Disclaimer: This website and its content are for educational purposes and are NOT intended to imply agency nor to compel the reader to breach an existing contract.
BUYER’S SURVIVAL GUIDE
So you’re taking the plunge. You’re thinking of buying a home! Whether this is your first home or you’re a seasoned veteran, this is likely the largest transaction of your life and can also be the most confusing. My job as your Real Estate Agent is to help you navigate this transaction, advise you on your options and promote your best interests during negotiations.
Below I will outline the key components of the purchasing process. This will ensure that no matter where we are in the transaction, you have the tools to interpret what’s going on.
Why use an agent as a buyer?
The better question is why not? It’s free! In almost all real estate transactions, the sellers pay the commission costs.
Working with an agent when purchasing your largest asset is the single best way to ensure you are fully protected and properly represented through the transaction.
With new BC regulations, you are not able to work directly with the listing agent in almost all cases. This means that in order for you to skip working with your own agent, you must be unrepresented in the transaction. This means you have no one representing your best interests in the transaction but yourself. This is exposes buyers to much more legal liability than they otherwise would have.
DIsclosure of representation - Let’s talk about “agency”
The definition of “agency” is, in plain terms, to act on behalf of someone else. In the context of a real estate transaction, your real estate agent owes you the following:
Loyalty: they must put your interests first, even before their own.
Avoid conflicts of interest: they must avoid any situation that would affect their duty to act in your best interests.
Fully disclose relevant information: they must give you all the facts they know that might affect your decisions.
Protect your confidentiality: they must not reveal your private information without your permission, such as:
your reasons for buying/selling/leasing/renting,
the minimum/maximum price you are seeking
any preferred terms and conditions you may want to include in a contract.
Prior to providing any Real Estate Services, a Licensee (REALTOR) must present you, the client, with a form called the Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services. This ensures that you, the consumer, are fully informed and aware of the services that are owed to you.
Things to consider
The following are some questions that I will likely ask throughout our early interactions, they are an indication of your readiness to engage in a Real Estate transaction.
Are you pre-qualified for financing? If so, for how much?
What is your preferred timeline? This influences closing dates, subject removal, financing, etc.
What is your preferred means of contact? Phone, email, text?
Have you purchased a home before? Have you worked with another agent?
Do you have a place to sell first? If so, is it listed? Would you like to learn your listing options? See Listing Services.
How much cash will you have access to for the deposit? A larger deposit often signifies a stronger offer.
Do you have the support in place to move your family?
These are in addition to the standard questions about price, size, location, beds/baths, etc, that I will need to know in order to help you. Please consider these questions if they apply to you.
Showings and writing offers
So we’ve begun our search. I’ve likely set you up on my PCS and we’re viewing properties that fit your criteria. This often consists of scheduling showings 24hrs in advance and meeting at the property for a walkthrough to see if it will work for you. Sometimes it can take 5, 10, 30, 100 showings before we find you the right place!
Once we’ve found the perfect place for you, it’s time to write an offer.
Formally called a “Contract of Purchase and Sale”, an offer is the binding contract that initiates a Real Estate transaction. I will advise you on how we can fill in the price, dates and conditions that suit you and then I send that contract to the Seller’s Agent. They can either choose to accept this offer as written or make changes and send a counter-offer. You then get to decide if you accept the changes made in a counter offer. They can also allow the offer to expire - thus not accepting the offer. This can go back and forth many times before a final deal is settled on.
Primary Negotiable Terms:
Common conditions (subjects) that protect buyers in a transaction:
Review of Title and the Property Disclosure Statement
Review of Strata Bylaws, Minutes and Financials or Mobile Home Park Rules if applicable
Subjects are conditions within the contract that allow you to ensure due diligence prior to purchasing your home. If you are not satisfied with the results of a Home Inspection or the contents of the strata bylaws for example, you may choose to not move forward with the transaction.
Costs to consider:
The following costs are covered by the buyer in a Real Estate transaction, in addition to the purchase of the home.
Property Transfer Tax ( 1% on the first $200k, 2% on the balance, home for $500k = $8000 in PTT)
Lawyer/Notary to transfer and register title
Land title registration fees
Costs of Financing ie. appraisal ( if applicable)
GST, 5% (if brand new home)
in most cases The buyer is NOT responsible for paying REALTOR Commission.
Do you want to learn more about “Subject to sale”?
Accepted offer - due diligence/subject removal
Once we have achieved an accepted offer, we move into our due diligence stage. If we wrote in the previously mentioned subjects, we now work to review and execute the necessary actions. This period usually takes 14 days and would consist of scheduling and attending a home inspection, reviewing strata documents and working with lenders to approve financing. At this point you should ensure that you’ve contacted your Lawyer/Notary to let them know they’ll be handling your transaction, you then must let me know who this will be so that documentation can be properly forwarded.
If you are satisfied with the results of this due diligence, we “remove subjects” - meaning the Contract of Purchase and Sale is now unconditional and may proceed to completion. The home is now considered SOLD! We now wait for your Possession date.
If you are not satisfied with the results of your due diligence, you may choose to terminate the contract. If we do so, both parties must sign a release. We then move back into the viewing stage.
This is everyone’s favourite part, even mine! Title transfer has gone through with your lawyer/notary, you now legally own the home!
I meet you at your new home and hand over the keys.
This date usually comes between 2 to 6 weeks after Subject Removal, depending on the preferences of the buyer and seller.