Across Canada, money-savvy millennials are taking the plunge into homeownership, knowing it’s one the best long-term investments they can make. Whether you’re buying a house, condo, or townhome, the process can be a bit daunting and you may not be sure of where to start.
The first step any new buyer should take is to form you’re A+ Real Estate team. By having the right team in place, and the right people in your corner, you’ll be more confident in the process as you make the biggest purchase of your life.
If you’re a first-time-buyer, you’ll want to educate yourself as much as possible on all aspects of your real estate transaction. Your team should be familiar with working with first-time-buyers, as well as have a knack for explaining the process in an easy-to-understand way.
Tips for Finding the Right Realtor
Meet with Several Brokers Face-to-Face
Personally meeting a few potential brokers face-to-face provides the opportunity to see if you vibe together. It also allows you to ask questions and learn about their background, experience, successes and working style. You’ll also be able to determine their expertise level and professionalism.
Think about how accommodating they are to your schedule. Are they willing to come to you, or do you have to meet them when and where they say? Do they have their own office? Do they have a support team around them?
Ask personal questions too – this is your opportunity to get to know someone you’ll be spending a lot of time with. Ask if they will personally be handling your search or if it will be passed off to a junior agent. Find out how many first-time-buyers they’ve worked with.
Ask About Their Experience
You should also ask about their background. Many brokers work in real estate as a second career, so find out what they’ve done in the past. A background in finance will benefit you in your search, as financial analysis comes into forecasting your profitability.
Meeting and interviewing a few potential realtors gives you the opportunity to ask questions, learn about their experience and working style, and determine their areas of expertise and level of professionalism.
You want to work with someone who’s going to show up on time, has a great history of making deals happen in your market, and who will clearly address all of your questions and concerns.
Ask for a few references. Your agent should be happy to provide these, and you’ll gain valuable insights such as how long ago were these individuals were clients, what type of home they bought/or sold and what their experience was like with the agent.
Finding a Good Mortgage Broker
A good mortgage broker is someone you need to have on your team early on in your house-hunting process. We always recommend our clients get a pre-approval before starting your home or condo search – this is a critical step, so you know how much spending power you have.
A mortgage broker can also benefit you in many other ways, rather than the route of going to a traditional lender personally.
The most obvious reason that people choose to obtain a mortgage through a mortgage broker is that brokers have access to multiple rates and lenders. Because of this, mortgage brokers have access to rates that may not always be advertised widely and can be significantly lower than those advertised by banks or credit unions.
Many lenders’ rates and mortgages can only be accessed through a mortgage broker. Brokers can also vet lenders and negotiate on behalf of the buyer, and experienced brokers have relationships with these lenders, as well as the banks. Ignoring these lenders and choosing to get a mortgage with a bank can mean choosing harsher prepayment penalties for breaking your mortgage as well as a higher interest rate, which can cost buyers thousands upon thousands of dollars over the life of their mortgage.
Finding a Good Real Estate Lawyer
Finding the right real estate lawyer is a crucial part of buying or selling a home. These transactions are among the biggest in a client’s lifetime, and they can be sometimes overwhelming for first-time buyers. Even if you have another lawyer you regularly work with, we can’t stress enough that it’s crucial to find an experienced real estate lawyer who is the right fit for your purchase.
While it’s possible to bring in a real-estate lawyer to handle just the tail end of a deal, they can also help throughout the process by working closely with the rest of your Real Estate team, reviewing paperwork and protecting clients’ interests. That means finding the right expert, and not settling for a lawyer you happen to know or who is also working for the other side of the sale.
Your Real Estate lawyer should have the same critical traits that you look for in your realtor. They should be accommodating to your schedule and be well-versed in the entire real estate transaction process. Answering questions that you have should come with ease, especially for first-time-buyers.
If you’re thinking about buying or selling, a good first step is to form your team. Having these key players aligned will make the process of buying a home or selling your place an easy and enjoyable experience.