Recently I had the opportunity to speak at New Journey Housing in Winnipeg. They work with new Canadians, helping them find housing – everything from rentals to buying their first home here. This fabulous place is a resource that I didn’t even know existed, and now that I do, I’m fiercely proud of it!
It’s unfortunately very common for newcomers to be targeted for scams or to be overcharged for things, especially if there’s a language barrier. I wish it wasn’t the case, and don’t understand it. However, thinking back to my many travel experiences around the world, I’ve been in similar situations where, for some reason, my price was way, WAY more than the local standing next to me. It’s a thing. A stupid thing, but a thing nonetheless.
Because of this, many new Canadians are under the impression that working with a buyer agent to help them find their home instead of just calling around to the listing agents on the “for sale” signs they see is a scam. The same is often believed of mortgage brokers. Here’s the truth – Buyer’s agents and Mortgage brokers are both FREE to the buyer! If I work with a buyer, I can help guide and educate them through the process of finding a home, narrowing it down to their desired criteria and price range, and help them through the offer and closing process, looking out for THEIR best interests at all times. I get paid for this through the sale of whatever house they buy – the vendors pay the listing agent a fee that gets split with me. Savvy?
Mortgage brokers are invaluable to everyone, but especially to newcomers! They know all the ins and outs of your finances (once you let them) and the offer process, and all of the extra hoops that will have to be jumped through to make it happen. They can also get you the best mortgage rate by shopping around to multiple lenders, as opposed to just going to the bank and seeing what they can offer. They also get paid out of the sale of the home, at no extra expense to the buyer! It’s a win-win!
If language is a bit of an issue, there are resources available for REALTOR® & buyer alike. There are simple English booklets outlining the process of buying a home in Manitoba, and they are provided by the Manitoba Real Estate Association. These little books are pretty awesome, guys.
My experience at New Journey Housing was a tremendous one, and I could go on forever (and I kind of did…) but my basic advice to new Canadians looking to buy a home is this: Start by going to New Journey Housing. Next, it’s REALLY important that you find an agent that you trust to guide you through the experience. If you just call the listing agents of every home you see with a sign, your search could take you all over the map and you don’t necessarily have someone who’s only goal is protecting you and your interests. Listen to their expertise and experience as they try to help you figure out the best home for you and your lifestyle. Also, homes here need certain maintenance that you might not be used to if you come from warmer/drier climates. Let us teach you how to find a home, and how to be a good homeowner, too! A home is an investment, and we’d love to help you start this next part of your life off right, and with the tools to make it a success!