A real estate sales representative is a professional who can save you time and trouble. And possibly even a lot of money. You see, real estate sales representatives have the home buying experience most people lack. They know all of the steps and they are good negotiators who will work on your behalf.
A sales representative will:
Fine-tune your wants/needs list
Get special computer access to listing information
Screen houses so as not to waste your 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.
Above all, find a real estate sales representative who is a professional in the type of home you’re looking for. A country home professional may not be the urban market specialist you need. And when speaking with your sales representative, be as clear as possible about your needs.
If you’ve decided to do some renovations on your home to make it more sellable, it’s time to look for a credible contractor. Before anyone begins work on your home, it is important to do your homework.
1. Ask for Referrals
Your architect will make recommendations Your sales representative will offer some suggestions Contact friends or neighbours who have had similar work done Ask at your local builder supply store When you’re interviewing contractors, ensure their credibility. Contact their references. Ask to see some samples of the contractor’s work and speak to his clients to ensure that they were satisfied with the price, length of time in which the project was completed and overall, how the project was handled. Also, check with your local Better Business Bureau.
Once you have the names of a few contractors that look promising, arrange to get estimates from them. 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 he understands your needs and your budget. Each contractor will have a different idea on how to approach the work and they should inspect your home before giving an estimate. If contractors are bidding based on an architect’s plans, be certain 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 may offer workmanship that is of an overall better quality.
In every case, before you sign the contract, be certain that it is as detailed as possible to the point of noting the specific finishes and brand names of the products to be installed.
2. 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?
Hiring an appraiser to appraise the value of property you are considering to buy may seem sensible but it is highly unnecessary. Your lender will want their own personal appraiser anyway, so you could be wasting valuable money. As well, most sales representatives are competent and can do a “Comparative Market Analysis” for you, to establish a value range. The only situation where hiring an appraiser would become necessary is where 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 and terms and rates which are beneficial to you.
You really have a few options. You should 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 will be a fee! A good mortgage broker will be connected to all major lenders through the mortgage market.
You can also do your own search. With a good credit history, it’s really not that complicated. Pick up your newspaper and you’ll see what the different lending institutions are offering. Find the institution you feel you would be most comfortable with, and one that offers the terms and conditions you’re looking for. Then, go in person and negotiate your best deal.
We’ll go into more detail about this process in the arranging a mortgage section.
This is a person who will do the leg work in finding the institution which offers the mortgage terms and conditions that are right for you. Much like an insurance broker, this professional works for you and can offer you an unbiased referral. Although most brokers are paid a finders fee by the lender, some will charge 2% of the total mortgage to find you a lender.
A lawyer is there to represent your interest, and to process the documentation required. 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. For your protection make sure your home inspector is a member of (PACHI) or (OAHI). This is your assurance that they have met their education requirements, have the experience and carry E & O 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.
When it comes time to make an offer, your Real Estate Sales Representative can provide current market information which will aid you in presenting your offer.
Your Sales Representative will communicate the offer, sometimes known as an Offer to Purchase, to the seller, or the seller’s representative, on your behalf. Sometimes there may be more than one offer on a property. Your Sales Representative will guide you through this process as smoothly and effortlessly as possible.
Firm Offer to Purchase
Usually preferred by the seller because it means that you are prepared to purchase the home without any conditions. If the offer is accepted – the home is yours.
Conditional Offer to Purchase
Usually means that you have placed one or more conditions on the purchase, such as “subject to home inspection”, “subject to financing” or “subject to sale of buyer’s existing home”. The home is not sold until all the conditions have been met.
Acceptance of Offer Your
Offer to Purchase will be presented at the earliest possible opportunity. The seller may accept the offer, reject it, or submit a counter-offer. The counter-offer could be in reference to any number of factors, including the closing date and/or the purchase price. The offers may sometimes go back and forth until both parties have agreed upon an offer or until one or the other ends the negotiations.
Buyers in most areas will have to add Land Transfer Taxes to their closing costs
Land transfer taxes are a part of the process unless you live in Alberta, Saskatchewan, or rural Nova Scotia. These taxes, levied on properties that are changing hands, are the responsibility of the buyer. Depending on where you live, taxes can range from a half a per cent to two per cent of the total value of the property.
Many provinces have multi-tiered taxation systems that can sometimes be difficult to understand. If you buy a property for $260,000 in Ontario, for example, .5 per cent is charged on the first $55,000, 1 per cent is charged on $55,000 – $250,000, while the $250,000 – $400,000 range is taxed at 1.5 per cent. Your total tax bill? $2,375.00.
The following chart illustrates Land Transfer Taxes by province:
Up to $55,000 X .5 % of total property value From $55,000 to $250,000 X 1 % of total property value
From $250,000 to $400,000 X 1.5 % of total property value From $400,000 up X 2 % of total property value
Up to $200,000 X 1 % of total property value From $200,000 up X 2 % of total property value
MANITOBA Up to $30,000 N/A From $30,000 to $90,000 X .5 % of total property value From $90,000 to $150,000 X 1 % of total property value From $150,000 up X 1.5 % of total property value
Up to $50,000 X .5 % of total property value From $50,000 to $250,000 X 1 % of total property value From $250,000 up X 1.5 % of total property value
Halifax Metro 1.5 per cent on total property value Outside Halifax County, check with local municipality.
Over the course of your amortization period, you may have many different mortgages. The term is simply the length of time that interest rates, payment schedules and obligations to the lender exist. When the term comes to a close, you will have the option to renew your mortgage at your current or new lending institution. You can also put a lump sum toward the principal without restriction, or pay off your entire mortgage without penalty. If you wish to change the structure of your agreement during the term you may have to pay a substantial fee to the lender.
Choosing Security or Flexibility
Mortgages are available with closed, open and convertible options, with fixed or variable rates. The options you choose will reflect your beliefs about the market — is it going up or down? — and your short-term goals and desire for long-term security.
Amortization This is the amount of time over which the entire debt will be repaid. Most mortgages are amortized over 15-, 20-, or 25-year periods. The longer the amortization, the lower your scheduled mortgage payments, but the more interest you pay in the long run.