What should I consider when selling or buying a home?


 
Selling or buying a home is a big financial commitment, and many aspects of a real estate transaction require careful attention to ensure that it is seamless and successful.

If you are in the market to do either, here is a list of tips to help you get started.

Do your homework. Be aware of the buying and selling process before it begins. A good place to start is the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO)’s website. Here you can find a variety of helpful resources and guides.

Hire a real estate agent who is suitable for your needs. They can provide strategic guidance and offer many service options, including monitoring market trends, providing comparative market analyses of similar properties, arranging showings, and negotiating terms on your behalf.

When selecting an agent, make sure your approach, and working and communication style are compatible. Share any preferences and ask questions. Check their references and visit the search tool on RECO’s website to confirm that they are registered to trade in real estate.

Also, if the agent offers you rebates or incentives, get those details in writing.

Have a clear budget. Know what you can afford and want to pay. Make sure to account for extra costs, like legal fees, land transfer tax, mortgage insurance, real estate commissions, and moving expenses.

Review the fine print. While all the paperwork can be overwhelming, it is crucial to remember that real estate agreements are legally binding, so review all the details thoroughly. I would also encourage you to seek counsel from a lawyer who is insured to practice real estate law. They can review the terms and conditions, investigate the title, and take the necessary steps to complete the transaction.

Here are some tips for sellers.

    • Disclose property details. Work with your agent to ensure that all the information about the home is listed correctly and have as much supporting documentation readily available as possible.
    • Assess whether an open house is necessary or if you want to exclusively do scheduled showings. Speak with your agent to set ground rules. For instance, would you like anyone entering your property to take their shoes off? You will want to remove any valuables and securely store anything showing personal information, like credit card statements and invoices.

Here are some more tips for buyers.

    • Work with your agent to look into the age and condition of the property’s systems and find out if required permits were received for any renovations done. It is also wise to consider a home inspection for added peace of mind.
    • Be specific. Make sure your offer is as detailed as possible to avoid any confusion later. Outline what you expect will be included with the sale (for example, appliances and light fixtures) and be clear if certain agreed-upon repairs need to be completed prior to closing.
    • Include conditions to protect yourself. While removing conditions such as financing or a home inspection can make your offer more appealing to a seller, remember that it can also be risky for you.
    • Have a contingency plan. Check if the closing date on the sale of your current home aligns with the closing of your next property. If it doesn’t, you may need to arrange for temporary accommodation and bridge financing.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email information@reco.on.ca.


This column is for general information purposes only and is not meant as legal or professional advice on real estate transactions.

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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