Real estate transaction: meet the professionals
You will not be alone if you decide to purchase a new home: there is a team of professionals who will be involved at various points along the way and will play a key role in the process. It will be helpful for you to understand everybody’s job, so that your collaboration with each one of them will be satisfactory and profitable. Here you will find a list of the professionals who will take this journey with you, their role, and the timing of their involvement.
1. Real estate broker or agent
Role: Your real estate agent will help you save time and energy by doing some of the legwork for you – helping you shop for the home of your dreams, based on your criteria and your budget. Her knowledge of the market will enable her to advise you appropriately: she should be able to sniff out a bargain or smell something rotten from a mile away. She will negotiate for you, putting her professional experience at your disposal in order to help you make the best deal.
Timing: as soon as you start looking. Find a broker or agent as soon as you have made the decision to purchase a property.
Qualities: … a specialist in the type of property you are interested in. Some agents specialize in buying and selling houses in the country, others luxury homes, others new condos. You will want to choose yours accordingly.
…friendly! Shopping for a new home, with the help of your agent or broker, is a team effort. For best results, make sure that you have a good connection and you enjoy working together.
2. Mortgage broker or advisor
Role: At the beginning, the mortgage broker will help you determine your true buying power. With his help, you will know how much you are able to invest in a home. Then the broker will shop around for you, to find the best mortgage rate among the offers from the various financial institutions. He will present you with the different payment options and help you make an informed choice.
Timing: You would normally consult a broker or mortgage advisor after an offer has been accepted by a seller, or a preliminary contract signed with a builder, in order to obtain the mortgage approval from a financial institution that is necessary to make the sale official. We recommend however that you consult an advisor before you begin your house search, to obtain a pre-approval for a mortgage. This will give you more credibility with sellers and a greater negotiating power.
… easy to understand.. The world of mortgage loans is complicated and it would be easy to get lost. Do not hesitate to change mortgage broker if yours does not explain things simply and understandably, and you are not satisfied with his answers to your questions.
Role: The notary is responsible for the legal process throughout the real estate transaction. She will inspect the property deeds of the seller, the location certificate (survey), the offer to purchase or the preliminary contract, the tax bills and other documents required to ensure that the transaction proceeds within the legal norms and that the transfer of property deeds proceeds without a hitch.
The notary will also produce the deed of sale, the mortgage deed and, if appropriate, the declaration of co-ownership.
Timing: as soon as the offer to purchase or the preliminary contract is accepted and signed by both parties. Most of the time, the notary is chosen by the buyer, but in certain cases the seller chooses the notary, especially when a co-ownership property is involved.
Qualities: … real estate specialist. The practice of law covers covers a vast range of issues, so it is important to confirm that your notary specializes in real estate, to be sure that she is familiar with all the ins and outs of the field.
… accessible. Some notaries are so overwhelmed that it is almost impossible to call them to ask a simple question. However, your notary is an important resource for you and it is therefore extremely important to be able to reach him when you have a question. Choose a notary who seems to be available and accessible.
… impeccable record. Check with the Chambre des Notaires du Québec to make sure that your notary is registered and that his reputation is clean.
4. Building inspector
Role: It’s extremely important to conduct an inspection of your new home. The building inspector will give you an accurate report concerning the quality of construction, the life expectancy of the structures, possible weaknesses in the building, etc. An inspection report, besides being informative, can also be a powerful tool for negotiation.
Timing: In the case of a new house, the building inspector is called in when the construction is finished. In the case of a condo project, the inspector gets involved two times in the process. The first time is for the inspection of the completed unit, and the second time for the common areas that are managed by the syndicate of co-ownership.
… member of l’AIBQ (Association des Inspecteurs en Bâtiment du Québec). You can check their directory to make sure.
… member of another professional order, ideally. To ensure the very best inspection, we recommend that you choose a building inspector who is also engineer, architect or technician.
A few more …
As a buyer, you probably will not have to call on the services of the following people yourself, but they do play a key role in every real estate transaction and it is important to understand who they are and what they do.
The surveyor is responsible for producing the certificate of location. This document, required in most real estate transactions, identifies the boundaries of the lot that your property occupies, the exact dimensions, the encroachments, servitudes, etc. Normally the seller supplies a certificate of location to the buyer, at his cost.
It is common for a financial institution to require the real value of a property before issuing a mortgage loan. In this case, it will call on an evaluator who will determine the market value of the property, based on a variety of data. Most of the time, it is the financial institution and not the buyer who covers the cost of the evaluation.
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