Author Archive for The Mark Maurer Team – Page 2

Before You Make the Move: What You Need to Know Before Hiring Movers

 

hiring movers in Waterloo Region

Hiring Movers in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge

It almost seems crazy. You hire people you’ve never met to take everything out of your house, put it in their trucks and take it away. Then you trust them to make sure all of your precious furniture and personal items make it safely into your new home. Hiring movers can be scary because of the incredible amount of trust involved in this transaction.

A Local Horror Story

Recently, residents in Waterloo Region unfortunately learned just how vulnerable we could be when we hire movers. The “Two Small Men with Big Hearts” company were recently implicated and charged for running a moving scam. A single mother on social assistance (obviously with a limited income) hired the moving company to move her belongings for a set price that they quoted on. Once Two Small Men with Big Hearts went to unload her belongings at her new home, they quoted her an entirely different (higher) price. When she wouldn’t pay, the movers drove off with all of her belongings in the back of their truck. Before you make the move, make yourself aware of the potential risks. Protect yourself against the unscrupulous elements in the business as well as the less nefarious mistakes.

Lowballs and Add-ons

Beware of the lowball offer. It may sound like a bargain but it’s often not all it seems on the surface. You might be quoted a bargain rate only to find out on the day of your move (when it’s far too late to make a change) that many of the services you expected aren’t included. Your mover might say that packing a fragile item or disassembling a piece of furniture isn’t included and hit you with a big add-on charge. What can you do at this point if you have a deadline to be out of the home? When asking for quotes, be sure your written quote includes specifics with a list of fragile items and furniture dismantling (beds, dining room hutches etc).

Make sure that you get all of the details in writing. An honest company won’t hesitate to give you a written estimate and a list of what is and isn’t included in their fees. Have it on-hand the day of your move in case one of the moving company employees tries to unfairly increase your costs. Also don’t let anybody convince you that pads, tape, or “special” boxes are extra costs. Know exactly what you’ll be paying and have it in writing before the movers arrive.

Cash-only dealings are rarely smart

If your mover is a “cash only” operation, choose another company. How many places where you shop are run this way? Would you trust a cash-only electronics store? Or a cash-only auto repair? Of course not – you’d assume something less than legal was afoot. So why trust everything in your home to a cash-only moving company? You need the protection of a traceable transaction.

Be smart and check the details

A reliable mover will have a good reputation, referrals, and all of the required licenses and insurance policies to operate their business. It’s up to you to check to see that the one you are hiring is fully insured and bonded. If they don’t have sufficient insurance and a worker is injured on your property, guess who is liable? That’s you.

Be extra careful with your precious items

Any decent mover can relocate a couch without incident. Many good movers can pack and safeguard your grandmother’s china. Some can be trusted with your baby grand piano and only a few with your fine art.

Specialty items like fine art and large musical instruments require specialty movers. These often one-of-a-kind items may be irreplaceable and unfixable so no insurance claim can fill the void if they are lost. Don’t take chances; hire a specialist for the items that require it. It may cost a bit more to hire the folks in white gloves with climate controlled cargo holds but what would the cost be if your item wasn’t properly handled?

Have the contract in hand

It is wise to have a copy of your contract where it can easily be accessed on moving day. You should also have working phone numbers for the company’s management. Someone should be available by phone even if you’re moving on a weekend. Trust your gut – if you feel uncomfortable in any way with the people who arrive or the way they are behaving, make the call.

Be attentive and protective, within reason

Be protective of your belongings and attentive to the way they are handled. If you are not happy (within reason) about the way something is being done, kindly let the movers know. You have a voice in this process so don’t be afraid to use it. It’s not rude to say, “I’m a little nervous about that item. Could you please put an extra layer of wrapping on it?” That “please” will go a long way so don’t forget to include it!

Consider what you pack yourself

Your moving company probably won’t be liable for anything you pack yourself so be judicious in choosing what you take on alone. Go ahead and pack small valuables like jewelry and watches and move them yourself if you can. These small items could prove to be a little too tempting. Expensive electronics (iPads, tablets, laptops) fall in the same category.

Many hands will fall on your belongings on the way. Don’t make your things easy to pocket.   If you can do it yourself, perhaps you should. But study up on how to pack and move those items since you’ll be the only one to blame if they arrive at your new home in less-than-ideal condition.

Be reasonable and polite

This is good advice for any situation really. Be reasonable in your expectations and understand that packing and moving takes time. Movers are just like you. They are there to do a job and most want to do it well.

Use kind words and a soft voice. Don’t be the ugly customer they talk about the next day. Yelling, threatening and using abusive language will only buy you trouble. Your movers might want to get away from you as fast as possible and the work may suffer for speed.

Speaking of speed, you probably don’t need to have an eagle eye on the clock. Most reputable movers just want to do a good job and get home to their families, just like you at the end of a long work day. The crew probably won’t let any of its members lag on the job.

Moving is stressful enough without adding in more drama on moving day. Be sure to hire a trustworthy company and take the time to become educated and well-informed on the costs and processes involved long before anyone packs the first box. It’s up to you to do your homework to choose the right movers and to make sure everything goes according to plan.

Recommended Movers in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge

I have personally had excellent moving experiences with Evergreen Transfer, who has been in business in Kitchener-Waterloo for more than 30 years. In one particular move Evergreen Transfer packed every single item in my family  home (even including my wife’s underwear!) and unpacked it all on the other end. Although this is a more expensive option, it is fast, convenient and perfect for people whose time is valuable (or can’t get much time off work). I have also used Mike the Mover for one of my smaller moves. This company can handle any size move, their employees are friendly and polite, and I found their rates quite reasonable.

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/MMSellers. 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.

The Art and Skill of Real Estate Negotiation

There are few things more important in the world of Kitchener-Waterloo real estate than the true skill and art of negotiation, a fact that agents on The Mark Maurer Team know well. “A big part of closing the deal on either side of the table is coming to that point of common ground,” says Mark Maurer, “and that takes some serious negotiation.” A recent Globe and Mail article by Harvey Schachter highlights this fact, and The Mark Maurer Team couldn’t agree more with the points made in his article.

Real Estate Negotiation

Negotiating Real Estate Deals Takes Skill AND Knowledge

The Problematic Mistakes

Lacking confidence

“Often, people feel they need to be loud or in someone’s face to be a good negotiator, and since that’s not their style, they dread what’s ahead . . . But the other party senses that fear in your body language or voice.”

The Mark Maurer Team Take: If you’re not ready to go when you get to the table, the other party is going to sense it immediately. We’ve seen a number of cases where there was probably a lot of wiggle room within the price, but a fear of haggling just prevented the negotiation from going anywhere at all. The simple reality is that it’s more than possible to make your price happen, but it may take some work when you get to the table.

Thinking something is non-negotiable

“It may also come as a surprise that, beyond the flea market, everything is negotiable as well. Too often, we don’t ask – or stop when our first offer is turned down. Instead, assume you can get an alternative to what is on the table.”

The Mark Maurer Team Take: Whether it’s a facet of the contract or just the overall offer placed, everything is up for negotiation when it comes to homes for sale in Kitchener and Waterloo, but you’re never going to know what you might be able to get until you start asking.

Not building relationships first

“We live in a ‘microwave society,’ expecting everything instantly. So when we enter a negotiation, we head for the final conclusion without taking time to build trust.”

The Maurer Team Take : If you don’t spend at least an hour talking before you start discussing price or contract conditions, you’re never going to get what you want. Spend some time getting to know the other party and their needs, and negotiations are far likely to go better.

Not asking for what you want

“It’s critical that you actually name what you are seeking in negotiations. Sounds obvious, but frequently we never come out with it.”

The Maurer Team Take: The other party at the table can’t possibly know what you want from the deal until you’ve actually put it on the table. Unless you’re very specific about your wants and needs during this process, you’re not going to walk away with what you actually desire.

Talking too much

“We’ve all had the experience when we decide to buy something but the salesperson keeps droning on and ends up talking us right out of a deal. Don’t be like that salesperson. Don’t overtalk.”

The Maurer Team Take: A little quiet time for thought and reflection is just part of the process. It can be difficult to listen to your brain screaming in fear that the deal is over because of your last request, but just sit back quietly until it’s necessary to make a counter offer or accept. It will pay off in the end.

Not taking time to document

“Get the deal down in writing. Afterwards, memories and interpretations can differ.”

The Mark Maurer Team Take: Daytime television is made of court shows based on people failing to document one conversation or another. That cannot happen in real estate negotiations. Both parties need to document every change made or it won’t make it into the final deal.

Signing without reading

“This is becoming habitual on the Internet, where we routinely sign forms we don’t understand. It’s a bad habit, and the results in major negotiations can be disastrous. Don’t set yourself up for such a predicament.”

The Mark Maurer Team Take: Real estate is often one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make, so ensure you understand every single clause before you actually end up signing the document. A professional real estate agent can help simplify this process by explaining things to you in language you understand.

You can’t negotiate with a bully or a wild man/woman

“Sometimes you will be negotiating with someone who screams and bullies or presents outlandish positions. In such situations, be willing to walk away.”

The Mark Maurer Team Take: Not everyone is willing or able to negotiate sensibly. Understanding those limits before the negotiations begin is an absolute must. If you get to the table and the other party clearly isn’t going to be reasonable, you need to be ready to walk away.

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.

If you or someone you know is buying or selling a home in Kitchener, Waterloo or the surrounding area give me a call at 310-SOLD. Or click here for a FREE Market Evaluation of your home.

Your House for Sale in Kitchener Ontario Didn’t Sell. What’s Next?

Your Listed Home Didn't Sell? We Can Help

Your Listed Home in Kitchener-Waterloo Didn’t Sell? We Can Help

Your Listing Expired. Your Home Didn’t Sell.

Your home in Kitchener-Waterloo didn’t sell and your listing contract has expired. You did everything your realtor told you to in order to sell your house in Kitchener Ontario. You took care of all the little repairs and made the exterior and landscaping look inviting. More than half of your belongings are packed up and you’ve even had to put some of them in storage. You’ve kept the house spotless for showings. You’ve vacated your comfy space for endless hours to accommodate your Realtor’s Sunday Open Houses. You may even have had your home professionally staged. And you still don’t have an offer on the table to show for all of these efforts.

What Do You Do Now?!?!

You’re probably wondering what you can possibly do now. Do you sign an extension to the contract with the same listing agent or begin the process over again with a new Realtor? You may even be thinking that you have an “unsellable” property.

or an experienced and skilled Realtor, there is no such thing as an unsellable home. Do you remember the definition of “insanity?” – Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Obviously, whatever your Realtor was doing (or not doing) to sell your home wasn’t working for you. There is no point in carrying on with the same methods if the process didn’t yield results.

Each brokerage and each Realtor (or Real Estate team) does business a little differently when trying to sell your house in Kitchener Ontario. Simply counting on a “name brand” won’t always get the job done. Even within the same brand (e.g. RE/MAX), agents use very different selling methods. Each team has its own systems and techniques. Some happen to be more effective than others.

The Mark Maurer Team has a proven system that is the product of 20 years of continuous effort and improvement. What we do gets better results. In fact, approximately 20% of the homes we sell each and every year are homes that were listed with other agents and didn’t sell.

It’s an Issue with Price OR Promotion

When a home doesn’t sell, the issue often lies in one of two areas: price or promotion. You trust your Realtor to excel in both but not every agent can deliver (we specialize in both areas). Get either one of these things wrong and your home will probably languish on the market. One or both could be the reason you’re stuck with and expired listing!

PRICE

Price is a delicate matter that takes research and experience to determine. A real estate agent has to analyze not only the features and selling points of the home but also the recent comparable sales in the area in order to find the perfect balance. Many agents land a little too high thinking that they will have the opportunity to negotiate downwards, later.

If your home is priced too high, the potential buyers you will attract will come to view your home with a set of expectations that your home probably won’t meet. They will feel that your home is overpriced, they won’t be interested in buying and both the potential buyer and you, the seller, end up disappointed. The buyers that want what your home has to offer, the ones you really want to see your home won’t come to look because the price is out of their budget. It’s a mistake you can’t afford to make.

Pricing too low is another costly mistake. The obvious reason is that you don’t get a good return on your investment and money is left in someone else’s hands – just not yours. You might get a bidding war but that’s not really something you should count on when you set the price. It’s important to get it right the first time so you don’t end up making price adjustments later.

PROMOTION

Promoting your home is another tricky area where you are largely dependent on your Realtor. Your Realtor needs to be up-to-date on all the latest trends in marketing and promotion as well as being skilled in the tried-and-true methods. You can’t just do one thing well when it comes to marketing a home. You need to use all the tools you can to reach the perfect buyer and to get the fastest results. In today’s digital age, your Real Estate Agent should be knowledgeable in both offline and online marketing.

You also have to ensure that the right information is communicated to the people when your home is being promoted. It’s not just about who is loudest (although that certainly helps). Effective marketing is about getting that critical bit of data in front of the perfect buyer at the precise time they are interested in buying. Not an easy task but it’s one where The Mark Maurer Team just happens to excel.

We will exceed your expectations and we stand behind our processes. We offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. We couldn’t offer this if we weren’t completely confident that we can sell your home. It doesn’t matter if another agent has failed; we can still sell your house in Kitchener Ontario. The Mark Maurer Team has already sold over 2,000 homes right here! We can do the same for you.

You don’t have an “unsellable” property. You’ve just had the wrong agent. You can trust me to price and promote your home using my 21 years of experience. You won’t be disappointed. For more home selling tips you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Which Renovations Should You Consider Before You Sell Your Home?

Which Renovations Give the Best Return on Investment?

Which Renovations Give the Best Return on Investment?

Like many homeowners in the Kitchener and Waterloo area who are considering selling your home, you are probably thinking about which renos you should do before listing your home for sale. Some renovations are completed in hopes of increasing overall sale price, but are you confused as to which renovations will actually get a good return for your investment? What are potential buyers looking for most? What helps pay those renovation bills in the long run? Let’s take a look at a few of your options.

  • Curb Appeal Projects: From something as simple as replacing your front door to replacing all of the siding on your home, curb appeal projects add serious value to your home. One report suggested that worn siding alone can make your home lose up to 10% of its value, and full siding replacement is near the top of the projects with the highest return on investment.
  • Kitchen Remodel: Think smaller here instead of bigger. While those dream kitchens you see plastered on every home magazine on the shelf and on Pinterest seem like a great idea, they’re also incredibly expensive. You may want to update your kitchen somewhat to make sure it looks like the hub of your home. It should look attractive, clean, and modern. Beyond that, don’t waste your money.
  • Outdoor Living Space: People are looking to be outside more than ever before, and these days, creating a gorgeous outdoor living space can really add to the value of your home in Waterloo Ontario. Build a deck if you don’t already have one, throw in an inexpensive outdoor fireplace for cool fall nights, brighten up your lawn furniture with colourful pillows, and you have a winning addition home buyers are going to love again and again.
  • Tackle that Bathroom: According to HGTV, inn the hottest housing markets, springing for a kitchen or bath remodel is a sure-fire investment, often returning more than 100 percent of the cost. People consistently rate a bathroom remodel at the top of the list, and for good reason. A beautiful bathroom is a selling point for many buyers in Kitchener-Waterloo. As with the kitchen, don’t get too carried away. A small bit of luxury in the bathroom can go a long way toward adding to your listing price.

No matter which renovations you actually choose to complete, there are several things to remember about handling this process in general. In order to prevent anything from going awry, ensuring you have as much knowledge as possible at the outset can be quite helpful.

  • Check Your Contractor’s References: The importance of this step cannot be understated. If you’re seriously considering hiring someone to handle the bigger projects such as your kitchen renovation, new bathroom, or your add-on, you’ll want to ask how long the company has been in business and ask for references of past customers. The next step is the most important – CALL THEM! Ask if the work was completed on time and on budget. Go out and take a look so you can judge the workmanship for yourself. It’s the single best way to see exactly whom you’re hiring. In addition to checking those references, be sure you look into the contractor’s licensing and whether or not they’re insured and bonded against damage. You may also want to run a credit check on the contractor to get some additional information.
  • Learn More About Permits: In almost every renovation situation, at least one permit is going to be needed somewhere along the way. If you have a contractor who tells you one isn’t required, you may want to find another contractor. Wondering why it’s so important? If you have the permits on file before the work begins, you can be sure the city you live in will complete a full inspection after the work is done. That will help protect you in the event the title insurance company asks to see the permit and inspection paperwork before you can actually close the sale on your home when the time comes.
  • Don’t Go For Cash: Some contractors offer to do a cash deal to help you save a little money. Don’t! It’s against the law and you don’t have any proof of payment if the contractor doesn’t fulfill his end of the bargain. Saving a few bucks now is not worth the court costs you may have to pay later.
  • Don’t Pay In Full Up Front: For best workmanship, you will want to create a payment plan that is tied to the milestones involved in the project. It is recommended that you put no more than 10% down on any project, and then pay out a little at a time as the contractor completes certain aspects of the project. That way, you won’t lose much if something happens to the deal.
  • Get It In Writing: It doesn’t matter what the “it” turns out to be, make sure you have everything in writing. You want a written contract that spells out everything the two of you have agreed to, the stages of work, and the associated payments with each stage. You also want any special options you’ve included in writing, like those special drawer pulls or that particular paint color. Finally, make sure there’s language included about clean up and repair. Renovations can be an excellent way to increase the value of your home, but finding the right combination of that great renovation project and a good contractor is essential.

For smaller renovation projects we have personally worked with and recommend Kris Kostecki in Kitchener. Kris performs work on: flooring; tiling, interior doors and trim; interior and exterior painting; drywall and taping; and bathroom renovations. You can reach Kris at 519.781.9311.

If you would like a FREE Market Evaluation of your home or you would like to learn more about the process of selling your home in Waterloo Region, I would love to talk to you. You can call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com. For more home selling tips you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Canada’s Technology Triangle: Waterloo Region

Waterloo Region: A Great Place for Techies

Waterloo Region: A Great Place for Techies

The right place to live means finding one with an economy that can support your skills and your family, and that’s one big reason the Kitchener-Waterloo has been such a big attraction for so many people these days.

Historic Attraction

The area is strongly rooted in a tradition of good manufacturing. Throughout our cities, you’ll find many tributes to the history of manufacturing, and it remains an important part of the economy today. In fact, estimates suggest as much as 36% of the population here relies on manufacturing jobs, and a number of different products are made in the area. From seat manufacturers to various furniture components, the draw here for manufacturing companies appears to remain steady.

A New Economy

While some areas have remained extremely focused on one economic sector that it has the potential to become the downfall of the entire region, that’s just not the case here. Instead, Waterloo Region has spent the last several years diversifying enough to attract the high-value world of technology to its borders, spelling real success for the cities as a whole. Often considered part of Canada’s technology triangle, more tech companies are moving here and …. fast! By the way – have you noticed construction of the new Google building in Kitchener?

A quick look back suggests our story starts with Blackberry, a tech giant that is now slowly losing ground, but it goes much deeper than that. In fact, it started at the University of Waterloo and a commitment to building a curriculum that focused on early technology as far back as the 1960s. Thanks to the continued evolution there, Research in Motion (Blackberry’s forerunner) was able to find its legs quickly, and that development led to many more. In fact, some experts suggest the continued changes at the University of Waterloo have led to more than 250 technology companies popping up in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Today, The University of Waterloo has one of the heaviest concentrations of mathematical and computer science talent in the world. They offer an inventor-owned IP policy to help spur the continued growth in the area. This dedication to the education necessary for continued tech growth appears throughout the area too. Wilfrid Laurier University has the first 12 month MBA program in the world, and Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning is also located here. Conestoga has one of the highest rated schools of engineering in the country. There are also a number of research centers that contribute to the landscape including the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, the Institute for Quantum Computing, the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, and the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy – to name a few!

The Landscape Today

Blackberry may no longer serve as the tech powerhouse it once was, but thanks to the hold this essential piece of the market has built right here, Kitchener-Waterloo continues to attract major technology companies. Well established names like Open Text, Google, EA, and Christie Digital are all right here. What’s more, though, is there are currently nearly a thousand tech start-ups in the area. Desire2Learn is a case in point. An online education software company, their staff grew from 200 to 700 in less than two years.

Creating a Space for Innovation

Part of the reason Waterloo Region is so successful at attracting these growing businesses is the fact that the entire area is doing everything they can to keep them there. Starting in 2004, Kitchener alone began launching initiatives to help keep tech companies flocking to the area. They’ve made a number of investments in the downtown area to help make more hospitable places for companies and residents alike, and just a few years ago, they began work on King Street, the downtown core of the city to help further beautify the area. With new lighting, wider sidewalks, lowered curbs, and even a space for street events and festivals, people are drawn to the area easily, making it a natural choice for tech companies.

External investment into our area doesn’t hurt either. The former Lang Tannery was purchased by a real estate company in 2007, then promptly converted to space for commercial firms and digital tech companies. It’s become the hub in the area, hosting some of the biggest names in the world of high-tech, including Google. With no sign of slowing despite the failure of some bigger tech companies, the Kitchener-Waterloo area is still at the forefront of this big industry sector.

Add that to other perks like the fact that Canada is the most tax competitive country among the G-7 nations, our workforce is one of the most educated, we have the lowest R & D costs among G-7 nations, and we also have a AAA credit rating, and you have options many companies really want to consider.

This area is poised to support not only those already in the tech sector, but those wishing to join it. Accessible, beautiful, and ideal for companies and employees alike, the Kitchener-Waterloo area is clearly going to remain a draw for many industries in the near future.

Thanks to the massive growth of these companies, new residential areas have popped up too. With upscale lofts, homes, condos, and more appearing in and around the city, there are plenty of real estate options perfectly designed for those interested in becoming part of Canada’s Technology Triangle.

If you are planning to move to the Kitchener-Waterloo area, let me help you find the perfect home by calling 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Buying and Selling Homes in Waterloo, Ontario

REAL ESTATE IN WATERLOO ONTARIO

REAL ESTATE IN WATERLOO ONTARIO

 

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial moves any one will ever make in their lifetime. Full of opportunities and anticipation, this decision is majorly exciting because it’s a chance to pursue your dreams, establish sturdy roots and take the first step to your journey to financial security. Ontario is one of the best places to be purchasing or selling property and assets for a variety of reasons.

Advanced Land Registration Systems

Ontario has one of the most advanced and updated land registration systems in the world today. The titling is relatively simpler to transfer or search. There are even opportunities where you can transfer titles electronically even though some areas still hold traditional methods dear. This makes the whole process extremely easy when compared to other locations. The minute details and tedious technicalities become easier to handle when you have a modernized system like in Waterloo or Kitchener, Ontario.

Availability of Title Insurance Policies

At least four individual insurers are available for title insurance in Ontario along with the conservative method of solicitor certification. This effectively provides wider protection at much lower costs and is very useful when it comes to protection against land fraud.

Competent Professionals

Ontario bankers, mortgage brokers, real estate lawyers and home inspectors servicing the property sector are all well regulated professionals that have spent a valuable amount of time in the property industry. There are obviously also some unscrupulous agents as well, so you need to make the right selection.

Reasonable Costs

The expenditure of selling, purchasing and owning existing property is comparatively much more reasonable than any other place. The mortgage rates have been astoundingly low for at least three years now and the lenders are usually paid for searching for the most competitive mortgage rates for the home buyer. Since there is a lot of competition, the lawyer’s fee and other reimbursements are much more affordable.

Protection Plan for New Property Buyers

For protection against corrupt vendors, Ontario has a protection plan that offers new buyers security, called Tarion. The plan provides guarantees to buyers that secure them against a variety of problems that may occur.

Mortgage Insurance Programs

These special programs have been designed to aid customers with a small or no down payment at the time of purchasing a home. These programs allow them to qualify for mortgages that they would not be able to obtain otherwise.

For Non-Canadian Residents

There are absolutely no hidden taxes or penalties for U.S. or non-Canadian home buyers in Ontario. If the buyer is not a resident of the country yet, there may be capital gain taxes that require being paid.

Thousands of people have bought homes in Kitchener and waterloo and found the process extremely easy and satisfying. It’s as simple as one, two, and three.

  • Choose a property that fits your price range in Ontario
  • Find an offer to sign that offers protection to you and acceptable for vendor
  • Close the deal and move in

It is necessary that you research beforehand to get informed about how the process works and find yourself a competent team of inspectors, brokers, and lenders that can help you with any issues that may arise when you venture out to purchase property in Waterloo and Kitchener, Ontario. For more home selling tips you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

 

 

Moving to Kitchener-Waterloo? Resources To Help (Part 1)

Moving to Kitchener or Waterloo? We Can Help!

Moving to Kitchener or Waterloo? We Can Help!

 

Moving is never an easy task, but if you’re moving to Kitchener-Waterloo the area is exceptional when it comes to options once you’re here. With a number of great single family homes, condos, and apartments, you’re going to find the perfect place to live in the area, and we’d love to help. As you work to get settled in, you may want to use some or many of these area resources. This is the first part of a list of 50 that may help you make this area your home. Stay with us for part 2.

Moving and Storage Companies To Contact

Before you can even begin to think about anything else, you’re going to have to focus on getting your belongings and furniture here, or at the very minimum  moving it from one location to another in the area. Fortunately, there are a number of moving companies here that can help you do just that.

  1. Public Storage Kitchener – Public Storage Canada offers the widest range of unit sizes. Storage for small stuff. Storage for large stuff. Storage for everything in between! To help you figure out the size of storage unit you would require, this storage company even has a handy dandy storage calculator.
  2. Atlas Van Lines – A choice with the power of a long standing brand name behind it, this is the way to move, especially if you’re coming in from across the country. With 150 offices throughout Canada, Atlas Van Lines will get you and your belongings here in one piece, with peace of mind to spare.
  3. United Van Lines – Easily as powerful as the Atlas name, there are 200 locations throughout Canada here to make your move as smooth as possible.
  4. Westmount Moving – A local company, this group has been working in the area for more than 75 years. They’re the local Van Lines agent, and their level of experience means an outstanding move.
  5. Baird Moving – Located in Kitchener-Waterloo, this is another local United Van Lines agent, so whether you work with them or the bigger brand, you know you’re going to have an excellent experience.
  6. Elite Moving Services – If you’re looking for something a bit more local, you can’t do better than this team. Perfect for shorter distance moves or those over the long haul, they’re ready to help ensure you get into your new home safely.

Getting Around

Once you’re here, getting from place to place is fairly easy. Whether you rely on public transit, you prefer to walk or bike to work or you’ll be driving, this is an easy place to navigate.

  1. Grand River Transit: This is the public transportation system throughout Kitchener-Waterloo, and they provide daily bus service throughout the area. They also offer specialized transit for those with disabilities.
  2. BikeKitchener: Many cities are working to make it safer to bike, and the Kitchener-Waterloo area is no exception. This organization not only provides maps and routes of local bike trails, but also a festival dedicated to biking and more.

Changing Your Address

When you’ve moved here, you’ll certainly want to update your address and it’s easier than you think to do so.

  1. Canada Post: You can either visit your local post office or simply visit their online portal to officially change your address in Canada. Keep in mind, though, that this will only change your address with the postal service. It won’t do so with the ministry responsible for health or the Employment Insurance Program, so you’ll need to take care of all of that after you move.

Utilities

Ensuring you have power, heat, and water after you move is a must, so contacting the responsible companies for all of those before you move is essential. In most cases, a notification of at least 5 days prior to your move-in date is required.

  1. Kitchener Utilities: If you’re looking for natural gas hookups or water service for Kitchener, this is the group to contact. A deposit is typically required for new accounts.
  2. Kitchener Wilmot Hydro: More than 90,000 homes across the area are served by Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro, and to ensure you have the power you need. You will need to complete their new account application package.
  3. Union Gas: If you are moving to Waterloo, this is the natural gas company you will need to contact. You have to notify them at least three days before your moving day, and there is a connection fee of $35 on your first bill.
  4. Information Gateway Services: If you’re looking for an internet service provider, this is a good, localized solution to meet your needs.
  5. Netflash Internet Solutions: Many of the plans available through NetFlash for internet service include unlimited data, which can be a huge plus for those who work from home.
  6. Bell: Offering TV, home phone, internet, and bundles that encompass all of them, this is great provider. Depending on where you’re moving from, you may already even have an account with them.
  7. Rogers: Like Bell, you can get a number of bundles here that encompass your mobile phone, TV, home phone, and internet. They also offer concierge moving services to help make certain all of your needs are met.

Healthcare Options

Taking care of yourself is important, and the area offers plenty of access to the best doctors, dentists, and healthcare professionals to make certain that your health is in good hands.

  1. Ambulance Services: If you require emergency transportation to one of the area hospitals, contact 9-1-1 services immediately to be attended to by professional right away. To learn more about whether to call EMS, click on the link above.
  2. Saint Mary’s General Hospital: One of the best facilities in the province, St. Mary’s has 2000 staff, physicians, and volunteers who treat thousands of patients every year.
  3. Grand River Hospital: The Waterloo region’s largest hospital, Grand River offers 14 different clinical programs and services to help take care of you when you need it most.
  4. We Care Home Health Services: Should you need in home services, this is one great option. With a variety of services, and some of the best trained professionals in the area, this group should certainly be high on your list.

There are a number of other hospitals and services located outside of Kitchener-Waterloo that also provide services to those who live here including Cambridge Memorial Hospital, McMaster Children’s Hospital, London Health Science Centre and Hamilton Health Sciences.

For more home selling tips you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

If you or someone you know is buying or selling a home in Kitchener, Waterloo or the surrounding area give me a call at 310-SOLD. Or click here for a FREE Market Evaluation of your home.

Mark

BEFORE YOU BUY: The Importance of a High Quality Home Inspection

 

closing the sale of my house

How to find an experienced home inspector you can trust

A home inspection is one of those things you should never go without when you are purchasing a home. It is good sense to know what you’re buying before you sign the final Offer to Purchase document with your Realtor. Any home can be hiding catastrophic issues. Even if you intend to renovate all the way from the studs out, you still don’t want to pay to purchase problems. Your home inspection is one of the most important steps in your home purchase, which makes your home inspector an important person too.

Most mortgage lenders will require an inspection before they approve financing (that alone should give you an idea of how critical an inspection is!). However, the lender won’t likely specify who does your inspection. That’s largely up to you and this isn’t a “one size fits all” event. We suggest not hiring the first result you get from doing a Google search. Go a step further and do a little homework.

Questions usually lead to knowledge so don’t be afraid to ask a few of your potential home inspector. An inspection will cost between $300 and $600 for a modest-sized home and could go up significantly for a more luxurious home. However, the cost of an unreported issue can be far greater. This is a big job and you have every right to choose the best person for the task. Here are a few questions to get you started when you speak with a potential home inspector.

What accreditations do you carry?

An accreditation will show what kind of training and experience an inspector has under his/her belt. It’s a good idea to know what their background is before your hire him or her. Most accredited home inspectors are willing to show you their licenses to verify this.

Are you a member of any applicable professional organizations?

Most reputable home inspectors will carry membership in at least one professional organization. Each one has its own licensing and certification procedures and most have a code of ethics that members are required to follow. It’s good to know that your inspector is willing to adhere to the high standards that most of these organizations require.

What is your professional background?

Hiring locally isn’t just good for the local economy; it’s good for you too. An inspector with experience in your geographical area will know the ins and outs of the local building codes as well as the eccentricities of the local architecture. He or she will know which builders made great homes and which ones are known for having certain issues. They will understand what the weather is like where you are buying and how it affects the homes in that area.

Your inspector’s background also covers his professional work. If his experience isn’t in the type of property you’re purchasing, you need to find another inspector. Even if a candidate is a top-notch commercial inspector, he might not be a good pick for a residential transaction. Make sure his background is a match for you needs.

How much experience do you have?

How much experience your inspector has is just as important as what kind of experience it is. If this is his first house, he might not be what you need. Everyone has to start somewhere but experience is a very good teacher and you want a good student working on your home.

What kind of report do you provide? May I see a copy?

Chances are, a home inspection is a requirement of your mortgage approval. Your lender will want a copy of the report and you want to feel confident that the report will be acceptable to them and meet their lending requirements.

How long will the inspection take?

Expect at least 2 to 3 hours for an average-sized, relatively young home. Reports should be provided to you in approximately 24 hours on any average weekday.

What will you inspect? Should I attend?

Your inspector will be able to reel off the major points of an inspection quite easily. It’s what he does every day after all. And if he or she won’t let you come to see what you’re potential new home is made of, that’s a red flag. You are the one buying the home; you should be able to see what he sees, both right and wrong, so that you can make a wise decision. In Kitchener-Waterloo attendance at a home inspection by the purchaser is a requirement by the Real Estate Board. I insist that all of my clients attend the inspection of the home they are about to buy. Not only will you get a real education on the home you’re buying, a good home inspector will also provide you with great tips on home maintenance.

Can you provide references?

If he can’t provide at least 2 or 3 previous customers or real estate agents that will speak well of him, that’s another red flag. An inspector with experience should be able to point to at least a few satisfied customers willing to speak on his or her behalf.

Our stellar home inspector recommendation

For the past 15 years, Chad Hussey from Pillar to Post has been our #1 home inspector of choice. Chad is the franchisor for the Pillar To Post territory encompassing the Kitchener-Waterloo and surrounding areas. Any time I buy a property for myself, Chad is the home inspector I rely on. I consistently and continually recommend him because of his expertise and knowledge and the high quality home inspection reports/certificates he provides on the same day of your home inspection. You can’t beat that kind of service in any industry! If you have home inspection questions,  you can contact Chad here.

Buying a Smaller Home: Smaller Spaces with BIG Style

 

How to Downsize Your Kitchener-Waterloo Home

How to Downsize From Your Kitchener-Waterloo Home

Bigger spaces can be problematic for many homeowners, and these days it seems, many homeowners or potential homeowners are taking the “smaller is better” option. From those participating in the tiny home fad to those who give up that big family home for something much smaller, buying a smaller home is a very personal choice. This is a time for some of you to simplify your lives and reduce your footprint. Not to worry though – giving up some square footage doesn’t necessarily mean giving up comfort or style! If you want to reduce the size of your home without reducing its level of comfort, you just need creative style and a savvy real estate agent to help find you that perfect smaller home.

A Closer Look At Why People Downsize

There are a lot of good reasons to downsize, no matter what the motivation.

  • Purchase cost. A home is typically priced largely by the size. A smaller home will likely have a lower asking price than a larger one in the same neighborhood making it an affordable option to many more families like you.
  • Cost of ownership. The associated costs of operating a smaller home are lower, too. It won’t cost as much to heat and cool, and landscaping less land means more money in your pocket. (yay!)
  • Stress reduction. Paying for and keeping up a large house can be very stressful. Have you heard of the term “being house poor?” This is when a family dedicates such a large portion of their income to paying for and maintaining their home, that they have very little money left to enjoy life. A heavy stress-load can lead to health problems and contribute to the breakdown of a significant relationship. Downsizing to a smaller home can alleviate some of this stress. You shed a lot of the “stuff” (physical and emotional) that causes worry.
  • Changing needs. Once children fly the coup to go off to college, university, or simply to pursue independence (maybe even start their own family), you’re left with empty rooms you have no use for. Perhaps you convert one bedroom to a hobby room or that home library you’ve always wanted, just to find that you still have several large rooms unused. It can leave you feeling wasteful and dreaming about what you could do with the extra money IF you downsized J
  • Eco-friendliness. Since you’re using less energy to heat and cool, your impact on the planet decreases. It also requires fewer resources to build. Choosing to downsizing is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint while at the same time benefitting your bank account. 

Making the Move Forward

Exerting creativity is key when downsizing. You can get big style in a small home with a dash of creativity and good space planning. The “tiny home” movement is evidence of that (just search for “tiny home” on the internet and see how some folks are taking downsizing to the extreme!). You can take a few cues from this kind of thinking to help furnish your downsized home. Here are a few tips that may help.

Edit and Reduce

Chances are, you won’t be able to fit the furnishings of a 4 bedroom home into a 2-bedroom condo. You will have to make some decisions about what items mean the most to you. Divest yourself of large pieces. You can start giving them to children, grandchildren or other loved ones to start their own homes.

Think Multifunctional

In a smaller space, you can’t afford to allot space to specialized furnishings. You can only fit so many items; think “multipurpose.” Give some thought to how particular items can serve in more than one capacity. Here’s an example. You might only need a dining table several times a year but a slim console table behind the couch is useful all year long. What if that console was actually a drop leaf table with two “wings” that lift when you need the extra room but stay out of the way when you don’t? Or what about a good, old-fashioned Murphy bed that can turn your office into an instant guest room?

Get Organized

A professional organizer is a wonder of the world! You’ll be amazed at how much can fit into a small space when everything is organized. Consider hiring a pro to create an organized home. Kitchens, baths and closets can hold so much more and operate much more efficiently when they’re properly organized.

Decorate Differently

In a large house, big patterns and bold colors seem right at home. In some (but not all) cases, these can overwhelm a smaller space, depending on the size of the print. A cohesive color palette in soothing shades makes a smaller room look spacious. Focus on textures and subtle details to make the décor interesting and layered. Again, hiring a professional can make a big difference. We recommend booking a consultation with KW’s Award-Winning Rooms in Bloom Home Staging.

Make the most of your downsized home by subtracting the clutter and adding some multifunctional style. You’ll soon see that downsizing is often the best decision you can make.

How Your Real Estate Agent Can Help

Choosing to downsize can be an emotional journey. You’ll need a good agent to help guide you through the process. An experienced real estate agent can help you find the features you really need and help you figure out what you can really do without. If you won’t be having nightly dinners with several people, do you really need a large dining room and an eat-in kitchen and a bar with extra seating? Can you get by with one guest room and some creative furnishings? Your agent can help you see how you could live in a home. If you are looking to downsize and are looking for that perfect smaller space, give us a call at 519.885.0200 or email us here.

 

 

Feature Home of the Week for June 08, 2015

 

Homes for sale in Bamberg

Hobby Farm in Bamberg, Ontario

 

This week’s Feature Home of the Week is 1561 Moser-Young Road in Bamberg. Bamberg is conveniently located a mere 14.5 kilometres from Kitchener and is within a few kilometres of St. Clements, St. Agatha, Baden, Hawksville, New Hamburg, Heidelberg, Erbsville, and Phillipsburg. You can find directions and Google Streetviews to nearby townships and lakes by clicking here. 

This exquisite and gorgeous custom-built country home is located on 6.69 private picturesque acres. There are impressive quality finishings with total attention to detail throughout. This property boasts a twist on a “Man Cave” with a 3600+ square foot “Rolls Royce Man Cave” – a heated & insulated shop with high ceilings & 4 oversized overhead doors.

hobby farm in Bamberg

Interior of “Man Cave”

 

Exterior of Man Cave

Exterior of Man Cave

There is also a bright and enjoyable Games Room with a pool table that can be enjoyed by friends and family alike!

Games Room

Games Room

For your viewing enjoyment, check out a video we put together of this property.  To view the complete MLS listing for this fabulous hobby farm click here. We welcome all inquiries about this property – simply call 310-SOLD or email The Mark Maurer Team.