Buying a home is one of life's major milestones and it is probably the largest investment you will ever make. That's why it's essential that you have a team of professionals working on your behalf throughout the process.
THE BUYER'S TEAM OF PROFESSIONALS
- Your Real Estate Agent
- The Lender / Mortgage Broker
- The Lawyer / Notary
- The Home Inspector
- The Insurance Broker
YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT
Choosing the right real estate agent is paramount. No one will play a more important role in the buying process.
Your real estate agent will:
- Help you find the home that best suits you and your needs/wants.
- Prepare and write the offer and guide you through the buying process.
- Handle all negotiations to ensure you get the best possible deal
- Assist with providing information on and arranging for home inspection and other resources
- Guide you through entire buying process - saving you time, money and minimizing stress
THE LENDER/MORTGAGE BROKER
It is essential that you find a lender to assist you through the process of buying your home. As long as you have your mortgage, your lender will continue to assist you and I recommend you do your research in order to find someone who is reputable.
A variety of institutions lend money for mortgages and while your realtor has personal recommendations, it is always a good idea to take on researching the best option for you. Banks, credit unions, trust companies, pension funds, finance companies as well insurance companies are all viable options. I advise you speak to more than one lender as each offers varying terms and options.
THE LAWYER / NOTARY
All buyers will need a lawyer or notary in order to protect the buyer's legal interests. A lawyer or notary will make sure the subject property does not have any negative associations such as building or statutory liens, charges, or work/clean-up orders. They will also review all paperwork and contracts before you sign them to ensure your best interest in protected. The involvement of a lawyer or notary will offer you peace of mind especially where the Offer/Agreement to Purchase Contract is concerned.
The costs of employing a lawyer/notary varies and is dependent on the nature and complexity of the transaction being carried out. Just as one must shop around for a lender, so too must buyers shop around when choosing a lawyer/notary in order to find the best rate for you.
Things to consider when choosing a lawyer/notary:
- Choose a licensed full-time lawyer/notary.
- Ideally local and has clear comprehension of real estate laws, regulations and restrictions.
- Can explain transactions and work in simple language so to allow buyers to better understand the nature of legal work.
- Fees should be ideal and acceptable for services provided.
THE HOME INSPECTOR
While the appraiser deals with the property value, a home inspector will focus on the functionality and workmanship of the property. Any home you are thinking of buying should undergo an inspections by a professional and well-versed inspector. The home inspector will advise you on the property's condition; whether something is not functioning ideally, needs to be changed, or is not safe. They will inform you of repairs that may need to be made as well can determine if certain areas of the home may have caused problems in the past. Inspections ideally include an evaluation of the required following:
- Roof and exterior walls
- Doors and windows
- Heating and air conditioning systems
- Plumbing and electrical systems
- Septic tanks, wells or sewer lines
- Ceilings, walls and floors
- Overall opinion of structural integrity of the buildings
- Any other buildings such as a detached garage
- The lot, including drainage away from buildings, slopes and natural vegetation
- Common areas (in the case of a condominium/strata or co-operative)
As there is no mandatory certification or legal requirements that regulate the culpability of home inspectors, I suggest going through a home inspector who belongs to an industry association. Anyone can legally say they are a home inspector but reputable home inspectors generally work under an industry association.
THE INSURANCE BROKER
The job of an insurance broker is to aid you with your insurance needs. This includes property insurance and mortgage life insurance. Lenders are insistent on property insurance as your property provides security for your loan.
What is property insurance? Property insurance covers the replacement cost of your home, therefore premiums may vary depending on its value.
What is mortgage life insurance? Mortgage life insurance provides coverage for your family should you die before your mortgage is paid off. This form of insurance is available through your lender; the premium s added to your regular mortgage payments. I advise comparing rates between both your insurance broker as well as your lender.Buyers should take note not to confuse property or life insurance with mortgage loan insurance the latter of which may be required for high-ratio mortgages.