My Buyer’s Checklist to help you be fully prepared to move forward with a purchase.
Buying a home is a big decision, no matter how much real estate experience you have. To help you make smart decisions here are a few tips to get you started.
Become informed about the local real estate market and the buying process before you begin to save time, hassle and money. Ask your Realtor® about the local market, neighbourhood sales and re-sale value prospects for local areas.
The Right Agent
One of the most important things is finding a dedicated, experienced Realtor® who’s a good fit for you. Make sure their approach and expectations are in alignment with yours and feel free to ask for references. If it’s a Military Relocation, then they must be licenced for 2 yrs minimum and registered with BGRS.
Pre-Approval is free and there is NO obligation, plus it will help you know exactly how much you can afford including your interest rates and other terms. It saves you time on securing financing when you have made an offer [when time is of the essence] and puts you in a much better position to make an offer when you find the right home.
Automated New Listing Alerts
This fabulous new tool in real estate allows your Realtor® to set you up with a digital Property Portal so all new listings, that meet your criteria, are automatically emailed your way.
Understand What You’re Signing
Before you sign a Buyer Representation Agreement or an Agreement of Purchase & Sale, discuss them both in detail with your Realtor® to make sure you know what they mean, how long it will be in effect and what the different clauses refer to.
Keep Budget In Mind
- Remember to include legal fees, land transfer tax, mortgage insurance and utility hookups in your total cost.
- Know the costs of a home inspection and home appraisal or survey.
- Moving costs can vary based on volume, distance and whether you hire a professional mover. Have wiggle room in your budget to cover the cost.
- Purchase well within your comfort zone; don’t end up house-poor.
If possible, make your Offer CONDITIONAL; [mortgage financing, home inspection, the sale of your existing home, insurance or other specific conditions to meet your needs]. These conditions are added for your benefit and protection. Your Realtor® will guide you through the complexity of them.
Your Realtor® should inquire about the age and condition of the home’s systems, such as plumbing, electrical, roof & heating/cooling systems. If applicable, find out if proper permits were received for any renovations. Consider a home inspection to further examine the home and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Ask you’re Realtor® about an SPIS [Seller’s Property Information Statement].
Be specific In Offers
Make your Offer as detailed as possible. Outline what will be included with the sale (appliances, widow coverings etc.) and be clear if certain renovations or repairs need to be completed prior to closing, based on the home inspection. Your Realtor® will guide you through the complexity of all Offers.
If you encounter a competing offer situation, enter with a strategy. Set ground rules in advance; what you want from a home, what you’re willing to spend + what conditions must be met. Once your rules are set, stick to them. When there are Multiple Offers it can be tempting to waive your conditions (such as a home inspection). Think twice before doing this and discuss in depth with your Realtor®.
If you need a House Hunting Trip to a new area then organize well in advance with your Realtor® . You may only have 5 days to view, offer and secure a property, so you will need to hit-the-ground-running and have an agent who makes you top priority.
Expect The Unexpected
Once an Offer is accepted, the countdown to Closing begins and the focus is now on meeting the contractual deadlines and completing the financial approval process. Realistic expectations, as well as a contingency plan in place, will help navigate you through any challenges that may arise before Closing. But the reality is that often the only thing that is predictable about the home buying process is that very little is predictable.