Just when you thought you have found your dream home, you might be tempted to immediately make an offer or sign on the dotted line - but you should beware of doing this.
Once you make an offer, you can’t change it. The seller can accept it, decline it, let it lapse by doing nothing or sign it back with changes, as a counter-offer. Then it’s your turn to accept it, decline it, do nothing or sign it back. An offer can be signed back several times. Even if your offer is accepted with conditions, you can’t change it unilaterally.
Here are steps to ensure that your purchase as smoothly as possible.
Make sure your finances are in order
Most offer prices are based on what comparable properties in the same area have sold for, considering the property’s condition, location and any extras included; a realtor can help you prepare a reasonable offer. When you are ready to make an offer, it is important to make sure that you have already obtained financing pre-approval in the price range that you’re talking about. Also, ensure that the funds you need to set aside for your down payment will be ready by closing day.
Understand what you are signing
Make sure to read the agreement of purchase and sale carefully to see what you’ve agreed to buy. It is important to pay special attention to the section in every agreement that lists fixtures (attached to the property, such as ceiling fans) that are excluded and chattels (not permanently attached, such as appliances) that are included.
Home inspections and searches by a lawyer are important. Lawyers conduct title searches through the registry office to discover things such as easements, restrictions and mortgages held by the current owner that could prevent the property from becoming yours, free and clear, or restrict your use of it. They also do off-title searches for things like outstanding bills for municipal taxes or utilities. While lawyers help guides buyers through the process in all provinces, they are also required to complete a purchase in Ontario – only a lawyer is legally allowed to register a land transfer there.
Buying a property can be exciting, it can also be risky to get emotionally attached before you have a lawyer conduct searches, conduct an inspection, and make sure your finances are in order. So, make sure that before you sign you’re sure and you’re not just getting caught up in the excitement.