There are many expert opinions you will need to acquire throughout your home buying process, and although your Realtor may be able to guide you through the basics, they should always recommend at the very least expert legal, financial, and inspection advice. Here is a breakdown of who you may need to be in contact with throughout your home purchase, and why – usually your Realtor will be able to provide you with some recommendations for some specific companies or contacts their clients have had excellent experiences with in the past.
The lawyer is part 1 of what I like to call the Big 3 – which are made up of what I believe to be the three most important contacts for a buyer. Your lawyer is going to go through your agreement of purchase and sale with a fine toothed comb to ensure any and all clauses are in your best interest, the same way they will go through the status certificate of a building if you are choosing to purchase a condominium. They are the ones who are going to do all the behind the scenes work as well – transferring title, registering a charge to the land (a mortgage) with the Land Registry Office, transferring the actual funds for the purchase of the home, and even calculating the amount of land taxes, and utilities expenses that need to be split between the buyer and the seller. Your lawyer will also be your liaison in case the seller does not abide by terms in the agreement of purchase and sale, such as: chattles are not in good working order, home was not left in broom swept condition, fixtures have been removed that should not have been, tenants are still residing in the unit etc.
Your mortgage broker is part 2 of the Big 3, as they also play a very important role in your home purchase. Unless you are paying cash for your new home, the mortgage broker is integral to you having a successful purchase. Your mortgage broker is going to pre approve you for your mortgage, go through your financials to let you know what you can afford based on their criteria, and may even perform an assessment of your home to ensure it is worth what you have contracted in your agreement of purchase and sale.
The home inspector is part 3 of the Big 3 – and although many people in the Toronto market choose to forgo a home inspection clause, your Realtor should always recommend one in order to get a better idea of the health of the home. The home inspection is not as integral in condos, where the majority of the items they would check lay outside the unit – they can still complete a visual inspection of the unit itself. The main thing to remember with a home inspection is that the inspector is going to complete a visual inspection of the unit – meaning they aren’t opening up walls and ceilings, so they cannot confirm for instance that there is no use of knob and tube wiring throughout the home. They are going to look for things like signs of age and decay, how old the roofing material is and what it is made out of, if the foundation has cracks or if there are signs of efflorescence in the basement, what type of wiring is being used in the home, the types of piping (in some Toronto homes lead and galvanized steel pipes are still present), ensuring grade sloping is not draining towards the home, potential environmental problems, pests such as termites, and much, much more. Just from this short list you can see how important it can be to have a home inspection to really understand the health of your home. Even if you forgo the home inspection clause with your offer, it's still recommended to obtain an inspection to get a better idea of upcoming expenses and the state of your home.