Some helpful tips!

Why work with a REALTOR®?
  • You’ll save time. I can pinpoint homes that fit your needs.
  • You'll benefit from an experienced negotiator. I will manage your offers and counter-offers, ensuring that you get the best possible price for your home.
  • You can always count on great advice. Because I am familiar with the entire home purchasing process, I can advise you every step of the way.
  • I enjoy what I do and I do it well!

Choose a REALTOR® who understands your needs
  • I will be representing your interests.
  • I have access to MLS information.
  • I will provide you with market evidence to support the price?
  • I will guide you from start to finish.
  • You can contact me at any time just by calling my "SELL" phone 705-492-5070.

    Working with a REALTOR® 
  • Let me do the searching for you. The best buys aren’t in the newspaper ads; most great opportunities are on "hot sheets" that are available every morning to salespeople with access to MLS information.

As your REALTOR® I will:

  • Provide information on the property and the area
  • Negotiate a price and terms that are agreeable to both buyer and seller
  • Guide you from start to finish.

As a homebuyer, you must work with your REALTOR® to find the home that’s right for you. Communication is key - tell your REALTOR® what you want, and be specific.
  • Offer a detailed description of your property needs and wants. If you will absolutely not consider a house without a hardwood floor, say so. And if air conditioning is a "nice to have" rather than a "must have," communicate that, too.
  • Be specific about where you want to live. If you refuse to live outside a certain area, it might take longer to find you a home, but I will know not to waste your time with anything not in your chosen neighbourhood.
  • Tell me what you can afford. Make sure to talk to your banker and get pre-approved.
  • Communicate your likes and dislikes for each property you see. It will help me narrow down the possibilities.
  • Commit to one salesperson.
  • Respect and perform the terms of the purchase agreement.
  • Keep an open mind. I may  know about those charming little areas that you’ve never even heard of. You might find your dream home in a completely unexpected place.
The elements of an offer
Here’s a quick reference to everything you need to know about making an on offer on a property.

1. Price
Depends on the market and the buyers, but generally, the price offered is different from the asking price.

2. Deposit
Shows the buyer’s good faith and will be applied against the purchase price of the home. I will advise you on a suitable amount to offer.

3. Conditions
These might include "subject to home inspection," "subject to the buyer obtaining financing, "suject to insurability" , " or "subject to the sale of the purchaser’s property." For country properties on well and septic the offer can be conditional on the testing of water and the inspection of the septic system.

4. Inclusions and exclusions
These may include appliances and certain fixtures or decorative items, such as window coverings, shelving.
 
5. Closing or possession date
Closing day is when the title to the property is transferred to the buyer and funds are received by the seller.


Qualifying for a mortgage
I can direct you to a mortgage specialist to have you pre-qualified for a mortgage before you start shopping for a home. It’s easy, and you’ll avoid possible disappointments down the road if you fall in love with a place, then find out you can’t afford it. Plus, once you do find the perfect home, it will mean you can make an offer immediately.


Finalizing your mortgage
Once you’ve found the home you want to buy, you’ll need to finalize your financing. I will provide your lender with the following documents:

1. A copy of the real estate listing of the property.
2. A copy of the offer to purchase.
You will need to supply
1.Documents to confirm employment, income and source of pre-approval.
2. If you have a pre-approved mortgage, it’s a simple matter of finalizing a few details with your mortgage specialist.

Choosing a neighbourhood
You’re not just buying a home - you’re buying a location. And even the most perfect house won’t feel right if you’re in the wrong neighbourhood. Educate yourself about the area so you’ll choose wisely - and end up being happy with your decision.
  • Are you close to shopping and recreation?
  • Do people in the area take care of their homes? Explore the neighbourhood. A run-down neighbourhood can drive down your property value.
  • Are there schools nearby? If you have children, the proximity and quality of schools is key. Talking to neighbours with children can be helpful, too.
  • Is there good access to transportation? Living near public transport and/or major highways can mean an easier commute to work.
  • Is it safe? Check with the local police department - they may be able to provide statistics about break-ins or other crimes.
  • Will the home increase in value over time? Homes in some neighbourhoods appreciate faster than others.
  • Is it quiet? Listen for traffic noise, barking dogs, airplanes and any other noises that might bother you. Revisit the neighbourhood at different times of the day.
Protect yourself with a home inspection
That gorgeous house on the corner lot may look great, but it could be hiding all sorts of expensive, annoying problems, from a leaky roof to faulty wiring to a mouldy basement.

Make sure your home is solid and secure inside and out before you buy it. A home inspector will determine structural and mechanical soundness, identify problem areas, provide a list of work required, and generate a report. It’s a great way to avoid headaches and costly problems that can turn a dream home into a money pit.

If you decide to go ahead and buy a home with issues that have been found by your home inspector, you can base your offer on how much potential repairs and upgrades may cost.

8 things to look for when you buy
When you fall in love with a home, the things you like about it can blind you to its problems. Next time you go to an open house or tour a property with a REALTOR®, keep your eyes open with these top tips:

1. Take a look at general upkeep. Is it clean?
2. Try out lights, faucets, toilets, air conditioning (in the summer) furnace (in the winter) and major appliances (if they are included in the sale).
3. Check for water damage. Look at ceilings and drywall for stains and bulges. Water that works its way in through a leaky roof or a cracked foundation can rot wood, create mildew and destroy possessions.
4. Watch for "spongy" floors. Take note of soft, springy sections, squeaky or uneven areas - these can be a sign that costly floor repairs are needed.
5. Check doors and windows. Have they been replaced or are they original?
6. Look at the foundation. If you see deep cracks or loose mortar and bricks, there may be a significant structural problem. Soggy areas near the foundation are also a warning sign.
7. Make sure there’s enough storage space. Is there a garage or storage shed? Are there sufficient closets?
8. Measure. Make sure your furniture will fit into your new house. 

For true peace of mind, you should always hire a certified home inspector before you buy.

Empty nesters and retirees
The kids have grown and retirement is just around the corner. You’ve decided it’s time to move to a smaller home with lower costs and less maintenance.

Figure out what you need
You have a number of decisions to make before you start looking for your new home:
  • Do you want to stay in the same neighbourhood? 
  • Do you want to move closer to your kids?
  • Somewhere warm?
  • What type of property would suit your lifestyle? Condo where you can leave the yard work to someone else or a bungalow that would still allow you to garden?


Condos - less work, but more rules
Short on maintenance and long on amenities, the condominium lifestyle is a favourite of empty nesters and retirees. Condominium apartments and townhomes are available . Many offer pools, tennis courts and fitness areas . It’s an easy, hassle-free arrangement.

However, owning a condo means you’re governed by the rules and regulations established by the condominium board. Generally, these rules are necessary to ensure the enjoyment, safety and cleanliness of the building; when you’re doing your research, you may want to find out about the condo bylaws, especially if you have a pet.

Bungalows -
Bungalows offer the best of both worlds - a detached house and a yard, with less space to take care of. It’s a great way of preparing for the future, since living with fewer stairs makes it easier to get around should you slow down a little.


If you’re not sure what option is best for you, please contact me. I’d be happy to talk to you about the possibilities that are available to you.

Glossary of terms

Amortization period: The actual number of years it will take to pay back your mortgage loan.

Appraised value: An estimate of the value of the property, conducted for the purpose of mortgage lending by a certified appraiser.

Assumability: Allows the buyer to take over the seller’s mortgage on the property.

Closed mortgage: A mortgage that locks you into a specific payment schedule. A penalty usually applies if you repay the loan in full before the end of a closed term.

Condominium fee: A monthly fee paid to the Condominium corporation, which is allocated to pay expenses.

Conventional mortgage: A mortgage loan issued for up to 80% of the property’s appraised value or purchase price, whichever is less.

Down payment: The buyer’s cash payment toward the property that is the difference between the purchase price and the amount of the mortgage loan.

Equity: The difference between the home’s selling value and the debts against it.

High-ratio mortgage: A mortgage that exceeds 80% of the home’s appraised value. These mortgages must be insured for payment.

Interest rate: The value charged by the lender for the use of the lender’s money, expressed as a percentage.

Land transfer tax: A fee paid to the provincial government for the transferring of property from seller to buyer.

Maturity date: The end of the term of the loan, at which time you can pay off the mortgage or renew it.

Mortgage: The financial institution or person that lends the money.

Mortgage insurance: Applies to high-ratio mortgages. It protects the lender against loss if the borrower is unable to repay the mortgage.

Mortgage life insurance: Pays off the mortgage if the borrower dies.

Mortgagor: The borrower.

Open mortgage: Allows partial or full payment of the principal at any time, without penalty.

Portability: A mortgage option that enables borrowers to take their current mortgage with them to another property, without penalty.

Pre-approved mortgage: Qualifies you for a mortgage before you start shopping. You know exactly how much you can spend and are free to make a firm offer when you find the right home.

Prepayment privileges: Voluntary payments that are in addition to regular mortgage payments.

Principal: The amount borrowed or still owing on a mortgage loan. Interest is paid on the principal amount.

Refinancing: Paying off the existing mortgage and arranging a new one or renegotiating the terms and conditions of an existing mortgage.

Renewal: Renegotiation of a mortgage loan at the end of a term for a new term.

Second mortgage: Additional financing, which usually has a shorter term and a higher interest rate than the first mortgage.

Term: The length of time the interest rate is fixed. It also indicates when the principal balance becomes due and payable to the lender.

Title: Legal ownership in a property.

Variable rate mortgage: A mortgage with fixed payments that fluctuates with interest rates. The changing interest rate determines how much of the payment goes towards the principal.

Vendor take-back mortgage: When the seller provides some or all of the mortgage financing in order to sell their property.

Closing the deal
Closing day is the day you become the official owner of your home. However, the entire closing process usually takes a few days.

Typically, you visit your lawyer’s office to review and sign documents relating to the mortgage, the property you are buying, the ownership of the property and the conditions of the purchase. Your lawyer will also ask you to bring a certified cheque to cover the closing costs and any other outstanding costs.

Once your mortgage and the deed for the property are officially recorded, you become the official owner of the property and your lawyer will call you to pick up the keys to your new home.


Determine what you can afford
Buying a home involves both one-time costs and more regular monthly expenses. It’s important that you take both into account when you’re figuring out how much you can spend on a home.  Always best to contact your bank or Mortgage Broker, if you don't know one I can give you some names.

The largest one-time cost is the down payment, which usually represents up to 20% of the total price of the property. Then, in addition to the actual purchase price, there are a number of other expenses that you may be expected to pay for.

Typical One-Time Expenses
  • Mortgage application and appraisal fee (paid at time of application)
  • Appraisal fee 
  • Property inspection
  • Legal fees
  • Legal disbursements
  • Deed and/or mortgage registration
  • Property survey if needed .  A survey may already exist in which case the seller will pass it on to the buyer
  • Land Transfer, Deed Tax 
  • Mortgage interest adjustment (if applicable)
  • Adjustments for fuel, taxes, etc.
  • Mortgage insurance (and application fee if applicable)
  • Home and property insurance 
  • Connection charges for utilities such as gas, water and electricity
  • Moving expenses

Typical monthly costs include mortgage payments, maintenance, insurance, condo fees, property taxes and utilities.

Making an offer
When it comes time to make an offer, I will provide current market information and help you draft a suitable offer. I will then communicate the offer to the the seller’s representative on your behalf. Sometimes there may be more than one offer on a property coming in at the same time. I will guide you through this process.

An Offer to Purchase*
An Offer to Purchase is a legal document which specifies the terms and conditions of your offer to purchase the home. The offer can be firm or conditional.

Firm Offer to Purchase: preferable to the seller because it means you are prepared to purchase the home without any conditions. If the offer is accepted, the home is yours.

Conditional Offer to Purchase: means that you have placed one or more conditions on the purchase, such as "subject to home inspection," "subject to financing" or "subject to sale of buyer’s existing home." The home is not sold until all the conditions have been met.


Acceptance of the Offer
Your Offer to Purchase will be presented as soon as possible. The seller may accept the offer, reject it, or submit a counter-offer. The counter-offer may be in reference to the price, the closing date, or any number of variables. The offers can go back and forth until both parties have agreed or one of you ends the negotiations.

Understanding land transfer taxes
When buying a home  you’ll need to add land transfer taxes to your list of closing costs. 

These taxes, levied on properties that are changing hands, are the responsibility of the purchaser. Depending on where you live, taxes can range from 0.5% to 2% of the total value of the property. 


Land transfer taxes vary by province

British Columbia
Up to $200,000 X 1% of total property value
From $200,000 up X 2% of total property value

Manitoba
Up to $30,000 N/A
From $30,000 to $90,000 X 0.5% of total property value
From $90,000 to $150,000 X 1% of total property value
From $150,000 up X 1.5% of total property value

Ontario
Up to $55,000 X 0.5% of total property value
From $55,000 to $250,000 X 1% of total property value
From $250,000 to $400,000 X 1.5% of total property value
From $400,000 up X 2% of total property value

Quebec
Up to $50,000 X 0.5% of total property value
From $50,000 to $250,000 X 1% of total property value
From $250,000 up X 1.5% of total property value

Noval Scotia
Halifax Metro
1.5% on total property value
Outside Halifax County
Check with local municipality


Understanding market conditions
The real estate market is always changing, and it helps to understand how market conditions can affect your position as a buyer. I can provide you with info on current conditions and explain their impact on you.

Buyers’ market
The supply of homes on the market exceeds demand.

Characteristics
  • High inventory of homes
  • Few buyers compared to availability
  • Homes on the market longer
  • Prices tend to drop

Implications
  • More time to look for a home
  • More negotiating leverage

Sellers’ market
The number of buyers wanting homes exceeds the supply of homes on the market.

Characteristics
  • Smaller inventory of homes
  • Many buyers
  • Homes sell quickly
  • Prices usually increase
What this means for you
  • May have to pay more
  • Must make decisions quickly
  • Conditional offers may be rejected

Balanced market
The number of homes on the market is equal to the number of buyers.

Characteristics
  • Sellers accept reasonable offers
  • Homes sell within an acceptable time period
  • Prices generally stable
What this means for you
  • More relaxed atmosphere
  • Reasonable number of homes to choose from
Types of home ownership

What type of home is right for you?
There are three categories of home ownership: freehold, condominium and cooperative (not common in North Bay).
Freehold
Freehold homes offer two significant benefits: freedom of choice and privacy. You own the structure and the land. All maintenance (indoors and out) is your responsibility - be prepared to spend time and money taking care of your home.

Condominiums
Condominiums are typically less expensive to own than a detached house. With a condo, you own (and are responsible for) the interior of your unit. Upkeep of the building and grounds is handled by the condominium association, which is funded by monthly fees collected from tenants. The down side? Condo residents enjoy less privacy than residents of detached homes, and often have to adhere to strict rules regarding noise, use of common areas, renovations, etc.

Cooperatives
Co-ops are like condominiums, except instead of owning your unit, you own a percentage of shares in the entire building. One drawback to living in a cooperative is that if you decide to sell your shares and move out, the co-op board has the right to reject your prospective buyer. This type on ownership is difficult to get financing on.


Carole Hunnisett

Carole Hunnisett

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Blue Sky Region Realty Inc., Brokerage*
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