Real Estate Developers and first-time home buyers have something in common. Each party has a team of specialists they consult and pay for professional advice before acquiring a piece of Real Estate. This team of professionals should be thought of as your Real Estate buying team. As I discussed in a previous post, you may not even know it but, the initial steps you take as a first-time home buyer will slowly be bringing this team together. You’ll run into several realtors, talk with a few property inspectors, maybe even get recommended a lawyer. Eventually you’ll have a large or small team prepared to work with you through the entire home buying process. Similarly, a developer or professional renovator will have a team like this, why? Developers understand these team members are well worth the cost! This post will go through what to look for from each member of your team.
Charming, funny, likes long walks on the beach… Great traits but not important characteristics for an effective Realtor. A Realtor you work with needs to be educated, available but most importantly motivated.
By educated I do not mean they’ve spent a lot of time at school. You can tell if a Realtor is educated in your specific asset class or neighborhood by asking a few questions. The most important question to ask your Real Estate Agent is where he or she is currently working. Figure out where their listings are. If they’ve got listings in or near your neighborhoods of interest the odds are high they’ve been watching the market. Same goes for buyers, what type of buyers do they normally work with? Another great question – how long have you been working as a Realtor? There you have it, just like that, you’ve asked more questions about qualification than 75% of interested sellers on the market. Check out RankMyAgent it’s an online service that lets previous clients rank their agent in Edmonton. Here’s my rating!
Motivated and Available go hand in hand. A motivated Realtor can have 20 listings and still be available to give you great service. Motivated realtors will find a way to fit in open houses, always respond to your messages, they’ll go above and beyond! An unmotivated realtor may claim availability, but it is tough to tell whether they will utilize their current free time or continue to be unproductive! So look for signs your realtor is hard working!
Getting a mortgage is undeniably the most mysterious aspect of acquiring a home. Take a look at this useful mortgage guide from the Canadian Government. What exactly is the difference between a mortgage and a loan? Most importantly how do I get one? This entirely depends on your life situation. Here’s a good article on how to get a mortgage if you’re self employed. If you are a salaried or hourly worker you have two options. Option number one should be to approach the large banks and look to hire a Mortgage Specialist. A Mortgage Specialist is different than a Mortgage Broker as they do not charge fees. If you have a low enough risk profile you can use a Mortgage Specialist. A Specialist will do just as good of a job as a mortgage broker and they’re FREE. A Mortgage Broker on the other hand costs money to hire (normally paid out of the mortgage). Take a look at the pro’s and con’s between mortgage brokers and specialists!
Regardless of which you pick how can you tell if they will do a good job? Knowing exactly what they’ll be doing is a good place to start! A Mortgage Broker or Specialist’s main duty is to fight for you against the underwriters to find you the best rate. For a Specialist this will mean running several different paths forward (open / closed, variable or fixed mortgages) and finding the one from whichever bank they work for that suits your situation best. In comparison a Mortgage Broker needs to negotiate against lenders from several different banks, shopping the house and your risk profile around among different lenders. A good Mortgage Broker and Specialist will really hustle for you in finding the best rate. Knowing this it’s easy to tell the difference in quality between brokers just by sitting down with a few and asking each to show them what they will do to find the best rate for you!
A Home Inspector is imperative to the home buying process. Home Inspectors will answer a lot of questions about your dream home and point out defects you would have never noticed yourself. Since a Home Inspectors role is so important, it’s Important to pick a good home inspector. How can you tell your Inspector will do a good job?
Ask about their background.
What did you do before you were a home inspector?
An exceptional home inspector will have a background in construction or engineering. These guys may not even charge more but will have the added experience!
Ask about what they offer.
Beyond a visual inspection what other things will you be doing during the inspection?
To be competitive a Home Inspector should have a thermal imaging device to detect humidity in the walls. A humidity tester that directly tests surfaces for current water damage, as well as an electrical outlet tester. For older houses it might be worthwhile to get an inspector that can inspect the sewer lines as well. Here’s a link to a good home inspector I’ve used before in the past!
These few questions will help you weed out the genuinely bad property inspectors. Beyond that you should just keep an eye on them during the inspection and ensure they’re inspecting every part of the house they say they will inspect!