I’m in the market for my first home. What experts will I need during the process?


While this column typically talks about working with a real estate professional, it’s important to remember that buying a home often involves a team of individuals with specific areas of expertise, beyond the expertise of a real estate professional.

You’ll need to secure financing for your home, which could involve working with a mortgage broker to get you the best rate and terms. Regardless of where you are buying, it’s a good idea to secure pre-approval for your financing so you’ll have a good idea as to what you can afford.

Once you’ve made a successful offer on a property, numerous other experts come into play, especially if your offer contained conditions on financing or a satisfactory home inspection.

First of all, you’ll want to send the signed Agreement of Purchase and Sale to your lender to firm up your mortgage approval.

At this point, it’s also a good idea to find a lawyer who specializes in real estate. Their help will be essential as the closing date approaches. For information on finding a lawyer or verifying their licence, visit the website of the Law Society of Upper Canada www.lsuc.on.ca.

If your offer is conditional on a satisfactory home inspection, you will want to schedule one as quickly as possible. The home inspection is a valuable tool for buyers because it helps you better understand the condition of the home and what repairs might be needed.

A qualified and experienced home inspector will examine the major systems in the home, including electrical, roofing, plumbing, heating/air conditioning and the foundation. If the property includes a septic tank or well, you may need to arrange a separate inspection by someone qualified in those systems.

When selecting a home inspector to work with, consider asking about their training, experience, certifications, whether they belong to any associations and what their home inspection process entails. Additionally, consider asking your registered real estate professional, family or friends for recommendations on home inspectors they have worked with in the past. If a real estate professional receives any financial benefit from a referral, they must disclose it to their client in writing.

Following the home inspection, it’s up to you to decide whether you consider the results satisfactory. If the home inspection reveals problems that you are not comfortable taking on, you will need to speak with your registered real estate professional and your lawyer to discuss if terminating the purchase agreement is an option.

On the other hand, if you’re satisfied with the outcome, your salesperson or broker will have you sign additional documents saying that the conditions are either waived or fulfilled and the offer will become firm.

Your lawyer can then work with you through the closing of the purchase.

While there are many details to consider as you go through the home buying process, having an experienced team of experts can make a big difference. Your registered real estate professional can be an especially valuable resource when you need to know “next steps” or need help finding the experts that you need.

Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.

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