Wednesday, May 31, 2017

You Were Asking: UFFI, so how does it affect me?

UFFI, so how does it affect me?

As a Seller, you need to understand that any warranty you provide survives closing.  So, you should only make representations within your personal knowledge.  If you have purchased a home with known UFFI, or, have remedied a home of UFFI, be sure you have home certification to back it up. 

As a Buyer, you want to ensure that any warranty 'to the best of the Seller's knowledge' is not a guarantee that the home does not contain UFFI.  You too will be called upon if and when you go to sell that home, so, it is important to do your homework before purchase.

Some Home Inspectors have the training or experience to identify UFFI.  There are also indicators that can alert you to the possibility... if you suspect this material has been used.  For one, the age of the home.  Only homes built prior to 1980, and more commonly in homes built 1975-1978, will contain this form of insulation. Look for small patched holes (1/2" - 3/4") at regular intervals on the exterior or interior walls.  You may also find the foam peeking out from behind joists (in unfinished basements), around electrical outlets, or, behind switch plates. 

It is always very strongly recommended that you consult a professional in this field to determine the presence and scope of any UFFI in the home.  Though remediation is not deemed as necessary in most cases, any remediation should only be carried out by properly licensed contractors in the field.  Only they can ensure all provincial, federal and local codes, standers and regulations are met and that all appropriate permits have been obtained. 

Still not enough?  For further reading:

Monday, May 29, 2017

You Were Asking: UFFI, what is it anyway?

UFFI, what is it anyway?

UFFI stands for Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation.  UFFI was commonly used as a "retrofit" insulation on existing houses.  The foam was injected behind walls and in areas where installing other forms of insulation wasn't practical.  UFFI was most commonly used in the 70s.  This was the period of the "Energy Crisis", which was triggered by the OPEC oil embargo.

Between 1975 and 1978, the government implemented a program known as Canadian Home Insulation Program (CHIP), which offered financial incentives to homeowners to increase the insulation levels for their homes. 

As a result of perceived health problems associated with UFFI, the insulation was banned by the Canadian government in 1980.  UFFI remains a commonly used building product in Europe.

Due to this discovery, the fears of serious health risks began to have a declining impact on the value of real estate.  This, coupled with the costs associated with remediation, in some cases, created a long term stigma attached to homes with known UFFI.  It is important for both Sellers and Buyers to now educated themselves on this material. 

Many studies have knowns that UFFI no longer poses any immediate threat to health.  Houses that were built with this material are said to show no higher levels of formaldehyde than those without it.  However, if it comes into contact with water or moisture it can being to break down and a specialist should be contacted to repair and remove. 

Since 1993 a UFFI declaration was no longer required for mortgage insurance under the National Housing Act. However, a declaration is still required as part of your real estate listing and agreement of purchase and sale.  It is also important to note that insurance companies cannot refuse (legally) to insure a home with UFFI though some providers will still not cover you.  So make sure you disclose, and, ask the question(s)!

For more up to date information, here's UFFI, in the news.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

You Were Asking: Wallpaper Removal Tips

Wallpaper Removal

We've all been there... faced with wallpaper that just has to go!  Removing wallpaper can make the world of difference and is a quick and inexpensive way to update a space.  No good deed, however, goes unpunished as it can definitely be a challenge.  If you're up for it, here are some techniques to try out if you're unsure of how to approach this task:

DIY Wallpaper Remover
Mix together 2 gallons of hot water with 1.5 cups fabric softener.  Apply generously to the surface with a sponge, roller, or spray bottle.

Store Brand Remover
Found in most hardware stores or paint stores, it will run you around $10.  Dilute with water and apply as directed.

Scoring Tool
Perforating the surname before applying any remover can help the solution penetrate the glues underneath. 

Scraping Tools
You can purchase brand name scraping tools or try your hand with times you may already have lying around your work bench.  Such as, a putty knife to loosen the paper and backing.  Just be mindful not to gouge the walls too much with the sharp edges. 

When all else fails, or, you're not looking to mess around, you can always rent a professional wallpaper steer.  Found at some paint stores, or at most Home Depot locations.  The cost will run you $33 for the day, or, $23 for 4 hours... and save you the headache!

Don't forget, when it comes to refinishing the surface be sure to wash well with wallpaper remover and sand generously to remove all remaining residue.  Before you rush to paint, make sure you prime with a recommended primer before adding your finish coat. 

If you've exhausted all options, with no luck, call in the professionals.  We're sure you can find someone to help, in our directory of recommended businesses!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Buyers Were Asking: The Deposit, part 2

The Deposit, part 2

So, the negotiations have taken place, you're prepared with your sign of good faith.  However, as things change... or not, how does this affect your deposit, or the need for it! 

WHAT if my offer falls apart after I submit my deposit?
Under normal circumstances, your deposit is returned to you in full.  This can take a few days and up to two weeks, for Brokerages to fill out all necessary paperwork.  Keep in mind, the money must clear before they release the money back to you.  One way to speed up this process is to supply a bank draft as your deposit.  This is becoming more and more of a requirement, so, a good rule of thumb to follow. 

WHY do I supply a deposit?
The amount is held as a sign of 'good faith' between both parties that the transaction will close based on the terms agreed upon.  In this volatile and competitive market your deposit can also be seen as a measure of a qualified buyer.  This has contributed to the growing trend of larger deposit requirements set by Sellers. 

HOW much will my deposit be?
The amount required is proportionate to the price point of the home you are offering.  For example, a home listed at $$00,000 is not going to have the same deposit as a home listed at $1.4M.  As a ballpark, you can anticipate to supply a deposit approximately 5% of the price point you are looking in!

Did you miss The Deposit, Part 1... be sure to pop back to it so you have ALL the details!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Buyers Were Asking: The Deposit, part 1

The Deposit

Often misunderstood, your deposit is a critical part of your offer and can sometimes require some careful planning on your part.  Unless you buy homes often, it's usually a forgotten component of your purchase.  Here are the most asked questions about the deposit:

WHO supplies the deposit?
In short, you do!  Likely a good point of discussion when you go through with your mortgage broker to ensure you can pull on the funds easily or, if necessary, take the appropriate actions to make your money available when needed.

WHAT is the difference between a deposit and a down payment?
Your deposit is an amount held in trust once, and only when, your offer is accepted.  That amount is held as a sign of 'good faith' between both parties that the transaction will close based on the terms agreed upon.  The amount put forward in your deposit is ultimately credited to your final mortgage/closing costs.  Your down payment is similar in the sense that it is a sign of good faith only this time, to your mortgagor.  This will be taken directly by the bank and credited to your mortgage at the time of closing. 

WHERE does my deposit go?
Your deposit is held in trust, with the Listing Brokerage, until your closing date.  Your lawyer and bank will work to ensure the money is moved appropriately.  Some Brokerages (not all!) will place money in an interest bearing account.  It is important to know and acknowledge in your offer if this is the case.  Your REALTOR will know and advise you accordingly.  You will be issued a receipt in either case, for your records. 

WHEN do I need my deposit?
Your deposit is submitted upon acceptance of your offer unless otherwise specified.

But Wait!  There's more.... The Deposit, Part 2

Friday, May 5, 2017

Buyers Were Asking: Selecting a Lawyer

Selecting a Lawyer

We always recommend working with someone you feel comfortable with, or, have worked with in the past!  A referral from a friend, or someone you trust, is always another great option in selecting both your lawyer, as well as your home inspector.  If you've never required the use of a lawyer, the task to make the right decision can seem somewhat daunting.  Below is a list of lawyers we often recommend, when asked:

Greg Brechin of Brechin & Huffman
3365 Harvester Road, Burlington

Peter Cass of Cass & Bishop
31 - 3455 Harvester Road, Burlington

Bob Martin of Martin & Hillyer
2122 Old Lakeshore Rd, Burlington

When do you need your lawyer?  Officials, a lawyer won't be called upon until after you have a firm purchase.  However, some exceptions may apply, such as when purchasing a condominium with a condition on status certificate.  In any case, we like to ensure your lawyer has all documentation immediately following the accepted offer.  

Legal fees range from firm to firm, so, if you're unsure, take your time and find the lawyer that will meet your needs. 

Our 'Edwards backed' lawyer list can always be found on our website in our business contacts!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Buyers Were Asking: Schools!


Schools can play a huge role in our decision making process, whether you have children or are just planning for your future.  Some place such importance on schooling that they narrow their search area to within a certain catchment!  While others, they set out to find that perfect home, and, explore their children's schooling options within that area.  No matter your method, let's take a look at some of the sources you can use:

School Board Websites can be a wealth of information from school mapping, bus routes and contact information.  Additionally, you'll find information about current issues and upcoming events!

School Websites - Once you've narrowed down your area, or, you've purchased your home, check out individual websites which offer ore specific information on each school!

Fraser Institute has set out to rank school performance for both elementary and secondary schools across the province.  Their website gives you the ability to compare schools against a developed performance rating.

Ministry of Education offers resources not only for curriculum, initiatives and school programs, but, also offers a resource to Early Childhood Centres as well as Home Based, Centre Based and Licensed Child Care Centres.

Your REALTOR!  Just ask!  We've been in this business along time and can offer our own guidance by passing on additional research when needed!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Sellers Were Asking: Is It Worth It To Stage My House?

Given the recent market, it begs the question of whether staging is worth the time and effort in the end with such demand. The short answer is, absolutely! We're not talking major renovations but finishing off that nagging to-do list you've had for years, giving the home a good thorough clean and bringing in decorative items (big or small) can really help to take a house into a home.

Take a look at some of the before and after photos of a recent home staging project we took on:

This is an extreme example but, it shows the effect of a cluttered or unfinished home. It distracts from the overall space and ultimately is the lasting impression most Buyers will take away with them. Now let's look at the final product after the home has been staged... 

Clean, warm and most importantly a home that Buyers could see themselves comfortably living in. Taking the time to really look at each individual room as well as the curb appeal of your home can make all the difference. We certainly understand this task can be more than daunting to some, that's why we're here to help! Let us provide you with the tools to put your best home forward.