Buying a Home in Fort McMurray
Got any questions about home buying? Here are some common queries that the A-Team receives.
1) Do I need a REALTOR®?
You do not need the services of a REALTOR® when buying a home, but a good, qualified buyer’s agent will be able to help with the following: preparation, helping make sure you are ready, guiding you through the complicated process, referring you to qualified professionals (for example mortgage specialists, lawyers & home inspectors), helping you make fully informed decisions, helping you with due diligence (see later section on “buyers beware”), helping you understand the value of shortlisted homes, helping you write offers that protect you, and negotiating on your behalf.
2) Who pays my REALTOR®?
While agreements vary, it is most common in Fort McMurray that when sellers list their homes for sale, they decide to offer a commission for the REALTOR® who represents the buyer. Typically, this commission is paid out of the sale proceeds of the transaction. Commonly people think of it as “the seller pays”, but in a way, you (the buyer) are paying as you are the one paying for the home. Of course, the amount does not come directly “out of pocket”, and generally you don’t determine the amount, but it is an interesting thought. We always encourage you, as our buyer client, to hold us highly accountable for the services we provide to you as we will get paid for the work that we do on your behalf.
3) What are my first steps?
It is not important to do anything before reaching out to us. At our “Buyer Consultation”, we will help you get really organized. These consultations often happen right at the start, even though you may be months or years away from the actual move. We don’t mind meeting you early on in your process (in fact, we prefer it). Also, very importantly, you won’t be rushed.
4) No really, what are my first steps?
Okay we get it! Some people love to prepare. If that is you, then here’s some advice. Firstly, research widely. Who are you going to hire for what? Research online reviews, ask your friends and post on social media. Surf the web and call around. Find a couple of agents you might feel comfortable with and don’t be shy to interview them. On the “product” side of things, create an account on our site and search for (then save) homes: We won’t bug you and the site includes all listings on the Fort McMurray MLS®! This is a nice way of doing some basic research into the types of properties you might eventually like to buy. Don’t go too far without a mortgage pre-approval though! There may be important financial considerations to put in place before getting too emotionally involved with properties.
5) What should I watch out for?
Do you want a professional who is going to “sell” you a home, or do you want someone who will wow you with service far beyond your expectations and make certain that you don’t overpay for a home? Are you happy feeling rushed, or would you rather start with a relaxing consultation, after which you will know you are armed with knowledge before making your important decisions? Do you want an agent who is busy helping buyers AND sellers or an agent who specializes in helping only buyer clients like yourself get deals that make their friends a little jealous?! We have the key for every door in town (all homes on the MLS®) and we are not afraid to use it!
We’d say that your choice of agent is probably the biggest decision you’ll make early on, and it’ll have a significant impact on the awesomeness of the property you purchase, your stress levels, and the price you pay. It may even impact your decision of whether to buy. Learn more about why 39 sets of buyers so far this year have bought with The A-Team here.
6) Is there a rush? Should I feel rushed?
No and no.
Without going into too much detail, it’s a buyer’s market. That means there is not currently enough demand in the marketplace to support prices. The timing of your purchase should be determined by your informed judgement, not the whims of a third party. Things to consider might be the market, your reasons for buying, how long you intend to stay in the home, your attitude to risk and your financial and employment situations.
7) Is now a good time to buy?
The general sense in the public is “yes”. Our answer is “we don’t know”. It is surely better than 3 years ago, but future prices are unknown. We have a sense of the immediate future, but beyond that, it is uncertain. The advantages of buying now are: lots of choice, easier negotiations (fewer competitors). The disadvantages are that you are buying into a falling market. As above, the market is just one factor to look at regarding the timing of your purchase.
8) I am thinking of selling AND buying. Where do I start?
Get in touch, because we have a lot to talk about! This is a complex process and we’d like to start taking away your stress sooner rather than later. We are a team of specialists which is pretty cool: You’ll have an agent to guide you through the successful sale, and another to ensure you get a crazy deal on your new home. Depending on your situation, we may advise you to sell first or buy first.
9) I already have a home. Is it a good idea to buy another one?
Tough question. Owning multiple homes is risky, but potentially rewarding, depending on your financial situation (we always advise talking first with your financial advisor). The answer will likely be determined by your view of the future. We notice that this is a choice that fewer people are making in Fort McMurray, despite prices being lower than during the boom. This might be because of the greater perception of risk in the community, as well as lower rental rates.
10) Can you help with my relocation package? Do you have experience with my company’s incentive program for home ownership?
Yes and yes! Our specialist buyer’s agents are trained in working with relocation companies and employers to ensure that the timing of your contracts is golden and that all stakeholders are efficiently taken care of. We can give expert guidance here, and we are more than comfortable signing pieces of paper that they might require us to sign*. All we care about is that we get you the best possible home at the right time, and for the right price. These complications are just details for us. In this way, we will work hard to take all your stress away!
*The choice of who you hire is yours and not that of your employer or relocation company!