1. Rushing your offer in a hot market
The Abbotsford housing market is hot, which can put buyers in a panic. Prices are rising so fast many buyers worry home-ownership may soon be out of reach. But Ravi Duhra, a partner at RDM Lawyers LLP, says you shouldn’t allow your fear of missing out to rush you into a bad deal.
“It’s a dangerous time to be buying. With so little time between when a home is listed and sold you have to make decisions quickly. But if you rush over important details you may end up with headaches down the road,” he says. “Organize as much paperwork as you can before you start looking at houses.”
2. Sweetening your offer by removing subjects
It’s important to give sellers a tempting offer, and your realtor may suggest offering more than the asking price or removing items like ‘subject to home inspection’ or ‘subject to financing.’ Having a good offer will definitely improve your chances of getting a home, but you may not like what you buy.
“Think of risk like a dial on the stereo — you’re always going to have some risk, but a good real estate lawyer can help you turn down the volume,” Duhra says. “If you keep all the subjects in your offer you risk losing the house, but if you remove them you risk losing a lot of money on things like repairs and nonrefundable deposits. Lawyers help you understand the risks you’re taking, and offer advice based on years of experience.”
3. Skipping the home inspection
These days in Abbotsford, Duhra says it’s not uncommon to see offers accepted just an hour after the open house finishes. That doesn’t give buyers much time to consult with experts.
“One thing buyers can do is pay a home inspector upfront, and have them do a walk-through during the open house,” Duhra says. “They won’t be able to be as thorough, but it’s better than skipping the home inspection entirely.”
4. Only calling your lawyer when you’re in trouble
The best time to talk to a lawyer about your real estate deal is before it’s signed, but many buyers wait until after.
“We’ll do our best to help, but there’s not a lot we can do after you’ve signed a contract. It’s better to reach out earlier so we can walk through your risks,” Duhra says.
There’s a common misconception that lawyers will bill you for every quick email or phone call, but Duhra says he and his colleagues don’t typically charge for every little conversation.
“RDM Lawyers has been in the community for 50 years, and some of our clients have been with us for three generations. We like to build long-term relationships — it allows us to be proactive, and help our clients with everything that comes up from year to year,” he says. “Once you’re a client, we’re happy to help with those quick questions, and we’ll give better advice because we understand everything else going on in your life.”