Because purchasing a home may be the biggest investment you will ever make, you want a team of professionals working with you throughout the process.
1. Real estate agent
No one will play a more important role in helping you find a home than your real estate agent. When the time comes to select a real estate agent, don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially about any possible service charges. Vendors normally pay a commission to the agent, but some agents charge buyers a fee for their services. Find out beforehand.
2. Lender/mortgage broker
If you haven’t already gone through the mortgage pre-qualification process, find a good lender to assist you during the purchasing process and for the length of your mortgage.
Many different institutions lend money for mortgages, such as banks, trust companies, credit unions, caisses populaires, pension funds, insurance companies, and finance companies. Shop around and speak with more than one lender because terms and options will vary.
Some people find it helpful to use a mortgage broker, like Mortgage Design Group. Mortgage brokers don’t work for any specific lending institution. Our role is to find the lender with the terms and rates that will best suit the buyer. Plus, we don’t charge home buyers any fees.
A lawyer will protect your legal interests, such as ensuring the property you want to buy doesn’t have any building or statutory liens or charges or work or clean‐up orders associated with it.
Your lawyer will review all contracts before you sign them, especially the offer (or agreement) to purchase. Having a lawyer/notary involved in the process will give you peace of mind and ensure things go smoothly. Law associations can refer lawyers/notaries who specialize in real estate law.
Lawyer/notary fees range widely and depend on the complexity of the transaction. Shop around for rates.
4. Home inspector
The home inspector’s role is to inform you on the property’s condition and will tell you if something is not functioning properly, needs to be changed, or is unsafe. You will also discover repairs that need to be done and may become aware of past problems.
There is no uniform certification or mandatory testing for home inspectors. Anyone can claim to be a home inspector. A good home and property inspector generally belongs to an industry association, such as the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors.
Home inspector fees are generally $200 and more, depending on the size and condition of the home.
5. 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. Property insurance covers the replacement cost of your home, so premiums may vary depending on its value.
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 aren’t paying too much. Your lender can also ask for a recognized appraisal to complete a mortgage loan.
Appraisal fees may vary but you shouldn’t pay more than $250–350 in most areas for a typical single-family house.
7. Land surveyor
If the seller does not have a Survey or Certificate of Location, you’ll probably need to get one for your mortgage application. If the Survey is older than 5 years, it’ll probably need to be updated. Remember, you must have permission from the property owner before hiring a surveyor to go onto the property. Ask your real estate agent to help co-ordinate this with the owner.
If you’re buying a newly constructed home or require renovations to a resale home, you will be hiring a builder or contractor.
Buying a new home is one of the biggest decisions of your life. Make sure you do it right, and use the professionals.