When assisting you in purchasing a home, a real estate agent’s job is to act in your best interests, provide information about neighbourhoods and properties, and help you avoid potential pitfalls. They also write and negotiate an offer on your behalf and steer you through the purchasing process until you become a new homeowner.
The ultimate goal of a buyer’s agent is to get you from Point A (considering purchasing) to Point B (happy homeowner).
Each real estate agent will have different procedures and strategies to deal with clients. You should anticipate your agent to advise you on the following:
- Information on Neighbourhoods
- Property search and Showings
- Networking and Recommendations
- Drafting a Contract of Purchase and Sale
- Negotiating Terms and Conditions
- Due Diligence and Inspection
- Availing Application Exemptions
- Financing & Closing Costs
- Helping with the Paperwork
Information on the Neighbourhoods
Once a pre-approved budget has been determined, the search can begin. It is imperative for the real estate agents to understand the needs and nice-to-haves of the ideal home for you. Also having a clear understanding of your lifestyle, transit needs, school requirements, and entertainment will provide better insights as to what neighbourhoods would be better suited for you. Based on the findings, the real estate agent can begin the search and provide market data with price comparables, and area activity.
Property Search & Showings
A savvy real estate agent will have a system to make it simple and quick for you to find properties. While searching on sites like realtor.ca or rew.ca are useful tools, the realtor MLS search tool typically has more complete and detailed information—which your realtor would provide through auto notifications sent right to your inbox!
When you collaborate with a real estate agent to make a list of properties you like, they will also assist you in scheduling showings and coordinating access and showing times with other listing agents. Also, by attending showings and open houses with you, the real estate agent can share their expertise and feedback when viewing the properties.
Networking & Recommendations
It’s not just the seller, the buyer, and their representatives involved in the buying process; there are parties involved as well! Additional professionals, such as a mortgage broker, an inspector, and a lawyer or notary should be involved. The realtor should ensure that you have a robust support system and are in contact with the appropriate experts.
Additionally, once you have purchased the house, a good buyer’s agent may continue to be a resource for home specialists, and they should be able to recommend contractors, plumbers, and anybody else you require!
Drafting A Contract to Purchase and Sale
You have found a property that meets your search criteria, and would like to make an offer on it! To help you understand the market worth and a fair amount to offer, the realtor will provide a comparative market analysis of the property you are interested in. For you to feel confident that you are not overpaying for the property, the real estate agent will be able to gather recently sold properties, active comparables, and expired listings in the area. They can educate you on how property differences affect value (for example, lot size, view, bathrooms, and renovations).
A professional buyer’s agent will be knowledgeable about the market you’re trying to buy in and understand market trends, and can advise on an offer strategy. The buyer’s real estate agent will draft the contract with the offer and present it to the listing agent. Several clauses must be included in the contract to secure your protection in the transaction.
A buyer’s agent is there to protect you and ensure a solid contract is drafted in your favour and contains all necessary clauses and conditions to ensure a seamless transition from a firm offer to closing.
Negotiating Terms & Offers
After a response has been received by the seller’s real estate agent, both sides of the transaction may engage in back-and-forth negotiations with the intent to reach an agreement. It is the goal of the buyer’s real estate agent to negotiate the most favourable terms for the client. Several conversations may take place between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent. And there may need to be some give and take from both sides of the transactions to reach a deal. Your realtor will guide you throughout the process. In addition to the price negotiations, there are additional terms of the contract that are of significant importance. Contractual terms, which include completion/possession/adjustment dates, subjects, and warrants, are also crucial to the offer process.
Due Diligence & Inspection
It’s common to be very overwhelmed when buying a home, especially if it’s the first time! The buyer’s agent is there to make all the necessary inquiries that you might not even have considered.
Helping you perform your due diligence on the property, particularly during subject removal, is a significant element of a buyer agent’s job description.
Performing an inspection of the property is part of that due diligence. A buyer’s agent can assist in the hiring of a home inspector. The services rendered should include the visual inspection of the plumbing and electrical components of the property, heating methods, moisture measurements to name a few requirements. The inspection may uncover issues that the untrained eye cannot notice.
And when purchasing strata properties, it is the responsibility of the buyer to read and understand all the documents associated with the property. This often comprises the minutes of annual general meetings, Form B, depreciation reports, engineering reports, bylaws, strata plans, and minutes of council meetings for the previous two years. The buyer’s agent will help to obtain all the documents, review the paperwork and facilitate communication between buyer and seller’s agent should clarification be required.
Informing Applicable Exemptions
The real estate agent should be knowledgeable about your circumstances and be able to provide information on potential government programs or exemptions that might be available to you.
For instance, you might qualify for the property transfer tax exemption if you’re a first-time home buyer and buy a house for less than $500,000. This amounts to a total savings of $8000 on a $500,000 transaction.
A real estate agent can prove helpful to you in navigating extra GST exemptions and government programs like the First Time Home Buyer Incentive, Home Buyer’s Plan (RRSP), and others. They can also offer their opinion on whether the program is appropriate for you.
Financing & Closing Costs
Getting pre-approved is one of the most crucial procedures you should take before starting your home search. It will provide you with a figure of how much you could potentially spend on the purchase and what your mortgage payments will be.
The pre-approval may be done by a financial institution, and/or private mortgage broker. The lender considers a wide range of variables to assess your affordability, including your credit, whether you are employed or self-employed, how long you have been employed at your current job, and outstanding debts. Therefore be prepared to provide all necessary documents to the lender in order to facilitate the approval process.
An online calculator is also a great place to start to get an idea of what mortgage amounts and payments could look like. Still, these figures may be inaccurate and should not be relied on solely. A professional real estate agent should be able to suggest various mortgage brokers who can start the pre-approval process so you can start looking for a home with confidence!
It is important to let your real estate agent know what the pre-approved figure will be as this will aid in the search criteria.
The pre-approval procedure will also assess whether you have money in addition to your down payment to cover closing fees. A realtor can assist you in developing an initial closing cost estimate when you are first preparing to buy so that you will know exactly what to expect at completion and can plan accordingly. Lawyer fees, transfer tax, tax adjustments, appraisal expenses, and inspection costs, will be some of these closing costs.
Helping With The Paperwork
Real estate transactions are filled with paperwork necessary to protect clients and realtors and allow transparency. Your realtor will go over the documents and explain its necessity. There will a FINTRAC form which will confirm your identification. A Buyer’s Exclusive Agreement which states that you, the buyer, will hire the agent to help you with your search. There will be a Contract of Purchase and Sale to read and sign. Just to name a few! These are life changing transactions, and being thorough is of most importance.
There you have it. These are typical duties that a buyer’s real estate agent performs. As this may be one of the most important purchases of your life, hiring the right realtor will help to make this process easier to navigate.