Do you have questions about how to buy a house?

Buying a house is a big deal. Literally. And there are a lot of details to consider. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by it all, I encourage my clients to ask me about it. What is “it”? It can be anything at all. Any aspect of the process thats giving them pause for thought or keeping them up at night.

Here are some examples of some of the common questions people ask me about how to buy a house.

Answer: Nothing! (Technically). The seller pays the co-operating agent the commission as per their listing agreement with their agent. The commission is usually a percentage of the purchase price.

Answer: Yes you do. You will need guaranteed funds (bank draft or certified cheque) to hand in with your accepted offer on offer night or within 24hrs of acceptance. There is not set amount for a required deposit-however, your deposit amount can work in your favour if you are in competition because it shows financial security.

Answer: Of course you can-even if you are working with an agent! Open houses are a great way to explore a new neighbourhood and get a feel for the types of homes available. Agents will ask you to sign in and please do. When you sign into an open house the listing agent will then keep your agent informed of any activity on the property. This way you will not miss out on any opportunities.

Answer: All you have to do is contact me and I take care of everything. When you let me know about a house you are interested in, I contact the listing agent and arrange everything. You just have to show up and see it.

Answer: Out of courtesy to the sellers most showings are usually kept between 9am-9pm. However, some houses may have restrictions (due to young children, tenants, etc) in which we can only visit during the specific times identified by the seller.

Answer: I always recommend that my clients attend offer presentations with me because timing is everything. After we have signed all the paperwork, I will present the offer to the listing agent and their clients. If any changes are requested we can easily resign the paperwork and hand it in. Once everyone has agreed to the details, the offer is accepted.

Answer: A house sells in competition when there is more than one offer.

Answer: A bully offer is an offer presented before the set offer date. If you do a bully offer, you are “bullying” the listing agent to look at your offer because you don’t give them a lot of time to respond. The offer price is usually well above the listing price to give the seller incentive to take it

Answer: Buying a home is a large purchase and a home inspection is always a good idea. A home inspection will let you know if you can expect to do any work once you purchase the home (ie. repair the roof, purchase a new furnace). If you are serious about purchasing a home, a home inspection will make you more confident about your purchase.

Answer: As soon as you feel comfortable putting in an offer, you should have a lawyer in mind. You might need a lawyer right away to look over status certificates (for conditional offers) or to answer any legal questions about your purchase. When you’re looking for a lawyer, word of mouth is often best. I have lawyers I trust and always recommended to my clients, but you should ask family and friends for their recommendations as well.

Answer: It is an offer that has been accepted, but is not technically complete because it has to fulfill certain ‘conditions’. When you’re thinking about how to buy a house, these conditions must be met within a set amount of time (agreed upon in the offer). Some of the most common conditions are: financing (the buyer’s mortgage broker will ensure they can get a mortgage for the particular property), home inspection (a home inspector will walk the buyer through the condition of the home), and status certificate (for a condo and reviewed by the buyer’s lawyer). In competing offers, conditions can deter sellers from accepted the offer. This is because the offer is not complete until the conditions are met. If they are not met, the buyers can walk away from the deal.

Answer: If your deal falls apart because a condition could not be met, a waiver is signed by both parties. This is an agreement that the offer will not close and the deposit will be returned to the buyers without penalty.

Answer: Even though buyers do not pay the agent’s commission, they still have some costs associated with a purchase. These include legal fees, disbursements, title insurance, HST on CMHC premium, Land Transfer Tax, Municipal Land Transfer Tax (Toronto only), and moving costs.


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