BUYING A HOME
Buying a property can be both time-consuming and stressful. It doesn't have to be that way, especially if you enlist the help of one of our expert REALTORS®.
We at CENTURY 21® Lakeside Realty Ltd. are the Local Experts and have proudly served the Shuswap area since 1984 with 2 Offices and a highly qualified Team of Professional REALTORS® who know the neighbourhood.
If we don't have it ... We will find it!
Can You Buy A Home Without The Help Of A REALTOR®?
Buying a property is one of the biggest financial transactions most of us will ever make.
It is not a purchase you'll want to regret.
It's One-Stop-Shopping for you when you use a REALTOR® - When you have a REALTOR® working for you, you have one contact person to address all your inquiries, questions and concerns about any property listed for sale. You call your REALTOR® ... Your REALTOR® gathers all the information and presents it to you. Time and money saved by you by simply having to make a single call.
Time Commitment - Do you really have the time and expertise it takes to search for a home? Everybody's time is valuable in today's busy world and it is why we hire professionals to fix our vehicles, do our taxes and many other tasks that we do not have the time, expertise or access to tools, to do ourselves.
Of the thousands of properties listed for sale and advertised on the internet and in printed publications, do you have the time to search them all out, then eliminate and select the ones that meet your criteria? How can you be sure you found everything available?
Many find that searching the web can be a frustrating and stressful process. This is where our REALTORS® who works closely with the MLS® system on a daily basis and have an eye on the market day in and day out, week after week, can readily find properties for you to view within a matter of minutes. When you consider the amount of time invested, are you really saving any time or money going it alone?
Take Your Time - Buying Real Estate is a major business transaction and is not an investment you should rush into. Select a REALTOR® who is established in the area you are interested in, and who will provide you with sound, effective advice while keeping you informed about property activity in the area. Many of our REALTORS® offer regular email newsletters with all the new, sold and modified listings in our area. This serves to keep you informed and eliminates the need for you to have to waste time searching unassisted.
Is Recreation Property Right For You? - Owning your primary residence does not completely prepare you for owning vacation property. In many ways buying recreational property is like buying any other form of Real Estate but some of the details can present quite unique benefits and challenges. It is important to work with a REALTOR® who specializes in the particular area of "cottage country" you are interested in.
Loyalty - Most importantly, remain loyal to the REALTOR® you have chosen once the REALTOR® has earned your trust. After all, this person will be spending a lot of time and effort on your behalf.
Use A REALTOR® To Buy Your Home -
When you consider the services they provide - market knowledge, time investment, negotiating, dealing with legal issues - it pays to have one of our REALTORS® on your side and entitles you to an array of services and benefits you will not get when you "do it yourself" and for which has no initial expense to you. You don't pay until the job is done!
Home Buying Tips
There are many things a Buyer can do to prepare for purchasing a property.
So you've decided to take the big leap and purchase your first home. Congratulations!
Buying a home is never based on one specific factor; instead, it is a balance of many requirements - things like family size, location, income and lifestyle.
The first thing you need to do is decide exactly what you need in a home. How many bedrooms? How close to schools or shopping? Do you need a garage or finished basement? The answers to these kind of questions can make up your "buying blueprint" that will serve as a guideline in your search.
Most of us have a "dream home" tucked away in the back of our minds. How about a little reality check before you go looking for that dream?
What if all the money you had went into the purchase and mortgage payments for that wonderful home, so there was nothing left over for repairs, a night out, vacations, new furniture or any of the little things that go wrong from time to time? When that happens, your dream suddenly becomes a nightmare; being over-extended financially is the quickest way to destroy the excitement of home ownership and add stress to your life.
To keep mortgage payments within their means, most first-time buyers purchase what is commonly called a "starter home". It is just what it says - a way of getting started in long-term real estate investment.
To match the home you buy to your pocketbook you have to realistically assess your needs, determine what you can afford and - usually - lower your expectations. Begin by deciding on a general area where you wish to live, you will probably find that there are a good number of options when it comes to the age and type of home you might purchase.
New Homes are a good bet because of their extensive warranties and pristine condition. On the other hand, you usually won't have mature landscaping - that is something you will have to plan and work at over a long period of time.
Resale Homes offer a great combination of afford-ability and character. Many will include improvements such as finished basements, decks, patios and mature landscaping. They may also come with some repairs and upgrading in the near future.
Townhouse & Condominiums are obviously suited to particular lifestyles or budgets. Maintenance is usually taken care of by management and cost can be low. This type of dwelling usually means sharing common areas such as parking, hallways and grounds.
Rural Properties offer the ambience that many of us crave; wooded areas, friendly community and safe streets. These pluses must be weighed against more limited services and additional commuting time.
Here are some ways to help you determine how much you can afford.
Set a Maximum Price Range - To determine your "afford-ability" price range, you must calculate two amounts: the amount of cash you can afford to put toward the purchase (the down payment) and the maximum amount of loan (mortgage) you can comfortably carry. Typically, household expenses should not exceed 35 percent of your gross income.
Put Down as Much as You Can - The key to getting started for most first-time buyers is the initial down payment. This is the part of the purchase price you have to put down as cash (savings). You may be able to buy a home for as little as five-percent down, but remember that the larger the down payment, the easier it will be to manage the other expenses such as mortgage payments, utilities and taxes. An ideal down payment is 25-percent of the purchase price. Keep some cash in reserve though for unexpected expenses related to a home purchase and typical expenses such as land transfer tax, legal fees and moving expenses.
Know How Much To Borrow - To establish the maximum mortgage limit for you, a financial institution or mortgage broker will determine the monthly payment you can afford by calculating your debt-service ratio. List all your loans (car, personal loans, monthly credit card balances). The sum of these and your mortgage payment (including principal, interest and taxes) should not exceed about 40-percent of your gross income. The mortgage payment and taxes should not exceed about 30-percent of your gross income.
Understand Interest Rates - The size of the mortgage you can arrange, based on payments you can afford, depends on interest rates. The lower the rates, the larger the possible mortgage and the more affordable home-buying will be. However, there are other variables to consider. How open is the mortgage? Is it portable? Would prepayment be allowed? Discuss your mortgage options with your REALTOR®, lender or financial advisor. Decide what is best for you, establish a limit and stick to it.
Look At Other Sources of Funds - If you have been contributing regularly to an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) you may have to look no further for your down payment. The federal government's RRSP Home Buyers' Plan allows eligible taxpayers to withdraw from their plan to buy a qualifying home. However, you are required to pay back every year at least 1/15th of the amount taken out until it is all paid back, or there will be penalty.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC) five-percent-down mortgage program is available to both first-time buyers and those who have already owned a home. This benefits buyers who can afford the monthly payments but would have trouble saving for a larger down payment. Under the program, CMHC may insure the mortgage on your home for up to 95-percent of the lending value. An insurance premium will be charged. This amount can be added to the mortgage or paid on a monthly basis.
Other sources of funds you can tap into for a down payment include savings & investments or gifts from your family or relatives.
More and more people - especially "Baby Boomers" - are looking at recreation property ownership as a perfect way of finding peace and tranquility. Studies show that boomers are the fastest-growing group of recreation property owners. The need to find that special spot away from it all - plus today's interest rates - have fueled demand. Is this the right time to buy that hideaway you have been dreaming of, and is it the right buy for you?
Owning your primary residence does not completely prepare you for owning vacation property. In many ways buying recreational property is like buying any other form of real estate but some of the details are quite unique. Like owning a home, there are benefits and challenges to owning recreation property and our REALTORS® who specialize in this particular area of "cottage country" will be of tremendous help in making your purchase a success.
Things To Consider
Whether in a city or small town, most homes are located in a subdivision that stipulates building scheme; supplies water, sewer and other utilities and provides an established layout of roads and sidewalks.
Cottage development, on the other hand, rarely follows this established pattern. Most cottages that border waterfront have been developed over the course of many years and often regional planning involvement has been limited and most day-to-day concerns are handled by local associations.
Waterfront properties are often subject to the rules of regulatory bodies that control what can be done with beach and shoreline. These regulations may prevent cottage owners from making additions or installing new structures. They may also prevent an owner from altering the slope of the land.
Generally, docks, boathouses, retaining walls and other structures require permission from the appropriate government authorities. Before purchasing a cottage property, you should check on the legality of the current structures and ensure that any changes can be undertaken in the future.
Not all cottages are located on public roadways. The access road is not always public and may involve a private right-of-way. A buyer needs to investigate who it responsible for the upkeep of the road and whether it is open year-round. Some cottages are accessed only by boat, which means you will require water transportation as well as parking on the mainland.
Water and Sewer
Seldom are cottage properties served by municipal sewer and water systems. Domestic water can come from wells, lakes or rivers, or private utilities. Septic systems are often used for waste disposal. These are government regulated and cottagers must comply with the requirements.
Deciding on a price range is a good start for any home search, but evaluating your wants and needs in advance is the key to a shorter and more productive search. A realistic idea of which features you absolutely must have and the ones you can live without will help you compare homes and choose the one best suited to you and your family.
Make a three-part list ("The List")
Essentials should include the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the size of home and yard.
Have everyone in your family make "The List" and then combine everyone's needs and wants into a Master List that represents your ideal family home. This will help you practice the art of compromise - essential in any hunt, and eventually in the negotiation of a deal, of your future home.
Once you have developed your master copy of "The List", you have a great deal to share with your REALTOR® to make your home search easier. It will help you compare one house against another and can be helpful in refreshing your memory at a later date. It can also help you keep perspective while shopping. A flashy fireplace or lighting fixture in a particular home may give that added appeal until your list reminds you it lacks a second bathroom that you can't do without.
Congratulations! After a careful search, you and your REALTOR® have found the right property for you and your family. But don't uncork the champagne yet. There is still some negotiating to do before you close the deal.
YOU want the best possible terms and the SELLERS wants to get the best price they can too. To some extent, you are adversaries. The difference between a stalemate and a fair compromise may depend on whether you have planned ahead and developed a strategy for success.
Study The Cards
Your REALTOR® will help you determine if the asking price reflects fair market value by researching the sale price of comparable homes and address questions about market conditions, comparable prices and sales in previous years that relate to this property and/or the general area. If you think the property is realistically priced, don't make your first offer too low. Even though you need room to bargain, remember that the Seller will probably have strong emotional ties to the property and a low offer may be considered an insult and negatively impact your future negotiations. Knowing the market is key.
When you decide the time is right, your REALTOR® will assist you in preparing an Offer To Purchase on a standardized contract required by law. The contact will set out price, terms & conditions, and dates for completion. The offer must be signed by you, witnessed and usually, include a cheque as a deposit. There is no predetermined amount for your deposit - it's a negotiable item. The deposit will be cashed and held in the trust account of your REALTORS® Broker only after you have an accepted offer. The deposit will remain in the Brokers' trust account until the deal is completing and then it will be applied to the purchase price. If your offer is not accepted, or if you cannot meet any of the conditions of the offer, your deposit will be returned unless otherwise specified in the contract.
Your REALTOR® is legally required to present your offer to the Seller or Seller's agent and, once that has been done there is nothing to do but wait while the Seller considers your offer. The Seller has 3 choices: to reject your offer, to accept your offer outright, or to counter-offer. When an offer is accepted - immediately or after countering - it becomes a legal contract binding on both parties to the transaction. Although you hope your offer is immediately accepted, the Seller could come back with a counter-offer. Whatever the answer, it will be quickly relayed to you through your REALTOR®.
The Counter Offer
A counter-offer shows the Seller is interested in reaching a deal but wants to adjust some items in your offer. It is at this time that negotiation skills become critical and highlights the need for you to be open and honest with your REALTOR®. Negotiation takes patience, knowledge and some give and take. Frustration or finalization depends on whether both parties show a real desire to reach an agreement through openness, good faith and honesty.
A conditional offer may be countered with a special clause called a "time clause". This is used by Sellers to enable them to accept your conditional offer and still leave room for them to accept another offer. It provides for the Seller to give notice to you that another acceptable offer has been made and you now have a specified number of hours (not including Sundays and holidays) to satisfy, remove or withdraw all your conditions and make your contract 'Firm' or lose out to the other offer.
You will be busy between acceptance of your offer and the time you actually take possession of the property. The transaction isn't complete until you have title to the property transferred into your name. Registering title and mortgage documents at the Land Titles Office requires legal documentation prepared for you by your legal representative. But there is much for you to do before, during and after, that you need to give your attention to.
CHOOSE A REALTOR® TO
How Do You Choose The REALTOR® Who Is Right For You?
Whether Buying or Selling a home, you will want to work closely with your REALTOR®.
Working with the right Professional is essential to achieving your goal.
How To Find A REALTOR®
There are many ways to find a REALTOR®. It is important to find a REALTOR® who knows the area where you plan to buy or sell and that has a well-established office in that area. Family, friends or co-workers can usually identify for you REALTORS® who live, work and participate in their community.
Another method would be to note the names of REALTORS® from publications and from "For Sale" signs in the market area of interest to you.
You could also ask your current REALTOR® to 'Refer' you to a REALTOR® in your area of interest.
And, since you will be working closely with a REALTOR® for weeks or possibly months, it is a good idea to choose someone you feel comfortable with: someone who listens to what you have to say, asks intelligent questions and shows a genuine interest in helping you.
Be Honest and Open
Once you have selected a REALTOR® to work with, be honest in discussing your financial situation, your timing needs, and carefully review with your REALTOR® the features of a property that are an asset to you. This will help your REALTOR® to effectively market your home for sale or, find perspective homes for purchase that best suit your needs. And in addition, it will save you a great deal of time and money.
Most importantly, remain loyal to the REALTOR® you have chosen once the REALTOR® has earned your trust. After all, this person will be spending a lot of time and effort on your behalf.
It Shouldn't Be a Game Of Chance
Skill and dedication are what you need to help when Buying or Selling.
Choosing the right REALTOR® is like having the perfect golf caddy,
Escorting you through even the most difficult course and ...
Continually providing you with the tools you need to shoot a hole-in-one.
All the while, you are calling the shots.
NON RESIDENT BUYERS
The Buying Process
Deciding To Buy
With today's interest rates and a wide variety of housing options and prices, buying a home may be one of the best long-term investments you will ever make. But before taking the big leap to homeownership, it is important to consider your personal needs and financial situation carefully.
One of the easiest ways to evaluate your decision to buy is to ask yourself "If all else were equal, would I rather rent or own my home?" It is safe to say that most of us would opt for home ownership.
Owning a home is not for everyone. It's a big responsibility that may require some sacrifices and possibly a lowering of expectations. Remember, features like fireplace, ensuite bath, double-garage, over-sized lots, and private beach all add dollars to the price of any home.
There is much you the Buyer, should do to prepare for purchasing a home. Once you have a good idea of how much you can afford, you can start to zero in on the home you want to buy. This is where the value of having a REALTOR® assist you becomes clear.
So let's get started. Visit any one or more of the links below that will provide you with the information you need to help with your buying decisions.