Kamloops Real Estate: Advice on How To Pick a Realtor That Will Work For You

Kamloops Realtor Kirsten MasonIn a highly competitive real estate market it can be difficult to determine who the best Real Estate Professional would be for your needs. Currently the Kamloops and District Real Estate Association reports that there are just under 300 member Realtors. I have included some pointers below to help you figure out how to find the right professional for you.

1. Interview 2 to 3 Realtors: Analyze their differences and pick the one that you feel most comfortable working with and whom you feel will best represent your interests or needs based on their skill level and experience.

  • For Buyers, you want to ensure that the Realtor will take the time to show you properties when it is convenient for you and will make your search a priority. Go to open houses to informally meet Realtors and strike up a conversation, you will know who you feel comfortable working with after meeting a few professionals.
  • For Sellers, you want a Realtor that has a comprehensive, dynamic and aggressive marketing plan to get your home sold. Communication is paramount and it is important that your listing Realtor maintain open and continual feedback. The most common criticism is “the Realtor posted a sign and I didn’t hear from him/her for 3 months”.

2. Choose a Full Time Realtor: Some Realtors only work part time.  Your largest financial and emotional decision may only be a second career for that part time Realtor. Choose a professional who’s business it is to sell real estate. You wouldn’t choose a part time surgeon to operate on you. A full time Realtor means better market knowledge, better service, better marketing and better negotiating skills which means a better price for you, whether buying or selling.  Ask your potential Realtor:  How often will you hear from them?  Do they have support staff or a team to help them and help you? Are there any days or times during the week that they don’t work? Do they have a part time or other job?

3. Chose a knowledgeable Realtor:  The Realtor you choose should be able to explain the market as it relates to your sale or purchase. Questions you should ask are: Have they sold or listed homes in your area? Are they knowledgeable about the statistics and the direction the market is moving in (buyers or sellers market)?  They should take the time to educate you as to the present market conditions and show you the best way to sell or buy given those conditions and the competition.  They should back up their explanations with current market data and be honest with you in interpreting that data.

4. When listing, Do Not choose a Realtor based on price: When Realtors are competing for a listing, some will give an inflated price just to try to get the listing, only to ask you for a price reduction a few weeks later. Realtors don’t determine the price for your home, the market does that! Often, Realtor’s that don’t have much to offer in terms of experience tend to compete on price.  In other words, what you may gain on perceived higher valuation on your home, you will likely lose in overall sale price due to poor marketing and weak negotiating.  Part of a Realtor’s job is to interpret hundreds of sales as well as active listings. Therefore your prospective Realtor should be able to explain to you what your specific market range is for buying or selling. A good real estate professional knows that every house has a price range which is determined by the seller’s motivation to sell and the buyer’s need to buy. Did you know that 70% of whether or not a property will sell is decided when the price is established. The other 30% is based on the Realtor’s level of competence and negotiating skill.

5. Choose a Realtor based on their success rate:  All Real estate companies have good and bad Realtors. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential Realtor what their sales record was for the past year or two. The Realtor you hire should know how to successfully sell homes and the numbers never lie. You can ask: How many homes did they help their clients to buy and sell? How many days did the average home that they have listed spend on the market? Do they sell in your area or all over? What special awards or recognition have they earned? Do they have any testimonial statements from past clients? Each Realtor’s willingness to share this information with you will help with your overall decision.

6. When Listing, Choose a Realtor based on their marketing strategy:  How much time, how much money and what kind of marketing is your Realtor suggesting for your property?  Every property is different and needs a tailored marketing program to sell it and attract the best buyer willing to pay the highest price.  People don’t buy bricks and mortar, they buy a lifestyle, an environment where they can raise their kids or a location where they can retire in style, with amenities they can use and enjoy. Ensure your Realtor has a comprehensive marketing strategy that targets different medias such as internet, print, local advertising etc.

7. Choose a Realtor that has been recommended by family or friends: Family or friends who’ve had a good experience with a Realtor are your best referral source. A good Realtor will keep in contact with their past clients and ask them for referrals. This is a great place to start when choosing a Real Estate Professional.

8. For Buyers, Pick one Realtor to work with: It is in your best interest to choose one professional to work with. You will develop a relationship with your Realtor and that person will really understand what you want in a property.   You can’t expect a Realtor to give you 100% if you are not willing to commit to them. Realtors only get paid if you buy or sell a property with them, so if you are working with other Realtors all at one time you can’t expect outstanding service based on your lack of loyalty. Find someone that is honest and trustworthy, this will eliminate the need to want to work with other Realtors at one time.

Click here for a free, no obligation home evaluation.

To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

Buying Kamloops Real Estate: Costs, Fees, Taxes and Other Expenses

Once you know what kind of mortgage you want and the price of the house you can afford in Kamloops, you should add up all of the other costs involved in buying a home so that you know the true cost of buying your home.

When you buy a house, it isn’t only the cost of the house that you need to save for. Don’t forget these other costs:

Appraisal Fee
An appraisal is an estimate of the value of the home. Your bank or credit union may require that the property be appraised at your expense. This can range between $250 and $350.

Deposit
A deposit is required to ensure that the buyer is serious about purchasing the home. It can form part of your down payment, but it must be paid when you make the Offer to Purchase.

Down Payment
You will need a down payment (money paid up front) to obtain a mortgage. With a down payment of 20 per cent or more of the home’s price, you can obtain a conventional mortgage. Your down payment must be at least five per cent of a home’s price for you to benefit from a competitive interest rate.

Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium
If you have less than a 20 per cent down payment, your bank or credit union may require that you buy mortgage loan insurance. You can add the mortgage insurance premium to your mortgage or pay the full amount when you close the sale on the house.

Home Inspection Fee
A home inspection, which costs typically around $400 to $500 in Kamloops, is a report on the condition of your home. You may want to make your inspection a condition of your Offer to Purchase, to make sure you are aware of the condition of the house before you agree to buy.

Estoppel Certificate Fee
This fee costs up to $100, but applies only if you are buying a condominium in a strata unit or condominium and costs up to $100.

Property Transfer Tax
You pay Property Transfer Tax when you purchase or acquire an interest in a property. The tax must be paid when you register changes to a certificate of title with the Land Title Office. The amount of tax due depends on the fair market value of the property that is transferred:

  • If the fair market value is $200,000 or less, the tax is 1% of the fair market value.
  • If the fair market value is greater than $200,000, the tax is 1% of the fair market value up to $200,000, plus 2% on the portion of the fair market value that is greater than $200,000.

First time home buyers are often exempt from this tax.

Prepaid Property Taxes and/or Utility Bills
These charges are meant to reimburse the person who is selling the house for amounts already paid for, such as property taxes, filling the oil tank, etc.

Property Insurance
The insurance covers the cost of replacing the structure of your home and its contents. Property insurance must be in place on the day you close the sale.

Survey or Certificate of Location Cost
The bank or credit union may ask for an up-to-date survey or certificate of location prior to finalizing the mortgage loan. This can range in price from $1,000 to $2,000.

Legal Fees
These fees must be paid when the sale is completed and costs a minimum of $500.

Title Insurance
Your bank or credit union, or lawyer/notary, may suggest insurance to cover any loss caused by problems in the ownership of the property.

Water Tests
If the home has a well, you will want to test the quality and quantity of the water to ensure supply is adequate and the water is drinkable.

Septic Tank
If the house has a septic tank, you will want to have it inspected to make sure it is in good working order.

Other Costs to Consider:

  • Appliances
  • Gardening expenses
  • Snow-clearing equipment
  • Window coverings
  • Decorating materials
  • Moving expenses
  • Renovations or repairs
  • Service hook-up fees
  • Condominium fee

Click here for a printable guide. This information was provided by CMHC and the Government of British Columbia websites.

How To Avoid The Most Common Buyer Errors When Purchasing Kamloops Real Estate

contract to purchase buyer mistakes kamloops real estate home saleShopping for a new Kamloops home is an exciting experience. It also can be emotional, time consuming, expensive and comes with a myriad of details. Some buyers get caught up in the excitement of buying a new home tend to overlook some items. Their home purchase turns into an expensive process. These errors generally fall into three areas:

* Paying too much
* Losing a dream home to another buyer
* Buying the wrong home

When you have a systematic plan before you shop, you will be sure to avoid these costly errors. Here are some tips on making the most of your home purchase:

Making an offer on a home without being pre-qualified
Pre-qualification will make your life easier—so take the time to speak with a bank or mortgage broker. Their specific questions in regard to income, debt, etc., will help you determine the price range you can afford. It is an important step on the path to home ownership.

Not having a home inspection
Trying to save money today can end up costing you tomorrow. A qualified home inspector will detect issues that many buyers can overlook. You will have an idea about future repairs that will need to be made to the home and often you will be provided with a general idea of cost for those repairs.

Limiting your search to open houses, internet and newspaper ads
Many homes listed in magazines or newspapers have already been sold by the time the issue comes out in print. Open houses are a good way to start but once you are serious about finding a home a Realtor can provide you with up to date information on new listings that is not readily available to the general public. The public MLS website is 2-4 days behind the system Realtors have access to.

Choosing a Realtor who is not committed to forming a strong business relationship
Making a connection with the right Realtor is crucial. Choose a professional who is dedicated to serving your needs before, during and after the sale. There are a number of part time Realtors that sell Real Estate, would you want a part time surgeon operating on you?

Thinking there is only one perfect house out there

Buying a home is a process of elimination, not selection. New properties arrive on the market daily, so be open to all possibilities. Ask your Realtor for a comparative market analysis. This compares similar homes that have recently sold or are still for sale. This will give you a broader view of the market.

Not considering long-term needs

It is important to think ahead. Will the home suit your needs three to five years from now?

Not examining insurance issues
Purchase adequate home owner insurance. Advice from an insurance agent can provide you with answers to any concerns you may have.

Making an offer with too few subjects
It is important to have subjects in your contract to purchase a home. Typically buyers only think of subject to financing (or first mortgage) and subject to a home inspection. There are also a couple other important terms such as:

  • Searching title to ensure it is free of any encumbrances.
  • Reviewing and approving a Property Disclosure Statement provided by the selling party.
  • Obtaining home insurance or fire insurance.
  • Reviewing and approving a Building Information Request which will show any outstanding permits on a property.
  • If a strata title property reviewing and approving all the strata minutes, bylaws, etc.

Ensure your best interests are protected.

Not knowing all the costs involved
Early in the buying process ask your Realtor and Mortgage broker for an estimate of closing costs. Title insurance and lawyer fees should be considered and many pre-pay responsibilities like property taxes, municipal fees and fuel adjustments must also be taken into account.

Not following through on due diligence
Buyers should make a list of any concerns they have relating to issues such as; crime rates, schools, power lines, neighbours, environmental conditions, etc. Ask the important questions BEFORE you make an offer on a home. Be diligent so that you can have confidence in your purchase.

There are many important steps when purchasing real estate. Click here to review the purchase process.

Click here for a printable Buyer’s guide.

The HST and How It Affects Buying or Selling Real Estate In B.C.

Many consumers are unclear as to how the HST affects their home purchase or sale. Here is a short guide on how HST will affect you when purchasing or selling your Kamloops home.

The Home Seller:
• You will have to pay HST on any of the goods and services that you would have had to pay GST on before like legal fees and commissions.
•  For all resale homes, the buyer will not pay HST when purchasing your home. Buyers may find it more appealing to purchase previously owned homes to avoid paying the HST.

The Home Buyer:
• Like the home seller, you will have to pay HST on any goods and services like your legal fees, home inspections, etc.
• When purchasing a previously owned home, you will not pay HST on the sale price.
•If you are are purchasing a brand new home the HST will affect your sale price, with that said, you are eligible for rebates depending on the value of the home.

See the table below for the rebate rates (rebates are for homes that are intended for use as a primary residence):

HST Rebates for new homes kamloops real estate

For further information about HST click here.

To view the Ministry of Finance Tax Information Notice Click Here.

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