Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases a person does in their lifetime. Because it is such a large purchase, there are a lot of legalities involved and steps to complete from start to close. We have compiled a list of the most common questions we receive from our buyers here to help you have the information available to succeed!
Should I talk to my bank before looking at homes?
Talking to your bank or mortgage broker should always be the first step in the home buying process. Getting pre-approved before home shopping will make the entire process run smoother: you will have a budget for what you can afford, you will be able to keep realistic expectations, you will seem serious to both sellers and real estate agents, your offer will more likely to be accepted, you will meet your conditions dates with ease and it helps you budget for your closing costs. We believe that it is almost impossible to seriously shop for a home without a pre-approval. If you do, you may fall in love with a property you cannot afford, or have a hard time getting an offer accepted. If you do not already have a mortgage broker, we recommend working with our trusted partner, Shawna Snair at Premiere Mortgage Center!
How much does it cost to work with a real estate agent?
Your real estate agent is paid for their services by splitting a percentage of the sold price of the home with the seller’s agent. Therefore, when you purchase your home, you do not owe your REALTOR® any money directly. In simple terms, when you are shopping for a home, the price you pay for your new home includes your REALTOR®’s fees, so you do not have to set aside extra money to pay your agent.
How many homes should I look at being submitting an offer?
There is no set number of homes you should view before submitting an offer. Some fall in love with the first home they see, others can take years to find the right one. According to realtor.com, the average buyer will view 10 properties before they submit an offer, but the site notes that this number varies greatly. Since COVID-19 began, there has been a large surge in virtual tours and searching for homes online. This allows buyers to see more homes than ever before. It’s always a great idea to inform your REALTOR® on your critical wants and needs in your future home, so they can use their professional resources to find homes that match your criteria. This will save you time in the long run and allow you to view a few great homes instead of tens of “okay” ones.
How do I make an offer?
When you find the home of your dreams, it's time to make an offer. Your real estate agent will prepare the documents necessary to submit an offer. Your agent will require your legal name, the amount you wish to offer, what will be included in the purchase price, the date you would like to close the sale, the documents you need to review before finalizing the deal, and when you would like to leave the offer open until. You will also need to be prepared to make a deposit on the home. The deposit goes against your closing costs and downpayment. This deposit is cashed upon delivery to the listing brokerage, so, make sure you only offer a deposit you can afford. Your REALTOR® will work with you to ensure you have the best price, conditions and review the necessary documents needed for a successful sale. If you are not satisfied with something that arises with the home, your REALTOR® can, later on, negotiate a price reduction, repairs to counter the issues, or terminate the deal.
How long does the seller have to respond to my offer?
You and your real estate agent will decide on an amount of time in which the offer is “live”. The seller’s agent may request that, for example, all offers be left open for 24 hours. It is usually best practice to follow what the seller’s agent requests. You are technically allowed to go against the seller’s request, but it may lower your chances of your offer being accepted. Your REALTOR® will advise you on the best “timeline” for the offer so that you have the best chance of success.
What if my offer is rejected?
It is never a good feeling to hear that your offer was rejected, however, in the current market we are experiencing in Halifax, this is often the case. In a competitive seller’s market, buyers typically have to go through the offer process a few times on a few different homes before getting one accepted. Your offer may have been rejected due to the sellers receiving a higher offer, the sellers believing your deposit was not enough, due to you stating too many conditions, etc. There is no penalty to you if your offer gets rejected, you just have to keep on with your home search. If the seller rejects your offer and has not accepted any other offer, your REALTOR® can then find out why your offer was rejected and can help you prepare a new one that corrects the issue.
What happens after my offer has been accepted?
After your offer has been accepted, you need to meet the conditions that you specified in the agreement. You must provide your deposit, secure your financing with your bank, perform a home inspection if indicated (your REALTOR® will arrange this, however, it is at an extra cost to you), notify your lawyer, and book your pre-closing walkthrough. When you work with a real estate agent, they will be by your side through most of this and inform you of deadlines. They can forward documents to your banker and lawyer for you, and supervise the inspection too. There are a lot of moving parts to make it to the finish line, but having a REALTOR® on your side keeps things flowing and organized. It is in you and your REALTOR’s® best interest that you meet all of your conditions.
Stay tuned for more!