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Š 2016, Holmes Realty Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this work covered by the publisher’s copyright may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means (including but not limited to graphic, electronic or mechanical) without the written permission of the publisher. 2

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CONTENTS 04 LETTER OF WELCOME 06 INTRODUCTION TO HOLMES REALTY 08 OUR COMPANY VALUES 11 THE HOLMES REALTY APPROACH 12 HOLMES REALTY IN THE COMMUNITY 15 WHAT IS AGENCY 16 THE BENEFITS OF BUYER AGENCY 18 ABOUT YOUR SPECIALIST 20 BE IN THE KNOW BEFORE OTHER BUYERS 22 UNDERSTANDING THE MARKET 24 MARKET CONDITIONS 26 GET FINANCING FIRST 28 THE HOME BUYING PROCESS 30 7 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE BUYING 32 BUILDING INSPECTIONS 34 CLOSING COSTS 36 MYTHS AND TRUTHS 44 OUR PROMISE

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LET TER OF WELCOME

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hank you for thinking of Holmes Realty for your home buying and selling needs.

We’re glad you’re reading this, because it gives us an opportunity to introduce ourselves and walk you through the Holmes Realty approach to real estate. We’ve built a sterling reputation over the years as top sellers in the Greater Victoria Area & Saanich Peninsula, and as you read, you’ll understand why. We have created this book to demystify the real estate process for you. We’ve heard from so many clients over the years that no one has ever sat them down and explained these things before. Selling your home – or buying a new one – is a deeply personal and often highly emotional event. Nobody should enter into such an important transaction feeling uninformed! In this book, we’ll take you step by step through the buying and selling process. We’ll dispel some of the biggest myths about real estate and we’ll explain the unique selling

approach of Holmes Realty. When you finish reading, we want you to feel like you’ve had many of your questions answered. When you’re buying or selling a home, you need someone who listens to your concerns, who interprets the market well, and who looks after the myriad details involved in a real estate transaction. It’s equally important that you enjoy the experience from start to finish. That’s our commitment to you. After reading these pages, we hope you come away with a clear understanding of the real estate process and our approach to it. We also hope you have a deeper sense of the Holmes Realty commitment: that every client deserves professional real estate advice and first-class service. It’s a commitment that’s reflected in our values, both on paper and in our day-to-day conduct. We look forward to meeting with you to discuss your real estate needs.

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ith roots dating back over 100 years in real estate, Pemberton Holmes Sidney Ltd. was established at its Beacon Avenue location in 1987. Holmes Realty was established in 1999, when Michele Holmes branched off from the larger company. Her desire was to operate a smaller, more intimate business with a deep focus on client care. Holmes Realty has since become a leader in Victoria real estate and is recognized for operating with the highest ethical standards. Our Realtors® choose to work here because of the support they receive, the values we live by, the in-depth training we offer, and our sterling commitment to client service. Many of them pride themselves on their personal contributions to the community; within our group, we have community volunteers, Rotarians, Lions Club members, and board members of the Chamber of Commerce and of the Greek Community Society. Within our team of real estate professionals is an agent who matches each unique client’s profile and needs. An agent who listens. An agent who works hard. An agent who asks the right questions – and can find you the right answers.

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VOTED PENINSULA’S CHOICE FOR

FAVOURITE REAL ESTATE AGENCY

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OUR COMPANY VALUES HONEST Y This is the foundation of our business! Our job is to interpret the market and provide you with solid feedback, whether positive or negative. Even if it’s uncomfortable, we will interpret what the market is really saying about your property. We give you our honest assessment of what the market will bear. Honesty is easy to understand. And it’s an integral component of doing business here at Holmes Realty.

INTEGRIT Y Integrity goes hand in hand with honesty and respect – which is why it belongs right here, in between the two. At Holmes Realty, we base no decision on our own profit. As our client, you have legitimate needs. It’s our job to respect those needs, and to provide sterling service in meeting them. Whether you’re listing a condo or a multimillion-dollar mansion; your home is your castle – and we work equally diligently to see that your goals are achieved.

RESPECT Our Realtors® treat our clients with the compassion and the understanding they deserve. We are not working with brick, mortar and land, but with people. Selling a home turns your private world into a public one, and it can be disconcerting. When we go into people’s homes, and in turn when we share those homes with potential buyers, we are professional and discreet.

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OUR COMPANY VALUES INNOVATION At Holmes Realty, we’re not afraid to embrace new ideas. From the touchscreen pad in our front window that lets you browse current listings to a website that’s updated all day long with the latest information, Holmes Realty makes it our business to stay on top of the technology and tools that make real estate more efficient and informative. Innovation keeps us fresh – and it keeps us ahead.

COMMUNIT Y We live and work in the Greater Victoria Area, so we want to treat our clients and the community well. Many of our Realtors® look for ways to give back, and are members of community and service clubs. Holmes Realty is an active and vibrant sight at many community events throughout the year, offering help, financial support, or just a cup of warmth and cheer! Look for the Holmes Realty van at upcoming events.

EXCELLENCE From the quality of our marketing materials to our accessibility to our clients, we’re known for putting in the extra energy to set our service apart from the competition. We take you from start to finish in a professional way, removing all the stress from the real estate process. We embrace change, and strive to be the best we can be. Above all, we are continually looking for ways to improve the level of service we offer to our clients.

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THE

HOLMES REALTY APPROACH

A

home isn’t something you sell every day. For most people, their home is their single largest asset. Likewise, buyers see a home as the single largest expense they may ever commit to. As such, buying a home is a complex process. You need a plan to properly invest in such a large asset. Expertise is essential to you buying. At Holmes Realty, certain standards are a given. We call this the Holmes Realty approach to caring for our clients. For buyers, it includes an initial consultation where we pay an in-person visit to you, in your home or our office. This first visit lets us determine your needs and reasons for buying. It helps us establish a warm rapport and gain an understanding of what you’re looking for in a Realtor® and how best to help you. At your convenience, we’ll be back with the

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most up-to-date research on the current real estate market, including market trends as well as the available properties that suit your needs. Should you decide to engage Holmes Realty as your agency of choice, we’ll walk you through our buying process, step by step, so you know what to expect and when.


“ Expertise is essential to success.”

THE HOLMES REALTY APPROACH ALSO INCLUDES: • a commitment to the Holmes Realty values; • an excellent support system that ensures no detail is overlooked; • sophisticated market research and statistical analysis; • personalized, timely service that’s customized to your needs.

At Holmes Realty, we understand that if we satisfy the real estate needs of our clients, then our product will be a success. We go above and beyond to offer a sterling level of service so that you can relax and enjoy your buying or selling experience, knowing that your Realtor® is looking after every last detail. PU T T ING T HE EMPH A S IS ON

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HOLMES REALT Y

IN THE COMMUNITY

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e live, work and play in the Greater Victoria Area. This beautiful environment and the people living within it form our community. For all we receive, the people of Holmes Realty are committed to giving back, and further strengthening that community – and the communities beyond our borders. We are proud participants and sponsors of many events and causes, both collectively and on an individual basis. Here’s how.

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• We sponsor the local Remembrance Day ceremony in the town of Sidney, in honour of those who fought on our behalf.

From manning the hot chocolate and shortbread station at the annual Santa Claus parade to serving breakfast to the homeless, the people of Holmes Realty are connected with and committed to the people who call this area home.

• H  olmes Realty sponsors the Sidney Summer Sounds concert series, which offers new music every Sunday afternoon at the Beacon Pavilion. What better way to bring people together in our public spaces than to enjoy the arts? • S  everal of our Realtors® are members of Rotary International. Through Rotary, we are able to broaden our reach beyond our own community, bringing hope and resources to thousands of people around the world. • H  olmes Realty is a member of the Sidney Business Improvement Association and the Sidney Chamber of Commerce. •

Holmes Realty has actively contributed to many local charities such as KidSport as well as serving breakfast at the Our Place Society in Victoria. PU T T ING T HE EMPH A S IS ON

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WHAT IS

AGENCY I

n a real estate transaction, there are four possible relationships you can have with your Realtor; a buyer’s agent, seller’s agent, limited dual agency and a customer only. Buyer’s Agent – This agent is representing the interests of his client, the Buyer, with written permission to do so. This agreement is called the Buyers Representation Agreement. Seller’s Agent – This agent is representing the interests of his client, the Seller, with written permission to do so. This agreement is called the Listing Agreement. Limited Dual Agency – A transaction occurs where the Buyer and Seller are both clients of the same agent. Written consent is obtained from both Buyer and Seller to enter into this relationship, the agent represents both the Buyer and Seller in the transaction. In B.C. we call it a Limited Dual Agency Agreement. Customer Service – Best described as providing services to a Buyer without entering into a Buyer Representation agreement. The Agent will deal with the Buyer fairly and honestly, however in this relationship, the agent’s duties will be limited.

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THE BENEFITS OF

THE BUYER AGENCY What does it mean to have an agent represent you? In BC, a licensed real estate agent cannot be involved in a transaction without representing at least one of the parties (i.e. buyer or seller). When you choose a real estate agent to represent you, the agent and their broker are obligated to be loyal and to act in your best interests. While your agent will not make decisions for you, they are on your team. It is important to know that you are entitled to confidentiality regarding your personal information. You are also entitled to disclose pertinent information regarding the transaction that might be important to you. When an agent truly represents you, they will advocate your position in the negotiations. Ideally, your agent should offer you a written agreement spelling out your mutual duties and obligations. With this written agreement, there will be no question regarding your role or the role of your agent. What if an agent does not represent you? You may work with an agent who represents the other party to your transaction. If you are a buyer, you could look at a home with an agent who represents the seller (i.e. at an open house). When this happens, you should be careful not to disclose any information 16

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that could be adverse to your position, because the seller’s agent is obligated to inform the seller. Here’s why buyers should sign documents before working with a real estate agent: Currently, British Columbia places the real estate industry at its highest level of professionalism in history. Recently, it addressed consumer issues regarding services and loyalties when choosing your real estate agent. Buyers and sellers work with a real estate agent when buying and selling a home. Will that agent be in your corner, or will they be taking the side of the other party to your transaction? The answer to this question will probably alter the type of information you offer to this agent. BC has taken a very bold stand to protect consumers, mandating that before any real estate agent can discuss a buyer’s or seller’s personal information regarding finances, or even show a home, that agent must first present the individual with a Working With a Realtor® form. This form is not a contract. It is simply a statement acknowledging whether this agent and the agent’s company represent the seller or the buyer. It also discloses the potential for any change in that relationship in the future.


Do home buyers need the help of a buyer specialist? You bet! When buyers work with a real estate professional who is 100% loyal and completely committed to them, chances are that the entire home-buying process will go smoothly, with a higher level of buyer satisfaction. Can a buyer specialist show us any or all properties up for sale? Yes. A buyer specialist can show you every home listed in the Multiple Listings Service® as well as any For Sale By Owner (FSBO) properties. Additionally, a buyer specialist can show you unlisted homes, as well as builder models if you’re in the market for a brand new property. Will a buyer specialist disclose more information to us? Yes indeed. Because a buyer specialist’s fiduciary responsibility is to you, he or she can be more forthcoming with any negative aspects about the properties you’re interested in. What about negotiating the details? A buyer specialist is fully qualified and highly skilled in the back-and-forth negotiations and financing queries that precede the closing of most real estate transactions. But there’s more: a buyer specialist is also experienced and committed to helping protect your best interests in the purchase. Representing you and supporting you: that’s a powerful combination! What do you mean by “confidentiality”? Since a buyer specialist is legally obligated only to you, they can help you maintain absolute privacy with regard to financial and personal information. That’s another important benefit of working with a qualified buyer specialist. PU T T ING T HE EMPH A S IS ON

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ABOUT

TERRY L. CALVELEY YOUR REAL ESTATE SPECIALIST

I

moved to Greater Victoria from the Okanagan, via Vancouver, over 25 years ago. With a little one underfoot, my career in real estate had to be put on hold until she finished school. So I grew my 20+ year career in the public service where the positions I held focused on client service and contract negotiations. Fast forward to today in real estate, these are still my priorities. I understand the importance of building solid relationships for successful outcomes – whether I’m working with Buyers or Sellers. I have lived and owned homes in Victoria communities for many years and what I’ve come to appreciate is each of the communities is unique and has something special to offer. My clients have expressed that my ability to understand their community needs has been a significant benefit to them in their search for their next home. I have helped my clients Buy and Sell homes across the Greater Victoria area, but my passion

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and particular areas of experience are in Oak Bay, Cadboro Bay & Ten Mile Point; and along the oceanfront corridor all the way out to Sidney and North Saanich. Being raised on a hobby farm, I have a love of these types of properties; so I’ve made myself familiar with the Cobble Hill and Cowichan Bay market as well. After all, it’s our “Okanagan of the Island” – with its sought-after microclimate featuring wineries, local food producers and comfortable laidback lifestyle. Personally, my husband and I are boaters and active members of our community, donating our spare time to the Oak Bay Sea Rescue Society - a non-profit, all-volunteer marine search and rescue unit based out of Oak Bay Marina. Whether you’re local to Victoria and the Islands or searching from abroad, I invite call or email me. I look forward to helping you with your home ownership needs.


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BE IN THE KNOW BEFORE OTHER BUYERS • Hear about a property for sale? Give us a call; we’ll search out the details for you. • See a sign? We can show you properties that are listed with us, or with any broker in our area. We can also assist you with For Sale by Owner transactions. • See an ad? We can help you with any house you see on Kijiji, Craigslist, UsedVictoria or anywhere else no matter which company or individual is marketing that home. • Find an Open House? Our Realtors® will be happy to accompany you to an open house. Or you can book a private viewing instead. (If you go alone to an open house, be sure to inform the hosting agent that you’re working with a Realtor®, and show them our card, if possible.) 20

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WHO PAYS THE BUYER AGENT’S COMMISSION?

T

he commission is generally paid by the Seller. The Seller pays the listing Brokerage a commission for their part in the transaction. In certain cases the commission would be payable by the Buyer. An example of this would be a For Sale by Owner transaction. In most cases your Buyer Agent will be able to negotiate a commission directly with the owner of the For Sale By Owner property; however, occasionally it would be necessary for the Buyer to pay his Agent’s commission directly – the offering price for the property should take into account the fact that the Buyer is paying the commission on their own. Other examples may be a discount or “Posting Only” listing. These properties are essentlally the same as a For Sale By Owner; however, the seller has paid a brokerage to have the property appear on the Multiple Listing Service. These properties typically offer little to no compensation to the Buyer Specialist. In such circumstances, if the seller cannot be convinced to pay the Agent’s fees, the buyer would provide compensate to the Agent for their services.

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UNDERSTANDING

THE MARKET

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KEnwood6

MARKET CONDITIONS

R

eal estate is an ever-changing market. As a seller, you should understand how certain market conditions can affect your position. An understanding of these conditions is a crucial consideration in the proper marketing of your property.

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THE BUYER’S MARKET In this market, supply exceeds demand. There is a high inventory of property and few buyers. Prices tend to drop due to the competing product. A buyer in can exert more control over the negotiation proccess


THE SELLER’S MARKET

THE BALANCED MARKET

In this market, demand exceeds supply. A smaller inventory of homes means many buyers are competing for property. Prices rise in a seller’s market, and property sells quickly. As a buyer, you’ll have less control over price during negotiations.

In this market, supply and demand are balanced. The inventory available is equal to the demand of buyers. Prices are typically stable. Property sells within an acceptable period of time.

WHAT IS MARKET VALUE?

T

he market value of a property is the highest price that the current market will bear. A home’s value will often be related to its cost (either the purchase price or the cost to build a similar new home, less depreciation). However, depending on present market conditions and the demand for the property, its market value can differ significantly from its cost.

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GET FINANCING

FIRST

O

nce upon a time, buyers found their dream home and then went in search of a mortgage. Today, things have changed. The market is more competitive, and buyers who arrange their financing first have a distinct advantage. This means finding a lender before you start looking for a home.

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STEP 1: TALK TO SEVERAL REPUTABLE LENDERS Ask your agent for a list of lenders—or search on your own—and see who seems most responsive and eager to help you. Keep in mind that there are all kinds of mortgages available with different rates and features. A loan officer will help you navigate through the options.


STEP 2: GET PRE-APPROVED FOR A MORTGAGE Unlike pre-qualification, which is simply a quick estimate of your borrowing potential, pre-approval is a formal approval of a specific mortgage amount—typically the maximum you can borrow. By initiating the mortgage process early, you’ll be in a better position for your search and purchase.

STEP 3: SHOP WITH CONFIDENCE Once you’re pre-approved, you’ll know exactly how much house you can afford— and you’ll have an edge over other buyers in multiple offers or negotiating situations.

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THE HOME BUYING

PROCESS

P

urchasing a home is complex and often a time consuming process. Your buyer specialist is prepared to guide you and advise you every step of the way. By analysing your needs we can help you zero in on the perfect property. Buyer specialists have access to sophisticated applications and search tools to keep you informed about the latest property. After selecting some homes to view, our specialist will then accompany you during some private showings. Once you have found a home our specialist will skillfully draft a contract. Preparing and submitting a successful offer is one of the most valuable services that we provide. Balancing your interests and making sure you are exposed to as little risk as possible, all the while presenting an offer that is attractive to the seller is indeed an art form. After an offer has been accepted, your buyer specialist will assist you in working through any due diligence needed to satisfy yourself with the condition of the propert. This includes building inspections, title research, strata documentation and much more! After you have removed your subject clauses and the offer is unconditional, your specialist will help you prepare for the move, making sure no detail is forgotten. Finally, the favourite moment for our team member, our buyer specialist will be there to hand you the keys welcoming you to your new home!

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Find a Realtor Analyze Your Needs

The Search

Select A Mortgage Broker

Due Diligence

Select Properties

Sold

View Properties Write an Offer to Purchase Accepted Offer Subject Conditions Financing Approval Building Inspection Title Search Condition Removal Deposits Due Sign Mortgage Documents Visit Lawyer or Notary Downpayment Due Obtain Insurance Completion Day Possession Day Meet your Realtor for Keys PU T T ING T HE EMPH A S IS ON

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7 Things You Should Know BEFORE PURCHASING 1. Many times, a home is the largest asset an individual has and is considered one of the safest investments available. 2. The majority of the time, a Realtor can show you any home, whether it is listed with a company, a builder or is a For Sale by Owner property. 3. Working with a Realtor to purchase a For Sale by Owner property is very advantageous because someone will be looking out for your best interests. 4. A pre-approved program from a lender for a specific loan amount subject to the property being approved will give you confidence and will help when negotiating with the seller. 5. Your Real Estate professional can provide you with a list of items that you’ll need to make a loan application, so you’ll be ready when you visit the mortgage broker. 30

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6. In a Seller’s Market, don’t go looking for a deal. Set your sights on the right house for you, and then let your Realtor help you negotiate the best price and terms. 7. All sales have a Provincial property Purchase Tax payable at the time of closing. This tax is 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the balance. (There are exemptions for some first-time buyers.)

EXAMPLE Sale price $500,000 1% on $200,000 = $2,000 2% on $300,000 = $6,000 Total Tax Payable: $8,000 PU T T ING T HE EMPH A S IS ON

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BUILDING

INSPECTIONS

BE AN INFORMED BUYER It is your responsibility to be an informed buyer. Be sure that what you buy is satisfactory in every aspect. You have the right to carefully examine your potential new home with a qualified home inspector. You may arrange to do so before signing your contract, or do so after signing the contract as long as your contract states that the sale of the home depends on the inspection.

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WHY YOU AS A BUYER, NEED A HOME INSPECTION A home inspection gives you more detailed information to help you make a wise decision. In a home inspection, a qualified inspector takes an in-depth, unbiased look at your potential new home to: • Evaluate the physical condition: structure, construction, and mechanical systems. • Identify items that impact the habitability of the home that will need to be repaired or replaced. • Estimate the remaining useful life of major systems, equipment, structure and finishes.

HOW AN INSPECTION FITS INTO AN OFFER We can help you with any house that you read about in the paper, no matter what company or individual is marketing the home. Our sales contract includes a provision that gives you the right to inspect the property, including the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural portions. In fact we strongly encourage you to take advantage of such an inspection. We encourage you to attend a walk-through with the inspector, at the end of his inspection to ask questions and to receive a written report itemizing any areas of concern. This is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the house, as well as understand specific items that may need to be addressed. If further inspections are needed, we will be happy to arrange for tradesmen to prepare quotes for the itemized deficiencies, and to discuss the proposed repairs or deficiencies with you. We will then negotiate any major repairs with the seller, coming to an equitable solution.

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CLOSING COSTS

PROPERTY TRANSFER TAX All properties in BC are subject to a Property Transfer Tax. The tax is one percent of the fair market value up to $200,000, plus two percent on the portion of the fair market value that is greater than $200,000.

be reduced even further. This Homeowner’s Grant does not apply to revenue properties, or on properties exceeding a certain assessed value. GST • Property owners pay GST on the commission.

For example: SALE PRICE

$500,000

1% ON

$200,000 = $2,000

2% ON

$300,000 = $6,000

TOTAL TAX PAYABLE

$8,000

First-time homebuyers are eligible for an exemption from the Property Transfer Tax on principal residences when certain conditions are met. If you are a first-time home buyer, talk to your Realtor® about whether you can qualify.

• GST is not payable on “re-sale” housing. SURVEYOR’S CERTIFICATE Buyers need a Surveyor’s Certificate to complete their purchase; if you have one for your property, you must provide it to your Realtor®. If a Surveyor’s Certificate isn’t available or is difficult to obtain, title insurance is often acceptable as a lower-cost alternative. INSURANCE COMPANIES

PROPERTY TAXES Your lawyer or notary will adjust your annual municipal property taxes at the time of closing. If the property is your principal residence, you may be eligible for a Homeowner’s Grant. If you are under the age of 65, this grant may reduce your property taxes by several hundred dollars. If you are over the age of 65, your taxes may

Insurance companies are increasingly concerned with woodstove certifications, the age of oil tanks (both underground and above ground), and the age of septic tanks. Consult with your Realtor® for more information.

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REAL ESTATE

MYTHS

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MY THS AND TRUTHS

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ABOUT MORTGAGES I had some debt when I was younger and I ruined my credit. I’ll never get a mortgage! You don’t know what your credit history shows until you look. If you do have blemishes from the past—even a bankruptcy—many lenders will overlook problems if the past two years show good credit practice on your part.

I heard you need to put 25% down to buy a house. But my friend says that you can get a mortgage with no down payment at all! Both scenarios are uncommon. There are a variety of financing programs available. I can provide you with a list of lenders that will help you to select the best mortage product for your particular financial picture.

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MY THS AND TRUTHS

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ABOUT AGENTS I have several agents looking for homes on my behalf; I’ll find a house quickly. Like most relationships, this one thrives on communication, loyalty and trust. By working exclusively with one agent, you will improve both the process and the results.

I just saw a house that I love. But so did several other people. I’m worried that someone else will outbid me and get it. Different sellers are motivated by different things. In addition to the price, a seller will look at the other terms of the offer—conditions, contingencies, closing date and price. Many times a “clean” offer from a pre-approved buyer will be more attractive even if the price is slightly lower.

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MY THS AND TRUTHS

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ABOUT BUYING I should find a new home first before I sell the one I now own. If you sell your home first, the benefits are more negotiating power in the sale of your current home and the purchase of a new one.

I want an agent to represent me as a buyer; I’ll have to pay them myself. Buyer representation means that the sales associate who you select works with your best interests in mind. In most cases, however, they receive a portion of the commission paid by the seller. There are certain situations where unacceptable or no compensation at all is being offered by the Seller. Examples of such might include a For-Sale-By-Owner or Posting Only listings. In such situations your Agent will explain your options and how their service to you can be fairly compensated for.

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OUR PROMISE We are pleased you are considering HOLMES REALTY to represent you in one of the most important transactions of your life. If for any reason we do not provide 100% satisfactory service, let us know; we are constantly exploring ways of improving and expanding the level of service that we offer our clients. We are sure that you’ll not only be just satisfied – you’ll be delighted.

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Terry Calveley - Buyer Information Package