|How can a Royal LePage REALTOR® help?
Good REALTORS® save you time and money. They know your community, they know what is important when buying and selling a home, and they know all the intricacies of the process, from finding a home, to negotiating a price, to closing a deal.
A Royal LePage REALTOR® will:
- Screen the available homes in your neighbourhood to make sure that the houses you look at fit your budget and your requirements
- Give you important information on local real estate values, taxes, utility costs, services, and amenities
- Guide you through the viewing process showing you features you may not have noticed and problems you may not have spotted
- Advise you about your legal and financial options
- Recommend expert help when needed, such as home appraisal, home inspection, and contracting services
- Manage your offers and counter-offers, and use his or her skills and experience as a negotiator to make sure you get the best deal possible
What should I look for when viewing a home?
You pull up to the curb and there it is – the home of your dreams.
- Calm down. Take a deep breath and start again. The hardest thing to do when looking for a home is to remain objective. It is easy to fall in love with a home's appearance, but it's very important to look beyond the window dressing.
- Here are some things to consider when looking at a home:
General Upkeep - First appearances do count. Is the home dirty and cluttered? Are the lawns uncut? Are the walls chipped and in need of paint? If the owner hasn't bothered to keep the house looking clean and attractive, what problems are lurking below the surface?
Water Leaks - Water can do a lot of damage to a home. It rots wood, undermines foundations, and leads to mould and mildew. Reshingling a house, or repairing a cracked foundation to stop water leaks, can be extremely expensive.
It takes an expert eye to find most water leaks (which is why we recommend you have a house inspected before you buy). If you spot stains, bulges and other signs of water damage on ceilings or walls, make special note that there could be a problem.
Appliances & Fixtures - Test the lights, faucets, toilets, furnace, air conditioning, and all major appliances that are to be included with the home. Make sure everything is working as it should.
Floors - Floors should be smooth, even, and solid. Soft springy sections, excessive squeaking, and unevenness are all indications that expensive repairs may be needed.
Doors & Windows - Check that doors and windows fit snugly and operate smoothly. Look for flaked paint and loose caulking. Check for drafts.
Drainage - Walk around the yard looking for areas where water might collect. Soggy areas near the foundation indicate poor drainage.
Grout & Caulkin - If the grout and caulking around bathroom and kitchen tiles are loose and crumbling, there is a good chance water is finding its way into the wall or under the floor.
Structural - Look for deep cracks in the foundations or loose mortar and bricks.
Furnishings - If you are not planning to replace all of your furniture (and not many people are), make sure it will fit into the rooms of the new house. Be sure to bring a measuring tape. Rooms can be deceptive.
Storage Space - Make sure your new house has enough storage space for all your belongings. And that means more than just your clothes. Think of all the things that need to find a home – tools, gardening equipment, old toys, sports equipment, and all those wedding presents that are still in their original boxes. Check the size of the closets, the attic, the basement, and the garage. Rule of thumb: there's never enough storage space.
Inspection - You should take a long hard look at a house before you put in an offer to protect yourself from disappointment down the road. But, nothing can replace the expert opinion of a qualified home inspector. Inspectors can spot problems that the average person would never find and they can usually advise you on how much it will cost to make the repairs. A home inspection can help you determine whether or not you are going to make an offer on a house, and if you decide to go ahead, just how much that offer is going to be.
Once you’ve found the home you’re interested in, it's time to make an offer. Deciding what to offer is one of the most difficult decisions to make. Offer too little and you stand a chance of losing the house (particularly in a seller's market). On the other hand, nobody wants to pay more for something than it's worth.
Your REALTOR® can help you enormously by showing you what comparable houses are selling for, helping you assess the condition of the house, and judging the type of competition you may face. Once you have decided on the price you are prepared to offer, the REALTOR® will draft the offer and explain the details to you.
Your Royal LePage REALTOR® will communicate the offer, sometimes known as an Offer to Purchase (a legal document specifying the offers terms and conditions) to the seller, or the seller's representative, on your behalf.
The offer can be firm or conditional.
Firm Offer to Purchase: usually preferable to the seller, because it means that you are prepared to purchase the home without any conditions. If the offer is accepted, the home is yours.
Conditional Offer to Purchase: means that you have placed one or more conditions on the purchase, such as subject to home inspection, subject to financing, or subject to the sale of the buyer's existing home. The home is not sold until all the conditions have been met.