Top Questions Regarding Buying, Selling or Leasing A Property

Buying or Selling a Property

I think I’m ready to buy a property, what’s my first step?

You should get pre-approved for a mortgage; this will let you know how much of a mortgage you can borrow. Knowing this allows you to narrow your search to suitable properties and not waste time on properties outside of your buying power. The mortgage estimate also gives insight into how much money will be required for the down payment and closing costs. With a pre-approval, property sellers will have confidence that you are a serious buyer.

How long does the process take to buy a property?

From start to finish, buying a property takes on average about 10 to 12 weeks. Once a property is selected and the offer is accepted, the average time to close the sale is 30 to 45 days. However, this is just a general time frame as every purchase situation is unique. For example, a well-prepared property buyer who pays cash has been known to purchase properties much faster.

What is a seller’s market?

In a seller’s market, you will see higher sale prices due to an increase in demand for properties. So, what increases that demand?

  • Economic factors – the local labor market heats up, bringing an inflow of new residents and pushing up property prices before more inventory can be built.
  • Interest rates trending downward – this improves property affordability, creating more buyer interest, particularly for first-time homebuyers who can afford bigger homes as the cost of money drops lower. Conversely, a short-term spike in interest rates will encourage some buyers to make a purchase if they believe the upward trend will continue. Buyers want to make a move before their purchasing power is diminished.
  • Low inventory – if there are fewer properties on the market because of a lack of new construction, the prices for existing homes may increase simply because of low inventory.

How much does it cost to have an agent help me buy a property?

It doesn’t cost you anything. Agents who represent buyers are compensated by the listing broker for bringing a buyer to the property. When the property is sold, the listing broker splits the listing fee with the buyer’s agent.

What kind of credit score do I need to buy a property?

Most mortgage programs require a FICO score of 620 or better. Borrowers with higher credit scores represent less risk to the lender, often resulting in lower down payments and better interest rates. Conversely, home shoppers with lower credit scores may need to bring more money for a down payment, or accept a higher interest rate, to offset the lender’s risk.

How much do I need for a down payment?

The amount of your down payment influences the property you can afford, the type of mortgage you get, and whether you need to purchase mortgage default insurance.

Purchase Price Minimum Needed
$500,000 or less 5% of the purchase price
$500,000 to $999,999 5% of the first $500,000 of the purchase price
10% for the portion of the purchase price above $500,000
$1,000,000 or more 20% of the purchase price

How many properties should I view before buying one?

That’s completely up to you! The ability to search for properties online and see pictures, even before setting a foot outside the comfort of your living room, has completely changed the home buying process. Convenience is at an all-time high. But, nothing beats visiting a property to see how it looks and ‘feels’ in person. When you see one that really sparks your interest, let us know and we’ll get you in to see it in person!

How long can the seller take to respond to my offer?

When you submit a written offer, you will also stipulate the timeframe in which the seller should respond. It could be 24 hours or a few hours.

What if my offer is rejected?

Sellers can simply accept or reject any offer. But there is a third path that is quite common, sellers can initiate a counter-offer. You and your agent would review the counter-offer to determine whether or not it is acceptable. If you accept it, then approving it closes the deal immediately. Keep in mind, offers and counter-offers can go back and forth many times; this is not unusual, and negotiations are a part of what Realtors do as a matter of routine. Each revision should bring both parties closer together on the terms of the deal.

When is the best time to sell my property?

This frequently asked question cannot be answered with a simple or general answer. Every real estate market is different, which means that the best time to sell a property will be different from community to community. In most cases, the spring months are the best time to be selling a property as that is when many people are looking to invests or make a move.

Since every home seller’s situation is different, you should discuss the timing of your home sale with your Realtor. In some cases, selling a property during the fall and winter months might be better than waiting until the spring real estate market due to many factors including lower competition.

What steps should I take to prepare my property for sale?

There are several things you need to know before listing your property for sale. Not properly preparing a property before listing it for sale can put a homeowner at a huge disadvantage, costing them time and money.

The expression “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is absolutely true when it comes to selling a home. When selling a property, you must be sure that your property presents itself in the best possible light. Making sure clutter is at a minimum, freshly painting rooms, installing new carpeting, or ensuring odours are non-existent are just a handful of things that should be considered before listing your property for sale.

How much is my property worth?

Most homeowners want to know how much their property is worth. This frequently asked question is another one that cannot be answered with a generalized answer. One of the best perks to owning a home is the ability to make it your own and improve it how you’d like. Finding out how much your property is worth is not something that should be done without asking an experienced Realtor.

Why is the assessed value different than what you say my property is worth?

Assessed value is not the same as market value or appraised value. There are many homes that could be sold for significantly more than an assessed value and others that might be sold for significantly less. The assessed value of a property is used for the purpose of taxes in your local municipality. The assessed value of a home is multiplied by the local tax rate to determine what your yearly taxes are. It has no impact on how much your property is worth to a potential buyer in the marketplace.

What is the difference between a list price and sale price?

The list price is the price a home is currently listed for sale at. The sale price is the price a home is sold at.

How do you determine how much my property is worth?

The most common method to determine the value of a property is by completing a comparative market analysis. A comparative market analysis is an in-depth evaluation of recently sold “comparable” homes in the past 6-12 months. A comparative market analysis, also known as a “CMA,” isn’t a crystal ball that determines what a home will sell for, however, if performed by an experienced Realtor, it should greatly narrow the sale price range.

How do you plan on marketing my property?

A comprehensive marketing plan is something that you should expect from your Realtor when selling a home. The days of placing a sign in front of a property and waiting for someone to buy it, are over. With the evolution and impact of the internet on the real estate industry, it’s critical that not only is your property marketed through “traditional” avenues, such as newspapers and mailings, but it must also get maximum exposure online. An experienced Realtor should have a quality website, creative marketing ideas, and a strong social media presence.

What should I do to prepare my home for showings?

Preparing a home for showings can be a job in itself. That’s why you should leave it to the professionals. A great Realtor will have a team of cleaners, movers, stagers and other professionals to ensure your property is showing at its best. A home that is well prepared for showings will absolutely sell faster than its competition.

Should I be present during showings at my property?

Easy question to answer – no! There are many reasons why sellers should not be present during showings. The primary reason why you should not be present at showings of your home is that potential buyers can feel uncomfortable talking openly and freely with their Realtor about the property. They do not want to say something that could offend you, the seller. The best idea is to leave shortly before the scheduled showing and come back once you are certain the buyer and their Realtor have left your home.

How does mortgage loan insurance work?

There is a common misconception that mortgage loan insurance protects the borrower. This is not the case. Mortgage loan insurance is there to protect the lender against default in payments by the homebuyer. If the buyer has a down payment of less than 20 percent of the purchase price, the lender will purchase default insurance and pass that cost on to the borrower. This can be paid upfront or added to the mortgage payments.

How much will I need for closing costs?

Closing costs will typically range from 1.5 – 4% of the home’s purchase price. These include things like legal and administrative fees and are payable on closing. You can expect to pay for your property inspection, mortgage default insurance, if your down payment is less than 20 percent of the purchase price, the Land Transfer Taxes, lawyer fees, appraisal fee, and property taxes, among other things. Make sure you budget for this! On a $500,000 property, closing costs can range from $7,500 – $20,000.

What should I look for in a lucrative investment property?

Whether you’re thinking about resale value down the road, a quick reno-and-flip job, or long-term rentability as a landlord, location is the golden rule of real estate. There are so many factors that go into considering an investment property including:

  • Is there public transit nearby or are there any major transportation improvements in the works?
  • Is the area attractive to Baby Boomers’ lifestyle?
  • Is the area experiencing population, income or employment growth?
  • Will the area benefit from an economic or real estate ripple effect and if so can the local infrastructure support the expected growth?
  • Is there a short-term problem occurring that is likely to disappear in the future?

An experienced Realtor will ensure all of these factors, and more, are taken into consideration.

Does a higher credit score mean a better mortgage rate?

Your credit score is a measure of your financial health. According to the Government of Canada, your rating “indicates the risk you represent for lenders, compared with other consumers…The credit-reporting agencies Equifax and TransUnion use a scale from 300 to 900. High scores on this scale are good. The higher your score, the lower the risk for the lender”. Thus, a higher rating will typically secure a better mortgage rate, since you’re considered to be more likely to make your scheduled payments.

Leasing a Property

What is a condo?

A condo is short for “condominium” and is typically a residence owned by a family or individual in a community building. Condos are different from a standard apartment because they have shared common areas which include gyms, garages, spas, pools, yards and even shops, depending on location. These amenities are maintained through dues paid by condo owners to an elected condo board. These fees are for the up-keep of common areas and not for repairs that happen inside of your condo such as a leaky faucet or broken fridge.

Can I buy a condo and then rent it out?

First, you will need to check if the condominium is in an association and what the rules are. The condo board rules can dictate if you’ll be able to rent or how profitable you can be. Every condo has its own set of rules so it’s important to read through the condo docs before buying a condominium.

What is the difference between a condo and a townhouse?

In a condo, you own the actual structure of the building with other owners in the association. A townhouse refers to a style of a building and has nothing to do with associations or management of the property. When someone lives in a condo it is assumed they have an association and rules that regulate the common areas. A townhouse can belong to an association, but it is not assumed since it only refers to the style of construction (typically two stories with shared walls to other townhouses in the row).

So, is a townhouse a condo?

A townhouse is typically not considered a condo because the common areas are not jointly owned. With condos, the exterior of the building is owned by the association but with townhouses, the exterior is owned by the resident.

Do you have to pay property taxes on a condo?

Yes, you do have to pay property taxes on a condo. Typically, the tax will be less due to condos being smaller in nature but the amount you pay can vary by location. You may not own the land, but you do own the property inside your walls and will be taxed on this.

I want to rent a condo; should I use a real estate agent to help me find a condo or apartment?

The amount of time it will take you to find a rental depends on several factors including:

  • Local market conditions
  • The specifics of the rental you’re looking for, such as a particular amenity you want
  • Your own qualifications as a renter, basically how much rent you can afford.

An experienced real estate agent will naturally be aware of the rental opportunities in the market. They can help you sort through the details and find an apartment building with the rent you can cover in a good neighbourhood.

In a rental housing market with plenty of available apartments and homes, it could take just a few days to find a place you like. However, in housing markets with a limited supply of rentals, you could face competition from other perspective renters and find yourself searching for weeks for a place to live. That’s when having an experienced agent, who knows the neighbourhoods, really pays off.

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