South Okanagan
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Buying or selling a home is a complicated business transaction. It's not a purchase or sale you want to regret. So take the time to select in advance an experienced team of experts you can trust. The expertise you need will include the services of a REALTOR®, and may also include a lender, a lawyer, a home inspector and an insurance broker. By involving these individuals at the right time, you can ensure that everything goes smoothly and that you don't pay a big personal and financial penalty.

Whether selling or buying, selecting a REALTOR® to act on your behalf has many distinct advantages. As a professional in the field of real estate, a REALTOR® has skills, knowledge and experience that most buyers and sellers don't have. In British Columbia, only real estate professionals who are members of the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) can call themselves REALTORS®. When you enlist the services of a REALTOR®, you are asked to sign an agency agreement which legally obliges him or her to look after your best interests as a buyer or seller. A REALTOR® will not only adhere to provincial laws, but to a code of ethics that assures you will receive only the highest level of service, honesty and integrity.

Knowing that a REALTOR® is working for you and acting as your advocate during a real estate transaction will help you get the best deal possible. Before selecting a REALTOR®, interview several who are familiar with the area you want to buy or sell in.

Ask about their track record, their knowledge of the neighborhood, selling or buying prices in the surrounding area and how they will handle a sale or purchase on your behalf. Also be sure to discuss the REALTORS® commission or fees.

Bringing in other experts:

If you are selling ...

To help you decide on an asking price, your REALTOR® will analyze your home and compare it with similar houses for sale or recently sold in the area. The price you decide on will be based primarily on the home's fair market value. But your decision will also be affected by the strength and trend of the real estate market, interest rates and consumer demand for your type of property.

Your REALTOR® will then develop a marketing plan that may include open houses, advertising and listing options. He or she will also provide you with tips to make your home "show" better to prospective buyers. Once your home has been "listed", it is wise to have a lawyer or notary standing by to help ensure your rights and interests are fully protected and to complete the sale successfully when you find a buyer.

Select a legal professional you have used before for real estate transactions, or someone who is recommended by people you know and trust. Your REALTOR® can give you the names of several to contact, but he or she cannot recommend or endorse anyone specific. Be sure to ask about their fees and do shop around.

If you are buying ...

When buying a home, your REALTOR® will assess your needs, wants and overall budget and help you identify what you can afford.

Once you've decided on the kind of home and neighborhood you want and how much you can afford, select a legal professional to stand-by. The Offer to Purchase and other related documents can be complex. When you are purchasing property, it is important to have a legal professional to act in your best interests.

Most home buyers lack the funds needed to buy a home without assistance from a bank or other financial institution. If you are buying a home and need to borrow money, your REALTOR® can help you evaluate mortgage options and obtain financing at the best available rates and terms.

When deciding on which financial institution to deal with, start with your own bank, credit union or trust company - people who already know you. But, with so many options and rates to choose from these days, it pays to shop around. Your REALTOR® will be able to help you understand your options better.

Insurance on the home you buy is almost always required by mortgage lenders and must be in place before any purchase can be finalized. To select an insurance broker, you may want to consider the same broker you use for other insurance needs, or you can shop around for the best rates. Be sure that the insurance you get covers all your needs.

As a new homeowner, you want to avoid any expensive surprises. One way is to bring in a home inspector as a condition of your offer to purchase, or even before you put in an offer. Having the home you plan to buy inspected will make you aware of any serious problems and help you decide if you want to buy the property for the price you are considering, or at all.

Multiple Listing Service, MLS®, REALTOR® and REALTORS® are registered trademarks of the Canadian Real Estate Association. REALTOR® identifies a real estate practitioner who is a member of the Association.