TORONTO, ONTARIO-- (Marketwire) - With the busy spring house hunting season only weeks away, BMO Bank of Montreal and The Canadian Real Estate Association are recommending that house hunters get a head start on planning. One of the first steps is to get preapproved for a mortgage.
A BMO mortgage specialist can visit your home or work to help guide you through the process. They partner with a REALTOR®, who will help you find a home suited to your needs and provide expert insight about location, price, neighbourhood services and amenities.
"Buying and selling your home can be one of your biggest financial decisions. REALTORS are licensed professionals who can walk you through every step of the process. Our website, HowREALTORShelp.ca, is a great starting point for homebuyers and sellers to learn about the process," says Gary Morse, President of The Canadian Real Estate Association.
Getting Advice from a REALTOR:
Searching for a home: Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market; your REALTOR will conduct research to find all available properties that meet your needs.
Assessing the property: REALTORS have access to a variety of resources. They can provide information on utilities, zoning, schools, etc. Top considerations include knowing if the property will provide the environment you want for a home or investment, and when it's time to sell, estimating its value in the local market.
Negotiating the details: There are many factors affecting negotiations, such as price, financing, terms, date of possession, inclusion of repairs and furnishings. The purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete inspections and investigations. Your REALTOR can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended and/or required.
Evaluating/Inspecting the property: Depending on the location and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well tests. A REALTOR can assist you in finding qualified professionals to do most of these investigations and provide written reports.
Marketing your property: REALTORS can recommend repairs or cosmetic enhancements that will significantly increase the value of your property. They can also market your property to other REALTORS and to the public. In many markets across the country, real estate sales are cooperative sales (REALTORS other than yours represent the buyer). Your REALTOR acts as a marketing coordinator, distributing information about your property to other REALTORS through the MLS® System or other networks.
Closing the sale of your home: Between the initial sales agreement and closing, questions may arise. For example, financing may be required to deal with unexpected repairs. A REALTOR can objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing.
"BMO's mortgage specialists work closely with REALTORS. They have expertise in the local market and can provide details on property prices and community services," said Laura Parsons, Mortgage Expert, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Buyers should consider choosing a 25-year amortization as a way of significantly reducing the amount of interest paid over the life of the mortgage.
"BMO offers a new 10-year fixed rate mortgage at 3.99 per cent that comes with a maximum 25-year amortization. It is modeled after its popular 5-year fixed rate mortgage at 2.99 per cent with the same maximum 25-year amortization. Both are available to new and existing customers and help customers build equity in their homes faster. Both rate offers are available until March 28th. By getting pre-approved, customers have up to 90 days to search for the home of their dreams and lock in at rates that make home ownership affordable. Locking-in provides certainty with respect to payments and protection against rising rates," added Ms. Parsons.
About BMO Financial Group
Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly-diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $538 billion as at January 31, 2012, and more than 47,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.
About The Canadian Real Estate Association
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada's largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 100,000 REALTORS working through more than 100 real estate Boards and Associations.