Building Your Homebuying Team
The vast majority of buyers work with a real estate agent and a mortgage lender, as well as a real estate lawyer. This team of professionals will make sure your home-buying experience goes as smoothly as possible, and handle any problems that come up with the process. Choosing people you trust, who understand your needs, and who are experienced in situations like yours is key to a good buying experience.
Your Real Estate Agent
The real estate agent you choose can be a huge asset. It's worth it to take the time to talk to several agents and find someone you work well with, who understands you, and who you trust. In particular, a real estate agent should have expertise in the particular neighbourhoods you're considering and with the home types you're looking for, and experience working with buyers like you. Your real estate agent will also likely be able to recommend other professionals they and their clients have worked well with before, like lawyers and contractors.
Just like with a real estate agent, lenders can have different focuses too. Be sure the person you're talking to, whether a representative of the bank or a mortgage broker, understands and has expertise with your particular situation. Mortgages for first-time buyers, self-employed people, investors, people in the middle of a divorce, people with lots of debt or a checkered credit history, and so on, can all have different considerations.
Your lender should be able to explain to you what factors will affect the mortgage they can offer you and if there's any steps you can take to improve your chances of approval at a great rate.
A real estate lawyer is important in the final stages of buying a home - they help you make sure everything is set up properly so that the home will be yours free and clear, and your rights are protected. Your lawyer will confirm the home's current owners and legal status and investigate things like builder's liens, easements, rights of way, and so on, as well as the details of all your legal agreements. Missing anything here can be expensive or even disastrous, so choosing an experienced lawyer is key.
On closing day, your lawyer will check for last minute claims to the title of the property, and handle the closing day financial tasks: releasing funds from their trust account to the seller's lawyer, and paying any money required on the date of closing, like land transfer tax.
A good real estate lawyer for your situation will have local expertise in the type of property you're buying, and will specialize in real estate law. Your lawyer should be able to explain all the legal factors involved in the home buying process on your side and on the seller's side, in plain language instead of the legalese that will be in the documents themselves.
Learn more about real estate lawyers here.
Other home professionals
Home inspectors, handymen, painters, cleaners, flooring installers, landscapers -- depending on the home you buy, you may need a whole team of other professionals for both necessary and nice-to-have home improvements. Your real estate agent likely has relationships with professionals in these fields as well, and can recommend someone to answer questions like "Are these hardwood floors salvageable or do I need new flooring?"
In very hot markets, buyers frequently waive home inspection conditions, but missing major issues like structural damage, plumbing problems, or electrical problems can be incredibly expensive. Having a home inspector who can walk through a showing with you is one strategy buyers can use to help protect themselves, if home inspection conditions would sink your offer and the seller isn't including a pre-listing home inspection.
Learn more about other home professionals here:Home Inspectors
Home Insurance Brokers