Buyers Guide

Home.
It’s Where Your Story Is Written.

It’s more than wood and stone and square feet.
It’s the place you can’t wait to get to after a long flight.
It’s first steps, first stitches, and first dates.
It’s family dinners and backyard BBQs with friends.
It’s peace, safety, joy, and laughter.
It’s where your story is written.
Your story matters.

It’s my job to help you tell the best home story imaginable.
Kevin Machado

We help maximize value while taking the stress and uncertainty out of buying your home.

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Buying a home is a big thing to start thinking about. Whether it’s our first place, or our tenth rental, there’s much to deal with. It’s a lot like riding a roller coaster with emotional highs, mixed with some fears that at times make us want to jump off. At the end of the day we all want to be able to say that it was a great experience (and tell all our friends about it).

On this journey there are so many questions that fill our minds (maybe even stealing our sleep), but there are also the dreams of what could be right around the corner that get us excited.

I’m here to serve as a guide. My job is to help answer your questions, give you some peace of mind, and get you to where you want to be. That’s why I created this “Buyer’s Guide”: to walk you through some of those very questions you’re thinking about and to help you see what’s possible when you work with our great team.

WHAT’S YOUR WHY?

It’s important to know the answer to “why” you are wanting to buy a home.

  • Have you outgrown your current home with baby number three on its way?
  • Are you looking to get some equity out and simplify with a less expensive home?
  • Are you wanting to move into another part of town that better fits your lifestyle?
  • Are you looking to diversify your investment portfolio and add some cash-flow rental properties?
  • Has an opportunity come along that’s just too good to pass up?

So, what’s your “why”?

THE 6 STEPS TO BUYING A HOME:

1 | Get Prepared – Mortgage Pre-Approval

Buying a home is likely the most expensive purchase you will ever end up making. Before you start picturing yourself in a new home and picking out the wallpaper, we want to ensure you are financially informed and prepared for the step you’re about to take.

Getting preapproved for your mortgage is an important and easy step. When you talk with your mortgage provider they will help you ensure you’re ready to make that purchase and that you won’t be in over your head. This requires some document gathering and verifying information. A good mortgage broker will guide you through the process seamlessly and ensure you are getting the best mortgage possible. If you don’t have a great mortgage broker I have some really skilled ones I can recommend.

Quick Tip:
It’s not necessarily how much you’re approved for, but how much your monthly payment is. You want to make sure you’re comfortable making those monthly payments so you’re not stressed out or “house poor”.

Some other benefits of being pre-approved are:
  • Saves time. You can focus on properties that are at a price you are able to afford comfortably
  • Rate guarantee. They can hold a great rate for you for months
  • Less stress. You will know that you are ready and capable of buying.
  • Better offers. Sellers like to know that buyers already have financing in place, so this strengthens our negotiating position when making an offer

2 | Choose the Right Guide

When you choose a realtor to work with what you are doing is starting a relationship with someone you trust will guide you to where you want to be (your “why”). It’s so important to choose the right “guide” / realtor to help you navigate all the important steps and details of buying your home for the best possible value.

Some questions you should be asking of your realtor are:
  1. “Are they in this full-time?”
    Did you know that in the Edmonton area there are more than 3,000 realtors? Many people get their licenses and work part-time, selling a few homes a year while still working another job. Their time is going to be divided and their accessibility limited. Having someone who sees this as their career, who practices realty full time, will no doubt give you an edge over those who are just “dabbling” in it.
  2. “Do they have a plan?”
    When you’re going on a trip it’s nice to have a map that will tell you where you need to stop and which turns to take. A realtor’s plan is their map. You want to know there is a plan and a process so you’re not left wondering what to do and where they are. Their plan should include a communication schedule (how and when they will communicate with you), a buyers program strategy (Insight Buyers Program), and closing process.
  3. “Do they know their stuff?”
    You want to know they have a plan, but also are they skilled? Do they know the intricacies and value of the upgrades in homes? Do they have construction knowledge and connections within the industry? Are they skilled at negotiating, and what’s their style? Having an agent who “knows their stuff” will undoubtedly serve you well and likely land you a property while keeping more money in your pocket!
  4. “Have other people benefited from working with them?”
    If you were hiring someone for a company you ran wouldn’t you want references and to know others have benefited from hiring them? Ask for references and if they have any client testimonials…and be wary of ones that start with! “My son is the best realtor!”
  5. “Do I connect with them?”
    Choosing a realtor to serve you is, undoubtedly, a relationship. We all know how important it is to be in a relationship with someone we trust and whom we feel understands what’s important to you. Make sure you’re comfortable with them and their communication schedule / style.
#6 BONUS: “Should I even use a Realtor?”

You may have heard that you will get a better deal on the sale if you don’t use a Realtor to help you buy and you deal directly with the listing agent. Here are some reasons why that’s not the case:

  1. The listing agent is legally obligated to get the most money for their sellers and act in their best interest, not yours (this is referred to as their “Fiduciary Duty”)
  2. Determining market value of properties with previous market data
  3. Having a trained and professional negotiator on your side
  4. Guiding you through the numerous aspects of the legal agreements and making sure your best interest are covered

Having a professional agent who is on YOUR side from the search to closing will no doubt help you find the right property at the best price with the least amount of stress (and there is no cost to you as a buyer to have an agent, the commission is paid by the seller).

Wouldn’t you want a true professional who is skilled at negotiation to help handle the sale of likely your most important asset?

3 | What and where is your next home?

The “Insight Buyers Program”

Once you’ve sorted out your “why” you’ve probably begun dreaming about the “what” and “where”. Scenes of homes with big yards, downtown condos, acreages, and swimming pools (maybe all at the same time) have probably flashed through your mind when you thought about “what’s next”.

We help guide our clients through this process pointing to potential properties that answer their “why” and meet the list of needs and wants. We have a process we work through called the “Insight Buyers Program” that will ensure we find you the right home in the least amount of time and get it for the best price possible.

Here are some questions to help get you started:
  1. Why do you want to move?
  2. What do you love about your current home?
  3. What would you want to change?
  4. What type of home are you looking for? (ie. detached house, duplex, condo, townhome)
    • How many bedrooms do you want? All on the same level?
    • How many bathrooms?
    • How about parking? (ie. double garage, attached/detached)?
    • How important is sunlight? South facing yard?
  5. Where are you wanting to live? Is there something you’re wanting to live closer too? (ie. work, schools, parks, coffee 😉
  6. When would you want to move by?

Once we have your criteria, we will set you up on a specific search that will notify you the instant a property meeting your criteria is available (whereas other sites are typically 24-48 hours delayed), therefore giving you the “first shot” before the general public.

Showings
Once we know what we’re looking for, we book a time to look at some of the homes that meet your criteria. These appointments are typically 1-3 hours long and we look at 2-6 homes per trip. At these showings we continue to refine our insights by ranking each home out of 10 and asking at the end of the trips if any of these homes meet the criteria we set out or if we need to make any changes.

4 | Make an Offer and Negotiate like a Master

Once you find “the one”, we get you ready to make a compelling offer that protects your best interests and for the best value possible. This process will look like:

Market Analysis

We find what the market value of the home you are interested in by reviewing data on the active and sold properties in the area as well as finding out if there are any encumbrances registered on title. This enables us to make an informed decision and begin to build our case for negotiations, which we will get to soon…

Prepare the Offer and Protect Yourself with Conditions

Once we are ready we will craft an offer that has your best interests protected. We will discuss price, possession date, deposits, and any other terms that are important to your position. Part of that is discussing your conditions. The conditions protect you from getting a home that you’re unable or unwilling to buy. The condition period is usually 2 weeks.

Typical conditions include:

  1. Financing – We want to make sure your bank values the home at the purchase price and will lend you the full amount. Sometimes this requires an appraisal, but we help coordinate those for you.
  2. Home Inspection – No home is perfect, not even new homes, but we want to make sure there are no hidden surprises that will cost you down the road. An inspection takes approximately 2-3 hours and you get a detailed report that serves as a user’s guide on your home. If anything comes up during the inspection we can revisit these with the seller and renegotiate as needed
  3. Sale of Buyer’s Property – Sometimes you may need to sell your home before buying the next one if it hasn’t sold yet. We can put in this condition to make sure you only purchase the home when your home sells.

Condo Document Review

When purchasing a condo you are essentially “buying in” to a corporation (like buying a stock in a company). A condo document review is essentially an audit done by a third party to ensure the condo corporation is run well and managing their finances (so there are no surprise special assessments / “cash calls”

Negotiate Like a Master

To get the best results, you need to know what you’re doing. From negotiating million dollar homes to conditions on a home inspection, we must be strategic and level-headed to get the best possible outcome.

You see, negotiation is really a complex dance with 3 phases:

  1. Gather Information – We ask questions, prod, get relevant information to help build our case
  2. Build Rapport – We want to create alliances and advocates even out of those we are negotiating against, and stay as level-headed through negotiations (this way we keep control)
  3. Bargain Hard – We don’t just take what they give us, we build our case and push hard to get the best value

Firm Deal – Congratulations!

After we have negotiated the deal and satisfied all the conditions, the contract is then “firm” and you officially bought a house! Time to high-five, congratulations!!

5 | Closing Process and Possession Day

Once the deal is firm sold stickers are up, it’s a march to the closing date. This is typically at least 2 weeks after condition removal, 4 weeks after an accepted offer, but can be longer depending on your possession date.

Before closing you will need to:

  1. Meet with your lawyer to sign final documents
  2. Setup all utilities (ie. gas, electricity, internet, etc.)
  3. Book your movers
  4. Change your mailing address through Canada Post
  5. Celebrate!

Possession Day
This is when the money and property change hands, usually around midday. Your lawyer will receive the funds from your lender, and he will send these funds to the seller’s lawyer. Once it is received by them they will let me know I can go pick up the keys and then meet you at the house to let you into your new home!!

Associated Fees

What are the costs expected when buying?

It’s important to be prepared for any other costs that come up when buying a home. Some things to keep in mind would be:

  1. Legal Fees
    These usually run about $1,200 dollars including disbursements
  2. Mortgage / Rent Penalties
    If you’re breaking an agreement (mortgage or rent) it’s good to check with them to see if there are any fees or penalties if you’re leaving early
  3. Appraisal Costs
    Some lenders pass along the appraisal fee to you, but sometimes you can negotiate that with them
  4. Moving Costs
    It all depends on your scope. If you have an uncle with a pickup, maybe some pizza? If you’re moving across the country it could be close to $10,000
  5. Realty Fees = 0
    As a buyer’s agent we receive our payment through the transaction from the sellers, so you don’t pay our fee, they do!

Thank you for taking the time to read through this guide. My promise to clients is to walk with them every step of the way on their home journey and help them find a home they love for a great value.

My team and I are excited to work with you!

Kind regards,
Kevin Machado

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