You've decided it's time to make the jump and purchase your new home - Great. Know where to start?
From start to finish, here are some steps to follow
- Find a REALTOR who will act as your own personal agent. This doesn't cost you a penny - they are paid from the commission of the sale - but could save you thousands through savy research, and negotiating.
- Word of mouth - let your friends know your in the market. Sometimes they will know of a property that hasn't been listed yet, or maybe the listing has expired and it's no longer on the market.
- Check the Internet - www.realtor.ca will have anything currently listed on MLS anywhere in Canada and is a rich resource for researching your favorite regions. Our private website, DQTeamKamloops has the Kamloops/North Thompson region broken into manageble search areas.
- CAUTION: If you do have an agent to represent you, DO NOT call the listing realtors, or the home owners. If you do, your REALTOR will often have to bow out, as you will already be "working with a realtor" on that call. Let your REALTOR know what you're interested in and let them make the call.
- Watch for the lawn signs as you go about your day. Take a Sunday drive through the area's you particularly like at different times of day. Is that area baking hot? Is that area shaded by a mountain? This is one way to find homes that are For Sale By Owner. Yes, your agent can talk to them for you too.
THE OFFER TO PURCHASE
Once you've found the perfect home, your ready to create your offer. The Offer to Purchase is a legal document and should be carefully prepared...
These items are typically included:
- Your legal name
- The name of the seller also known as the vendor
- The legal address of the property (not the street address)
- How much you are offering to pay.
- What you want included for that price (curtains, washer/dryer, etc.) This needs to be specifically stated on the Offer.
- How much you have to put down to "hold" the offer. Your REALTOR can recommend an amount that would be sufficient to motivate the vendor to hold the property until you can put your financing together, etc.
- The date you will take possession of the home. This can sometimes be a negotiating point if the vendor is needing time, or conversly, needing to close early.
- Ask for a current legal land survey of the property. This will show you exactly how much land you are getting, and where the boundaries are. Sometimes buildings are too close to the property line and in some cases, straddling the property lines. You'll want to know that!
- The date the offer becomes null and void — that means it’s no longer valid.
- Conditions often called "Subject to's" -- such as "a satisfactory home inspection report" "satisfactory mortgage financing". And the date you commit to have those conditions met.
- Negotiating the deal: You're REALTOR will present your offer to the listing REALTOR or, in if it is unlisted, with the Vendor. Often the Vendor will come back with a "Counter Offer" with some changes to your offer. Rather than writing it up, this will often initiate a dialogue between the parties as your agent seeks to get the best terms for you.
Once both parties have verbally agreed, your agent will make the changes to the written offer and get everyone's signatures on it. It is now a binding contract and you will need to give your agent the deposit to "hold" the offer.
Note: Your agent is going to want to know the name of the lawyer you are using to handle the legal transaction. The bank/lender will give the money to the lawyer to be held in trust until the deal closes.
- Arranging the Mortgage:Unless you have enough cash to pay for the home, you will need to get a mortgage (thus the "subject to financing" in the offer. If you do not already have a strong relationship with a lender, we can offer suggestions for Mortgage Brokers we have successfully worked with in the past that we are confident will do a great job for you.
Be prepared. Unless you've done a lot of preparation work, and most first time home buyers haven't, this is not a quick job and you may learn some new terms; open/closed/portable mortgages, amortization schedules, and variable or fixed interest rates.
- Closing Day and Possession: Closing is the day the deal closes and your lawyer pays the vendor. Possession, the day you actually get the keys to your new kingdom, is usually a day or two later, giving the vendor time to move out. Often a vendor will have the place cleaned for you once the home is empty.