8 Steps To Buy a House or Condo For Sale in Vancouver

Let’s discover the 8 Steps to buy a house for sale in Vancouver:
Step 1 Decide Where and What to Buy
Step 2 Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Step 3 Choosing the Right Realtor®
Step 4 Becoming an Educated Buyer
Step 5 Making an Educated Offer
Step 6 Conditions, home inspections and waivers
Step 7 Preparing to Move
Step 8 Move in – Enjoy!
In my previous article we discussed the variety of homes and their types as well as the type of buyers and their motivations.
I love working in our beautiful city. Vancouver is combination of all nature, history and modern lifestyle. It is exciting time to be a realtor in Vancouver. In my first meeting with buyers, after determining their motivation to buy, I need to guide them through the purchase process. It is a complex process with many ups and downs. Working alongside of an expert real estate agent, makes a great difference. It is an exciting time and my hope is that this guide will bring clarity and peace of mind during your home buying journey.

Step 1
Where and what to buy:
Congratulations on taking this first step toward buying a home. Pride of home ownership is indeed one of life’s greatest joys and biggest accomplishments.
The first step is deciding where you want to live, what type of home you are
looking for and what features are “must have’s” or “would be nice to have’s” in a home.
Invariably, there will be tradeoffs, but rest assured I am here to help sort through the options to find you the best house, at the best price and with as many of your wants and needs as possible.

Step 2
Getting Pre-Approved for mortgage:
The mortgage industry is a highly competitive field and it is important to understand that interest rates can change at any time. Partnering with a mortgage broker or financial institution to help you find the right mortgage product at the best rate is key to your home buying process.

5 Easy Steps to Get You Pre-Approved For Mortgage:
1. Talk with a mortgage specialist. There are hundreds of options to choose from when it comes to lenders. Independent mortgage brokers tend to offer the most options because they do not just work with one bank. However, if you have a good relationship with your bank or financial institution, contact them as your first step towards finding the right mortgage for you. But be sure to compare rates.
2. Complete and submit your application with the mortgage broker. They will collect your financial and personal information in order to find out how much mortgage you can carry.
3. Gather all the necessary documents. The mortgage broker will give you a list of documents that the banks/lenders need to finalize the mortgage.
4. Verification of your details. They will do their checks and balances to make sure that you are not getting in over your head.
5. Obtain a copy of your pre-approval. This is a powerful negotiating tool. The seller of your dream home will feel more confident that you are the right person.
 
Having that Pre-Approval Documentation Can Offer You Several Benefits:
- Save you time by only looking at properties that you can afford.
- Save you money. Rate guarantees and mortgage terms can save you money for years to come.
- Less stress throughout the process. You will know that you are ready and capable of buying a home.
- Get a better deal on the home that you want. Sellers like to know that buyers already have financing in place.

Step 3
Choose the right REALTOR® in Vancouver
First, it’s important that you understand whose interests Realtors® are legally bound to serve in a real estate transaction.
The Listing Agent:
The Listing Agent is under contract with the seller to market and sell their property for the best possible price. Working with a listing agent means that they can:
• Arrange a showing of the property for sale.
• Assist with financing the property.
• Provide details about the property.
• Explain all the forms and agreements related to buying the property.

Your Personal Realtor®:
When you engage the services of your own personal agent—someone who is under contract to work solely in your best interest—you get all of the same services listed above plus your personal Realtor® provides:
• Confidential assistance that addresses your needs first.
• Honest, loyal and diligent care, free from any conflicts of interest.
• Access to all listings including MLS® listings, bank-owned properties, distress and estate sales, even homes that were previously on the market where the seller might still be interested in selling.
• Expert advice on useful legal clauses such as home inspections and financing to protect you fully.
• Expert negotiation of the offer to purchase, to achieve the best possible price and terms.
• Expert advice on market value, CMA (comparable market analysis), inclusions, location, as well as help you decide when you should walk away.
• Discovery, research, and disclosure of all information about the property including liens, warranties, disclosures, seller’s purchase price, and market and planning activity in the Vancouver area.
As your Realtor® in Vancouver, our job is to ensure you are an educated buyer in all aspects of your home buying process.
Step 4
Become an educated Buyer:
My exclusive Home Buyer Service Program will empower you with key market information and every possible advantage to ensure you become an educated buyer. Educated buyers are able to make informed decisions creating a stress free and enjoyable home buying process.

Here’s what you can expect from me when you enroll in my program:
• Absolutely no fees or costs to you as my buyer.
• Access to MLS® listings in greater Vancouver from a variety of advanced property search programs. I even have my own app!
• Access to a database of expired listings that may reconsider selling.
• Proactive prospecting within your desired area to locate potential sellers with homes that match your criteria, that are not actively for sale on the market now but may be considering selling. Yes! I found many house for my buyers doing this!
• Access to “For Sale By Owner” homes that match your criteria. It’s tough, but doable.
• Up-to-the-minute access to the best deals on the market, including brand new MLS® listings, newly price reduced properties, current bank power of sales, new home options, private sales and deals under contract that have fallen through.
• The most current real estate market information that may impact your buying decision, including mortgage changes, statistical sales data on median house for sale and sold prices, sales and months of inventory, local area market changes, trends and much more.

The Educated Process:
1. After our initial fact gathering meeting, I enter a detailed summary of your wants and needs for a dream home into my database and a variety of property search programs. That includes the type of home;
A) Condo for sale
B) House (Detached) for sale
C) Townhouse and duplex for sale

2. I won’t bombard your email with information that is not relevant to you. I will provide daily update emails on all the homes that are new to the market or have had a recent price change and that matches a broadened scope of what you are looking for.
3. As market area specialists in Vancouver, with a pulse on local and national real estate market trends and changes, I also ensure you are kept informed of all relevant industry changes that may impact your buying decision, including price trends and mortgage rates.
4. You get all the information about every property – the same information only I, as a Realtor®, have access to.
5. When you find a home that peaks your interest, simply contact me and I will arrange a convenient time to view.
Remember, when selecting what homes to view…
• Choose styles and types of home that meet your needs.
• Do a drive-by and inspect the area for your first impression.
• Select a maximum of 5 homes to visit in one day (3 to 4 is best).
• Schedule time after the showings to sit down and discuss the homes’ merits.

Step 5
Making an Educated Offer:
The ongoing communication and education you will receive from my team, will empower you to get the best possible deal on the home that you desire.
You’ve found the one. Fantastic! Here’s what happens next:
1. I will conduct a detailed CMA (Comparable Market Analysis) complete with comparable active, recently sold and historical data relevant to determining the market value of the home. This will empower you to make an informed decision. In addition, I will analyze the price by reviewing all Stats and Home Price Index (HPI) which exist in Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board from 2005.
2. I will prepare an offer, following your instructions, fits your schedule and needs.
3. I will explain the details of the offer and suggest options for specialty clauses ensuring you know exactly what you are agreeing to.
4. I will present and negotiate the offer on your behalf to get you the home that you want at the price and terms agreeable to you.
What happens after this:
• The seller may accept your offer – This is the best scenario. congratulations!
• The seller may reject your offer – not common, but it can happen and I would endeavor to find out why.
• The seller may counter the offer, changing the terms of the offer and present the offer back to you – This is excellent, meaning they are motivated to sell and we can make this happen.
• Our negotiations continue to reach agreeable terms between the seller and yourself, or until I know an agreement cannot be reached and it is time to walk away.
 
Step 6:
Conditions, Home Inspections, and Waivers:
The offer has been accepted. Now we need to satisfy the conditions.
This usually involves performing our due diligence and follow the offer conditions like, home inspection, Financing, Title review, strata documents review, Property Disclosure review, Insurance. Oil tank, mold, and asbestos, fall under inspection. We need to send your accepted offer and getting the rest of your personal information and the property information to your mortgage broker or bank informing him/her of our deadline, and arranging for the other information that might be necessary, like surveys, and condominium documents. I will help you make the necessary arrangements to ensure that the entire process runs smoothly before the deadline. In addition, we need to be in connection with your legal advisor/lawyer to have the entire documents review.
I tell all my clients that I’m an advisor, but I’m not a lawyer or an accountant.

Next, you will need to add some people to your team:
Finding a Home Inspector
Home inspections allow you to scrutinize the details of the home and save you from some unpleasant surprises. I would be happy to recommend a reputable home inspector, however, when making your decision….
• Ensure that the home inspector is a qualified professional. Being a member of an Association can reassure you are getting an experienced, knowledgeable professional.
• Ensure the home inspector checks for visible issues with plumbing, electrical systems, the roof, insulation, walls, ceilings, floors and windows, and the condition of the foundation. They can also check that included chattels, like furnaces and air conditioners, are in working order.
• Ensure your home inspector gives you an up close and personal look at your new home. It takes about 3 hours to go through all the systems, and if there are any problems, you will see them with your own eyes. They will also give you maintenance tips and easy fixups, if necessary.
• Ensure that in the end, you receive a detailed report that summarizes the condition of your home.
Choosing a Lawyer:
Lawyers are an invaluable member of your team whose job is to ensure that you get what you are paying for and in accordance with the terms of your agreement of purchase. Your lawyer will ensure:
• There is nothing on title that is not supposed to be there.
• The property taxes, utilities and condo fees, if applicable, are up to date.
• You have all the information that you need about your new home.
• Your mortgage lender is satisfied and that your mortgage is secured on property title as required by your mortgage agreement.
• You know exactly how much money you will need in order complete the transaction on closing day.
• They also ensure that the seller gets paid the purchase price.
 
Step 7
Prepare to Move:
Typically, you will have anywhere from 30 to 90 days to get everything ready for your home. It could be shorter or longer, depending on what you need and have agreed upon with the seller for the closing date. The closing date is usually the same as your move-in date. There are three closing dates:
A) Completion Date: This date is the date that your lawyer and the seller lawyer coordinate all documents and after the payment is completed, they transfer the title of the property to your name.
B) Adjustment date: This date is also the same date as above, when lawyers, pay all the taxes and assessments.
C) Possession Date: This is the day you’re looking forward to receive the key and move in to your new home in Vancouver. The practice is to have the possession one day after closing, to give the sellers enough time to move out and clean the property, providing an ample time and making it ready for you to move in. In certain circumstances, when the house is vacant, or the seller can move out and clean the property on the same date you’re moving in, we realtors assign the same date at completion.
It is a good idea to get things organized well in advance of the closing date to reduce the stress of the move.

• Lawyer: I will send your lawyer the information about your purchase. You will need to provide the lawyer with some additional information: insurance, down-payment information, fee payments, adjustment payments and possibly other signed documents that they require. You will meet with the lawyer about a week before the closing to finalize everything.
• Down Payment and Closing Costs: Make the necessary arrangements to have the funds available when the lawyer asks for it. Liquidating some assets can require some additional time.
• Movers: Whether you are using professional movers, renting a truck or getting a bunch of friends together, plan and organize it early. Specially for strata properties, where you have to reserve elevators and book a move-in and out.
• Insurance: The lawyers will need a copy of your homeowner’s insurance before closing so that the financial institution will release the money to them. Call your insurance broker with the listing information. They might also want to know the age of the house, the condition of the roof, furnace, electrical system, oil tank and hazardous material, plumbing material as well as other general information.
• Change of Address: It’s time to start giving out your new address to everyone.
- Banks and financial institution
- CRA and Tax office
- Driver License
- Health cards
- Cable and internet company
- Cell phone company
- Friends list
- Security and alarm company
- Family physician
- Vets and your pet related care
- Children’s school
- All memberships like gym and library
- All your previous online purchases
• Utilities: It is important that you call the local utility company to get their services changed into your name. These include gas, electricity and water. Remember, too, to cancel the services at your old address.
Step 8
Enjoy! I’m giving you the key to your new castle:
You Just bought a house. Oh my god! This is huge and a great achievement. Congratulation. You did it. You are now a proud homeowner in our beautiful Vancouver. I’m proud to give you the keys and I must say, that also comes with a small token of my gratitude, a gift. I’m grateful you chose me as your trusted Vancouver realtor. Did you benefit from my service? I survive on my client’s referral. And for their act of kindness of referring me to someone else, I have created a bonus system and giveaway a $500 referral fee when the deal closes.

Have more question regarding the process?
Contact me.