the right agent
You want to find the right home, in the right location, at the right
price - and you want to do it quickly, with minimum hassle. The best way
to do that is to work with a professional realtor who understands your
wants and needs, your time frame and your financial boundaries.
Why work with an agent?
You'll save time. An agent can pinpoint homes that fit your needs
and dismiss those that don't.
benefit from an experienced negotiator. Your agent will manage your
offers and counter-offers, ensuring that you get the best possible
price for your home.
You'll get the right information. Your agent knows the neighbourhood
and can give you accurate information on local real estate values,
taxes, utility costs, services and amenities.
can always count on great advice. Because your agent is familiar
with the entire home purchasing process, he or she can advise you of
your legal and financial options, and recommend appraisal, home
inspection and contracting services.
an agent who understands your needs
Here are a few questions to ask to help you determine if an agent is
right for you:
Working with an agent
you be representing my interests?
you have access to MLS information?
you provide market evidence to support the price?
you look after closing and possession details?
you be contacted at any time?
Let your real estate agent do the searching for you. The best buys
aren't in the newspaper ads; most great opportunities are on "hot
sheets" that are available every morning to salespeople with access to
An agent's job is to:
As a homebuyer, you must work with your
agent to find the home that's right for you. Communication is key - tell
your agent what you want, and be specific.
Provide information on the property and the area
Negotiate a price and terms that are agreeable to both buyer and
arrange a source of financing
The elements of an offer
Offer a detailed description of your property needs and wants. If
you will absolutely not consider a house without a hardwood floor,
say so. And if air conditioning is a "nice to have" rather than a
"must have," communicate that, too.
specific about where you want to live. If you refuse to live outside
a certain area, it might take longer to find you a home, but your
agent will know not to waste your time with anything not in your
your agent what you can afford. He or she can help you get a
pre-approved mortgage so you know for sure what your price range
Communicate your likes and dislikes for each property you see. It
will help your agent narrow down the possibilities.
Commit to one salesperson.
Respect and perform the terms of the purchase agreement.
an open mind. Agents know about those charming little areas that
you've never even heard of. You might find your dream home in a
completely unexpected place.
Here's a quick reference to everything you need to know about making an
on offer on a property.
Depends on the market and the buyers, but generally, the price offered
is different from the asking price.
Shows the buyer's good faith and will be applied against the purchase
price of the home when the sale closes. Your agent can advise you on a
suitable amount to offer.
Includes the total price the buyer is offering as well as the financing
details. The buyer may be arranging his/her own financing or may ask to
assume your existing mortgage if you have an attractive rate.
These might include "subject to home inspection," "subject to the buyer
obtaining financing," or "subject to the sale of the purchaser's
5. Inclusions and exclusions
These may include appliances and certain fixtures or decorative items,
such as window coverings or light fixtures.
6. Closing or possession date
Generally, the day the title of the property is transferred to the buyer
and funds are received by the seller, unless otherwise specified (except
in Manitoba and Quebec).
Choosing a neighbourhood
You're not just buying a home - you're buying a location. And even the
most perfect house won't feel right if you're in the wrong neighbourhood.
Educate yourself about the area so you'll choose wisely - and end up
being happy with your decision.
Are you close to shopping and
recreation? Being close to stores, parks, recreational
facilities, a post office and dry cleaners will save you time.
Do people in the area take care of
their homes? Explore the neighbourhood, keeping an eye out for
signs of neglect (overgrown lawns, houses in need of paint, trash
and junked appliances littering yards). A run-down neighbourhood can
drive down your property value.
Are there schools nearby? If
you have children, the proximity and quality of schools is key. Some
schools will provide data (i.e. average test scores) that can
determine quality. Talking to neighbours with children can be
Is there good access to
transportation? Living near public transport and/or major
highways can mean an easier commute to work.
Is it safe? Check with the
local police department - they may be able to provide statistics
about break-ins or other crimes.
Will the home increase in value
over time? Homes in some neighbourhoods appreciate faster than
others. Research the selling prices of homes in over the past decade
or so to predict future trends. Your agent may be able to provide
Is it quiet? Listen for traffic
noise, barking dogs, airplanes and any other noises that might
bother you. Return to the neighbourhood at different times of the
day to get an accurate impression.