Are You Ready For Home Ownership?
Owning a home can be one of the most rewarding things in life!
If you compare home ownership to renting, it definitely has its advantages. You may be free to paint the walls whatever colour you like, build a garage & have more control over some of the other changes you would like to make. However, while these privileges are available to homeowners in most municipalities, they may have different restrictions or bylaws in your area. Be sure to check on these or apply for the necessary permits before you start.
As you become familiar with the buying & eventually the selling process, you'll see there are many things you can do with real estate. Opportunity awaits!
Questions for Prospective Homeowners:
Are you ready to buy?
Becoming a Home Owner can be a fulfilling & exciting experience. However, a person should carefully research & prepare themselves for the necessary path to ownership. A good Realtor can assist you with this! You should be able to clearly understand each of the steps towards your new home purchase.
It is important to educate yourself on the real estate process before making a purchase.
- Online - If you know how to search for & identify accurate information, this is where to start. Beware, there are a number of deceiving sites & articles out there.
- Libraries or Bookstores - There are literally thousands of books written on real estate. If you're still hungry for knowledge, stop by your local library or favorite bookstore. Research materials that pertain to the province or county of interest, laws & procedures can differ from area to area.
- Book a Meeting with your real estate agent - It is vital that you understand how the current real estate market may affect your particular situation.
How much can you afford?
It is usually suggested that you begin the process for pre-approval before looking at properties. This will provide a better idea of what you are able to comfortably purchase & will have a large effect on what price range you should be shopping in. Mortgage professionals are able to answer any questions that you may have & suggest some of the many mortgage options out there. You will then know what type of properties you should look at, as far as price range. We work closely with excellent mortgage brokers & banks, who will be able to provide a knowledgeable service that will help to get things started.
- Traditional Banks - If you already have a great relationship with your current bank, this is a good option. Usually, you will be able to secure favourable terms on your mortgage.
- Mortgage Brokers - These guys & gals have the most options. They can access most major banks, plus many other lenders. They will be your best bet to truly finding the best option for your particular situation, simple fact.
- Creative Financing - The options here are endless & are great for investing, or if you cannot access a traditional mortgage through the above banks or mortgage brokers.
What do you want?
Being able to clearly describe what you are looking for in a home is key. Do you want an attached garage or is parking not that important? We do live in Alberta! So if you need to park inside you should explain this when you sit down for one of our Buyer's Consultations. Do you work out of town or are you away from home constantly? Would you prefer the security & reduced maintenance of a condominium or are you hoping to start a family in the near future?
How many bedrooms do you need? On each floor? We are very good at identifying family needs! Pets?
We Can Help
Keep your objectives in mind when viewing homes. Keep a note pad handy & bring some slip on shoes to speed things up. As you go through each home we can go over the pros & cons of each feature & how they relate to your needs. We will also help to identify specific areas of concern while you are out on your house hunt.
You need a good agent who will work hard for you. We are dedicated to helping you find the right home, at the best price. When you ask us to help you buy your home, we'll assess what you need & can comfortably afford. Then we'll find a way to merge these two priorities & find the perfect home for you!
Make the Offer
After carefully choosing your favorite home, we will research the property, prepare the paperwork & go through it with you before submitting it on your behalf. There are several steps that have to be taken when you write your offer:
- Property Research - Investigate the selling history of the home & where the price is relative to today’s market. An assessment of current homes on the market & properties which have recently sold will need to be done. This is vital for helping to determine your offer price.
- Terms - Terms are the clauses that make up the contract. These are the items that are agreed to & will be upheld by both parties until the process is complete, otherwise there may be a breach of contract. In addition to the standard terms that will be reviewed with you when preparing the offer, you can add in additional terms to suite your needs. Keep in mind, these are open for negotiation only until the offer is accepted.
- Conditions - Conditions, on the other hand, are clauses in the contract that must be fulfilled in order for the transaction to proceed forward. Common conditions are for a home inspection & for the buyer to be approved for financing. The buyer or seller is then given a few days to fulfill the conditions (typically 7 to 14). This is what it is meant by a property status that is listed as Conditional (C) or Conditional Offer (CO). If something happens where either the buyer or seller are not satisfied with the results of their trying to satisfy their conditions, then they may walk away from the contract at no cost & with no further obligation (deposit cheques are returned). Conditions are most commonly for the buyer, but there may be seller's conditions as well.
- Deposits - In order to write an offer, you will need a cheque & some available funds for a deposit. This is a show of good faith in a transaction & is fully refundable if the conditions on the purchase are not removed. After the conditions are satisfied & removed in writing, the deposit becomes the seller's security that you will complete the purchase (non-refundable).
- Price - There are only two things that are negotiable in a real estate transaction, price & terms. Once you know what terms & conditions you would like in the contract, & have completed your property research, you can effectively determine the appropriate offer price. The offer price will be determined based on all the variables affecting this specific property. What terms do we need? How many offers are there? How long has the property been on the market? And many, many more. We need not discuss negotiation strategy here, but remember this: What unique way can we meet the seller's needs & still achieve our goals. This isn't always strictly involving price.
- The Offer Presentation and Acceptance Procedure - After the offer is written & signed, it is the agent's job to present the offer to the seller. This will typically happen one of two ways. First, if the seller is available, the offer can be presented in person or directly to the owner of the home. The listing agent will be there to represent their client, & this is a good opportunity to meet the seller and present your case in person (much more intimate and effective). An alternative method is by faxing or emailing the offer. This means that you will need to be accessible by phone for negotiations to occur. Once a counter offer is received, or the offer is accepted, all parties will now need to sign the documents.
Once the offer is accepted, it is time to proceed with satisfying your conditions. This process usually involves arranging & performing a home inspection, getting all your personal information & the property information to your mortgage broker or bank, or simply doing research to gather whatever information is required. As real estate professionals, we play a huge role in gathering this information and making the necessary arrangements to ensure the process continues to run smoothly.
- Get all necessary documentations to your lender. Be sure to stay in contact with & listen to the guidance of your mortgage specialist, they truly have your success as a priority! They will offer advice necessary to make your purchase a reality.
- Get all necessary inspections done. This is a crucial part of the home purchase. Your offer will usually be subject to an inspection satisfactory to the buyer, you! Yes, this protects you in the event that there is something wrong with the property you intend to purchase. If something serious is found, you have the option to look for a different home & you'll get your deposit back, period. There are many things that a home inspection service looks for in each job that they conduct. There are also many other types of inspections that are suggested, depending on the home, structure & features. We will advise!
Engage the services of a good real estate lawyer. We can recommend several lawyers in the area who might be a good fit for you. Interview them to ensure that you can work with them & that they can accommodate your needs. A knowledgeable lawyer can ensure the acquisition of your home is done correctly & with minimal risk of problems in the future. You will usually meet with your lawyer about a week before you take possession & will need to provide your insurance information, the balance of your down payment, payment of fees, payment of any adjustments or taxes, sign documents, & finalize anything else that is required before you own the home.
On the possession day we will attend your new home with you, to ensure all included chattels (i.e. appliances, etc) are accounted for & that everything agreed upon is completed prior to Possession. We should meet at least a half hour beforehand (usually 11:30am) for a complete walk through of the home.
By walking through the property before noon, we can notify the lawyers of any problems before the keys officially change hands. If there is a problem, keys will still change hands, but the seller will be responsible to take reasonable action to remedy the problem or be in breach of the contract & the buyer can then pursue legal remedies accordingly.
From the first interview that determines your requirements, to the moment that you receive the keys, we will help you through the process of buying a home. Don't hesitate to contact us to find out more about how he can make the home buying process easier!