If You’re Buying a Home, My Checklist Promises to Make Life Easier

05 March 2018
Joshua Chisvin

Buying a home? Okay, first things first: take a deep breath. Maybe two. Because this is BIG! And make no mistake, unlike a few of the previous milestones in your life that might have failed to deliver — like your first car, which inevitably broke down after a week — buying a home is one of those rare significant events that actually fulfills expectation… for better or worse!

Yup, every darn time. And believe me, it doesn’t matter if it’s your first or second or third home — or a downtown condo, or a fixer-upper investment property, or a vacation residence — or what have you, either. It’s BIG!!! Period. Which means, as a buyer, there are a few important boxes you must remember to tick when stepping up to the plate…

DON'T FORGET THAT KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

Do your homework on the buying process. Before it even begins, preferably. This will save you time, irritation and — most important of all — money.

SHOP AROUND!

The temptation to work with the very first realtor you meet will be there, especially if they say all the right things. You do have options, though. Get a few references from people you trust. Y’know, like friends who have bought recently themselves. Interview a few candidates thereafter to confirm they are a good match, as well as to ascertain whether or not they will have your best interests at heart.

GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING AND ALWAYS KEEP A PAPER TRAIL

Some real estate professionals won’t hesitate to offer a rebate or incentive to win your business. It’s all kosher, to be certain. Just make sure you get every tempting promise down in writing. After all, you know how these things go.

NEVER SIGN A DARN THING UNTIL YOU ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT IT MEANS

Take a buyer representation agreement, for example. Most agents with a brain in their head will ask you to sign one. Before you do, be sure you comprehend what it entails, specifically how the different clauses operate, the length of time it will last and what repercussions you might face by breaking it.

STAY CONSCIOUS OF 'HIDDEN COSTS'

There are always ‘hidden costs’ in any home purchase. Always! They exceed the total purchase price itself, including land transfer tax, mortgage insurance, legal fees and utility hookups. A home inspection and/or home appraisal may be necessary, too. And don’t forget all the expenses involved with moving, whether you hire a professional or do it on your own.

PROTECT YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES

What are a referee’s last words to two boxers in the ring before the opening bell? That’s right: PROTECT YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES!!! Apply that mentality to your offer, especially where it pertains to making it conditional on factors important to you — from mortgage financing and a home inspection, to the sale of your current home, to the condition of the status certificate (if its a condo purchase).

ASK THE QUESTIONS THAT MATTER

Is a home inspection necessary?In what condition are the home’s electrical and plumbing systems? Were formal permits issued for past renovations? How old is the house? All crucial questions for your agent to get answers to.

PRECISION IS KEY

A precise offer is a good one. No, a great one! It will not only outline what’s intended to be taken into account with the sale — appliances and light fixtures, that sort of thing — but whether or not renovations are required.

NO MATTER WHAT, YOU'VE GOT TO ABIDE BY THE GAME PLAN

If you find yourself in a bidding war, make sure you’ve set a few ground rules to stick to beforehand. This specifically relates to what your expectations for a home are, how much money you are willing to part with and what conditions are most important. Then stick to your guns and let the chips fall where they may. After all, no “war” is won without a coherent strategy, is it?

KEEP LOOKING FORWARD

If you’ve bought a new home, odds are you still need to deal with your existing one. To that end, have you made sure your closing date lines up with when you need to clear out of your former premises? Better have backup plan ready, if not!

  Real Estate