On your side, all the way...
Whether you're buying your first home, trading up or trading down, the skills of a professional, capable Realtor are critical to your success. You need to ensure that the individual you engage on this journey is armed with all the tools necessary to help you achieve your dreams.
Skill, however is not the only key trait that you must seek out in a Realtor. Patience, diligence,negotiation skills and an absolute passion for ethics are mandatory. By the way, a sense of humour doesn't hurt either. Sometimes the hunt for that perfect home can be an arduous journey, and you don't want a Realtor who simply foists "the deal" on you merely to move on to the next one.
The ever growing list of past delighted buyers that I have had the privilege of working with will attest to the fact that I will ensure you get the right house at the right price. Period.
Perhaps I can best sum up my relationships with my buyers by relating a true story.
I was negotiating a purchase for one of my buyers and the negotiations were intense and long as I worked to ensure my buyers paid the fair price for the home they wanted. The selling agent, in her frustration at my insistence on the price, blurted out " Why are you going to all this trouble? Are these people your friends or something" ? My answer was: "They are now !"
PS: They got their home...
SOME VERY IMPORTANT TIPS :
1. I do not like long term buyer agency agreements. In fact, I do not ask my buyers to sign one until we find the right home and then, the term is only valid until the deal is firm. In other words I work by mutual trust. Signing one of these agreements at your first meeting locks you in to a virtual stranger for a significant period of time and is of little value to you in spite of the rhetoric you may hear.
The best comparison I can think of is going on a blind date and having your potential suitor demand that you agree to marry them prior to the date.
This is not to say that you shouldn't show loyalty once you've found a capable agent. Buyers that end up dealing with the flavour of the week end up with a poor taste in their mouths. My advice ? If someone jams a Buyer agency agreement in your face at the first meeting, run, don't walk to the nearest exit.
2. Be extremely careful about buying a home that is for sale by the owner. You have no practical way to determine the true value and I can't tell you how often I have seen naive buyers pay exhorbitant prices for homes and then deeply regret it later. Most private sellers have asked realtors for an evaluation and didn't like the number and that's generally why they are selling privately.
When you have a competent realtor working on your behalf, it is their absolute duty to show you comparable values in the neighbourhood to assist you in determining the amount of your offer.
I will make this free offer to anyone considering a private sale. Call or email me and I will do a competitive market analysis to help you determine true values.
Don't make the mistake so many make. Get professional help.
3. Don't view homes that are out of your price range "just for fun". You'll invariably see something that you fall in love with but can't afford. Now as you look at homes in your price range, you'll be disappointed and will have an awful time finding a home.
4. This one is tough and possibly unavoidable.
Realtors have a saying that many buyers must go through the heart break of losing out on a house so they will know enough to pull the trigger the next time they find a home they like.
It's a tough call especially for first time buyers, but if you've found the perfect home and your Realtor has done the homework regarding local values, then go for it. As Realtors, we know when the home is right, but there is a fine line between being pushy and not doing anything.
5. Here's a potential big money saver. It used to be automatic that buyers got their mortgages directly from their own banking institution. The loan officer works for the bank. Who works for you?
It's much smarter to use a capable mortgage broker who works on your behalf and who will shop your application around to several financial institutions to get them to compete for your business and ensure you get the best terms possible.
Fantastic house hunting tool
Here's an awesome house hunting tool. It's called collaborate and it allows you to set up custom searches and save them so you don't have to recreate the criteria every time.
The great thing is that the data is directly from the Toronto Real Estate Board and available to you at the same time as your Realtor gets it. Maybe the best feature is that your Realtor registers you and then the rest is up to you with no pesky emails from the Realtor until you decide, if at all, to contact them.
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll take care of the rest and I promise not to bother you unless you ask.