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Buying a home: who you need on your team

Blog by Ian Watt | April 3rd, 2008

Buying a home: who you need on your team
Special to the Sun

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you'll ever make. So when it comes time to signing on the dotted line, make sure you don't make that decision alone.

To help you put together the right team of professionals, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers the following whose-who list of experts and what they should bring to the table:

Real estate agent. Among other services, your real estate agent will help you find a home, write an Offer of Purchase, negotiate a purchase on your behalf and save you a considerable amount of time, trouble and headaches. When choosing the agent you want to work with, don't be afraid to ask questions or call your local real estate association for advice.

Lender or mortgage broker. Many different institutions lend money for mortgages, including banks, trust companies, credit unions, caisses populaires, pension funds, insurance companies and finance companies. It can be a good idea to shop around and speak with more than one lender before you make a choice. Many Canadians choose to work with a mortgage broker because mortgage brokers don't work for any specific lending institution, they can often help you find a mortgage with terms and rates that will suit your needs.

Lawyer (or notary in Quebec). A lawyer can help protect your legal interests by ensuring the property is clear of liens, charges or clean-up orders and will review all contracts before you sign them and your Offer (or Agreement) to Purchase. Make sure your lawyer or notary is a licensed, full-time professional who understands the local laws and regulations, has reasonable fees and can explain things to you in plain language.

Home inspector. When considering purchasing a home, you should hire a knowledgeable and professional home inspector. He or she will be able to tell you if something in the home is not functioning properly, what repairs need to be done and whether there may have been any problems in the past.

Insurance broker. An insurance broker will help you with property and mortgage life insurance. Your lender can also help you with mortgage life insurance.

Appraiser. An appraiser will assess your property's worth and help protect you from paying too much.

Land surveyor. You may need the services of a land surveyor if the seller does not have a current Survey or Certificate of Location.

For more information on putting together your homebuying team and on other factors associated with buying a home, visit www.cmhc.ca, and search Homebuying Step by Step or call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642. For more than 60 years, CMHC has been Canada's national housing agency and a source of objective, reliable housing expertise.

© The Vancouver Sun 2008