Whether it be your first or fifth, buying a home is not an easy thing to do. However, help is available in the form of your friendly REALTOR®. I will be blogging excerpts from the very helpful website howrealtorshelp.ca. I trust that these may help make the decision much less daunting for you.
6. Find a REALTOR® who is right for you
REALTORS® aren't just people who help find you a home. They're an invaluable resource for knowledge, contacts and advice that help turn buying a piece of property into a home. Here we explain what you can expect when you enlist the help of a REALTOR®.
There are a number of different kinds of relationships that you can develop with your REALTOR®. However, they all fall primarily under two categories - agency relationships and non-agency relationships.
An agency relationship is one where the REALTOR® represents you exclusively. In that respect, the REALTOR®'s primary obligation is to you, and they are required to act only in your best interests. Anything you tell your REALTOR® agent is strictly confidential, and the REALTOR® has an obligation to disclose to you any information he or she has that is related to the transaction.
Dual agency refers to the situation where the REALTOR®represents both the buyer and the seller as agent at the same time. In this case, both parties are required to sign a dual agency contract setting out the obligations of the REALTOR® to both parties, and obtaining the consent of the parties to this type of representation.
It is possible for a REALTOR® to work with you without being your agent. In this case, the REALTOR® can give you information, but cannot provide you with advice. There is a big difference between these two concepts. Nothing you say to a "non-agent" is confidential, so you have to be careful what you confide. As a buyer you will likely want your REALTOR® to act as your agent, but that decision is up to you.
Remember, the REALTOR® Code requires REALTORS® to disclose the nature of the relationship they have with you, and the duties and obligations associated with that relationship. Make sure you have this discussion with your REALTOR®.
Selecting a REALTOR®
There are lots of ways to find a REALTOR®. As you drive through prospective neighbourhoods, jot down the names and numbers of REALTORS® on the For Sale signs. Open Houses are a great way to meet face-to-face. Maybe friends or family members have a REALTOR®they love. If you are browsing properties on REALTOR.ca, you can also contact a REALTOR® directly through that web site. Interview two or three and pick the one you think will be your best "business" partner.Here are a few helpful questions to ask when talking to a REALTOR®.
How REALTORS® can help buyers like you
Review your list of wants and needs to help you determine your price range.
Answer questions about the markets you're interested in and help you compare homes and neighbourhoods.
Use the local real estate Board's MLS® System. Your REALTOR®can give you access to exclusive features of an MLS® System that the public is not privy to.
Preview properties to ensure you're only shown homes that meet your needs and budget.
Make appointments and walk you through potential homes, answering all your questions.
Give up-to-the-minute information on financing and explain your mortgage options.
Negotiate with the seller, smooth out any potential conflicts and draw up a legally binding contract.
Stick with your REALTOR®
Your REALTOR® can become an expert on your specific needs and tastes. Scattering your time and energy amongst multiple REALTORS®will work against your goal of finding your best home. And because mostREALTORS® have equal access to the same property listings, there's no real advantage to having multiple REALTORS®.
Canada's money laundering reporting requirements
No matter which REALTOR® you select, he or she will advise you of reporting requirements by FINTRAC, the federal agency responsible for administering Canada's Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing legislation and regulations. Your REALTOR® is required by federal law to complete a client identification form, and must ask you as a client (buyer) for verified ID such as a driver's license or passport. You can find out more on the FINTRAC web site at http://www.fintrac-canafe.gc.ca.
7. See what's out there
Now's the time to pound the pavement and see what's available. This step can be either incredibly fun or incredibly exhausting. But with an expert REALTOR® at your side, you'll be able to sift through to your dream home much more effectively.
Read and see all about it
Start reading real estate ads in local papers.
Visit the areas you're considering to get a feel for them.
Make note of surrounding schools, shopping and recreational areas.
Keep an eye out for not-so-great things like large industrial areas, railway tracks and airports.
Visit during the day and at night.
Open Houses, come on in
'Open Houses' are a great way to see inside the homes of your potential neighborhood. If a REALTOR® is hosting the open house, he or she probably knows the local market inside and out, and will be happy to answer your questions – don't be afraid to ask!
Welcome to the wonders of www.REALTOR.ca
REALTORS® have access to incredible house-hunting tools called MLS® Systems, which are operated by real estate Boards across Canada. You can view publicly available information about MLS® listings at www.REALTOR.ca. Your REALTOR® can start sending you listings of potential homes right away. Most listings will have multiple photos, and some even have moving 360-degree views! And with the interactive mapping feature, you'll be amazed how fast and easy it is to zero in on your favourite few homes.
Stay objective when visiting potential homes
Walking through a potential home is a thrill, but try not to lose your head. Don't let a giant kitchen island or swanky hot tub distract you from your real goal, finding a home that meets all your needs and fits your budget.
Until tomorrow, have a wonderful day.
Robert Vergura, REALTOR®