It takes a team to help home buyers
As we enter the hectic Winnipeg spring real estate market, many potential buyers of houses and condos go to their banks and get pre-approved. While pre-approval is a very important step, I personally recommend that it is NOT the FIRST step a buyer should take. By the time a buyer takes possession of their new home, a number of professionals will have been involved. Since a real estate agent will have close contact with all of these professionals, my suggestion is that a home buyer START his/her search by selecting their real estate agent. An experienced agent will have learned, sometimes thru trial and error, which business professionals can provide the best service for their clients. Let’s take a look at the whole home-buying team:
Real Estate Agent
A good real estate agent will help the buyer find and look at all the houses or condos that suit the buyers needs and budget. The agent will help structure an Offer to Purchase which walks the fine line between protecting the buyer and at the same time appear attractive enough for the seller to accept it. A GREAT agent will be able to make referrals to the following people:
A Mortgage Professional
Whether the buyer prefers to deal with a bank, a credit union or a mortgage broker, the real estate agent should have trusted professionals in each of these services. When a mortgage lender pre-approves the buyer, the real estate agent needs to be able to trust this approval. This ‘trust’ is important to the buyer as well, so ask your real estate agent for a referral to a great mortgage lender.
A Real Estate Lawyer
Real Estate Law is different than Criminal Law, Family Law or Civil Law….. so use a qualified, experienced real estate lawyer. Again, your REALTOR® should be able to make a referral to a good lawyer.
Your bank or credit union will demand that you get home insurance in order to protect your (and their) investment. Home Insurance is NOT optional….. you will need to get it. An insurance broker should be able to offer several options, with different coverage and costs. As your real estate agent for a referral here as well.
Mortgage Insurance/Life Insurance
The buyer has just made a significant investment, with perhaps as much as 95% of it still owed to the mortgage company. While, unlike Home Insurance, mortgage/life insurance is optional, it is still highly recommended. Protect your family and your investment in case of your untimely demise. There are significant differences between mortgage insurance and life insurance: speak to a professional about these differences. Most real estate agents might not know the difference, but would know an expert in this field.
If you’re lucky enough NOT to have to compete against other buyers, you may be able to demand a home inspection. (Actually, you can always demand one….. but speak to your agent about the reality of being able to get your offer accepted in such a case). A qualified home inspector may be able to detect problems, and prevent you from buying a ‘money pit’.
There are a lot of ‘Guys with a Truck’ type of companies out there. Like a lot of things, you ‘get what you pay for’. Get a quote in writing, and make sure it’s not too open-ended. (Example: $150 per hour, 5 hours or until the move it completed….??) If in doubt, check the BBB listings, and ask for recommendations. Or better yet, as your real estate agent for a referral….. chances are, he/she have used and recommended a good moving company in the past.
House (or Condo) shopping should be fun….. but always ‘play safe’. Surround yourself with knowledgable professionals, and minimize your exposure to danger.