BUYERS & SELLERS GUIDE

We have two comprehensive guides to help you navigate the whole whole process of bying a home, or selling your own. They can be downloaded by clicking on the cover images below. Alternatively there is a Quick Tips Guide which can be read below.


Front Cover of Remax Buyers GuideFront Cover of Remax Guide to Selling

Quick Tips

Every year, hundreds of thousands of homes of every style, shape and size are bought and sold across this country. In spite of all the differences, many of them have one very important thing in common: a RE/MAX Professional who is the driving force behind the transaction. RE/MAX agents buy and sell more homes in your area than anybody.

When you choose RE/MAX you are choosing the combined experience we have gained from every deal we've completed. This experience and expertise ensures that you get the best possible price. When it comes to buying and selling smarter, we'll show you...

RE/MAX has done extensive research with homeowners, to better understand what makes them tick. This enables us to help you in many ways. First, knowing your preferences is invaluable when it comes to finding that perfect home. Open concept or traditional? Lofty or intimate?

 

Buying a Recreational Property


For most people, the advent of summer brings visions of tranquil outings to the lake, quiet moments by the dock, and the sound of gentle waves touching the shoreline.  It also kicks off the traditional cottage season and this year, as in years before, preparation is the key to finding the right property.

Unlike residential real estate, recreational properties are a lot harder to find.  Firstly, there’s only so much lake front property available.  But this year, demand for property out paces supply in most areas of the country, making timing a crucial component of the buying process.

The key is to act quickly, but cautiously, to secure your piece of paradise. By adhering to the following tips, you can ensure that you’re in a position and ready to move at a moments notice:

 

  • Know your price range and determine how much you want to spend
  • Find a realtor you trust.
  • Decide on a property that is on the waterfront property or within walking distance to the water.
  • Winterized or seasonal?  Would you like to use the cottage year-round or just during the summer?
  • Are you prepared to travel more than two to three hours? Do you like smaller lakes or larger lakes?  Do you prefer sunrise or sunset?  By answering these questions, you’ll be able to narrow your search to specific areas.
  • Work with your realtor.  As soon as a cottage is listed, especially if its located in a high demand area, be prepared to move quickly, including driving up the same day or very next day.
  • Have a home inspector go through the cottage. This provides most buyers with peace of mind.
  • Do you want deep water or shallow water?  Do you prefer sandy beach or rocky cliffs?  What about activities such as fishing, hiking, boating, and swimming?

Once you find a property you like, don’t hesitate.  If priced properly, most cottages move quickly.   Finally, a recreational property is your home away from home  -- a place to relax, enjoy yourself, and have a little fun.


Home Buyer’s Tips


Buying a home is the largest investment most people will make in their lifetime.  The exercise is neither fast nor easy, but a little bit of knowledge will take most of the mystery out of the process.

Before embarking on your journey, take a moment to review the following tips.  They will assist in making the process more efficient and take some of the stress out of home buying:

Know how much you can afford.   Why waste time looking at homes that are not in your price range?
Determine your down payment.  This will allow you to calculate how much you need to borrow and establish a price point.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage. 

 

  • Know where you want to live.  Determine areas that best suit your needs.
  • Decide what type of home you want to buy.  There are a number of housing types available to today’s real estate consumers.  Single-family detached homes are most popular but there are also semi-detached homes, links, condominium apartments and townhomes, as well as co-ops from which to choose.  Each has different characteristics that are more or less suited to individual lifestyles.
  • Determine what you need in a home.  How many bedrooms or bathrooms do you need?  Is there enough parking for your car(s)?
  • Visit www.remax.ca.  The internet is a great starting point.  It can help you to target properties that meet your criteria and eliminate those that are unsuitable.
  • Choose a realtor.  Find an agent that you are comfortable with -- someone you can trust and who understands your needs.
  • Hire a home inspector.  Home inspections will identify any potential problems and help to save you time and money.

Investigate alternatives available to you.   Government incentives have been introduced to stimulate activity in housing markets across the country.  Two of the  programs that are currently available -- access to RRSPs for first-time homebuyers and the CMHC’s five per cent downpayment plan -- help make homeownership more attainable for all Canadians.

 

Home Inspection Ensures Peace of Mind


Home inspections are a small price to pay for the peace of mind of knowing you made the right choice when purchasing a home.

Generally, the home inspection should include an inspection and report on the home’s foundation, roof, exterior, interior, attic, insulation, windows, plumbing, heating, and electrical.  The purpose of the home inspection is to describe the condition of the house from a professional and objective point of view.  The report should identify any problems that exist at the time of the inspection, as well as identify potential problem areas in the future.

There’s no question that the services the home inspector provides can be invaluable.  They provide buyers with the tools to make an informed decision regarding the purchase of the home, and future cost estimates for the repair of the home.

Minor flaws, such as chipped paint and nail pops, are typically not included in the home inspection. These tiny defects should be visible and apparent to the buyer and involve little maintenance or repair.  Home inspections are intended to identify any major defects, system inadequacies, or safety hazards at the time of the purchase so that the buyer is not surprised with any unpleasant problems or financial burdens after the purchase.


Determining How Much You Can Afford


Potential purchasers can save valuable time and energy when searching for a home by knowing what they can afford well in advance.

Generally, the rule of thumb when purchasing a home is to ensure that your monthly housing costs do not exceed 32 per cent of your gross monthly income, but many factors come into affect when financing a home.

The most important considerations when buying a home are your gross household income, your credit rating, your down payment and the current mortgage interest rate.  Although the CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) will insure mortgages with as little as five per cent down, most buyers contribute a down payment of 25 per cent of the total purchase price.  Most lending institutions finance up to 75% of the purchase price in a conventional mortgage. 

To determine the price of the home you will be able to purchase, there is a relatively simple formula to follow. Calculate your down payment and multiply it by four.  For instance if your down payment on a property is $40,000, you will be able to purchase a home priced at $160,000. 

After you have determined what you can afford, remember that your total monthly debt and monthly mortgage payment cannot exceed 40 per cent of your gross monthly income.  This includes mortgage payments, taxes, heating expenses, car payments, personal loans, and credit card debts.

Your real estate professional can walk you through the basics in terms of determining what you can afford at the onset.  For total peace of mind, it is recommended that you contact your financial institution to get pre-approved, prior to looking for a home.


Opening the Cottage


Spring has arrived and the ritual of opening the cottage is the true sign that a new cottage season is upon us.  Every year cottages are weathered and need some fixing up due to the damage caused by the winter.

Although no two cottages are the same and some winters may take a larger toll on the condition of the cottage, there are many tiny things to check when opening the cottage.

 

  • Gutters: Clean out gutters, fix any that are sloping or loose.
  • Roof:  Is the roof sagging or ridged from a heavy snowfall? Are there any missing shingles or loose metal?
  • Doors:  Exterior doors may need painting or tightening.  Check for any signs of forced entry or broken hinges.
  • Dock:  Is the dock twisting or creaking?  Are nails popping out? Are any supports corroded or missing?
  • Foundations:  Check for cracking or heaving in the foundation caused from water damage
  • Pipes:  Are any pipes leaking, loose, disconnected, or clogged?
  • Crawl space or storage spaces:  Check for vermin and any fallen insulation
  • BBQ:  Check for vermin, bugs, and spider webs.  Also look for corroded burners, check gas pipes, and refill propane tanks.
  • Chimney:  Check for vermin, loose mortar or if it is leaning.
  • Walls:  Check for peeling paint, fading wallpaper or vents that are blocked.
  • Windows:  Check locks, any cracked glass, paint or caulking
  • Deck:  Check the railing to ensure it is not loose.  Look for wobbly steps and/or nails popping out.
  • Plumbing Traps:  Are they connected?  Any missing drain plugs?
  • Bathtubs:  Do they need re-caulking?  Has the bathtub cracked over the winter?
  • Electric Heaters or Fans:  Clean, secure electrical connections
  • Electrical:  Look for discolouration of outlets and switches.  Check that fuses are snug in panel and are all working.

Be sure to thoroughly check and fix all possible problems so that you can ensure a safe and fun time at the cottage for your family, friends and yourself.


Putting your best foot forward


Far too often, the first impression people have of a home that is listed for sale is their last impression.  Simple things like a messy garage or a missing light bulb can make a world of difference when it comes to selling your home in the least amount of time for the best possible price.  The following are fast and effective tips on selling your home:

 

  • Keep the kitchen and bathrooms in good condition; get rid of discoloured, missing, or loose grout around ceramic tiles.
  • Address numbers and mailboxes should be hung straight.  Numbers should be easily seen from the street.
  • Open the blinds or drapes.  Potential purchasers want to see bright and airy rooms.  Replace any light bulbs that have been burnt out.
  • Keep the interior neutral -- this will also help to lighten the house.  Dark colours can make rooms appear smaller.  Replace any wallpaper or paint that is outdated.
  • Clean out the closets, basement, and other storage areas, including clutter in the kitchen.  Storage space is crucial to most homebuyers.
  • Fix loose or broken doorknobs.
  • Don’t cook a meal heavy with odours the day of an open house or any showings.
  • Scrape away chipped and peeling paint on basement floors. Add lighting to rooms that are especially dark.
  • If you have chipped paint on doors, trim and baseboards, take the time to repaint – it will give the impression that your home has been cared for over the years.
  • Drywall compound and paint is the solution for water stains and cracked drywall on ceilings or walls once the leak has been fixed.

The simplest repairs can make a positive impact when showing your property.  Remember you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so be sure to make the right one the first time.


What to Look for When Buying a Home


Although the home buying process can be overwhelming at times, the key to a smooth and easy transaction for most purchasers is education and preparation.

Determining what you want and need in a home, combined with the knowledge of current housing market conditions will go a long way in easing your mind, especially if they are done before you begin your search.

For example, where would you like to live?  Would you like to be close to the office?  In the downtown core? Or would you prefer to live in a more rural community, away from the hustle and bustle of city life?
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What about the characteristics of the home?  How many bedrooms would you like? Bathrooms?  Do you need a large kitchen? Is a garage important?  How about lot size?
Are you willing to sacrifice location for size and price?

Finally, are you prepared to renovate? Or would you prefer a new home in an established neighbourhood?  What about the condominium lifestyle?


Other considerations include:

 

  • Market conditions:  Is it a buyers market?  A sellers market?  A balanced market?  How will each market affect me? Are prices on the rise or on the decline?  Are mortgage rates steady or dropping? What areas are hot with purchasers?
  • The economic outlook:  Are storm clouds on the horizon?  Will housing prices decline as a result?
  • Schools:  How are the public schools in the area you are considering?  Are private schools in close proximity as well?  How about amenities such as parks and tennis courts?

Many home buying guides are available to potential purchasers.  The Internet, for example, has become an extremely useful vehicle for virtual tours of properties listed for sale, visiting neighbourhoods, choosing a sales associate, etc.  Another source of information is your local RE/MAX office or financial institution. Last, but certainly not least, talk to your real estate professional about what to look for in your new home.  With years of knowledge and experience, your sales associate is an excellent source of information.