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" Tips For Home Buyers "

Welcome to our tips for Home Buyers page.  This advice was put together by Larry Matthews, our President/Broker with over 30 years experience in the real estate business.  This information page will attempt to answer the following basic questions as defined in today's market

1.We've decided to buy a home. What is our first step?

Once the decision is made to buy a home your first step is to get pre-approved for a mortgage.  All lenders offer pre-approval and there is normally no cost.  The pre-approval process will determine how much you can afford and you will know what price range to look you will want to start looking in.

NOTE:  We can help you here.  Just contact our office and we will have a lender come visit you at home at your convenience.  No charge or obligation.

2.O.K!  Now we're pre-approved, how do we find a home?

At this point many people will engage the services of a licensed realtor to work for them as a buyer's agent.  In this instance you effectively hire a professional to represent you in the sale.  In most cases this will not cost you anything more than a commitment to stick with that agent as in most real estate transactions the commission is paid by the home owner.  Once you meet with the agent they will determine your requirements and then search the MLS database to find homes that meet your requirements.  You may want to interview more than one agent to find one you're comfortable with.

Still again some people want to look on their own by driving around looking at signs, browsing adds in the local paper and visiting internet sites.

Our current day market is very busy and many homes sell before the sign goes up or an add gets in the paper, so having an agent working for you should give you an edge.

NOTE:  For a free information package complete with listing cuts (information on homes) and a no charge, no obligation meeting with an agent please contact us.

3.What things should I consider when buying a home?

Our experience has taught us that every home buyer has different priorities.  Some want a good investment, some want privacy, some want good schools, most want easy commuting distance to work, some want one level, etc.

Your priorities are the most important because you know what you want.  Our job is to help you find what you want, give honest opinions and answers but let you make up your own mind.  Then we help you negotiate price and terms that you're satisfied with.  Having said that, in our opinion the more important things to consider are:

A.  Location Does this location satisfy your needs and guarantee a fair return on your investment.

B.  Condition & Age:   Construction methods have changed; has the home been upgraded, how old is the roof, doors, windows, heating system, etc.

C.  Price:  Is it affordable.   The rates are low now, will the mortgage still be affordable on renewal date? (This is especially important for young families).

D.  Closing Costs:  These are the extra costs beyond your down payment that you will need to cover on closing day.   These include: lawyer fees, deed transfer tax, tax adjustments, fuel adjustments, surveyor's certificate and other dispersments.

E.  Services:  Municipal or on-site?  Usually municipality serviced lots are substantially smaller than one with on-site services.  8 to 15,000sqft as compared to 40,000 to 80,000sqft.  With on-site services you have to be careful of water quality and quantity and condition of septic system.

F.  Amenities:  What does the community offer?  For example the Municipality of East Hants has a public year round in-door pool that is easily accessed and not crowded that is located in Milford.  We also have a good minor hockey program and arena in Lantz; those are examples of amenities.

G.  Taxes:  Property taxes are becoming an important issue.  What is the local tax rate; is there a raise coming in the near future?

H.  Local Services:  Doctors, dentists, paper delivery, garbage pick-up, sidewalks, snow removal, shopping, restaurants, transportation.

I.   Schools and Churches: Important issues for many buyers.  Most parents want their children to access the best in education including high tech schools and school bus service, with churches; is your particular denomination offered in the area?  If not, how far would you have to go?

J.  Surrounding Area (Zoning):   What is in the immediate vicinity of your new home?  What's next door?   What  could be next door?  What does the zoning allow?  These are issues that could effect future re-sale, value and enjoyment of your new home.

K.  Annual Operating Costs:   What does it cost to maintain the home in regards to heat, lights, and maintenance, landscape and driveway up keep.

These are just some of the things to consider, others depend on your own particular circumstance regarding: house size, bedrooms, style, garage, rec room, number of baths, etc.  You will probably never find the perfect house but there is nothing wrong with trying to come as close as you can.

4.O.k.!  I found my house and I want to make an offer.  What do I do next?

If you are dealing with an agent the agent will draft up an agreement of purchase and sale or offer to purchase.  Here you are saying to the owner in writing; here is what I'm willing to pay for your property subject to certain terms and conditions.

Realtors use standard forms and clauses approved by the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors.  In Nova Scotia we have what is known as the "Statue of Frauds" which states that all contracts pertaining to real estate have to be in writing to be enforceable and legal so a handshake will not work here.   If not using a realtor we strongly suggest you have your lawyer draw up your contract.

5.Once we've come to terms, what happens next?

Your realtor and or lawyer will work through your conditions such as financing (although you're approved, the bank has to approve the house you are buying.)  Survey or surveyor's certificate confirming boundaries and house location on the lot.  The home inspection, insurance, assuming any equipment leases and a title search.  Other conditions include a water test, subject to your lawyers approval, any other issues you were concerned about addressed in the agreement.  Most conditions have a time frame to be completed with-in.  Once all conditions are met your sale becomes unconditional pending closing.

6.Things to remember before closing

A.  Hydro: Make arrangements to have the power switched. You will need civic address and meter number.

B.  Do you have movers organized?

C.  Keys!! Where will they be on closing date?

D.  Pre-closing Inspection:   Remember you have the right to inspect your new home before you pay for it.   This is to make sure it is the same as it was when you viewed it.

E.  Schools:  Do the kids have to register at their new schools?

F.  Doctors:  Many practices are not taking new patients.  A phone call will clarify things.

G.  Phone: A new phone book or local directory should be provided but you may have to ask.  Don't forget to have your phone hooked up.

H.  Fuel Oil:  Applicable if your home is oil heat.  Who is the local supplier?  When do they deliver?

I.   Local Paper: Do you read your paper every morning or evening?  You'll want it delivered.

If you have any questions or would like us to get you started in the process of purchasing your new home; please do not hesitate to contact us at your convenience.