Rosie, can you show me properties listed by companies other than Royal LePage?
Yes, I can show you any listings that are advertised on the MLS.
One of the biggest misconceptions buyers have is that real estate brokerages only show their own listings. This is not true – your agent can show you any listing you want to see. If you are out driving around and see a sign on a property you’re interested in, call your agent and he/she will arrange a viewing for you.
If you have a dedicated agent, that agent may also be able to arrange viewings of private sales for you.
Rosie, what is MLS?
The MLS, or Multiple Listing Service, is a system set up to share property information among co-operating brokerages. Licensed agents get immediate access to newly listed properties through the MLS.
Any agent from any co-operating brokerage may show properties which are listed on the MLS to prospective buyers.
There is a public site: www.MLS.ca which lists information about properties available on the MLS.
Rosie, can an agent represent both the buyer and the seller?
Yes, an agent can do this, but both the buyer and the seller must agree to it by signing a Limited Dual Agency Agreement. This document states that the agent is limited in what he/she can tell the buyer or seller because of confidentiality owed to both parties. The agent will disclose any material problems he/she knows about the property and will provide comparable market information to the buyer and seller so that they may make informed decisions regarding offers. The agent will also facilitate the deal by writing and presenting offers and counter offers for both the buyer and the seller.
Agents are bound by a professional code of ethics to deal fairly with all parties involved in a real estate transaction.
Rosie, how much do I need for a down payment?
It is generally the case that first time buyers need at least 5% of the purchase price for a down payment.
The amount of your down payment will determine whether you have a “high ratio” (less than 25% down payment) or a “conventional” (20% or more down payment) mortgage. If your down payment is less than 25% of the purchase price, your financial institution will require you to insure your mortgage – this insurance can cost up to 3.75% of your mortgage total and is usually blended into your mortgage amount.
There are finance companies that require no down payment; be sure you understand the terms and how much these deals will cost over the term of your mortgage.
Rosie, what are closing costs?
Closing costs are the combined amounts of the things you must do in order to “close” the deal. These include land transfer tax (1.5% in the Halifax area), legal fees, house insurance, building inspection fees, adjustments for oil and taxes, and moving and utility transfer costs.
Rosie, why should I get pre-approved for a mortgage?
Getting a pre-approval is good for several reasons: it helps you confirm what you can afford and therefore avoid disappointment, and it will give your agent the ability to prove your financial standing when negotiating deals in this very competitive market. As an added bonus, it is a free service and it allows you to fully concentrate on finding the right home.
Pre-approvals can be obtained from financial institutions, mortgage brokers, or online.
Rosie, how do I know that I will get individual attention from my agent?
The best way to get an agent to commit to you is to commit to your agent. Whether you are buying or selling, you should have a contract with your agent that clearly outlines the responsibilities of both parties.
you first meet with an agent be sure to talk about your expectations.
Find out how the agent plans to work with you and also what will happen
if you are unhappy with the service. It is best to have these discussions
up front, as buying or selling a home will be a team effort with your