Do you remember when you bought your first home?? I do. My REALTOR® was a girlfriend and long time, very experienced one. She looked after everything.
My daughter bought her first home a while ago. She was not near me or in a city I was familiar with so providing her with my assistance was difficult. I thought I had hooked her up with a good REALTOR® – turns out…..not so much.
After the process was done and I had returned from Israel– I received an education in “first time buying” from Samantha (my daughter).
As productive REALTORS® we do things over and over again – we often forget to address some of the many details we take for granted.
- How do we know what inspector to use – are they all qualified and insured? What and when do I have to pay them? Can we use any little thing that’s found in the inspection to get out of the deal?
- Do we get qualified for financing first or do we look around for what we want first? Do I need a Bank or a mortgage broker? What is mortgage insurance and why do I need it? It’s expensive – do I have to come up with that extra money or can the mortgage amount include it?
- The down payment is a gift - how does it have to be recorded? Is it OK that we receive it a couple of days before we have to close the purchase? When do we need the deposit money to be available? Does it matter to our qualification for a mortgage?
- Is an appraisal always required? Why or why not and do we have to pay for it?
- Property transfer tax – what is that? How do you avoid it? Does it matter if you are a First time buyer in BC or anywhere?
- Do I need a lawyer? Will I have to pay them – how much? – Before they do the work or does it come from the financing?
- How much time do we need from writing the offer, doing our due diligence, removing our subjects and then completing the purchase?
- If we ask for the appliances can they switch them out for older ones – or different ones?
- How expensive is house insurance? When do we have to have it arranged? What do we need to know about the house to tell the insurance company in order to get a quote?
- Utilities – are they automatically hooked up? What if we have never had a utility account before?
- If the seller paid the property tax do we have to pay them back? Are there different ways we can pay our property taxes every year?
- What are strata fees? What do you mean – there are rules we have to follow to live in a strata complex?
As a REALTOR® reading this, ask yourself if you have provided the answers to all of these questions in a timely manner to your Buyers. Are they worried about things they have not communicated to you? Do they even know what questions to ask? – Not likely. With something as big and new as a first time home purchase, the clients have no idea how much they don’t know. It’s the REALTORS® job to anticipate those questions, provide guidance and answers to help the clients be prepared for each step that comes along. It will make the process much less stressful for the Buyer and likely facilitate the transaction closing smoothly, without issue.
As a Buyer reading this – did your REALTOR® have the answers to all of these questions? DO you feel you were adequately prepared and helped through the process – did it go smoothly? If you are just now contemplating a purchase – interview potential REALTORS® - ask them for references. Arm yourself with the questions above and be sure you feel confident they know the answers. Purchasing a property, whether it’s your first or fifth, is a very big deal. One that should be exciting, positive and with minimal stress (it’s hard to avoid completely). The right REALTOR® can make a huge difference to your experience.
If you need help finding one or if you would like the answers to these questions – just ask.
When the going gets "Tough"...just call me.