Dream of owning your own home? Need space for your growing family? There are many steps involved in getting you from where you are to owning your new home: the search for a property that meets your needs and requirements, visits, negotiations, the pre-purchase inspection… so many elements to consider and coordinate! But when you enlist the help of a broker, you don’t have to manage all these aspects, and you can find yourself in your new home before you know it.
Here is a list of the main steps involved in a real estate purchase.
A REAL ESTATE BROKER IS A VALUABLE ASSET FOR YOU AS A BUYER
Did you know that it is a very good idea to be represented by a real estate broker when purchasing a home? You will benefit from their professional expertise for what could very well be the most important transaction of your life.
Once you have chosen a broker to guide you in the purchase of your home, you could sign a brokerage contract - purchase, which will clearly establish the terms under which your broker will act as well as your rights and obligations. It can be advantageous, especially if the property you are considering is being sold without the services of a broker.
However, a broker can also guide you through the purchase process and represent you without a brokerage contract.
It is possible for you to use the services of the seller’s broker, who has an obligation of loyalty towards his client: this means that this broker may not disclose confidential or strategic information concerning the seller. However, they have an obligation to treat you fairly, to inform and advise you objectively, including by recommending the inclusion of the usual clauses regarding inspection and financing in your promise to purchase.
CHOOSING A HOME
First, consider your financial situation
It is always tempting to search the internet, look at inspiring photos and compare prices… But the first thing you have to do is determine how much you can invest in the purchase of a home.
Define your needs
List your priorities and your must-haves for your future home. City or suburb? Single-family or income property? Do you need a yard, or will a balcony suffice? It’s up to you! Use the list of priorities to begin the thought process.
This way you will avoid wasting time looking at properties that are too expensive or too large, or that simply do not meet your requirements.
Organize your search and take notes on each visit
This is probably the longest step, but it is also the most important. Set your priorities and identify the features on which you might be prepared to compromise, and discuss them with your broker, who will coordinate visits for you.
Because your broker has tools enabling him/her to see properties for sale as soon as they come on the market, they can facilitate your search by suggesting properties that meet your criteria as they become available.
During visits, review your list of priorities and note the features of the home and the impression you get as you go along. Your broker’s observations and advice will also be very useful to you throughout the visit.
To help jog your memory, use the documents your broker gave you prior to the visit, i.e. the detailed description sheet and the Declarations by the seller of the immovable form. Afterwards, take the time to think back and compare your notes, as all this information could play a key role in your decision, especially if you are hesitating between two properties.
Asking price vs. actual value
If you are interested in a property and can afford the asking price, it is important to find out what its true market value is in order to offer a price that will be attractive to the seller while being in line with the property’s estimated value.
Your broker can help you with this because he/she knows the area and has tools at his disposal to evaluate the market value of a property. They will identify factors that can affect the selling price of a property, such as year of construction, condition, landscaping, etc.
READY TO MAKE AN OFFER?
You have found your ideal home? You are now ready to make an offer! Your broker will draft your offer using a mandatory promise to purchase form, designed by the OACIQ to ensure your protection. The promise to purchase serves to inform the seller that you wish to buy his property. If he accepts, he undertakes to sell it to you.
Your broker will take the time to review the content of your promise to purchase with you to give it the best chance of being accepted. The promise to purchase must indicate:
- the price you are offering to the seller for his property;
- the deadline by which you will have the property inspected prior to purchase;
- the inclusions and exclusions, i.e. the items you wish to see included in or excluded from the purchase (such as an above-ground pool or a dishwasher);
- the date and time by which the seller must accept your promise to purchase (after which it becomes null and void).
A real estate broker has the skills and expertise to help you assess the impact of each of these conditions in order to find the right balance with your offering price.
DEALING WITH COUNTER-PROPOSALS
Of course what you would like is for the seller to simply accept your promise to purchase as presented. The reality is that they may refuse it, or may issue a counter-proposal, which essentially refusing your promise to purchase, but is making a new proposal that would be acceptable, for example by asking for a higher price. You can then accept it or refuse it.
In response to this counter-proposal, your broker can help you draft your own counter-proposal using the mandatory form to this effect. A counter-proposal has the effect of cancelling all previous counter-proposals made by either the buyer or the seller. The agreement that will bind you to the seller consists in the promise to purchase as amended by the last counter-proposal only, without regard to any previous counter-proposals.
Your broker will manage all these document exchanges, making sure deadlines are met, in addition to representing you in the negotiations.
HERE ARE THE KEYS TO YOUR NEW HOME!
Once the promise to purchase or the counter-proposal has been accepted and all the conditions have been fulfilled, the next step is to make the transaction official by signing the deed of sale before a notary.
Even at this final step, your broker will still be there for you. Ask him or her any questions you may have so that no doubt remains in your mind. You can also contact the OACIQ Info Center with any additional questions.
That’s it, you are now a homeowner. Congratulations!
Originally published by the OACIQ