Archive for buying a home in Waterloo Ontario

What Does a Real Estate Agent on The Mark Maurer Team do for YOU?

 

Four and a half year old Masen, son of Jaymes and Natalie jumps for joy!

 

You might think that the profession of selling real estate is all about showing homes and taking a commission. Showing homes is certainly part of the job but any GREAT agent earns their commission. There are dozens of tasks involved in the purchase or sale of a home and each must be accomplished with precision and skill. Many people are ill-informed about the role of a real estate agent, even if they’ve bought or sold a home before. It’s not all pretty houses and pleasant conversations! Here are a few of the important tasks the stellar Maurer Team real estate agents will accomplish exceedingly well on your behalf.

Before a Listing

Listing your home isn’t the start of a sale; the work starts well before that. A few things that our real estate agents will complete before your home even hits the market.

  • Assess your property. Our Realtors will assess your property’s value. This involves a thorough examination of your home along with a great deal of research and attention to details. They will take into consideration all the tangible features of your home including elements such as finishes and square footage. They will also try to evaluate the less quantitative elements including location, curb appeal, and the value of the neighbourhood placed on it by residents living in it.
  • Establish a market value and price. Realtors on The Mark Maurer Team have to research recent comparable sales from the past 18 months on the listing services and also in the public records. He’ll have to research the average number of days on the market for properties similar in type, price, and location. Current and past listings will need to be researched. They will also prepare a comparable market analysis to establish a competitive market value.
  • Verify all of your property’s details. Our agents will need to obtain a copy of your property survey to verify the property lines and dimensions of the lot. They will verify the legal description of the home; it’s previous ownership and title, the land’s deed restrictions and coding, and the school system information. All of the utilities (e.g. sewer, gas, hydro) will be checked.
  • Prepare your property. Our real estate agents will help you get your home ready to sell by advising you on staging, decluttering, depersonalization, and curb appeal modifications.

We also have a professional photographer take high-quality photos and record videos and virtual tours that highlight the best features of your home. Beware of real estate agents who say they can take their own photos! Photos are very important to the marketing of your home as they are used across multiple marketing methods to attract potential buyers.

During a Listing

So much will have been accomplished by the time your home is listed that you might think there isn’t much left to be accomplished. However, that’s just when things can start getting interesting.

  • Marketing your home. In order to submit your home to be featured on the MLS system, thorough preparation is required. Our agents will need to prepare an MLS profile sheet since they are responsible for the accuracy of the listing data. They must enter the data into the system, proofread it for accuracy, include your property’s placement for the mapping feature and upload the many quality photos and your virtual tour. They have to create and distribute flyers as well as create Internet ads and postings on the various social media platforms.
  • Making appointments. In many cases, agents on The Mark Maurer Team will first show your home to other agents. They will install a lockbox and set up appointments with agents who they feel could have the perfect buyer in mind. Then they will start making showing appointments with potential buyers on their contacts lists too.
  • Follow up. All of those showing appointments will require follow-up calls to help keep buyers interested and your property in the forefront of other agents’ minds. We have a system in place that keeps us on our toes to ensure that phone calls are made to each and every agent who has shown your home.
  • Maintenance. If you’re no longer residing in your home, our agents will help you to manage its upkeep. They will make sure the lawn stays mowed or the leaves are raked. They will also maintain all the methods of marketing like refilling brochure and flyer boxes.
  • Verify financing. Our agents always check to see if buyers are pre-qualified for financing. This is very important and if not in place, will stall your sale and waste time.
  • Negotiation. Real estate agents on The Mark Maurer Team will be your advocates in negotiations, whether you are buying or selling a home. They will do all in their power to make sure the price you get or pay is a good value. They will receive or send offers and advise you on the strength of the offer regardless of whether you are buying or selling. They will review the contracts and details of any offer or contract.

After the Listing

Some of the most difficult tasks still lay ahead for our Realtors, even after an offer is extended and accepted. There are many details to cover but here are just a few.

  • The Plethora of paperwork. Any sale of property generates reams of paperwork and our agents must wade through it all. They make sure everything is signed and delivered to all the appropriate people or agencies involved, on time. An agent on The Mark Maurer Team will explain each item to you so you understand what you’re signing.
  • Order inspections and appraisals. Our agents order all thorough home inspections through a reputable company we have been using for the past 20 years. They will schedule an official appraisal and provide the documentation within 24 hours that was obtained through research about the home to the appraiser.
  • Follow ups. Our Realtors follow up with all parties throughout this process, keeping everyone in the loop and well-informed.

The Closing

The closing process is fairly detailed, legally-speaking. It would take more space than we have here to list all of our agent’s duties. Here’s just a small number of notable jobs for your agent from The Mark Maurer Team.

  • Solve title problems. If there are clouds on the title, it’s our job to blow them away. In some cases, we may need to obtain a death certificate or legal signature from a previous owner.
  • Request closing figures. It’s our agent’s job to make sure you have the exact amount(s) for your certified cheques at the time of closing.
  • Forms, forms and more forms. Our Realtors review, proofread and process a huge number of forms to complete the sale of your home. These forms also have to be filed with the right agencies and deliver to the buyer and seller and the lender with all the signatures in the proper places.

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by downloading 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.

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.

 

 

Is Home Ownership Right for You?

 

Things to consider before making this big decision

Things to consider before making this big decision

 

Purchasing a home can be a big, scary decision. It means not only committing to a mortgage payment but to a town, a neighborhood, a particular place in the universe for (in all likelihood) a fairly long time. The financial commitment is no joke – it’s probably the biggest investment you will make. But the emotional commitment might be enough to put you off of a purchase for years as well. It’s not the kind of thing you jump into unprepared!

You need to get yourself ready in several ways before choosing to buy a home. You’ll need to have more than one area of your life under control before deciding that home ownership is for you. Your finances of course need to be in order and not just for the down payment. Your life needs to be in a certain place too. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website has a thought-provoking worksheet to help you consider the pros and cons of homeownership (you can find the worksheet here). If you’ve decided that home ownership is your dream, here are a few ways to determine if that dream could be realized now or if it’s better left for a little later down the road.

Financial Considerations

Owning a home is typically a good move in terms of improving your personal finances. Your mortgage interest is deductible, you have real property that will increase in value, and your monthly payments are going towards an investment that is yours. Part of your mortgage payment goes to the principle, which is like putting those funds away for your future. Many people think that their mortgage payment and rent could or should be roughly the same, but that’s only a starting point.

Although you can do it with a lot less, a down payment of around 20% will secure financing at a reasonable interest rate. So saving up is of course a priority. If you haven’t been able to stash away enough for a down payment, then getting an affordable mortgage may not be possible. Saving up that kind of money takes concerted effort and time, especially if you are paying rent while trying to save. However, it’s essential to securing financing.

Saving won’t stop after you’ve purchased a home. You’ll also need to plan for the extra expenses that home ownership requires and which means your savings account needs a little padding. If you’ve been renting, you probably haven’t had to worry about taxes, repairs and maintenance. Your landlord has dealt with all those things for you but as a homeowner, this will become your responsibility.

A home has no sense of timing! If the roof springs a leak or the water heater goes kaput two weeks before Christmas and you haven’t finished your shopping, you still have to take care of these issues. Plan your price point so that you’ll still have a little leftover to save up for emergencies and yearly taxes.

If your finances are unstable or insufficient, there is help out there for you. Talk to your favorite banker or financial advisor about getting on track. There could be low or no-cost options in your town as well; ask your realtor for a referral. Look for financial counseling if you’re having trouble putting your money in the right places. You may have to make some adjustments to your lifestyle but when you move into your new home, you’ll know it was worthwhile.

Emotional Considerations

Choosing to buy a home certainly involves a great deal of financial planning but your emotional matters weigh heavily on the choice as well. You’re looking for a place where your life will unfold, not just a place to hang your hat. Make sure your mind and heart are ready for homeownership as well as your bank accounts. Ask yourself a few important questions.

Are you settled in your city, town or region?

If you aren’t sure you want or will be able to stay in your city or town for at least a few years, buying a home may not be wise. It takes a little time to build up equity in your investment. If you have to sell rather quickly it can affect you financially. Of course, you can’t account for sudden life changes like a job transfer or a death in the family but you can take an honest look at your life as it is right now.

Do you have the time and means to care for a home?

A home takes care and maintenance. From fixing a running toilet to mowing the lawn, all the little tasks will be up to you to manage. Ask yourself if you’re ready to manage these responsibilities and if you have the time to. If you are handy or if you’re willing to learn, you’ll need to make time to get the job done.

Is this what you really want right now?

Undeniably, this is a big step. It’s probably not the best idea to purchase a home just because someone else expects it of you, says that it’s what you need to do, or that you have to because “you’re married now.” Conversely, don’t let anyone else deter you by saying you’re too young or too old, inexperienced or single. This is your life and your dream! Make your plans, get your finances in order and find a good realtor if you’ve decided homeownership is right for you right now.

Finding Your Dream Home in Kitchener-Waterloo: Ask the Right Questions

buying a home in Kitchener

Ask your Realtor these questions when starting your home search

I am in the process of looking for a new home in Kitchener or Waterloo. Like you, I also want to find my dream home. No one want to gets stuck living in a nightmare. Most buyers have a deep and somewhat justified fear of purchasing a “problem home.” The unfortunate truth is that some do end up falling into a money pit and some new homebuyers find after they’ve moved in that the home wasn’t quite the right fit for their family or their lifestyle. If you’ve found a good real estate agent in Kitchener-Waterloo, you’ve taken the first step in finding your dream home and dodging that nightmare. Now you’ve just got to open the conversation and start asking the right questions.

Don’t be afraid to ask your Kitchener-Waterloo real estate agent lots of questions. It’s what he or she expects and it’s why you’ve contracted with them in the first place! Your agent is there to help you and they should genuinely want you to find the best possible home at the price you need to pay. Your realtor wants you to be completely satisfied and truly happy in your new home (after all, referrals are very important to us!).  It’s simply smart to dig deep into your Realtor’s body of knowledge and really learn all you can before a purchase.

Your questions also help your agent to assess what you really need and want in a home and what is most important to you. Your agent isn’t a mind reader so you have to be clear and communicative about your needs. If you don’t ask the right questions, your agent can’t give you the information most valuable to your home search.

The right kinds of questions for your agent are open-ended, requiring more than a yes or no answer. They should open up a dialog about the home, your needs or any of the topics most important to you in particular. Take some time to determine what you value most in a home and try not to become distracted when you’re viewing or discussing a potential home. You should consider making a list and storing it on your smartphone for reference. This way you won’t overlook one of your “must-haves” or “deal-breakers.” You can get distracted when you’re in a home that has that special spark, but is missing a key feature you hope to find.

MARK MAURER, Team leader

Here are a few examples of questions to help you open a meaningful discourse with your Kitchener-Waterloo real estate agent about a home.

A fair question: “Is this a good neighbourhood?”

A good neighborhood is a top consideration for buyers but the definition of good is more difficult to pin down. Asking if a neighborhood is “good” or “bad” is just too subject to interpretation. What one person considers good may be practically unbearable to another. One buyer (or agent) might think that being within walking distance to shops and restaurants is a huge plus and respond, “Yes, this neighborhood is great.” But if you really want to live in a quiet country setting, the answer to that question would be really be no.

The BETTER question: “Tell me about the neighbourhood.”

This version of the neighborhood question gives your agent a chance to fill in the blanks and help show you how the neighborhood fits your needs. He or she can tell you about the features that could make it a perfect choice. You can also get an idea if this just may not be the ideal location for you. This query goes beyond the judgement of good or bad and starts to address the question “Is it right for me and my family?” instead.

 

A fair question: “How much does it cost?”

After location, price is often the determining factor in a home purchase. It’s tempting to just jump to the numbers straight away. Remember that an asking price may or may not be what you actually end up paying in the end. A smart, reliable agent probably won’t be showing you a home he knows is way outside of the budget you’ve communicated so don’t fixate on the price just yet.

The BETTER question: “What are comparable home sales in this area?” and “What’s the value of this home?”

What you really want to know is whether the home is a good value for the price, not simply the price. If it’s perfectly in your budget but significantly overpriced for the area, you won’t be getting your money’s worth. If the asking price a little over budget but the home has been sitting on the market for 6 months, your agent might be able to negotiate and get you the price you need. Don’t be blinded by an asking price. Look instead at overall value and the quality of this long-term investment. To find out what the difference between the assessed value and list price of a home read the article we wrote about this subject.

 

A fair question: “When was it built?”

This isn’t a terrible question on its own; it’s just not likely what you really wanted to know. Asking for the year usually means you’re asking about the condition of the home. Condition is a serious matter and it can’t be contained in the home’s birthday. A century-old home that’s been given a new roof, wiring and plumbing could be in far better condition than one 75 years younger.

The BETTER question: “What is the condition of the home’s major systems (roof, electrical, plumbing, structure, foundation, etc.)?”

Go ahead and ask for the build year but add on this question about the home’s primary systems. The roof, electrical systems, plumbing and foundation/structure are where “money pits” are born so ask about them specifically. Ask if the home has been inspected recently and have your agent go over the report with you.

The right questions always lead to the best information. Start thinking about what you really want and need to know about a home and you can have a more meaningful chat with your agent. Finding your dream home really does start with a meaningful conversation.

Members of The Mark Maurer Team are always open to answering your questions about buying or selling a home in Kitchener-Waterloo or the surrounding area. Feel free to drop us a line here or give us a call at 519.885.0200.