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Why Use a REALTOR®?
So, you’ve decided you want to buy a home. you feel like you might be able to handle this on your own. You know the mortgage specialist at the bank, researched what’s for sale in your neighbourhood. Who needs a REALTOR®?
Buying or selling your home is takes a lot more than just advertising it for sale, it is the biggest legal transaction you will probably have in your life.
A REALTOR® will bring their expertise and local knowledge to the process. They know the ins and outs of the marketplace you’re in, as well as the inner workings of how a real estate transaction should go. Not to mention the lingo and jargon that can be used. You trust your hair to a stylist, you should trust your real estate transactions to a REALTOR®.
The internet is a great resource for when you are tire kicking but when you get serious, let a REALTOR® and the MLS® System get to work for you. By choosing a local REALTOR® you will have access to the premier tools to promote your property for sale or find your dream property.
Negotiating is part of the home buying and selling process and when the offers start being thrown around you want to make sure experience is on your side. While you’re very good at your job, your REALTOR® is very good at negotiating. Let someone handle it with no emotional investment in the situation and who has the expertise needed to handle the business side of the deal.
Your REALTOR® is also connected. Everyone has that one friend that always “knows a guy or girl.” That’s your REALTOR®. Mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, moving companies, home inspectors. They’re all in your REALTOR®’s Rolodex. Take advantage of years of their networking.
Your REALTOR® is a member of the local community. They know the market, the people, the trends, and they are experts in their field. They know what marketing tools work best in our community, and they know the neighbourhoods. Being furnished with regularly updated statistics and market research, REALTORS® bring a wealth of information to the table.
Every REALTOR® is a licensed real estate professional. A REALTOR® undergoes strict training, and upholds a very high code of ethics. When you’re going through this process, you want someone trained and accountable in your corner.
Buying or selling a home can be a very stressful experience. There are a lot of moving parts that will require a person to wear a number of hats. Let a REALTOR® handle that wardrobe and allow you to enjoy the process.
HOW TO SELL YOUR HOME, SIMPLIFIED
Deciding to Sell
When deciding to sell, it’s important to think about your objectives. Why are you selling? When is the best time to sell? How much money do you expect to receive? Figuring this out early, with your REALTOR® will help you make the right choices.
In general, people sell their homes for reasons involving their employment, their family, their financial position, or lifestyle. You could be relocated for work, you could get married, or have a baby, you could be in the midst of a strong sellers market and wish to take advantage, or you may have a change in priorities, and may need a different style home.
When should you sell?
If you have to move to another city for work, the answer will likely be “right away!” For most people, there is some flexibility. The dual goal is to sell it as quickly as possible for the highest price possible. Discuss your specific requirements with your REALTOR® who can help you determine an asking price that could help to meet your timeline.
With your REALTOR® discuss cycles in the housing market. You may have heard the terms “buyer’s market” or “seller’s market”. Make sure to talk to your REALTOR® about the current marketplace conditions so you have a good understanding of what to expect.
Home selling can also be affected by seasons. For example, buyers may not be willing to walk through snow drifts to look at a home. But you’ll likely be competing against fewer homes. On the other side of the coin, spring tends to be a busy time for real estate. Grass is growing, and flowers are blooming. Parents of school-aged kids are more keen to buy in the spring so moving can be done after school lets out.
Buy first or sell first?
Many people, with help from their REALTOR® and lawyer, are able to make the buy and sell dates coincide in such a way that you can essentially move from one home to the next. This helps avoids extra costs like a motel, or storage for your belongings.
You can also make your offer on your new home conditional on the sale of your current home. That way if the sale of your home falls through, you are not obligated to continue with that purchase. Also, you can negotiate for a longer “closing period” to finish the sale of your home.
Sell with a REALTOR®’s help, or go it alone?
Have you ever considered fixing your own car? You could easily buy the parts and tools needed. However most of us don’t have the time, or knowledge needed to do the job. The same can be said for selling your home. It is a complex procedure involving a lot of money, and a lot of very rigorous legal requirements. Without the knowledge and experience that a REALTOR® provides, there is a real chance for very costly mistakes.
Most of those who sell their homes in Canada do so with the assistance of a REALTOR®. The few who try it alone very often change their minds and end up going with a REALTOR® because the process is too complex, time consuming, and risky without the help of a professional.
Take your time and find the REALTOR® who you feel most comfortable with. The process of selling a home is a lengthy one with the potential for some ups and downs. Having the right REALTOR® in your corner will make the process that much easier.
The Listing Process
Listing your home is a two step process. Part one is a contract, while the second part is a collection of information.
The Listing Agreement is a the contract between you and the real estate agency. It allows the agency and its salespeople to market your property. It also forms the basis for drafting an offer on your home, and the negotiations involving the offer.
During the collection of information a REALTOR® gathers information about your home that will help to gain exposure with potential buyers. Unless you’ve opted for an exclusive listing, this information will be submitted to the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®).This information is also used by REALTORs® in answering questions and inquiries from prospective buyers.
In most cases your REALTOR® will recommend that you list your home through MLS® as this way your home will receive the maximum exposure in the shortest amount of time.
Determining Your Home’s Asking Price
One of the most important decisions you will make during the process of selling your home is deciding with your REALTOR® how much the home will be listed for. The first few weeks of the listing are the most important.
The goal is to choose a price that is reflects the market value. A home can only fetch the sale price that buyers are willing to pay. This is something that takes a comprehensive understanding of the market. Something your REALTOR® is an expert at. They will work to find the market value of your home, and with that information help you decide on an asking price.
How can you help sell your house?
One of the most important tasks of any homeowner with a house on the market is to keep your house clean and uncluttered, to allow showings of your home at any reasonable time, and to provide a key for access when you are not home (but don’t worry, you will be contacted before any viewings.)
You also need to gather all relevant documents. The your mortgage documents, tax assessments and utility receipts are all things that are needed during the process of selling your home. Utility receipts and a land survey may be needed during the sale process as the potential buyer may request that information.
Selling your home takes teamwork and a spirit of cooperation to make it happen. Your REALTOR® is a valuable member of your team, and your help and support will ensure that their efforts result in a successful sale.
Preparing Your Home for Sale
It’s time to think like a buyer. “What can I do to make my home look appealing to prospective buyers?”.
Clean everything. Literally everything. Take a tour of your house and make a note of every opportunity to remove clutter and dirt. Spaces will look bigger if you remove unnecessary stuff. Use this as an opportunity to declutter. With each questionable item of ‘stuff” you find, ask yourself “Have I used this in the last 6 months? Or will I use it soon?” If the answer is “no”, get rid of it. This is a twofold benefit as your home will look more inviting, and you’ll have less to move.
Repair what you can, and hire professionals for what you can’t. Missing hinges, and knobs, gouges in the wall, and missing paint are all things you can likely do yourself. Electrical and plumbing repairs, as well as roofing jobs are best left to the professionals
An Effective Plan to Market Your Home
There are a few elements that can be included in an effective marketing plan. The most direct of these is the For Sale sign. It’s on duty 24/7 and is most sought by potential buyers.
Your REALTOR® may also use several other options such as digital and social marketing, and standard advertising.
When You Get an Offer
Your REALTOR® is required to present you every offer submitted on your property. While they are working for you, they are an intermediary between you and the buyer, and will allow you to look at each offer with as little emotion as possible.
With any offer, you have three options: Accept it, Reject it, or “sign it back” with a counter offer.
If you accept, you have made a legally binding contract to sell your home, subject to any conditions.
If you reject the offer, the buyer may choose to submit another offer.
If you “sign back” changes, the buyer then has the option of accepting your terms, rejecting them, or submitting yet another counter offer.
From Signed Agreement To Closing
The negotiations have been successful, and you and the buyer have agreed to a price. Now it’s time for the final steps to completing the process, known as “closing.”
Your lawyer will carefully review the Agreement, noting any conditions that exist. If you are responsible for any conditions, your lawyer will discuss that with you. Once those have been met, your lawyer will get her the documents needed to complete the transaction and. Transfer title to the new owner. Your lawyer will draw up paperwork regarding your mortgage and if it is to be paid off from proceeds of the sale. Once that paperwork is completed, they are also tasked with distribution of the proceeds from the sale.That includes discharging the mortgage, paying all costs according to the statement of adjustment,and give you a cheque for the net proceeds.
Finally, your lawyer will send you a letter setting out the services that were performed, and giving you and documents from the transaction for our files.
Congratulations! Your home is sold. You can use the proceeds from the sale to purchase your next property, and you’ve contributed to one of the best long term investments you will ever make.
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding to buy your own home. When you first started the process, you were probably given a lot of advice from friends and family about the right time to buy. Unfortunately, no one can predict with any certainty when the market will reach it’s highest or lowest point. You have to keep in mind one thing:
The purpose of buying a home is to provide you and your family with a comfortable place to live for a long time (think in terms of years, not months.)
Your home is a long term investment. Regardless of when in the up and down cycle of the housing market you buy, home ownership will always be one of the best investment opportunities available to you. Over time your home, with proper care, will most likely appreciate in value. After 25 years when you’ve paid off your mortgage and own your home free and clear, you will be sitting on a considerable asset that will continue to grow in value over time. This can provide tremendous peace of mind.
Once you’ve looked at your financials and made the decision that home ownership is something you want to pursue, it’s time to start looking at homes and prices. you might be surprised at what you see. Up until now, your biggest purchases have likely been a vehicle, or furniture for your apartment. Now you’re looking at something that can be up to 20 times the amount of what you have ever paid for a single purchase.
The good news here is that real estate values are expected to continue increasing over the long term. That means the sooner you buy your first home, the sooner the appreciation of its value will help you.
When first time home buyers start looking, they tend to want their dream home right away. Then reality sets in. The price of that home will likely be impossibly high, not to mention the down payment. Again, proper planning is required, so many first time buyers purchase a “starter home”. This is a common sense approach to home buying that won’t stretch your budget to its breaking point.
There are two types of costs in buying a home.
When lenders are assessing your ability to buy and how much they’re willing to lend you, they look at your ability to pay both of these costs.
Once you’ve done the math and gone over your budget with your banker or broker, it’s time to look at the market and see what kind of home you can buy, and where it might be located.
Keep in mind that a similarly styled home is priced considerably differently depending on where it’s located. Urban areas will have the higher prices, while suburban areas tend to give you more for your money. Smaller cities usually have lower property taxes, and housing prices are sometimes lower than in urban areas. Alternatively, rural living, while not for everyone, might be appealing if you like the idea of owning a few acres with a pond. Housing prices in rural areas tend to buy you more than the aforementioned options.
What features are important to you?
It’s time to decide what you want in your home. Sit down with anyone involved in the purchase, and decide what’s important. Make two lists, one of your “needs” and one of your “wants”. Three bedrooms, or two bathrooms might be ”needs”, whereas a finished basement might be a “want”.
Comparing homes and locations.
With your list off needs and wants in hand, the next step is start looking at locations. Remember now that prices and styles are going to vary. A Victorian style home is not going to be found in a new development, nor will a home with large bedrooms be found in a historic section of town.
Also, consider your lifestyle and the homes’ locations. Is it close to the things that are important to you? Starting your search on www.greatermonctonrealtors.com will show you what’s available locally by price, style, area, specifications, etc.
Working with a Real Estate Professional.
Once you’ve decided on your wants and needs, it’s time to find your REALTOR®, the real estate professional who will help you get an idea of the neighbourhood and the style of home you’re looking for. Your REALTOR® has access to the right tools to serve you, including the MLS® System. You will also want to be sure that they are Members of the Canadian Real Estate Association because that means they are held to a higher standard through the REALTOR® Code. Take care in choosing your REALTOR®. You will be working closely with this person for several weeks (or more.) You must ensure you feel comfortable with them.
You may wish to interview more than one to make a comparison. Ask friends and relatives for referrals. At the end of the day, choose someone with knowledge of the area you are looking in, someone with the tools and marketing plan that meet your needs, and someone who communicates well with you.
House Hunting with a REALTOR®
Once your REALTOR® has an understanding of what you want and what you can afford, they will take your information, pair it with their knowledge of the market, and find what lines up. Most of the preliminary searching will be done using the MLS® (Multiple List Service®) with you and your REALTOR® narrowing the focus of the search. Take the time with each listing, and remain objective. Don’t let the “wants” get in the way of the “needs”. Take your time with each visit, take notes, and remain open and objective.
Adding a Lawyer to Your Team
When you’re buying your first home, you’ve likely never employed a real estate lawyer before. There will be ample opportunity to sign your name on legally binding contracts, so you will need one to help you wade through the “legalese”. As with choosing your REALTOR®, you may want to ask for referrals from those you trust.. Ask your friends and relatives who they’ve dealt with. Also, your REALTOR® may be able to give you the names of several lawyers to contact, although they cannot recommend or endorse a specific lawyer.
Choose a lawyer whom you feel best meets your needs. Go with the person who has the right experience and you feel confident will help you understand the full legal process.
Making an Offer
You’ve found a home. It meets all your needs, most of your wants, and fits your budget. It’s in a great neighbourhood and is move-in ready. Now it’s time to make an offer to purchase your first home.
Your offer is a precisely worded legal document that sets the terms and conditions between you (the buyer) and them (the seller). Once the offer is made and accepted, and the conditions are met, the offer becomes legally binding. For this reason, you have to be very sure you understand what’s in the offer before you sign it.
Once the offer is submitted, the seller will have a predetermined amount of time to respond. This response will go one of three ways; accepted; rejected; or a counteroffer. In the event of a rejection or a counteroffer, meet with your REALTOR® to discuss the reasons and decide if it’s worth pursuing.
Arranging a Mortgage
Chances are you don’t have the kind of money laying around that it costs to buy a home. (Hardly anyone does.) When it comes to home financing, there are a plethora of options available to you. Your bank likely has a mortgage specialist who could assist, and REALTORS® are well versed in many aspects of home financing as well. Whether it’s a new mortgage, or assuming the mortgage on the home you’re buying, there are professionals who can help.
Additional Costs When Buying a Home
In addition to buying your home, there are other costs involved. Your REALTOR® can help you with the details, but they include insurance, as well as a home inspection and legal fees. The great news is that your REALTOR® is an expert in all these things and can help you navigate this with ease.
The Home Inspection
When you’re walking through the home you intend to buy, emotion may get in the way. While you’re imagining your family sitting around the table in your new dining room, you may not be thinking about whether or not there are cracks in the foundation of the home. This is where your home inspector comes into play. Like with other professionals, you should interview Home Inspectors and have an understanding of what professional organizations they belong to. This will dictate the standard of service they must provide in a home inspection. Your REALTOR® can also help you start your search.
Finalizing the Transaction
The offer has been accepted, the inspection is done and you’re ready to move in. Before you rent that truck, there’s a bit more work to do. There’s a closing checklist that your REALTOR® will bring you through to make sure everything is done. In addition to what they help you with, there are things you will have to do yourself, for example, changing your address, making sure utilities are set up, or giving notice to your landlord if you’ve been renting.
Making a Smooth Move
Now that closing day has arrived, and you’ve had the celebratory champagne it’s time to get things in order for the move. Start planning the move as soon as you can so you can head any troubles off at the pass. It’s time to decide things like if you’re going to do it yourself, or hire a professional. Either way, enjoy this time. You just bought a home. Congratulations!