I’m thinking about buying a home. What professionals should I consider working with?
Congratulations! Buying a property is a big decision, especially in today’s competitive real estate market.
This is why it’s important to consult experts who can provide guidance and help you make an informed decision. Here are some of the key professionals to think about having on your team:
Real estate representative: Real estate salespeople can offer a broad range of service options to buyers. These may include sharing their knowledge about housing in specific neighbourhoods, monitoring marketing trends, offering strategic advice, arranging showings, negotiating, and managing paperwork on your behalf.
All real estate salespeople are insured through the insurance program administered by the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), which includes consumer deposit insurance. The coverage is intended to protect your deposit when it is held by a brokerage.
Real estate lawyer: Given that real estate agreements are legally binding contracts, I strongly recommend that you consult a lawyer who is insured to practice real estate law. Your lawyer can provide legal counsel, review the documents, investigate the title and take the necessary steps to complete the transaction successfully.
Mortgage lender: If a mortgage is required, finding one with loan terms and a rate you’re comfortable with is vital. You can speak to an institutional mortgage adviser or you may want to work with a mortgage broker who can access a variety of lenders.
Home inspector: A home inspection is one of the most common conditions that buyers include in offers. An experienced home inspector will examine property features, such as electrical, roofing, plumbing, foundation and septic systems. This can give you, as a buyer, valuable information before you finalize the home purchase.
Many home inspection companies encourage you to attend the inspection, and ask questions about the process and results. This will help you be better informed and able to assess whether you want to invest in any upgrades or repairs.
There can be pressure to skip a home inspection when there are multiple bids on a property, but you should carefully consider the risk of doing so. Consult your real estate representative and decide whether making your offer conditional on a home inspection is the right choice for you.
Lastly, the home you’re interested in may also need to be appraised, unless you don’t need a mortgage. If so, this will be arranged by your lending institution. A designated appraiser will evaluate the home’s value based on several factors, including size, features and condition of the property, as well as the neighbourhood. It is key to verify the appraisal amount as that will influence the mortgage amount a lender is likely to advance. For additional information, I encourage you to visit RECO’s website at reco.on.ca.
Joe Richer is registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) and contributor for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @RECOhelps. This column is for general information purposes only and is not meant as legal or professional advice on real estate transactions.