Finding the right agent
You want to find the right home, in the right location, at the right price - and
you want to do it quickly, with minimum hassle. The best way to do that is to
work with a professional realtor who understands your wants and needs, your time
frame and your financial boundaries.
Why work with an agent?
- You'll save time. An agent can pinpoint homes that fit your needs and
dismiss those that don't.
- You benefit from an experienced negotiator. Your agent will manage your
offers and counter-offers, ensuring that you get the best possible price for
- You'll get the right information. Your agent knows the neighbourhood and
can give you accurate information on local real estate values, taxes,
utility costs, services and amenities.
- You can always count on great advice. Because your agent is familiar with
the entire home purchasing process, he or she can advise you of your legal
and financial options, and recommend appraisal, home inspection and
Choose an agent who understands your needs
Here are a few questions to ask to help you determine if an agent is right for
Working with an agent
- Will you be representing my interests?
- Do you have access to MLS ® information?
- Will you provide market evidence to support the price?
- Will you look after closing and possession details?
- Can you be contacted at any time?
Let your real estate agent do the searching for you. The best buys aren't in the
newspaper ads; most great opportunities are on "hot sheets" that are
available every morning to salespeople with access to MLS ® information.
An agent's job is to:
As a homebuyer, you must work with your agent to find the home that's right for
you. Communication is key - tell your agent what you want, and be specific.
- Provide information on the property and the area
- Negotiate a price and terms that are agreeable to both buyer and seller
- Help arrange a source of financing
- Offer a detailed description of your property needs and wants. If you will
absolutely not consider a house without a hardwood floor, say so. And if air
conditioning is a "nice to have" rather than a "must
have," communicate that, too.
- Be specific about where you want to live. If you refuse to live outside a
certain area, it might take longer to find you a home, but your agent will
know not to waste your time with anything not in your chosen neighbourhood.
- Tell your agent what you can afford. He or she can help you get a
pre-approved mortgage so you know for sure what your price range will be.
- Communicate your likes and dislikes for each property you see. It will
help your agent narrow down the possibilities.
- Commit to one salesperson.
- Respect and perform the terms of the purchase agreement.
- Keep an open mind. Agents know about those charming little areas that
you've never even heard of. You might find your dream home in a completely
The elements of an offer
Here's a quick reference to everything you need to know about making an on offer
on a property.
Depends on the market and the buyers, but generally, the price offered is
different from the asking price.
Shows the buyer's good faith and will be applied against the purchase price of
the home when the sale closes. Your agent can advise you on a suitable amount to
Includes the total price the buyer is offering as well as the financing details.
The buyer may be arranging his/her own financing or may ask to assume your
existing mortgage if you have an attractive rate.
These might include "subject to home inspection," "subject to the
buyer obtaining financing," or "subject to the sale of the purchaser's
5. Inclusions and exclusions
These may include appliances and certain fixtures or decorative items, such as
window coverings or light fixtures.
6. Closing or possession date
Generally, the day the title of the property is transferred to the buyer and
funds are received by the seller, unless otherwise specified (except in Manitoba
Qualifying for a mortgage
Your Royal LePage agent can arrange to have you pre-qualified for a mortgage
before you start shopping for a home. It's easy, and you'll avoid possible
disappointments down the road if you fall in love with a place, then find out
you can't afford it. Plus, once you do find the perfect home, it will mean you
can make an offer immediately.
Here's how mortgage approval works: the amount of money you qualify for, plus
the amount of cash you can put down equals the amount you can afford to spend on
a home. Most lending institutions won't allow more than about 30% of your income
to support a mortgage. If you have other debts, they usually won't allow your
debts and your mortgage to exceed 40% of your income.
Finalizing your mortgage
Once you've found the home you want to buy, you'll need to finalize your
financing. You'll need to provide your lender with the following documents:
1. A copy of the real estate listing of the property. If the home is
still to be built, the mortgage lender will need to see the architect's or
builder's plans and details on lot size and location.
2. A copy of the offer to purchase or the building contract, if this
document has been prepared.
3. Documents to confirm employment, income and source of pre-approval.
4. If you have a pre-approved mortgage, it's a simple matter of
finalizing a few details with your mortgage specialist.
Choosing a neighbourhood
You're not just buying a home - you're buying a location. And even the most
perfect house won't feel right if you're in the wrong neighbourhood. Educate
yourself about the area so you'll choose wisely - and end up being happy with
Protect yourself with a home inspection
- Are you close to shopping and recreation? Being close to stores,
parks, recreational facilities, a post office and dry cleaners will save you
- Do people in the area take care of their homes? Explore the
neighbourhood, keeping an eye out for signs of neglect (overgrown lawns,
houses in need of paint, trash and junked appliances littering yards). A
run-down neighbourhood can drive down your property value.
- Are there schools nearby? If you have children, the proximity and
quality of schools is key. Some schools will provide data (i.e. average test
scores) that can determine quality. Talking to neighbours with children can
be helpful, too.
- Is there good access to transportation? Living near public
transport and/or major highways can mean an easier commute to work.
- Is it safe? Check with the local police department - they may be
able to provide statistics about break-ins or other crimes.
- Will the home increase in value over time? Homes in some
neighbourhoods appreciate faster than others. Research the selling prices of
homes in over the past decade or so to predict future trends. Your agent may
be able to provide helpful data.
- Is it quiet? Listen for traffic noise, barking dogs, airplanes and
any other noises that might bother you. Return to the neighbourhood at
different times of the day to get an accurate impression.
That gorgeous house on the corner lot may look great, but it could be hiding all
sorts of expensive, annoying problems, from a leaky roof to faulty wiring to a
Make sure your home is solid and secure inside and out before you buy it. A home
inspector will determine structural and mechanical soundness, identify problem
areas, provide cost estimates for any work required, and generate a report. It's
a great way to avoid headaches and costly problems that can turn a dream home
into a money pit.
If you decide to go ahead and buy a home with issues that have been flagged by
your inspector, you can base your offer on how much potential repairs and
upgrades may cost.
Home inspection costs range according to size, age and location of the home.
Your Royal LePage sales representative can recommend a reputable home inspection
service or arrange for an inspector to visit your property.