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If you are considering purchasing a home or condo this year, one of the decisions you will need to make is whether you wish to purchase something that is newly built or whether you wish to purchase a resale property. While there are advantages and disadvantages to each, many people prefer to purchase a resale property in a neighbourhood that is already established.

If you are purchasing a resale property, here are a few things you need to know.

  1. Find out what you can afford.

Before you even begin your search for a resale property, you will want to find out how much you can afford – this way you won’t waste a lot of time looking at homes that end up being out of your price range.

A professional mortgage broker can analyze your financial situation, assets, and liabilities and help you get pre approved for a mortgage. This is important because many real estate agents won’t agree to work with you until you have been pre-approved. It will also put you in a better negotiating position with a prospective seller compared to other buyers who have not secured their financing.

Remember though, that the down payment and mortgage are not the only expenses of owning a home. Hold back some money for closing and legal fees.

2. What does the seller tell you about the home?

In the real estate listing, you will likely read about all of the wonderful features of the home you are considering, but before you put in an offer you will likely want to know about any drawbacks or things that might need fixing as well. It used to be the practice that sellers would provide disclosure statements about the home’s conditions or any problems, but today real estate lawyers advise them against doing this because it can open them up to potential lawsuits.

Some sellers though will have a home inspection conducted before they list their property and provide a copy of the report to potential buyers. Some sellers also provide history reports which show potential buyers whether the home has had any insurance claims on it such as fire, flood, or sewage backup. Reports like these can help you as a buyer, because it means that you know upfront what kind of home you are dealing with and you won’t have to go back and negotiate with the seller later.

The more information that the seller is willing to provide you with, the more informed a decision you will be able to make about whether a particular home is the right one for you.

Even if the seller provides you with an abundance of information though, it is still important to do your homework and it is highly recommended that you have your own home inspection done before you

3. Ask the hard questions.

If you have any suspicions or questions about the home you are considering, be sure to ask the sellers or their agents. Ask if the home has had any issues with roof leaks, a flooding basement, or mould. Even if the problem is something that has been repaired, you will want to know about it. Ask about the neighbourhood as well.

Sellers are legally required to answer your direct questions truthfully, so if a question makes them uncomfortable, or if they refuse to answer at all, then take that as a red flag. Discuss their responses with your real estate agent or home inspector and be prepared to either adjust your offer or walk away.

4. Talk to the neighbours.

There is a pretty good chance that when you are having your home inspection done – or even just looking at the home before you put in your offer – that neighbours are going to be poking their heads out or walking by to see who might be soon living in their neighbourhood. This is a great opportunity for you to talk to them and ask them what they know about the house and the neighbourhood.

Ask them if they have noticed any major repairs to the home over the last year. You can also ask them questions more specific to the neighbourhood such as whether there are any “neighbours from hell” that you need to watch out for.

If you don’t get a chance to talk to the neighbours, you can still do some research online. Find out if the street your potential home is on has been in the news for any issues like crime or flooding. Search the specific property address as well to see if anything negative comes up.

5. Get everything in writing.

An experienced real estate agent should be able to write your offer in such a way that it includes everything that you expect, but it doesn’t hurt to review the offer yourself as well. Everything that you expect when you close on your home is included in your offer. This can include things like window coverings, mirrors, light fixtures, TV brackets, etc. State that you want to receive to complete sets of keys.

Ensure that it is clear that the seller must leave the property in a clean condition so that you are not stuck with the work or expense of having to do junk removal before you can fully move in. State that the seller may not replace any item before they leave.

6. Work with a lawyer.

Working with a real estate lawyer can save you a lot of unnecessary headaches and expenses. Your lawyer will help you take care of all your closing details such as conducting a title search, land transfers, and ensuring a safe and legal transfer of funds.

Your lawyer will help ensure that your rights are protected.

Contact Minhas Lawyers today

If you are considering purchasing a resale property, we can help. Contact us today to book a consultation with a real estate lawyer.

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Minhas Lawyers Professional Corporation is a multi-practice law firm based in Mississauga. We advise and represent clients across various segments and practice areas.

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