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Closing day is an exciting time. After all, you’re moving into your new home! However, it can be stressful as well. The last thing you need is to be confronted with something you don’t understand. So here is a quick list of common “closing day” terms.

 

 * Disbursements. This is the allocation of funds to the appropriate parties, such as the seller. Your lawyer will take care of this for you.

 

 * Possession. This is the moment on closing day when you are legally able to take possession of your new home. It’s usually when your REALTOR® or lawyer hands you the keys.

 

* Title. This is a legal document that identifies the property and its owner.

 

 * Closing costs. These are expenses, excluding the selling cost of the property, that are due on closing day, such as legal fees, reimbursement for pre-paid utilities, utility deposits, insurance, and taxes.

 

 * Closing adjustments. These are expenses pre-paid by the seller that need to be reimbursed on closing.

 

There may be other terms you come across on closing day as well. Don’t worry, a good REALTOR® can help make the day go smoothly for you and your family.

 

Looking for a good REALTOR®? Call today.

 

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Usually when you list your home, you would prefer to sell it quickly. It’s like being the first one served at a crowded ice cream parlour. It’s satisfying.

 

However, sometimes there’s more to it than that. There may be a truly urgent reason why you need to find a buyer for your property as soon as possible, such as a sudden job relocation.

 

If that’s the case, it’s important to explain your situation to your REALTOR®, who will be able to put together an action plan for selling your home quickly and for the best price possible.

 

During that conversation, ask what you can do to help the process along. For example, you may be able to:

 

  • Spread the word to your friends and other connections on Facebook.
  • Canvass your neighbours and tell them about your listing.
  • Stage your home so that it’s more attractive to prospective buyers.

 

When it comes to price, be prepared to be flexible. That doesn’t mean you must settle for a price far below your home’s market value. However, you do need to be prepared to accept a good offer rather than try to hold out for a great one.

 

Also be open to as many viewings and open houses as possible. Having many prospective buyers come through your home within a short period of time may be a little inconvenient, but the payoff might be an offer!

 

Finally, work with your REALTOR®. A good REALTOR® will know the local market well and have many ideas for selling your property fast.

 

Looking for a good REALTOR® like that? Call today.

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If you’re relaxing on a Caribbean beach, or enjoying a bus tour through historic Paris, the last thing you want to worry about is your home. Most people know the basics of keeping a home secure while away. Here are some additional tips that are easy to miss:

 

 * Tell your kids not to boast about your fabulous vacation plans, especially on social media. The fewer who know that the house will be empty, the better.

 

 * Ask a neighbour to pick up any mail and flyers dropped at your doorstep. But don’t rely on that alone. Also call the newspaper and post office to temporarily halt delivery.

 

 * You can buy timers to automatically turn lights on and off. However, most will stop working if the power goes out and restart with the incorrect time when the power comes back on. That’s why you should keep at least a couple of lights turned on continuously, and not connected to timers.

 

 * If you’re leaving in the evening, or before dawn, don’t forget to open the blinds. Closed blinds during the day are a dead giveaway that the owners are away.

 

 

Finally, experts recommend creating a home security checklist, so you don’t forget anything. That will give you peace-of-mind.

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If you’re thinking of shopping for a new home, one of the first considerations is price range. You want to know what you can reasonably afford.

 

How do you figure that out?

 

First of all, you need to determine the initial out-of-pocket costs you will need to cover. There are often more costs associated with purchasing a home than its actual price. You need to take into account such additional expenses as moving costs, legal fees, and a home inspection, not to mention the costs of prepping your current property for sale.

 

Experts say you should budget 5-10% above the purchase price for these items. So if you can afford to spend $470K on a new home, you should be shopping in the $425-445K range.

 

Another factor to consider are the potential proceeds from the sale of your current home. Your REALTOR® can help you determine how much your property will likely sell for in today’s market. Any existing mortgage will need to be subtracted from that amount to determine how much cash will be left.

 

Of course, you should speak to a mortgage broker or lender who can compute how much of a mortgage you qualify for. Remember, qualifying for a big mortgage doesn’t necessarily mean you should have one. You also need to consider your personal finances and desired lifestyle – and whether or not having a large mortgage is a good idea for you.

 

Once you have gathered all of your information, you can add any potential sale proceeds to the amount of mortgage you qualify for, add other sources of cash available for this purpose and subtract 5-10% for initial expenses, and you’ll have an idea of the price range you should be considering.

 

Finally, it’s important to take the time to decide what kind of home you want. Do you want a large backyard with trees? A quiet, family-oriented neighbourhood? Four bedrooms and a finished basement? Once you decide what you want most in a new home, it becomes much easier to find one that’s in your price range.

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There are many hidden sources of moisture in your home that can lead to serious problems, such as mould. To keep moisture levels in check, consider these tips

 

•      Bathrooms are an obvious source of moisture build-up. Contractor and TV personality Mike

       Holmes recommends keeping the fan going for at least a half hour after a shower.

 

•      Check regularly for water infiltration around window and door sills, as well as other intakes

       into the home, such as dryer vents and cable wiring.

 

•      Check regularly for water infiltration around window and door sills, aswell as other intakes

        into the home, such as dryer vents and cable wiring.

 

•      Determine the humidity level in your home. According to the Environmental Protection

       Agency,it should be 30-60%. (Keep in mind that humidity may vary greatly from room to

       room).

 

•      Regularly inspect caulking around sinks, tubs and showers. Even a tiny break can

       cause water to leak gradually into the wall or floor, causing damage you may not notice

       for months.

 

•      Clean up wet spills as soon as possible. On hardwood floors especially, water can seep

       through and become trapped.

 

•      Repair leaking faucets, toilets and pipes immediately. A drip can quickly become a shower.

 

Being mindful of moisture today can help you avoid potentially high repair bills later on.

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If you’re thinking of shopping for a new home, one of the first considerations is price range. You want to know what you can reasonably afford.

 

How do you figure that out?

 

First of all, you need to determine the initial out of pocket costs you will need to cover. There are often more costs associated with purchasing a home than its actual price. You need to take into account such additional expenses as moving costs, legal fees, and a home inspection, not to mention the costs of prepping your current property for sale.

 

Experts say you should budget 5-10% above the purchase price for these items. So if you can afford to spend $470K on a new home, you should be shopping in the $425445K range.

 

Another factor to consider are the potential proceeds from the sale of your current home. Your REALTOR® can help you determine how much your property will likely sell for in today’s market. Any existing mortgage will need to be subtracted from that amount to determine how much cash will be left.

 

Of course, you should speak to a mortgage broker or lender who can compute how much of a mortgage you qualify for. Remember, qualifying for a big mortgage doesn’t necessarily mean you should have one. You also need to consider your personal finances and desired lifestyle and whether or not having a large mortgage is a good idea for you

 

Once you have gathered all of your information, you can add any potential sale proceeds to the amount of mortgage you qualify for, add other sources of cash available for this purpose and subtract

5-10% for initial expenses and you’ll have an idea of the price range you should be considering

 

Finally, it’s important to take the time to decide what kind of home you want. Do you want a large backyard with trees? A quiet family-oriented neighbourhood? Four bedrooms and a finished basement? Once you decide what you want most in a new home, it becomes much easier to find one that’s in your price range.

 

Need help deciding how much you can afford when shopping for a new

home? Call today

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There are unwelcome guests that most homeowners dread. They come into your house, eat, sleep, make a mess, and never leave willingly. Each one has at least six legs and sometimes flies.

 

They are, of course, insects. They’ve been freeloading in homes since homes were invented. Here are some practical ways to keep these unwelcome guests out:

 

•     Find out how they got in. Look for gaps around windows and doors, and cracks in the

      basement. If you find a spider web, there's likely an insect entryway nearby.

 

•     Watch out for standing water near the foundation of your home. Make sure rain gutters drain

      water well away.

 

•     Eliminate clutter. Insects love warm, cluttered, moist areas.

 

•     Check the seal around dryer vents and other vents, pipes and cable wires going through the

      wall. Reseal if necessary.

 

•     Rinse recyclables before putting them into a bag or bin. Few things are more tempting to a

      bug than the dark, moist, sweet insides of an un-rinsed pop can.

 

If you do end up with a serious insect problem, call a professional exterminator.

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Have you ever driven up to a restaurant and your first impression was disappointing? Perhaps the windows looked dark and gloomy; the façade was worn and unattractive or for some other reason it just didn't look like a tempting place to eat.

 

It could still be a fantastic restaurant a real gem. But, your first impression has soured your anticipation. If you still walk through the front door, it will likely be with the expectation of being disappointed.

This scenario often plays out in the real estate market as well.

 

A buyer drives up to a home for sale and quickly forms an impression based on what he sees "from the curb". That's why you'll hear real estate experts talk about the importance of "curb appeal". It's one of the most important selling points of a property.

 

If you plan to put your home on the market, you obviously want your home to look as attractive as possible from the street. Fortunately, there are many simple things you can do to improve curb appeal.

 

For example, you can trim shrubs and hedges, plant flowers, clean the walkway and driveway, paint the front door and garage door, and clean the exteriors of the windows. All these projects are relatively easy and inexpensive. Yet, each can make a dramatic improvement to how your home looks at first glance.

 

Don't be like the great restaurant that’s hidden behind an unkempt façade. Make sure your curb appeal reflects the overall value of your property.

 

Looking for more advice on selling your home quickly and for the best price?

Call today.

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As a buyer, how much will my agent know about my personal finances?


The question of whether your agent will be privy to your personal financial situation can be a touchy situation. Some people feel that they would not be comfortable with their agent having access to their financial records This is especially true when working with friends or family who are agents. For some people that is just too much information to divulge to someone  they may know.

 

 Here is the GOOD NEWS.

 

You do not have to divulge any of your financial information to your real estate representative. However, a buyer's mortgage specialist will need to know if you've talked to a lender yet to get prequalified. The lender IS going to ask for LOTS of personal info about your finances. All your agent needs to know is what price range you qualify for, how much you'll be putting down, and that you can afford the monthly mortgage payments. All of this he/she can get from your mortgage specialist.  However, a buyers realtor will need to confirm if you have been pre-approved by a mortgage specialist.

 

 The bottom line? We do not need to know your details. If you are in the market to purchase a home you obviously feel your financial situation is stable enough to assume the burden of a mortgage. The details are for you and your mortgage specialist.

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You would have to visit your local pharmacy or science lab to rival the number of potentially dangerous chemicals in the average home. You likely store everything from fertilizers and acidic cleaners to gasoline and corrosive drain openers.

 

Obviously, it makes sense to ensure that everyone in your home uses and stores such items safely.

 

For example, laundry detergent packs which have become popular recently are attractive to children. Keep them locked and out of sight. You should do the same with all laundry products. Even exposure to fabric softener pads can cause skin irritation to a child.

 

Always read and follow the labels on household chemical products. Use and store them as directed.

 

Keep corrosives, such as harsh cleaners and drain openers, separate from other chemicals and in a place where, should they leak, they will cause minimal or no damage.

 

Also, never put a chemical in anything other than its original container. You don’t want to take the chance that paint thinner stored in an old water bottle, for example, is mistaken for water!

 

Finally, make sure you have the phone number to your local Poison Control Center in a handy place, such as your fridge door. (You can find a list of numbers at www.CAPCC.cain Canada and www.AAPCC.org

in the U.S.)

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"Staging" your home is all about making the space in your home as appealing as possible to buyers. You may already know the basics, such as eliminating clutter. Here are some other tips that are less well known yet very effective:

 

•Chandeliers. Surprisingly, these are one of the simplest ways to make a foyer, dining room or living room dramatically more eye catching. You can buy a good looking chandelier for a few hundred dollars.

 

•New linen. This is something many home sellers don't consider, but should. Replace any worn linen sheets, coverings, towels, and even oven mitts with new ones. Believe it or not, new linen makes a big impression on buyers.

 

•Pedestal sinks. It may not be practical for you to replace a bathroom sink. However, if you are doing a renovation, keep in mind that pedestal sinks especially in small washrooms are a big hit with buyers.

 

•New appliances. A brand new fridge, stove and dishwasher are motivating selling features to buyers. That's because new appliances make the whole kitchen look brand new.

 

•Avoid multiuse rooms. Have a spare bedroom that doubles as a home office? That's a turnoff to buyers. Whenever possible, stage each room so that it has a singular purpose. A guest bedroom, for example, should be only that. Want more tips on how to stage your home so that it attracts buyers? Call today

 

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Like most home products, candles are safe as long as you use them properly. The problem is thinking that as long as a candle doesn't fall over or come into contact with anything flammable, it is okay.

 

However, according to the National Candle Association (candles.org) there's more you can do to ensure candle

safety.

 

  *  Do not place candles where they can be knocked over by pets.

     (Cats can be particularly fascinated by the flickering light.)

 

*    Trim the wick to 1/4 inch before burning. A long wick can cause the candle to drip.

 

*     Don't burn a candle all the way down. At about two inches, put the candle out

 

*     Despite what you see in movies, don’t try to bravely extinguish a candle with your fingers.

 

*     Avoid using a candle during a power outage. Use flashlights instead.

 

*     Never use a candle as a night light next to your bed.

 

*    And, of course, never leave a candle burning unattended. If you need to leave the room, put the candle out.

 

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When some people think about selling their home, they imagine all the things they will have to do: paint the kitchen, clean closets, prepare for viewings, find another home, arrange financing, start packing, etc. It can all seem very overwhelming very quickly.

 

In fact, the long to-do list you imagine you’ll have to deal with may dissuade you from making a move!

 

It doesn't have to be that way.

 

There are many ways to make selling your home and buying another relatively simple and easy.

 

Sure, there will be some work to do. You may need to prepare your property so that it looks appealing to potential buyers – cleaning, decluttering, doing some repairs, etc. Of course, you will also need to view some properties for sale in order to find your next dream home.

 

But those activities may not be as time-consuming or difficult as you had imagined. In fact, you and your family might actually enjoy the experience – and see it as an adventure.

 

The trick is to work with the right REALTOR®, someone who can guide you through the process, show you the shortcuts, and generally make things easier for you.

 

It's a little like baking your first cake from scratch. The task seems daunting, unless you have a master baker by your side to guide you step-by-step through the process. Then it's a lot easier, and even fun!

 

That's what a good REALTOR® can do for you. Looking for one? Call today.

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Some people can live in their homes for years without ever experiencing a power outage. In fact, even in areas prone to serious storms or snowfalls, power loss doesn't happen that often. No wonder so many homeowners are caught unprepared when it does.

 

To make sure you're not caught unprepared, follow these tips:

 -     Replace batteries in unused flashlights every six months.

 

-      Keep candles and matches in a handy place. Monitor them closely

       when lit and always blow them out before going to sleep.

 

-     For computers and phones, consider purchasing a power backup.

     (Some models provide up to 8 hours of power for two or three devices.)

 

-     Know the address of your local fire station and nearest community

     centre. These are the most common places to find help during a power outage.

 

When the power does go out, make sure the stove is turned off. You don't want an unattended burner or gas leak when the power finally comes back on.

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Buyers are more likely to make an offer on your home if they see a lot of things they love about it. So what do buyers love to see?

 

One of the main things they like to see is a lot of space. Of course, you can't change the size of your rooms, but there is a lot you can do to make small spaces in your home seem more spacious.

 

Buyers also love to see a clean and uncluttered home. Think of how inviting a hotel room looks at first glance, with everything neat and organized. Of course, your home isn't a hotel, but the more neat and attractive you can make each room, the better.

 

One thing buyers don't love to see is potential maintenance issues. So as much as possible, get things fixed or updated.

 

In fact, the more "finished" and "move in ready" your home looks, the more likely a buyer is to make an offer.

 

Don't forget the surrounding neighbourhood either. A buyer may not take the time to explore the area, so be sure to make a list of the most appealing features. You might want to take a picture of the brand new playground just down the street or print off a local map showing nearby shopping, theatre and other points of interest.

 

It's not about creating a false impression. Rather, it's about making your home look its best and drawing attention to its most enticing features.

 

Want more home selling tips? Call today.

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Childproofing tips for your home

 

If you have young children, or expect a visit from friends or relatives with little ones in tow, it pays to ensure your home is free of hazards. The last thing you want is an injury that could have easily been prevented.

 

Here are some basic childproofing tips.

 

  • Remove everything that is toxic, hot or sharp, from within reach of a child. (For example, the leaves of some types of house plants are toxic.)
  • If possible, keep children out of the kitchen while cooking.
  • Install plug-in covers in electrical outlets. (These are inexpensive and can be purchased at any hardware store.)
  • Block or gate off areas where kids may fall.
  • Remove "pulling down" hazards, such as a heavy plant that a child can pull off a table.
  • Make sure there are screens on all open windows.

 

Finally, watch your pets. Even the most gentle dog or cat can act unpredictably around children – especially if they're not used to them

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When you make or receive an offer to buy a property, it's important that you read and understand every clause. It is especially important to understand any conditions or any changes that are made to the standard offer.

 

An offer may contain several types of conditions. The most common are "conditional upon arranging financing" and "conditional upon passing a professional home inspection." However, there may be other conditions as well.

 

You should be aware of – and fully understand – all of them.

 

In addition, the wording of an offer may change during the back and forth negotiations that often happen. Aside from changes to the price, other clauses may be added, removed or reworded as well.

 

A good agent will always ask you to initial changes. This is done primarily to ensure you know and approve of what you're signing.

 

A recent newspaper article tells the story of a buyer-seller legal dispute that resulted in a six-figure judgement against the seller. This was due, in part, to a lack of understanding of one of the clauses in the agreement.

 

You don't want that to happen to you. Take the time to carefully review and understand an offer.

 

Want to make sure everything goes smoothly with your next move? Call today.

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It may be a co-worker who feels slighted because of something you said at a meeting, a driver you inadvertently cut off on the way to work or a neighbour who's upset because your tree has branched too far into his yard.

 

It's almost impossible to go through life -- or even a week -- without someone becoming upset with you. It happens.

 

So how do you deal with it?

 

There's an easy technique recommended by de-escalation experts called the balloon technique. It works like this:

 

Imagine the other person's anger is like a balloon filled with air. If you get angry back, all you're doing is adding more air to the balloon.

 

Instead, simply let the person vent until he has communicated his frustration completely. (If he asks questions, say you prefer to hear him out fully before answering.)

 

Letting the other person vent with little or no interruption will help to "deflate the balloon" thereby de-escalating the tension. Then you'll be in a better position to deal with the situation.

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If you have pets, you probably adore them. They're part of the family! But when you're preparing your home for sale, you need to think about how you're going to deal with the "pet issue".

 

Some potential buyers who view your property may love pets as much as you do. However, others may be turned off by the tell-tale signs of pet ownership – such as kitty litter, dander, and smells.

 

So be sure to make a plan for how you’re going to deal with your pets.

 

It's a good idea to keep pets out of the house during viewings. Even if your dog or cat is friendly, some buyers will be uncomfortable around them. So, you'll need to decide where your pets will go when buyers view your property. Consider a local kennel or "pet day camp".

 

"Can't I just take my dog out for a walk?" you might be asking. You could,; however, you may not always be available to do that during a viewing. So have alternate plans available.

 

You should also consider how you will deal with pet dander and everyday pet odours. You're probably used to them. Unfortunately, some buyers will be turned off or even be allergic. So, in addition to cleaning your home before a viewing -- especially in those areas where pets spend time like a favourite cushion or scratching post – consider using specialty air sprays available on the market that will neutralize pet odours.

 

Finally, it's a good idea to advise buyers that they're viewing a home with pets. That way, they'll be more forgiving if they catch a whiff of cat dander.

 

Need more tips on preparing your home for sale? Call today.

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Does your spouse like to practice the drums in the evening? Does your teenager like to play video games, with the volume turned up high? Are there other sources of noise you'd like to minimize?

 

There are many ways to soundproof areas of your home to reduce noise. Here are some ideas:

 

Furniture placement. Surprisingly, where you place furniture can dramatically reduce incoming noise. For example, a bookshelf covering a third of a wall can muffle sound from an adjoining room by 25%.

 

Noise harmonization techniques. Soft music, air fans, and other sources of rhythmic noises can actually reduce the unpleasantness of incoming sounds.

 

Area rugs. Adding an area rug, even on top of existing carpeting, can significantly reduce noise coming from the floor below.

 

Acoustic tiles and panels. These are special ceiling tiles and wall coverings that are designed to diffuse and reduce sound infiltration. There are some products on the market that are remarkably easy to install.

 

 

 

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