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Real Estate

First-Time Home Buyer’s Guide: Part 1

Surrey604 welcomes Simon Rai as a Guest Contributor! Simon is a realtor residing in Surrey, and active in the community.  Look for more from Simon in the upcoming weeks.

The Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association (GVHBA) recently held its 18th annual First-Time Home Buyer Seminar at the Bell Performing Arts Centre in Surrey. Needless to say, the seminar contained a wealth of information for first- time home buyers, and had a record number of attendees. A panel of industry experts provided great information about the steps involved in the home buying process, the role of various professionals in the transaction, and also the fees and incentives that could make or break a deal. As a Realtor in Surrey, I thought it would be interesting to attend and see if I could learn a thing or two that I didn’t already know. With the notes I made from the seminar and my own personal experience in the field, I’ve written this 3 part guide of the things you should know before buying your first home.

Part 1: Choosing the right team.

Throughout the real estate transaction, there are 3 key individuals that you will be working with. These include the realtor, the mortgage broker, and the real estate lawyer. Other individuals such as an appraisal expert and notary may also be involved. It’s very important to choose the right mix of individuals. Their experience and specialized skill can go a long way in helping you save money and avoid mistakes. Keep reading for an overview of the role that each individual plays in a typical real estate transaction.

The Realtor’s duty is not only to help you find the right home, but also to negotiate the price, put together the terms of the offer, and provide market expertise to ensure that you make a good purchasing decision. The first thing you should do in the search for your first home is to find a good realtor to assist you. The certainty and reliability that a realtor provides is invaluable, especially considering the fact that buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life.

The mortgage broker also plays an important role in the transaction, and is someone you want involved early in your search for a home. By speaking with a mortgage broker and getting a mortgage pre-approval, you know exactly how much you can afford to spend on a home. This is very important information, especially for your realtor who is trying to filter through hundreds of homes to find one that’s right for you. A pre-approval is simply a confirmation of how much the lender is willing to lend you, and there is no obligation so it’s definitely one of the first things you should do.

The real estate lawyer or notary public usually comes into the transaction towards the end of the transaction, but it’s definitely better to have them involved from the beginning. The lawyer’s role is mainly to review your contract of purchase and sale (including adding any clauses and subjects that may benefit you), do a title search for any liens or mortgages that may be outstanding on the property, and prepare the transfer and mortgage documents.

Some criteria to consider when choosing a professional are their level of experience, reputation, and cost. Start by asking friends and family who they would recommend, and meet with the individuals you are considering in person. It’s definitely important to shop around and compare costs, as the fees can add up quickly (I will be writing more about this next week). You can also ask your realtor for advice, as they’ve probably worked with several mortgage brokers and lawyers in  the past.

If you’ve never bought a home before, there are many unexpected things that can happen. Without the experience required to complete a huge transaction like buying a home, it can be easy to make mistakes and lose money. By hiring the right team, you can not only avoid these mistakes, but also gain lots of valuable insight to help your real transaction progress smoothly.

If you need any help with your next real estate transaction, or have any questions about the information in this article, feel free to email me at simon@surreyrealtor.net

Check back soon to read Part 2 of my guide which will be about the costs associated with buying and owning a home. Also check out the GVHBA site for lots of valuable resources to help you in the home buying process.

Coming Up:

Part 2: Unexpected costs of buying and owning a home.

Part 3: Tax credits and incentives available for first time home buyers.