General, Agreements, and Closing
Hire an independent agent. It will generally be to your advantage to have a REALTOR® working on your behalf. An experienced agent will be able to provide you with all the relevant information, advice, and guidance when making a purchase. When a buyer goes directly to the listing agent that agent is unable to provide you with unfiltered feedback. They are constrained by the agreement they have with the seller. As a result, they are unable to provide you with important information that will assist you in landing the best possible deal.
Generally no. If any party is going to benefit from a buyer going directly through the listing agent it’s the seller, not the buyer. It’s not uncommon for listing agents to provide a seller with an incentive if they also find the buyer. These savings will be directed toward to the seller and will not impact your purchase price. We have seen many buyers pay more than they should have because the listing agent was unable to provide proper advice on the value of the property.
No, not usually. In the vast majority of cases, the buyer will not pay their agent any money to buy a property. The buyer agent is paid by the seller. However, there are some cases where the buyer could be responsible for some or all of the commission. This is rare and usually occurs when a buyer wants to purchase a property that offers less commission than is stated within your Buyer Representation Agreement. Even if this is the case, most reputable agents will warn you of this in advance and discuss options.
As soon as you start seriously thinking about making a purchase. The earlier you hire an agent the more value you’ll obtain. A reputable agent will never pressure you, but rather work within your timelines.
There are many advantages to hiring an agent, but some include:
– Local expertise of the market
– Locating properties that best match your criteria
– Setting up showings
– Negotiating terms and conditions
– Access to discounts and reputable service providers
– Education on property features, styles, issues, etc
Yes and no. Depending on the agreement you sign with your agent, you may or may not be allowed to work with multiple REALTORS®. Typically, buyers should only have one agent for best results.
Yes, this is true, but it’s not recommended. Some select agents provide a kick-back to their buyers post-closing. However, the agents who do this often normally do so because they need the business. However, 9 out of 10 reputable agents won’t do this. Focus on the quality of service. An experienced agent will save you much more money than you’ll save on commissions.
Forms and Agreements
In the majority of cases, you will sign a Buyer Representation Agreement (BRA) when working with a REALTOR® to purchase a property. This agreement affords you the most protection as a consumer. It sets forth the extensive legal responsibility that the agent owes you as your representative. For most homebuyers, this is the agreement you want to have. The BRA must be signed prior to any offers being submitted on a property.
If you don’t sign a Buyer Representation Agreement, then you will sign a customer service agreement. Under this agreement, you are still provided with some legal protection, but not nearly as much compared to a BRA. The customer service agreement is most often signed during multiple representation.
This document discusses the various relationships you can have with a REALTOR®, client vs customer, and the duties and responsibilities owed to you under each. This document must be signed by you as a buyer or seller.
FINTRAC forms are part of the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act. For any transaction within real estate (except leasing), the agent must be able to confirm the identity of the client. It is also required to identify where the deposit funds came from, from who, and the institution where the funds were drawn from. These documents are a requirement, so don’t be surprised when your agent requests detailed information.
This is the foundation of your offer on a property. It outlines all the necessary clauses, terms, and conditions. For example, it will outline details relating to legal property details, price, closing, critical timelines, chattels and fixtures, buyer/seller/lawyer responsibilities, and conditions.
This document, submitted alongside the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, outlines who represents the buyer and seller. It will also set the commissions paid to the co-operating (buying) brokerage. Lastly, in multiple representation situations, this document will require each party to acknowledge that the agent is representing both parties.
If the accepted offer on a property contains any conditions, a Notice of Fulfillment or Waiver are used to firm up the deal (assuming the conditions have been satisfied/waived). The Notice of Fulfillment is used when the conditions have been satisfied by the buyer (e.g. the buyer obtained approval from the bank). A waiver is used when the buyer wishes to firm up the deal even if the conditions haven’t been fully satisfied. An amendment is used when changes need to be made to the agreement. A common event that may require an amendment occurs after a home inspection. For instance, an issue was noticed during the inspection and the buyer requires a change to the agreement prior to removing the condition. An amendment must be agreed to by all parties.
Both your lawyer and agent work on your behalf to help close the deal. Your lawyer is responsible to ensure that all closing paperwork is completed and to guide you through the legal process. Your lawyer will also outline all the related closing costs you’re responsible for. The agent’s primary role is to conduct any further revisits, manage potential issues, provide you with service provider referrals, assist with moving logistics, and provide assistance to your lawyer as required.
Yes. It is your responsibility to set up all utilities for your new property. If you’re not sure what company to call, ask your REALTOR®. Our buyers receive detailed instructions on setting up utilities and property insurance immediately after an agreement is firm. Keep in mind that property insurance must be set up prior to closing.
This will vary depending on the property. Generally, you will need to pay costs associated with lawyer fees, land transfer tax, and any money owed to the seller regarding pre-paid taxes and utilities. This is over and above your downpayment and other fees that may be required by your lender.
This is a personal choice. If your personal belongings are minimal, then moving yourself can be a great option. However, if you have a significant amount to move, then we always suggest hiring a professional moving company. We have a partnership with AMJ Campbell Van Lines, where our clients obtain V.I.P service and pricing.
Your lawyer will be able to give you an idea of how long it may take, but generally, you should get the keys sometime between 11am-4pm. The amount of time it takes is often dictated by how many closing must take place within the train of transactions and how fast the lender is at transferring the funds.
The day of closing, we always suggest to our clients to go to the property to ensure everything is as it should be. This includes testing all appliances and conducting a thorough walk-through. You want to ensure everything is working properly and that anything included in the deal is on the premises. If there are any issues you need to inform your lawyer and agent immediately. If you wait a day, two, or more, the ability of your agent and lawyer to help is substantially hindered.
Also, we suggest changing locks and all passcodes on the property.