Lenders, lawyers an integral part of purchase process
Hire a lawyer to make sure your legal interests are protected when you purchase a home.
Besides you and your family, there are a lot of people involved when you buy a home. Some — like your lender and lawyer — are usually an essential part of the process, without whom buying a home would be nearly impossible. But regardless of who you have on your homebuying team, it’s up to you to make sure they look after your interests and meet your needs.
A good real estate representative can advise you on current market conditions, what price offers are realistic and which conditions to add when making an offer to purchase. Plus, they can save you time and trouble by showing you only those homes or neighbourhoods that suit your requirements and budget. So when discussing your needs with a realtor, be as specific as possible about the kind of home you’re looking for — and your price range.
To help you finance the purchase of a home, you will likely need a mortgage. However, there is an ever-increasing range of mortgage types, terms and rates available, so be sure to look at what a variety of lenders have to offer, including banks, trust companies, credit unions, pension funds, insurance companies, finance companies and mortgage brokers.
Hiring a lawyer is a good way to ensure that your legal interests are protected. Your lawyer will review any contracts you need to sign, especially the offer to purchase, to be sure all documents say exactly what you intended.
If you’re buying a new home, having a house custom-built or carrying out extensive renovations, you may need to deal with a builder or contractor. To ensure their quality and credibility, ask for references, talk to previous customers about their work, and visit other housing developments they’ve worked on or check with Tarion, Ontario’s Home Warranty Corporation. You can also ask if they are a member of the local home builders’ association or ask for a provincial license number to ensure your contractor is registered.
Before making an offer, you might also wish to have an independent appraisal carried out, or make the offer conditional on completion of an appraisal. By giving you an unbiased assessment of the property’s physical and functional characteristics, an analysis of recent comparable sales and an assessment of current market conditions, an appraiser can help protect you from paying more than the market value for the home.
Finally, hiring a home inspector can help you better understand a home’s true condition, habitability and safety. Home inspectors perform a comprehensive visual inspection to assess the condition of the house and all of its systems. They will also identify areas where repairs may be needed, or where there may have been problems in the past.
For all these professionals, however, the key to finding the right match is to shop around. A good way to start is through local associations, the yellow pages — or simply by asking for referrals from satisfied family or friends!
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For more information or for a free copy of CMHC’s Homebuying Step By Step consumer guide and workbook, please call 1-800-668-2642 or visit www.cmhc.ca