Author: cc_mike

Buying A Home With Kids

Posted on October 10th, 2019

Finding a new home when you have kids can be a challenge.  There’s so much more to consider beyond the home itself.  Schools, community centres, programs, and safety are all important factors that need to be investigated to avoid any regret down the road.  You want to make sure that the transition is as painless as possible for your little ones and that normally takes some extra due diligence on your part and your Realtor’s part.  So what should you consider?  Here is a list of our top kid friendly home inspection items:

 1) Neighbour check: kids like to play outside – front yard, back yard, side yard – which means you’ll likely be seeing your neighbours a lot more than if you didn’t have kids. Introducing yourself and your family to your potential neighbours can help.  Does your neighbour hate kids?  Does he own a crazy aggressive dog? While you may not be able to give your potential neighbour a full blown interrogation with a full set of fingerprints and a DNA test, a simple introduction will give you a better idea of who you could be living beside for the next one, two, five, ten or more years.  Your potential neighbours are also the best source to get all of the details about the area from – pros and cons.
 
2) Visit the neighbourhood more than once.  if you’re seeing the home on Monday at 7pm, go visit on Saturday at 11am.  If you’re there for the weekend open house, go visit on a Thursday at 8pm.  This way, you get a more complete picture of the neighbourhood.  
 
3) Visit the parks: if living in a community with other young families is important to you, visit the local parks.  If the parks are filled with teenagers smoking pot or more dogs than kids, the neighbourhood might not be the right one for you.  
 
4) Visit the local schools: your kids will be spending the majority of their days at school.  You want to make sure the school they will be attending is welcoming, engaging, well respected, and whatever other qualities are important to you as a family.  
 
5) Consider commute times: make sure that the commute to and from your place of employment won’t leave you stressed out and scrambling to pick up the kids from school each day.  With that said, confirming the start and end times for school and availability for before and after school programs might have an impact on your home buying decision.  For example, my kids start school at 8am and end at 2:30pm.  This makes a typical 9 to 5 schedule at work very hard to adhere to if there is no after school program available.
 
6) Extra-curricular programming: does your child love swimming?  Soccer?  Hockey? Depending on how important these extra-curricular programs are to you and your family, you may want to visit the community centres and sports clubs in the neighbourhood to find out the options and availability of programs.  
 
7) Daycares: if your kids aren’t in school yet, then the hunt for the right daycare can be a challenge.  Some daycares don’t offer half day or part time programs while others cost more than you expect.  A family will want to make sure they have enough options to consider when it comes to finding a new daycare for their little one.
 
8) Street traffic: is the street you are considering purchasing a home on a short cut for impatient rush hour drivers?  Do you back onto a street with a loud bus route that runs around the clock? Listening and watching for local traffic at different times of the day and on different days will help you better understand how safe and peaceful your potential new neighbourhood really is.
 
9) Pollution and safety hazards: if you see a home at 8pm on a Monday, you may not notice the cell phone tower nearby or the factory down the street.  Again, check things out during the day and do a Google satellite map search to see what you might be missing.
 
10) Get the kids involved.  Depending on your child, including their age and personality, the idea of moving can range from pure excitement to pure anger.  Involving your kids in the decision making as much as possible – choosing what homes to see, determining what characteristics make a good home, scoping out the neighbourhood with you (maybe take them out of school for an afternoon to explore!) – will help them to be more engaged in the process and become a bit more positive about a potential move.
 
We hope that these tips help to make the process of finding a new home for your family easier.  It may seem like a lot of extra work but you do not want to regret a home purchase decision.  Having a trusted Realtor by your side will help make that process smoother by providing knowledge and expertise about the neighbourhood and the home you are interested in purchasing.  
 
 
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Why Real Estate Escalation Clauses Should Be Banned

Posted on June 8th, 2017

If bidding wars aren’t enough to turn buyers right off of the home purchase process, the introduction of an ‘escalation clause’ will definitely make matters worse. This clause is downright confusing and currently, there aren’t any rules and regulations beyond some warnings from the industry on how this clause should be used. An escalation clause is used when a buyer agrees to increase their bid by a certain amount over the highest bidder when bidding on a particular home. This amount can be capped at a certain price if the buyer chooses.

In our opinion, this clause is dangerous for many reasons:

  1. This increases the risk of unethical behaviour by realtors. If Agent Joe knows that buyer Paul is coming in with a $600,000 offer with an escalation clause of $5,000 over the highest bidder up to a maximum of $700,000, and if Agent Joe is extremely unethical, he could get bring in a fake offer to push buyer Paul to his maximum price.
  2. Due to the lack of rules surrounding this clause from The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), what happens if an agent isn’t aware of the details of how to use this clause but uses it anyway? This agent might not know you can put a cap on the price. As a result, the selling agent can effectively force a buyer into purchasing a home that is likely way over his or her budget.
  3. What happens if two or three or more buyers use an escalation clause? This is a scary situation that would very quickly inflate the selling price of a home to each buyer’s maximum price limit (if they even set one).
  4. What kind of disclosure is needed to other buyers when a buyer uses an escalation clause? Again, RECO doesn’t have any set rules regarding this clause so other buyers would have no idea that this clause is in effect. Let’s say selling Agent Joe has two offers on the home – one from Buyer Paul at $550,000 using an escalation clause of increasing the price by $2,000 over the highest bidder and another from Buyer Sally at $600,000 without an escalation clause. Buyer Paul’s offer has now been increased to $602,000 and Agent Joe will likely go back to Buyer Sally and let her know that the offers are very close and ask if she’d like to improve her offer. Buyer Sally agrees to increase her offer to $625,000 and now Buyer Paul’s offer has automatically increased to $627,000. Again, Agent Joe will likely tell Buyer Sally that the offers are very close and if she really likes the home, she might decide to increase her offer again, which means Buyer Paul is going up $2,000 more over and above Sally’s improved offer. Buyers can quickly lose control within the offer process and may regret their decision.

What about sellers? You might think that this clause will benefit sellers but if buyers are pushed to their limit without having any control within the offer process, they might regret their decision and decide not to proceed with the purchase (even if they need to forego their deposit).  This could leave a seller in a very difficult position. Not only is the home put back on the market but if the seller has purchased a new home, financing for this new home is likely hinging on the sale of the current home. It’s a scary position to be facing and we would never want to put a seller in a state of uncertainty that this type of situation could create.

What’s the solution? First, let’s ban escalation clauses altogether. Next, why not consider an open and transparent auction model? This method of selling your home benefits both buyers and sellers for various reasons. Buyers have full control over how high to bid and are fully aware of the offer prices of other bidders at all times. Sellers can feel confident knowing they maximized the sale price of their home without worrying about a buyer having second thoughts over the price they paid.

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