Thinking of Buying?

I understand the relationship between homebuyers and Agents must be based on trust, mutual goals and understanding–this is why I always keep your interests first and foremost. The real estate process requires negotiation of complex issues; I are committed to working in your best interests. I will help you secure the best possible price, with the most favorable terms, in the shortest period of time.

When searching for your dream home, it’s important to be well informed of the Real Estate market. To help you with this process, consider the following factors: What features do you require in a home to satisfy your lifestyle now? Five years from now? Will your needs change? What’s your budget? These are decisions only you can make, but I will do everything possible to match you with your dream home.



Legal Process Overview

Most people do not buy and sell homes frequently, so the legal process is not usually a familiar one and can appear complicated.  This overview is meant to be a brief description of the normal process of buying a home – please remember that every situation and transaction is unique and requires the advice of a legal professional.

Important milestones

-Offer

-Acceptance

-Removal of subjects

-Closing

-Possession

The contract of purchase and sale

An offer to purchase real estate must be in writing and is generally written by the Buyer's realtor on a standard form "Contract of Purchase and Sale" which contains all the standard terms and conditions, as well as places for the specific details of this offer.

The offer will have a expiration time and date, generally one to three days after presentation of the offer.  Unless rescinded, the offer is binding as it is written.  The offer contract must be signed by the Buyer, and any changes or corrections to the writing on the contract must be initialled.

As well as the offer price, the contract will also specify the list of inclusions and exclusions (window coverings, appliances, etc.), the amount of the deposit, a list of subject conditions (i.e. subject to home inspection, or subject to financing, etc.), the closing date and possession date.

The Seller will accept or counter the offer, using the same contract document.  For a counter offer, changes are clearly written on the document and initialled, and the contract is signed by the Seller.  When an offer is countered, it forms a commitment by the signing party; when both parties indicate acceptance of all the terms by initialling the last changes, the document is a binding contract.

Following acceptance, the Buyer usually has a few days to remove subjects, and the Seller may need to cooperate by providing access to the property for an inspector or surveyor.  When subjects are removed (also in writing) the sale is "firm".

Conveyancing

Conveyancing is the process of transferring title of the property from the Seller to the Buyer.  In BC, title is registered at the BC Land Titles Registry to ensure that land ownership is always fully documented and transferred smoothly.

Usually, the Buyer and Seller use the services of lawyers for the conveyancing.  A day or two before "closing" the Buyer transfers the balance of the money required for the purchase to their lawyer, in trust.  The lawyer holds the money, does a final confirmation with the Land Registry that the Seller is in fact the current owner, calculates the exact amount of money that must change hands, including the deposit and the adjustments, and files the paperwork with the Registry once all the conditions have been met and the money is in hand, then releases the cash to the Seller after Title has been registered in the Buyer's name.

Buyer's Checklist

 An important part of the home buying process is to first determine as accurately as possible what to look for in your new home.  Finding a balance between your desires, needs and financial goals is often a challenge – and we hope this list can help you to clarify your thoughts.

General

  • Price range to:                           $__________________
  • Pre-qualified for mortgage:         Yes / No
  • Home to sell:                             Yes / No

Location Considerations

  • Quiet area/street?
  • Particular area?
  • Near schools?
  • Near transit?
  • Near shopping?

Lot Considerations

  • Size of lot?
  • North/south facing?  View?
  • Level/terraced?
  • Treed/landscaped?
  • Private?  Fenced?
  • Adjacent greenbelt?

House Considerations

  • Detached, duplex, town home, or condo?
  • # Bedrooms?
  • # Bathrooms/ensuite?
  • Square footage?
  • Separate dining room?  Family room?  Den/office?
  • Garage, parking requirements?  Boat or RV?
  • Style (colonial, contemporary, craftsman, open plan, rancher, etc.)?
  • Basement, workshop or studio space?
  • Kitchen requirements (island, nook, special appliance needs)?
  • Outdoor features (decks, pool, patio, lawn)
  • Indoor features that are important to you (hardwood, fireplace, cathedral ceiling)?
  • Exterior features (stucco, siding, hot tub, etc.)

Other comments, requirements or "wish list"

The Home Inspection Report:

 The goal of an inspection by an independent professional home inspector is to identify potentially significant expenses that would affect a typical purchaser's buying decision.  Most buyers will make their offer to purchase "subject to a satisfactory home inspection" and, to be safe rather than sorry, some sellers may have an inspection before putting their house on the market.  The seller can then make the necessary repairs ahead of time in order to get the property sold faster and potentially for more money. 

What is covered in a home inspection?

1.   Kitchen – Besides checking out the obvious (counters, cabinets, appliances, etc.) an inspector will examine the area to see if there are any damages, leaks, faulty wiring, etc.; appliances will be checked for working order.

  1. Bathrooms – Condition of grout and tiles; check for leaks or drainage problems, or cracks in toilets, check CFGI outlet operation, fans, water pressure and water volume.

  1. Plumbing – Check the pipes, drains, vents and hot water tank; check for leaks or drainage problems; water pressure.

  1. Laundry Facilities – Confirm the machines work properly, check the drains, check vents.

  1. Heating – Furnace, thermostat, ducting, filters.

  1. Electrical System – Service size, grounding of all components, panel and breaker condition, code compliant.

  1. Site Condition & Drainage – Does the property have a steep grade? Condition of retaining walls, drain tile functional; patio settling; sidewalk & driveway condition.

  1. Exterior Surfaces – Siding, wall condition; mildew or dry rot, paint condition; doors and windows.

  1. Decks, Porches, Stairs - -Safe, solid, railings to code, no settling or rot, cement cracking.

  1. Roof, Gutters, Flashing, Chimney – General condition, clogging, remaining life.

  1. Interior Walls, Ceilings, Floors – Cracks, leaks, staining, mildew, signs of settling.

  1. Attic, Roof – Access, moisture or mildew, ventilation, rafter and insulation check, is there asbestos present?

  1. Fireplaces – Flues, dampers, chimney liners, gas lines, safety, related dampness.

  1. Ventilation, Condensation – Check crawlspace, bathrooms, attic, etc. for moisture, mould, mildew or dry rot.

  1. Foundation, Basement – Cracks, settling, insulation, drainage problems, sump, insects.

Negotiation Tips

  • Only the Seller & Buyer are parties to the contract and make decisions.

  • Consider today's market.

  • Offers are generally a starting point for negotiations; the goal is for the two parties to agree on price, terms & conditions.,

  • All contracts must be in writing, all changes initialled by all parties.

  • Negotiations should not be taken personally.

  • There is a "right of rescission" – any offer may be verbally revoked BEFORE written acceptance.

  • Sellers should not "hint" or give advice during negotiation/presentation of the offer – all discussion should be in private between the sellers and their listing agent, after presentation of the offer.

  • Buyers or Sellers should not discuss the offer with other parties until the deal is firm.

  • There are 3 choices for response to an offer:

    • acceptance
    • rejection
    • counter offer

  • The "ceiling price" is as high as the Buyer will go; the "floor price" is as low as the Seller is willing to go.

  • Price is not the only important point; consider completion and possession dates, as well as other terms & conditions.

  • The property will continue to be actively marketed until all subjects are removed.

  • I believe in negotiating strong, enforceable contracts (i.e. it is better to challenge "shaky" contracts early, rather than waiting until completion and hoping nothing goes wrong … after making subsequent decisions and commitments).