Real Estate News: Selling in Winter – Posted By Neil Jamieson – Sales Representative

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When readying a vacant home for winter weather, there are several things you can do to prepare before freezing temperatures and other winter risks arrive. These include:

Bring in a plumber.

Hiring a professional plumber to winterize the pipes and water system in the home is extremely important if you want to avoid the incredibly expensive water damage that can occur from freezing pipes. The plumber can examine the entire system, inside and out, and then prepare it for freezing temperatures. The plumber will drain all areas where water is stored, like water heaters and hot tubs, and will use an air compressor to expel water from the pipes throughout the house. With the water removed, you do not have to keep the house heated to prevent freezing. The pipes are protected and you save money in utility costs.

Drain outdoor garden hoses.

Water hoses must be disconnected from the home and drained of water to prevent damage to both the hoses and the spigots where they attach to the house. Left undrained, the water inside will freeze and burst not only the hose, but often the spigot as well. If winter watering must be done to keep landscape plants alive, make sure the person who does the watering drains the hoses and disconnects them from the house after each use.

Close up all openings to the house.

To prevent animals and insects from entering the home for shelter, you will need to close up all openings throughout the house. These include dryer vents and the chimney.

Have the gutters cleaned and repaired if necessary.

Gutters must be free of debris and attached properly to the house to funnel water away from the roof, siding and foundation. When debris accumulates, the gutter may stop working properly. If enough water collects and a freeze hits, the weight of the ice can pull the gutter away from the home, damaging the siding and leading to potential ice hazards where water collects at the base of the house. If you live in a cold weather climate then you understand just how bad ice damning was last year. Knowing how to prevent ice dams is something every homeowner should have a grasp of. Ice dams can cause serious damage to a home including mold behind ceilings and walls that you may not be able to detect! Have the gutters cleaned periodically until all leaves have dropped from the trees, and make sure they are in good repair.

Remove anything touching the side of the house, such as leaves and firewood.

Water and insects can accumulate in firewood and debris, causing damage to the siding and leading to potential infestations. Keeping everything away from the house creates a safe barrier and prevents water damage. This includes shrubbery and other landscaping. Keep a minimum of a couple of feet to allow the home to breath.

Have trees trimmed over the home.

Remove any tree branches that may touch the house or hang too closely. Tree branches increase the leaves that accumulate in the gutter and can also break and fall on the house in a snow or ice storm. If you are negligent about keeping branches over your home it could lead to insurance denying your claim.

Use moth balls to keep insects out of the house.

Moth balls may smell unpleasant, but they are effective at keeping insects away. Use them anywhere you think insects may be a problem.

Talk to the gas company about disconnecting the gas supply.

A gas explosion can cause even more damage than frozen pipes. Let the gas company know the home is vacant and ask them to disconnect the gas supply to the home. Obviously if you are not living in the home this becomes important because if a gas leak were to form it would be too late for you to do anything about it. This is one of the major reasons why nearly all bank owned properties get winterized.

Make the home appear occupied at a glance.

It is better for potential buyers and discouraging to unwanted visitors if the home appears occupied. You can setup lights on timers and have the landscaping tended to periodically to keep things looking nice. If snow is an issue you can also have the driveway cleared. We provide a list of many tips on how to sell a home in the winter. This advice applies to both occupied and non-occupied homes. Keep in mind that if your home is on the market you are going to need to get it un-winterized with fairly short notice when the buyer schedules a home inspection. Buyers will want to be able to check the heating and plumbing systems and will not be able to do so if the home is winterized.

Hire a landscaper to perform a fall cleanup.

As the weather gets colder, plants will die and you will be left with a disheveled looking yard and landscape. It is beneficial for the sales process if you have someone come in and cleanup around the home after the first freeze or two, when most of the vegetation has died off. The landscaper can cut back any dead growth, rake up leaves and prepare plants for the winter.

Check on the home periodically.

An unoccupied home, even when the lights come on and the driveway is plowed, can be appealing to burglars and to squatters. It can also be a destination for kids in the neighborhood to come hang out for fun. The only people you want visiting are potential buyers, so you should maintain a schedule of visiting the home periodically to make sure it is being left alone and to discourage unwanted visitors.

Real Estate News: Real estate fees can be a percentage, flat fee or both – Posted By Paul Rouillard – Broker of Record

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One of the sales representatives I interviewed for selling my house says she will charge a percentage of the sale price plus a non-refundable flat fee of $750 that must be paid up front. Is that allowed?

The short answer is: Yes, that is allowed.

Up until about two years ago, the rules required commissions to be either a percentage of the sales price or a flat fee, but never a combination of the two.

But in December 2013, the Government of Ontario changed the rules to give consumers and real estate brokerages more options and flexibility with how real estate fees can be structured. A brokerage can now be paid a flat fee, a percentage of the sales price, or a combination of both.

You mentioned interviewing several real estate representatives before making your decision and I commend you on that. Different representatives may bring different services and skills to the table and taking the time to ensure the person you select offers what you’re looking for is a smart idea.

An important point to remember is the listing agreement you sign, which includes the details of how much commission or fees will be paid, is actually with the brokerage and not the individual salesperson or broker.

Commission amounts, be they flat fee or percentage of sales price or both, are determined by you and the brokerage. The amounts are not set or approved by the Real Estate Council of Ontario or any other governmental or industry organization.

Part of the interview process should include a conversation about which services will be included. Since commissions and fees can vary between brokerages and for services provided, it’s important to know what you will get at a given price point.

The potential range of services the brokerage could provide is extensive. Some brokerages offer a very broad range of services and some a very limited service model, so you need to be comfortable with what is being offered and the price you will pay. It’s all about knowing which services are important to you in getting your house sold and finding them at a price you consider to be fair.

The level of service should reflect the amount being charged. And remember, you generally get what you pay for.

Beyond just basing your decision around the commission or fees that will be charged, you’ll want to get a sense of the representative’s experience. It’s a good idea to ask about which neighbourhoods or areas they typically work in, how many homes they have sold in the past few years and their approach to the selling process.

And, as with most job interviews, you’ll want to ask for references and actually contact those individuals.

It’s also important to know that some real estate professionals work in groups or teams. So if working directly with a particular individual is important to you, it’s critical to have that conversation before signing an agreement. You can ask to include in your agreement who your primary contact at the brokerage will be and who will actually be doing the work.

Selling your home is a major undertaking, so you’ll want to find the person you feel is the best match for the job, not just the person offering the lowest commission or fee.

And once you make your selection, be sure the listing agreement includes a detailed written list of which services will be provided to you. Starting with clear expectations can go a long way to ensuring a positive selling experience.

Joseph Richer is registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He oversees and enforces all rules governing real estate professionals in Ontario. Email questions to askjoe@reco.on.ca . Find more tips at http://www.reco.on.ca/home-buyers-sellers/resources/ask-joe/ reco.on.caEND, follow on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/recohelps @RECOhelpsEND or on YouTube athttps://www.youtube.com/user/RECOhelps youtube.com/RECOhelpsEND.

Real Estate News: Advertised on MLS – Posted By Kylee Marcinko – FlatPrice Admin

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I’m putting my home up for sale soon and would like to do most of the work myself. But I would still like to have it advertised on MLS. What do I need to know?

The service you are referring to is a limited services agreement, which is sometimes called a “mere posting.”  That’s when a brokerage arranges for the property to be posted on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), but limits other services traditionally associated with working with a real estate brokerage.

Apart from the services you wish to receive from the brokerage, the other aspects of the sale, such as setting a sales price, handling appointments for prospective buyers, hosting open houses, negotiating with buyers, reviewing offers (including any conditions that may be involved) and dealing with the paperwork would likely, depending on your agreement with the brokerage, be handled directly by you.

Before making your decision, be sure to consider whether you have the time and expertise in these areas to navigate the sale of your home, or if you would prefer the brokerage to handle certain aspects of the transaction.

Remember, while you may save money by handling the sale yourself, consider what your time is worth and whether you may incur other expenses as a result. For example, if it takes longer to find a buyer, will you have to pay carrying costs on a property that is sitting empty?

If the brokerage just posts the listing on the MLS, they still have obligations. In the interest of fairness, honesty and integrity, the brokerage providing the mere posting service is required to ensure that the contents of the listing are accurate and are not misleading or deceptive. For example, you can expect the brokerage to confirm the seller’s claims about renovations, square footage or municipal taxes that appear on the MLS system. Of course, a prospective buyer should take steps to satisfy themselves that the information is accurate.

It’s also important to remember that working with a brokerage doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all approach. There’s a spectrum of services that may be available from a brokerage, ranging from very limited services, such as a mere posting, to a comprehensive level of service and everything in between.

The contents of a representation agreement, such as what services will be included and what you will pay for those services, can be discussed with the brokerage.

Consider meeting with several brokerages to discuss your needs and whether they are able to offer the services you need at a price that you find to be fair. Commissions and fees can vary between brokerages and for services provided, and may be a flat fee, a percentage of the sale price, or a combination of the two. And remember, as with most things, the cheapest deal isn’t necessarily the best.

Regardless of the level of service you decide to go with, be sure that your agreement with the brokerage sets out what services will be provided to you and at what cost. Make sure you read and understand the agreement before you sign it, and keep a copy for yourself.

Ultimately, it’s your decision to determine how your home will be sold, but as I always say, be sure it’s an informed decision.

Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.

Real Estate News – CREA Updates Resale Housing Forecast – Posted By Paul Rouillard – Broker of Record

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Ottawa, ON, December 15, 2015 – The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has updated its forecast for home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations for 2015 and 2016.

Since CREA’s last forecast published in September, housing markets in British Columbia and Ontario have strengthened further. As a result, CREA has raised sales and average price forecasts for these provinces.

While housing markets in other provinces have performed as expected through the autumn, prospects in 2016 for a rebound in oil prices – and by extension, housing markets in oil producing provinces – have dimmed. Accordingly, forecast for sales activity in Alberta has been revised lower, as have forecast average prices in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Additionally, interest rates are now expected to begin rising later than previously expected. Now expected to remain on hold until late next year, low interest rates will continue to support sales and prices next year.

Recently announced changes to mortgage regulations that take effect early next year risk cooling housing markets beyond Greater Vancouver and the GTA, their intended targets. In particular, the regulatory changes are also likely to reduce sales activity in Calgary once they take effect in early 2016.

The forecast for national sales in 2015 has been revised higher, reflecting stronger than anticipated activity in B.C. and Ontario. National sales are now projected to rise by five per cent to 504,000 units in 2015, marking the second strongest year on record for home sales in Canada. (Chart A)

British Columbia is projected to post the largest annual increase in sales activity in 2015 (+21.4 per cent), while Alberta (-21.4 per cent), Saskatchewan (-10.8 per cent), and Nova Scotia (-5.1 per cent) will record annual sales declines. Activity in Manitoba is forecast to rise by 2.3 per cent this year.

Home sales in Ontario are projected to rise by 9.3 per cent in 2015. The increase would in all likelihood be higher were it not for a shortage of low rise homes available for purchase in and around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Sales in Quebec and New Brunswick are forecast to rise by 4.8 per cent and 5.4 per cent respectively compared to sluggish 2014 results. Newfoundland and Labrador sales are forecast to eke out a gain 3.2 per cent in 2015 on the back of a rebound in the second half of the year, while activity in Prince Edward Island, having benefitted from the lower Canadian dollar, is expected be up 18.8 per cent from 2014 levels.

The annual forecast for national average home price growth has been revised upward to $442,600 this year, representing an increase of 8.4 per cent. The upward revision reflects average price gains in British Columbia and Ontario together with a projected increase in their proportion of national sales.

British Columbia will be the only province this year where average home prices rise faster (+11.5 per cent) than the national average. The rise in Ontario’s average price (+8.0 per cent) is forecast to be roughly in line with the national increase.

Elsewhere, average prices in 2015 are forecast to rise by about two per cent in Manitoba, Quebec and Nova Scotia, while falling 1.9 per cent in Alberta, 2.7 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador and by less than one per cent in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.

In 2016, national sales are forecast to reach 498,600, down 1.1 per cent from 2015 as activity in B.C. and Ontario moderates and housing market conditions soften in Alberta.

Sales declines there will offset activity gains in Quebec and Atlantic provinces, where strengthening economic prospects should translate into a slow and steady improvement in sales amid the continuation of affordable prices due to an elevated supply of listings. The exception is in Newfoundland and Labrador, where economic and demographic challenges are expected to persist in 2016.

The national average price is forecast to edge higher by 1.4 per cent to $448,700 in 2016. Price gains in 2016 are forecast to be strongest in Ontario (+2.9 per cent) due to an ongoing shortage of listings for single family homes coupled with strong demand for them in and around the GTA.

British Columbia and Manitoba are forecast to see average price gains of about two per cent in 2016, followed by Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in the 1.5 per cent range, and by Quebec and New Brunswick with increases of less than one per cent.

By contrast, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador are forecast to see average home prices decline by 2.5 per cent, 1.2 per cent and one per cent respectively in 2016.

– 30 –

About The Canadian Real Estate Association
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 111,000 REALTORS® working through 90 real estate Boards and Associations.

For more information, please contact:

Pierre Leduc, Media Relations
The Canadian Real Estate Association
Tel.: 613-237-7111 or 613-884-1460
E-mail: pleduc@crea.ca­

Real Estate News – To Buy A Home It’s Not Important To Have A Real Estate Agent – Posted By Neil Jamieson – Sales Representative

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To Buy A Home It’s Not Important To Have A Real Estate Agent

Another popular home buying misconception is that when buying a home, it’s not important to have a real estate agent.  It is possible to buy a home without the assistance of a real estate agent, but why would you do such a thing?

First it’s important to understand that in the majority of situations, a buyer will not be responsible for paying their real estate agent.  Having a top-notch buyers agent when buying a home can make the process much easier and less stressful than not having a buyers agent.  It is important to remember when deciding on who to choose as a buyers agent, that all buyers agents are NOT the same.

It’s strongly recommended when deciding on a buyers agent that you know how to properly interview prospective buyers agents.  Also make sure you don’t select the first agent you speak with because they are your colleagues brother or sister.  Having a top-notch buyers agent can not only make the home buying process less stressful but also can give an advantage in a competitive sellers market.

As for Sellers:

The world has so many options to help you sell your home without paying a large commission. FlatPrice.ca gives you this option by placing your listing on the MLS system without paying a REALTOR a commission. I will place it on as a flat fee listing and you can sell it yourself. So yes, it is important to use a REALTOR to sel lyour home as well. Especially since you can list it on the MLS system yourself.

Closing Services – Windsor

Please be sure to mention FlatPrice.ca Real Estate Brokerage

Real Estate Lawyers

Maggio Walk-in Law Firm
 Address: 1566 Huron Church Rd, Windsor, ON N9C 2L1
Phone:(519) 800-7725

Home Inspectors

Gray Home Inspections
Windsor, ON
519-796-3548