Buying a Home
Buying and selling real estate requires specialized knowledge. This is why we recommend using the services of a licensed real estate brokerage to make sure that all the steps involved in buying and selling real estate are completed in accordance with good trade practices and governing legislation.
Using the services of a licensee to assist you in buying a home does not absolve you from any responsibilities yourself. Here are the most important “homework” assignments for every buyer:
Learn more about real estate in your area or the areas that interest you:
- Research online by visiting brokerage websites and social media pages
- Attend a local home-buyer workshop
- Interview several licensees from various brokerage
- Hire a licensed buyer’s representative
- Request a discipline history on a specific licensee from the Commission
A licensee who signs a contract with you as your buyer's representative on behalf of the brokerage will search through listings for you, make appointments, conduct research, and walk you through the entire process of buying a home.
Get your finances in order
Check your credit report before you apply for a mortgage. Doing so gives you the chance to fix mistakes or correct bad credit behaviors so potential lenders will look at you more favorably.
Obtain mortgage pre-approval
When you've got a pre-approved mortgage, a lender has made an actual commitment (subject to conditions such as a property valuation) to loan you money. It’s best to get pre-approved for a mortgage before beginning your house search. Your lender or mortgage broker will tell you how much they will lend, what the monthly payment will be and what you can anticipate for closing costs. It’s wise to speak with several lenders before choosing one to compare interest rates, costs and fees.
Make a house shopping list with your licensee
Searching for a home involves asking yourself a lot of questions. Where do you want to live? How are the schools in that area? How is the commute to your job? How much are the property taxes? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Your list will help you to stay organized and focused.
Create a budget for your home
Once you know how much you can afford you can determine how much you want to spend. Remember, additional expenses like heat, electricity, repairs, furnishings, property taxes and maintenance quickly add up. A budget will help you be realistic.
Hire a home inspector
When you have chosen a house and signed an Agreement of Purchase and Sale with the seller, it's time to bring in a qualified and experienced home inspector to check the condition of the property before you buy it and issue you a detailed report highlighting any defects. If expensive defects are found, discuss with your licensee what options are available to you. You may be able to negotiate repairs or a price reduction, or even terminate the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. Having a professional home inspection done will give you the truest picture of the home’s condition and help you make a fully informed decision. Read more about inspections here.
Do a final pre-closing viewing
The walkthrough just before the closing gives you one last look at the property you are buying to be sure it is in the condition you offered on and expect. This is not another inspection; it is a home viewing to confirm the condition of the property hasn’t changed since you agreed to buy it. If there are any problems, you should discuss with your licensee or lawyer.
CHOOSING A LICENSEE
What do you need to consider when deciding on who will help you buy your next home?
WORKING WITH YOUR LICENSEE
During the buying process, the buyer's licensee typically:
- searches for properties and provides information to the buyer;
- arranges property showings that meet the buyer’s needs;
- provides information that the buyer requests about a home or property, community, taxes, utilities and zoning, or refers the buyer to appropriate information sources; and
- is obligated to discover any material latent defects about the property that would affect the buyer’s health or safety.
During the offering process, the buyer's licensee typically:
- prepares a competitive market analysis of the property for the buyer;
- assists the buyer on what price to offer to the seller;
- shows what other buyers have paid for properties in the area;
- assists in writing an offer with the buyer’s interest in mind;
- assists the buyer in negotiating the best price and terms; and
- keeps the price capabilities and objectives of the buyer confidential.
During the closing process, the buyer's licensee typically:
- monitors all dates, events, and requirements (fulfillment of conditions) for the buyer;
- assists with any arising issues associated with conditions of the offer; and
- attends the pre-closing viewing with the buyer.
HOW TO DEAL WITH DISSATISFACTION WITH YOUR LICENSEE
You may find yourself dissatisfied with the service provided by, or actions of, your licensee. Often times when a misunderstanding arises between a licensee and a consumer it is worth attempting to resolve the issue amongst yourselves or by involving their broker. As your agreement is a contract is with the brokerage and not the individual licensee, brokers can assist in mediating disputes. Brokers have a responsibility to:
- supervise licensees and to ensure they comply with the Real Estate Trading Act, its Regulations and the Commission Bylaw; and
- inquire into and deal with inappropriate conduct of their licensees.
To determine the broker of a particular real estate brokerage, click on ‘Search for Licensee’ on the homepage.
Consumers may also wish to contact the Commission’s Compliance Investigator at 902-468-3511 (ext. 312) or 1-800-310-1015 (toll free) for information on the complaint process.