Ask An Agent: Five Questions To Ask A Realtor Before Buying A Home

Jon and Isabel Amante are a father-daughter realtor team to be reckoned with.

Between the two of them, the Re/Max Realtron Realty agents for Team Jon Amante have seen it all from buyers. Whether it’s buyers who don’t remember to get pre-approved for a mortgage before they go house hunting or buyers who forget about closing costs when budgeting for a home.

This is why they’re the perfect team to answer this week’s question.

READ: Ask An Agent: Should You Buy Or Sell First In A Real Estate Transaction?

What are 5 questions you should ask a realtor before buying a home?

What is the market like right now and is it the right time for us to buy?

I would say 90 to 95 per cent of the time, the people that we work with already know they’ve been pre-approved or they’re about to get pre-approved because of timelines. Either they need to downsize right away or they are having more kids, so they need to buy something right away and upsize. These people are already in a position to buy.

READ: Ask An Agent: Which Small Renos Provide The Biggest Value Boost?

But then there are those few who we meet with, like the first-time home buyers who think they’re ready to start looking. However, once we sit down with them to discuss the current market and what they’re about to get into, they say, “Okay, maybe it’s not the time for us to buy right now, but maybe in the next six months or the next year.”

Before you go looking, ask your agent this question and it’ll save both parties a lot of time and energy. As well, this will give you, as the buyer, an opportunity to see where you currently stand and where you need to get to to buy a home in today’s market.

How do you assess or justify the value of any specific property?

For this question, the buyer will want to look at three things regarding price: the asking price or how the seller or their agent might be pricing it (as they often have different motivations and strategies that come into play). the offer price, which is the price we as buyer agents may offer them, and the actual price that the property sells for.

Those three numbers might all be totally different, so as a buyer, you’re going to want to know how we as agents assess those numbers. It’s best to do a comparative market analysis, so that we know what the offer price is that we should go in with and the likely selling price.

READ: A Bad First Experience With A Real Estate Agent Led Her To Become A Great Agent: Meet Zuzana Misik

What negotiation strategies do you have in place when we’re ready to make an offer on a property we like?

For negotiation, there are multiple things you have to consider. If I’m the buyer, I want to know how that actually works. Is it just the price I need to look at? Closing date is another factor you should consider.

Maybe we can negotiate a bit on the price if we can given the seller a better closing date that accommodates them or vice versa. Then, obviously there are conditions and things like that. 

The third thing you can negotiate on other than price and closing date is the deposit. If we’re really serious buyers, maybe we only have $10,000 to $15,000 for deposit, but maybe you’re the type of buyer with $30,000 lying around and if that makes the deal sweeter for the seller, can you offer that amount? Should you offer that amount when negotiation?

READ: People Are Getting Caught In A Toronto Rental Scam, Here’s How You Can Avoid That

Can you take me through the entire buying process start to finish?

A lot of people will come to us and say, “We’re interested in buying and here are the six properties we want to look at.” This is because they’ll have information from going on condos.ca or realtor.ca, but don’t actually work with a realtor yet.

People these days have so much access to information that they do some of the work themselves and look at stuff, but then their like, “Oh wait, the very first step is to get pre-approved.” It’s important they ask this question and really know the whole process because forgetting pre-approval is like going shopping without knowing how much money you can spend. 

Asking this question helps them be more informed and agents always like working with well-informed buyers.

READ: Ask An Agent: Do You Need A Realtor For A Real Estate Transaction?

What costs will I incur as a buyer?

This is one of the things buyers hardly ever ask us about and we have to offer this information to them. We want to manage their expectations right from the get-go because there are times when buyers, or even sellers, won’t be aware of some of the closing costs and the thousands of dollars they have to pay for various things will shock them.

These costs include things like the cost of commission to the agent on the buyer and the seller side, lawyer fees for real estate lawyers and closing costs, like land transfer fees, taxes, an appraisal from the bank or an inspection. These are things not covered by the agent – it’s the clients themselves that have to pay for those extra costs. It’s really important for buyers to be aware of these costs and to ask ahead of time.

More from Aaron Broverman

Ask An Agent: Should You Devote All Your Savings To Your Down Payment?

Joe Rea knows just how expensive life can be these days. The...
Read More