February 17, 2014
Hire the Right Agent, For the Right Reasons: 8 Questions to Ask
Finding a real estate agent who is right for you requires doing a little homework, and asking the right questions. Choosing an agent is a decision that could ultimately cost or save you thousands of dollars. Keep in mind the individual you choose will be handling almost every maneuver in the biggest financial investment of your life. Experience, interests, and expertise vary from agent to agent, so you should be asking very specific questions in order to align your own needs with the abilities of an appropriate representative. Use the following list of questions as a guide to finding the agent that is right for you:
- How long have you been involved in residential real estate in this area?
If the agent hasn...
February 17, 2014
Watch for these electrical hazards in your home
Electricity in the home is so commonplace that it's easy to forget how dangerous it can be. According to the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, an electrical shock can knock you unconscious, cause a serious burn, or even stop your heartbeat.
Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to reduce the risk.
- Install safety plugs in outlets that young children can reach.
- Never plug in anything with a frayed or otherwise damaged power cord.
- Never use a plugged-in computer, hair dryer, or other electrically-powered item near a filled sink or bathtub. This includes phones with power cords.
- Never touch anything electrical with wet hands or while standing in water. (Water is a remarkably efficient conductor of electricity.)
February 17, 2014
Making sense of a crazy market
Unless you're a real estate expert, you probably look at the market and think things are pretty confusing. Even a bit crazy! You hear news about “bubbles bursting”, “higher or lower home sales in a particular month”, “new home starts” that are up or down, and on and on it goes.
It’s a lot of news and a lot of jargon.
If you're thinking of selling your home within the next year or two, you will want to understand what's happening in the market so you can make the right decisions and get a clear sense of what to expect. So, how do you make sense of it all?
That's where a good REALTOR® can help.
Even if you don't have any definite plans to move in the near future, a REALTOR...
January 6, 2014
A quick lesson in wood floors
Thinking about installing wood floors? The first decision you need to make involves the type. According to the National Wood Flooring Association, there are four types:
- Unfinished. This type requires you or your installer to sand and apply a finish. If you want a specific colour or style, or you're trying to match existing flooring, this might be the best option for you.
- Factory finished. As the name suggests, this is flooring that has its finish applied in the factory. Although it is more expensive, factory finished flooring can be installed faster and can be walked upon immediately.
- Solid. This is flooring that is made from a solid piece of wood, top to bottom. The advantage is that it can be sanded and refinished many times over the years,...
January 6, 2014
Buying a home in the new year !?
Get your house in order before you start shopping. Here's what you need to do, and when.
Buying a home is a complicated process, and it can be particularly daunting for the first-timer.
The following timeline starts one year before you hope to start seriously shopping for a home. This is an ideal; you can arrange your finances and buy a home in less time, if necessary, but you'd be smart to walk through all of the steps in order. The more time you give yourself for this process, the better.
A year out (or as soon as possible)
Get your credit reports. Errors on your reports can force you to pay a higher interest rate on your mortgage or even torpedo your chances...
December 6, 2013
Light Your Way to a Faster Sale
Remember the last time you visited an upscale furniture showroom? The furniture and fixtures on display probably looked great. The colours and textures jumped out at you. It was a feast for the eyes!
December 6, 2013
Stop Paying Your Landlord!: Own Your Own Home
The thousands of dollars in rent you’ve already paid to your landlord may be a staggering figure—one you don’t even want to think about. Buying a house just isn’t possible for you right now. And it isn’t in your financial cards for the foreseeable future. Or is it? The situation is common and widespread: countless people feel trapped in home rental, pouring thousands of dollars into a place that will never be their own—yet they think they’re unable to produce a down payment for a home in order to escape this rental cycle. However, putting the buying process into motion isn’t nearly as impossible as it may seem. No matter how dire you believe your financial...
November 19, 2013
Recognizing red flags for new homes
Buyers of new homes should do their homework and be wary of builders who promise too much, says the man overseeing Ontario's regulator for home builders.
Tarion president and chief executive officer Howard Bogach is touring the province to promote the corporation's work and warn of illegal building practices. The Ontario government created Tarion Warranty Corp. in 1976 to regulate the building of new homes. It licences builders of new homes and condominiums and guarantees warranties.
Registered builders must have the technical competence and enough financing to allow them to absorb any losses that could arise during a home's construction.
Bogach said buyers should “make the phone call” to learn if the builder's registered. Its website...
November 6, 2013
Strata faced with unauthorized alterations
Dear Tony: We had an owner that made some changes to their strata lot. Without our knowledge she had a wall removed between two bedrooms to make one larger room. The contactor assured that the wall wasn’t load bearing and that it would have no effect on the building.
Since the wall removal, the owners of the two units above identified a sagging in their floors. We approached the owner about the changes and she advised that construction was done according to code and refused access to her strata lot.
How do we proceed with dealing with this owner?
— Jenny Carleson
Dear Jenny: Alterations to the structure of a strata lot have the potential of significant impact on the remainder of the building. Fire stops may be removed, ...
November 6, 2013
Amortization period: The actual number of years it will take to pay back your mortgage loan.
Appraised value: An estimate of the value of the property, conducted for the purpose of mortgage lending by a certified appraiser.
Assumability: Allows the buyer to take over the seller's mortgage on the property.
Closed mortgage: A mortgage that locks you into a specific payment schedule. A penalty usually applies if you repay the loan in full before the end of a closed term.
Condominium fee: A payment among owners, which is allocated to pay expenses.
Conventional mortgage: A mortgage loan issued for up to 75% of the property's appraised value or purchase price, whichever is less.
Down payment: The buyer's...
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