Friday, April 28, 2017

Buyers Were Asking: Home Inspections, Part 2

Home Inspections, Part 2

Now that you know you want, and, can benefit from, a home inspection.  Plus, you have a few options on who to call.  Let's have a look at some Home Inspection Do's and Don'ts!

DON'T: Stress
Let us coordinate with inspectors and agents to get this done.  Give us three days / times within your conditional window and we will ensure it gets done.

DO:  Set aside your time
An inspection typically rungs within a three hour time slot, so it is important to book at a time where you can give the inspector your full attention.

DON'T:  Bring the calvary 
We know you're excited to show off the home, but, it's easy to get distracted with a toddler running around, or, your parents discussing renovations.  Rest assured, there are better opportunities, once the sale is firm, to show off the home. 

DO:  Come prepared
You won't need to take notes as the inspector will leave you with a full detailed report.  However, if you're planning renovations (big or small), you may want to bring a few items with you; notepad and pen, measuring tape, camera and flashlight can come in handy... just to name a few. 

DON'T:  Be afraid to ask questions
Inspectors can be a wealth of knowledge!  Even going as far as preparing a list of questions ahead of time can not only ensure nothing is missed, but, can actually save your time discussing after the inspection.

DON'T:  Forget payment
It may seem silly, but, it happens more then you think!  Usually discussed beforehand, be prepared to pay your inspector at the end of the inspection.  Remember, bring appropriate means ie. cash or cheque.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Buyers Were Asking: Home Inspections, Part 1

Home Inspections, Part 1

A home inspection can be particularly helpful when purchasing a home.  Taking a closer look at the mechanicals and inner workings of a home can often offer peace of mind, or, confirm what you suspected from a visual inspection.  

It's important to understand that inspectors have a limited look at a home, after all, you wouldn't want them ripping apart your home, right?  What they can offer is their insight and expertise on preventative measures, home maintenance advice and often times, provide you with a detailed report on your new home. 

If you've never hired an inspector before, you may not know how to call!  Here is a list of inspectors we recommend:

Eadie Home Consulting Services
Steve Eadie
905.483.2207 /

Nook 'n' Cranny Home Inspections
Darren St. Jacques
905.929.4401 /

Pricing varies dependent on the type of inspection... square footage, freehold vs. condominium, etc.  Typically, you're looking at somewhere within $300 - $500 for the service. 

If we can help offer any more guidance, please don't hesitate to reach out!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Buyers Were Asking: Custom Home Building

Custom Home Building

Having represented numerous home builders over the years, I have seen some really smooth builds and some fairly tough ones.  If ever there is a need for clear, concise communication and preparation, this is the time.  

In the initial stages, you are meeting with an architect to choose and draft your plan.  Some solid advice?  Ask the architect what the fee will be to follow the house through from conception to completion.  Here's why...  Many homeowners cannot visualize a house simply by looking at plans.  Problems develop on he job site when the owners finally realize what the house is going to look like.

During the building process, your architect can assist with change orders and act as the mediator in minor, and moderate, disputes between you and your builder.  Periodic field inspections at critical times allow the architect to verify that the project is progressing as planned.  Your contract with the architect should note that the builder must make all corrections at their sole expense as pointed out by the architect.  If you want your job to go smoothly, you must have superb plans, and, detailed specifications.  

It also pays for you to plan well in advance, by selecting all items that will be used in your home.  Do not try to pick things as you build.  Long lead times are required on some items, such as cabinetry, lighting fixtures, imported tile and unusual appliances.  If you delay, you may be limited to garden-variety choices that guarantee quick delivery, or, you risk delaying your move-in date.  Early selection eliminates surprises and allows you to get bids from contractors that are highly accurate.

The extra money you pay an architect to go along for the ride can be viewed as an insurance policy!  Call us if you need help in finding the key people for your build!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Buyers Were Asking: Pen to Paper

Pen to Paper

There are just some things that don't count when you're trying to decide how much to offer for a house.  They are:

  • Don't attempt to make a verbal offer to the Seller - it's not a binding contract
  • Don't tell a seller's agent you'll go higher than what you are offering - Keep in mind, the sales rep is working on behalf of the Seller, that information can be relayed to the owners. 
  • Don't start with an insulting bid - tempers tend to rise, too many counter offers tend to kill any deal.  Sometimes it's not the money, it's the principle.
  • Don't base your estimation of the property's value on tax assessment figures - nothing is as accurate as the operation of supply and demand in the open market (what other buyers have been paying for similar property in the neighbourhood recently).
  • Don't assume the sellers have built in a cushion because everyone expects a "usual" 5-10% bid under the listing price - Some sellers really hate the bargaining process and have decided to list for a quick sale!
A professional Realtor can and will assist you to make the best decision in the buying process.  For those of you who know me, you've likely heard me say, "Let's put pen to paper and see what happens!"

If we can help, please reach out!  Give us a call, or, contact us here.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Market Update: Market Conditions & Summer Forecast

Market Update!

Water cooler talk is interesting.  It comes in all shapes and forms and in this industry, everyone is an expert.  Everyone is talking.  Everyone is aware.  But, are they watching trend?  Are they watching the subtleties we all need to act upon to ensure we are really make the best decisions out there in this run away train of a market?  

20 yearbuying plan?  Great, go for it.  Downsizers, what do you do?  Cash out?  Rent?  At what cost?  Will you outlast your money?  What then?  What percentage is this market increasing?  Everyone has a theory.  Will it continue?  

Lots of questions, lots of experts.  Honestly, we can provide information and foresight, but, not prediction and ‘sure’ thing sale information for everyone.  

Each neighbourhood is not predictable and each neighbourhood is not increasing at the same pace as the next.  Across Burlington, every neighbourhood but one (north of Dundas Street) is selling over 100% over asking price.  In Hamilton, every neighbourhood is selling over asking price. Will this continue into the summer?  

What we do know is that each and every one of our clients is handled with care with our utmost level of service.  Happy to help, happy to advise.

Follow the stats at...!  Or, check out the latest to come, on the blog... Burlington Stats and Hamilton Stats!

If you're not receiving a quarterly update to keep in the 'know' on your neighbourhood, ask us why!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Buyers Were Asking: How to Approach a Bidding War, Part 2

How to Approach a Bidding War, Part 2

If you haven't already, check out Part 1 of our series on Bidding Wars, to get the scoop on just what happens during a competing offers situation!

Outside of just what happens when in competition, one of the biggest questions and concerns Buyer have is how to ensure their offer is the one accepted!  The honest answer is, all you can do is put your best foot forward.  With little to no room for negotiating during an offer, you are forced to put all your cards on the table.  I know we say it often, but, being prepared really is your best weapon. 

Here are some pre-emptive steps to give you more options when it comes to your competitive offer:

Educate Yourself
As you watch the prices rise, our first instinct is to put all the money forward.  In truth, sometimes this strategy works, but, you also need to protect yourself and not stretch the budget too far.  Somewhere along the road you have to draw the line, not only for your own personal finances, but, to not overpay within a neighbourhood either.  That's where your early education on the market values comes particularly handy as you become price savvy.

Working with your lender ahead of time will allow you more flexibility when it comes to a financing condition.  Understanding your mortgage options not only gives you an idea of your purchase price, but, can also influence your deposit, possession date and additional offer terms.

If they're withholding offers, why not try a home inspection prior to signing an offer?  Knowing full well what you're getting into removes the need for an inspection condition; which would delay the firm sale!

Know Your Dates
If may seem like a trivial element to the offer but in truth can be a huge negotiating factor.  Understanding your options of closing dates (both yours and the Seller's) can often have an impact on making your offer more appealing. 

Lastly, know when it's not right to compete.  It sounds counterintuitive but, often times it's easy to get caught up with emotions running high.  At the end of the day, it's important to keep a level head, listen to your REALTOR and protect yourself.

If we can help, please reach out!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

You Were Asking: A Q&A with the Business Executives Network

  • Any indication or idea when the market insanity will fizzle out?
The normal Spring market is actually drawing to a close, yes, Spring comes in January for us in Real Estate. Call us crazy but, we’re seeing some signs there is light at the end of the tunnel for a Buyer in this market. Perhaps it is the looming questions of what will come from the Provincial Budget; with talks of foreign tax implications, vacant property taxation and other ‘market slowing’ solutions. Or, maybe Buyers are simply saying “enough is enough” but, the signs are there… 
  • Is there a guideline of understanding what costs/expenses can be incurred when buying a home?
Downpayment - 5% (or more) of your purchase price
Survey - If not provided by the Seller can run close to $1,000
Land Transfer - The calculation is; .005 x the first $55,000 plus .01 from $55,000 to $250,000 plus .015 x the remainder of the purchase…. an additional .005 surcharge on single family homes and duplexes for any amount over $400,000
Legal Fees -  Usually in the $400 - $600 + HST range
Home Inspection - $400 - $600 depending on sqft
Moving Costs - Call around, this one will vary depending if you wish to hire movers or rent a truck and buy a few pizzas! 
  • First time buyer?  How to buy
The best approach is to find a Realtor you are comfortable with to help guide you through the delicate process. Understanding that not all advice is good advice is half the battle so, relying on a strong professional relationship is key. It also doesn’t hurt to keep in mind you will lose a few before you find the perfect home… after all,  you can’t make a cake without cracking a few eggs first!
  • What is a bully offer?
A bully offer refers to an offer received before a specified offer review date. As a Seller, this is discussed before listing the property on the market and should be specified in writing if you wish to review preemptive offers or not.
  • Is the Burlington market appreciating $1,000 per week on average?
They’ve just released the Stats for Burlington in March… the average house price is now up to $814,187 (up almost $200,000 from this time last year) with the average sale taking place within 14 days of list and a price ratio of 107%
  • Where would you invest in real estate?
Truthfully? I wouldn’t right now… a shock, I know. Unless you’re in a position where you need to buy we often find ourselves telling our Buyers to wait if they can as they are often spending their ‘renovation budget’ competing for their homes right now
  • What renovations make the best investment if you’re looking to sell within 5 years? What reno project brings the greatest return?
Flooring - hardwood offering the most benefit but, with new high quality laminates you can tackle the project on varying budgets
Hardware & Fixtures - simple, quick and easy… but it makes the world of difference in modernizing an older home
Bathrooms - a relatively small scale renovation project that boosts your home’s appeal
Kitchen - this is the big one but, is the first thing most people look for in purchasing a new home. Even updates vs. a remodel can bring up your home’s value exponentially
Curb Appeal - Replacing a front door, garage door and/or siding can bring returns as high as 100%… keep in mind, this is your Buyer’s first impression

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Buyers Were Asking: How to Approach a Bidding War, Part 1

How to Approach a Bidding War, Part 1

Once a rarity, the idea of a 'bidding war' has become somewhat of the 'new normal' in this highly competitive market.  As a Buyer, whether it is your first offer or your fourth, finding yourself competing against one or more offers can be stressful, challenging and it often takes a few tries to really understand not only what is going on or how to come out of it successfully.  

Although unpredictable, there are a few things you can not do to prepare yourself should you find yourself in a competitive offer situation.  

First off, let's start with understanding what happens during competitive offers:

  1. Once signed, your offer is registered with the Listing Brokerage and a presentation time is then set.  You'll often note the days offers are being withheld until a certain date, per the Seller's request in order to allow for as many potential Buyers a chance to submit an offer.
  2. If you wish to submit an offer you can do so at any time but just note, offers will only be presented at the designated date / time.
  3. If you have an offer in the ring, your REALTOR will communicate just how many offers you will be competing against at the time of presentation.
  4. During the presentation, all offers will be presented in order of their registration... first offer registered... first offer presented...and so on.  After a brief discussion, one offer is selected while the others are subsequently rejected.  No negotiations. 
  5. All parties are notified if their offer was rejected or accepted and details of that offer are not revealed until a firm sale is made. 
Want to help ensure yours is the offer selected?  Stay tuned on the blog for more on the Bidding Wars we're seeing time and time again in this market!

As questions arise, as they often do, please feel free to reach out!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Buyers Were Asking: Prepayment!


Most home buyers borrow money to pay the seller the difference between their down payment and the purchase price.  The lender creates terms of a promissory note, known as a mortgage, for the amount borrowed and establishes an interest rate on the amount of the loan to be paid.  

Many people don't realize that the interest payments can add about two and a half times the original loan amount over the term of the mortgage.  In most cases, you can save money by prepaying an amount that is greater than what you have to pay each month.  

If you were to sit down and review an amortization payment chart that compares monthly payments required to retire the principal and pay the interest, you would see a big difference in the interest figure if you were to commit even an additional $25 per month.  

If you can set your payments up bi-weekly or even weekly at the commencement of the loan you will accomplish much as the cumulative effect makes the biggest impact.  

Take a look at an on-line mortgage calculator and note the difference a small payment can make!