Archive for buying a home in Waterloo

Real Estate Tips: Home Buying Mistakes to Avoid!

 Purchasing a Home? You Will Want to Know This!

Purchasing a Home? You Will Want to Know This

In this video, I tell you what other Real Estate Agents won’t: the biggest mistakes that home buyers make when purchasing a home. Whether this is your first purchase or you’re looking for your dream home, this is important information for you.

Watch this video for my complete answer to this home buying issue:



Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,500 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by downloading my free eBook.  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


Buying a Home: The Wrong Time to Buy

Looking for a house, Tyler quickly got in over his head. A professional REALTOR® helped him develop a more realistic and practical pathway to ownership. Watch Tyler’s story below:

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

Real Estate Tips: Buying a New Home

Don’t take our word for it, find out how a professional REALTOR® could have helped Charlene see the complete picture of what she was buying before the deal closed.

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

You’ve Outgrown Your Home. Do you Buy First or Sell First?

Real Estate Tips: How to Buy and Sell Real Estate in Kitchener-Waterloo

Real Estate Tips: How to Buy and Sell Real Estate in Kitchener-Waterloo

Moving up from a starter home is an exciting prospect, especially as it often comes with a big change in your life, such as a new partner, child, or a new job. Once you start to look at the logistics, the process can become a daunting one. Apart from the joy of packing, at some point you realize that you’ll have to find and buy a new home in addition to selling your current one. Perhaps the most important question is: Which one do you do first?

If you can afford to straddle two places at once, there are benefits to buying a home before selling your current one. You don’t have to worry about temporary housing and moving twice, which can be costly as well as stressful – not to mention that in some places, rental markets are extremely competitive. If there are other people in your household, moving more than once can be disruptive to your school/work routines, especially if the temporary location isn’t ideal. If you want to buy a home before selling your current one but don’t have the necessary cash, you have the option of applying for a bridge loan. A bridge loan is a short-term financing tool that helps purchasers during the period between closing dates. Bridge financing allows you to use the equity in your current home as a down payment for your new home while waiting for the sale of your existing home to close. These loans are a very short-term solution, though, typically for only 90 days, and are generally only an option when a sale agreement is already in place for your current home.

If you buy your new home first, you can move as soon as you would like to set the closing date and get the keys. This eliminates the need for storage rentals that you might need if you decide to sell your current home first. In certain markets, it’s also expected that you stage your home. Even if staging isn’t expected, it can boost the final sale price or help it sell faster than it would otherwise. If you buy a home before selling your current place, you don’t have to worry about keeping your home pristine for weekend open houses and surprise showings; you can move out and leave the place clean and clutter-free without feeling that you’re living in a showroom.

Get help from a professional real estate agent or mortgage expert

Working with a mortgage professional will help you determine the financial implication of buying or selling first, and working with a real estate professional will help you figure out the climate of the areas where you’re looking to buy or sell. Sellers’ markets can work for you when buying and selling. Right now we are in a hot market in Waterloo Region and you don’t have to feel as much pressure to wait for your home to sell because desirable inventory is low (I wish it wasn’t this low). In this current real estate climate you may feel that you have to jump on submitting on offer on a property that you like because you can be fairly confident if you don’t snatch it immediately, someone else will. While a soft market gives you more time to look and make a decision, it often means longer wait times for the right buyer to come along for your property.

Conventional wisdom, however, is that you sell your existing home before buying a new one.

The obvious advantage to selling your home first is that you don’t have to carry two mortgages. Not only are two mortgage payments expensive, but if you aren’t porting your mortgage and are getting a new one, then you have to go through the application process again and already owning a property might impact your borrowing capacity and/or interest rate for your new mortgage. Additionally, if you’re getting a new mortgage the sale price of your current home probably has some bearing on what you can afford for your next home. Even if you think you and your Realtor have listed your home at fair market value, you ultimately won’t know what that sale price is until you accept an offer.

If your home sells quickly like the majority of our clients’ homes do, finding temporary housing with friends or family or even renting isn’t always a bad thing. Doing so can mean that you can put an offer on a new home without the condition of sale of your current home, making your offer more attractive to sellers. You may also be more flexible in terms of closing dates. Of course you want to get settled into your new home as quickly as possible, but being able to tailor your needs to that of the seller can make the difference between your offer beating another.

When you sell first, you also have a little more freedom than you would if you buy another home first. You don’t have to settle if you don’t see the perfect property right away. Or you can sell your home, get a long closing when buying another home and take some time off before you get the keys. If you’re in a situation where your things are in short-term storage until you find a new home anyway, maybe you can even take the opportunity to travel, even if it’s just for a short period of time. You’ll come back relaxed, refreshed, and ready to unpack in your new home.

I also answer this question in my video


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 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



Tips for Single Female Home Buyers


buying a home in Kitchener-Waterloo

Dreaming of Owning Your Own Home?

There was a time when homebuyers were a predictable bunch as far as demographics were concerned. Most were married; many had children. All of the agents on my team could often tell just by our buyers’ ages and the ages of their children what kind of home they would purchase. Single buyers used to be rare and single female buyers were practically nonexistent. That time is over!

Single women aren’t waiting for husbands and children to dictate their home ownership goals anymore. They are becoming homeowners in greater numbers than ever before. Today, more than 25% of Canada’s home buyers are single.

Why should a single person buy a home?

Buying a home will give you the space and privacy you want along with a sense of personal pride in your home that you just don’t get when you’re renting. You have more control over your space too. You can paint, decorate and alter the space in whatever way you see fit (as long as it conforms to local codes, of course). It’s also a sound investment that even your parents will approve J

It only makes sense to buy in today’s market. If you’re currently renting you already know that rent isn’t cheap in Kitchener-Waterloo. If you’re paying between $1000 and $1500 each month in rent, you could feasibly be carrying a mortgage of around $250,000 instead of supporting your landlord’s real estate investment. Having a mortgage builds equity; it’s an investment in your own future.

Interest rates are still affordably low and there are more options than ever for single buyers. Single-family homes of the right size, despite the moniker, are a classic choice. Houses with rental potential are particularly popular since becoming a landlord is smart way to get part (or all) of your mortgage covered. Condos in Waterloo Region are also a good way to break into the real estate market without as many maintenance woes. You can resell a condo when you want a change or retain it as an investment/rental property.

As a single buyer, you’ve never had so many choices. Banks are much more open to lending to single buyers now than in the past so it’s a great time to make home ownership a priority. If you are single and looking to buy, you need to be as educated as possible about the process and I’m going to help you with that.

Take a look at our Buying Guide to begin your home ownership education. Here’s one very important thing you should know right away: as the buyer, having a real estate agent represent you costs you nothing. The seller is the one who pays the real estate fees. Begin realizing your dream of owning your own home by choosing a Realtor who will represent you, ensuring all your needs are met, and protect you as you purchase. 

Tips for Single Female Home Buyers

If you are single and a considering buying a home, there are a few things you should consider a little more closely than if you were buying in tandem with another person. Since you will be the individual solely responsible for the home, you need to be even more careful about these key points.

  • Know what you can afford. Again, you will be the only one making the mortgage payments. It’s even more critical that you know exactly how much home you can afford. As the only person responsible for the mortgage payments every month, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Don’t count on your lender to dictate to you how much you can afford. Calculate the costs of your lifestyle and decide for yourself how much you are willing to commit to your mortgage payment.
  • Understand the whole cost of ownership. In considering how much you can afford, don’t forget the details. Home ownership is more than the mortgage payment. You will also have taxes, insurance and maintenance costs to consider. Your Realtor will be able to help you consider and calculate these costs.
  • Set up an emergency fund. Home repairs can occur suddenly and some of them are costly. It’s a good idea to put money aside in an emergency fund for these unexpected emergencies.
  • Protect your investment. Insurance coverage is no joking matter when you are a homeowner. You will definitely want to consult your insurance agent to inquire about how home ownership will change your coverage needs. Click here to read an article we published about what insurance covers if you have water damage. What coverage should you have on the structure itself? Do you need liability insurance on your home? Outside of coverage for your new home you will want to find out – who will pay my mortgage if I become injured or disabled? Make an appointment with your insurance agent or broker before your home purchase and be sure all of your questions are answered so that you protect your income and your home.
  • Avoid costly mistakes. Don’t rush into your home buying decision and don’t compromise your budget. Mistakes in the process of purchasing a home can be financially devastating; take your time and get expert real estate advice throughout the process.

This is an excellent time to be a single homeowner. Read over our Buying Guide and give us a call to start making your home ownership dreams come true.

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

Are You Financially Ready to Buy a Home?

Financial Preparedness

Financial Preparedness

So many of your hopes and dreams rest on finding the perfect place to live, a setting for all those plans you’ve made. Your dream home could be a luxury condo in Uptown Waterloo or a rustic rural homestead. Either way, you’ll need to be financially ready to buy that dream home.

Determining your financial readiness is a crucial stage in the home buying process. For some homebuyers, that process may only last a few weeks but for others it can last much longer. Every journey to home ownership is different. The first step is always asking yourself, “Am I financially ready to buy a home?”

Some homebuyers will be ready to call a Realtor as soon as they have a few thousand dollars saved up. While calling a Realtor is a great place to begin your journey, having a down payment is not all there is to buying a home. A good Realtor can educate, guide and assist you but you’ll likely need more than a small down payment to be truly “ready.” There are also online tools and calculators that will help you assess what you can reasonable afford to purchase. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s website has some calculators and tools that will give you a better perspective on your debt-to-income ratio, the estimated upfront costs of a home purchase, as well as mortgage payments and types.

We have put together a few items for you to consider as you determine your financial readiness.

Down Payment

Of course the down payment is no small matter and should be your #1 financial priority. Saving for your down payment takes discipline and effort – you can do it! This is a good starting point towards home ownership. Your down payment is the portion you will pay towards your home that does not come from your mortgage loan. This is the portion you will have to have in a readily available form (like a checking or savings account) when you close on the purchase of your dream home.

The size of this payment will vary depending on the mortgage issuer you choose and the price of the home. Most mortgage companies would like to see you make a down payment of at least 5% of the home’s selling price before they will issue a traditional mortgage. You may be able to make a smaller percentage payment if you purchase mortgage loan insurance (through CMHC, Canada Guaranty or Genworth) which will raise your monthly payments slightly.


When potential buyers make an offer on a home, a deposit is required to assure the buyer that they are indeed quite serious about buying that particular home. The size of the deposit will vary depending on the situation. If the buyer backs out of the deal, he may lose this deposit unless his contract states that the deposit is contingent upon certain factors such as findings from the home inspection or securing financing. Deposits are usually rolled into the down payment at closing.


A home purchase will require you to pay certain fees above and beyond the down payment on the home. Here a few fees to make yourself aware of:

  • Appraisal fee. Paid out-of-pocket by the buyer, and appraisal is often required by the lender. This is a valuation of the home (including its features, recent comparable sales and recent market conditions) by an independent party.
  • Home Inspection Fee. Your lender most often requires a home inspection and this is an item you should absolutely include in your budget. An inspection tells you the condition of the home including all of its major systems. The inspector can alert you to any problems before you buy.
  • Mortgage Broker Fees. If you have chosen to use a broker to help you find the most favorable mortgage, his fees will likely be due at closing.
  • Pre-paid taxes. A prorated portion of the year’s property taxes may be due as soon as your close on a new home.
  • Estoppel Certificate Fee (for condos only). Also called a Status Certificate, this certificate outlines the financial and legal condition of a condo corporation so you can determine if a unit is a safe financial risk.
  • You lender will require your to have property insurance in place as soon as the home is in your possession on closing day.
  • Closing costs. There are numerous fees due at closing that are collectively called “closing costs”. Underwriters’ fees, title searches and insurance, survey fees and origination fees all fall under this heading.
  • Moving costs. Don’t forget to include the cost of a mover. Even if you plan a DIY project (renting a truck and packing it yourselves), get a quote ahead of time to ensure you have put aside funds for the fun!

This list is by no means exhaustive but you can see that you will need a little more than your down payment in hand by closing day.

Once the Home is Yours

A home will require more than a monthly mortgage payment. There will be other costs involved so be sure your budget can handle these added costs. Taxes are a major consideration and so is basic maintenance.

Don’t let this list of costs discourage you from your dream of home ownership! Talk to a financial counselor or a Realtor on The Mark Maurer Team and learn what it will take for you to be ready to buy a home. You might be surprised that you are in a better position that you imagined!


Starting the Home Buying Process

The Home Buying Process in Kitchener-Waterloo

The Home Buying Process in Kitchener-Waterloo

If you’ve done all the prep work including: making the emotional commitment to buying a home in Waterloo Region; checking and confirming your financial situation; and finding a trustworthy Realtor, it’s time to start the home buying process. This exciting journey will lead you to your dream of using your hard-earned money to create a home of your own with all the benefits that come with ownership. If you’ve decided that you’re not quite ready yet, you can still take a few of the first steps towards ownership. A good place to start is with our Home Buyers Guide and this blog post.

Finding a Realtor

Choosing your Realtor should be one of the very first things you do in your home buying process. Not just anyone will do in helping you find that cozy dream home!  Choose based on recommendations from trusted friends and family members, the Realtor’s proven track record and reputation and his or her expertise in the neighborhood where you’d like to live. Your Realtor will be your guide and your best friend in this journey so choose wisely.


One of the first steps towards home ownership is deciding what to buy. This is a step you can start taking well before you are ready to sit at a closing table. Start thinking about your “must have” list and what things are negotiable. Ponder on these points:

Size. Square footage is only the beginning. Consider the number of rooms and the way the space is allotted to each floor.

Neighborhood. You should do plenty of research on your desired neighborhood(s), find the one you want and stick to that plan. (You can change many things about a home but location isn’t one of them!)

Property type. Choose what kind of home you want from the numerous options in the market. Condo, townhome, detached, semi-detached, new build or existing – you’ve got a lot to consider! For more detailed information on this, check out our article Which Home is Right for You?

Features. Are you crazy for kitchens or bazooka for baths?  Choose the features you just can’t live without but keep your expectations in line with your budget. And remember, some features can be added later.


Browsing can be both the most fun and most dangerous part of the process. It’s fun to drive around neighborhoods and tour homes, imagining your new life in each one. You may want to beware of touring without a guide. You should have the benefit of your Realtor so you don’t fall hopelessly in love with something far out of your reach and you never know which house will steal your heart. Your Realtor will help keep your eyes focused on homes that are within your means to purchase.  If you’re seriously in the market to buy, go beyond merely looking at homes from the outside (or online). Take a walk through the neighborhood and chat with some of the people who live there. Ask about safety, what the neighbors are like, what problems are evident and what the best and worst things about living there might be. Here is something that is key: visit your desired neighbourhood during the daytime AND the nighttime. Check out the morning and evening commute traffic and odd times during the day when you could be busiest coming and going from your home. Look at local public records for break-ins or other types of crimes nearby.


If you’re starting this process, you’ve probably already started getting your finances in order. (If you haven’t, you should!)  Start saving  if you haven’t done so yet because you’ll need a bit more than just the down payment.  You’ll also need to begin looking at mortgages and finding a mortgage broker. Getting preapproved for a mortgage is a smart move and tells sellers you’re a serious and qualified buyer. Remember that prequalified and preapproved are two different things. To be prequalified means the lender has looked at some basic information you supplied and has given you an idea of what you may or may not be able to afford. To be prequalified means the lender has done a more thorough examination (including your credit rating) and told you just how much they are willing to lend you.  Prequalified is good place to start and pre approval is even better. Your seller will have the assurance that you have a lender ready and waiting and you won’t be costing them time or money once you make an offer. This little detail may make the difference between having an offer accepted or seeing your perfect home slip through your fingers.

Making an Offer

If you’ve found the perfect home in the right neighborhood, it’s time to make an offer. Your Realtor will research the home and recent comparable sales in the area along with current market trends to help you decide on a fair price for the home. She or he will also negotiate and be an advocate for you until a final price is reached.  Your offer could be declined, accepted or countered and your Real Estate Agent will be your best help in each situation. If it’s declined, he’ll help you decide whether to make another offer or move on to another home. If there is a counter-offer, he or she will help you decide how to negotiate from there. Once your offer is accepted, your Realtor will walk you through the next stages of the process including the home inspection and closing. There’s more to know about the home buying process so look through our Home Buyers Guide or give us a call at 519-885-0200. You might decide the time to start your journey to home ownership will start today!

Buyer’s Remorse: The Biggest Regrets of Home Buyers


The Mark Maurer Team

Tips on Avoiding Buyer’s Remorse in Your Home Purchase

Buying a home can be a bit of scary business. It’s a big decision and a serious investment. Both personally and financially, a lot is riding on the choices home buyers can make in the process of purchasing a home. A good Realtor can help you avoid a great many of the most common pitfalls but it’s up to you to make the final call on so many things. You don’t want to look back in a year or so and feel that you’ve made a huge mistake.

That awful feeling that sits in your gut like a gas station burrito after making an ill-chosen purchase has a name (and it’s not indigestion). It’s called “buyer’s remorse.” It’s defined as the feeling of regret after making a purchase. It’s an emotional reaction to buying something regardless or despite of, the price. This type of regret is most often experienced after making a major purchase. Buyers’ remorse can stem from guilt over the perceived extravagance, a feeling of being overly-influenced by the seller or a suspicion that the choice made was the wrong one.

Buyers’ remorse is a terrible, sickening feeling. A little touch of that feeling is natural, even expected. You talk yourself into decision and then spend a little time second-guessing and convincing yourself that you were right. It’s only human to have a little tension in a transaction the size of a home. However, when that little bit of tension turns into a case of the cold sweats, you know you’ve made the wrong choice. Informing yourself about the common home buying regrets can help you to avoid them yourself! Here are a few of the most common reasons homebuyers regret their purchase.


Some buyers overreact to their dissatisfaction with their current space and go to the extreme in the opposite direction on their next purchase. Buyers leaving a small home that’s feeling rather crowded want the biggest possible home and find they’ve over-bought and can’t manage the upkeep. Or when looking to downsize, a buyer might go TOO small and find that they can’t accommodate guests as they would like.

Stay away from this trap by planning and choosing logically, not emotionally. Plan for your future in the home, not what you’ve experienced the past. Considering buying all the home you can afford and not skimping or scrimping on space so you love it for longer. You’ll be able to grow into the home and enjoy it for longer. The longer you stay, the more money you’ll save in the long run (it costs a lot to move!).

Settling for a strange layout

After you have been looking for a while, you start thinking you need to be less choosy. You give up on finding the layout you really want and begin to accept the fact that you’ll have to make some concessions (sounds reasonable enough right?). You convince yourself that an awkward or poorly planned layout isn’t really that bad and you’ll get used to it. The previous owners did after all.

If a home feels awkward when you tour it the first time, it will still feel weird after ten years. Don’t talk yourself out of getting what you really want and need.

Falling for a trend

You’re thinking that you want your home to be contemporary and up-to-date. You want your friends to be just a little bit jealous! You love a certain look from a magazine. All these things are fine but don’t let them dictate your home purchase.

Today’s trend is tomorrow’s dated look. Just think – saloon doors to the kitchen, wood paneling and Pepto-pink bathrooms were once major design trends (hard to imagine, isn’t it?!). Stick to contemporary-yet-classic in the things you can’t easily change like structure, tile and flooring. Let your taste for current trends be reflected in things that you can switch out without too much trouble and expense like wall colors and lighting fixtures.

Missing what’s missing

When you fall in love with a house, it’s easy to skim over the little details. You focus on the “Wow!” features and get distracted from your mission. Maybe it’s the house’s pretty exterior that sets you off-track and you forget it’s not in the right neighborhood for you. Perhaps a massive, natural stone shower just takes your breath away and you don’t realize there’s not a bathtub anywhere in the home to bathe your newborn child.

Doing it alone

Many buyers (and sellers) think that they can save money and shorten the home buying process by doing it all themselves. A good Realtor is your advocate, your best friend and best weapon in this process. If you’ve chosen a trustworthy Realtor then you won’t have to worry about being rushed or cajoled into a quick purchase or sale.

To avoid this pitfall, choose your Realtor wisely. Ask for referrals, talk to your friends and compare their experiences. Listen to your gut. If you don’t feel comfortable with a Realtor’s attitude or advice, find a new Realtor. You shouldn’t have to sit on either side of the closing table without a knowledgeable guide and friend beside you.

Talk to your Realtor about what you want and need in a home. When they tell you the home isn’t hitting all your “must-haves”, listen to them. Remind yourself of your needs often and don’t rush into a choice just because you’ve been dazzled by one particular feature.

Familiarize yourself with the common mistakes that homebuyers make so you won’t have that sick-to-your-stomach feeling when you receive the keys. Talk to your real estate agent in Kitchener-Waterloo and learn from their expertise. This way, you won’t be saddled with a bad case of buyer’s remorse.

Affordable Homes In Kitchener-Waterloo for Home Buyers? Absolutely!

cheap houses in Kitchener

Does Kitchener-Waterloo Have Reasonably-Priced Houses?

In recent months you have probably seen the headlines (because they’re everywhere) – parts of Canada are facing a housing affordability crisis like never before. In cities across the country, housing has become so expensive that middle income individuals just can’t afford to become home buyers. While that may be absolutely true in other cities across the nation, it’s not always the case in Kitchener-Waterloo. Instead, this area remains more affordable than many nearby cities.

A Bigger Problem

The rapid increase in housing prices is a big cause for concern due to two main problems. First, job growth remains fairly stagnant. Private sector growth is hitting numbers like 10%. Public sector growth is a bit higher, but there’s one other problem to go with those job growth numbers – median incomes. For most families, the median income has remained the same, even in the face of the housing costs increasing across the country. Fortunately, Kitchener-Waterloo seems to have an edge. Our job growth numbers look amazing with a recently released Ontario Chamber of Commerce report suggesting that economic growth in the area will continue to gain momentum thanks to exports and investment spending in manufacturing and the tech sector. This helps to shield our area from stagnation of job growth.

What Defines “Affordable?”

The Canadian Real Estate Association regularly ranks cities and townships as affordable by comparing the average prices of residential dwellings in and around the area. The lower the numbers, the more affordable the general area. In these studies, Kitchener-Waterloo almost always ranks as one of the more affordable places to live. In May of 2015, the average price of a home in this area was just about $350,000. In greater Toronto, it was hitting $650,000. Moving to the West Coast certainly isn’t going to save you any cash either. Vancouver was recently ranked as the most expensive city with average home prices coming in at $748,651.

What Keeps Housing Prices Lower in Kitchener-Waterloo?

Wondering why this area remains so affordable? There are a few reasons. One of the most likely reasons is the fact that there’s a consistent level of housing inventory in the area. In May of 2015 alone, there were 1,200 new listings. Sellers have to stay competitive in this environment to keep in line with market conditions.

There are also a number of incentives to buy a home in the area at the moment. Waterloo launched their Affordable Home Ownership Program, offering individuals and families a loan to help cover the down payment of a home. Buyers can receive up to five percent of the purchase price as long as: the home is located in the Waterloo Region; has a purchase price of $243,300 or less; and is approved by the region itself. There are guidelines for eligibility, but it’s certainly a helping hand for many buyers.

The other likely reason for the lower prices in this area is the fact that historically low interest rates mean there’s a stronger pool of potential buyers. As the interest rates go up, the chances are good that the number of buyers will go back down, as may the total number of sellers.

Home Prices Aren’t the Only Reason to Consider Kitchener-Waterloo

Besides the fantastic deal you could get on a house here, there are a number of other reasons to consider this area. Kitchener has a long list of things to see and do. It’s close enough to metropolitan areas like Toronto, and there is easy access to Highway 401. Once you’re here, though, you probably won’t want to leave! There’s a highly diversified economy attracting people from a wide range of cultures who have made this area nothing short of amazing. The diversity here, along with great schools, an invested infrastructure that just keeps getting better, and robust arts and culture environment make this the best place to live if you’re considering the Waterloo Region.


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.