The 7 Most Important Things First-Time Buyers Should Know!

By: Carol Austin

The 7 Most Important Things First-Time Buyers Should Know!

Tags: toronto real estate, first-time home buyer

1. Don’t Start House-Hunting Until You Hire a Real Estate Agent to Represent You
In January 2000, the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) introduced consumer protection known as written “Buyer Agency.” Prior to that time, all real estate agents represented the Seller and brought “customers” to the Seller. RECO recognized this was unfair to buyers and that they deserved to have their best interests fully protected IN WRITING.
 
2. Hiring a Buyer Agent Doesn't Cost You Anything!
The commission fee when you purchase a house or condo is paid for by the Seller. Therefore, there is no reason why you should not take advantage of this FREE, professional service. 
 
3. If You Approach a Seller, Listing Agent, or Developer Directly, You Waive Your Rights to be Independently Represented
Many buyers do not understand that there is separate LEGAL AGENCY representation for the Seller and the Buyer on either side of a purchase agreement. Buyers erroneously think they might save money going directly to a Listing Agent. This is NOT the case especially in a hot Seller's market like Toronto. Believe me, any savings benefit will go right into the Seller's pocket. What you will do, however, is set yourself up for potential legal problems or a bad purchase. And if there are multiple offers, it's critical to have your own Buyer Agent representing your legal and financial interests and negotiating for YOU. The Listing Agent is ALWAYS working for the Seller and cannot fully represent both parties. Hire an agent FIRST and always inform a Seller’s agent, for-sale-by-owner, or condo developer that you are working with a Realtor. Do NOT disclose any information about your buying situation, budget or your motivation to the selling side. If you find a property you like at an open house, call us right away. DO NOT use the listing agent to prepare your offer. That agent can ONLY represent the Seller and doesn't care about your legal rights or financial concerns!
 
4. Always Get Pre-Approved With a Bank or Mortgage Broker Before Starting Your Home Search
It is critically important to understand exactly how much you can afford to spend on a house and what your closing costs will be.
 
5. A Dedicated Real Estate Agent Can Make the Search Process Easier For You By Setting Up an Automated Email Search Direct From the Agent’s MLS System
There are many good websites on the Internet that show listings in the Toronto area. However, all of these websites get updated only once a day or less. Real estate agents have access to the TREB (Toronto Real Estate Board) database that is updated within seconds of a new listing going out onto MLS. The TREB system allows agents to set up auto searches for clients, so make sure you identify a Realtor with the technical skills to do this for you.
 
6. A Dedicated Real Estate Agent Can Make the Search Process Easier By Previewing Homes For You
If you do not have the time to look at 20 or 30 houses or condos, we can preview homes based on your needs and wants, and narrow the list down to the 5 or 6 best homes. This makes the home buying process much easier for busy people. If you're buying a condo, we also know the Toronto condo market well and can steer you away from the buildings that we know are poor purchase investments.
 
7. Real Estate Sales Move Very Quickly in Toronto, So Have Your Deposit Funds Ready and Available For Making an Offer on a House
You must have funds available to provide a deposit along with the offer—usually 3-5% of the purchase price. These funds are held “in trust” by the listing brokerage and released to the Seller upon closing. A bank draft is required within 24 hours of a signed agreement and sometimes even submitted with the offer.
 
If you are not currently represented by a real estate professional, let us help you with your home search…this is a FREE service! Contact us today and let's go house-hunting together!