets your needs let your REALTOR® develop an offer that specify how much you’re willing to pay, a closing date suitable to you and other conditions which might include getting a suitable mortgage, selling your current home or any inclusions of what stays and goes. You’ll also need a deposit along with the offer. The more substantial your deposit the more seriously the sellers will look at your offer.  The seller’s agent is bound by law to bring all offers to the seller’s attention. The offer becomes binding on both sides once the offer is accepted and all conditions are met. Changing your mind after this may forfeit your deposit and may also be cause for suit for damages. Be sure that you understand and agree with all of the terms of the offer before signing. Your agent will also inform you as to the closing costs that you will incur. You will also have to reimburse the seller for unused portion of any prepaid property taxes or utility bills. You will also need to provide proof of insurance and you might highly consider obtaining  a term life  insurance instead of Mortgage insurance which can have detrimental underwriting clauses.

Before the property can officially change hands, your lawyer and the seller’s lawyer will arrange to transfer title of the property from the sellers name to yours. The mortgage money will be transferred to your lawyer’s trust account, and then to the seller, and your lawyer will bill you all additional expenses such as land transfer taxes or outstanding legal fees. Be sure to check with your lawyer that everything is as stated in the offer. Your lawyer will call you as to when you can pick up the keys, which is usually later in the day, and then you can be on your way to your new home.

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