Your home-buying allies

When buying a home, it's important to have a skilled team to
support you as you navigate the real estate world.

Emmanuelle Bertrand | Journalist

You’re ready to buy a home and you’d like a skilled team to support you as you navigate the real estate world. What professionals do you need around you, and what questions should you ask to make sure you have everything covered?

Your personal finance advisor

This is the first ally to find, because they will not only support you throughout the purchasing process, but also help you determine your budget, your borrowing capacity and your priorities, based on your lifestyle.

They can provide you with a preauthorized mortgage, which determines your maximum borrowing capacity and facilitates the purchase offer process.

Make sure you choose someone frank and open, who can answer all your questions. That will start your adventure on the right foot!

  • How much can I borrow?
  • About how much of a down payment will I need?
  • What other expenses should I expect?

For more information, read our article of the month: 3 tips for buying a home you can afford.

Speak with your personal finance advisor at your caisse, or ask a mortgage representative to meet with you in your home.

Your real estate broker

This is THE specialist in the housing market, negotiations and drafting purchase offers. You need to work closely with your broker and be clear about your expectations. You’ll need to tell them about your budget, your lifestyle, and the kind of neighbourhood you’re looking for.

A few questions to ask:

  • How well do you know the neighbourhoods I’m interested in?
  • What information can you give me on the properties?
  • How do you get paid?

To find a trustworthy real estate broker, check the Organisme d’autor├ęglementation du courtage immobilier du Qu├ębec directory*.

Your building contractor

If you’re thinking of buying a newly built home or having one built, get references for the contractor and check their skill and credibility. A few questions to ask:

  • Is it possible to visit a few homes that you’ve built?
  • Do you offer a guarantee on your buildings?
  • Do you know any trustworthy architects? (If you’re having something built, this specialist may be useful)

Always insist on a contract in writing. For more information, visit the Canadian Home Builders’ Association website.

Your building inspector

It goes without saying that the home you’re considering will need to be inspected. Your broker will generally recommend that you make a purchase offer conditional upon inspection. The inspector will then help you to make an informed purchase, by checking the general condition of the building, problems to fix and work that you should have done.

A few questions to ask:

  • Do you specialize in residential buildings?
  • How much will the inspection cost with the report?
  • Can I attend the inspection?
  • What are the most pressing problems to solve?
  • Do you have insurance in the event of errors or omissions?

To find a building inspector, visit the websites of building inspector associations.

Your surveyor

If you’re buying a new home, this is the person who will provide the certificate of location (land survey) required by mortgage lenders. The surveyor:

  • Determines illegalities and irregularities (e.g., a fence encroaching on the neighbour’s property)
  • Lists easements (e.g., right of way)
  • Lists the specific laws that may restrict the owner’s rights

To find a surveyor, visit the Professional Surveyors Canada website.

Your notary

Notaries take care of legal documents, in particular the property transfer and the mortgage. They draft the purchase and sale agreement to reflect the purchase offer, and ensure that all documents related to the property are in order.

A few questions to ask:

  • What steps of this process are you involved in?
  • What documents do I need to provide you with?
  • How much does each step of the transaction cost?

To find a notary, check the Chambre des notaires directory* (in French only).

* For Quebec only.

For Ontario, be sure to check out:

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