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Canada - Property Search
The most common way to find a home in Canada is to make use of the services of an estate agent or realtor. All realtors in Canada must be registered and have a licence. In order to get the licence they need to be a minimum of 18 years of age and have be fluent in either English or French, depending upon where in the country they are working. The regulations are different in each province, but applicants will invariably need to pass an exam to prove that they have the knowledge required for the job. In order to prepare for the exam there are courses that should be taken. In most areas these are offered both at colleges and online. The course ensures that the candidate is familiar with all areas of property regulations and laws. Most estate agents will choose to specialise in either residential or commercial property.
The estate agent fees are paid by the person selling the property but will usually be based on a percentage of the sale price of the house. This percentage can range between 3% and 7% of the sale price, depending upon the price range, the area and the negotiation skills of the seller. Some estate agents will have a set percentage that they will not budge from, but others will be happy to negotiate with you.
A buyer’s agent is also another way of finding a property but it is only just becoming popular in Canada. In Canada a buyer’s agent can find a property that meet your specifications and help to negotiate the best price for the property. A buyer’s agent should be a qualified and registered realtor as this gives them the access that they need to property listings. A buyer’s agent is paid a part of the fees that are paid by the seller as they are a registered estate agent that has initiated the sale. Expats should be wary of using a buyer’s agent that is not a registered estate agent as they will not have access to all the listings and can search much more widely than an estate agent might. In effect in Canada, there is not a great deal of difference between working with an estate agent and working with a buyer’s agent.
The Canada Real Estate Investment Network offers guidance on finding an estate agent that will suit your needs. This includes spending some time talking to them first to get an idea of how effective they are and not reject the idea of working with someone who might seem pushy as this could be what you need to find the property you want.
As with most countries now, estate agents in Canada invariably have websites so it is very easy to begin your search for property before you move to the country. In addition most properties are listed on the Multiple Listing Service website to which registered estate agents have access and can arrange viewings and sales, even if the property has been listed by another agent. The MLS website will feature properties that have been listed all over the country.
There are no specific organisations for expats who want to buy property in Canada. As there are no restrictions on the purchase of property by foreign buyers they are not treated any differently so can simply use the same systems as the Canadian buyers.
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