What Professionals Should You Call On?
The home buying process can be long, time intensive and a whole new learning process. This is why you'll want a team of professionals helping you along the way.
The Real Estate Agent
Finding the right team of professions to help you throughout the process of selling your home is everything because purchasing a home is probably the biggest investment you will ever make. Many people use the terms "real estate agent" and "real estate broker" interchangeably, but there are some very significant differences between them. The difference between them is the fact that a real estate broker has earned additional certification and training beyond what a real estate agent must complete. A broker actually encompasses more responsibilities throughout the transaction. No one will play a more important role in helping you find a home than your real estate agent.
The Lender or Mortgage Broker
When you shop for a mortgage provider you can either contact lenders directly or use a mortgage broker. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option. Mortgage brokers provide advice and guidance, but there is a fee. Working directly with lenders is free, but you may not get the best deal unless you are very knowledgeable about the mortgage industry. To receive the appropriate help it a good idea to shop around and speak with more than one lender.
If you're a first-time buyer, a real estate lawyer can answer your questions, help you negotiate, and take care of a lot of the little details you might not be aware of. The purchase procedure that follows bellow is not an easy one to do on your own. A reputable lawyer can guide you through the whole process of buying property.
The Home Inspector
It is always a good investment to have your home inspected by a licensed home inspector. It is recommended that you include a Subject to Home Inspection clause in your Purchase and Sale agreement.
The home inspector's role is to inform you about the property's condition. The home inspector will tell you if something is not functioning properly, needs to be changed or is unsafe. You will also be informed of repairs that need to be made and maybe even where there may have been problems in the past. Every inspection should include a visual assessment of at least the following:
- Doors and windows.
- Roof and exterior walls.
- Plumbing and electrical systems (where visible).
- Heating and air conditioning systems.
- Ceilings, walls and floors.
- Insulation (where visible).
- Septic tanks, wells or sewer lines (if inspector is qualified).
- Any other buildings such as a detached garage.
- The lot, including drainage away from buildings, slopes and natural vegetation.
- Overall opinion of structural integrity of the buildings.
- Common areas (in the case of a condominium/strata or co-operative).
A good home and property inspector generally belongs to a provincial or industry association. Home inspector fees are in the $500 - $700 range and depend on the size and condition of the home. A home inspection will give you peace of mind and may save you from purchasing a home that may not meet basic living standards.
The Insurance Broker
An insurance broker can help you with your insurance needs, including property insurance and mortgage life insurance. Lenders insist on property insurance because your property is their security for your loan.
Your lender may also suggest that you buy mortgage life insurance. Mortgage life insurance provides coverage for your family if you die before your mortgage is paid off.
Be careful not to confuse property or life insurance with mortgage loan insurance, which may be required for high-ratio mortgages.
Having an independent appraisal done on a property before you make an offer is a good idea. It will tell you what the property is worth and help ensure that you are not paying too much. Your lender may also ask for a recognized appraisal in order to complete a mortgage loan. Appraisal fees may vary but you should not pay more than $250 - $350 in most areas.
How to Hire a Real Estate Lawyer
1. Consult with your friends, family members and co-workers, or your state's Bar Association for referrals.
2. Consult with local real estate brokers for referrals.
3. Consult with a local realtors association for referrals.
4. Consult your local Yellow Pages which has them listed under Attorney: Real Estate.
5. Prepare a list of questions pertaining to your situation. Many lawyers also offer free first consultations over the phone as a way to bring business to their door, and will spend time going over your situation and options
6. Identify and review each of your options for an attorney.
7. Ask the fees associated with lawyer charges per hour, and request a deadline to complete the tasks you require - looking over contracts, handling disclosures, and helping with the closing.
8. Appoint an attorney.