Thinking about purchasing your first home? Now’s the time to start assembling your real estate team (the earlier in the process you do this, the better). These are the professionals whose expert knowledge will help focus your house hunt, seal the deal and get you the keys to your first home.
Pro No. 1: REALTOR® or real estate agent
Great real estate pros are worth their weight in gold. From background intel on neighbourhoods to the lowdown on brand-new listings, they will help you zero in on potential homes, set up viewings and walk you through each one. Once you’re ready to make an offer, they will negotiate for you and draft your offer to purchase.
When hiring a real estate pro, consider whether you want one REALTOR® or real estate agent, or a REALTOR® team. Some buyers seek that one-on-one relationship, while others prefer the efficiency of a multi-salesperson team (someone is always available to take your call or text).
Pro No. 2: Mortgage broker or specialist
For most of us, there can be no home purchase without a mortgage or home loan. Your mortgage professional will help you choose between different mortgage options, determine how much home you can afford, and prepare your loan documents.
Pro tip: There are two types of mortgage professionals: mortgage specialists working for banks or credit unions, and independent mortgage brokers. The former are experts in their lending institution’s products, and can not only help you find a great mortgage but also bundle it with other products (car insurance, line of credit, etc.). An independent mortgage broker, meanwhile, chooses from a variety of mortgage products from various lenders – but their expertise is mortgages, so you’ll need to go elsewhere for other products.
Pro No. 3: Home inspector
Your offer to purchase a home should be conditional on a home inspection. An experienced home inspector can save you money and stress by identifying significant problems. These issues may warrant revising your offer (asking the seller to make repairs, or for a lower sales price to offset anticipated repair costs) – or they may cause you to rescind it altogether.
Pro tip: There is no national certification or accreditation organization for this profession, so ask local friends, colleagues or your REALTOR® or real estate agent for recommendations.
Pro No. 4: Real estate lawyer or notary
Real estate lawyers (or notaries, in Quebec) are the heavy hitters in any home purchase. They do crucial research on the property and liens; fact-check legal descriptions of the building and lot; and collect, hold in trust and disburse fees associated with buying a property. Your lawyer ensures that everything from the down payment to the taxes to the mortgage funds gets paid out appropriately.
Pro tip: Find a real estate lawyer or notary with expertise in your home type, whether it’s a condo, freehold property or detached house. Legal issues vary between these housing types.
Pro No. 5: Certified financial planner
Although not technically a real estate pro, a certified financial planner can help you get your financial house in order. By educating you on the nuts and bolts of financial planning, a certified financial planner can help you get from Point A to Point B, whether you’re at the “dreaming of homeownership” stage or are further along on your homeownership journey.
Pro tip: The Financial Planning Standards Council (fpsc.ca) is the profession’s regulating body. Visit the FPSC website to find a certified financial planner in your region.
This article is part of our Guide for Millennial Homebuyers.