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Before You Buy Or Sell, Resolve To Do The Research

An article from the Toronto Star

What would be an appropriate New Years’ resolution for someone planning to buy a home in 2014?

Many people have made a New Year’s resolution. While setting personal goals aimed at getting into better physical or financial shape is good, if you’re planning to be in the market to buy or sell a home in 2014, do yourself a favour and make a resolution to do your homework and get informed about the process. It’s an easily attainable goal that could save you time, aggravation and money.

Becoming well-informed will protect you and your investment because you’ll know the right questions to ask, know what to expect of your real estate agent and be able to anticipate potential issues. I can’t stress enough how important this is.

Perhaps the most common issue that gets homebuyers and sellers in trouble is failing to read and understand the documents they are signing. Your agreement with a brokerage is a binding legal contract, which creates rights and obligations for both you and the brokerage. Protect yourself by ensuring that the details you discuss orally are in writing, and don’t sign a document where all the blanks haven’t been filled in.

The same is true for the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. The seller may want to take the expensive gas stove with them and the furnace might be under a rental contract that you’ll need to take over. Before making an offer, detail in writing all the movable household items, like appliances and lighting fixtures, to be included or excluded as part of the transaction. Your offer can also include a clause stating that the seller will pay out, or the buyer may assume, any outstanding leases on the home’s major systems, such as furnaces, water heaters and alarm systems.

Buyers should resolve to not allow emotions to overtake common sense — when you fall in love with a property it can be hard to walk away. Stick to your budget and make your offer conditional on a home inspection — a qualified home inspector, engineer or contractor can identify underlying problems with a home’s major systems, like heating and electrical.

Resolve to work with a registered real estate agent who can help you navigate the buying and selling process. You’ll benefit from their knowledge, their commitment to professional standards that stress honesty, integrity and professionalism, and insurance that will protect your deposit and address any errors and omissions during the transaction.

But don’t simply hire the first agent you meet. Meet with a few to ensure you feel comfortable with them and their approach. Also, get references and contact those people to learn about their experience with the salesperson.