Everything you need to know about
Buying & Selling a Home 

By: Patrick Zaharov

Everything you need to know about
Buying & Selling a Home 

Tags: Benifits of working with a registered real estate professional





This information helps our clients understand the benefits of working with a registered real estate professional. The information below highlights the degree of professionalism and protection consumers can expect when they enlist our services.

Demonstrating The Benefits of Working with a Registered Real Estate Professional

Buying or selling a home is the biggest transaction most of us will ever go through. That’s why it’s so important to be informed and take advantage of expert advice. If you decide to work with a registered real estate professional, you’ll have help navigating the buying or selling process along with the added benefit of valuable consumer protection from the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO).

All brokers and salespersons in Ontario are registered with, and regulated by, RECO. RECO’s job is to protect your best interests by maintaining a fair, safe and informed real estate marketplace. This includes enforcing the laws that all real estate professionals in Ontario must follow, on behalf of the provincial government. Working with a real estate professional means you’re automatically backed by RECO’s three pillars of protection, including: 

Real estate professionals must complete education courses before they are allowed to trade in real estate, and they complete mandatory continuing education courses every two years to keep their knowledge up-to-date and their skills

Professional standards
All brokers and salespersons in Ontario are required to uphold professional standards that stress fairness, honesty and integrity. They must follow rules and regulations that are designed to protect consumers.

Deposit insurance provides you with peace of mind knowing that the buyer’s deposit will be held in trust, and insured against loss, insolvency or misappropriation by a brokerage until the deal closes and the money is paid out to the right people. Additionally, real estate professionals must hold errors and omissions insurance to pay for damages and legal costs arising from claims related to their involvement in a real estate transaction.

Choosing The Right Real Estate Professional

How we educate our clients about the Buying & Selling Process with Key Information to Navigate the Real Estate Process



Buying a home is a big decision – whether it’s your first home or a vacation home. To help you make smart decisions, it’s important to think with your head and not your heart. The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) shares their tips for being home smart when you’re in the market to buy.
Do your homework
Get informed about the buying process before it begins to save time, hassle and money.
Shop around
Don’t be tempted to hire the first real estate professional you meet. Make sure the fit is right, check their references and visit the RECO website (www.reco.on.ca) to confirm their registration.
Get it in writing
If your real estate professional offers you rebates or incentives, they should provide the details in writing.
Understand what you’re signing
Before you sign a buyer representation agreement, make sure you know what it means, how long it will be in effect and what the different clauses mean. Ask questions and seek independent legal advice if you’d like a second opinion.
Keep budget in mind:

Protect yourself
Make your offer conditional on mortgage financing, a home inspection, the sale of your existing home, and/or other factors that are important to you. These conditions provide you important protection as a buyer.
Check what’s inside the walls
Ask your real estate professional to look into the age and condition of the home’s systems, such as the plumbing and electrical. Find out if proper permits were pulled for any renovations. Consider a home inspection to further examine the home and don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Be specific
Make your offer as detailed as possible. Outline what will be included with the sale (e.g., appliances and light fixtures) and be clear if certain renovations need to be completed, based on the home inspection.
Plan ahead
If you encounter a bidding war, enter with a strategy. Set ground rules in advance about what you want from a home, what you’re willing to spend and what conditions must be met. Once your rules are set, stick to them.
Competing offers
It can be tempting to waive your conditions, such as a home inspection. Think twice before doing this.
Expect the unexpected
Does your closing date on your new home align with when you need to move out of your existing home? Have a contingency plan in place in case the dates don’t match up.
Above all, working with a registered real estate professional will help you navigate the many steps and decisions involved in the home buying process.

  • Home Selling Checklist
Whether you’re moving to accommodate your growing family or looking for a smaller space to be your empty nest, selling your home is a big decision. To help you make smart decisions, it’s important to think with your head and not your heart. The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) shares their tips for being home smart when you’re looking to make the sale.
Shop around
Don’t be tempted to hire the first real estate professional you meet. Make sure the fit is right, check their references and visit the RECO website to confirm their registration.
Understand what you’re signing
Before you sign a listing agreement with the brokerage, ensure you know what it means, how long it will be in effect and what the different clauses mean. Ask questions and seek independent legal advice if you’d like a second opinion.
Show the facts
Include all your home’s details in the listing, from the square footage to recent renovations to items that are and aren’t included (water heater, appliances, drapery, etc).
Plan your open house wisely:
  • Be proactive and speak with your real estate professional before the open house to set ground rules and identify ways to protect yourself and your property.
Minimize risk by removing all valuables and securely store anything with your personal information, like credit card statements and receipts.
Know your options
When reviewing offers on your home, the details of the offers will remain confidential between you and your real estate professional. You may get multiple offers, and your real estate professional is there to help you make the best choice.
Budget accordingly
Remember that there are closing costs associated with selling a home: real estate commissions, legal fees, moving expenses, and more.
Expect the unexpected
Does your closing date on the sale align with when you’ll be moving into your new home? Have a contingency plan in place in case the dates don’t match up.
Above all, working with a registered real estate professional will help you navigate the many steps and decisions involved in the home buying process. 

  • How To Budget For Buying a Home
When you’re looking to buy a home, it’s easy to forget that the purchase price is just one of many costs associated with ownership. These costs can add up and take an unexpected chunk out of your budget. So it’s important to understand the full cost of buying a property.
Pre-Closing Costs:
Home inspection
Getting a home inspection is a smart decision, because a qualified home inspector can identify underlying problems with a home’s major systems, like heating and electrical. To find a qualified home inspector speak to your real estate professional or check the websites of various home inspector associations.
Appraisal and/or survey
Your lender (e.g., a bank) may require an appraisal or survey of the property you want to buy before they agree to provide financing. This is to double check that the value of the home or property matches its sales price.

Closing Costs:
Land transfer tax
In Ontario, a land transfer tax of up to 2 per cent of the purchase price applies. In Toronto, an additional tax applies, also up to 2 per cent. First-time homebuyers are eligible for a refund of the tax. Talk to your real estate professional about your eligibility.
Mortgage insurance
If the down payment on your home is less than 20 per cent of its sales price, you will be required to buy mortgage insurance. Rates depend on how much you are borrowing. For more information, visit www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca.
Legal fees
There are a number of legal documents and contracts involved in the purchase of a home. Your lawyer will do a title search on the home to ensure the seller can actually sell the property and that there are no liens against it. They will also register the deed and mortgage for you. Find an Ontario lawyer by visiting the Law Society of Upper Canada www.lsuc.on.ca.
Title insurance
Title insurance protects you against title fraud, errors in public surveys, encroachment issues with neighbours and more. Speak to your lawyer during the closing period for more details.
Adjustments are costs that the seller pre-paid but which you now owe because you’re the one who’s going to be living in the home (e.g., property taxes, maintenance fees, rental fees for hot water heaters). You will need to refund the seller for these.
Home insurance
You must have insurance on your home before lenders will release the funds for the sale to close.
Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)
Newly-constructed homes are subject to HST of 13 per cent, although buyers may be eligible for rebates from both the Ontario and Federal governments. HST does not apply to resale homes.
Tarion new home warranty program
In Ontario, new homes are covered by a warranty program, administered by Tarion. The warranty protects new home buyers against various issues that may emerge, including structural defects in the home. It also offers deposit protection to buyers of new homes. Sometimes the Tarion enrollment fee is included in the purchase price and other times it is due at closing. For more information, visit www.tarion.com.

AFTER-Closing Costs:
Moving costs
Moving costs vary widely based on how much stuff you have, how far you’ll be moving, and whether you’ll hire a professional mover or rent a truck and move yourself.
Utility and service hook-ups
Some gas, hydro, water and telecommunications companies charge a hook-up fee.
Renovations and repairs
If you want to make major renovations after move-in, it can add significantly to your costs. A home inspection or disclosure from the seller may also identify repairs that are needed.
Appliances, furniture and decorations
Once you’re in your new space, there’s a good chance you’ll want fresh décor to make it your own.

  • Should You Buy or Sell First ?
For those looking to take that next step in their real estate future, this important question will inevitably come up: “should I buy my new home or sell my existing home first?”
While there is no ‘right’ answer, it’s important to know the potential pros and cons of both options. Speaking with your registered real estate professional before starting the buying or selling process can help you decide which route is better suited to your family’s needs.
Buy first
Buying first can make the house hunting experience more enjoyable. Without a closing date looming on your existing home, you’ll have time to wait until the right home comes up for sale. It can also be less stressful knowing that if your offer is unsuccessful, you can wait for the next opportunity to come up.
The downside to buying first is if you are unable to sell your home fast enough, you will find yourself owning two homes at once. The result could mean paying two mortgages at the same time, not to mention all the other costs of home ownership. Additionally, you may have trouble securing a mortgage for the new home.
As a buyer with an existing home to sell, you can protect yourself by making your offer conditional on the sale of your current home. That means if you’re unable to sell within a specified period of time, you’re able to back out of the transaction. However, keep in mind that this condition will likely make your offer less attractive to the seller, especially if you’re buying in an area with a hot market.
Sell first
The biggest benefit of selling first, aside from removing the risk of owning two homes at once, is you’ll know how much money the sale brought in, which will help determine how much you can afford to pay for the next place.
As helpful as that is to know, there is pressure with your closing date looming and potentially no home to move into. If you’re not careful, you may end up rushing the buying process and settling for a home that isn’t ideal for you, or paying more than you planned because you feel pressured.
Have a contingency plan
Regardless of which route you choose, it’s a smart idea to have a back-up plan in place in case you are left with two homes, or no home, for a period of time.
If the sale of your home closes first, you might consider a short-term rental or moving in with family or friends. This could be better than settling for a less-than-ideal home because you are rushed.
If the purchase of your new home closes first, you might need something called “bridge financing” to cover the down payment and other closing costs until the sale of your current home closes.
Before making a decision, talk to your registered real estate professional for advice and solutions to help you through the process. They can walk you through various scenarios and set realistic expectations about what may happen so you can come up with a plan that works for you. 

  • Open House Safety Tips
Under normal circumstances, allowing strangers to roam around your home may seem odd, but an open house is one of the most effective ways to attract potential buyers when selling a home.
When planning an open house, it’s important to consider safety and security and to understand the potential for theft or damage. Fortunately, a few simple steps can go a long way.
Protect your valuables, such as:
  • Portable electronics
  • Jewelry and other valuables
  • Passport and travel documents
  • Receipts, bills and personal information
  • Prescription medication
Thieves know to look in closets and sock drawers, so items should be placed somewhere secure, like a safe, or offsite at a friend’s home.
Keep track of who enters the property by having your real estate professional ask each visitor to show identification and complete a registration form.
Ask your representative to limit the number of visitors at one time, or to bring an assistant to ensure that all visitors are escorted as they tour the property.
Above all, remember that it’s your home and you set the rules for visitors. Communicate early and openly with your registered broker or salesperson about how the open house will work. 

  • Five Key Ways the Real Estate Market has Changed
If you have owned your current home for many years, you may find that a lot has changed in the real estate world. Understanding what has changed can come in handy when you’re entering the market for the first time in a while. Here are a few of the key ways the real estate marketplace has changed, and how these changes may impact you as you buy or sell a home.
Buyers and sellers have more access to information
Real estate advice and trends are easily available online at any time. Today, many buyers turn to the online Multiple Listing Service® at REALTOR.ca to see what homes are available for sale. The accessible, up-to-date system is a big upgrade from paper-based listings. Besides learning about the sales and listings in your area, you’ll also want to take the time to learn about your rights and the protections available to you during the real estate process. The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) is a good place to start.
Real estate professionals are more accessible
Cell phones and mobile technologies have made brokers and salespersons easier to reach, so when you need guidance or advice, you are more likely to get a quick response.
Commerce is conducted electronically
Transactions often take place electronically as well. Contracts can be signed with electronic signatures, offers can be submitted via email, and money can be transferred electronically too. This can make the buying and selling process more efficient, if you choose to take this approach.
Real estate professionals can offer specialized service
Different age groups may look at real estate differently and have unique needs when it comes to buying or selling. The real estate profession has responded to this reality, and there are now brokers and salespersons who specialize in serving the boomer market. You can find one near you by visiting www.seniorsrealestate.com or www.thesenioragent.com.
RECO is looking out for consumers
The Ontario government created RECO in 1997 to protect home buyers and sellers. That means enforcing rules and a Code of Ethics for real estate professionals and providing helpful advice to home buyers and sellers. RECO also provides insurance that protects your deposit payment when it is held by a registered brokerage. One thing hasn’t changed: the knowledge and experience of a real estate professional can be very valuable when you’re buying or selling your home.
A broker or salesperson can help you navigate the process and provide key advice. Before you choose a representative, ask friends or family if they’ve worked with anyone they would recommend.
Be sure to interview a few candidates to ask them about their approach to the buying and selling process, their experience, the services they will offer, and the fees and commission they will charge. It’s also a good idea to ask for references and actually contact them.
A lot has changed in the real estate world, but the changes have provided a lot of benefits for home buyers and sellers. As always, taking the time to make an informed decision will go a long way in having a positive downsizing experience.

If you're looking for a new home, let us help you. We'll guide you through every step of the home-buying/selling process. To learn more contact us today at: 

(416) 904-1870 















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