Q: What are the benefits of paying more than a 5% down payment?
There are many benefits to putting more than 5% down. The larger the down payment, the lower the cost of your overall mortgage in the long run and you will save money by paying less interest. If you can put as much as 20% down, you will avoid paying mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance is mandatory if you put less than 20% down, and can add thousands of dollars to the cost of your home.
Q: What are the signs of a mould problem in a house?
When you are looking to purchase a home, you want to make sure there are no signs of mould. Mould is a major red flag because it could mean there are serious problems with the foundation and drainage systems of the house. Signs of mould include discolouration (mould can be any colour – black, red, or green) and a musty odour. If you suspect discolouration is mould, you can easily test it by dropping some bleach on the affected area. If the discolouration disappears, it is likely mould. Since problems with mould can be persistent, you should be cautious of purchasing a home with mould problems.
Q: Does a basement count in the square footage of a house?
The short answer - it depends.
Whether a basement is included in the square footage of a house depends on the region where the listing is and a number of other factors.
In Ontario, only the space that is above ground is included in the square footage of a house. Even if you have an extra 1000 square feet of living space in a finished basement is not included in the measurement of the size of your house. However, of you have a finished basement, this can be included in the "Total Living Area". In addition, attics are generally not counted either in the square footage of a home (an attic is considered “unlivable” space).
You can often tell by looking at the listing carefully to see if it has been included or not. Ask a Realtor to explain any part of a listing you are not sure about.
Q: How do I add curb appeal to my home?
First of all, this is a great question! How you present your home from the outside will not only attract buyers, but also provide them with that first and lasting impression. My first suggestion would be to stand in front of your house, see what the most tired looking feature is and upgrade that. Remember, what you notice is what the buyer will notice! This may mean touching up small things such as chipped paint and unsealed windows, right down to paving your cracked and lumpy driveway. If it looks like you have taken care of the outside, the more likely the buyer will trust you have taken care of the inside.
Now, in addition to the general upkeep, adding an element of privacy to the front of your home is also a great way to add curb appeal. Some of the nicest homes you will see peek discretely from behind beautiful mature trees, shrubs or fencing with an inviting walkway which leads to the entrance. This gives an overall cozy and intimate feeling to any property.
Roger Townsend is with CENTURY 21 People's Choice Realty Inc. in Toronto, ON.