As a local Vancouver REALTOR® and a full time real estate agent, I come cross many real estate home buyers in Vancouver that are not familiar with the steps and process of buying a home or condo in British Columbia.
There are numerous steps involved with purchasing a House or condo for sale in Vancouver BC.
There are 3 level of purchase:
A) Pre-Purchase Activity
In this stage, the consumer feels the need to purchase. wether it is downsizing to a smaller property, upsizing because of growing family, or simply feel the need for safest investment. reviewing the products, getting to know the market and getting familiar with the prices, neighborhood, and other important detail.
In this stage the consumer engages in the purchase by stepping forward using all the information gathered by the step one to make a final decision.
C) Post Purchase Activity
In this stage the consumer has obtained the product and pending on the scenario, lots of excitement or remorse.
Step 1. Get your finances in order
This is one of the most important step in purchasing a real estate. Many buyers assume their affordability and after searching for months and finding that dream home, get the shocking news that they can not be approved financially. It is important to find a quality and top rated financial mortgage company that is familiar with all under-writings and new implemented banking requirements. In this stage, the buyer must provide all their personal financing information to their mortgage specialist in order to obtain pre-approval. In my other article we discussed about pre-approval and its lack of financing confirmation support, hence it is suggested to go one step forward and provide further details of personal income and finances to obtain more accurate conditional approval from your financial institution.
Steps 1 and 2 are in co-relation as your REALTOR® can refer you to a reputable mortgage specialist and or broker to make the process much easier and more pleasant.
Step 2. Choose your REALTOR®
Despite of the number of technology and real estate website available to brows all properties and Vancouver MLS® Listings, non can define detailed and focus search criteria. I also need to mention, the importance of hiring a REALTOR® professional as i have discussed in other articles. In the first meeting with your real estate agent, the agent goes through a wide range of questionnaire. By asking targeted questions, this professional agent, can narrow down the search and target your desired;
- Price range (Approved maximum budget)
- Home type (House, Condo or townhouse)
- Home Shape and size ( Character built, Modern contemporary, Living square footage)
In addition to the targeted search above, the agent also focuses on deal breakers as your need such as
- Pet friendly properties
- Backyard and or balcony
- Top floor or first floor
- Number of parking garage
- Defined property titles (Freehold, Leasehold, Coop)
When these criteria are assigned and targeted and discussed, your search and showing schedules are more focused toward the property of your liking without any time wasted. This is one of biggest advantages of using a REALTOR® and discussing this conversation in the first meeting.
Step 3. Showings and Viewings
As discussed above, your Vancouver REALTOR® has narrow down your search and focused on your search criteria and now has located few top properties for you to view. One of the advantage of having a REALTOR® working on your side, is that the real estate agent reviews all backend documents and notes that are not displayed publicly and eliminating the ones that are not aligned with your search. As an example,
Properties that the title holder has passed and it is in a hand of legally authorized person to obtain all approval prior to sale. These properties usually take longer to close and obtain all required documents.
A bank owned or troubled in finances that requires judgement from a court for sale proceedings which has much longer closing and much riskier to obtain.
Properties which are not safe to live-in and require extensive renovation or complete tear-down. this process requires city approval, permits and special financing.
- Needing TLC and or SOLS AS/IS
This is a code that property is in despair and requires extensive care and renovation. These are risky properties as the buyers fully take responsibility of any issues. Financial institutions are usually do not support the financing on such risky properties.
- Special assessment and strata issues
This is for condos and strata properties that have an upcoming expenses to cover certain issue in the building which has not been remedied yet. This is also a risky situation as the buyer may be responsible for portion of the expense and most financial institution steer away from these strata properties for approval of finances.
- Renovation with no Permit
This is also a risky situation, although many Vancouver properties have unauthorized suite for additional income, and or have done renovation without a city permit, it can turn ugly as the city may want to inspect and change the entire renovated project which is the buyer cost.
- Title issues ( Covenant, easements, litigations, scheme)
It is important to know when searching for a properties online by yourself, non of the information above is mentioned publicly. So it is crucial to have a REALTOR® review all the situation and advise a legal advisor to consult these situation with the buyer.
Step 4. What to see when viewing
Many buyers don't know what to see when viewing the property. They simply walkthrough, looking at furnitures and decoration. It is important when viewing a property for a first time to:
- Look for first and last impression
As a buyer, if you see yourself and or your family living and walking toward the door, sitting in the living room, cooking in the kitchen, and or entertaining your guests, it is starter feeling to connect.
- Look for potential
Don't see the seller's furniture, see yours and observe the potential for putting a right color on the wall, changing the chandelier, change the kitchen cabinets and so on. It is important to see the opportunity and potential. not the existing condition.
- Room sizes
observe living room and bedroom sizes. Does your king bed fits comfortably in the main bedroom? how about your sectional sofa in the living room?
- Bathrooms and comforts
Number of bathrooms always important specially for families. Also consider the size of bathroom and their location in the house. Are the bathroom close to bedrooms? Is there an en-suite bathroom in the main bedroom? is there a guest bathroom? or they have to use the main one?
- Home direction
Property direction is important for many buyers. Capturing the natural light, sunshine in a proper season, and or exposed view of your privacy.
Look for number and space of the storages. are there enough space to put all your luggages and chrismas decorations?
Step 5. Make an offer
After viewing some properties, you found your desired property and know the one you just viewed is the one. It is time to make an offer. In your first consultation with your REALTOR® you discussed about the market, whether it is a buyer's or seller's. Based on that information, your agent will provide you with all the information to prepare the offer and all the condition that protects a buyer for investigating their purchase on that for sale house or condo in Vancouver. There are various number of conditions (subjects) depending on the type of the property.
- Financing approval
- Title Review
- Documents review (Strata documents, Property Disclosure Statement,
- Insurance approval
- Property Inspection (Oil Tank, Asbestos and Mold are addition)
and may there be some additional condition depending on the property situation and type.
This stage is another example where you need a professional REALTOR® familiar with the neighborhood and market. Your agent negotiates the offer and directs you toward all required consultation with accountants and legal advisors, protecting your interest at all time.
Step 6. Removing the subjects and deposit
After a hard negotiation, your offer is accepted. The subjects (conditions) time length in the "Contract of Purchase and Sale" or CPS depends on the real estate market and financial institution's need. a regular practice in a balanced market has 7-10 business days for the buyers to review all documents and get their full approval confirmation in order.
Your real estate agent actively researches all documents and is in a direct contact with you and your legal advisor for providing all the necessary information to be reviewed. When every subjects is satisfied and safe, buyers sign a subject removal form, declaring their satisfaction with all the subjects and provide the agreed deposit to be given to the trust account.
Congratulations. You officially purchased your property!
Step 7. Prepare for closing and lawyer
Depending on the date of closing assigned in the contract, there are three specific dates to understand.
- Completion Date
Is a date when lawyers transfer the title and the seller gets paid in full.
- Possession Date
Is the date when buyers obtain the key to move in.
- Adjustment Date
When the lawyers adjust and pay all taxes and file fees.
In most cases, Adjustment and completions are the same dates and possession sometimes a day after the completion to give the sellers enough time to clean and empty the property.
about a week or two before completion date, your real estate lawyer will have you sign all necessary papers and is in direct relationship with real estate broker conveyancing department as well as your financial institution.
Step 8. Moving
Many buyers hire a moving company and start preparing to move right after they remove the subjects. It is a good idea to secure a moving company and organize all your moving schedules, specially when you have pets. Did you read my article on how to care for pets when moving?