WHO’S ON YOUR TEAM?
You’ve heard it before: buying a home is one of the most important investments you’ll ever make. So it’s important to have a solid group of people in your corner.
And who is that group? Who’s got your back? Who looks after the details, making sure all the “i”s are dotted and “t”s are crossed?
This is your TEAM - the group of qualified individuals who’ll help guide you in your decision-making and give you moral support along the way.
So let’s assemble your TOP 10 TEAM WHEN BUYING A HOME:
#1. LAWYER: Your lawyer performs a number of crucial functions related to your purchase, including: completion of title search; preparation of mortgage documentation; calculation and management of funds; advising you on legal matters related to your purchase; and communicating with the lawyer representing the seller.
As you can see from the above, a lawyer experienced in Real Estate Law is one of the most important members of your Team. So choose carefully - your REALTOR® can recommend experienced property lawyers from their list of contacts, or you can ask friends and acquaintances for recommendations.
#2. MORTGAGE BROKER: While many people go directly to their bank when applying for a mortgage, an Independent Mortgage Broker may offer more options. Because they can “shop around” on your behalf, they may be able to negotiate a better interest rate than you would on your own.
A Mortgage Broker can also help you pre-qualify for a mortgage, so that you know how much money you have to deal with at the beginning of your search for a home, thus avoiding unpleasant financial surprises after you’ve found your dream home.
#3. HOME & PROPERTY INSPECTOR: Before you purchase a home, you want to make sure it’s structurally sound from rooftop to basement - something most of us aren’t qualified to do on our own. This is where a Certified Home & Property Inspector comes in.
While a home inspection does cost money, it pays to diagnose a problem before - not after - you complete the purchase of a home.
When you find a home that you want to buy and make an offer on it, your REALTOR® will include a clause in the Agreement of Purchase & Sale that allows for a home inspection to be completed by a certain date before the offer is considered “firm”. If your Home Inspector diagnoses problems on or before that date, the clause allows you to negotiate or walk away from the deal. That’s valuable protection!
The Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors includes a “Find a Home Inspector” function on its site, or your REALTOR® will have a list of local Inspectors in their contacts.
#4. INSURANCE PROFESSIONAL: Everyone needs property insurance, for their own protection and to comply with their mortgage lender’s rules.
Many people have an insurance professional that they already use, but some use an Insurance Broker as a means of “shopping around” to find the best insurance products and companies to suit their situation.
In Nova Scotia, the Insurance Brokers Association of Nova Scotia is the umbrella group serving the province’s Independent Insurance Brokers.
Their website includes a search page that homebuyers can use to find Insurance Brokers in their area.
Since you will not qualify for a mortgage without home insurance, an Insurance Professional is an essential member of your Team, immediately and during the course of home ownership.
Your REALTOR® may have the names of local Brokers to recommend.
#5. SURVEYOR: When you are buying a home, your lawyer may recommend that you obtain a Surveyor’s Location Certificate, which is defined by the Association of Nova Scotia Land Surveyors HERE. Also called a “Plot Plan” a Location Certificate certifies that the house on the property that you are buying is within the boundaries of the lot.
A full survey sets out where your property’s boundaries are in relation to the properties surrounding it. Your lawyer can advise you on which document you should have prepared, depending on the property you are buying.
#6. PLUMBER/SEWER LINE INSPECTOR: In Nova Scotia, the homeowner is responsible for the sewer line connecting the home to the municipality’s line. This makes a sewer line inspection a very smart thing to do before buying a home. An experienced REALTOR® will have worked with many inspectors in the field and can recommend local professionals whom they have confidence in. The inspector will charge for his/her services, but the fee is well worth it, should problems with the pipes turn up.
#7: WATER/SEPTIC TESTING:
For properties not connected to municipal water, the mortgage lender will require a chemical-free and bacteria-free water test which also confirms an adequate amount of water. And YOU will want enough chemical-free and bacteria free water for yourself and your family!
At the same time, most properties not connected to municipal water use a septic system which can prove very problematic to a new homeowner if problems arise. You want to find out about any problems before they become YOUR problems.
Many local inspectors offer both services. Ask your REALTOR® to recommend local professionals and use them - you may be glad you did!
#8: SECOND SET OF EYES: Who is the person whose judgement you trust more than your own? More than your partner’s? More than your REALTOR®’s? This is the person who’ll ask difficult, honest questions and see flaws and features where you don’t. Sometimes it’s a friend, sometimes a family member - the person who’ll help you avoid making an impulsive decision and steer you towards a choice you can live with for a long time. If you’re lucky enough to have such a person in your life, put them on your team!
#9: PROFESSIONAL MOVERS: Once you’ve closed the deal, you’ll need someone to get all your stuff from your old place to your new home. Professional movers will ensure that nothing gets broken or damaged during the move. And you won’t end up with a sore back! Ask for recommendations - a good professional moving company is worth investing in.
#10: YOUR REALTOR®: Last but not least, your REALTOR® can be the most important member of your team by helping coordinate all players so that everyone works in synch. An experienced REALTOR® will arrange property viewings, prepare and present offers on your behalf, negotiate for you and help smooth any rough patches in your journey towards home ownership. Your REALTOR® will walk you through the process, making sure your needs and rights are protected throughout. From beginning to end, your REALTOR® is there to decipher anything that seems confusing and provide moral support whenever it’s needed. Your REALTOR® is committed to serve with integrity and competence and that’s just what we’ll do!
Red Door Realty is a full service real estate company with offices in Halifax, Dartmouth and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. We serve residential, multi-family, and commercial clients throughout the province. Click HERE to meet our REALTORS®.