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What you don't know about the property purchase process - and how that can hurt you

If you are buying a home for the first time, here are some quick tips on how to complete the home purchase process:

  • Determine how much you can afford.  There is no point wasting your time on properties that are beyond your financial means.  It's ideal to get a pre-commitment on financing, a service offered by most banks.  There are also many private lenders who have less onerous lending criteria than banks, but may also charge a higher interest rate than your bank.   Mortgage brokers will search the financing market for you, but charge a fee for that service.  Once you have selected the source of your financing, pay special attention to details, such as the date when a commitment expires and pay special attention to the fine print, such as clauses which note pre-commitments and rate holds are not guaranteed.   Better still, leave the reading of fine print to your real estate lawyer.
  • Study the market by regularly reviewing the many sources of real estate listings.  In the past, most listings were in print. Today, almost all listings are on the internet, which makes it quick and easy to review the latest listings.
  • Narrow your search by determining what areas have housing that meets your price point and other key criteria not related to price, such as proximity to schools and mass transportation.
  • Ask friends and relatives for the name of a real estate agent they know and trust.  Getting the help of an experienced real estate agent costs you nothing (commissions are paid by the seller) and the advice you receive could be invaluable. 
  • Never sign any sale or purchase agreement without first consulting with a real estate lawyer.    

Understanding the terminology in real estate purchase agreements

Even the most basic real estate purchase agreement includes terminology that you may not understand.  That's just one more reason why you should retain an experienced real estate lawyer in a well established law firm before you complete any real estate transaction.   Review the Real Estate Key Terms; you'll learn some of the most commonly used terms in real estate buy and sell agreements.

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Sharek Logan & van Leenen LLP Real Estate Legal Team

David van Leenen

Managing Partner

Michael Gibson

Associate

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