Archive | February, 2013

All the things you left behind

February 27, 2013

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I have had many occasions where purchaser clients arrived at their new home to find it full of items that the vendor left behind. As a seller, you can only leave items if you have specifically agreed to do so in your agreement of purchase and sale. This includes construction materials; though it is easy to assume that the buyer would want leftover paint or trim, if the buyer doesn’t want it, you could be on the hook for the cost of removal after closing. If you aren’t sure, ask – before closing.

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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Hunting for a Home

February 25, 2013

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Article courtesy of Genworth Canada.

 

Looking for a home can be an intimidating task filled with many questions. What home do I buy and where? Who do I go to for help? And how do I know if I am making a good purchase?

There’s no one “right way” to go about finding a home. But here are a few tips that may make the process a little easier and remove some of the anxiety associated with making what is, for most people, their largest single purchase in life.

The first thing to do is determine how much you can afford [the best way to do that is to contact your favourite mortgage broker!] and what type of home you want or need. This would include the size, number of bedrooms, location and special features such as a garage, fireplace, fence, dishwasher, hot tub etc.

You’ll also want to consider such things as proximity to schools, community centres and play and sports facilities, public transportation, hospitals, libraries and shopping areas and your workplace. These factors are important to you and your family.

Since your home is probably your single largest investment, you’ll want it to be as attractive as possible to purchasers when you’re ready to sell. So keep in mind the features you think will make it attractive to potential buyers in the years ahead.

Finding a REALTOR® to handle your purchase is important. Talk to a few realtors with different companies who know the area where you’re looking to buy. A real estate professional can show you homes in your price range in the areas you like that meet your particular needs and budget.

With so many homes to choose from, how do you know if what you’re going to buy is good value?

It’s very important to inspect the structure and grounds of the home you’re thinking of buying and look around the neighbourhood to be sure it’s an area where you want to live.

Get a copy of the land survey from the seller to check the boundaries of the property to make sure they are clear of encumbrances and walk around the property yourself to make sure there are no surprises.

You’ll also want to tour the neighbourhood and see the house at different times of the day or on weekends to check traffic patterns and noise levels that could affect your decision to buy.

When you find a home you like, inspect it yourself carefully for such things as structural defects, signs of water damage, lack of water pressure, faulty plumbing or inadequate wiring.

You may want to get an inspection done by a professional home inspector before you buy. A professional may uncover problems that you wouldn’t notice.

A good inspector will check the house from the basement to the roof, including the heating and cooling systems, plumbing, walls, ceilings, insulation, electrical wiring, foundation, ventilation, doors and windows, and septic and sewer systems.

An inspector will determine if any repairs are necessary. If possible, plan to go along with the inspector during his inspection. You could pick up some valuable information that will help you in the future with the maintenance of your house. Your real estate agency can likely refer an inspector if you don’t know of one yourself.

Some careful planning can help to ensure that you get a good-quality house that will meet the needs of you and your family in an area you like for a price you can afford without any nasty surprises after you take possession.

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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Put it in writing

February 20, 2013

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It might go without saying, but it is important to have all of the details of your real estate contract written down at the time of agreement. I have seen many people who had a verbal agreement that the sellers would leave a particular item, but it wasn’t in the written agreement and so there are limited options if the seller takes that item (or doesn’t do the repair, etc.). When you receive an offer or counter-offer, either accept it, reject it, or counter – clearly, in writing.

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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Bridging

February 13, 2013

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Last week, I blogged about timing. This week, I wanted to touch on something that Tim has mentioned before in his Mortgage Monday posts: bridge financing.

From the legal standpoint, bridging makes your move go much more smoothly. If you have bridge financing in place, I can close your purchase before your sale is closed, which means that you can move into your new home straight from your old home, without having to wait around after your sale closes while we get your new house bought. You can even do a same-day bridge if you don’t want to close a day or more earlier. While the decision to bridge is dependent on a lot of factors, it is something you should bring up with your mortgage broker and realtor so that your move is a lot happier.

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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Mortgage Monday Rate Update – February 2013

February 11, 2013

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For those that are shopping for a new house, or looking to do a refinance (or even just a simple mortgage renewal), rates and numbers are an important part of the mortgage equation. When rates change even the slightest of percentage points, it could cost or save you thousands of dollars. Every once in a while, here on the Mortgage Monday posts, I’ll update you on what’s going on in the world of mortgage rates. If this kind of stuff doesn’t really interest you, I won’t be offended if you just skim through it – I’ll try to make it as painless as possible. 😉

  • The Bank of Canada interest rate continues to be stuck at 1.00%.  The next meeting is scheduled for March 6th, 2013, but forecasters are now predicting this will stay at 1% for the foreseeable future.
  • The Bank of Canada prime lending rate is also holding steady at 3.00%. It has also been holding steady since Fall 2010 – if the bank rate goes up, the prime lending rate will follow.  We probably won’t see this start to move up well into 2013 or even 2014.
  • The qualifying rate (the rate you would need to qualify at for a variable mortgage) for a 5-year mortgage is still at 5.24% (its been holding steady there since June 2012), though ot many folks are getting into a variable mortgage these days with fixed rates being so low.
  • The current best variable rate (can change on a daily basis) is in the prime-0.35% (2.65%) ballpark, though many lenders are still currently offering ‘prime’ as their variable rate.
  • The current best 5-year fixed mortgage rate (changes daily) hasn’t really moved around much and is still in the area of 2.99%-3.09%, though it looks like rates are starting to move a little higher.  Again, always contact your mortgage broker for current best rates for your situation (and as we’ve talked about previously, The Best Mortgage Rate is Not Always the Best Option).  Be careful when looking at some of the heavily discounted rates – many of them are considered “no-frills” mortgages and can come with restrictive options which could end up costing you $1,000’s.
  • The “hot term” in Canada these days continues to be full-featured, 10-year fixed mortgage with rates as low as 3.79% (check out my posts from last year on the 10-Year Mortgage Below 4% and Should You Consider a 10-Year Mortgage?). If you want to lock in for a decade and record-low rates, definitely take a look at locking in for 10 years at less than 4%.  I had more clients moving into 10-year terms than any other term in the last quater of 2012.

If you’ve been following along with my rate updates, they have been very repetitive for the past 6-8 months – very few of the numbers have changed since mid-2012. While I’m happy to provide an update on what’s going on as rates, if you’re interested on getting personalized mortgage advice, speak to your favorite mortgage broker who can help you decide the best rates and options for you.

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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