Your Most Valuable Player
Your REALTOR® has what it takes to help you every step of the way to achieving your home ownership dreams. And, he or she will be the top player on a team of experts who will protect your interests and ensure your real estate transaction goes smoothly.
Depending on your needs, the other experts will likely include a lender, a lawyer, an insurance broker, and a home inspector. Your REALTOR® will offer guidance as to how to proceed with your purchase or sale, and when it's time to bring in these professionals.
A REALTOR® has successfully completed an intensive course of study and has skills, knowledge and experience that most buyers and sellers do not have. In Ontario, a REALTOR® is a licensed real estate professional who is a member of a local real estate board as well as the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA). He or she must adhere to provincial law and abide by a National Code of Ethics, ensuring you a high level of service, honesty and integrity.
If you are buying a home, your REALTOR® can help you determine how much house you can afford, offer advice on choosing the right home for you, and ensure your interests are best served during negotiations.
If you are selling a home, your REALTOR® will help you determine a fair and accurate asking price, develop a marketing plan, offer advice to make your home more "saleable", screen potential buyers, show your home, and of course, negotiate on your behalf.
Few people buy a home for cash. Most home buyers usually combine savings with money borrowed through a financial arrangement called a mortgage. It is wise to know your financial status prior to actually looking at homes as it will give your REALTOR® valuable insight as to the amount of home you can afford. Your REALTOR® can help you review various mortgage options to ensure you get the best rates and terms available. Although most buyers will start their search with their own bank or financial institution, it pays to shop around for more competitive rates. A mortgage broker can easily help.
Whether you are buying or selling, a lawyer will represent your interests. It's a good idea to have one on standby, who specializes in real estate transactions, to review complicated documents such as the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. It is an option to have a lawyer review an offer to purchase before you sign it. You will also need a lawyer to close your deal. When an agreement is reached, your lawyer will ensure you receive valid title to the property and that it is clear of any registered claims. He or she will also calculate any taxes and adjustments that will compensate the seller for money already paid on services, and other matters related to the property.
In order to secure financing, mortgage lenders require insurance on the home. Just like when you shopped for your mortgage, do your homework with insurance companies too. Insurance coverage and rates vary and you will want to be sure you get the coverage you want at a fair price.
As a buyer, you can avoid expensive surprises by bringing in a home inspector as a condition of your offer to purchase. The older the home, the more likely there will be problems. Being aware of any structural defects will help you decide whether to buy the property at all, or to negotiate a lower price to compensate for anticipated major repairs.
Having the right team of experts on your side can mean the difference between a successful real estate transaction and a personal and financial nightmare. When you select your team, start with a REALTOR® - s/he will be your "Most Valuable Player".