My Blog

Posts filed under: Buying and Selling

10 ways to avoid buying the wrong house

August 1, 2013Buying and Selling

The most common mistake home buyers make is that they buy with their heart instead of their head. This often means they pay more than they should or are disappointed when they uncover defects in the home or find out the neighborhood isn’t quite what they thought.

1. Visit the neighborhood on foot.

Take a walk through the neighborhood and talk to people. Drive by at 7:30 in the morning to see how many school buses are picking up children. You can also tell how long it may take you to commute to work during rush hour. By speaking to people, you can not only get a sense of the friendliness of the community, but also as to whether there are any surprises that no one is going to advertise, a local haunted house, vandalism, former grow houses, or the neighbour from hell.

2. Go to City Hall

Visit your local building department and find out if any new developments are planned. New development may increase property values but also increase traffic. Check to see how many owners have applied for minor variances, to either build homes or additions that are larger than the by-law permits. This gives an indication of the future direction of this neighbourhood.

3. Find the right real estate agent

Start by asking family and friends. Look for signs in the area that interest you, especially “Sold” signs. This is a good indication that the agent has the area’s pulse and knows what a home should sell for. They should also likely be aware of any problems, such as sewage backups, termites or vandalism; things that may only be known by locals. Also check the website of any agents that you may interview. Do they offer tips and explain what services they provide? Do they offer information about the neighbourhood including parks, religious institutions, demographics and schools? Ask about their success rate with bidding wars and do they know how to approach sellers who refuse to pay commission?

4. How much can you afford?

When it comes to mortgages, it is not enough to know in advance how much you can safely borrow based on your income. Buyers should also realize that the lender will do an appraisal and if the lender believes you paid more than the house is worth, they will not give you the full amount of the loan that you expect. So, be very careful about stretching yourself to the limit when you make an offer on any home.

5. Title insurance is a must

Title insurance can be arranged through your lawyer. You will be protected against unpaid taxes or water bills by the seller, as well as problems that are not known at closing. This includes problems where part of the home or swimming pool is in fact on your neighbour’s property. However, it is a mistake to believe that title insurance will protect you against everything. For example, title insurance will not compensate you if you thought your lot was 50 feet and a later survey showed that it was only 48 feet.

6. Why a survey is important

A survey will reveal all boundary issues in advance, which will ensure that you do not have problems after closing, especially if you plan on making additions or other improvements.

7. Choose a home inspector carefully

The home inspection is a critical part of the process, so do your research. Make sure the company is registered before retaining them. The Ontario Association of Home Inspectors is a self-regulating body that defines qualifications for home inspectors, and grants the designation RHI, or Registered Home Inspector, to qualified practitioners in Ontario. Most inspection firms have a limitation of liability clause, which states that if they miss something that costs you money, they are not responsible. Ask the company if they have ever been sued by a buyer.

8. Ask the seller hard questions

Ask the sellers if they have had basement flooding problems, or mould or roof leaks, even if the leaks have been repaired. Watch how they answer. Most sellers will now refuse to sign property disclosure statements, but they are required to respond truthfully to these questions if you ask them directly. If the seller refuses to answer or acts suspiciously, then you need to discuss this with your home inspector and your real estate agent and either adjust your purchase offer or walk away.

9. Basement apartments must be legal

If the home contains a basement apartment and the income is important to you, make sure that it legally complies with zoning and the fire code by-laws. If it doesn’t, then all it takes is one complaint from a neighbor and you may be forced to spend thousands of dollars to make it comply after you buy.

10. Check about your insurance premium early

Find an insurance agent right away and if possible, check what it will cost to obtain insurance as soon as you sign your agreement and before you waive any conditions. An insurance agent can check the history of claims in the neighbourhood and can let you know about claims for sewage back-ups or vandalism. This is important information that any buyer should have before deciding to waive their conditions and complete the deal.

If you follow these simple steps and buy with your head instead of your heart, chances are you’ll get the house you want at a price you can afford, with no unwanted surprises later.


Tagged with: buying wrong house real estate milton real estate vaughan neighborhood

7 reasons your house may not be selling

August 1, 2013Buying and Selling

Selling a home isn’t as simple as planting a sign in the ground any more. It involves preparation, timing and strategic advice. If you don’t do all of the above, do not be surprised when your home does not sell while others in the area are doing so.

Here are some common mistakes:

1. Good photos matter

More and more, buyers are being introduced to properties online. Pictures and videos matter. Before you take any picture, make sure your home has been properly de-cluttered, inside and out, and consider staging tips that will make the rooms appear larger. Pictures from your own iPhone will not impress anyone. Make sure all photographs are taken by professionals.

2. An MLS listing isn’t enough

In addition to the MLS, your home needs to be marketed on social media and should be directly advertised to other real estate agents, here and abroad, who are more likely to bring a buyer to your home. Foreign investors want Canadian real estate, as they view it as a safe investment. You need to reach every potential buyer.

3. The price isn’t right

A home is likely to attract the most interest within the first two weeks it is listed for sale. If the home is overpriced, buyers will move on. Be realistic when you set a sale price. Check out the competition and see what recent sales have been in the area. Remember, the longer a house sits on the market, the more likely that people will start asking whether something is wrong with it.

4. Buyers can’t get in to have a look

You never know when a potential buyer will want to see it. It might be late in the evening or at other times that are not convenient for you. If you say no, the buyer will typically just move on to the next home for sale, where the owner is more accommodating.

5. Your timing is wrong

Most buyers like to close before the beginning of the school year, to avoid too much disruption. Since closing usually happens 60 days after the offer is signed, you want to try to time your sale to happen between April and June. People generally go on vacation in the summer.

6. The house has a stigma

Sometimes two homes look similar, but one backs on to a ravine and the other to a hydro line. Make sure your agent asks for feedback from people who have seen your home but have decided not to put in an offer. If there is something outside the home that is bothering buyers, either figure out how to address it or adjust your price. If your neighbours know about prior problems with your home, be upfront and tell buyers in advance. They are going to ask the neighbours anyway, as part of their due diligence.

7. You have the wrong agent

When you interview agents, it should never be about choosing the one with the cheapest price. You have too much money riding on this choice. Ask any agent you interview about their own marketing plans and social media presence, and above all, get references. In addition, ask a simple question: Why should I hire you? If they can’t demonstrate why they are different, move on.


Tagged with: buying real estate selling real estate real estate milton real estate vaughan real estate mississauga mls listings

Buying a house: Why the numbers 4, 13 and 8 matter

August 1, 2013 - Updated: August 1, 2013Buying and Selling

What is it about the number 4?

Growing up, I quickly noticed that the house numbers on the street went from 11 to 15. There was no number 13. Ancient superstition. Airlines do not have a row 13. The only reference I had to number 4 was Bobby Orr on the Boston Bruins. He made that number famous.

How times have changed. Now the number 4, which sounds like the word “death” in Cantonese and Mandarin, is considered very unlucky not only in the Chinese culture, but also in Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese communities. And real estate agents will tell you that in some areas in the GTA, this can lower a home’s value by up to $35,000.

New condominium developers are no longer just skipping the 13th floor in a 30 story building; they also skip floor numbers 4, 14 and 24 as well.

In Hong Kong, some high rises go from floor 39 to floor 50, to skip any reference to a 4 in the floor description.

Richmond Hill council voted on May 15. 2013 to avoid using the number 4 in any new addresses, after residents complained.

Many owners are making applications to change their number from 4 to 2, when there is no number 2 already on the street. If there is a number 2, you can apply to change your number to for example, 2B, but only if you get the permission of the owner of house number 2. For example, in Toronto, coincidentally, for a little more than $400, you can apply to change your house number.

In Mississauga, the amount is $650 plus HST. You can find information on how to apply at the website:

On the other hand, the number 8 in Chinese is considered lucky as it sounds like prosperity. It also has a symmetrical shape which implies perfect balance. Even better if your house number is 88. Remember that the Chinese Olympics started on 08 08, 2008. It was no co-incidence.

I doubt that a seller has any obligation to disclose whether their house number may cause a problem later with the re-sale of the home. This is another reason why you need to speak to the neighbours and research any community before buying any home, to learn if there are any local customs or superstitions that you should be familiar with, so you do not get any unwanted surprises later.

We now live in a very multicultural country. Numbers matter to a growing group of potential buyers. Be aware of this before you decide to buy any home.


Tagged with: house number real estate vaughan real estate toronto article

Why You Should Use a Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

May 21, 2013Buying and Selling

If you are trying to sell a home in the Ontario, Canada region then you should know you could be in for a difficult ordeal. All sellers want to get the maximum amount of money from their home sale but most don’t have the first clue on how to do it. This is why savvy home sellers turn to the services of a real estate agent to help them get the most out of their home. There are many different benefits to using a real estate agent and it is also important to know how to pick one out. Here are a few of the advantages as well as some things you should look for in an agent.


More People Will See Your House

When it comes to homes for sale, more people look at homes that are listed by agents than by independent sellers. There are a few reasons for this. Good agents are usually known and trusted in the area, which gives buyers a sense of security when making a purchase.


In addition, real estate agents will be able to dedicate more of their time to the sale of your home. If you have homes in Oakville that you are trying to sell, it might not be convenient for you to travel there every time someone wants to look at your home. A good agent will be on call anytime a potential buyer wants to see or talk about a home.

You Can Use Their Website

Since most homes for sale are now listed online, the Internet has become one of the most powerful tools for selling a home. A good real estate agency will have an established, well-run website that generates regular traffic. This means you can take advantage of their site without the need to build or maintain your own. This saves you time, hassle and money while increasing the chances that someone looks at your listing. Agency websites also have specific sections, such as real estate Mississauga, which will draw additional traffic from people looking for homes for sale in that particular area.

Agents Know How to Price

Setting the price for a home is one of the trickiest parts of selling it. Setting the price too high might scare away potential buyers, while a price that is too low could cost you a lot of money. Rather than doing all of this research yourself, you can hire a real estate agent, who will be familiar with the real estate market, as well as the area. This means they will know exactly what you can expect to get from the sale of your home, ensuring that you get maximum value.

They Have Knowledge of the Local Market

Homes in Oakville might not cost as much as real estate Mississauga, which is why it is crucial to have someone with intimate knowledge of the local market. Since real estate agents deal with home sales in these areas on a day to day basis, they are far more likely to understand the fluctuations in the market. They might be able to impart some useful advice about the timing or price of your home sale, which could save you a lot of money in the long run.


You’ll Make More Money

Some sellers stay away from using a real estate agent because they think it will cost too much money. Conversely, studies show that agents generally get more from the sale of a home than independent sellers. Even though you will have to pay a fee or commission, this cost is usually offset by the increased price they get for your home. Now that you know some of the reasons you should use a real estate agent when listing your homes for sale, it is time to learn how to pick one out.


What to Look For in a Real Estate Agent

There are some things you can look for to ensure you hire an agent with the right credentials and experience to maximize your home sale. Here are some quick tips:


-Gather several qualified candidates. Remember, you are essentially hiring an employee, so be sure to do your due diligence and talk to several potential candidates and don’t just hire the first one.


-Find an agent with experience in the area. The longer a real estate agent has worked in the area the better their understanding will be of the market. This experience could be invaluable when it comes to pricing your home.


-Find out if they are a dual agent. Some agents work for both the buyer and seller. This might give them a conflict of interests. For this reason it is usually best to hire an agent that will only be working for you, the seller.

Now that you know the benefits of a real estate agent, as well as what to look for, you should be able to get the most from your home sale.

Tagged with: real estate oakville real estate mississauga real estate agent oakville real estate agent mississauga

Bad or Good Credit When Buying

January 4, 2013 - Updated: February 18, 2013Buying and Selling

Buying Real Estate with damaged Credit is not impossible, just more challenging and requires a carefully thought out plan by the Investor and their Mortgage Agent.

Contact me if you would like no pressure, FREE Credit check and see if you're Legible to a Buy Your Dream Home!!!


Tagged with: credit mortgage buying with bad credit bad credit good credit credit check

Good Time to Buy?!

January 4, 2013 - Updated: February 18, 2013Buying and Selling

Is right now a Good Time to Buy?

Markets go up, markets go down and even the smartest experts can't accurately predict when a market will peak or bottom out. If you're buying a home as a long-term investment (and for long-term enjoyment), you should be protected from short-term changes in the market. Pick a home that meets the needs of you and your family. Then you'll enjoy living in your investment as it grows in value.

Contact me for FREE information and no obligation market Evaluation!

Tagged with: when to buy home spring market buying in milton oakville burlington home townhouse value

Real Estate Agent can Save Buyer's Money

January 2, 2013 - Updated: February 18, 2013Buying and Selling

Real Estate Agent Can Save YOU Money!!

Low interest rates and low housing prices are renewing interest in the floundering housing market for many people. Now could be the time to sell your home and  buy a new home. Whether you're a buyer or a seller, or doing both, Real Estate Agent's goal is to get the best financial deal on the home — and often that means having a qualified Real Estate Agent working in your favour.

Those entering the Real Estate realm might have misconceptions about what’s involved. Often times, individuals think they can go it alone and save money on real estate commissions in the process. However, not having knowalage that has the Real Estate Agent to navigate the process, can end up costing more money in the long run. Real Estate Agent is not there just to open up houses for viewing or to simply put a for-sale sign on the front lawn.Real Estate  Agents guide the seller or buyer through a complicated process of legalities and emotional situations. Real Estate Agent also negotiates for the buyer and seller to help them make important financial decisions.

Individuals can expect a Real Estate Agent to help them navigate a process that, to first-time buyers or sellers, can prove intimidating.

Buying a Home

1. Schedule a consultation to discuss what features and amenities a buyer is looking for in a home.

2.  Real Estate Agent will suggest buyers speak with a mortgage consultant to figure out their buying power and obtain a mortgage pre-approval letter.

3. Real Estate Agent then will look up home listings in a particular price range and help the buyers to view the homes.

4. When buyers find a home they want to purchase, Real Estate Agent will help them come up with a fair market price and will write up an offer to present to the seller and negotiate on the final price with the seller.

5. Real Estate Agent might be present during a home inspection, which is recommended.

6. Real Estate Agent then will confirm the closing and be present at closing with the buyer and the attorney, if necessary.

Tagged with: save buyers milton first time buyers

Powered by Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies (CMS6)