Tag: homebuyer

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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The Biggest Misconception In Real Estate

Posted on July 18th, 2017

There is a big misconception in the real estate industry that when you are searching for a home, working with a real estate agent is free of charge.  While there are many benefits to working with a Realtor during your home search, these professionals are getting paid and although this payment flows through the proceeds of the home’s sale, this payment ultimately comes out of the buyer’s pocket.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with the fact that you are paying for a service that you’ve requested.  In fact, it’s common sense that you would pay for this service, right?  In fact, in other markets such as Australia, there two different types of brokerages – those that sell homes and those that assist buyers in purchasing homes.  This eliminates the risk of double ending (when the same agent represents both buyer and seller) and is a concept that might be worth further exploration in our own market.

In Ontario, the commission system is set up as follows: a seller hires a real estate agent to assist in selling their home.  A commission is negotiated between the seller and real estate agent, which traditionally amounts to 5% plus HST.  This amount is split between the selling agent (2.5%) and the agent who represents the buyer (2.5%).  The seller may negotiate the selling agent’s portion of the commission to be lower, however the buyer’s commission is rarely (if ever) touched. Many selling agents will offer a lower rate from the get go in order to their foot in your door.

Technically, if a buyer has a Buyer Representation Agreement signed with his or her real estate agent, a commission rate is agreed upon (typically 2.5%) and should a seller not offer a commission to a buying agent, this amount would need to be paid by the buyer directly.  While it is uncommon to see a listing offering less than the standard 2.5% commission to the buying agent, the industry has started to see some buyers negotiating this standardized amount with their agent and it’s something that should be explored further based on the services provided by that particular agent.

If a buyer chooses to work without a Realtor, they should expect a discount on the selling price as the seller only needs to pay his or her Realtor their side of the commission.  A buyer has the choice to hire a real estate agent.  Educating buyers on how the system works is a great first step as many buyers enter the home search process unaware of how the industry is set up.  If you are getting into the market soon, consider the following:

  • Speak to friends and colleague about their experiences in purchasing a home and ask if they would recommend a real estate agent to assist you with the process. Don’t go with the first real estate agent you meet at an open house.  You need to interview many people to ensure you will be on the same page throughout the home buying journey.
  • A Realtor can be a valuable part of the home search process and their services, understandably, come at a cost. Ensure you review the Buyer Representation Agreement that you sign with your Realtor in detail and understand the commission rate they will be earning.
  • While you may not pay commission to your agent directly, this commission is paid by you in the form of a higher selling price that you end up paying for a home
  • If you are working without a real estate agent, ensure you understand how the commission is structured with any home on which you are making an offer. Make it known to the selling agent that you do not need any sort of representation and you plan to work everything out on your own with the assistance of a lawyer.

Although the real estate industry seems to have a set of conventions that are ‘the way it is’, it doesn’t mean that is the way it needs to be. As a consumer, you have a choice, and it is important that you understand the options available to you, even if one of those options is to buy on your own. Once people are aware of the true cost of representation, and Realtors are transparent enough to ensure that buyers understand it as well, the buying process will be considerably more comfortable.

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