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Keep your home dry during the spring thaw
Buying a resale condo? Heres what you need
SPRING EDITION 2014
With that in mind, here are the most common buying and selling pitfalls, and tips on how to avoid them:
HIRING THE FIRST SALESPERSON YOU MEETWhile you may decide to work with the first real estate professional you meet, it's a good idea to meet with a few different representatives before settling on one. Make sure you feel comfortable with them and their approach to the process. Also, be sure to get references and contact them to learn about their experience with the salesperson. Before signing a representation agreement, its a good idea to use the Registrant Search tool at the top of RECOs website (www.reco.on.ca) to check the status of their registration and see whether they have been subject to disciplinary action.
NOT MAKING YOUR EXPECTATIONS CLEAR WITH YOUR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALWorking with a real estate professional is a partnership, so communication is the key to success. Its important to have a mutual understanding about what youre looking for in a home, what elements you would consider to be deal-breakers, and what services the brokerage will be responsible for. Make sure you discuss what services you expect them to provide, and get it in writing.
FAILING TO READ AND UNDERSTAND FORMS AND CONTRACTSIt can be tempting to speed the process along by signing forms that you havent read. After all, nobody really likes reading the fine print. But taking the time to understand what youre signing can avoid a lot of problems later on. For example, you dont want to find out that youre on the hook for a six month listing agreement to sell your home if you only want your house on the market for three months. Make sure all the blanks on the form are filled in before you sign it, and make sure you get a copy of whatever you sign.
ALLOWING EMOTIONS TO OVERTAKE COMMON SENSEWhen you fall in love with a property, it can be hard to walk away. Stick to your budget and be aware of the risks of foregoing a home inspection for a chance to win a bidding war. Making your offer conditional on a home inspection is a smart decision because a qualified home inspector, engineer or contractor can identify underlying problems with a homes major systems, like heating and electrical. Skipping an inspection is a gamble because youll leave yourself vulnerable to a much more costly problem later on.
Its worth the effort to learn about the home buying and selling process; doing so could save you time, stress and money. One way to protect yourself is to learn from the mistakes of others.
RECO is responsible for protecting home buyers and sellers, and weve seen too many Ontarians fall victim to easily avoidable buying and selling hazards, says RECOs Registrar Joseph Richer.
Being mindful of these issues can help the process go a lot smoother.
MOST COMMONBUYING AND SELLINGMISTAKES
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ASSUMING EVERYTHING IS INCLUDEDDont assume that the stove, washing machine and dryer or other items are included with the sale. The seller may want to take the dishwasher with them, and the hot water tank might be under a rental contract that youll be required to take over. The best way to protect against any surprises is to detail all the items (known as chattels) you expect to be included in your written offer. In the offer, you can also include a clause requiring the seller to pay out any outstanding leases on the homes major systems.
FORGETTING ABOUT WHATS WITHIN THE WALLSThe hardwood floors, stained glass windows and walk-in closet are appealing features, but the insulation, wiring and plumbing are just as important when youre evaluating a property. Ask your real estate professional to look into the age of the homes systems and if there have been any upgrades. If extensive renovations have been done, your real estate professional can also help determine if the appropriate permits were issued.
FORGETTING ABOUT WHATS OUTSIDE THE WALLSWhen you buy a home, youre also buying a place in a community. Visit the neighbourhood at different times of the day to see if the surroundings fit your lifestyle. Is it too noisy, or not vibrant enough? The only way to find out is to spend some time exploring the area, talking to neighbours and researching the locations of amenities like grocery stores and banks.
NOT DOING YOUR RESEARCHIf youre concerned about buying a home with a troubled past, a simple Internet search for the address can go a long way. This is also something you can ask the neighbours about.
MAKING VERBAL AGREEMENTSVerbal agreements arent a problem, until theyre a problem. Putting everything in writing forces both parties to be clear about their expectations and provides a record that can prevent disputes later on.
UNDERESTIMATING CLOSING COSTSThe price paid for a home is just one of many costs associated with the purchase. Related costs, such as land transfer taxes, title insurance and a home inspection, can really add up and take an unexpected chunk out of your budget. There are also the final touches like a fresh coat of paint, some window coverings or a new appliance that you may want to do to make the place feel like your home. For more information, check out the Fall 2013 edition of RECOnnect, which includes a feature on the full costs of buying a home. You can find it under Publications and Resources at www.reco.on.ca.
10 While these tips will certainly help, the most important advice is to work with a registered real estate professional.
Registered brokers and salespersons provide a great deal of knowledge and expertise about the buying and selling process, along with specific knowledge about neighbourhoods and local issues, says Richer. They can also provide crucial help in avoiding these hazards.
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LETS GET SOCIAL
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For more information and to access the new digital tools, please visit us at:www.Facebook.com/recohelpswww.YouTube.com/recohelpswww.Twitter.com/recohelpswww.reco.on.ca
NEW DIGITAL TOOLS to help you make smart home buying and selling decisionsBuying or selling a home is an important life milestone that can be emotional, stressful and confusing. With so much at stake, RECO has launched new digital tools that encourage Ontarians to be home smart.
The resources offer credible and objective advice to help Ontarians successfully navigate the home buying and selling process.
Visit Facebook (www.Facebook.com/recohelps) for interactive tools that highlight some of the most common buying and selling mistakes. Participate in the Choose Your Home Adventure game, which will take you through five scenarios that most homebuyers encounter. By participating, youll also have the chance to win a $100 RONA gift card. Determine whether you make decisions with your head or your heart by taking our Are you home smart or home emotional? quiz. And remember to check back daily for real estate dos and donts, infographics and buying and selling checklists.
Check out Youtube (www.YouTube.com/recohelps) for a new video series that answers common home buyer and seller questions, such as what closing costs should I budget for, what should I do to have a safe open house and how do I know whats included with the sale of a home.
Follow Twitter (www.Twitter.com/recohelps) for daily tidbits on home buying and selling.
Being informed, asking questions and not letting your emotions take over will help you have a positive buying or selling experience.
Also, a registered real estate professional is an important source of information and an objective ally during the buying or selling experience.
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KEEP THE WATER OUT
Before the snow begins melting, clear away any snow and obstructions that have accumulated around windows, and clear debris from gutters and downspouts. If there are any piles of snow near the house, move them further away. Make sure theres nothing outside that would block proper drainage as the snow melts. Proper grading around your home is essentialthe ground shouldnt slope toward your home.
Even if water gets into your home, there are steps you can take to minimize the damage. Basements are often used as storage, but its not a good idea to keep highly valuable or irreplaceable items down there. Dont take the risk, keep your treasured possessions above ground.
Also, make sure any water that enters your home can drain properly. Keep the drains in your basement clear of obstructions and consider installing a sump pump. If you already have one, make sure its in proper working order. Also consider installing a sewer backwater valve to prevent flooding due to a sewer backup.
By following these simple tips, you can reduce your risk of flooding and enjoy the change of season.
The information in this article is courtesy of the Insurance Bureau of Canada (www.ibc.ca).
Keep your home dry during the spring thawSpring is here, bringing longer days and warmer temperatures. That melt-ing snow is a welcome sight, but it also presents a flooding risk. Fortunately there are things you can do to protect yourself from springtime flooding.
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BUYING A RESALE CONDO? HERES WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.
In many ways, buying a resale condo is similar to buying a house, but there are additional caveats to a condo purchase that buyers should be aware of.
Is condo living for you?Before you go through with a c