Q: Needs Vs. Wants. What features do I want in a home? What features do I need in a home?
Q: How can a Royal LePage REALTOR® help?
Q: Why Buy?
Q: What should I look for when viewing a home?
Q: How do I find industry statistics and information?
Q: What type of home ownership is right for me?
Q: When making an offer what things should I consider?
Q: Inspections & Appraisals
Q: What does the term closing mean?
Q: What happens on closing day?
Q: What do I look for when trying to find a good Buyers Agent?
Q: Where do I find professionals to assist me during and after the purchase of my home?
A: Looking for a new home can seem overwhelming at first. There are so many things to think about, so many choices, and often not enough time.
A small investment of time and effort right at the start can pay tremendous dividends. Take the time to organize your thoughts and think seriously about what sort of home you want before you start looking. It will simplify the process, save you time, and help lead you to the right home for you.
Make sure that you talk to a REALTOR® before you start your search to help you get organized, answer your questions, and also to raise important questions to ask yourself, such as:
- Where do I want to live? (community/general area)
- How much should I expect to spend on purchasing a home?
- Are schools a factor?
- Do I want an older home or a new one?
- What style of home do I prefer? (ranch, colonial, split-level, multi-level, town home, condominium, multi-family, bungalow, other)
- How much renovation and remodeling am I willing to do?
- Is being close to public transportation important?
- Do I have special physical requirements, such as wheel chair access?
- Do I have pets to consider?
- What sort of lot would I like? (small yard, large yard, fenced, garage, patio/deck, other buildings)
- How many bedrooms do I need? How many would I like to have?
- How many bathrooms do I need? How many would I like to have?
- How big a house do I want? How many rooms? How many square feet?
- What features are important? (air conditioning, carpeting, ceramic tile floors, hardwood floors, eat-in kitchen, separate dining room, formal living room, family room, den, library, basement, separate laundry room, fireplace, workshop, other)
A: Good REALTORS® save you time and money. They know your community, they know what is important when buying and selling a home, and they know all the intricacies of the process, from finding a home, to negotiating a price, to closing a deal.
A Royal LePage REALTOR® will:
* Screen the available homes in your neighbourhood to make sure that the houses you look at fit your budget and your requirements
* Give you important information on local real estate values, taxes, utility costs, services, and amenities
* Guide you through the viewing process showing you features you may not have noticed and problems you may not have spotted
* Advise you about your legal and financial options
* Recommend expert help when needed, such as home appraisal, home inspection, and contracting services
* Manage your offers and counter-offers, and use his or her skills and experience as a negotiator to make sure you get the best deal possible
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A: Two out of three Canadian families own a home – that’s one of the highest rates of home ownership in the world. And for good reason.
It’s a great investment. And with with increasing house prices, it’s all the more important for first-time buyers to get a foot on the first rung of the property ladder.
Did you know that…
* Homeownership is the single largest source of savings for Canadian households.
* Unlike other investments, which can be quite volatile, the increase in the value of homes is relatively steady. The average house price in Canada has increased every year since 1998.
* The return on your investment in your home can be substantial. In 2004, the average house price in Canada rose to a record $227,210 – a 9% increase in just one year and a 27% increase over four years.
* Homeowners can use the equity in their homes as security for other loans.
* Building equity in your first home is the first step on the property ladder. It gets you into the market, keeps you in touch with increasing house prices, and puts you in a good position to trade up to bigger and better houses as your circumstances allow.
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A: You pull up to the curb and there it is – the home of your dreams.
Calm down. Take a deep breath and start again. The hardest thing to do when looking for a home is to remain objective. It is easy to fall in love with a home’s appearance, but it’s very important to look beyond the window dressing.
Here are some things to consider when looking at a home:
First appearances do count. Is the home dirty and cluttered? Are the lawns uncut? Are the walls chipped and in need of paint? If the owner hasn’t bothered to keep the house looking clean and attractive, what problems are lurking below the surface?
Water can do a lot of damage to a home. It rots wood, undermines foundations, and leads to mould and mildew. Reshingling a house, or repairing a cracked foundation to stop water leaks, can be extremely expensive.
It takes an expert eye to find most water leaks (which is why we recommend you have a house inspected before you buy). If you spot stains, bulges and other signs of water damage on ceilings or walls, make special note that there could be a problem.
Appliances and fixtures
Test the lights, faucets, toilets, furnace, air conditioning, and all major appliances that are to be included with the home. Make sure everything is working as it should.
Floors should be smooth, even, and solid. Soft springy sections, excessive squeaking, and unevenness are all indications that expensive repairs may be needed.
Doors and windows
Check that doors and windows fit snugly and operate smoothly. Look for flaked paint and loose caulking. Check for drafts.
Walk around the yard looking for areas where water might collect. Soggy areas near the foundation indicate poor drainage.
Grout and caulking
If the grout and caulking around bathroom and kitchen tiles are loose and crumbling, there is a good chance water is finding its way into the wall or under the floor.
Look for deep cracks in the foundations or loose mortar and bricks.
If you are not planning to replace all of your furniture (and not many people are), make sure it will fit into the rooms of the new house. Be sure to bring a measuring tape. Rooms can be deceptive.
Make sure your new house has enough storage space for all your belongings. And that means more than just your clothes. Think of all the things that need to find a home – tools, gardening equipment, old toys, sports equipment, and all those wedding presents that are still in their original boxes. Check the size of the closets, the attic, the basement, and the garage. Rule of thumb: there’s never enough storage space.
You should take a long hard look at a house before you put in an offer to protect yourself from disappointment down the road. But, nothing can replace the expert opinion of a qualified home inspector. Inspectors can spot problems that the average person would never find and they can usually advise you on how much it will cost to make the repairs. A home inspection can help you determine whether or not you are going to make an offer on a house, and if you decide to go ahead, just how much that offer is going to be.
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A: Market detail – each step of the way, it is my job to present you with industry facts and information, in order to ease the process. I have access to…
- Market Statistics, both Nationally and Locally
- Comparable Listings in the areas of interest
- Schools and geographical territories
- Local area knowledge- people, local businesses, activities and trends
- Tools – giving you access to tools both online and offline to help you better define your needs
A: There are three broad categories of home ownership:
The owner owns the house and the grounds.
Freehold homes offer the most privacy and freedom of choice of any type of home. Homeowners are free to decorate and renovate as they please. They are also responsible for all the maintenance both indoors and out.
Freehold is the most common type of home ownership.
The homeowner owns the unit and shares in ownership of common elements. Condominiums are usually apartment buildings, but also include townhouse developments and developments of detached buildings on private roads.
The homeowner is responsible for the interior area of the unit (everything from the plaster in). The condominium association is responsible for the up-keep of the exterior of the building, common interior elements (halls, elevators and parking garages, for example) and the grounds. All condominium owners pay a monthly fee to the condominium association to cover maintenance costs and common utility fees and taxes.
Condominiums often have strict rules regarding noise, use of common areas, and renovations to units. Condominium residents often enjoy less privacy than residents of detached homes.
Condominiums are usually less expensive than freehold houses.
Co-operatives (or co-ops) are similar to condominiums but instead of owning your unit, you own a share in the entire building or complex.
Co-op residents pay for maintenance and repairs through monthly fees and are subject to the rules and regulations of the co-op board.
If you decide to sell your shares and move out, the co-op board has the right to reject your prospective buyer.
A:When you’re making an offer to buy a home, there are six main elements to consider:
- Price The price you offer reflects your opinion of the value of the house and is determined by the condition of the property and local market factors. You can make any offer you like. It does not have to be the same as the seller’s asking price.
- Deposit The deposit shows your good faith and will be applied against the purchase of the home when the sale closes. Your Royal LePage Realtor can advise you on an appropriate amount.
- Terms Include the total price offered and the financing details. You may arrange your own financing or ask to assume the seller’s mortgage, especially if it has an attractive interest rate.
- Conditions Conditions are items that must be completed or fulfilled prior to an offer being concluded. These can include subject to home inspection, subject to you obtaining financing, or subject to you selling your existing property.
- Inclusions and exclusions Your offer may be contingent on certain items being either included or excluded in the sale. These might include appliances, fixtures, and decorative items, such as window coverings or mirrors.
- Closing or possession date The closing date is generally the day the title of the property is legally transferred and the transaction of funds finalized, unless otherwise specified (except in Manitoba and Quebec). In British Columbia the possession date is legally one to three days after closing.
A:Buying a home is probably the biggest single investment you will make. A home inspection prior to making an offer will protect you and your investment.A qualified home inspector will give your house a thorough examination, checking the heating and cooling system, plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement, and visible structures of the home.
The inspector will point out the need for major repairs, identify areas that may need attention in the near future, and explain what maintenance will be necessary to keep the house in good shape. But, it is not all negative. Most inspectors are more than happy to tell you about the home’s good qualities as well.
Home inspections are relatively inexpensive considering the size of the investment that you are about to make. Many people consider this a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Your Royal LePage REALTOR® can provide you with a list of reputable, qualified home inspectors in your area.
An appraisal is a report containing an estimate of the value of the property. Appraisals are conducted for the purpose of mortgage lending by certified appraisers. The appraisal should not be confused with the home inspection or the market analysis.
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A: Closing refers to the preparation for the transfer of ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer.
There is no standard method for closing. In some places, “round table” closings bring all parties together at the closing table. In other areas, buyers and sellers complete the process through separate, individual appointments with their lawyer.
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A: Closing day is the day you become the official owner of your home.
Typically, you visit your lawyer’s office to review and sign documents relating to the mortgage, the property you are buying, the ownership of the property, and the conditions of the purchase. Your lawyer will also ask you to bring a certified cheque to cover the closing costs and any other outstanding costs.
Once the mortgage and the deed for the property are officially recorded, you become the official owner of the property and your lawyer will call you to pick up the keys to your new home.
Congratulations! You’ve just bought a home!
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A: There are several criteria one looks for in a Buyer’s Agent. Finding the right Agent for you is an critical piece of the puzzle. A Buyer’s Agent should be able to listen to your needs and find ways to translate those needs into the delivery of the most suitable properties for you to purchase from. The decision, as to which type of Agent you choose to represent you, is a personal one.
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A: Resource for the Buyer – Your agent can place all necessary information and services at your finger tips by supplying a resource list including the best in community…
- Mortgage professionals
- Home Inspectors
- Termite Inspectors
- Insurance companies
- Alarm system providers