Buying a home off of the internet is fast, easy and a good idea; right? Wrong. There are many reasons why not to buy a home off of the internet. Let’s explore a few of them here.
Clearly the internet provides a service of unprecedented capability if used correctly. Now information can be disseminated, and shared quickly and widely around the world and individuals can interact and collaborate without having to be in the same geographic area. We can also purchase things using the internet. Almost anyone with a smart phone or tablet or a desktop or laptop computer that can be connected to the internet can order just about anything from almost anywhere in the world and have it delivered to your home in a week or two. Ordering a car part from a reputable business can save you a lot of money but trying to locate and buy your next home via the same medium can create frustration and much more. Why, you ask?
Buying a Car Part from the Internet
Buying a product such as a car part over the internet can be fairly straight forward. The product has a part number and a description and online stores will have a fitment application guide to ensure that the part will fit your car. Before ordering a part, however, it is often useful to ask where the part was manufactured and to check to see if anyone has reported any problems with that particular part. Not all parts are manufactured to the same level of quality. A car part made in the USA will often be higher quality than one made in China. Provided that you order from a reputable retailer you should receive what you expect.
Buying a Car from the Internet
Buying something larger and more expensive like a car or boat can also be facilitated through the internet but a higher level of due diligence on the part of the buyer is needed to ensure that a prospective buyer gets what they expect. While the type and model number of a larger and more expensive product can be readily confirmed over the internet, the condition of the product cannot. Buyers should actually view, inspect and drive the car before committing to the purchase.
Buying a Home
Buying a home can be vastly different than the purchase of a product such as a part for your car, or a larger more expensive product like a car or boat. With a few exceptions, when you buy a home you are buying both a home and the property that the home sits on. You are also buying into a neighbourhood and local area. What do you know about the local area and neighbourhood? What do you know about the property and the bylaws and other regulations that may be applicable to it? What do you know about the home, who built it and how it has been maintained? What do you know about the local improvements that are planned for the local area that may affect either the home’s value or the levies and assessments applicable to the home and property? Was the home used for any illegal purpose? Does the home have any material latent defects? Is the home or any portion of the property designated as a heritage site?
What do you know about the seller and what they used the home for? Does the seller have legal authority to sell the home? Is the home is being sold by an executor of an estate has the property been through probate? If the home is being sold by a corporation does the person representing the corporation have authority to act for the corporation? Is a power of attorney involved?
Home titles contain information on the real property such as the name (s) of the registered owner (s), the taxation authority, a description of the land, legal notations, charges, liens and interests, if there is a duplicate title and it may also contain information on transfers and pending applications. Would you want to know if there is something on the title that will prevent its transfer to a new owner? Does anyone not listed on the title have an interest in the property? Are there any covenants, building schemes, rights of way, easements, leases, tax notices or financial encumbrances on the title of the property?
Homes and the properties that they are affixed to can be affected by any number of other considerations. Riparian regulations, airport regulations, contamination, and undersurface rights are but a few of them. Are there any non-registered encroachments or rights of way on the property boundaries? Was there any recent construction on the home and was the work done via a permit? Is the home being sold by an owner-builder? If the home is newer does the Homeowner Protection Act apply? Are there any access issues or site restriction issues? Does the home have any other systems such as a septic system or well? Is the property affected by a flood plain? Is there a tenant or any leased equipment in the home? The aforementioned issues are only some of the potential issues associated with buying a home and / or property. Buying a home is a process that can take weeks or even months to ensure that a reasonable standard of care is used to ensure that a buyer is purchasing what they think that they are buying.
Comox real estate listings can be viewed online but only very limited information is presented on the listing. While so called ‘virtual tours” and video may be helpful they still only present a small part of the overall picture of an home and the property it resides on. Online listings should be considered nothing more than a starting point in order to get a general sense of the local real estate market. A buyer cannot get a good sense of any home without actually viewing the home. Even after viewing a home, more information is required as part of the due diligence process before a buyer commits to buying a home.
Buyers should avail themselves of a competent and trustworthy real estate agent to help them find their next home. Buyers do not pay for the services of these experts so why would any buyer not want such help? There are many steps in the home buying process and much more to consider than what is discussed in this short article. If you are thinking about buying a home in the Comox Valley contact the Brett Cairns real estate team and ask Brett to be your local area expert and agent.