During the process of buying or selling a home, you’ll unearth countless questions. I know how difficult it can be to sift through all the details in order to find answers relevant and meaningful to you. I’ve put together some clear, concise and useful information on a wide range of issues related to real estate for you. Here you’ll find tips on how to save money, real estate insider secrets, renovation advice, and much more.

I’d be happy to personally answer any other questions you may have. Remember, I will be here to assist you every step of the way!

Do I need a lawyer to buy a home?

Because of the complex paperwork involved in buying a home, we suggest you hire a lawyer or notary to handle the closing details. The lawyer or notary will review contracts, make you aware of special considerations and potential problems, and will go to the closing to help ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Do I need home insurance before I move in?

If you wait until the last minute, you’ll be rushed to find an insurance policy that’s the ideal fit for you. Make sure you give yourself enough time to shop around in order to get the best deal. You do not need insurance to purchase your home but we advise you to have it when you move in.

Do I need to be pre-approved by a lender before searching for houses?

Do not mistake pre-approval by a lender with pre-qualification. Pre-qualification, the first step toward being pre-approved, will point you in the right direction, giving you an idea of the price range of houses you can comfortably afford. Pre-approval, however, means you become a cash buyer, making negotiations with the seller much easier.

Do I need to know my rights and obligations as a home buyer?

Make it a priority to know your rights and obligations inside and out. A lack of understanding about your obligations may, at the very least, cause friction between yourself and the people with whom you are about to enter the contract. Wrong assumptions, poorly written/ incomprehensible/ missing clauses, or a lack of awareness of how the clauses apply to the purchase, could also contribute to increased costs. These problems may even lead to a void contract. So, take the time to go through the contract with a fine-tooth comb, making use of the resources and knowledge offered by your Realtor and lawyer. With their assistance, ensure you thoroughly understand every component of the contract, and are able to fulfill your contractual obligations.

Does every home need a home inspection?

A home inspection performed by a competent company will help you enter the negotiation process with eyes wide open, offering you added reassurance that the choice you’re making is a sound one, or alerting you to underlying problems that could cost you significant money in both the short and long-run. Your Realtor can suggest reputable home inspection companies for you to consider and will ensure the appropriate clause is entered into your contract.

How can I find what my new property tax bill will be?

The previous year’s property tax is included on the MLS listing information sheet. Expect a 2-5% increase annually.

How do I get information on local schools and communities?

We are experts in the local Clayton, Langley, Surrey, and Abbotsford area. Give us a call and we will help you find all of the information you need. Check out our cities list to give you some general information about the city you are looking to move into.

How do I make an acceptable offer on a house?

Ask your Realtor for a current Comparative Market Analysis. This will provide you with the information necessary to gauge the market value of a home, and will help you avoid over-paying. What have other similar homes sold for in the area and how long were they on the market? What is the difference between their asking and selling prices? Is the home you’re looking at under-priced, overpriced, or fair value? The seller receives a Comparative Market Analysis before deciding upon an asking price, so make sure you have all the same information at your fingertips and work with your realtor to submit your offer to the sellers.

How do I make an offer on a new home?

First step is to call our team then we write up a “Contract of Purchase and Sale”. A legally binding contract that declares how much you will pay for the home provided that certain conditions are met. You set a time frame for the seller to accept, reject, or make a counter offer.

How do I set an asking price for my home?

Your property has the best chance of selling within its first seven weeks on the market. And, studies indicate that the longer a property stays on the market, the less it will ultimately sell for. A property priced 10 % more than its market value is significantly less likely to sell within this window than a property priced close to its actual market value. About three-quarters of homes on the market today are 5-10 % overpriced.

How much home can I afford?

There are many financing options available and we can help you find the right mortgage broker when the time comes. Check out our mortgage calculator to see what it will cost you to own a home.

How much will my deposit to purchase a home be?

After signing an offer, a deposit is required—to show that you are serious about buying. The amount depends on the value of the home and average deposits in your area.

Is buying better than renting?

If your rent is $1,000 per month at the end of each year you are paying $12,000 with no assets to show for it. Taking that same cost and purchasing a property means you now own an asset instead of just having a bill.

Should I sell my home before I start looking for a new house?

There are a few benefits to selling your home once you have sold your house, you will know precisely how much money you have to work with. You just have to keep in mind that if you do not find a new house before your house sells you may need to find temporary housing. You can set a conditional offer when you buy which allows the seller to keep the house on the market while you try to sell your home.

Should my offer be lower than the asking price to negotiate a fair deal?

Many buyers think that the way to negotiate their way to a fair price is by offering low. However, in reality this strategy may actually result in the seller becoming more inflexible, polarizing negotiations. Employ the knowledge and skills of an experienced realtor. S/he will know what strategies of negotiation will prove most effective for your particular situation.

What do all the abbreviations stand for on my listings?

Space is limited on house listings. Abbreviations help give you more information in one listing. Here are some common abbreviations you may run into when looking at listings:

  • AC = Acre
  • APPL = Appliances
  • BA = Bath
  • BALC = Balcony
  • B.I. = Built-in
  • BR = Bedroom
  • C/W = Wall-to-wall carpet
  • CAC = Central air conditioning
  • CDS = Cult-de-sac
  • DR = Dining room
  • DK/PA = Deck & patio
  • FIN (F or P) = Finished (fully or partly)
  • FA = Family room
  • Frontage = Width of property facing the street
  • E/A = Eating area
  • F/P = Fireplace
  • L/STE = Legal suite
  • LS = Listing salesperson
  • LR = Living room
  • MBD = Master Bedroom
  • MTG = Mortgage
  • RV = RV parking is available
  • RM = Room
  • Sep Ent = Separate entrance
  • TH = Townhouse
  • TE = Tenant
  • W/O = Walk-out (basement)
  • I.C. = Walk-in closet
  • YD (B/Y) = Yard (or backyard)
  • 2ST/BSMT = 2 stories + basement
  • 3pce BA = Sink, toilet & shower
  • 4pce (full) BA = Sink, toilet, bath & shower
What do I need to do to get my house ready to show?

Make sure your home looks clean and presentable on the inside. The most important aesthetic of your home is the exterior. If your house is looking faded the investment on a new coat of paint is well worth it. Make sure your front and back lawn look presentable and put in the effort to make the porch look inviting.  

What expenses should I expect when buying a home?
  1. Purchase offer deposit. 
  2. Inspection by certified building inspector. 
  3. Appraisal fee: Your lending institution may request an appraisal of the property. The cost of this appraisal is your responsibility. 
  4. Survey fee: If the home you’re purchasing is a resale (as opposed to a newly built home), your lending institution may request an updated property survey. The cost for this survey will be your responsibility and will range from $700 to $1000. 
  5. Mortgage application at your lending institution. 
  6. 5% GST: this fee applies to newly built homes only, or existing homes that have recently undergone extensive renovations.
  7. Legal fees: A lawyer should be involved in every real estate transaction to review all paperwork. Experience and rates offered by lawyers range quite a bit, so shop around before you hire. 
  8. Homeowner’s insurance: Your home will serve as security against your loan for your financial institution. You will be required to buy insurance in an amount equal to or greater than the mortgage loan. 
  9. Land transfer (purchase) tax: This tax applies in any situation in which a property changes owners and can vary greatly. 
  10. Moving expenses. 
  11. Service charges: Any utilities you arrange for at your new home, such as cable or telephone, may come with an installation fee. 
  12. Interest adjustments. 
  13. Renovation of new home: In order to “make it their own,” many new homeowners like to paint or invest in other renovations prior to or upon moving in to their new home. If this is your plan, budget accordingly. 
  14. Maintenance fees: If you are moving to a new condominium, you will likely be charged a monthly condo fee which covers the costs of common area maintenance.
What is a conditional offer?

A conditional offer is an offer on a home that allows the seller to keep the home listed while the buyer tries to sell their home. The seller is allowed to receive other offers and will either come back to the buyer and ask them to make the decision or take the new offer. Conditional offers are not a guarantee that the buyer will get the house but they give the buyer time to try and sell their house before making the final purchase.

What is a home warranty?

A home warranty can help protect your home from anything your homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover. You can find more information from BC housing.

What is CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance?

If you want to buy a home with a down payment of less than 20%, you’ll need mortgage loan insurance. This ensures the lender in case you cannot pay for your mortgage. 

To get mortgage loan insurance, you’ll need a minimum down payment. The amount depends on the home’s purchase price. You need 5% for a $500,000 home and 10% for any amount after that up to $1,000,000.

Why should I use a realtor to sell my home?

Selling your home is a complex process that can be stressful and time-consuming. An experienced Realtor has the knowledge, skills, and connections to help you through the process every step of the way. A realtor can help you get the best price using strategy and negotiation tactics while ensuring their market knowledge gets you the best price. Your realtor will have an understanding of how to showcase your home and give you inside access on how to find qualified buyers.

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