Author Archive for The Mark Maurer Team

Mold Facts and Myths Every Homeowner Should Understand

Our good friends at Restoration 1 Kitchener have spent a great deal of time dealing with mold caused by water damage AND the myths and misconceptions surrounding mould. Recently it occurred to them that they should collect some of the most repeated of their little nuggets of mouldy wisdom into an article of some kind, so that they could get the word out to even more people. The following was written by these fine folks – we thought it would be useful to you as a homeowner in Waterloo Region.

There Are Different Types of Mold

Not All Black Mould is Bad

There has been a lot written and talked about over the last few years regarding black mould and how dangerous it is to both your house in Kitchener-Waterloo and your health. And there are such things as toxic moulds and yes, a lot of them are black. But not all black moulds are toxic.

The fact is that mould comes in all kinds of colours. We’ve seen white mould, bright yellow mould, brown mould, green mould, mould that is the kind of delicate pink that would actually make a rather nice paint colour and everything in between.

Whether or not a mould is toxic depends upon its chemical makeup, not on its colour. So if the mould you find in your home is black don’t panic and make plans to leave town immediately just yet. Call in a company like Restoration 1 Kitchener to come and perform professional mould testing to find out what kind of mould it really is, regardless of its hue.

Bleach Kills Mould. NOT.

OK, we admit it, this is the myth that drives us nuts. No, whatever you read online, or saw on a late night infomercial, bleach does not kill mould. It bleaches it, which means you probably won’t be able to see it anymore. It’s still there though and in fact it is probably really enjoying the tasty bleach you just fed it because that actually makes mould stronger and more resistant. There are indeed solutions that kill mould but bleach isn’t one of them.

Keeping an Area Dry Will Not Kill Existing Mould

OK, so you found a big patch of mould, figured out the problem was your leaky showerhead, had the local plumber come in and fix that and now everything should be great, the mould will go away.

Well no, it won’t. We all know that mould needs excess moisture to grow, but once it is past its ‘toddler’ stage, which only takes a few days, it can survive very well on the moisture in the air, and the air is moist everywhere. The less powerful ‘nutrition’ will probably mean that the existing mould won’t grow or spread very fast, but it will still have the ‘strength’ to carry on doing what it always has, eating away at whatever surface it calls home.

Initial Mould Testing is Not Invasive or Intrusive

In order to perform a mould test in your home we, or any other professional mould remediation service, are not going to come in armed with scissors and hammers to rip up your carpets or knock holes in your walls. Our testing methods are seriously more advanced than that and we can get to the root of any problem without creating a mess of any kind.

You Can Recover the Value of Your Property After a Serious Mould Problem

A serious mould problem is just that, serious, but it does not mean that all is lost or that your home is now ‘damaged goods’ that can never be resold for its proper value. As long as the mould remediation service you use is properly certified and experienced – ie a company like Restoration 1 Kitchener – and the problem, has been solved no one will ever be able to really tell it existed in the first place.

Any Home Can Fall Victim to Mould, However New and Clean

Contrary to popular opinion, mould, even though it is indeed a living organism, does not discriminate. Give it what it needs to grow and it will grow, even if your house is only six months old and a cleaning lady comes in every day.

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Living in Waterloo, Ontario: The Great Outdoors and So Much More

Living in Waterloo, Ontario

Sunrise over Laurel Creek Reservoir in Waterloo, Ontario. Photo credit: Fred Widall

Life in a smaller city can be just as sophisticated and entertaining as a metropolitan area. You just have to choose the right small city. Waterloo, Ontario has the amenities of a bigger city but none of the hassle. The Tri-Cities area of Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge has quite a bit to offer!

Waterloo, Ontario is studded with parks, bordered by the beautiful Grand River and anchored by the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. Living in Waterloo gives its residents the advantages of an active lifestyle and an interesting, diverse community. It has the cultural flair of a much larger area with an energetic city center fueled by students and educators. This is complemented by plenty of quiet neighborhoods and an interesting history. In case you need more convincing, the climate is considered moderate compared to the rest of the country (sweet!).

Residents of Waterloo get to experience the beauty of all four seasons. Our climate is officially called “humid continental of the warm summer subtype.” This basically means we get a distinct difference between each season. Winters are cold but not as severe as some parts of the country (Waterloo averages 140 frost-free days a year) and summers are gloriously warm.

Waterloo’s Wonderful History

The pleasant environs are just one of the factors that originally drew settlers to the lands we now call Waterloo. The land was given to the people of the Six Nations as a gift and a reward for their assistance to the British during the American Revolution. Almost immediately (and somewhat controversially), the Six Nations people began to sell off parcels of the gifted lands. A man by the name of Richard Beasley purchased many of the plots through a Crown Grant while the Six Nations held the mortgage.

Settlers from Pennsylvania, USA slowly began to purchase land from Beasley in the first year. The following year, a deluge of 26 families combined their resources and bought the remainder of Beasley’s “inventory.” With these land sales he was able to completely clear his mortgage!

The families that flocked to Waterloo were almost entirely Mennonite farmers. The rich soil and moist climate was and still is, perfect for farming. They hoped to be able to practice their religion without fear of persecution in their new home. The area later became a popular destination for German immigrants (immigrants continue to arrive in this welcoming haven even today). They named their new home Waterloo after the battle that ended the Napoleonic Wars in Europe.

At that time, , the central core of Waterloo was comprised of two lots owned by a man named Abraham Erb. His grist mill and saw mill were the hotspots of Waterloo. These days, the city’s center is on the street named after him. The intersection of Erb and King Streets houses the Waterloo Town Square shopping center that is widely considered the heart of Uptown Waterloo.

“Uptown Waterloo” is the term typically used by residents to describe this revitalized section of the city (locals refer to the city center of nearby Kitchener as “downtown Kitchener”). In 2006, a shopping mall was torn down and street-facing storefront businesses sprouted up to take its place, creating a more interesting and engaging city-center feeling.

The Great Outdoors Living in Waterloo

One of the ways we can engage in life in Waterloo is by getting active outdoors in the nice climate. The township is dotted with parks making it easy to spend time outside. There are five major parks located within city limits or within a short drive of the city center.

  • RIM Park. With 200 hectares, RIM Park has no shortage of green space. It is home to the heritage Martin Farm House and an 18-hole golf course as well as a variety of indoor and outdoor sporting facilities.
  • Laurel Creek Conservation Area. Another 300 hectares is devoted to this green space northwest of the city. Swimming, bird watching, hiking and windsurfing top the list of favorite summer activities in this open space. It features a beach and picnic areas for more relaxing endeavors. In the winter, cross-country skiing and show-shoeing make for seasonal fun.
  • Waterloo Park. At 45 hectares, it may seem small in comparison to the big guys above but it’s still a huge green space in the town. It houses a bandshell for outdoor concerts, a waterpark called Lions’ Lagoon, historical displays for educational opportunities and animal displays. During the holiday season, the Wonders of Winter light display draws locals and tourists alike to its twinkling glory.
  • Betchel Park. Occupying 44 hectares, Betchel Park features fun for your four-legged friends. An off-leash dog park neighbors two well-lit baseball diamonds, wetlands, a hardwood forest with a groomed trail, and a city-operated cemetery.
  • Lexington Park. If ball games are your thing, Lexington Park holds a soccer pitch and baseball diamond on the site of a former municipal airport.
  • The Grand River. If these parks aren’t enough to get you outside, the Grand River is one of the world’s best-managed waterways. And it runs right through Waterloo!

Outdoor activities aren’t the only fun to be had in Waterloo. Residents can enjoy good food, plenty of festivals and fairs, plus some quieter endeavors too. The city has plenty of options for housing in neighborhoods from lively urban to subdued suburban. With a wide variety of ages and architectural styles, the homes are varied and affordable.

Living in this smaller city sure doesn’t seem small. The roads are uncongested and easy to navigate due to the expressways; it feels as big and wide as the many parks that surround it. Life in Waterloo promises the great outdoors and so much more!

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

6 Factors That Lead to Overpricing Your Home

Overpricing Your Kitchener-Waterloo Home Has Negative Effects

There Are Good Reasons NOT to Overprice Your Home

Overpricing your home for sale in Kitchener or Waterloo is not only a promise for headaches down the road but can actually contribute selling your home below market value. One of the most, if not the most crucial factors contributing to the successful sale of any property is – PRICE. If priced correctly, your Kitchener-Waterloo home stands the best chance of attracting potential buyers during its first few weeks on the market. This will eventually lead to your home selling at the price that it’s worth.

 Consider the factors we have outlined below and avoid them at all costs. If you can avoid these factors you will prevent the disappointment, financial loss and stress that can accompany an overpriced home that has gone stale.

Factors That Lead to Overpricing Your Home

Poorly Executed Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

If you are a homeowner wanting to put your house on the market, there are several things to keep in mind when a professional Realtor presents you with a Comparative Market Analysis. For starters, CMAs will vary from agent to agent and the content of the CMA will differ in depth and quality. Additionally, a CMA is by its very nature, a tool used by some agents to convince you to hire him or her to list your home by essentially telling you what you want to hear.

To find out what should be included in a quality CMA, read out our article here.

Misinterpreted Sentimental Value

One problem homeowners often run into (and sometimes realtors) is the idea that the emotional value and attachment felt by the homeowner can be transferred into a monetary one. Bob Villa touches on this point in his blog post, 12 Reasons Why Your House Isn’t Selling. As Bob notes,“…If you’re not emotionally ready to pull up stakes, then hold off on listing your home.”

For Sale By Owner

A homeowner who starts out hoping to save some money might also run into the dangers of overpricing when trying to sell their home. This is because they do not have the expertise and professionalism of an experienced Real Estate Agent. In her article Why For-Sale-By-Owner Sales Fail, Michele Lerner lists the disadvantages of selling your own home. Some of the disadvantages Michele suggests include: the limited access to current reliable market information available to the general public; the inability to view the homeowner’s property objectively; and the lack of professional experience in negotiating real estate contracts as

Unnecessary or Expensive Renovations

Determining the value that a renovation or upgrade will add to a home is a complicated and layered issue and should be taken into consideration when deciding to perform any renovations. Attempting to inflate your asking price to make up for a renovation that added no real value to your home will lead to disappointment and worse, financial ruin. We suggest that you read this article in the Globe and Mail that includes renovation recommendations from our favourite Real Estate Lawyer, Mark Weisleder: Six Renovations That Don’t Add Value to Your Home. If you are considering making any major renovations for the purpose of increasing your home’s value, check with your Realtor first to be sure that your efforts will result in a financial gain rather than loss for you, when it’s time to sell.

Plans for Bargaining

Homeowners wanting to sell their house in Waterloo Ontario who believe that they can overprice their homes at the beginning with plans of lowering it later will be met with disappointment. Interest and activity surrounding the listing of a home burns out after a short period of time. By the time your home has been listed for a few weeks, then you decide to lower your price, your most suitable potential buyers have already overlooked your home based on the inflated price. The real estate market has a low tolerance for over-priced homes. Don’t make the mistake of pricing your home for sale too high yourself, or allowing a fast-talking Real Estate Agent to promise you more than the market can bear. You will be the loser in the end.

Overpricing to Make Up for Overpaying

Another factor that can contribute to the overpricing of a house for sale in Kitchener-Waterloo is when a homeowner bought the home for more than its market value and then attempts to recover their loss. Whatever the reason, a poor investment, inexperienced Realtor or no Realtor at all – the fact of the matter is that overpricing your home is one of the worst home-selling mistakes you can make. If it’s really important to you to move right now, you would be better served to cut your losses and buy smarter the second time around.

Finding the right price when wanting to sell your house in Kitchener-Waterloo is no easy task and should never be taken lightly. Trusted professionals, like the agents we have as part of The Mark Maurer Team are here to protect your interests and ensure the best possible deal can be made for both the home owner and the home buyer.

To learn how to price your home right, watch my video below:

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Relocating to Kitchener-Waterloo? Resources To Help (Part 2)

Moving to Kitchener or Waterloo? We Can Help!

Moving to Kitchener or Waterloo? We Can Help!

The Kitchener-Waterloo area has a history that dates back to 1784, and this rich background means great things for its residents. With a regional population of nearly half a million people that’s growing fast, a variety of different industries, and an historically low unemployment rate, this is one area that is ideal for families, young professionals, and seniors alike. If you plan to move here,  it might be helpful to have some resources at your fingertips. Part 1 of our post took a look at moving companies you can use, how to get around the area, changing your address, the utility companies you may need to contact, and healthcare options while you’re here. Once you’ve moved, though, you’ll need more resources at your fingertips outside of the nuts and bolts of your daily life. Take a look at our continued list below.

Houses of Worship

As you look for the right place to fit into the Kitchener-Waterloo community, you may want to take a closer look at the many houses of worship in the area. With options that encompass all of the major faiths, you’re certain to find a place of worship that meets your needs here. This, however, is just an overview of the many worship options in the area, as exploring each would take far more than the confines of this blog post. For a more complete listing, please click here.

  1. Area Catholic Churches: With a number of Catholic congregations around the region, you’re certain to find services that meet your needs. Many also have associated schools for young children.
  2. George’s of Forest Hill: An Anglican church, this congregation offers a variety of worship services on Sunday and during the week as well as a church school for children. They also have book clubs, study groups, and family nights.
  3. Unity Centre: A non-denominational congregation, the Unity Centre offers fellowship for those of all faiths as well as a number of other programs.
  4. Stanley Park Community Church: A very welcoming church, Stanley Park is located right on the Route 8 line of the Grand River Transit, making it convenient for members and visitors alike.
  5. The Lutheran Churches of Kitchener-Waterloo: Our community has nine different Lutheran congregations to help meet your needs. Located across the area, there’s one near almost anywhere you decide to settle.
  6. Kitchener Gospel Temple: A community of faith that was initially founded in 1909, this church has a rich history and a wonderful congregation.
  7. Grandview Baptist Church: Easy to reach, this church offers Sunday services and much more. Perfect for worshipers of all ages, they offer great activities and a wonderful chance to connect with others.
  8. Waterloo Masjid: The Muslim Society of Waterloo & Wellington Counties offers services, events, and regular prayer times.
  9. Kitchener Masjid: Undergoing great renovations to help better meet the needs of Muslims in the area, this is a wonderful facility with a regular prayer schedule as well as other activities and events.
  10. Beth Jacob Congregation: Serving the local Jewish community since 1908, Beth Jacob offers modern Orthodox services as well as a number of other program options.
  11. The Rohr Chabad Centre: With services, classes, and even meals, Chabad is the best place to join the local Jewish community. Initially launched in December 2008, they serve a wide population, and can help you better connect once you’re here.
  12. Temple Shalom: A reform congregation, Temple Shalom draws members from across the area, including young Jewish families. They also have a growing religious school that combines study in Judacia with Hebrew training.

Schools in Waterloo Region

If you’re moving here with a family or you expect to have children while you’re here, never fear. This is a family-friendly community with lots of resources to help you settle in. Below is a listing of schools and care options to help you find the right resources for your family.

  1. Waterloo Region District: If you want your child to attend public schools, this is the place they’ll likely go. Encompassing nearly a hundred elementary schools and a number of secondary schools, you’ll find excellent staff and programs throughout the district.
  2. Waterloo Catholic Schools: Looking for a solid Catholic education for your child? With 47 different Catholic elementary schools and five secondary schools, this area offers an excellent selection to choose from for your child.
  3. Colleges and Universities: If you’re looking to further your own education or you have a student headed for college, you have several choices in the area. Conestoga College, Emmanuel Bible College, Heritage College & Seminary, University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University all make their homes in this area.

Things to Do!

Worried you might not find anything to do while you’re here? That will never be an issue. There are so many great options you may have trouble keeping up. It’s possible you may even discover spots you haven’t had time to visit even if you’ve lived here for years.

  1. Kitchener Market: Looking for a feast your senses will love? This is the place to be. With food and wares that represent things from an international perspective it’s one spot you’ll want to visit regularly.
  2. Victoria Park: A prize spot in the heart of downtown, here you’ll find a playground, splash pad, and great walkways. There are winter rinks, a boathouse restaurant, and special events throughout the year.
  3. Doon Heritage Village: A beautiful living history village, there are more than 60 acres that show life in Waterloo in 1914. Every visit comes complete with interpreters dressed in 1914 clothing as well as animals and activities for the family.
  4. Waterloo Region Museum: This museum features two galleries, a main one that tells the story of the Waterloo region and a changing showcase gallery that has new exhibits on a regular basis. It’s worth a visit for you or the kids.
  5. Woodside National Historic Site: The boyhood home of William Lyon Mackenzie King, this house has been fully restored to the way it might have looked in the 1890s. A national treasure, it’s a must-see while you’re here.
  6. Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery: A destination for those who love contemporary art, this fine craft gallery showcases the best of Canadian ceramics and glass and offers numerous educational programs for children and adults alike.
  7. Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery: Emphasizing contemporary art throughout, here you’ll find frequently changing exhibitions and a 4,000 work permanent collection designed to feed your artistic side.
  8. Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony: Phenomenal performances dominate when you catch any of the shows in the symphony season. Consider a customized ticket package to catch the concerts you want to see most.
  9. The Registry Theatre: From great movie series to fantastic concerts and shoes, keep an eye on the schedule here to catch as much as you can.
  10. The Aud: A great place for ice and floor rentals, hall rentals, corporate meetings, and other special events, this complex is one you’ll want to visit on a regular basis.
  11. Chicopee Resort: In the winter, this is a great place to ski and snowboard. In the summer, they offer summer camps, disc golf, beach volleyball, and more. It’s the perfect place for some activity with the whole family.
  12. Iron Horse Trail: Need a place to walk, roller blade, or bike? This is it. Part of the Trans Canada Trail, it runs 5.5 kilometres and connects downtown Kitchener to uptown Waterloo.
  13. McLennan Park: Once a former landfill, this is a wonderful destination for everyone. It offers an accessible play-structure and splash pad, beach volleyball and basketball courts, a skate park, a BMX bike park, a leash-free dog park, pedestrian trails, a toboggan hill, and gazebo you can rent for any event.
  14. Centre in the Square: Looking for fantastic shows and events? This is the venue to visit. There’s not a bad seat in the house, so check the schedule regularly.
  15. The Museum: With five floors of interactive exhibits, this is a great place for you and the family alike. Lots of everything is packed inside, and imagination is the key word here.
  16. Joseph Schneider Haus: If you want to step back in time, this is the place to do it. A dynamic museum, this local landmark is Kitchener’s oldest home. Take the family and take a closer look at the history behind this amazing area.

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for more great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Preparing to Buy a House in Kitchener-Waterloo: A Quick-Prep Guide!

Kitchener-Waterloo Home Buying Guide

Home Buying Guide

You’ve spent hours dreaming about the possibilities involved. Maybe you’re envisioning a fireplace in the living room. Perhaps a nice sunroom and reading area. And well, that perfect little breakfast nook would be nice! After the dreams, though, reality begins to sink in. Looking to buy a house in Kitchener-Waterloo Ontario is a huge life step, and it takes a bit of preparation before you can even start the shopping process. With so much to think about and do, where should you focus your energy? We have compiled a quick guide to help you prepare to buy a house in Kitchener or Waterloo Ontario.

Down Payment Funds

The majority of potential homeowners can’t afford the entire purchase price of a home upfront, so a mortgage is typically necessary. Depending on your credit history, down payment requirements can vary from bank to bank but they’re usually about ten percent of the purchase price. Saving that money for your down payment is an absolute must. You may even want to set up a separate account to help you keep back the funds you need for the home of your dreams. The more you add to that account on a regular basis, the better off you will be when going to potential lenders when it’s time to obtain a mortgage for your home.

Prepare Your Credit

There aren’t many lending companies and banks that will offer you a mortgage without the right credit score, and it may take some work to get there. If you currently have a problematic credit score, you may want to sit down with a loan officer now to look at what you can do to improve it before you’re ready to buy. Simple steps like checking your credit report often, paying bills on time, paying down credit cards and/or loan balances, and dealing with any problem credit report entries is an absolute must. A credit counselor can help guide you with regard to any other steps you may want to take.

Save for Additional Expenses

The cost of the down payment and closing expenses are hardly all you’re going to be facing with a house purchase. There are always little things that come up when you get ready to buy a home. Having funds set aside specifically to deal with those issues has to factor into your readiness checklist. Think about the cost of the move, any repairs you might want to do to the home, and any additional furniture you may need to purchase once you move in.

Understand Financial Terminology

Mortgage loans are steeped in financial terms, and it can take some time to get your bearings in this overwhelming arena. Learning as much as you can about mortgages and the terms a loan officer might use as he or she is getting ready to offer you a deal, is essential. You need to become familiar with the types of mortgages available, the terms they use to describe them, and what’s required in order to obtain each type. Most banks have first time home buyer guides posted to their websites to help make sense of terms like APR and Good Faith Estimate. It’s still a good idea to utilize a variety of resources to ensure you get the best possible picture of what you’re going to be expected to have knowledge of.  Waterloo Region mortgage broker Rosanna Congi has a Mortgage Glossary you can access on her website.

Consider Various Housing Types

Your dreams may be big, but you have to think about the housing types available in the Kitchener-Waterloo neighborhood in which you want to live. Single-family homes are great, but in some cases condos can offer many of the same amenities with lower costs. Investment properties that include multi-family housing that may allow you to live in one unit while you play the role of landlord for the other unit(s) could be the right choice for you as well. The goal is to understand what is available and what can meet your dreams.

Find the Right Realtor

Not all real estate agents are created equal. There are many in Kitchener-Waterloo who will help you find exactly what you need and others who leave you feeling somewhat disappointed. You want to find a Realtor® who will help you find just what you want in a home, not what they want to sell you. Conducting your own research is always helpful. You may want to consider a team versus a singular agent. You need help and advice immediately. With an individual agent you’re likely to stay in a holding pattern while he or she helps other clients. With a team, you’ll always have access to a professional Realtor® who is familiar with your situation.

Although “right now” may not be the “right time” for you to buy a house in Kitchener-Waterloo, preparing yourself both physically and mentally for the world of home ownership can take a bit of time. The longer you give yourself, the more likely it is that you’ll truly be ready when the time comes.

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Where to Golf in Waterloo Region

Golf Courses in Waterloo Region

Golf Courses in Waterloo Region</center)

It’s a way to spend that perfect Saturday afternoon. The ideal way to connect with your prospective or existing clients. A level of stress relief you can’t find anywhere else. When the course is right, the feel of near perfection is at hand. The wrong course can result in a sense of unsettling frustration. Every area has great golf courses – some leave you wanting something a little more. Kitchener-Waterloo is a little different in that regard. We have golf courses for every skill and enjoyment level. Are you searching for the course that will leave you with a feeling of elation that lasts for days? We have compiled a list of the more popular ones you may want to try.

Brookfield Golf and Country Club

Although a much smaller option, Brookfield remains one of the most gorgeous golf courses in Waterloo Region. With nine holes available, there are a number of different options if you’re looking to play a full round of 18 holes. You may think this would prove to be a drawback for some golfers, but there is real appeal for this course. With the beautiful rolling terrain, each hole offers some real challenges. Add in the wide, tree-lined fairways to the mix, and throw in twenty-three possible water hazards, and you have the ideal spot for both novice and advanced golfers alike. Brookfield golf course was established in 1965 and is suitable for golfers of all skill levels.

Deer Ridge Golf Club

As you search for a course that can challenge golfers at a variety of skill levels simultaneously, you may want to try Deer Ridge. Thomas McBroom designed this golf course as a par 72 course with 72 strategically-placed bunkers and generous greens. A private club, members here enjoy guaranteed walk-on times and the challenge of a well-maintained course. It’s an exclusive atmosphere few other clubs in Waterloo Region can match.

Doon Valley and Rockway Golf Clubs

One of the oldest courses in Waterloo Region, the Rockway Golf Course was established and designed in 1935 by architect Stan Sharpe. A now mature course, Rockway proves a challenge to golfers at almost any level. This golf course is fully public; the only trouble you’ll have here on any given day is getting a tee-time. Almost always there are large numbers of golf enthusiasts who want to play on this course.

Dundee Golf and Country Club

This course was established more than four decades ago by architect Tony Matlock and remains more challenging than ever. A beautiful setting with a total yardage of 6,357 yards, Dundee is a championship- level course. Large and beautiful trees dot the course, and a number of ponds throughout the course raise the level of play up a bit. Like Rockway, it too is a public golf club designed for golfers at all levels, but just a little more challenging, making it just right for advanced players.

Grey Silo Golf Course

Located in Waterloo, Grey Silo is a scenic beauty that is long and challenging, making for the perfect full-day golf outing. With the Grand River in the background and serious play in front of you, it’s a circuit you won’t soon forget. Established in 2001 and crafted by architect Steve Young, the view from any spot on the course is absolutely stunning, and amenities and service abound back at the clubhouse. This is an exceptionally long course, so a cart is probably essential unless you’re also there for the hike. Endlessly well-manicured, the course at Grey Silo is smooth and gorgeous.

Merry Hill Golf Club

If executive length golf is your style, this is the ideal spot to meet your needs. A 27-hole course surrounded by the quiet of the countryside, this is a great course that has proven popular since it opened in 1967. Perfect for beginners or those looking for a great place to take clients, the Merry Hill course maintenance here is outstanding and the setting is beautiful.

Mystic Golf Club

According to their management, Mystic Golf Course in Ancaster is different from the rest in Waterloo Region and they brag that it is also quite special. Mystic offers a unique experience for the more serious and passionate golfer. According to their website, “The par-3s and par-5s at Mystic offer contrasting risks and rewards. And while nearly every par-4 is a dogleg and most involve elevation changes, no two holes are even remotely similar in distance or design, offering an unlimited assortment of shot-making decisions. There are no blind tee shots, no tricked-up holes. A lot of dirt was moved to make sure the layout was straight-forward, 3-thousand tons of Pro-Angle bunker sand was brought in from Ohio, and an expansive drainage and irrigation system ensures an extremely challenging round whenever you’re ready to be tested.” If that’s not enough to entice you then maybe the fact that Mystic presents 18 individual trials of ball striking and strategy will stir your curiosity.

Westmount Golf and Country Club

With a #12 ranking in the SCOREGolf Top 100 list of courses in the country, expectations have to be high walking into this course. Fortunately, it will go well beyond meeting your expectations. Designed by Stanley Thompson, championship level play combined with beauty and a higher level of maintenance shapes Westmount, which is one of the best private courses in Waterloo Region. A trial golf membership is available for those interested in the facilities for dining and socializing.

For golfers wishing to improve their golfing skills, we recommend checking out Golf Without Limits in Waterloo. At this practice facility, which is open each year from November to April, you can improve your golf game by playing on the Simulator (a big projector screen with a variety of courses played online). The simulation system at Golf Without Limits allows you to adjust external forces that occur in real life such as how fast/strong the wind is blowing. All of your games are registered electronically so that each time you return to play, you will know how your performance compares and improves over time.

Golfing opportunities in the Kitchener-Waterloo area are robust and extensive. With nearly a hundred courses throughout the Western Ontario region in both public and private settings, there are few places in Canada where so many choices are this widely available.

Whether you’re simply visiting Waterloo Region or home shopping and you want to make sure the best golfing amenities are nearby, we’ve got you covered!

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for more great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

 

Water Damage: What Will My Insurance Cover?

Water Damage to Your Kitchener Waterloo Home

This blog post was first published on the website of Restoration 1 Kitchener. We have modified it for   our readers - we hope you find it useful.

Water has damaged your home. And while that is in no way any fun at all, at least your homeowner’s insurance is going to cover the cost of the cleanup and remediation, right? That’s a relief at least. Except if you are not the kind of person who pays minute attention to the insurance coverage you buy and pay for then sadly, in some cases, the answer might be no.

The Basics

In Canada, your basic property owner’s insurance will cover certain kinds of water damage pretty much as standard. If a pipe burst on your washing machine and flooded the laundry room then yes, your insurance should help pay to fix the damage. By the same token if a particularly bad rainstorm causes water to enter your home (maybe because it breaks a hole in the roof or floods the basement), you will not be covered. According to Jack Tu of BDA Insurance, water coming from a rainstorm that floods your basement is NOT covered in Canada.  Jack says, “We are currently the only G8 country in the world that does not offer flood coverage.  Flood is defined as overland water coming into the home – for example through a window well, doors, etc.  Additionally, water coming in through cracks in your foundation is not covered.”

In very basic terms almost all standard property owners’ insurance policies will cover “clean water damage.” What does that mean? Water that has not come from below ground or from a sewer, which is the case in both of the examples we cited above.

One thing to watch out for though; damage from frozen pipes. Technically this would be a clean water incident and you would imagine it would be covered. However, for many insurance companies this is a really grey area and coverage is not assured, especially if it can be proved you were away on vacation or something similar at the time.

Dealing with Dirty Water Damage Costs

A standard property owner’s insurance policy may or may not automatically cover ‘dirty water’ damage. Dirty water damage would be considered to be things like toilet overflows or flooding caused by a sewer pipe backup, even if the fault was not yours and the municipality you live in was actually responsible for maintaining the sewers involved.

Go through the small print on your policy and if you are not sure if dirty water damage is covered, give your insurance company a call to check. Even if it’s not though you can purchase add on insurance at a low cost to cover these kinds of dirty water incidents and it is something well worth considering given how much damage such things could cost.

Overland Floods

Believe it or not right now, in Canada, you can’t actually purchase specific insurance that covers overland flooding. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada only a very small number of properties are at risk for such a thing. Therefore, in the eyes of the insurers there would be too few people paying in to such insurance to make it worth their while offering a specific overland flood insurance policy in the way that insurers in the United States may.

So Do I Have the Right Insurance Coverage?

The only way you can accurately answer that question is to have a chat with your insurance broker. As your home is such a huge investment it always pays to be on top of things like this – and make sure you understand every last word of the fine print regardless. It’s always better to be safe than sorry after all.

We recommend that you take a few moments to review the insurance policy you have in place before you need to know the specifics about your coverage. You’re going to want to make sure you have the right coverage for the biggest asset you own, your home in Kitchener Waterloo.

If you have any questions about home insurance we recommend Jack Tu of BDA Insurance to our customers. You can contact Jack at 226.606.9622 or email him at jtu@teambda.ca. We hope you never have to deal with water damage to your home but if you do – contact the experts in water damage, Restoration 1 Kitchener. You can reach them through their 24 hour emergency hotline at 519.505.4785 or visit their website at http://www.kitchener.restoration1.ca.

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Is Fear Holding You Back From Selling Your Home in Waterloo Ontario?

Addressing the Fear of Selling Your Waterloo Ontario Home

Addressing the Fear of Selling Your Waterloo Ontario Home

Why are you keeping your home off the market? Why are you still living in a home that no longer suits your family’s needs? Is there something holding you back from a new life in your dream home? In most cases, the answer to all these questions is the same. It’s fear.

Fear holds us back from so many great things in life! Selling or buying a home in Kitchener-Waterloo is one of those things that is often fraught with trepidation so much so, that we just can’t seem to take action. What if it doesn’t sell fast enough? What if it sells too fast? What if we can’t find the right price? What if, what if, what if! It’s enough to make anybody feel mentally and emotionally paralyzed. No wonder you don’t want to sell or know where to start!

If you really want to buy or sell your house in Kitchener Ontario, it doesn’t have to be a scary experience. With The Mark Maurer Team you’ve got someone on your side. We will banish those fears and get you moving forward, right into the home of your dreams! Let’s take a look at some of those fears and see if we can’t dispel them with our 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Fear of Failure

We’re all afraid of failure. No one likes to fall flat on his or her face, right? If your home fails to sell, it can be more than embarrassing – it can be costly. If you’ve already bought a new home you could be saddled with 2 mortgages. If you haven’t bought yet, you might lose out on the home you’ve always wanted because you can’t sell your current home. It just seems so risky! How do you handle the fear of failure?

Most Kitchener-Waterloo homeowners who have ever been in the position to sell their home have worried that it will not sell. You fret over whether or not you will get a decent offer. Don’t let that fear keep you from selling your home in Waterloo Ontario when you’re ready to move.  The best way to keep your home from sitting on the market too long is to price it right the first time. A qualified Realtor can research the market along with comparable properties and set a price that will both attract the right buyers and get you a solid selling price.

We have already helped more than 2,000 families sell their Kitchener-Waterloo homes. My team and I know the real estate market in Waterloo Region inside and out. You can trust us to assess the value of your home and price it so that it sells faster and for the best price. We’ll even give you a 29 Day Sale Guarantee!

Fear of Commitment

Another fear that keeps us from wanting to sell or buy a house in Kitchener Ontario is the fear of commitment. You will have to meet with an experienced Realtor and sign a contract without really knowing the agent personally. It’s like getting married on a blind date. Sure, everything seems fine at first but what will the relationship be like in a week, a month or several months from now? You’ll be stuck in a listing contract even if things go badly. That can be a little frightening.

We can alleviate this fear for you too. You won’t be forced to stick with us if you don’t think we are doing everything we can to sell your home. We give you the right to cancel your contract at any time with no further obligation if you feel that I (or a member of my team) have not delivered on our promises. You won’t be stuck in a long service contract that leaves you unsatisfied and your home unsold.

Since we know that our team will give you the best service the industry has to offer in Kitchener-Waterloo, we’re confident that you’ll be more than satisfied. I’m not afraid to let you have control of your contract because I’m sure the service my team has to offer will make you want to stay. And you’ll want to tell your friends, too!

Fear of Change

Sometimes it’s just the fear of the unknown that keeps us stuck where we are. We’re scared of doing something different so we just sit still and don’t move on to the next thing, even when the next thing is so much better. We think that it’s better to stick with something familiar, even if it’s uncomfortable, rather than to make a change to unknown territory.

This fear of the unknown can easily translate into the home-selling process. Maybe you’re afraid that you won’t like some aspect of a new neighbourhood or be comfortable with your new neighbours. You may worry that the schools won’t be as good as you are accustomed to, or that your commute will get drastically worse. We find a way to justify living in a home that no longer meets our needs just because we’re too afraid of change.

I know Waterloo Region and all its quirks and corners. I can help you navigate the changes and show you that selling your house in Kitchener Ontario is the best choice for you and your family (if it actually is, in fact). You don’t have to do it alone. I’ll help you navigate the changes with the best personal service you can imagine. We’ll make the changes together.

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Agent VS Team: Which is Right For You When Selling Your Home?

Agent VS Team: Which Offers More Benefit?

Agent VS Team: Which Offers More Benefit?

Deciding to sell your home – it’s one of the most frightening prospects you may ever consider. It’s an overwhelming process yet at the end, relief awaits. As you work through it, the right agent or real estate team can make things far easier than you ever imagined. Choosing the right Realtor to help is critical. Among the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to move forward with a singular agent or a professional real estate team.

The Individual Realtor

For many years, homeowners have relied on the individual agent approach to manage and process their real estate transactions. A strong Realtor still has much to offer in today’s market in Kitchener-Waterloo. They have the ability to develop a strong bond that teams can’t always mimic, and they also offer individualized attention, which is ideal in a transaction that is as emotional as selling a home. There’s also a level of direct accountability many sellers like. If something becomes problematic, one phone should instantly sort it out.

Real Estate Teams

Real Estate Teams can mean real benefits for the person selling their home in Kitchener Ontario. You get the individual strengths of many agents at your fingertips, working together to ensure your home gets sold. Well-organized teams have the ability to close more deals than individual agents thanks to the sheer size and energy of the team. You get almost unlimited access to an agent, and the inherent efficiency of a team means moving a transaction from start to finish quickly. A team can work on two or three fronts at one time, giving sellers the access and expertise necessary to get a broad level of service instantly. If you’re looking for a collaborative process along with combined experience to ensure your home is marketed and sold in the best possible manner, the team approach is probably the right one to meet your needs.

No Matter Who You Choose, Always Expect This

  • Honesty: You need to be able to communicate honestly with your agent, and if you think he or she isn’t telling the truth, it’s time to find someone else to help you sell your home. There are several ways to make certain you’re getting an honest agent or team. Start by asking about five of their most recent transactions. Find out if you can contact the sellers, then given them a call. Learn more about what worked and what didn’t with that particular agent.
  • Professionalism: Not all Realtors act like professionals, and one of the biggest selling points from the moment you meet the person who will be selling your home is personal appearance. Well dressed is the name of the game in the real estate business, so if your realtor shows up in jeans and t-shirt, you may want to look elsewhere. Along with image, though, goes a real respect for the time of others. If your real estate agent is late, he or she isn’t quite the individual with which you should be working.
  • The Power to Negotiate: You want the best possible price for your house and you want it now. A seller’s agent has to understand that, and representing your voice well is key when selling your home. If you’re seeing counter-offers with no dialogue, you’re not getting the best possible representation.
  • Innovation in Marketing: If the agent or team you chose to sell your home simply stuck a sign in the yard and walked away, you’re not getting the level of service you deserve. In most cases, just listing a home isn’t enough to get it sold. Some innovation is necessary in today’s market, and coming up with the right plan to move that house is a must. The agent or team you’re working with has to be creative enough to come up with the right angle to sell your home, and if your agent or team doesn’t have it, you may want to shop around.
  • Results: This should be one aspect you consider before you even put your home on the market. What kind of results does the realtor or team have with past listings? You’ll want to look both at the number of transactions that have occurred over the course of the last year and at the type of homes sold to ensure this is the right person or company to do the job.
  • Reputation: Type the name of the agent or company into a search engine. If you’re coming up with pages of complaints, you may have a problem on your hands. Successful real estate agents get repeat and referral business that sustains them for a lifetime. Look around you to see which company or individual’s signs prove most prominent to decide who has the best reputation in your area.
  • A Strong Network: Good real estate professionals work with others in the industry including attorneys, mortgage companies, movers, and others. Ask about a preferred partner list to see just how connected your agent is.
  • Open Communication: More sellers cite lacking communication as a key problem than anything else in the world of real estate, so you may want to ask about communication before you ever get started with a given company or agent. Learn more about whether texting, email, or phone calls are the best method of communication for the agent, and ask to learn how frequently you can expect to speak to someone.
  • A Technology-Rich Environment: Real estate agents can sell homes in almost any medium these days, so ensuring your agent or company isn’t stuck in the days of print listings is a must. Ask what technologies your agent uses, and don’t forget to check on photo quality. More people than ever before look to the internet to start their home buying search, so high quality photos from day one are a must.

I address the differences between real estate teams and singular agents in my video below:

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

5 Things to Know About Real Estate Disclosure and Disclaimer Clauses

Mark Weisleder is a real estate lawyer, author and speaker in Toronto. We follow his work because he is a thought leader in his field and is one of the most knowledgeable real estate lawyers in the province of Ontario. Mark recently shared this article with us and we thought The Mark Maurer Team readers would appreciate learning more about disclosure and disclaimer clauses in their Kitchener-Waterloo real estate transactions.
Real Estate Clauses

Inform Yourself About Real Estate Clauses

5 Things to Know About Disclosure and Disclaimer Clauses

 The basement floods after closing. Can the buyer sue the seller? The agreement contained wrong information about the property dimensions but also included a disclaimer clause. Can the buyer sue if there is a problem after closing? Do you need to disclose a murder that occurred in a home? These are not simple questions, but if you remember the following principles, you should be able to understand the law.

 Here are 5 key lessons to remember:

1.    When there is a flood after closing, the buyer will have to prove that the seller knew about this defect and that it was serious or else that the seller actively concealed the defect from the buyer. It will also depend on whether the buyer conducted a home inspection and in the case of basement water, whether the seller actually finished the basement themselves. A buyer will have to prove that the seller must have known about the problem during their ownership. Buyers will have to take pictures of the damage and bring in an experienced contractor who will be able to look at the damage and then give an expert opinion, in court if necessary, that the seller either must have known about the problem or did work behind the walls to conceal the problem. If the buyer cannot prove this, they will likely not be successful.

2.    The defect must make the property uninhabitable or dangerous. This means that the defect must be so serious that the buyer may not be able to continue living in the property. This would include a foundation problem. It is not clear if this would include a disclosure that the property was previously used as a grow op, as it would depend on the extent of the operation and whether it was actually remedied according to accepted industry standards. It would also depend on whether the buyer could obtain insurance for the property. Suffice to say that if the seller does not disclose a minor basement leak, the buyer will not be successful suing about it after closing.

3.    The law is not settled as to whether a seller needs to disclose a property stigma, whether it is a murder, suicide or neighbourhood condition, such as a pedophile who lives next door. Most appraisers will tell you that this will affect a property’s value. However, it will still be hard to prove that this stigma would make the home uninhabitable and this is why many lawyers will tell you that you do not have to disclose property stigmas.

4.    If you advertise the boundaries of a property in a listing, can the buyer get damages or get out of the deal if it turns out the boundaries are incorrect? Will it make a difference if there is a disclaimer clause in the offer itself, saying that the information, while believed to be correct, is not guaranteed and should not be relied upon without independent verification? In most cases, if the disclaimer is there, the buyer will not be able to sue the seller for any damages and will need to make sure that they do their own proper due diligence in advance. The lesson for any buyer is to make sure that if there is a disclaimer present, that you check a survey of the property or make the deal conditional on your own independent verification of all boundary lines.

5.    If you have any concerns about disclosure, ask the sellers point blank if they have had any water in the basement, murders or grow houses on the property in the past, or insert a clause to this effect in your offer. The sellers then have to respond truthfully. Speak to the neighbours and ask if any repairs were done at the property during the past year or whether there are any other issues with the property that you should know about. Also ask the neighbours about anything peculiar going on in the neighbourhood, including asking about the neighbours on either side of the property you are interested in buying. A major reason sellers sell a home is simply to get away from a neighbour.

When you understand the rules about disclosure and properly protect yourself, you should be able to minimize any problems that could arise after closing. Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by downloading my free eBook here: bit.ly/MMBuyers. Also for more great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

If you have any stories to share about disclosure, or just need some advice, please contact Mark at mark@markweisleder.com. If you are selling your own home in Kitchener or Waterloo and have questions about disclosure, feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Mark