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DEXTER REALTY BUYER’S GUIDE
Congratulations on taking this rst step toward buying a home! Buying a home, whether it’s your rst time or your fth, can be a little overwhelming. While it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement, it’s even more important to keep your eye on the big picture. Your new home might be the single most valuable purchase you’ll ever make—one that can increase your future net worth as you build equity in your home. We have condensed four decades of in-house expertise into an easy-to-use guide for rst-time home buyers and seasoned investors alike.When it comes to buying a home, we know real estate stakes are high. That’s why we set our standards even higher.
Key questionsChoosing the right realtorDexter’s promiseMortgages & pre-approvalsMaking an educated offer59131721Contents
Conditions, inspections & waiversClosing costsPreparing to moveMoving checklist Notes2325293137
5Key questions to decide before purchasing a homePride of home ownership can be one of life’s greatest joys and biggest accomplishments. It is an exciting time, and our hope is that this guide will offer helpful insights and peace of mind during your home buying journey.Let’s get started.When embarking on your journey, the rst step is to focus your search through the answering of key questions. These will help you determine where you want to live,
6what type of home you’re looking for, and ultimately separate the “must have” features from the “would be nice to have” features in your new home.• What type of home are you looking for? Single family, semi-detached? Apartment or townhouse?• What about the age of the home? • How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?• What are you looking for in a kitchen or family room? Do you want a separate dining room? What is your preferred layout?• What are your high priority features? Hardwood oors, ensuite, replace? View?• What other types of rooms do you need? Main oor laundry room, home ofce?• What about parking & storage space? • Is proximity to transit & schools important?• Is energy efciency important? Newer windows or a high efciency furnace?• How is your daily commute? How easy is it to get to the places you need to go?
• How close do you need to be to transit, shopping, schools, hospitals?• Are there any important location factors? Backing on to parks, road trafc?• What size of yard or balcony are you looking for? Is the backyard important? Or is a side yard okay? What about the front yard?• What other landscaping features are important? A fenced yard, play areas, pool, gardens?• Is it important what direction the house or condo faces?• How much do you want to invest beyond the purchase price of the home in terms of nancial or sweat equity, if you can’t nd all the features that you want?• How long do you plan to live in your new home? This can impact the type of home, the location and how much you will spend.• If you are looking for a condo, is the possibility of having a pet important? Invariably there will be tradeoffs, but rest assured that the right REALTOR® is here to help you sort through your options and help you nd your new home.
9Choosing the right REALTOR®What do we mean when we talk about “the right” REALTOR®?We mean nding the professional real estate agent whose expertise and approach to nding a new home will perfectly compliment your particular style. Why work with a REALTOR®?In the purchase of a property, you’ll be negotiating with a home owner who has an experienced REALTOR® working for their best interests—and you deserve the same. But the reasons for working with a professional agent, backed by a reputable brokerage, don’t stop there.First, it’s important to understand whose interests REALTORS® are legally bound to serve in a real estate transaction. The Listing AgentThe Listing Agent is under contract with the home seller to market and sell their property for the best possible price.
11A listing agent can:• Arrange a showing of a property of interest.• Act in the best interest of the seller at all times. • Provide details about the property.• Cooperate with agents working with buyers.Your Personal REALTOR® As a buyer, when you engage the services of your own, personal agent, you get an experienced professional working in your best interests, who provides:
12• Showings for all properties that match your search criteria.• Expert advice on essential clauses such as home inspections and nancing, to ensure you’re fully protected.• Expert negotiation of the offer to purchase to achieve the best possible price and terms, for you the buyer.• Expert advice on market value and inclusions, and insight into when you might want to walk away from an offer.• Discovery and disclosure of all information about the property, including liens, warranties, disclosures, market statistics and planning activity in the area. As your Personal REALTOR®, your agent’s job is to ensure you are an educated buyer in all aspects of your home buying process. It’s our goal at Dexter Realty that every buyer enjoys the highest standards of professional service from their Real Estate Professional.
Dexter’s promiseDexter only accepts the most dedicated, empathetic, and motivated agents. When we use the title of “agent” to describe our 160+ team members, that designation was earned, not given.Our clients can rest assured that they’re always getting the cream of the crop—we wouldn’t have it any other way.We don’t just follow the standards for quality—we set them. We’re meticulously above-board in every dealing. Our agents and clients alike take condence in the faultless integrity that denes our very DNA.Integrity, we believe, is what ultimately denes the highest level of service. It’s also a fundamental aspect of what denes us as a company. That’s why we’re careful to have honest, thorough discussions with each and every one of the buyers we work with. We don’t inate expectations or badger clients into making a quick purchase, because our goal is your best experience, not a fast sale. We’re happy to show you every property of interest and to seek out others that meet your “must haves”—we’ll support you in your search for as long as it takes to nd the home you want at a price you’re happy to pay.13
15A Reputation EarnedThrough our unwavering dedication to our clients, we earned our place as the company to use in the Lower Mainland.No one gets lost in the shufe at Dexter. A proud independent brokerage, we’re big enough to be effective, compact enough to offer an unmatched level of personal attention. This care is reected in our approach to every segment of the marketplace, extended to customers of every kind and any price range, and seen in every Dexter agent from anywhere in the Lower Mainland. Each buyer’s purchase is of the utmost importance to their lives—and we feel the same way about their success. Enjoy the security and condence that comes from dealing with professionals who care.Well InformedBeing well-versed in rules and regulations requires ongoing commitment, not just a license. We’re typically the rst to hear about any changes to British Columbia’s real estate process. Our agents are so well informed that others often compliment their professional skills, even when representing the other side on a contract.
16Dexter Realty is completely independent and not afliated with any nancial institution, which means that if we are asked to help arrange nancing, we are free to seek the best rates and terms. There is no conict and no bias. Our loyalty is to you alone.That’s the quality of professional you deserve to have on your side, making sure you get the best deal and avoid any unwanted surprises.
17What to know about mortgagesThe mortgage industry is a highly competitive eld, one where interest rates can change at any time. Partnering with a reputable mortgage broker or nancial institution to help you nd the right mortgage product, at the best rate, is a key aspect of the home-buying process. What is pre-approval?Put simply, pre-approval is conrmation that a lender has stated, in writing, that you qualify for a mortgage loan based on your current income and credit history. This approval usually species a term, interest rate and mortgage amount, and will be valid for only a specied amount of time. So if your search for the perfect home takes a bit longer, you may need to re-do your pre-approval. While there’s really no downside to getting a mortgage pre-approval, there are a lot of potential benets—especially if you’re house hunting in a competitive city like Vancouver. Not only can this conrmation of your mortgage give you condence that you’re looking in the right price range, but it can also let sellers know
18you’re serious about buying a home. In a multiple-offer situation, a pre-approval might be the difference between losing that perfect home and a successful offer.Benets of Pre-Approval While it is not mandatory, mortgage pre-approval is strongly recommended—particularly for rst-time buyers—as it can offer several advantages that can save you time and money. Know your budgetStart your search with the condence of knowing what you can afford, and what you’d be looking at for monthly payments.Simplify your searchSave time by focusing on properties in your ideal price range.Save money Rate guarantees and mortgage terms can save you money for years to come.
19Enhance your credibility With a pre-approval in hand, you are announcing that you are a serious buyer and that your nancial situation is sound. Get a better dealThat credibility can translate into negotiating power. Sellers like to know that buyers already have nancing in place, and can be more willing to negotiate with those buyers—which can mean you ultimately get a better price5 easy steps to get your mortgage pre-approved1. Talk with a mortgage specialist. There are hundreds of options to choose from when it comes to lenders. Independent mortgage brokers tend to offer the most options because they do not just work with one lender. However, if you have a good relationship with your bank or nancial institution, contact them as your rst step towards nding the right mortgage for you. But be sure to compare rates.
202. Complete and submit your application with the mortgage broker. They will collect your nancial and personal information in order to nd out how much mortgage you can carry. This can be done online if your schedule is too busy for a face-to-face meeting. 3. Gather all the necessary documents. The mortgage broker will give you a list of documents that the banks/lenders need to nalize the mortgage.4. Verication of your details. They will do their checks and balances to make sure that you are not getting in over your head.5. Obtain a copy of your pre-approval. This is a powerful negotiating tool. The seller of your dream home will feel more condent that you are the right person.At Dexter, we only recommend trusted advisors. And while we don’t have any industry afliations, we also don’t hold back when it comes to telling our clients about the best in the business. In the mortgage industry, that’s Jerry and Stephen Jackman of ThinkMortgage.com
21Making an educated offerYou’ve found the right REALTOR® and secured your mortgage pre-approval. And now you’ve found that perfect new property, the one that meets your “must haves” and ts in your budget.Fantastic! You’re doing everything right, and you’re ready to work with your REALTOR® to make an offer. What happens now? 1. Your REALTOR® will conduct a detailed CMA (Comprehensive or Comparative Market Analysis) complete with comparable active and expired listings, recent solds and historical data relevant to determining the market value of the home. This will empower you to make an informed decision. 2. Your REALTOR® will then prepare an offer that protects you, follows your instructions and matches your schedule and needs.3. Your REALTOR® will explain the details of the offer, the terms and suggest options for specialty clauses
22ensuring you know exactly what you are agreeing to.4. Your REALTOR® will present and negotiate the offer on your behalf to get you the home that you want at the best price and terms available. 5. You will need funds for a deposit—typically approximately 5% of the purchase price. This can be paid upon acceptance or upon subject removal, and will go towards your purchase price on closing.What happens next:• The seller may accept your offer—congratulations!• The seller may reject your offer—not common, but it can happen and your REALTOR® would endeavor to nd out why.• The seller may counter your offer, changing the terms of the offer and presenting that counter offer to back to you. • Negotiations then continue until agreeable terms between the seller and yourself are reached, or until your REALTOR® knows an agreement cannot be reached and it is time to walk away.
23Conditions, home inspections and waiversYour offer has been accepted. Congratulations! Now we need to satisfy the conditions of your successful offer.This usually involves performing a home inspection, getting the rest of your personal information and the property information to your mortgage broker or bank, and arranging for any other information that might be necessary, such as surveys, reviewing the title and any strata documents. Your REALTOR® will help you make all the necessary arrangements to ensure that the entire process runs smoothly before the deadline, and help obtain answers for any questions you might have. Finding a Home InspectorHome inspections allow you to scrutinize the details of the home and can be vital in saving you from unpleasant
24surprises. Your Dexter REALTOR® will be happy to recommend a number of highly reputable home inspectors. We advise considering the following when making your nal decision as to which inspector to bring onto your team, and what to look for when working with them:• Ensure that the home inspector is a qualied and licensed professional. • Ensure the home inspector checks for visible issues with plumbing, electrical systems, the roof, insulation, walls, ceilings, oors and windows, and the condition of the foundation. They can also check that included chattels, like furnaces and air conditioners, are in proper working order.• Ensure your home inspector gives you an up-close and personal look at your new home. It takes at least 3 hours to go through all the systems and complete the home inspection, and, if there are any problems, you'll want to see them rst-hand. Your inspector will also give you maintenance tips and recommendations for easy x-ups, if necessary.• Ensure that in the end, you receive a detailed report that summarizes the condition of your home.• At that point it is your decision whether or not you proceed with your purchase, or walk away from the property.
25Closing costsYou’ve done it all—identied your needs, found the right REALTOR®, gotten pre-approved for a mortgage, found the home of your dreams and had your offer accepted. With the help of your REALTOR®, you have navigated negotiations, conditions, home inspections and waiver. So all that’s left to do is hand over your down payment, collect your mortgage funds, pay the seller and get the keys, right? Not quite. You’re near the end of your journey. But there are still some nal costs between you and your new home.You may have to pay fees, taxes and legal fees when the purchase of your new home closes. Here are some costs to consider. Please note that all prices are approximate:GST 5% OF PURCHASE PRICE ON NEW CONSTRUCTION. THERE IS A POTENTIAL REBATE ON THE GST*INSPECTION $400 TO $800 – WE CAN PROVIDE YOU WITH A LIST OF QUALIFIED HOME INSPECTORS WHICH YOU CAN CHOOSE FROM
26PROPERTY PURCHASE TAXTHE TAX IS CALCULATED AS 1% ON THE FIRST $200,000 AND 2% UP TO $2,000,000, 3% UP TO $3,000,000 AND 5% ON THE BALANCE.FIRST TIME HOMEBUYERS ARE EXEMPT FOR PURCHASES UNDER $500,000 AND PARTIALLY EXEMPT UP TO A MAXIMUM OF $525,000 (HAVE TO BE A RESIDENT OF BC FOR ONE YEAR).SURVEY CERTIFICATE (HOUSES)$250 TO $350 – THIS CERTIFICATE THAT SHOWS THAT THE HOME AND OUTBUILDINGS ON A PROPERTY DO NOT ENCROACH ON OR CROSS PROPERTY LINES. THE VENDOR MAY BE IN POSSESSION OF THIS CERTIFICATE AND IT IS NOT NEEDED FOR STRATA BUILDINGS (USE THE STRATA PLAN).STRATA COST ADJUSTMENTTHE VENDOR WILL BE COMPENSATED FOR STRATA FEES AND PAID AFTER ADJUSTMENT DATE.FORM A (STRATA)$50 – REQUIRED BY THE STRATA ACT TO SHOW VENDOR DOES NOT HAVE OUTSTANDING STRATA FEES.
27INSURANCE BINDER$35 – NECESSARY TO SHOW THE MORTGAGE LENDER THE PROPERTY IS SUFFICIENTLY INSURED.PROPERTY TAX ADJUSTMENTTHIS AMOUNT WILL VARY DEPENDING ON THE AMOUNT OF THE PROPERTY TAXES AND THE CLOSING DATE OF THE PURCHASE. PROPERTY TAXES ARE TRADITIONALLY DUE ON OR ABOUT JULY 1ST OF EACH YEAR. IF ONE PURCHASES A PROPERTY BETWEEN JANUARY 1ST AND JUNE 30TH THEN THE SELLER WILL OWE THE PURCHASER TAXES AS THE PURCHASER WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING THE YEARS TAXES COME JULY 1ST. IF ONE PURCHASES A PROPERTY BETWEEN JULY 1ST AND DECEMBER 31ST THEN THE PURCHASER WILL OWE THE SELLER TAXES AS THE TAXES WILL HAVE BEEN PAID FOR JULY 1ST. PROPERTY TAXES ARE ADJUSTED TO THE EXACT DAY THE PROPERTY IS TRANSFERRED.
28* GST REBATE – 36% OF THAT PORTION UP TO $350,000, PHASED OUT UP TO $450,000* BUYERS WHO ARE NOT CANADIAN CITIZENS OR PERMANENT RESIDENCE ARE SUBJECT TO A 20% TAX INSURANCE INSURANCE IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF OWNING A HOME, WHETHER THAT HOME IS A STRATA PROPERTY OR A DETACHED HOUSE. YOUR OFFER SHOULD BE SUBJECT TO OBTAINING INSURANCE COVERAGE AND REVIEWING THE COSTS INVOLVED. FOR A STRATA PROPERTY, THERE WILL ALREADY BE AN INSURANCE POLICY IN PLACE FOR THE STRUCTURE. YOU WILL WANT TO RECEIVE A COPY OF THIS POLICY AND SPEAK TO YOUR OWN INSURANCE AGENT AS TO WHAT ADDITIONAL COVERAGE IS NEEDED.
29Preparing to moveCongratulations, you're about to move into your new home!Typically you will have anywhere from 30-90 days to get everything ready for your home. This period could be shorter or longer, though, depending on what you need and have agreed upon with the seller. The closing date is when you take ownership of your home. You take possession a day or two after, typically, and that’s when you’ll be able to move in.It is a good idea to get things organized well in advance of the closing date to reduce the stress of the move.Lawyers/Notaries Your REALTOR® will send your lawyer/notary the information about your purchase. You will need to provide them with additional information such as: insurance, down payment information, fee payments, adjustment payments and possibly other signed documents that they ask you for. You will then meet with the lawyer/notary about a week before the closing to nalize everything & sign all the required documents.
30Down Payment and Closing CostsMake the necessary arrangements to have the funds available when the lawyer asks for it. Liquidating some assets can require some additional time.Movers Whether you are using professional movers, renting a truck or getting a bunch of friends together, plan and organize it early.Insurance The lawyer/notary will need a copy of your home insurance before closing so that the nancial institution will release the money to them. Call your insurance broker with the property information. They might also want to know the age of the house, the condition of the roof, furnace, electrical system, as well as other general information.Change of Address It’s time to start giving out your new address to everyone. Use our checklist to make sure you have everyone covered.
31Utilities It is important that you call the local utilities to get their services changed into your name. These include phone, internet, television, gas, electricity, water, and any rental agreements. Remember, too, to cancel the services at your old address.Moving checklistThere are few times in our lives that are busier than when we’re moving homes. We’ve compiled this checklist to help you feel condent you’ve covered all the details as you approach—and reach—the big day. 6 Weeks BeforeGet estimates & hire a mover. Here are several questions to ask: F Are on-site estimates offered? F How is pricing determined? F Will the movers pack items? (If so, additional cost?) F What insurance is included? F What additional charges may arise?
32 F Or, call and get an estimate on renting a moving truck. F Get all estimates in writing, and request signed copies. F Contact your insurance company for additional coverage (optional). F Create a binder to hold all move-related paperwork (checklist, contracts, receipts)5 Weeks Before F Conduct a room-by-room survey. Sort items to keep, donate, discard & sell. F Organize & hold a garage sale, if desired. F Have valuable items appraised. Photograph or videotape—note any damage. F Phone to arrange for transfer of homeowners/rental insurance. F Locate health practitioners in the community you are moving to, make arrangements to have standing prescriptions at a pharmacy near your new home. F Notify kid’s schools, transfer records. F Register at a new school.
334 Weeks BeforeGather packing supplies, including: F Boxes (various sizes, wardrobe & specialty boxes) F Box cutters F Tape (packing, masking, blue painter's) F Tape dispensers F Wrapping materials (bubble, plastic, tissue paper) F Labels F Fill out the Change of Address form with the post ofce F Send friends and family a “we’re moving” announcement3 Weeks Before F Pack contents of garbage, attic, and storage areas, as well as other infrequently used items. F Mark boxes and furniture with appropriate labels. F Label & number each box. Keep a master inventory list with contents of each box. F Make arrangements to have electricity, phone, gas, water, sewer, garbage/recycling, cable/satellite
34disconnected in your old home the day you leave and installed in the new home the day before you arrive. F Call a locksmith to have your new home changed on moving day or shortly thereafter. F Arrange to have a cleaning company prepare the new home before you arrive, if desired. 2 Weeks Before F Pack the bulk of your items. F Notify magazines, newspaper deliveries, banks, and credit card companies of your new address. 1 Weeks Before F Print an information sheet for the movers. Include new address, directions & your cell phone number. F Finish packing. Set aside enough clothing for the week ahead plus a suitcase to pack. F Place small valuables & important documents in a box/bag. Ask a friend to hold onto it until your settled, or keep it in a safe place on moving day. F Discard any hazardous materials that cannot be moved in the moving truck.
35Create a last-out, rst-in box with all day to day necessities, including any of the following that are acceptable: F Bedding & Towels F Toiletries & Toilet paper F Basic tools F Cleaning supplies F Medications F Snacks F A few dishes F Make sure essential tools are handy (screwdrivers, wrench, pliers, tape etc.) F Consider hiring a cleaning company to come in and do a quick clean after the movers leave or schedule a day that you will come back and make sure everything is in place for the new occupants. Moving Day F Do a walk through before the movers arrive to make sure everything is packed & labeled. F Make sure there are no items left behind. F Give keys to your Dexter REALTOR®.
36 F Arrange for someone to direct the movers at your new home. Moving Into Your New Home F Test faucets, toilets, utilities, smoke detectors & phone systems. F Begin to unpack. F Flatten boxes. Set them out for recycling or store for future use. F We recommend getting new locks or re-keying the current locks at your new home and making at least 2 copies of your new keys.Within 30 Days of Your MovePick up mail being held at the local post ofce and change address for the following: F Driver’s License F Bank F Revenue Canada F Auto Registration F Nexus Card (if you have one)
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