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Finding the right property doesn’t happen in one day. It takes careful planning. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to simplify the process.
A REALTOR® can help you answer all of these questions and help you navigate through what can be a complicated business transaction. Start by finding REALTORS® in your city by using CREA’s search tool. Then, talk to some of them and compare their services. It’s important that you’re comfortable and confident with the agent you choose.
Searching For a Home
A REALTOR® will use various tools to try and find properties that meet your specifications. The most important is a local Board’s MLS® (Multiple Listing Service®) System. Your REALTOR®can quickly search through numerous properties available for sale in specific areas to find suitable listings; that is, houses that best match your needs, choice of neighbourhoods and price range. You can also view listings in Board MLS® Systems that are advertised on the national REALTOR.ca web site.
When you select a property and decide to visit a house, there are many things to consider. Does it have all the features you want? Is the neighbourhood what you expected? Try to picture your favorite furnishings in a room.
Having a qualified home inspector look at the house is always a good idea. The older the home, the greater the need for professional inspection.
Making an Offer
Once you find a house you want to make your home, your REALTOR® can help you develop an offer. In the offer, you should specify how much you’re willing to pay. State when the offer expires and suggest a closing date for the transaction. You can also propose some conditions on the offer. Some common types of conditions are:
Getting a suitable mortgage (include the amount, interest rates and any other figures you feel important);
Selling your current home (the seller may continue to look for a buyer, but will give you the right of first refusal);
The seller providing a current survey, or a “real property report,” showing that there are no encroachments on the property;
The seller having title to the property (your lawyer will check this out when she conducts a title search to see if there are any liens on the property, easements, rights of way or height restrictions);
If there’s a septic system, the seller having a health inspection certificate, stating that the system meets local standards;
An inspection by a qualified engineer, should you have any doubts about the home’s safety and construction; and
Any inclusions of appliances and other items – basically, what stays and what goes.
You will need to present a deposit along with your offer. An appropriate deposit will show your good faith to the seller. Note that the seller’s agent, if they are represented by one, is bound by law to bring all offers to the seller’s attention.
If Your Offer is Accepted
After your offer is accepted and all conditions met, the offer becomes binding on both sides. If you later refuse to honour the agreement, you may lose your deposit or might be sued for damages. Before signing, make sure you understand and agree with all terms of the offer.
Before the property can formally change hands, there are still a few things to do. Be prepared to furnish proof to your lender that you’ve insured your new house. On or before closing day, both side’s lawyers will arrange to transfer title of the property from the seller to you. The mortgage money will be transferred to your lawyer’s trust account, and then to the seller, and your lawyer will bill you all additional expenses such as land transfer taxes or outstanding legal fees.
Information source: CREA
(The comments contained on this page are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advantage)