Saturday, July 14, 2018

Buyers Were Asking: Understanding Condo Fees


Understanding Condo Fees
Condo living can be quite appealing; offering a turn-key lifestyle, free of maintenance, with a boost of security! While you’ll often be faced with a phone or key pad requiring a resident to buzz you in to gain access, some will have a concierge and we recently sold one with a live-in superintendent.
Your condo fees can cover a variety of things and may differ slightly from building to building, the most common being:
  • Insurance - not to be confused with insurance for your personal contents, this is building insurance, outside of your own unit.
  • Exterior Maintenance - leave the window washing and yard work behind, the condo corporation ensures this is taken care of, usually with a specific schedule.
  • Heat / Water - Heat and/or water can be provided and covered for the whole building. Your unit will still have it’s own heating controls and thermostat.
  • Parking - Individual units normally come with one parking space, if you’re lucky... two! Oftentimes, there is a need for an additional space. This is where the elderly resident who no longer drives can come in handy; providing an opportunity to rent their space for a small fee. Don’t forget visitor parking - how much? Where? Restrictions on use?
  • Lockers - Locker space becomes important because your unit can only hold so much. You’ll have your own locked space within a secure room in the building; ideal for storage of seasonal or oversized items.
While it’s important to know what your fees cover, residents need their lifestyle to fit into the building of choice. This leads to extensions of your living space such as Party Rooms, Fitness Rooms, Pools or Rooftop Patios... all of which can be a real appeal to residents. Keep in mind though, the more amenities offered, the higher the fee! Tailoring your building choices to those offering amenities of interest to you will ensure best bang for your buck.

If you’ve got a furry friend (or two) making the move, you’ll need to know the pet restrictions! We’ve found, as of late, buildings are making changes revolving around pets. You’ll often discover that while they are permitted, there is a restriction on weight or quantity. Most definitely there’ll be guidelines on use of common areas.

So, how do you set all of this straight in your search? A quick call to the condo corporation - that’s who manages the property - can get you the answers you need. Rest assured, however, your Agreement of Purchase and Sale will be conditional on Status Certificate. This document provides full insight on fees, special assessments (required in the case of a monetary shortfall) and the overall state of the finances! Your lawyer is given the opportunity to review the Status Certificate in full, prior to a firm purchase. Protection, built right into your offer!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

You Were Asking: There's Something to be Said for an Expert

There's Something to be Said for an Expert
In an age of internet and instant information it’s easy to become an expert at anything, really. It’s often difficult to decide who you should listen to when you’re getting advice, solicited or otherwise, from all angles. You’ve heard us preach before about the importance of working with a Realtor and listening to their professional advice but lines can sometimes blur across industries and even across city borders creating chaos even within our own industry.

When you sign on to work with a Realtor you are trusting in their professional opinion about the value, location and condition of the home you’re looking to purchase. Often times, Realtors will venture outside of their city or town to assist friends, relatives or even long time clients. We can’t all be experts at everything so it’s important to understand where ‘helping out a friend’ should really translate into referring a trusted colleague. Knowing what streets hold the most value or desirability, future area development and even schooling can all be lost if you are working with an out of town Realtor. Asking your Realtor for a referral will not only ensure you are taken care of, but, can also work to include your Realtor if you’re not looking to sever that tie.

This same notion can also apply to other industries involved in your purchase or sale. For example, during your pre-approval process mortgage broker’s can offer solid advice and guidance on how you plan to afford your next move but it’s important to remember, they do not watch trend, understand real estate industry rules and guidelines and are not licensed to offer real estate advice. The same goes for your lawyer. Now don’t get us wrong, a lawyer certainly knows what needs to happen in order to ensure your home closes or should any problems arise, we’re the first to suggest a Buyer or Seller seek their legal council. To defer to their judgement on how much of a deposit is required, is not considered legal advice. It’s sort of along the lines of asking your mechanic for decorating advice. They could do it, but....

The moral of the story? Trust the experts in their respective fields to guide you and leave the background noise as simply that.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Welcoming - Bettianne Hedges



Bettianne M. Hedges, BA, Broker, ABR, AEA, ASA
J.M. Edwards Associates Inc. 
bettiannehedges@gmail.com

She is a Real Estate Broker, Accredited Buyer RepresentativeAccredited Elite Advocate, Accredited Senior Agent and former Managing Director of a multi-office real estate brokerage. She is currently an elected Director of the Real Estate Council of Ontario which regulates the industry and protects the public interest.

Bettianne has eleven years of experience listing and selling property types in different real estate markets throughout Ontario. She has sold residential, rural, heritage- designated, multi-residential and commercial properties. This provides her clients with a unique advantage. As an Accredited Buyer’s Representative, Bettianne is specifically trained to thoroughly research and provide advice necessary to assist her clients in making good buying decisions. This same skill set is of great advantage to a seller preparing their property for market and resolving issues before they become problems. She has advanced training and highly developed skills in negotiation, sensitivity to and experience with special situations (such as stigmatized properties, family legal situations, and seniors). 

As an Accredited Elite Advocate, Bettianne is trained to use her experience to serve as an expert witness in real estate related legal cases. Bettianne has a strong appreciation of architectural styles and an understanding of her clients' unique preferences as to home, neighbourhood or lifestyle.

She has had experience buying and selling many different types of condos, in various markets, and with condo conversions.

Bettianne holds a Bachelors Degree from the University of Waterloo with an emphasis in Business Administration. She has a background in retail gallery ownership and non-profit management. She is an active community volunteer and has served on a variety of boards and committees including six years as a regional Chair with the Ontario Trillium Foundation. She is currently a trained docent at the Art Gallery of Burlington providing tours for children and adults.

Bettianne chooses to work with a trusted boutique real estate firm - J.M. Edwards Associates Inc., which provides a wide range of marketing services, team support, and a high quality of administrative services to her clients.

page1image7928384

Market Update: Market Conditions and Summer Forecast

Market Conditions and Summer Forecast

Our spring market was definitely affected this year by the stress testing. It started out a pretty much normal Spring but, quickly lost its momentum really due to the extra set of challenges presented by the new rules.  First timers did take a step back to discover what they were approved for last year certainly did not hold the same weight as this year’s pre-approval numbers. We’ve had a few buy in the outer markets because their pre-approval numbers did not provide them with the level of housing satisfaction as they found in the outer lying, more affordable markets. The move up buyer also had some additional hurdles with bridge financing. Lots to think about, but, not impossible!

JM Edwards Team: Who are we?