The importance of reading the documents involved in buying a home cannot be overstated. There have been a tenfold increase in the number of documents necessary in the home buying process, but by knowing more about these documents you will feel more comfortable when it comes time to write an offer
Listen, I get it. Contrary to the photo above, nobody actually likes more paperwork. But it is vital to a smooth real estate transaction.
When I first meet a client looking to buy a home, I always try to supply a blank copy of the documents that my home buyers will be required to sign in advance so that they can read them in a no pressure environment and have the time to ask me questions about the documents or hypothetical situations around them. Unfortunately, more times than not they will skim over the information I have given them, or not read them at all.
I can't tell you how many times I have then later sat across from those excited home buyers who are ready to put an offer on a home. I ask them if they have read the documentation I had previously provided; they will look at each other, shrug, and state "A little bit". I then tell them that it is my obligation to read the contract and periphery documentation with them. Over the next hour or so I read the contract to them; as the lines and pages roll by I can see their enthusiasm wane, their patience thin, and their energy dip dramatically. I actually had a client fall asleep on me once when I was reading them the contract contents - right in the middle of a Tim Hortons! This is not the optimum time to be reading these details for the first time.
Here is a list of some of the documents that a home buyer should read before they start looking at homes:
- Consumer Relationship Guide - Spells out the terms of the legal relationship between a Realtor and their client.
- Residential Offer to Purchase - A 6 or 7 page contract which is created by the Alberta Real Estate Association (AREA) for residential properties.
- Condominium Offer to Purchase - A contract similar to the purchase contract above but with additional stipulations that are relevant when purchasing a condominium style property.
- Property Schedule - This form becomes part of the contract if you are purchasing a mobile home or will be assuming tenants when you take possession.
- FINTRAC documentation - As part of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act you will be required to supply proof of identity.
Purchasing a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life, and one of the great fears of life is the fear of the unknown. By reading and understanding the documents involved in buying a home before you begin viewing homes you will take away some of those unknowns, making your decision that much easier when the time is right.