Having a team of professionals working with you can simplify the home-buying process.
No one will play a more important role in helping you find a home than your real estate agent.
Your agent’s job is to:
When the time comes to select a real estate agent, don’t be afraid to ask questions – especially about any possible service charges. Vendors normally pay a commission to the agent but some agents charge buyers a fee for their services.
Once you have found the home you would like to purchase, you need to present the vendor with an Offer to Purchase or an Agreement of Purchase and Sale. As your home is probably your biggest investment, it would be wise to work with your real estate agent and/or a lawyer/notary in preparing your offer. Remember that the Offer to Purchase or Agreement of Purchase and Sale is a legal document and should be carefully prepared.
Any offer or agreement will typically include:
The process of making an offer, receiving a counter-offer and then revising it again is not uncommon. The whole process can seem like a roller coaster ride – exciting, but stressful. It’s all part of making the deal work best for you and the vendor.
When you make an Offer to Purchase, your real estate agent or your lawyer/notary will most likely add certain conditions to it, making it a conditional offer. This means that the contract will only become final when the conditions are met. The following three conditions are generally standard in an Offer to Purchase, especially for first-time buyers:
Once these requirements are met, the conditions are removed and the Offer to Purchase becomes final.
Having an independent appraisal done on a property before you make an offer is a good idea. It will tell you what the property is worth and help ensure that you are not paying too much. We may also ask for a recognized appraisal in order to complete a mortgage loan.
The appraisal should include an unbiased assessment of the property’s physical and functional characteristics, an analysis of recent comparable sales and an assessment of current market conditions affecting the property. Appraisal fees may vary but are usually about $350 (plus HST) for a typical single-family house.
You should consider having any home you are thinking of buying inspected by a knowledgeable and professional person. Their role is to inform you about the property’s condition. You’ll be advised if something is not functioning properly, needs to be changed or is unsafe. You will also be informed of repairs that need to be made and maybe even where there may have been problems in the past.
Every inspection should include a visual assessment of at least the following:
In British Columbia, mandatory certification is required. Generally, a good home and property inspector belongs to a provincial or industry association. CMHC does not recommend or endorse any individual home inspector or association. CMHC supports national standards of competency for home inspectors. For more information about the home inspection industry’s voluntary National Certification Program, visit the National Certification Authority’s website at
Home inspector fees may depend on the size and condition of the home.
If the seller does not have a Survey or Certificate of Location, we may require you to get one for your mortgage application. If the Survey in the seller’s possession is older than five years, it will probably need to be updated.
Remember that you must have permission from the property owner before hiring a surveyor to go onto the property. Ask your real estate agent to help co-ordinate this with the owner.
If you haven’t already gone through the mortgage pre-qualification process, you will need to find a good lender to assist you during the purchasing process and for as long as you have your mortgage. We hope you will consider us when making your mortgage decision.
You need a lawyer to protect your legal interests, such as ensuring the property does not have any building or statutory liens, charges or work or clean-up orders associated with it. He or she will review all contracts before you sign them, especially the Offer (or Agreement) to Purchase. Having a lawyer/notary involved in the process will give you peace of mind and ensure that things go as smoothly as possible. Lawyer/notary fees depend on the complexity of the transaction and their experience.
An insurance broker can help you with your insurance needs, including property insurance and mortgage life insurance. We will require property insurance because your property is security for your loan. Property insurance covers the replacement cost of your home, so premiums may vary depending on its value.
We also suggest that you buy mortgage life insurance, which provides coverage for your family if you die before your mortgage is paid off. This type of insurance is available from different sources.
Be careful not to confuse property or life insurance with mortgage loan insurance, which may be required for high-ratio mortgages.
If you are building a home, you may need a builder or contractor. If the house you are buying needs renovations, you may also require a builder or contractor. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a builder or contractor: