Rob and Jenn

Welcome to the July edition of our real estate newsletter

Our Intent

To publish this newsletter four times a year. This will coincide with the changing seasons, keep you informed and up-to-date with what is happening on the local real estate market. Real estate is an ever-changing scene with fluctuating prices, styles and trends in design and décor, along with investment opportunities.

We Are Here To Help

We understand that buying or selling can be a stressful situation with so many details to think about and we would like to make that experience a more relaxed and enjoyable one. We will accomplish this by providing short stories on typical aspects of the real estate business that we believe will be useful to anyone interested in buying or selling.

This Newsletter

  • Congratulations and welcome to Hilary
  • Unconditional Offers
  • Closing and Related Costs
  • Renovations that Pay
Our newsletters will be sent out when published and anyone will be able to access a past issue by going to our website. This is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to our past clients, friends and staying connected with local people. We have also designed our website to help you along with the selling or buying process.  Under the resources tab, you will find mortgage calculators and connections to our community for home inspectors, contractors, lawyers, mortgage brokers, and more.

If there is a topic of interest to you and you want additional information, please contact us at any time to discuss it.

Welcome Hilary Gray to our team!

Hilary wants to make dreams come true for clients who are buying or selling real estate properties.
Born and raised in the Brockville area, Hilary has embraced all the community has to offer and now she is going to use her strong background in customer service to continue to help others in the real estate market. Being involved with sports teams, Hilary knows and understands the value of teamwork and working together to get the job done.
She is going to use her energy, knowledge of the community and people skills to help create personal and lasting connections with her clients. She wants to offer integrity and professional service in every aspect of the real estate transaction.
She is going to continue the tradition of a high level of caring service in the real estate business that she has observed and learned from mother Jenn Ferguson and stepdad Rob Ferguson of Re/Max Hometown Realty Inc. Brokerage.
In her off-time, Hilary enjoys catching up with friends, trying out new restaurants, hiking and just being a part of the Brockville area community. Hilary lives in the Athens area.


Unconditional Offers

In case you haven’t noticed, real estate has been on fire for the last few years. Prices increased by more than 20 per cent nationwide in 2021 compared to 2020, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), and they are expected to keep rising. If you’re looking to buy a home in a hot market, you’ll likely need to make an offer that has no conditions. While this strategy can make your offer more appealing, it can also mean serious expenses down the road.

The two most common kinds of conditions placed on home offers are the financing condition and the home-inspection condition. Both are meant to protect homebuyers, and removing either one places buyers at risk. When only a single buyer is interested, having a financing or home inspection condition in a home offer is pretty standard. However, if you’re in a multiple bid situation, you will be under pressure to make an unconditional offer. This is because you want to make your offer more attractive than the others, and you may be facing other buyers who will be willing to make a no-conditions offer. From the seller’s perspective, having a no-condition offer is ideal. The potential buyer is telling you that they’re willing to purchase your home for the agreed price in its current state. Closing on the sale is much easier and more certain without conditions.
It should be obvious that unconditional home offers can have serious consequences. Often, they will cost you money. Potentially a lot of money. Take the financing condition as an example. Under this condition, the sale of the home only goes through if the buyer can secure a mortgage. If they can’t get the funds for whatever reason, they’ll be able to back out of the contract without any consequences. Without that clause, as a buyer, you put yourself at risk. Just because you offer a price on a home, that doesn’t mean you’ll be approved for the full amount. Lenders will appraise the home that you’ve purchased. If they think you’ve bid too much, they may not give you all the funds you need.

For example, let’s say you offered $650,00 for a home, but your lender thinks it’s only worth $600,000. You’d have to find the remaining $50,000 on your own. If you’re not able to secure the total amount, you may not be able to close on the home. In turn, you would lose your deposit. Not only that, if the seller re-listed their home after you backed out of the deal, and sold for less than what you offered, they could sue you for the difference. Then there is the home inspection condition that people are commonly waiving these days. This is of greater concern. Traditionally, buyers would do a home inspection to ensure everything looks right when buying a home. The home inspector would look at things such as the home’s foundation, roof, HVAC, structural components, and more.

The findings in the home inspector’s report could affect your purchasing decision. For example, if there are significant concerns about the foundation, which could be very expensive to fix, you may want to pull the offer. Alternatively, if the HVAC needs replacing, you could renegotiate the price. Without this condition, you’re buying as-is. If you’re lucky, you won’t have any major repairs to do, but something will likely come up eventually. Unconditional offers have become such a concern that some real estate brokerages require their clients to sign a form stating that they understand the risks involved.

You might not be able to avoid a no-conditions offer, but you can take some steps to protect yourself. Start by getting pre-approved for a mortgage. By doing this, you’ll know exactly how much your lender is willing to provide you and what the terms are. Then, when you’re ready to bid on a home, you can avoid exceeding what you’ve been approved for. Getting a pre-approved mortgage doesn’t take much time, so there’s no reason not to get one. When it comes to home inspections, you can technically get one before you make an offer. However, that could get expensive quickly if you’re doing one for each property you’re interested in. All you can realistically do is thoroughly look at the home during your showing and ask the seller questions. If you’re still comfortable making an offer, be sure to set aside some funds for the repairs that will eventually be needed.

The reality is that there are many markets in Canada where having no conditions in your offer is a must these days. If there are multiple offers, any buyer that puts in a condition likely won’t stand a chance. Sellers want to sell their homes and will take the path of least resistance.

Closing and Related Costs

Closing costs are the legal, administrative and disbursement fees associated with buying a home. Understanding these fees will help you budget more accurately. These costs are over and above what you paid for the home.

How much land transfer tax will you have to pay? The land transfer tax is a one‐time tax levied by your province when you purchase a property. The tax is based on a percentage of the purchase price of the property, and varies from province to province. Some municipalities also charge an additional land transfer tax (for example, Toronto).

Associated legal costs to cover your lawyer’s fees. These may include reviewing the terms of the offer, conduction a title search on the property, registering a new title, obtaining relevant documents such as surveys and evidence of liens on the property, checking for statement of adjustments for taxes, utility and fuel bills, and other costs that have been pre-paid by the seller at the date of closing.

Home Inspection – A home inspector assesses a property’s condition and can tell you if something is not working properly, needs to be changed, or is unsafe. They may be able to identify where there have been problems in the past, such as a leaking basement or termite damage.

What other costs can you expect? Interest adjustments between the date of closing and first mortgage payment, HST on a new home or a home that’s been extensively renovated, title insurance to provide coverage for losses related to title fraud, survey issues, problems with the title and challenges to the ownership of your home. Service charges from utility companies for hook-ups on electricity, gas, internet and telephone services. Appraisal fees, moving costs, storage costs if you must leave your current home before being able to access your new home. Furniture, appliances and possibly real estate commissions.

9 Home Renovations That Pay Off on the Resale Market

The right renovations can help sellers secure a homebuyer faster, and potentially for a higher price. On the buying side, renovating a fixer-upper may allow buyers to get into their neighbourhood of choice at a lower price. Meanwhile, for homeowners who aren’t quite sold on moving or who find themselves challenged given limited inventory of listings, renovations have become a way to get a bigger, better home without having to tackle this competitive market.

According to a Re/Max Canada report more than half of Canadians renovated their home for personal enjoyment. According to a survey, three in 10 Canadians renovated to enhance their lifestyle, such as recreation and entertainment projects, while another three in 10 renovated to maintain their home. Last but certainly not least, 16 per cent of Canadians said they renovated to increase the market value of their home in order to sell within in the next one to three years.

Regardless of their reasons for renovating, 59 per cent of Canadians said they always consider the return on investment that a renovation will have on their home’s market value. So, home renovations pay off on resale? RE/MAX brokers were surveyed across Canada about the top renovations that give home sellers the biggest payouts.

Kitchen Renovations
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#1 Kitchen – 93.5% of RE/MAX brokers said kitchen renovations give the best ROI, including new or updated cabinets, countertops and appliances. This can be attributed to the scale, cost and the general inconvenience (albeit a temporary one) of a kitchen renovation. Yes, renovating the kitchen yourself once you take possession of the home will be cheaper, however many homebuyers simply don’t want to put themselves through it – especially if they just completed a kitchen renovation on the home they are selling. The “move-in ready” factor is significant.

Bathroom Renovations
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#2 Bathroom – 61.3% of RE/MAX brokers identified bathroom renovations as a great high-return renovation. By the same logic as the kitchen renovation, homebuyers who want move-in ready homes with all the bells and whistles generally don’t want to take on expensive, time-consuming and inconvenient renovations, such as bathroom.

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#3 Paint – 58% of RE/MAX brokers said a fresh coat of paint is the simplest and cheapest investment, and it pays off on the resale market. Aside from giving the home an instant refresh, home stagers also recommend light and neutral paint colours to make a home appear bigger, brighter and cleaner.

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#4 Flooring – 45.2% of RE/MAX brokers said new flooring is a popular upgrade among homebuyers. Homebuyers largely prefer hardwood or tile over wall-to-wall carpets, which tend to trap stains and odours, and can really show a home’s age. This is a must, and if the seller is lucky, tearing up that old carpet could even reveal a hardwood floor underneath that just needs some TLC to bring it to its former glory.

Finished Basement
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#5 Finished basement – 16.1% of RE/MAX brokers said finished basements are a great selling feature on the resale market. In fact, any renovations that add liveable square footage to a home are always in demand. A lower-level family room, home office, an extra bedroom or bathroom in the basement can all give your listing a significant boost at the offer table.

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#6 Outdoors/landscaping – 12.9% of RE/MAX brokers said outdoor projects can provide good ROI. As a result of the pandemic, people have been spending more time at home and thus, large years, pools and hot tubs, decks and patios, and landscaping are all appealing on the resale market. Depending on the scope of the project, this could be one of those low-investment, high-return upgrades that pay off on resale.

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#7 Roof – 12.9% of RE/MAX brokers said roofing was a good option to invest some renovation dollars before listing a home for sale. New roof tied in sixth place with outdoor projects and landscaping.

Open Concept
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#8 Open-concept floor plan – 9.7% of RE/MAX brokers said redesigning a home with an open-concept floor plan can pay off. This isn’t a small or inexpensive project by any means, but removing wasteful walls and halls can instantly modernize an older home and make it live larger than its actual square footage would otherwise allow.

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#9 Windows – 6.5% of RE/MAX brokers said new windows net higher offers on the resale market. While this isn’t exactly the sexiest of renovations, astute buyers will appreciate the tens of thousands of dollars that new windows will cost, so having these replaced before listing can benefit both buyer and seller. Furthermore, new windows can give your home an understated refresh, inside and out.

Robert and Jenn Ferguson

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