Info for Buyers
Most properties are sold using the MLS or Multiple Listing Service. (Occasionally, for various reasons, a seller will request an ‘exclusive’ listing: this will not appear in the MLS.) See ‘About the MLS’ for more on buyers and the MLS.
Buying land or a house is a big investment, and this is not the place to discuss all the issues involved. You can find information and advice about buying a home in many places. One convenient location is Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s (CMHC) website at www.cmhc.ca From the www.cmhc.ca home page, you can click on one of the topics under Consumers or you can search by keyword at the top right of the page.
Clicking on Buying a Home takes you to a wealth of information, tools and videos to help you make informed decisions throughout the homebuying process.
We’re going to mention two aspects of buying in our neck of the woods: Inverness County, Cape Breton.
1) ‘Pocket’ listings
There’s properties that are listed for sale, ie via a real estate brokerage. These are advertised on the MLS system: Realtor.ca
Then there’s some private sellers, who may use Kijiji, Propertyguys and other media, collectively known as FSBO’s – For Sale By Owner.
But besides all this, what we want to mention here is that locally we have people who will not list their property – neither publicly nor privately – but they are open to offers. How do we know this? Because we know the owners and they tell us so. For various reasons they don’t want to advertise a place for sale, but they tell us they will entertain offers. Which leads to......
2) Buyers Agency
Buyers Agency is an arrangement where would-be buyers sign an agreement (an industry standard form) with us, which basically says that we will work for the buyers to find them a suitable property.
If they end up purchasing a listed property, there’s no effect money-wise: commission is paid by the seller as usual. If they end up buying privately, either something listed privately or something not advertised at all, the buyers agree to pay the buyer’s agent a commission amount specified in the agreement.
To buy a property will involve some additional costs in addition to the purchase price.
Deed transfer tax
Required on any purchase: in Inverness County this is currently 1.5 % of the purchase price.
A lawyer is required to complete a purchase and sale. Fees include such things as reviewing the offer, conducting a title search, registering a mortgage.
This is not a requirement, but highly recommended when buying a house. The inspector works for and is paid by the buyer, and the report is the property of the buyer. Most commonly a buyer will make it a condition of their offer that the inspection is "satisfactory". If it is not the buyer can walk away from the deal, or attempt to re-negotiate with the seller.
Home Insurance is generally required by a mortgage lender. Loan Insurance may also be required, especially if the down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price. Optionally some people carry life and/or disbaility insurance for the amount of the loan, so that a partner wil have money to pay the mortgage in case if some dire event.
Appraisal fees may apply if your lender requires an appraisal.
A property survey is not required for a purchase, and sellers typically do not offer to provide one. In case of doubt about the location, size or boundaries of a property, or easements that may be in force, the only sure way to settle these issues is via a survey. While a survey is not a major cost for a small house lot, it could run into thousands of dollars for a large rural property.
If you don't know who to retain as a lawyer, appraiser, home inspector etc. we can provide a selection of names for you to choose from.