Archive | November, 2011

The consequences of saying “no”

November 30, 2011

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Every now and then, I have a client ask me (usually mere days before closing) what will happen if they refuse to close.

Generally, it is not a good idea to refuse to close once your deal is firm. A firm offer is a binding contract, and the consequences of breaking the contract have the potential to be severe. If the other side has put any money into getting ready to close, then you can end up being responsible for those costs. This is of particular concern if you are buying a property, and the sellers have bought a new property – you may be on the hook for more than just sellers’ costs related to their own home because there are costs for the people selling to your sellers, and further on down the chain. If you are selling and you refuse to close, you may run into trouble if the buyers don’t have anywhere to go because they are selling a house.

If you aren’t sure about selling or buying, the best time to make that decision is before you have a firm offer. If you are ready to be firm on your offer, you should be prepared to close the deal.

Cesia

Cesia is a real estate lawyer at Wall-Armstrong and Green, a boutique law firm in Barrie focusing on real estate and estates. When she’s not online, she can usually be found in her garden.

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Top 5 Reasons to Make Barrie Your New Home in 2012

November 29, 2011

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Thinking of making a change in the new year? Want to get out of the rat race…but not too far away? Sick of your small town, but don’t want to be overwhelmed in a big city? Barrie has the best of both worlds. Read more to find out why!!

  1. The Waterfront. Kempenfelt Bay, as part of Lake Simcoe, is a main attraction for locals and visitors alike. Not only is it safe to swim here, you can fish in summer AND winter! Seeing ice fishing huts scattered throughout Kempenfelt Bay is an amazing sight. It is also the site for many festivals, including the ever-popular Kempenfest, the Barrie Waterfront Festival, and Barrie’s CaribFest! These summer festivals bring thousands of people to our fair city which is a testament to how attractive our waterfront is.
  2. Year-Round Activities. Lots of cities and towns have plenty of activities to do throughout the non-snowy months, but very few have the opportunity to include just about everyone in winter activities. In warmer weather, you can go biking, hiking, rollerblading on the boardwalk, or just go for a walk on the water and get an ice cream cone! In winter, the possibilities are almost as endless. As I mentioned before, head down to Kempenfelt Bay for some ice fishing, or if you’re into something more high energy, how about some kite-boarding?! Drive 10 minutes out of town for some snowmobiling, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing on the Oro Rail Trail. Drive a little bit longer for downhill skiing at Horseshoe or Moonstone!
  3. Great Restaurants & Shopping. I love our downtown restaurants and shopping. We have great independent business owners. If it’s fine dining you want, check out Michael & Marion’s, At the Five, or North. Want a pub atmosphere? Try Donaleigh’s! You can find live music at Kenzington, Manhattan’s or see bigger names at The Mansion. And if you’re looking for Indian food or sushi, you’ll find it in Barrie. We have great boutiques for shopping downtown, and the Georgian Mall is there for all your shopping needs. Rarely do I have to go to Toronto to shop for myself or for gifts. The Paper Merchant has beautiful stationary and gifts for any occasion.
  4. Small-Town Feel, Close to Big City. It’s not very often I go downtown or to the mall or to a restaurant where I don’t run into someone I know…and I’ve only lived here for a few years. Barrie’s a great city to make connections – everyone knows everyone! We have the new Mady Centre for the Performing Arts for live performances, but for bigger productions you can still head to Toronto for an evening at the opera or to see the TSO, or even commute to work while you’re looking for a job here.
  5. Affordable Housing. If you’re coming from Toronto, you know that buying a home in the City is very difficult for most people. On average, you’ll probably need to spend half a million dollars to get a very average home. The average price for a home in Barrie is around $280,000. If you’re just starting out on a single income, you can even find a small condo for well under $200,000. That’s not to say there aren’t beautiful homes here either, but $500,000 will go a lot further here than it will in Toronto. Have a couple million to spend? Get a beautiful estate home in the country or on the water. Check out November’s RBC report on Housing Trends and Affordability to see what’s going on across Canada.

There are so many reasons to make Barrie your home. I’ve lived in lots of different cities in Canada, and I’ve chosen to make Barrie my permanent home. At least come check us out for a weekend, and if you’ve never been here and you’re looking to make a move, I’d be happy to show you around!

Laura

Laura Keller of Century 21 B.J. Roth Realty is a real estate agent with a business philosophy of nurturing relationships with her clients. She will walk you through the process of buying, selling, or investing step-by-step so there are no surprises at the end of your transaction.

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Collateral Mortgages

November 28, 2011

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As I began writing this post about collateral mortgages, I started reading through other articles on the subject (and there are quite a few of them from the past year since TD Bank moved their mortgages from conventional to collateral mortgages).  I found a fantastic article on moneyville.ca that really said it better than I ever could.  Instead of trying to put together a post myself, I’ll instead simply point you to read the moneyville.ca article: “Beware the pitfalls of collateral mortgages.”

When you apply for a mortgage, you usually just ask about the term, amount, interest rate and monthly payment. Not many people understand the difference between a conventional mortgage and a collateral mortgage. Yet many banks are now asking borrowers to sign collateral mortgages — and it could result in them being tied to this bank, for life.  Continue reading…

Once you’ve read the article, come and back here and post in the comments: Now that you know about collateral mortgages, would you ever get into one?

Tim

Tim is a mortgage agent in Barrie who specializes in helping first-time home buyers. He works with a variety of lenders and can help customize a mortgage with the best rates & options that fit the needs of each customer.

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What exactly are disbursements?

November 23, 2011

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I have written before about adjustments, which are an added cost on closing when you buy a house. Today, I wanted to talk about a line item on your lawyer’s bill: disbursements.

Disbursements are items that your lawyer had to pay for on your behalf – things like a statement from the tax office that the sellers have been paying their property taxes, or title searches to make sure that the neighbour doesn’t have the right to use your backyard for boat storage. Every time there is an expense directly related to your purchase (or sale, though there are far fewer disbursements on a sale), these costs add up, and they are part of your closing costs.

When you call for a quote from a real estate lawyer, he or she will be able to tell you what the fee is, and then give you a range of disbursements based on past experience. The amount will change based on where the property is, how old it is, whether it is a house or condominium, and whether you are buying title insurance (more about that in a later post). At the very least, there will be fees to register the purchase, which have to be paid to the government.

Basically, disbursements are necessary costs that are a standard part of closing costs when you buy or sell a house.

Cesia

Cesia is a real estate lawyer at Wall-Armstrong and Green, a boutique law firm in Barrie focusing on real estate and estates. When she’s not online, she can usually be found in her garden.

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Why work with a REALTOR?

November 22, 2011

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This is a question that I try to answer before it’s even asked. While every REALTOR offers different services, one of the primary reason buyers and sellers choose US to help with their real estate transactions, is simple – we work for YOU! This is one of the most expensive transactions you’ll deal with, and you should have a professional looking out for your best interests.

Check out this video about all the “verbs” we take care of for you!  What does a REALTOR do for me?

You may have already read my posts about Signing the Buyer Representation Agreement or Signing A Listing Agreement, but you may not know that REALTORS are governed – quite rigorously, I might add – by some very large regulatory bodies including the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) and the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). In fact, you can even search our names on RECO to a) ensure we are actually a real estate profession under these governing bodies, and b) to see if we’ve ever had any legal claims against us! This can certainly give you peace of mind when you finally decide who you want to work with.

We know your time is precious. Assuming you choose to work with a full-time REALTOR, our job goes far beyond what you see when we’re together. The paperwork alone is very time-consuming, and very important to protect you. We even preview homes before we take you there (assuming you don’t want to see the property the same day!); this ensures that nobody is fooled by pretty photos of a dump. Wouldn’t you be upset if your REALTOR took you to a property without looking at it first and it was in worse condition than you all expected?!

We have a duty of care to you that ensures your protection, and insurance to back that up. If you go it alone, either buying or selling, you don’t know if the other party is being truthful. REALTORS are obligated to be forthcoming about all information pertaining to the transaction so you know you’re covered! I recently had someone tell me they bought privately – no REALTORS were involved. It turns out the homeowners were lying about foundation issues, roof issues, and plumbing issues! He told me he has a new found respect for what I do.

The bottom line is that we’re full-time professionals for a reason. You probably don’t fix your own transmission, or install your own windows, or write your own wills! The important decisions in life need to be properly cared for by a professional. Certainly I’m biased, but I wouldn’t be in this line of work if I didn’t believe I was helping people. Make sure you think long and hard before deciding to work alone. Go ahead and interview a few REALTORS to see what they can offer you! You may be surprised.

Laura

Laura Keller of Century 21 B.J. Roth Realty is a real estate agent with a business philosophy of nurturing relationships with her clients. She will walk you through the process of buying, selling, or investing step-by-step so there are no surprises at the end of your transaction.

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