Buying a home is an incredibly personal decision, but there are quite a few people involved! The team of professionals you work with will help you succeed in buying a home. Each professional has their own clearly defined role, which makes the home buying process as quick and efficient as possible. Allow us to introduce you to the home buying team members you should be working with!
Having your own dedicated REALTOR® is an important part of buying a home. A REALTOR® is a real estate agent who is a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), which provides additional support and professional resources. Membership in CREA isn’t required to practice real estate, but most serious agents consider being a REALTOR® a basic standard.
Regardless of whether you hire a REALTOR® or just a real estate agent, you want to work with someone who represents you as a Buyer’s Agent. It’s a rookie mistake to buy a home from the listing agent, who actually represents the seller first and foremost. You want your own personal representation—someone who is willing to fight in negotiations for your interests!
Best of all, the work of a buyer’s agent is free. He or she gets paid in commission when you actually purchase a home, which gives your real estate agent the incentive and drive to work hard on your behalf.
Disappointed with the work of your buyer’s agent? Find out how to break up with your real estate agent here!
Unless you have the entire home purchase amount ready in cash, you’re also going to need a mortgage broker on your team. A mortgage broker connects you to a wide selection of mortgage lenders, working on your behalf to find the best rate and terms for your specific needs. Your mortgage broker is essentially an intermediary between you and all the available lenders.
Your lawyer will look over purchase contracts, ensure there are no liens against the home, prepare all the legal documents and legally seal the deal. As a responsible buyer, you’ll want all your official documents lawyered before they are signed. When you finally close, your lawyer will be there to oversee the entire process, exchange funds, register the property and pass you the keys.
A home inspector is generally hired after an offer is accepted but before the transaction is closed. As a buyer, it’s always advised that you include passing a home inspection on your Offer To Purchase. This ensures that the home buying contract is only final after the home inspection is passed. Do note that a home inspection isn’t an absolute guarantee that the house is fine; inspections are “non-invasive” and there are very specific things that an inspector will check for. Make sure you fully understand the limitations of your home inspection.
An appraiser will determine the current value of the property, by completing a walk-through of the house and taking a number of factors into account like location, the value of neighbouring homes, and on-site amenities. An appraisal is the buyer’s responsibility but will determine what the lender is willing to give. If the house is appraised lower than the asking price, the lender may not agree to the mortgage, in which case the contract and transaction is cancelled. (Like the home inspection, this is another buying condition that should always be included in the Offer To Purchase!) If you think the appraisal was inaccurate and may unnecessarily break the deal, you can often hire a different appraiser for a second opinion.
A land surveyor confirms the location of the property and what the exact property lines are, based on the deed and community records. This becomes especially important when the property (or the neighbouring property) has permanent structures that may be close to the property line. There have been countless disputes that result in people having to remove sheds, tear up decks or even slice off a portion of their house because they didn’t verify the property line before a construction project. A land survey is completely voluntary but recommended.
BUILDER OR CONTRACTOR
If you’re looking to build a brand new home or extensively renovate an existing one, you should work with a builder or contractor during the buying process. They can help make your vision a reality and point out any potential problems with a home you’re considering.