Thinking of buying a house in the Kootenays? Here are a few helpful hints as you begin your search for your Koots dream home!
Among the many lessons learned during the pandemic, one of the most potent would have to be that where you live is vitally important. It’s why we’ve seen such an exodus to the Kootenays from the city.
With teleworking going mainstream, the Kootenays have become even more appealing, where remote workers can enjoy the very best in lifestyle, recreation, and low-stress living. And, no question, the renewed interest in our region has made our real estate market just a little crazy!
That said, if you are considering buying a house in the Kootenays, here are a few insights to help you make more informed decisions as you take the leap:
1. When you’re buying a house in the Kootenays, look for a local realtor who knows the area
We can’t overstate how important it is that you choose a realtor who is local to the area. When you are buying a house in the Kootenays, a local agent will know all the ins and outs of the neighbourhood and community. Their experience living and working in the region will provide a much more accurate guide to the area. And the home that will best suit your family and lifestyle. As a part of the community, your realtor can provide valuable insight into shopping, schools, recreation, and more.
And, as a buyer, you don’t pay for the services of a realtor. So, it’s a no-brainer that you should utilize the services of the most knowledgeable agent possible. Keep in mind that you may not want to call the listing agent – they work for the seller. You want to work with a realtor who will serve you as a buyer, separate from the selling process.
2. Become familiar with the local real estate market
There are a variety of factors that affect any real estate market. Keep in mind that all markets are local and reflect their own unique trends. One neighbourhood may exhibit something very different from another, even in the same city or region.
You need to understand the market you’re interested in so that you don’t overpay for the home you want.
3. Ask your realtor to explain transaction brokerage
Building on the point above, BC real estate agents can provide both customer and client services – seller and buyer. When an agent works for only one client in a home purchase – the seller or the buyer – they need to fulfil certain legal obligations:
- Undivided loyalty to their client
- Act on behalf of the interests of their client at all times
- Must avoid conflict of interests
- Disclose any conflict of interests as they appear
When an agent works with both buyer and seller, an agent can’t fulfil the legal responsibilities. In a transaction brokerage, the conflict of interest is inherent. They can’t provide for the best interests of either you or the seller. As the buyer, you hope to pay as little as possible. The seller, on the other hand, wants as much as possible in the sale of their home. It’s impossible for an agent to advocate for the buyer and represent the seller’s interests in one transaction.
Enter the transaction brokerage – when the real estate agent provides facilitation services to both parties. They include:
- Helping to negotiate an agreement between the buyer and seller
- Providing both the buyer and seller with all property information and statistics, including comparative sales information from listing services and databases
- Prepare and provide agreements of purchase and sale, and other relevant documents according to the instructions of the buyer and seller
A transaction brokerage means the agent treats both buyer and seller in a fair, objective, and impartial way. They maintain neutrality and advocate for neither you, the buyer, nor the seller. Additionally, they cannot provide confidential advice to either party. <
If an agent pursues a transaction brokerage, they must get informed consent from both the buyer and seller – signing an Agreement to Represent both Buyer and Seller.
4. Make use of technology
This probably goes without saying, as chances are you’ve been perusing listings in your desired location on the internet already.
But, as with most other sectors, technology has transformed the real estate industry. And certainly, during the pandemic, it’s proved revolutionary when it comes to remote buying and the purchase of homes sight unseen – previously mostly unheard of!
Finding properties online helps effectively narrow the search and, let’s face it, is fun to do! It’s also easier than ever. In the comfort of your own living room, you can explore homes through beautiful photographs and video tours and get the ball rolling with electronic signatures.
Most real estate agencies will make your online experience as thorough and detailed as possible, leveraging all of the digital technologies to make it as easy as possible to find the home of your dreams.
BUT… the online experience doesn’t give you the full experience of a home. We recommend you find your options online and then schedule a visit. Only when touring a home in person can you get the full impression – the warmth and character, smells, the proper perspective on the size of space.
5. Do you want to buy new or pre-owned?
Before you begin your home search, identify if a new build is better for you, or if you would prefer something pre-owned and established in the neighbourhood. Or, perhaps you want to purchase bare land and build your dream home. Which will better suit your lifestyle and needs?
Familiarize yourself with the market and potential costs associated with a fixer-upper or building new. Throughout the pandemic, building supplies spiked in price – as much as 20%! – making it far less practical for many in the market for a new home.
An older home is likely to require work. How much time do you have to dedicate to home improvements or to wait for a contractor to complete the job?
6. Buying a house in the Kootenays – find the pros you need!
In addition to your realtor, when you are buying a house in the Kootenays, there are other professionals you will likely need to rely on in the purchase of your home. Here’s a list:
A home inspector tops the list. They will evaluate the condition of the home and identify issues big and small before you buy. A home inspector can also find any issues of safety or things that might cause future problems. In the case of a remote purchase, a home inspection is vital.
Knowing a good contractor is important, particularly when you want to purchase a pre-owned or older home. Our clients look to contractors to look over their home of interest to help identify possible problems or to estimate costs of fixes or renovations, so they can include the costs in their financing.
A property appraiser is trained to assess the true value of a home. Before you get a mortgage, you will need to employ the services of an appraiser to provide the bank with the confirmed sales price.
This is often arranged through your lender and you don’t need to be onsite.
You can’t close on your home without enlisting the services of a real estate attorney. They will review all documents and advise on any issues or omissions in the paperwork. In today’s market, a lawyer needs experience with software such as DocuSign and Authentisign, required to close the deal, particularly when it’s from a distance.