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It's A Wise Investment To Hire A Certified Home Inspector
Posted on Wed, 30 Mar 2016, 09:55:00 AM  in My services,  Home buying tips,  Marketing strategies
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It’s a wise idea to have a professional home inspector conduct a home inspection before you sign the contract at closing. The inspector will examine the house for structural damage, non-functioning electrical and plumbing components, repairs that were made and the potential for future damage.†


A comprehensive report discussing their findings is a critical element in deciding whether to go ahead with a scheduled closing. If repairs to the house are necessary, the sale price can be renegotiated. Should the report show major damage, the contract can be declared null and void. A home inspection is suggested for all home purchases, be it new construction or an existing home.

Roofing
A certified home inspector will thoroughly check the roof from the exterior and underside, looking for water infiltration, wood deck rot, and damaged shingles. In regions that are prone to high-velocity winds, tornadoes and hurricanes, the roof beams and trusses are checked for integrity and are properly fastened to meet local and provincial codes. The proximity of trees to the roof can lead to rotting branches damaging shingles. Gutters can become clogged with falling leaves, which can lead to interior water damage. interior. Skylights and chimney chutes are checked for properly adhered and watertight flashings.

Foundation
The foundation or concrete pad is checked for cracks, flaking and pitting along with evidence of water infiltration stains. Issues with the foundation can intensify insopectand affect components of the home's interior. Floor cracks and baseboard separation are indicators of possible structural movement. Structural movement can impact sheetrock walls, separating at electrical outlets and lighting fixtures.

Doors and Windows
The inspection will show the integrity of window caulking and if it's contributing to air and water infiltration, can prove to be expensive. Windows are opened to see if they rattle within their frames. If the window rattles or shakes, cold air will come into the home during the winter and hot air during the summer. This will contribute to increased cooling and heating costs and applies to entry and sliding-glass doors. They are opened and shut to see if there is a tight and aligned fit, which reduces air entry.

Plumbing
Inspection of the plumbing system includes checking that all facets and toilets function and all sink basins drain. Water pressure is checked and pipe joints are checked for evidence of leaking. If the property has a septic system, it should be cleaned every 3-5 years. The homeowner should have maintenance records. A neglected septic system can be an expensive ordeal with costs ranging up to $50,000 to excavate and replace. Inspectors will the test tap water for bacteria and contaminants such as ph, lead, iron, feces and toxic pesticides. The hot water system will be tested for accuracy in temperature and proper functioning.

Electrical
Electrical fixtures, components and panels are tested for compliance with local and provincial codes and preventing a potential fire hazard. The inspector will note smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed.

Heating and Cooling
The heating and cooling systems are checked for proper annual maintenance, pipe corrosion, unit age and efficiency. An aging unit can be an expensive ordeal to replace.

These are just a sample of the many items that a certified, professional home inspector must check before you move ahead and buy a home.


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7 Benefits of Buying a Small House
Posted on Tue, 15 Mar 2016, 04:35:00 PM  in My services,  Home buying tips,  Marketing strategies
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Many people think "bigger is better" when it comes to houses. Although bigger is indeed better when it comes to bank account balances, it's not necessarily so with houses. Often, smaller houses actually provide many benefits. Here are seven reasons why smaller is often better - much better.


1. Lower utility bills
When you have a smaller total area in your home than you would in a large home to heat and cool, you can save big on your utility bills. This includes costs for air conditioning, fans, heating, and electricity. If you have a small home that's also designed with energy-saving features in place, you can save that much more. These savings on utilities in a small house can add up quickly into huge amounts of money that you can allocate in other ways.

2. Lower repair and maintenance costs
Smaller homes come with lower expenses to keep them in tip-top shape. Think about common-sense factors like having fewer bathrooms and therefore less plumbing equipment that might eventually need to be repaired. There are fewer lighting fixtures and floors and many other items that will ever need to be smallhomeerepaired or replaced.

3. Less investment in cleaning
With a smaller home, you may have to spend a fraction of the time, money, and energy on cleaning and upkeep compared to what you'd invest in a larger home. You will feel like you have loads more freedom to get together with loved ones, relax, travel, garden, or whatever way you choose to spend all your extra time and energy.

4. Minimal decorating and shopping
With fewer rooms to furnish, anyone who buys a smaller home doesn't have to spend as much time coming up with decorating ideas and then spending time, money, and energy shopping around for all the home furnishings.

5. Less stuff
There aren't as many closets, drawers, cabinets, and storage spaces in smaller homes. There is also, of course, a whole lot less space and fewer rooms. Some view this as a negative, but others view this as a way to prevent the accumulation of excess belongings. This really keeps clutter under control, which is a major plus if you're seeking a simpler, more carefree life.

6. Quicker home payoff
Depending on a home's location and purchase price, it can be possible to pay off a small home much more quickly than a larger one, especially if the original purchase price was low to begin with and if the home is in an economical location. In addition, with a lower purchase price on a small home, it's possible to have much lower monthly home payments on the smaller home versus a larger one. That significantly eases financial stress and can be great if you're on a tight budget.

7. Close relationships
It's true that people living together in a home of any size can cultivate wonderfully close relationships, but many people who have lived in small homes have said that their family bonds are tighter as a result of being in more limited spaces together. Mileage may vary on this issue from one homeowner to another, but it's worth considering this often-overlooked benefit of living in small homes. With some creativity, even families with several people living under one roof find ways to thrive while living in small homes.

Downsizing has become more common in recent years as people discover the many benefits of this lifestyle shift. A simpler, scaled-down way of life isn't for everyone, but it is the perfect thing for many people. Consider whether it might be a great move for you and your family.


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Benefits of Making a Larger Down Payment
Posted on Thu, 28 Jan 2016, 10:15:00 AM  in My services,  Home buying tips,  Marketing strategies
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Anyone who is planning on purchasing their first home often takes the time to save for a down payment to ensure that they can obtain a mortgage loan from banks or financial institutions. Many people make the mistake of only putting a minimal amount of money down on a property just to purchase it quicker. Although it can take patience and time, there are several benefits to making a larger down payment upfront.

Lower Interest Rate
Lenders are more likely to offer lower interest rates to home buyers who have a larger down payment when you have a lower loan-to-value ratio, which lower's the risk for the lender. This can allow you to save thousands of dollars over the term of your home loan just by waiting longer to save. Your interest rate will ultimately increase with the number of risks that the loan contains for the lender. Not only will you obtain a lower interest rate, but having a larger down payment means that you're closer to paying off the property in full. The sooner you pay off the mortgage, the less interest you'll pay and the more flexibility you'll have with your retirement.†

Quicker Approval
Those who have a larger down payment are more likely to be approved quicker than the average person when applying for a loan. Having a larger down paymentpayment of at least 20 percent is a sign of borrower strength to lenders and makes it easier for them to trust that you'll make your mortgage payments on time. This can make it easier to begin shopping around for your new home without waiting several weeks or months to hear back from the lender. Although most borrowers have at least one or two risks when applying for a loan, a down payment of at least 20 percent eliminates any risks that may be present.†

Avoid Mortgage Insurance
Lenders often require private mortgage insurance from borrowers who have smaller down payments that are less than 20 percent of the loan. Private mortgage insurance is used to protect the lender if the borrower is unable to make their payments on time during the duration of the loan. You can save even more money by avoiding the mortgage insurance completely with a larger down payment for one less expense.

Protect Yourself from Negative Equity
Many people are unaware that they can develop negative equity quickly when the value of their home decreases due to the state of the economy. This can make it easy to owe more on the property than it's actually worth, which can lead to foreclosure on the home. By putting down a larger payment, you can minimize the risk of having negative equity if the value drops in future years.

Improve Your Odds in Winning a Multiple-Offer Situation
It can be easy to fall in love with a property that other buyers quickly take notice of and also make an offer on. This can easily put you in the middle of a multiple-offer situation as you begin to try to outbid other people for the home, which can reduce your risk of obtaining the property. The seller is much more likely to favor the buyer who has the larger down payment and is already approved by a lender for a home loan due to less risk of the transaction falling through. You'll have more power when it comes to finding the home of your dreams and beating out other buyers to ensure that you get the home of your dreams.


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Why You Need To Declutter Before Moving
Posted on Wed, 13 Jan 2016, 09:50:00 AM  in Marketing strategies,  My services,  Home buying tips,  Home selling tips
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You have purchased your packing supplies and you are ready to start packing for the big move. There is one important step you should not skip over when moving, and that step is clearing out the clutter. Set aside some time every day to go through your belongings and decide what should be donated, sold and discarded.


You may groan at the thought of clearing out the clutter, but it is an important part of the moving process. Here are several reasons why you need to declutter before moving into your new home.

It Lightens The Load: Are you planning to donate items such as clothing, books and coffee mugs after you move into your new home? Why pack up the items you do not plan to keep? You can make packing and unpacking a breeze by decluttering before you even order the supplies. You can save money on packing supplies when there is less to pack, and you can save time by unpacking less items.

It Helps You Depersonalize Your Current Home: Depersonalizing your current home is another part of the moving process. Your potential buyers are going to movingimagine what their own belongings would look like in this space. You can kill two birds with one stone by decluttering while you are depersonalizing. Pack up anything you plan to use or display in your new home, and get rid of anything you do not wish to take with you.

It Makes It Easier To Decorate: Have you accumulated a large amount of decorative pieces over the years? Maybe you have items you purchased on impulse, used for a little while and packed up several years ago. Now you have to decide what pieces to use when decorating your new home. This can become an overwhelming task when you have a large collection. It may be time to donate or sell the pieces that rarely cross your mind. It will make it easier to decorate your new home when you can narrow it down to the pieces you actually want to use. Plus, someone else may enjoy those decorative pieces you did not want to keep.

Saves Space In Your New Home: Your clutter is probably taking up a lot of space in your current home. Do you want history to repeat itself when you move into your new home? You may have more space in your new home, but the clutter will eventually add up. It is best to nip this in the bud before you even start packing your belongings. You will have more space in your new home for the furniture, accessories and the decorative pieces you plan to keep. It also reduces that crammed feeling in both your current home and new home.

It Is Therapeutic: Getting rid of your unwanted items can actually be therapeutic. It allows you to clear your space of anything that is not important to you. Consider getting rid of anything that is not useful or creates a negative atmosphere. Clearing out the clutter also gives you more space to organize the items you do plan to keep. Imagine how good it will feel to look around your new home and only see the items that have a place in your life. You are also helping out the community by donating or selling the items that are in good condition.

Waiting until after your move to declutter will only create more work for yourself. You still need to settle into your new home, and you do not want to worry about clearing out the clutter while you are trying to unpack and decorate. It is easy to depersonalize, pack and unpack your belongings when you get rid of the unwanted items in advance. You can even ask your real estate agent for tips and ideas on decluttering.†

Clearing out the clutter may seem like an overwhelming task, but you are sure to feel good about your new space when you finally get rid of those unwanted items.


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3 Signs That Tell You That You Are Ready To Buy a Home
Posted on Fri, 01 Jan 2016, 02:20:00 PM  in Home buying tips
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Have you recently found yourself tossing around the idea of buying a home for yourself? If so, but you have also found yourself wondering if you are actually ready, you will want to check out the following points. This way, you will be less likely to get yourself in over your head.†

You Can't Stand The Rules Anymore

It does not matter where you live. If you are not in a home that you own, you are going to find that you are living by rules that were set by someone other than you. Those rules might have been okay to start with, but they might be starting to gradually get on your nerves. Whether the rules belong to your parents, your roommate, or your landlord, you will want to break free of them and get into a home of your own. And once you are in a home of your own, you can start to make rules for everyone else to live by.†

ready to buy homeYou Can Finally Save Money†

Many people find that they have a habit of spending their money before they are even able to cash their check. They are broke before they have a chance to pay their bills. Are you out of that lifestyle? Have you finally found yourself to be in a position where you are able to save some money?†

Even if it is just a little bit of money out of each pay check or each month, it is better than nothing. You do not have to have a ton of leftover cash flow each month in order to be ready for home ownership. Of course, it would not hurt. What you need is enough money to pay your bills and still have a little something that you can stash away for a rainy day. This way, should your furnace, hot water tank, or front door break; you will be able to replace it in a timely fashion.†

You Are Ready To Start A Family†

If you have been holding off on home ownership because you simply thought that it was not needed until you wanted a family, you might be ready to change your tune. If you are thinking that you want to get married, or you are already married but want to have some kids, you might want to go ahead and purchase your home. This way, you will have a safe and secure place that you can raise your family in. When you own your own home, you will never have to worry about your family being displaced because a landlord did not pay the property taxes or he suddenly decided that he wants to sell the property to another investor or someone that wants to kick you out and move their own family in.†

As you can see, there are some clear signs that will tell you whether or not you are read to own your own home. If you are indeed ready to make that purchase, you will want to take a few moments to start looking for a quality real estate agent in the area who will be able to assist you. Just make sure that you are taking your time with the entire buying process. This way, you will not make the mistake of allowing your excitement to get the best of you. If you do, you might just find yourself with a home that you would not have normally picked for yourself and you will either be stuck with it for the rest of your life or you will be forced to sell it and try again.†


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Do buyers and sellers ever meet in person?
Posted on Tue, 22 Dec 2015, 10:15:00 AM  in Home buying tips,  Home selling tips
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When you are selling a home it can be done is several different ways. In most cases, the buyer will meet the seller. There are a few instances when the buyer will not meet the seller. The first way it can be done is hiring a realtor through a real estate agency. A realtor is an individual that specializes in the sale of your home or property. It is their job to get your home the exposure it deserves. And they are the ones that will handle the negotiation process between the prospective buyer and yourself. The realtor is also the one to determine if the interested party is a serious buyer.†


Another way you can sell your home is on your own. If you choose to sell your home on your own, this means you will be responsible for advertising and showing your home on your own. When you meet a serious buyer, you then have an opportunity to hire a lawyer for representation to finalize the fine print of the sale and negotiate any remaining terms.

And finally, you can also sell your home through an auction. If you choose to go this route, you will find many different individuals interested in your property forselers sale. When the auctioneer determines a highest bidder, you have the option to meet the buyer at the closing. Otherwise, you can have a lawyer representing you.†

In several instances the buyer of the home and the seller of the home will meet face to face. The first reason the buyer and seller would meet is if the seller has listed the home on the market without hiring a real estate agent. In this case, the seller of the home would show the home to the interested party. If the potential buyer is still interested after viewing the home, they would contact the seller by phone, email, or meet them again face to face.†

Another time the buyer and seller would meet in person is at the closing. Each party may have their lawyers present to review the paperwork to ensure the deal is legal and as agreed upon. The buyer and seller both have to sign paperwork and handle the financial transactions. In most cases after both parties sign the paperwork in closing, the buyer and seller do not see each other again.†

If something should happen after the closing is complete and the seller is suing the buyer, they would meet in person again during this dispute. Usually both parties will obtain legal representation to make sure the case goes in the best interest of their client. Through the process of deliberation, depositions, and court sessions it is likely the buyer and seller will meet each other in person again.

In the real estate business it is beneficial to the seller to hire legal representation and a realtor to help negotiate with the seller. If the buyer and seller do not know each other previous to the sale, there is few instances when they will meet on their own after the sale is done.

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Top 10 Property Management Tips for Landlords
Posted on Tue, 24 Nov 2015, 09:30:00 AM  in Home buying tips
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Managing a rental property can cause numerous problems and legal issues. Among the most vital aspects of supervising rental property is to prevent problems before they occur. Understanding the basic duties a landlord owes tenants is one of the primary steps to ward off legal problems. The following tips will enable you to manage your rental units effectively.


1. Keep your rental income at par with the market

When interest rates, land taxes, and strata levies rise, it is the landlord that is left to shoulder the extra burden. It is only sensible and fair to make sure the income your property generates is at the market rate, and not significantly below.

2. Avoid expensive major repairs by taking care of minor repair items

Concerning repairs, spending some little money today can save you a lot of trouble in the future. Good quality properties attract great tenants, and the opposite is also true. A happy tenant is more likely to pay you well. But, if you don’t take care of the property, why should the tenant do so? Both you and your tenants have a mutual interest to care for the property.

3. Ensure you offer your vacant property at the current market price to avoid a costly and lengthy vacancy factor

Attempting to increase the rent by a small margin can cause you problems if the property sits vacant. It is better to have a paying tenant at a fair price than toolboxnothing at all.

4. Obtain advice from your accountant before you purchase an investment property

Make sure you seek financial advice before you enter the property investment market.

5. Ensure you have a landlord insurance

Your building insurance will not reimburse you in case your tenant defaults to pay rent, or damages your property with a cost that exceeds the bond. It is not a legal requirement to buy a Landlord Insurance Policy. However, it is recommended that you do it as soon as possible. The loss of a loved one, marriage breakdown, illness, or loss of a job can turn a model tenant into a defaulting tenant. Thus, it is always good to be well prepared.

6. Don’t get emotionally attached to your property

Treat your investment property as such. Some landlords make the mistake of treating it as if someone else is living in their home, and they get emotional about the property. Treat your investment as a “brick and mortar” savings account instead.

7. Do the appropriate checks on all prospective tenants during the application stage

Many of the defaulting tenants usually have a history of defaulting. It is better to have a longer vacancy than a non-paying tenant who abuses the property.


8. To avoid misunderstandings, maintain a professional relationship with your tenants

It is always vital to uphold a professional relationship with tenants to prevent any communication issues that may arise. Remember, they are the ones paying you, and you want to keep them paying their rent.




Hiring a professional property management agency can help you avoid the hassle of managing your investment property and ensure you get the most out of your investment.

10. Inform the tenant before entering the rental unit

All states have different laws about when it is permissible for a landlord to enter the rental unit, and these laws are based on the tenant’s right of privacy. Thus, you may only enter the unit for several specific reasons such as in the case of an emergency, to show the unit to prospective tenants, to inspect the unit, or make repairs. In all these instances, except during emergencies, you are required to provide at least a 24-hour notice. But, emergencies such as a water or gas leak override the notice requirement.

A rental property is a good investment that can generate for you a good income. However, you must manage it well. Keep the price right, repair minor hitches, get a landlord insurance cover, and do background checks on all prospective tenants. This will help ensure that you don’t bump into unexpected problems and legal issues in your property.

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An Analysis of the Londonís Real Estate Sector in 2015
Posted on Tue, 15 Sep 2015, 03:21:06 PM  in My services,  Home buying tips,  Home selling tips
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In recent years, the real estate sector has come under close scrutiny following the recent crises in the global mortgage sector and current international economic events. The real estate industry has a tendency of being particularly cyclical. It goes up or down based on existing economic trends in the country. However, this huge industry continues to generate revenue that runs into billions of dollars.†


The real estate industry is typically divided into two: commercial and residential services. However, it is not uncommon to find lots of management companies and brokerages engaging in both types of service. Additionally, the residential real estate component is quite fragmented.

Property management is a service sector that has been witnessing fast growth and this expansion is bound to continue. This because properties which were over constructed during the previous real estate boom are going to continue being in need of management for some time until they are totally sold.

Contributing Factors

The old and long held adage of “Location, location, location,” continues to hold sway in the London’s real estate industry. Of prime importance towards determining the value of property and its marketplace is location. There are several factors that control the quality and associated value of a location such as access by public transportation, availability of social amenities, the access roads and their quality. Other factors are security, income levels, and state of the surrounding economy.

The Real Estate Industry Key Playersforsale

This industry is basically made up of 3 primary fields: leasing, brokerages and management. It is the brokers who bring the buyers and the sellers together. They are the ones who assist in the negotiations about price and make the necessary arrangements from when a buyer initially shows interest in any property and the final closing. They also play diverse roles in property inspections and appraisals.

Industry Potential Obstacles

The real estate sector in London faces several potential obstacles. Some of the factors are at times beyond the business owner’s control. Such obstacles include local or national economic downturns and changes in the neighbourhood demographics where the property or agency is located. Another factor not within the control of the property or real estate agency is the build-up of houses and properties in the location, what they are used for, and what other properties are available in the same area.

Use of Technology in Real Estate Transactions

For many years to come, the use of modern and emerging technology will continue transforming the real estate field. This is because it is now enabling buyers to carry out online research for both location and properties as well as other local area information. A buyer can now gather all the needed information before making the first move. Such include viewing pictures of the property, getting information about facilities in the area, crime rates, and all manner of statistics.

Online marketing using property pictures and virtual tours are assuming greater significance for real estate brokers. It is estimated that in excess of 90% of buyers employ the internet before they decide to buy real estate.

Growth of Workforce

Industry experts project that the global industry workforce will continue expanding. They however note that the internet could arguably bring down the numbers and ultimately do away with the need for real estate brokers altogether sometime in the foreseeable future.

It’s worth noting that banks are also now representing a formidable potential competitor. Many economies are now allowing commercial banks to actively engage in the real estate sector, especially the commercial component of real estate.

Bottom Line

Despite turbulent and trying economic conditions being witnessed globally, real estate analysts remain confident about the future industry growth. This is one industry that always bounces back after every economic upheaval. People will always need offices, factories and residences. Apart from situations of total war, this one industry you can bank on as we head to 2016 and beyond.


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All information is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by LSTAR. (ie. The data relating to real estate on this web site comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange (IDX) program of the London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS®. The information herein is believed to be accurate and timely, but no warranty as such is expressed or implied.)

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