Monthly Archives: December 2016
Finding the right real estate agent for you is important. You need to be able to trust them, so it is crucial that your personality is well matched with theirs. Just because you see an agent’s “for sale” and “sold” signs throughout the neighbourhood doesn’t necessarily mean they are the “right” real estate agent for you.
When you are selling in a competitive market, you need to be working with someone who is anexpert in your area of focus. One of the best strategies for finding your agent, above and beyond word of mouth and referral, is to attend a prospective real estate agent’s open house. Here you can get a hands-on feel for how they operate and see if it matches what you seeking.
When you narrow down your search and are ready to interview an agent, please consider these key questions:
1. What types of properties you do specialize in selling?
2. How long have you been in the business? What is your track record? Can you provide references?
3. What is your commission rate?
4. What do you do to market the property? Do you have a website? Do you advertise, and where?
5. How familiar are you with the area in which my home is? How familiar are you with the area in which I’d like to purchase?
6. Are you willing to hold open houses? How many are reasonable to expect? Are you present for showings? Do you use lockboxes?
7. Can I expect regular feedback from showings?
8. If you were to list my property, what price would you suggest? Why?
9. What would you suggest I do to increase the asking price in my home?
10. Will you terminate the listing if I am not happy?
You need to be comfortable with your realtor and be able to ask them anything. If your inner voice is whispering or yelling “No” then you need to listen to it before you sign the listing contract. If you feel any pressure at all then do not sign it.
When you sign this contract, you are giving permission to the listing agent to gather and obtain any information concerning the property from any persons, government or corporations and to share this information with other parties. In the contract you will also be agreeing on the terms and details regarding commission and duties.
At the same time, the Property Disclosure Statement (PDS) is generally completed. PDS’ tend to vary according to province but it is ultimately a snap shot of the property from the owner’s perspective. This article is vital, as it is incorporated into the purchase contract and can be used against the property owner if any information is omitted or misleading. Ultimately, you need to remember that you are signing contracts, so you need to make sure you review thoroughly and ask questions when you are unsure. Only when you are satisfied with said answers should you sign on the dotted line.
A property survey shows the boundaries of the property indicating the lot size, and includes a written description of the property. Property surveys, which resemble a map, are carried out during the original construction of a house and are provided to the buyer at that time. However, if the house you are buying is older you may find that the original survey has long been lost. Sometimes a copy has been kept at the city planning department and they will gladly give you a copy, but I’ve never been that lucky.
Surveys indicate right-of-ways and easements. Right-of-ways detail the right of others to access certain areas of the property (for example, it may allow access to hydro or telephone companies for servicing or a shared lane or driveway). Easements are a right that’s assigned to the property and cannot be removed very easily, if at all. Surveys may also indicate issues such as a fence located outside the property line or an overhanging roof from a detached garage and in these instances, the buyer can ask the seller to correct the problem before closing.
If you’re thinking of buying a home, you may be wondering if you need an up-to-date property survey. It’s definitely in your best interests to have one as your lender may insist on one before approval of your financing, however, Title Insurance may suffice. Your lawyer will most likely suggest that you purchase Title Insurance anyway, and it may soon be mandatory for all real estate property purchases. If you are buying a condo you won’t need a survey, not even for a condo townhouse as essentially the condo corporation will own the land, not you. A simple way to find out if it’s a requirement is to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you buy and quite frankly I insist that all of my clients get pre-approved before we start looking at homes.
Over time, you may want to add a fence, a pool, a deck or even an extension and you will need a survey when you make these improvements. Many times such changes have occurred since the last survey making it out of date and therefore it has little value in the real estate transaction, but could still be suffice for your own needs.
It should be noted that not every transaction requires a new survey, and Title Insurance may satisfy your lender. Ask your real estate lawyer to verify this before you purchase the property. It can also depend on when the last survey was completed and what physical changes have taken place since the survey was done. If a new survey is needed, you need to determine who will pay the cost in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale.
As a homebuyer, you’ll want to make sure that you make a wise investment choice, and that’s why professional home inspections are becoming an essential part of the buying process. In fact, more and more buyers are using specialized inspections based on location or the property itself, in addition to the standard home inspection.
A professional home inspector reviews the operating systems and structure of a home of any age—even new homes—and leaves a written report for the client to keep as a reference guide. Typically, the home inspector will comment on the condition of the foundation, heating and cooling systems, electrical service, roof, plumbing, and other significant structural factors and will outline costs of repair or replacement where needed, as well as comment on the condition of the property compared to others of the same age. The few hours that you spend with your inspector are the best time to learn the ins and outs of taking care of your property, and you should keep the reference book for as long as you live there.
With rising home prices and a subsequent rise in the use of home inspectors, in recent years, the field has actually become more specialized to suit specific needs of certain markets or properties. For example, some offers to purchase may require the services of a swimming pool inspector, termite inspector, electrician to inspect wiring, or a water-quality inspection for a property with a well.
Inspection costs will vary based on the size of the home, but you can expect to pay in the area of three to five hundred dollars for a typical home inspection of a single family residence. In many cases, it’s the buyer who pays the cost of the home inspection, and most agree that it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. However, some home sellers are using pre-listing home inspection reports as a marketing tool. A home inspection report can also give you additional negotiating power if it unearths some significant problems that must be remedied, but may not have been visible.
Your real estate professional can advise you on how to incorporate a home inspection as a condition of buying a property. Your offer can be conditional upon a professional home inspection being conducted and a satisfactory report being received by you the home buyer. If the inspection report indicates some big expenses, or problems you don’t want to deal with, your offer can either be terminated or possibly re-negotiated to help cover the cost of any major remedies. Your realtor will advise you of any risks associated with renegotiating the deal and will protect you during the process so that the seller cannot accept an offer from another buyer.
The demographics of the typical first-time homebuyer are changing these days. More and more women today can afford to purchase a property on their own to build up valuable equity and are no longer waiting to find a life partner before they pursue the financial and lifestyle benefits of home ownership. One in four buyers these days is a single female, and new home marketing is actually starting to reflect that. We may be ready to jump into the commitment of home ownership but not all of us are willing to give up our valuable free time to outdoor chores. So single girls tend to look for homes that require little or no maintenance with an option to plant container gardens. Sound familiar girls?
The easiest and most popular way to hold on to our maintenance free lifestyle is to purchase a condominium. Its problem-free upkeep and unencumbered lifestyle is an obvious benefit to people who don’t want to be tied up every weekend with chores—there are no lawns to water and mow, and no leaves to rake. No yard means there’s no fence or deck to repair, and no driveway to shovel in winter. Choose a condo and you’ll never have to worry about this stuff. Condominium members are charged a flat monthly fee to cover maintenance of the common areas as well as provide prompt service by reliable tradespersons if there are maintenance problems in your individual unit. Heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical problems are handled by maintenance staff or service agreements set up by the condo association, so good help is available at a moment’s notice.
Security is also an important consideration for single women living alone, and the condo lifestyle can offer such measures as restricted access, a concierge on duty screening visitors, closed circuit TV monitors, patrolling security guards and panic buttons in garages to add to peace of mind.
Some single women still prefer a more traditional home as their first property. The appeal of having an outdoor space of your own to entertain, putter about in a garden and relax in can be inviting. A single family home sometimes offers more privacy and is also better suited to larger pets. Make sure to check if your pet will be warmly received by the condo board—they uphold the rules that the condo owners have set in place.