How Does A Realtor EARN Their Commission?
Realtors are known for helping people buy and sell real estate, but much of what they actually do to earn their commission happens behind the scenes. A good Agent will make your real estate transaction flow smoothly through each step of the process, leaving the impression that their job is fairly simple. The fact is - that couldn't be further from the truth. Anyone who has ever lived with a Realtor knows how difficult their job is. If you've never spent much one-on-one time with an Agent, you may not understand how different their job is from the average everyday job. A day in the life of a good Realtor is extremely complicated. Here are a few examples of their day to day tasks. 
  • Schedule Showings
  • Schedule Listing Appointments
  • Maintain Required Continuing Education Courses
  • Deliver Earnest Money On Time
  • Coordinate Property Inspections
  • Keep Up With Mortgage Company Progress
  • Verify Buyer’s New Homeowner’s Insurance
  • Coordinate Home Warranty Company
  • Negotiate Counteroffers
  • Schedule Closings
  • Attend Closings
  • Get All Disclosures Delivered & Signed
  • Keep The Transaction On Track
  • Provide Educational Materials to Consumers
  • Keep Your Blog Active
  • Maintain Active Social Media Profiles
  • Answer the Phone ALL DAY & NIGHT
  • Return Missed Phone Calls
  • Return Emails ASAP
  • Follow Up With Website Inquiries
  • Keep Up With Changing Laws
  • Run Comparables for Buyers & Sellers
  • Determine Accurate Pricing
  • Help Stage & Present Properties
  • Meet the Appraiser at Property
  • Meet the Inspector(s) at Property
  • Show Hundreds-Thousands of Homes Each Year
  • Get Signed Contract to Title Company
  • Negotiate Repairs
  • Keep Clients Updated With Each Step
  • Provide Comps for the Appraiser
  • Coordinate Closing
  • Make Sure There is a Clear Title
  • Explain the Contract to Clients
  • Provide Advice on Offer Price
  • Explain The Current Real Estate Market
  • Explain Pros & Cons of Each Neighborhood
  • Verify Completion of Repairs
  • Make Sure The Loan Funds
  • Schedule & Attend the Walkthrough
  • Dispute Low Appraisals
  • Verify Delivery of Title Commitment
  • Remind Clients to Schedule Utilities
  • Manage Your Online Reputation
  • Compete with 1,000’s of Realtors for Business
  • Deal With Vendors
  • Keep MLS Listing Data Current
  • Attend Real Estate Conferences
  • Network with Local Home Builders
  • Coordinate Open Houses
  • Check Up On Past Clients
  • Still Have a Life After You're Done!
Being a Realtor is Exhausting!
As you read through some of the tasks, it may seem overwhelming. That's because it is. Full-time Realtors who excel in their careers are high-energy, time-efficient professionals who know how to handle stress and responsibility well. There are definitely Agents out there who cut corners and do not take care of their responsibilities as well, but they should not define the  industry. The real estate industry is loaded with very impressive professionals with whom I am proud to work with.

Being a Realtor is Expensive!
On top of the large list of responsibilities that Realtors carry, they also have many expenses to account for. When people see an Agent's commission check, they may feel like we are getting rich quick. In reality, the average Agent makes around $45,000, after all expenses and taxes. Much of the money from our commission check goes to maintaining our business and licensing fees. Less than half of it usually goes into our bank account. Here is a list of some common fees: 
  • Broker Fees
  • MLS Fees
  • CREA/RECO Fees
  • Extended Auto Insurance
  • Self-Employment Tax
  • Licensing Fees
  • Advertising Fees
  • Website Fees 
  • Assistants salaries
  • Yard Signs
  • Photographers
  • Videographers
  • Office Supplies
  • Business Cards
  • Property Flyers
  • Lockboxes
  • Continued RE Education
Being a Realtor Can Drive You Crazy!
Many people try to start a career in real estate under the assumption that there is easy money to be made here. In reality, it is a brutal business with loads of competition. The paychecks are not large enough to keep people in the business, a fact that is reflected in the 20% success rate for new Agents. Those who do survive usually do so because they have a passion for the business, and helping people make their real estate dreams a reality. It's a great business to be in, but it's NOT EASY!
So, the next time you work with a Realtor, remember that they are human just like you and they carry a lot of burden and responsibility in their job. We work long hours for months on end for clients with no guarantee of a paycheck. When you understand these things about Realtors and let them know that you get it, you can be sure it will put a smile on their face.

What Steps Are Involved When Buying A House?
Here's a general step-by-step breakdown as to the steps of buying your new home!

1. Deciding It's Time For Home Ownership!
Maybe you've been on the fence for the past year or so, but you're feeling much more comfortable and confident with the idea of owning your own home. It's time to take the next step towards owning your very own home!

2. Do Some Research
Today's buyers are very tech savvy, which means their online researching what they want/like from what they don't like/want. The majority of buyers today start their home search online. Just be careful of some websites, as not everything you read online is true!
When researching on sites like or, choose neighborhoods that appeal to you. Maybe you like a certain a neighborhood because it's close to work/school, or ease of transportation/shops. When choosing homes within that neighborhood, look for properties that appeal to you. Start to rank your must have items. For example, the number of bedrooms, or bathrooms. Maybe you want a separate dining, or family room. Or maybe a finished basement apartment.
*TIP*: One thing to keep in mind is that you're able to make changes. What does that mean? It means that if you want hardwood floors, but a home has carpet, you can have it changed later on. If you want granite countertops, marble floors, new paint job, or stainless steel appliances etc. These are things that can be addressed once you move in.

3. Ask Friends/Family Members If They Can Recommend A Realtor/Broker.
The chances are very likely that you have a friend or family member who knows a Realtor. Try to choose someone who's local and knows the market. Also try going for someone who's in Real Estate full time. A local agent is likely to save you a lot of time and energy in finding a property suited for you.
*TIP*: No home is perfect, unless you build it yourself! Every home will have some kind of drawback. Whether it be layout, location, or finishes, there will always be something that makes the property a little less appealing. The question to ask yourself is "If this imperfection enough to not consider buying this home? Weigh the pros and cons.
Once you choose a Realtor to work with, they'll be able to set up appointments for you to view properties.

4. The Finances.
Now that you've chosen a full time Realtor who's a local expert, they should be able to provide you with a list of reputable mortgage professionals. Every good Realtor should have at least 2-3 mortgage professionals to service their clients. In addition to that, they should also have a few lawyers, home inspectors and movers to help with this process.
When dealing with the mortgage professional, they will want to know everything about you! This includes things like your credit, income and any outstanding debts you may have. Be sure to have all this information handy and able to send it over to the mortgage professional in a timely manner.

5. It's Time To Make An Offer!
By now you should know what you're looking for and may have already seen it. It's time to sit down with your Realtor to make an offer on the property. Your Realtor should be able to tell you what to offer and what they think is a fair price for the property. Sometimes, properties get multiple offers, so be prepared to pay the full asking price, or something even a little more than asking. If the home is "perfect" for you, then it may very well be worth the extra cash.
*TIP*: Have your agent complete a CMA to determine the value of the property and to give you an idea of what the home is really worth. Sometimes, Sellers price their home above market value and hope to sell it at a higher price. Let the Realtor do the research to determine a fair price for the property. Also, when making an offer, try not to low ball it. This will often upset the Seller and reject your offer all together. The plan here is to play nice, as you want to the Seller and their agent to work with you.
Every offer is different from each other, but the most common things to include are; a home inspections clause, a financing clause, insurance clause, list of items included and excluded, and of course, the price and closing date.
Once the initial offer has been submitted, you may go back and forth in coming to an acceptable agreement between both parties. This could sometimes take over a week, as Sellers may not be as accessible. (Sometimes away on business, vacation).
Once the offer has been accepted, you start to work on the conditions. Try to get the finances in order prior to getting the home inspection complete. Doesn't make sense to spend that cost if the finances aren't in order first.

6. It's Closing Time!
You've completed all your conditions. The home inspection went well. Your mortgage professional has given you the green light and you're eager to close on your new home. Exciting! On the day of closing, your lawyer will typically have you come into their office to go over the final paperwork. Once the lawyer receives confirmation that the funds has been transferred, then the home officially becomes yours!

7. It's Official - You're a Homeowner!!
Armed with your keys in hand, it's time to head over to your new home. Take a moment to remember this moment, then with your new keys, open up the front door and into your new home!
Congratulations and Enjoy!!

What Stays With the House When You Move?
When you’re selling your home, it's natural to assume that anything you can safely remove is yours to keep. Example: The light fixtures that were gifted to you, or the appliances you bought just last year - but the buyer may want some of those items too. So how do you determine what stays and what goes? Below is a general list/guideline of items that can either be left in the home, or taken with you. Rather than keep everything, you should decide what you can keep and what you should leave as a way to entice buyers into making an offer. Here’s what you should consider leaving:

Built-ins: Built-in bookshelves, benches, and pull-out furniture generally stays inside the home.

Landscaping: Trees, shrubs, and any flowers planted in the ground should stay in the yard.

Wall mounts: If you have a TV wall mount, or picture mounts that may damage the wall if removed, then it is a good idea to leave them in place when you move.

Custom-fit items: If you have custom-made curtains, California shutters, or blinds, leave them on the windows and doors.

Hardware: If you upgraded the knobs and drawer pulls in your bathrooms and the kitchen, you’ll either have to leave those behind or install replacements before you move.

Alarm systems: Wireless alarm systems are designed to be removed. Otherwise, leave the alarm monitoring station attached and either relocate or cancel the monitoring service.

Smoke detectors: Smoke detectors and sprinkler systems should stay in the house, especially if you plan on moving before the home is sold. 

While you’re expected to leave some items behind, in general, your belongings are yours to keep. Here are some examples:

Patio furniture, lawn equipment, and play sets: If you have a wooden swing set in the backyard and a bistro table on the front porch, take those items with you.

Appliances: Some lenders require that a home have an oven installed before approving a loan, but for all other appliances, it’s up to you to decide what you will take and what you will offer as part of the home.

Some light fixtures: Generally, homeowners leave light fixtures behind, but if you’re attached to a certain fixture, you can make arrangements with the buyer to take it.

Built-in kitchen tools: If you can safely remove a mounted spice rack or the pasta arm, you can take it with you.

Rugs, basic curtains, wreaths: Small decor items like rugs or curtain rods that can be safely removed can be taken.

Some of your personal items can be used to help sell your house, or increase the asking price. Before you take everything just because , consider offering some hot items like the following:

Appliances: Homeowners, especially new homeowners, don’t always have their own appliances. Many buyers would be more likely to place an offer on a home if it came fully stocked with appliances.

Custom swing and play sets: If you have a swing set or playhouse your children have outgrown and you notice a potential buyer has children, offer to include the item with the deal.

Kitchen built-ins: Built-in spice racks, pantry organizers, and windowsill shelves can really help sell a kitchen. Consider offering the items to an interested buyer.

Light fixtures, curtains, rugs, and other upgrades: If you’ve upgraded the light fixtures or have custom rugs in the entryway, a buyer may be willing to increase his/her offer to keep those items in the home.

A general rule is if you need a screwdriver to remove something, then it should stay, but everything is negotiable. It's just more enticing to a buyer to have everything included in the purchase price. If you know you'll be removing certain items in the home when you move, it's best to either remove them before putting the house on the market, or to clearly state in the listing itself that the item is going to be excluded in the purchase. 
If you’re unsure about what would entice a buyer, ask me for suggestions!

Rental Properties: 8 Things to Know Before Being a Landlord!

Rental properties are an excellent investment but they can be a lot of work. Here's what you need to know.
Converting your basement into an apartment can be a very profitable move, but there are pros and cons to using part of your home as a rental property. Here are eight things to keep in mind before taking the plunge.

1. Rental properties: Do it legally, or don't do it.
Just because you have space for a renter doesn't mean you're allowed to get one. Some municipalities don't issue permits for secondary suites and if they do, strict requirements need to be met. Some of these requirements include fire exits, ceiling heights, and ever insurance. If you decide to build one anyway because there's always a contractor who will do the work without any permits, and you're caught, you can be fined, or even have it dismantled. Sometimes it's an angry neighbour who informs the city of the illegal rental.

2. You probably won't pocket the entire rent - it's taxable and there are expenses.
You'll need to issue a receipt to your tenants for the rent they pay on their rental property and they may use it to claim a deduction on their income tax. Even if they don't, you're expected to declare the rent as income and pay tax on it accordingly.
Tax aside, landlords face other expenses. On average, plan to spend the equivalent of a couple months rent every year on home maintenance and upkeep of the rental property. This can includes things like painting and cleaning services when tenants move out, appliances repairs and fixture upgrades or replacement.

3. The space you have might not attract the tenants you want.
Especially if you share common areas like a driveway, foyer or yard, you want to be extra careful about who you get in there. To preserve your family's privacy, your rental property might need more than drywall and a new shower stall.
Make sure your electrical service can accommodate more people, as you might have to upgrade from 100 amps to 200. Consider a larger hot water tank so the tenant won't be knocking on your door because they can't shower when you're doing laundry.
Don't spend lavishly on decor, but make sure the apartment is one you would want to live in. That way you're more likely to land a tenant you'd want to live with. The colour beige might not work in your home, but it's a good choice for a rental space. This neutral colour lets your tenant imagine their own life in the space and is one less thing for them to ask you to contend with before moving in. Remember: just like a potential homebuyer, potential renters will often try to negotiate the rent and extras, like new paint.

4. Once they're in, it's hard to get tenants out.
Rules vary across the country, but all renters are protected by provincial legislation and governing bodies and the requirements for eviction are high for good reason: No one should feel their home could easily be taken away. Here in Ontario, both the Landlord and the Tenant should be knowledgeable about the Residential Tenancies Act. This is the governing body for Landlords and Tenants.
Also, tenants can usually leave before a lease is up, as long as 2 months written notice is given, so you want to ask questions to determine that they're staying a while. Why? The longer you keep a tenant, the cheaper it is for you in the long run: when tenants move out, you need to show the space, get repairs done and wait for the next appropriate candidate. This can take weeks and sometimes months during which you won't be collecting rent. A one year lease is typical, but after the year is up, the Tenant goes on a month to month bases, unless a new lease is formally signed.
Remember, you can't protect yourself from all risks. You can, and should, ask for first and last month's rent when your tenants move in, but a security deposit to cover holes in walls, broken appliances or ruined hardwood, is not allowed in some provinces, unless agreed to in writing. You can also ask for post dated cheques, again, if agreed to in writing.
You should also know that not all clauses in a lease are binding. For example, if you write into the document that there are to be no pets or children in your unit, and your tenant agrees by signing, but later gets a four-legged companion or a bundle of joy anyway, you can't evict them.
It's not that you don't have any rights as a landlord. If the dog is a menace to your safety, or you're allergic to the pet, you can contact the RTA and make an application for eviction, but it won't be granted simply because there is a pet in the house. It's usually a long process and you'll be stuck with the dog until a ruling has taken place.

5. Showing your space and finding the right tenants is tough work. 
A prospective landlord, especially a first-timer, should consider the services of a Realtor.
You'll pay the equivalent of a month's rent, but the agent will assess your space to determine a realistic price, will draft the listing, write-up and post it on and MLS, which is accessed by tens of thousands of real estate professionals, many with clients who'd like to see your space. A good Realtor will screen all potential applicants, which entails of credit checks, getting employments letters and reference checking. 
If you decide not to use a realtor, be prepared to do that rigorous investigating on your own. And since time is money, you should factor that legwork into your balance sheet.

6. A rental unit won't necessarily add to the value of your home.
Some home renovations are almost always worth the investment. An updated kitchen or bathroom, for example, or new paint and floors. But some aren't, like swimming pools and saunas, usually. So if you love and use them, go ahead and install them for your own enjoyment, but don't think of them as an investment. Same goes for a rental unit.
If you do construction without permits, future owners of your home will have to contend with that. If they can't rent the space out, or don't want the risk since it's not legal, they'll have an extra kitchen that's of no use to them and space that's probably not easily integrated into a single-family home. They might use that as a negotiating tool to get your asking price down, or worse, they may lose interest altogether.

7. Landlords should be handy.
You don't need to be able to re-wire your home, but if you can't deal with a blown fuse or a clogged toilet, if standing on a ladder or bending under a sink freaks you out, you could have problems.
Here's why: if tenants confront even a small a problem like a leaky faucet, or a light that won't go on, they don't have to solve it, they just have to call the landlord. If you can't handle the work yourself, you need to find someone who can.
Before there's a problem, ideally before your apartment is rented, interview contractors who will take on small jobs. Explain that you'll have tenants and the potential problems that could arise based on the condition of your home. This can be anything from plumbing issues, electrical shorts, aging radiators and that you're looking for someone who could do that work quickly if needed. Keep their numbers on hand and don't make tenants wait long after making a complaint to fix problems. But the more you learn to do yourself, the more money you'll keep for yourself.
If you're buying new appliances, pay for the extended warranties. It's one thing to manage your own space and problems, but add someone else's washing machine to the mix and it can get to be too much. Extended warranties, besides being a tax write-off against rental income, mean fewer headaches for you.

8. Being a landlord isn't a given - it's a part-time job.
But work can be rewarding, so if you do it right, it can pay off, and not just with the extra cash, even though that is the primary reason. Finding the right tenant is key, and as Realtors, that's our goal.

New VS Resale Homes - The Pros and Cons!

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about this topic, so I figured I'd try to inform people of the pros and cons about it, so here goes.

Pros for buying a new home:

  • You get a brand new home! No one has ever lived in this home and that alone may make some people flock to a new build. 
  • You get to choose your upgrades/decor. This includes things like the flooring, colors of the kitchen cabinets, countertops, paint, and even the layout.
  • You get warranty. With a new home comes new home warranty as well.
  • You get a move in ready home. A lot of people don't like renovations, so this choice offers a turn key experience. You move in and everything is done for you.
  • You tend to get a more energy efficient home. With new technology, new codes to adhere to and with new building styles/layouts, this should save home buyers on utility costs.
  • Closing date. Usually with a new build, the closing date is a year or so away, sometimes more. This give you time to save up, while the home is still being built. 
  • Builder Incentives. Most builders will offer 'freebies' or 'incentives' to buy with them. These can include things like a free appliances package, upgraded countertops, hardwood floors, or a lump sum to use towards any other upgrades through the builder.
Cons for buying a new home:
  • Taxes. With new homes, you are subject to HST, in addition to the purchase price of the home. This could significantly increase your overall costs and is definitely something to take into account when buying new.
  • On going construction. With a new built home, your neighborhood will also be under construction. This means you will have to drive through dirty roads and when it rains/snows, that dirt turns to mud and can get really messy. For some time your driveway will be gravel and you won't have any lawn.
  • Closing costs. With a new build, generally, you pay more for close the deal. These additional costs are for utility hook ups, warranty, paving of the driveway, tree planting, etc.
  • Additional expenses. Some builders don't offer appliances with new home. This means you need to purchase appliances, in addition to the purchase price. You will also need to get blinds, A/C, landscaping, etc.
  • You buy blind. This means that you're buying a home that you can not see. Sure it may look good on paper, but the actual layout, finishes or quality may be disappointing. 
  • The price. Usually there is little to no room to negotiate here. Don't expect to get anything of significance towards the purchase price of a new home.
  • The deposit. When buying new, you tend to pay a higher deposit. Generally, it's around the 10% mark. Although this is negotiable, they sometimes don't budge. When submitting an offer to buy new, they usually ask for a deposit. This deposit goes towards the remaining balance, which is usually structured in a way that you pay the full 10% within 6 months.
  • Closing date. There usually isn't much room to wiggle here. The builder will give you a move in date, so you'd have to make it work. They can also change the move in date. It can be pushed back for months and there isn't much the buyer can do about it. With a new build, you usually don't move in for at least a year or so later. This may be a deterrent to some.
  • Builder Upgrades. Having the builder install those beautiful dark hardwood floors, or granite countertops is going to cost you quite a bit. This is in addition to the purchase price. In most instances, it's best to get the basics from the builder and get an outside source to install the upgrades.
Pros for buying a resale home:
  • What you see is what you normally get. Meaning, you can see the layout, you can see the size of the rooms, and you can see what you're getting yourself into. 
  • More inclusions. With a resale home, you usually get the appliances, blinds, and any/all the upgrades that's already been done to the home. This can include things like a finished basement, hardwood floors, A/C, and landscaping.
  • You move into an established neighborhood. The neighborhood has developed. Generally, schools are open, parks are around the corner, your lawn is nice and green, and your driveway/roads are paved/clean.
  • The price is negotiable. The asking price is usually just that. Sellers tend to price their home to have some flexibility. Have your Realtor complete a CMA to ensure you're not overpaying for that property! 
  • Taxes. With a resale home, you don't usually have to pay for HST. This can be a HUGE cost saver when considering all costs.
  • The deposit. The minimum deposit needed to buy a home is 5%. Luckily, there are mortgage programs that exist today and allows you buy with $0 down. There are restrictions to this, but it is possible to buy with no money down.
  • Closing date. Here you can negotiate on what day you'd like to move in. There are some exceptions because the Seller must also agree, but a 2-3 month closing is typical.
Cons for buying a resale home:
  • Older home issues. With older homes comes older roofs/windows, and heating/cooling. Depending on the age of the home and the maintenance done to these areas, you may need to remedy these issues at some point, however, you can also use this to your advantage during negotiations.
  • It may need some TLC. Some of the fixtures may be old, some of the appliances may stop working and you may not agree on some of the paint color choices. The cost to remedy these issues could be costly, depending of the issues, however, you can also use this to your advantage during negotiations.
  • Renovations. If you want to, for example, change the carpet to hardwood floors, you would need the capital up front to do this. This goes for any upgrades/changes you'd want to do to the home. Luckily, some mortgages allow a 'renovation credit' so that you can buy the home and have that extra money to make those renovations. 
There are definitely pros and cons for both scenarios. Everyone has their own preferences and some things mean more to some than others. This was meant to educate those, in this situation, to make an informed decision. These lists are in no way to deter anyone from their decisions, nor is it exhaustive. Hope this helps!!

How Much do You Offer?
I've gotten this question many times, so I thought to write something about it. How much should you pay for the home? This post will help you to determine an appropriate amount to offer to secure a winning bid.

I can help you find out what other homes have sold for in the area, and how much money you might have to put into repairs and/or renovations. These considerations should be a factor along with the amount you're comfortable spending.

In addition to sale prices of other comparable homes, there are several ways you can come up with a winning bid. Examples:

  • The condition of the home. Is the home in move-in ready, in need of paint and other cosmetic improvements, or a fixer-upper that needs real work?
  • The market. If you are in a buyer's market, where there are more homes for sale than there are people to buy them, then prices are probably stable or falling. If you are in a seller's market, where there are more buyers looking for homes than there are homes for sale, then prices are probably moving upward.
  • Your ceiling. If you have a credit pre-approval, you should know how much you can borrow towards the purchase of your home. Of course, you may not be comfortable paying as much as you've been approved to borrow, so think carefully about your financial situation before making an offer.
Next, decide how much you are willing to pay for a home. Remember, the advertised price of a house is just a starting point – it may take quite a bit of negotiating to arrive at a final cost.

TIP: The value or disadvantage of certain features can help or hurt resale. In some areas, a swimming pool actually detracts from a home's value, and makes it harder to sell. This is people that swimming pool is only going to attract certain buyers who are looking for a pool. Sure, someone who doesn't want the pool may still buy the home, but in most cases, having a pool attracts a certain type of buyer. In neighborhoods with two car, attached garages, a single-car or detached garage may affect the home sale and future value. Having no garage at all will also most likely have a negative impact on the sale price.

Do You Know Your Credit Score?
Your credit score is a number that illustrates your financial health at a specific point in time. It’s also an indicator of how consistently you pay off your bills and debts. Your credit score is one of the factors lenders consider when qualifying you for a mortgage. A good credit score, for example, can help improve your chances of being approved.
To find out your credit score, contact Canada’s two credit-reporting agencies: Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada. These agencies can provide you with an online copy of your credit score as well as a credit report, which is a detailed summary of your credit history, employment history, and personal financial information.
If you find any errors in your report, notify the credit-reporting agency and the organization responsible for the inaccuracy immediately.

Here are several tips for improving your credit score;

  • Always pay your bills in full and on time.
  • Pay off your debts as quickly as possible.
  • Never go over the limit on your credit cards.
  • Try to reduce the number of credit card or loan applications you make.
To find out more about credit scores and reports, you can also visit the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada website and download or request a free copy of their guide, Understanding Your Credit Report and Credit Score. This guide provides practical, straightforward information on how to obtain and understand your credit report and score, as well as how to build and maintain a good credit history.

How Working with a Realtor Can Benefit YOU!
Buying or selling a home can be one of the most important and complicated transactions you make in your lifetime. With this transaction comes plenty of paperwork, endless decisions to be made, and unknown obstacles. A Realtor can help you through the process of buying or selling a home from beginning to end and ensure your financial/legal protections along the way. Realtors differ from other licensed or registered real estate agents or brokerages in that they are member of The Canadian Real Estate Association and as such must adhere to the REALTOR® Code and Standards of Business Practices. These regulations, ethics and high standards ensure you will receive the best possible assistance while buying or selling your property. Below is an explanation of ways in which a Realtor can help you.

1. Skill. 
Realtors have professional marketing and negotiating skills that can help you buy or sell your home at a price that works for you.

2. Knowledge. 
A Realtor knows the ins and out of the industry and uses his/her education and experience to your advantage. In addition to their training, Realtors constantly update their knowledge through professional education programs.

3. Resources. 
Realtors have ample resources at their fingertips, which can help you buy or sell a property faster and broaden your options. Realtors have access to the Multiple Listing Service; thus if you are buying a home, a Realtor can find properties other Realtors are selling, or if you are selling they can list your home so other buyers can discover it through the Realtor with whom they are working. Realtors can also post signs which can direct buyers’ attention to a home that is for sale and being handled professionally.

4. Protection. 
Realtors must follow strict regulations and adhere to a code of ethics that is designed to protect you, the client. A Realtor is bound to client confidentiality and also must offer you his or her undivided loyalty; he or she must “protect the client’s negotiating position at all times, and disclose all known facts, which may affect or influence their decision.” Realtors must also “obey all lawful instructions of the seller” and “account for all money and property placed in a brokerage’s hands while acting for the client.” Furthermore, a realtor can legally incorporate a Property Disclosure Statement into a Contract for Purchase and Sale, ensuring you buy a home with full knowledge of any defects of which the seller may be aware.

Adding Value to Your Home!

Following these 10 tips will help to add value to your home and increase your chances of a sale.

1. Clean, organize, and neutralize your space: Unclutter your house to make it look bigger and cleaner. Buyers need to be able to envision their own belongings in the home; so, avoid using bright colors and too many personal effects.

2. Keep your lawn green: Get your lawn in shape. A patchy lawn takes away from the home's overall appearance. Your local hardware store has supplies to re-seed those unhealthy areas.
3. Add insulation to save energy: The most inexpensive way to increase your home's energy is to add insulation, which can reduce heating and cooling costs by more than 25%.
4. Update kitchen appliances: The kitchen is often the room that buyers gravitate towards first, and an updated kitchen can help sell your home. You don't have to remodel your kitchen to give it a new look. Updating your appliances to the current standard and replacing cabinet doors and hardware can make a big impact at a relatively low cost.
5. Update bathroom fixtures: A little change can go a long way when it comes to the look of your bathroom. Updating simple fixtures such as your sink and faucet can give any outdated bathroom style.
6. Build a fence: If you're trying to sell a house, the appearance of a fence adds value to the home overall. Buyers with children or pets will appreciate the privacy and security of an enclosed backyard.
7. Repair the gutter: Ensuring that your gutter is clean is crucial in protecting your home against water damage.
8. Light up the outside: An easy and inexpensive way to increase your home's outdoor space is to add lighting. It makes it more appealing and safer.
9. Store and organize: Ample storage space is a plus, especially when it comes to garages and closets. Efficient closet structures can help keep your clothes organized and can save space.
10. Polish off the basement: Rather than adding an additional room, it is more cost-efficient to remodel your basement. This adds value and usable space.

3 Major Factors That Impact The Sale Of Your Home

1. Price: The most significant factor that impacts the sale of your home is the price. The most accurate way to determine the correct market value of your home is to research recent sales in your neighborhood that have a similar layout and condition.
Something very important to consider is that if buyers are viewing your home, they are likely viewing similar homes within a nearby vicinity. In an effort to make your home stand out, pricing your home accurately will assist considerably, as the first thing a buyer will compare is the price.
2. Location: Location, location, location. These three repetitive words are broadly used in real estate. The neighborhood, a peaceful and private street, and a home's proximity to schools and amenities are all significant factors.
3. The Condition Of The Home: Lastly, the condition of the home significantly impacts its sale and marketability. Condition can refer to the structure and maintenance of the major features of the home such as the roof, windows, furnace, etc. However, it can also refer to the cosmetic condition of the home. Some buyers look for a home they can renovate to make their own while other buyers look for a home that meets their needs and that they could move into without any cosmetic work. The majority of buyers have a hard time looking past the condition of a home, so some updating can assist your sale considerably.
Updates can be as simple as a fresh, vibrant coat of paint, or renewing hardware, such as light fixtures. Another cost effective way to refresh a home is to remove and limit as many personal items as possible. This includes small items of furniture that are not being used (such as side tables), personal pictures (of yourself and your family), paintings and memorabilia, and any small items on tables, counters, mantels, and dressers.

First Time Buyers Want Everything, And Now!

They are younger and earn less than other home buyers, but their expectations and demands are a lot higher. Welcome to the new world of the first-time buyer.

Generation-Y want it all, and want it today. And that includes a house. A new report by the CMHC shows that this generation is not willing to wait around to get on the property ladder with almost two-thirds of first-time buyers now under the age of 35.

With favorable economic conditions, first-time buyers are now eager to buy with over 30 per cent wanting to make the big purchase within the next five years, compared to 19 per cent of repeat buyers. And while their plans are big, their pockets are not as much and hence the growing reliance on parents to help out with the down-payment. Compared to other home buyers, nearly two-thirds of first-timers have household incomes of $90,000.

"Contrary to what others are saying, I find that a lot of first-time buyers, and more 
so young couples, save a lot for their own down-payment. Obviously, there are those that need help but those who want to be like their peers in terms of house ownership are willing to sacrifice to achieve that," says Jason Dixon from the Property Boutique. While conscious, this generation of buyers are not exactly realistic, Dixon tells CREW. "Unfortunately, many of their expectations do not match the reality of the market," he says. "Many buyers are set on a number of neighborhoods where their family and friends live and are willing to overstretch themselves financially to attain that."

Dixon adds sellers need to be prepared for an information hungry generation of buyers. "They are more informed and demand more information before they sign up."

In terms of property choice, while most favor single-detached houses, they are also more drawn to semi-detached, row/townhouses and apartment/condos compared to repeat buyers.

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