Home Inspections: What You Need To Know
A home is quite likely one of the biggest purchases of your life and you want to make sure that you know what you are buying. While the home may have looked perfect to you, there may be underlying issues that are only visible to a trained eye. For this reason, it is important that you include a home inspection in the conditions of your offer. You should never judge a book by it’s cover and the same is true for home buying. Condition of the Sale Typically, when you find a house you love, your Realtor will draw up an offer, referred to as an Agreement of Purchase and Sale. This document will outline everything from the dollar amount of the offer, closing date, deposit, inclusions, as well as conditions. Conditions are items that must be completed in a set amount of time to make the deal firm. In most cases, the conditions are for the benefit of the buyer and include things like securing financing and insurance and, of course, a home inspection. This will allow you to ensure that you know what you are buying and if you choose to back out at this stage, your deposit will be returned to you in full. Cost of a Home Inspection The cost of the home inspection is the responsibility of the buyer, no matter the outcome. The price may vary depending on the size of the home as well as the inspector. Treat this as an investment in ensuring you know what you are buying. Most people would rather spend hundreds of dollars and choose to walk away, then lose thousands down the road when a large problem is discovered. Finding a Home Inspector There are many home inspectors out there and it is always best to find one that comes well recommended. Ask friends and family who may have recently purchased a home or your Realtor will likely have a list of preferred partners that they know and trust. What Does a Home Inspection Include Home inspectors will examine the property from top to bottom for visible defects. Their main focuses include the roof, ventilation and HVAC, fireplaces, electrical, plumbing, foundations, structure, and appliances. Their only limitations are things that can’t be seen (behind walls) but many issues have signs that can be detected. What to Expect at Your Home Inspection If possible, try to attend the home inspection so that you can see first hand what the inspector notes. A good home inspector will not only guide you through the home but they will also provide you with a detailed document of their findings. The time spent for the inspection varies depends on the size of the property but it can take hours. Remember, the longer it is, the more thorough it will be. What Happens Next? Most home inspectors will find something that is wrong with the home; they are paid to be picky so don’t be discouraged right away. If it’s minor, you may choose to ignore it and move forward with the sale of the home. If you find something more significant, you may want to reconsider the deal. If it is something that is fixable but somewhat costly, work with your Realtor on a solution; you can request money off the sale price of the home to account for the repairs or you can request that the sellers resolve the problem before closing. In most cases, you will be able to work out a deal with the Sellers that is fair to all, but keep in mind they must agree as well. If the problem is too large or the Sellers choose not to budge, you can back out of the deal at this point and have your deposit returned in full. Should Sellers Get a Home Inspection? Some savvy sellers are choosing to get an inspection before putting their home on the market. If you don’t like the element of surprise, this may be a good idea for you. This way you will know ahead of time what the issues in the home might be and you can choose to have them fixed or price the home accordingly.
The Benefits of Home Staging
Defining Home Staging You may hear your Realtor suggest home staging in order to increase its chances on the market. Before you brush off the idea and assume you don’t need it, you should understand what it is and how you can benefit from it. Home staging is more than decluttering and depersonalizing your home, it’s when you hire professionals to reinvent the living space for new potential buyers. Home staging professionals know how to lay out a home in an optimized way and in most cases work with the furniture and accessories that you have. Small adjustments can sometimes have a huge impact! Let your home appeal to buyers Your home is perfect to your taste and everyday life but it may not have the same impact on buyers. Keep in mind that we often showcase our “stuff” in our home but when it’s time to list, we want to showcase the home not the things that don’t come with it. Our homes are filled with memories that may mean a lot to us but may distract the buyer and make it difficult for them to picture themselves in the space. A home stager will help create a blank canvas for buyers by eliminating that distraction. Don’t take it personally if your stager asks you to remove personal items; understand the reason why! Better Photos Looks mean a whole lot in real estate and if buyers can’t picture themselves living in your home then they won’t go out of their way to present an offer. Home staging not only tweaks the design but also the atmosphere, this affects lighting and space in a momentous way, which makes for better photos. You want to hook the buyers’ interest with those elegant shots and make them want to pay your place a visit. Remember most buyers start their search online so you want those photos to stand out. Justifying a Solid List Price Appearances will also affect the list price for your home. Think of it this way, by home staging, you’re improving the quality of your home and could lead to making great revenue. According to statistics, home staging can decrease the time on market of a home by 30-50% and deliver a selling price that is 6-20% higher than a home that is vacant or not properly staged. It’s a win, win option that should definitely be considered. The benefits of home staging outweigh the costs and it has become more and more common in recent years. To ensure that you home is competitively positioned in the market, this is a very important step. Ask your Realtors for a referral to an amazing stager and you won’t regret it.
New Year, New Home
How do you know if you’re ready to move? Besides deciding that it’s something you want to do in the new year, and planning for the big transition, how can you be sure it’s the right call? Has your family grown too big for the house? Perhaps it’s not by choice but due to work. Are you interested in downsizing? Here is a checklist you might want to review before you go looking for a new home. Looking For More Space? Homeowners often change properties because they outgrow it, this comes with starting a family, or expanding it. Whether this means having children or adopting pets, more family members means there is a demand for more bedrooms, more bathrooms and more living space. Possibly a bigger yard for your canine to run around in, a double garage because your kids have purchased vehicles of their own, a spacious loft for your home office, and what have you. Debating Downsizing Millennials are pursuing a minimalist lifestyle and Baby Boomers are seeking manageable homes. Both paths lead to downsizing. You have to consider how comfortable you will be in a smaller space, especially if all you have ever known is two storey homes and bungalows. Change can be hard if you’re not mentally prepared to accept the good with the bad. Get more insight about downsizing here. Creating a Moving Budget Before you start hunting for homes and signing agreements you should create a moving budget to make sure this big change is possible. Learn more about the importance of creating a moving budget through this helpful website. Relocating vs. Renovations You might be ready to move out of your home but not out of the neighbourhood. It might be convenient for work and commuting, so if you have the means to renovate your place then that might work out as a better option. Constructing add-ons and levels to your home will most likely require permission from City of Ottawa, who can help you determine whether or not this option is feasible. Splurging a Little Sometimes the decision to move is as simple as wanting to, there doesn’t need to be big factor in play. Maybe you want to find a home that has a pool installed. Maybe you’re looking for a place that has two family rooms so that you can host bigger parties, or maybe you want a bigger lot so you can start your next gardening project. Moving to improve your quality of life is a perfectly good and valid reason.
Market Snapshot: Ottawa Real Estate December 2018
That's a wrap: Ottawa Real Estate Market December 2018! As 2018 wrapped up, the inventory shortage has had a ripple effect; while residential sales were down slightly, it also fueled the condominium market. Overall, 2018 was another stellar year in Ottawa real estate!  If you’re thinking of making a move in 2019, we know real estate. We’d love to chat! Another Stellar Year for Ottawa’s Real Estate Market (excerpts below were taken from the Ottawa Real Estate Board's news release January 4th) January 4, 2019 663 residential properties were sold by REALTORS® in the Ottawa Real Estate board compared with 765 in December 2017, a decrease of 13.3% Year to date activity increased by 2.4 % from 2017. The total number of residential and condo units sold throughout all of 2018 was 17,476, compared with 17,065 in 2017. Residential property class sales decreased slightly to 13,418 from 13,478 in 2017 and condominium property class sales were up 13.1 % with 4,058 units sold in 2018 versus 3,587 in the previous year. Most active Residential price point: $300,000 to $449,999 range accounted for nearly 45 % of December’s sales while almost one in four sales were in the $500,000 to $750,000 price range. Most active Condominium price point: $175,000 to $274,999 accounting for 55.7 % of the units sold. Year-end figures echoed these dominating price points holding 45.6 % of the residential market and 49.8 of the condo market respectively. Highlights from the OREB president: “For the last decade, we have experienced steady growth in our real estate market from volume to prices; however, the past two years have jumped significantly in activity with a 12.6% increase in unit sales from 2016. Ottawa, and its surrounding area has excellent employment numbers and has proven to be one of the most affordable larger cities in the country,” proclaims Ralph Shaw, Ottawa Real Estate Board’s 2018 President. “What has come to a head in 2018 is the overall shortage of inventory which is extreme in certain pockets of the city. While this has caused unit sales to slide in the residential market, it has fueled the condominium market which has recovered and carried us through much of 2018. We have been predicting this will bode well for new construction in delayed high-rise projects,” he adds. “Another significant factor affecting the market in 2018, and first-time homebuyers in particular, is the mortgage stress test – an attempt by the federal government to cool two major markets in the country.  It has also unfortunately made move-up buyers less likely to take that step and free up entry-level options, which is an important part of the resale market,” Shaw points out. “In 2019, we expect the economic fundamentals of supply and demand to be at play with upward pressure on prices due to limited supply and increasing demand. Buyers do have affordable options in outlying communities if they are willing to commute — or they will simply have to pay more provided they can qualify. New builds and purpose-built rental housing could help ease some of the pressure, particularly if builders are able to provide a variety of quality options allowing for more movement in the market,” Shaw concludes. In addition to residential and condominium sales, OREB Members assisted clients with renting 2,713 properties since the beginning of the year down from 2,977 from this time last year. * The Board cautions that the average sale price can be useful in establishing trends over time but should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value. The calculation of the average sale price is based on the total dollar volume of all properties sold. Price and conditions will vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.


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Lisa Fitzpatrick ABR, SRS

Sales Representative

Office: 613.592.6400

Direct: 613.324.5472

Royal LePage Team Realty

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