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There are five crucial rules to follow as you embark on the purchase of a property:

1. Choose a real estate agent carefully as this person will be the most important advisor in your search. You will spend considerable time with this person so, in addition to knowledge and experience, trust and fit are key qualities you should seek.

2. Before you begin searching for your property, decide if you wish to obtain financing or purchase cash. If you decided to purchase with financing you will need to be pre-approved for a mortgage with a bank and/or a mortgage broker so you have a clear understanding of your budget. Your real estate agent can provide recommendations of trusted lender contacts.

3. Educate yourself on the market by speaking with your real estate agent about property values in different neighborhoods and the varied lifestyles available. Take advantage of publicly available information to research recent sales of comparable properties, and visit open houses in addition to those properties introduced by your real estate agent to get up to speed on the current market.

4. Once you find a home you are interested in be sure to do your due diligence. Your real estate agent will help you obtain information about the building’s financial condition as well as any renovation or major repairs that may have been done to the property itself and the building. Building policies on financing, pied à terre and subletting vary considerably, and can affect property values.

5. Be prepared with a strong closing team. Your real estate agent will be able to provide you with recommendations of competent experienced loan consultant, home inspector, insurance agent and real estate attorney.

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