Is there an agreement you can sign to get an agent to find you a property in a certain area? If so, what is it called and what is the fee? – SEARCHING
DEAR SEARCHING: You’re describing a Buyer Representation Agreement. This contract establishes the nature of the relationship between a homebuyer and their agent, assigns it a specific time frame and geographic area, and confirms the agent’s brokerage will be paid a minimum fee if you purchase a property within the set parameters. Typically, the fee is paid by the seller.
A Buyer Representation Agreement is beneficial to both you and your agent. As a buyer, it elevates you from “customer” to “client” status and obligates your agent to provide you with the highest level of professional care. Having written confirmation of your relationship also gives your agent the confidence to freely pour their time and resources into your search.
The Buyer Representation Agreement is like having a matchmaking service for your property search. Once signed, your Realtor will dig into your wish list, set up showings, pair you with the perfect house, draft the offer, negotiate your terms, perform due diligence and keep things on track through to closing.
We would like to help our son buy his first home. Our house has been paid off for a decade and we’re thinking of downsizing, but most of our funds are tied up in investments. What should we do? – SUPPORTIVE PARENTS
DEAR PARENTS: I suggest you frame the choice to invest in your son’s home as a business opportunity, rather than a handout. It sounds like you are financially stable. Assuming your son is also responsible with his money, you may both benefit from a decision to leverage your home in order to help him break into the market.
Money is cheap right now, so if you have a considerable amount of equity just sitting there, why not make it work for you? If your son can afford a five or 10 percent down payment and you lend him enough to put down 20 percent, he’ll avoid all CMHC fees and can pay you back your proportional share of the down payment when he moves to his next house in a few years.
You might consider purchasing the house as tenants in common. As part owner, you could make your stake in the property small enough to minimize your capital gains, and still leave the door open for your son to buy you out in the future if he wishes to do so.
PRO TIP: Remortgaging a portion of your home, digging into your savings, or downsizing sooner rather than later are among the steps you could take to help your son get a foothold in the market. Let’s call this an investment in your kids’ future. #AskDavid #Advice