Are you ready to take the leap and upgrade? You’ve been eyeing that perfect neighborhood, driving around, and envisioning yourself in a new home. Maybe you’ve even taken the bold step of reaching out to inquire about the asking prices of a few properties with those enticing ‘For Sale’ signs. The excitement is building, and as you crunch the numbers, a glimmer of hope arises: “We can afford it!”
But what’s next? Well, by now, I hope you’ve learned the importance of giving your trusted Realtor a call! Remember, the Listing Realtor’s loyalty lies with the seller. That’s why it’s crucial to have someone in your corner, someone who will investigate, negotiate, and protect your best interests.
Before you allow yourself to fall head over heels for the house of your dreams, there are a few things you’ll need to have prepared and ready to go.
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Whenever you make an offer on a property, there is always a ‘cash upfront’ deposit required (usually 5% of the agreed price) written directly into the contract and held in trust with the listing brokerage. It will be released upon completion and be put toward the purchase, but you must have access to this money upfront. Don’t count on it being a part of your mortgage.
One thing to remember – if you have more than 20% you can avoid paying CMHC insurance!
Pre-Approval from a Mortgage Broker
Visiting a Mortgage Broker before you start shopping is the smartest thing you can do.
You may think you can afford the house, but the lender may not. They will weigh your income against all of your other monthly debt (debt service ratio). They will also look at your Beacon Score which measures how well you stay on top of your debt…do you pay your bills on time? Etc. The better your score ~ the more you may qualify for. Your Mortgage Broker can help position you to be in the right place when you’re ready to qualify.
When you visit your Mortgage bring:
- A letter from your employer confirming your employment and current wage
- If you’re self employed – 2 years of tax assessments indicating income
- Social Insurance Number
Have A Lawyer
Having a lawyer by your side during a real estate transaction is essential to protect your interests.
While your Realtor is knowledgeable about the market, a lawyer offers legal expertise that ensures your rights are upheld. They review contracts, conduct due diligence on the property, and navigate potential legal issues, safeguarding your investment. In case of disputes, they provide invaluable support, negotiating on your behalf and guiding you through legal processes. Investing in a lawyer’s guidance is a small price to pay for peace of mind and a smooth real estate experience.
Remember Additional Costs
In British Columbia we have a few fun ones: We have PTT, which is the big one! (Property Transfer Tax – 1% on the first $200,000 and additional 2% on the balance) as well as HST (Harmonized Sales Tax =12%) on new development only, however, there is a partial rebate on new homes up to $425,000.00. We recommend discussing all costs with your Mortgage Broker.
When it comes to removing subjects in your offer, don’t delay in scheduling an appointment with your Property Inspector. I know it may seem like an additional expense of around $500 (on average), and you might worry about discovering an issue that makes you reconsider the purchase. But imagine the potential costs you could have faced if you hadn’t discovered it early on.
It’s important to keep in mind that most homes have some wear and tear. The purpose of a Property Inspection is to identify any significant immediate problems with the property, not to use it as a negotiation tool after agreeing on a price. Of course, if a substantial issue arises, we may need to reevaluate and renegotiate the contract. However, that should only happen when we uncover something truly significant and concerning.
Stress Free Buying
Ensuring that you have all your ducks in a row is key to reducing stress and ensuring a seamless buying process. Reach out to your Realtor for valuable referrals and save yourself the time and effort of searching on your own. Trust their expertise and let them guide you towards trusted professionals who can help you navigate the journey smoothly.
About the Author
A modern Realtor® for 4 years, Teri is passionate about and embracing Web 2.0, utilizing online marketing initiatives and social media to maximize exposure and sell properties! She earned a diploma in Radio Communications from British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) which positioned her well with the knowledge and experience to anticipate the new media and new technology world. Teri’s background is in marketing and selling radio advertising for Rogers Communications Inc.
Teri founded the Fraser Valley Social Media Meetups to share her knowledge and facilitate learning and networking in her community of Langley, BC, as well as sits on the Communications and membership committees of the Langley Chamber of Commerce. Teri also consults with clients who need guidance with their social media strategy and content management. Most recently, Teri was asked to speak at Inman’s Agent Reboot Conference in Seattle and Portland. Known as @TLCHOME on Twitter… Teri is happily married and has 2 great sons and a step daughter.