Knowledge is Power for Home Buyers.

By Sherry MacLeod
Managing Broker of Cape Breton Realty

Knowledge is power when it comes to buying a house, and the process can be both exciting and filled with anticipation. However, considering that it is likely the most expensive purchase of your life, it is crucial to approach it with knowledge and preparedness. By enlisting the help of a Realtor, you can gain a competitive edge and ensure a smooth home buying experience.

One of the first steps is to meet with a mortgage broker, guided by your Realtor, to determine what you can afford. This knowledge will help you avoid disappointment by knowing your budget before falling in love with a particular property. It’s important to consider all costs, including the monthly mortgage payment, down payment, homeowner’s insurance, home maintenance, and potential renovations. If your down payment is less than 20%, remember to budget for CMHC insurance.

Another important aspect is understanding the seller’s motivation. Your Realtor can tell you why they are selling and how long the house has been on the market, helping gain an advantage during negotiations. Evaluating the neighborhood is equally important. Your real estate agent will provide you with listings of comparable homes currently on the market and recently sold properties. Consider factors such as list price vs. sale price, price per square foot, days on the market, and potential concessions.

Knowing the age of appliances, furnace, water heater, electrical, plumbing, and cooling systems is essential. This will help you plan for potential replacements or negotiate concessions to cover these costs. Additionally, understanding the condition and age of the roof is crucial for both future expenses and insurance purposes.

It is also necessary to clarify what fixtures and chattels are included in the sale. Make sure to have these agreements in writing to avoid any misunderstandings. While the seller is obligated to disclose any known issues, it is still important to conduct a thorough inspection. Review the disclosure and inspection reports carefully and seek clarification on anything that raises concerns.

Don’t forget to take the time to explore the neighborhood. Talk to your Realtor about local amenities and schools. It’s also a good idea to book your movers, internet, phone, and utilities in advance, as well as line up homeowners insurance.

During the closing process, you will meet with your lawyer to ensure that your title is in good standing and all necessary documentation is in order.
Your lawyer will guide you through signing your mortgage and ensure you are prepared for closing day. This is the day when you officially transition into homeownership. Your Realtor and lawyer will set up a final walk-through and help you get your funds in place. Be prepared to make the down payment and cover closing costs, which will include deed transfer tax, legal fees, and title insurance.

Remember, it takes a team to guide you through the process. A good Realtor will not only assist you but also direct you towards other professionals such as a mortgage broker, inspector, insurance broker, lawyer, and even a moving company if necessary. Real estate is local and having the right knowledge and support from local professionals can help you purchase at the right price, plus avoid surprises, disappointments, and unnecessary stress. So, make your first step in the home buying journey by hiring a Realtor.

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