Entering a competitive market as a first-time homebuyer can be a daunting prospect, but you don’t need to go it alone. Building a team of trusted, experienced professionals can help you navigate the homebuying journey with ease and avoid pitfalls that might otherwise derail the process.
You may already be aware of the benefits of including a real estate agent, mortgage lender, and real estate lawyer on your homebuying dream team, but engaging the services of a home inspector and a home insurance broker can save you time, money, and unnecessary difficulties on closing day and beyond.
Everyone’s homebuying journey and financial situation is unique, so different lenders suit different buyers.
The professionals you need when buying a home:
The Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents and Realtors are licensed professionals in the business of buying and selling homes. In Canada, a real estate professional must be part of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) in order to be considered a Realtor, but both are required to undergo training in order to buy or sell real estate.
Real estate agents and Realtors have deep insight into the housing market and can help you understand all aspects of the properties you’re considering, including neighbourhoods and trends in home pricing. Their network of resources and information can help shorten your search by eliminating properties that aren’t right for you, and their market expertise gives them leveraging power in negotiations, saving you money in both the short and long term. Real estate agents and Realtors also have trusted networks of other professionals in the real estate industry and can help you find the right individuals to round out your homebuying team.
The Mortgage Lender
For most homebuyers, applying for a mortgage, or home loan, is a key step of the homebuying process. Finding a trusted mortgage lender and getting preapproved for a loan will help you understand how much home you can afford and ensures sellers will take your offer seriously. It’s important to choose a mortgage lender that is right for your unique situation, as this decision will impact your financial situation for years to come.
There are two types of mortgage lenders: A lenders include major banks and credit unions, and have strict requirements for financial and credit history, such as having a high credit score. For homebuyers with a lower credit score or nontraditional income streams, B lenders look for a different set of criteria and generally offer more leeway to applicants, although these loans generally have higher rates.
A trusted lender should be able to walk you through the process, outline the options available to you, and provide financial planning advice. Shopping around and asking key questions can help you find the right mortgage lender for your situation.
The Home Inspector
It’s wonderful to find a home that feels right for you, but once your offer has been accepted it’s important to do your due diligence before closing. Hiring a professional home inspector—even if the previous owners have done an inspection—will give you the security of accurately knowing the condition of the property and prevent any unwanted surprises on move-in day.
Home inspectors analyze all aspects of the property with the intent of identifying any flaws, defects, or issues. Your real estate agent can help you find an impartial professional to ensure nothing is missed or overlooked, and should attend the inspection to field questions and ensure your bases are covered. If severe issues are found during the inspection, real estate contracts have contingencies that allow you to request that the seller cover the costs or fix the repairs, or even terminate the contract entirely.
The Real Estate Lawyer
When you’re ready to close on a home, a real estate lawyer can offer legal guidance and ensure your transaction is protected. For first-time home buyers in particular, a real estate lawyer can prevent you from making a costly mistake by expertly navigating all of the legal matters, jargon, and paperwork associated with the purchase of your new home.
The role of a real estate lawyer is to review all legal documents, such as the Agreement of Purchase or Agreement of Sale, and any issues related to the transaction. They ensure the seller is current on their property tax payments and that there are no liens on the property, confirm the validity of the property title, calculate the land transfer tax, and determine if there are any other tax implications you need to be aware of as the buyer.
In transactions involving the purchase of a condo, a real estate lawyer will review the Status Certificate, a key document which discloses how much money is in the condo’s reserve fund and if it is enough to cover renovations and repairs to the condo moving forward.
The Home Insurance Broker
Becoming a homeowner is an incredibly exciting prospect, and buying a home is one of the largest investments most individuals will ever make. Make sure you protect your investment and yourself by securing a home insurance policy. A comprehensive policy will cover you financially if your home is damaged, such as in a natural disaster, if someone injures themselves on your property, and can even compensate you for the cost of your belongings in case of theft. Engaging the services of a home insurance broker to help you find the right home insurance policy for your needs.
While you’re not required to go through a home insurance broker when purchasing a policy, the right broker can save you time and money. These professionals will work with you to understand your property and your financial situation, comparing policies to find you the best rate and ensuring you choose a policy that has the coverage suited for your situation.
Let OJO help you find the right home for you
With a network of top-rated, local real estate agents, expert mortgage professionals from RBC, and personalized home recommendations, OJO is here to guide you through every step of your homebuying journey. Start your home search with us today.