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Residential FAQ

Here are some of the questions we are asked most often:


QuestionHow can I find my dream house before my current house sells?

Answer

You really should think about IF you want to find your dream house before your current house sells. You could find the perfect house and unless you are in a financial position to own more than one property, the house of your dreams could sell to someone else before your current property sells. The fear of being "homeless" makes us think we have to find our next home before we sell ours.  Once you get an accepted offer on your current property, your REALTOR® will guide you and help you find your new home. Ideally, you should have a Plan B. You may find a suitable property right away, maybe you should rent or move in with friends or family until you find that home that is "the one".  Moving is a big step, just do it one step at a time.



QuestionHow much does it cost to have a market analysis done?

Answer

First, let’s address what a CMA ( Comparative Market Analysis ) is. Licensed REALTORS® have access to data concerning any properties that have been listed, sold and/or expired via the MLS® system. When a property owner wishes to sell, professionals will access this information to give you an OPINION of value based on this data. This is NOT an “Appraisal”, this is just our professional opinion. Contrary to popular belief, this is a FREE service. Many REALTORS® will use this as a marketing strategy by offering you this as a FREE service if you call them. Very crafty on their part but be aware that this is a NO CHARGE service. With technology at our fingertips, we can actually do this analysis WITH you so you can see how the process works. Happy Summer everyone!



QuestionHow do I know if I qualify for a mortgage?

Answer

Most salespeople will ask you to be qualified for financing prior to selecting homes that may be of interest. This establishes the price range that you could reasonably expect to get financed. Start with the bank where you are currently established. You may choose a mortgage broker who will seek lower rates or better deals. The letter showing approval should be from the actual lender as well as the broker. Approval may be indicated but with conditions attached if the broker or banker does not take a full application including a credit check or verifying employment or income. We recommend that you do not count on your full capacity to repay. Leave a margin. It is a lot more fun to own a home you can afford without worry.



QuestionI’m considering investing in a rental property. What should I look for?

Answer

 Done right, investors stand to reap big rewards over the long haul. To simplify, we will consider only the financial perspective here in 2 key factors. Cash flow and equity. Cash flow is crucial to monthly operations at the property and is where you should see fairly immediate returns. It is important to ensure the property’s income covers costs and then some. A prudent investor will bank a portion of these funds to hold as a reserve for when significant expenses arise at the property (they will). 

The equity in the property is the difference between what the property is worth and what you owe against it. You can gain equity in your property by appreciation (rise in market value over time), by paying down your mortgage or immediately by investing in a property that is undervalued, under-rented or where the opportunity exists to do upgrades (sweat equity). In short, look for positive monthly cash flow, likely equity growth over time and the opportunity to earn additional equity on the short term. Call me anytime to discuss!       

 

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QuestionDo open houses work?

Answer

Open houses are very hit and miss. While stats say that 3% of homes sell because of open houses, I really feel that a serious buyer will call their REALTOR® and make an appointment for a private viewing. Our selling market can be very discouraging at times and with so much of a REALTORS® job "behind the scene", a seller wants to see their REALTOR® at work.  Definitely follow the advise of your REALTOR® as to whether they feel your property would benefit from an open house.  On the other hand, when in a market with so many homes for sale, we really have to try anything to get your house sold, so I also would never say not to do open houses. Yours may be one of that lucky 3%. Open houses are also a tool a REALTOR® uses to pick up buyers for other properties.



QuestionDoes staging matter?

Answer

Absolutely without any doubt! It may sound like cliche but you really do only have "One chance to make a first impression". Potential buyers need to be able to visualize your house as their HOME. The minute your house goes on the market you need to consider it as no longer YOUR home, but someone else's therefore it needs to be properly staged and de personalized. An experienced professional should be more than capable of providing educated advice. Overlooking this critical first step could cost you a sale!



QuestionIs it permissible to change REALTORS® if I wish to?

Answer

You most certainly can and sometimes you should. However, if you are lucky enough to get someone who works hard for you and gains your trust, it may be in your best interest to stick with that person. Most salespeople work hard for loyal clients and will go the extra mile for you. That can result in seeing more houses, getting a better mortgage rate, getting a reasonably priced lawyer and assistance with changes connected with your move. 

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QuestionDo REALTORS® just put my listing on the Internet then wait for it to sell?

Answer

It is true, most buyers come from the Internet.  Including the MLS®, it is great exposure for your property, an invaluable tool for the public as well as REALTORS®.  Initially, a great deal of time is spent gathering details about your property.  This data is vital to the selling process.  Once a buyer surfaces, the real value of your REALTOR'® becomes obvious.  While it's true that REALTORS® are trained professionals and expert negotiators, their truly exceptional attribute is their ability to manage a very complex transaction and deal with every detail from start to finish. You may think your REALTOR® should be busier trying to sell your property but keep in mind, a REALTORS® job doesn't end until your deal is closed. That's how they make the grocery money.



QuestionI’m going away for an extended period of time. How do I best protect my property?

Answer

For both your peace of mind and to ensure you are properly protecting your assets, it is important to have someone monitoring your property when away. The first step is to make a call to your insurance company to ensure you understand their requirements. Many insurance companies have different guidelines and will require monitoring at different intervals, usually more frequently during the winter months. A trusted friend or family can help with this but you may want to consider professional help to ensure nothing is missed and the interval between visits is maintained. They will also be trained how to respond to emergency situations such as a burst pipe and should be able to provide additional services you will require during an extended absence such as snow removal, lawn care and yard maintenance, cleaning, etc.



QuestionWhat is the difference between a pre-approval and an approved mortgage?

Answer

A pre-approval uses your income and expenses to determine how much you can afford to pay for your new home. Your credit rating is not checked at this time. This step should be completed before you start your new home search.

A ‘pre-approval’ does not mean that you are guaranteed a mortgage.  It simply checks to see how much of a mortgage you can afford.

An actual mortgage approval uses your pre-approval information but goes further and checks your credit rating. This step is done after you have an accepted offer on your chosen property.

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QuestionHow do I know if my property is correctly priced?

Answer

In our existing market and with the advancements of technology, pricing your property properly is CRITICAL. An experienced REALTOR® will do their research and based on their opinion, will suggest a list price. Most homeowners (myself included) feel that their property is actually worth a higher price than the market will allow so be aware of this potential error that could cost you a sale. Many properties can take weeks and even months to sell right now and you may need to lower your price in order to attract perspective buyers. If you have NO viewings or an abundance of viewings and NO offers, chances are your asking price is too high. Ask for updates and advice along the way!



QuestionWhat is the standard commission to sell my property?

Answer

By law we are not allowed to have a standard commission rate, however, generally speaking between 4% and 6% are the quotes you will get. Some offer less than that, and some relate the fee to the size of the deal. It is up to the salesperson to explain to you why he/she charges a higher rate than others. I have found that if one gets a good result in a timely manner that most clients are happy to pay whatever the agreed amount is. Commercial sales and leasing rates are different and can fluctuate wildly. Once again, it relates to the level of service.



QuestionI have a rental property that I would like to sell. How is best to go about this?

Answer

If your property is a multi-unit, it is best to have it full of tenants and receiving maximum rent when selling. Given the buyer will be purchasing it as an income property, the value is largely determined by the rental income.
If you have a single family home or duplex, the buyer may intend to move in to the house. In this case it is important to consider your existing tenants and their needs. The buyer will still be obligated to honour the terms of their lease.
If you are aware you will be selling within the next year, you may want to consider month-to-month leases. This will give you the flexibility to end a lease agreement with 30 days’ notice to the tenant, should your buyer want to move in immediately upon close. 

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QuestionI want to sell my house. I hear it's a buyer's market.....should I wait until it's a sellers market before I list?

Answer

Serious about selling?  The important thing is to price your property properly for the market at the time.
While it is important to watch the market, we tend to get caught up in whether it is a "buyer's" or "seller's" market. Markets can change quickly.  Trust your Realtor, he/she constantly watches this and will advise you accordingly.
Yes, it currently is a buyer's market. Buyer's are able to borrow money at a very low rate and there is an abundance of properties on the market to choose from.
If you are selling and buying another property, you may sell for lower, but you will most likely buy for lower too.
You could wait for a "seller's" market. Prices are usually higher, interest rates are usually higher, there will be less competition, but not as many buyer's either.....and when will that be? It will really have to do with whether you "want to sell" or "need to sell".
A buyer's market is a great market to sell your house in.....there are lots of buyer's out there. If you have a proper pricing......you will be moving. That goes for any type of market we are in!
 



QuestionMy REALTOR® has another job. Is that okay?

Answer

From a legal perspective, yes, this is acceptable. What you need to ask yourself is if YOU are OK with your REALTOR having another job? You are making one of the (if not THE) largest financial investment decisions of your life. Are YOU OK putting your faith in someone who has to split their professional time or would it make more sense to put that trust in someone who’s focus is solely in representing YOUR best interests during your Real Estate transaction? Much of what a true professional REALTOR does is accomplished during the day or on the fly and time is of the essence! Negotiating, inspections, water tests, showing properties, continuing education, answering emails, phone calls and texts are just a few examples of things that MUST be done in a timely fashion. Personally, I would want a full time, experienced REALTOR representing ME, wouldn’t you?

 



QuestionI am approved for $400,000-should I spend all of it on the purchase price?

Answer

If the approved amount depends mostly on one income, it may be OK, but your lifestyle dictates what you can comfortably afford. If you live quietly and watch your spending habits, the approved amount may be fine. If you frequently dine out, drive expensive cars and have a taste for high living, the approved amount may cause future friction. The calmest people I know are those who have their mortgage paid off early. If you can accelerate payments to pay off your mortgage sooner you will save thousands.

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QuestionI just bought a property and was wondering what happens on closing day?

Answer

Closing day is the day you take possession of your new property.  You will most likely do a pre-closing inspection with your REALTOR®.  You meet your REALTOR® at the property to do a "walk-through". You want to make sure no damage was done in the move, that all items included in the sale are in fact, still there and that the property has been left in satisfactory condition. If everything is ok, you inform your lawyer that they can go ahead and close your sale.  Your lawyer will let you know once the deal has been closed and the property is yours.  That is when you get the keys and not before. You cannot enter the property until after it has closed and it belongs to you. Make sure your movers are not booked for first thing in the morning because your deal may not close until later in the day.



QuestionWhat is a ‘deposit’ when I make an offer?

Answer

A buyer will usually include a deposit with an offer to indicate a serious interest in the property. The deposit is part of the purchase price and is an act of good faith. It is a negotiable part of an offer. The deposit is refundable if conditions set out in the Purchase and Sale Agreement cannot be satisfied. Once conditions are met, the property is declared sold and the deposit will be kept in a trust account until closing, but could be kept by the seller if the buyer is unable to fulfil his obligation to purchase on the agreed closing date.



QuestionHow do I choose a REALTOR® to sell my residential property?

Answer

Make some calls and ask some questions. See how available they are, how quickly they call back and check out web sites. Ask the REALTOR® to come for an interview.  Your chosen REALTOR® should have enough training or experience to give you proper guidance and above average negotiating skills. A REALTOR®'s presentation should show research. Suggested higher prices might be tempting but if wrong, could impede your chances of a quick sale.  The multiple listing service (MLS) is used by everybody and prospective buyers search this data base for homes and prices so the price is important.  All companies, large or small, have access to the same information on the MLS data base.  Ask those whom you interview what their marketing plan is and what sets them apart from others. 

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