Comparing Condos and Co-ops

Condominium and co-op home ownership may seem similar at first, but there are important differences between them.
As with any legal description, your regional legislation and municipal bylaws dictate the actual definitions of these terms for your area. Nonetheless, it’s fair to generalize that in the case of a condo, each member owns his or her specific unit as a piece of personal property, but is also a coowner of a corporation that owns the building and grounds.
Meanwhile, co-op members essentially hold shares in acorporation that owns the entire property, and units in the building are leased back to members as tenants/residents.
Both arrangements usually include fees to maintain theoverall infrastructure, but the real difference relates tosales. The sale of a co-op entails selling the membership back to the group, which then determines what happens to the unit. That’s why it’s important to understand co-op rules regarding selling (or sub-leasing) the unit you live in.
Ultimately, the co-op decides how to replace members and what arrangements are required prior to moving in or out at the agreed time and price.
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Who Needs a Home Office?

With the availability of more and more powerful mobile technology, it’s reasonable to presume that there is less need to dedicate time and space to a permanent home office. However, we also know that, from time to time, we need the opportunity to isolate ourselves at home, in order to get certain tasks accomplished. Getting “down to business” is a part of life, whether it’s for a student cramming for exams or a homeowner budgeting for a new mortgage.

Getting these tasks done can require much less time if they’re easily accommodated. Fortunately, thanks to new modern furnishings that are flexible and adaptable, it’s no longer necessary to create a space that is uniquely dedicated to work.

Nowadays, a homeowner can create a convertible workspace that allows a room to serve a dual role. By installing shelving that can fold out to a desktop, a worktable
with an adjustable height, or a bed that folds up into the wall, any room can have the flexibility to serve as a quiet place to read, study or pay monthly bills, and convert into a cozy, welcoming guest room.

So, the truth is, we all need a home office – but we don’t necessarily need it to be a dedicated single-use space.

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What Type of New Home Are You Qualified to Buy?

When you think about looking for a new home, one of the first questions that probably comes to mind is: “What type of property can I afford?” That’s animportant question because your price range is a major determining factor in the types and sizes of homes you should be viewing.

You don’t want to waste time looking at properties that are beyond your price range. At the same time, you don’t want to purchase a less-than-ideal home, only to realize later on that you could have afforded more.

So how do you determine what type of new home you are qualified to purchase?

The first step is to find out what your current property would likely sell for in today’s market. I make that calculation for clients all the time. It involves reviewing what homes similar to yours have sold for recently, as well as other data — such as special features your home may have that are likely to boost the selling price.

Once you know the current market value of your home, subtract any outstanding mortgages and estimated selling expenses, and you’ll end up with an amount that can be applied to the purchase of your next home. (You may also have other funds you want to use.)

The next step is to talk to a lender or mortgage broker to see how much of a new mortgage you qualify for. (Call me if you need a recommendation.) It’s important to get a Pre-Qualification or Pre-Approval. That makes the offer you make on a new home more credible.

If you want to find out the types and sizes of homes you can get into, give me a call. I’d be happy to show you the possibilities! 416-779-8732

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Getting the Home You Want in a Competitive Market

Regardless of whether the overall housing market is up or down, there can be fierce competition when it comes to buying a home in a desirable neighbourhood.

So, if you want to live in such an area, how do you gain an advantage? Here are some tips:
• Schedule viewings of homes for sale in the neighbourhood as soon as they go on the market. Have you ever heard the expression, “The early bird gets theworm”? It’s often true.
• Arrange to get alerted, via email or text, to brand new listings the moment they happen.
• Make sure you have your financing pre-approved, so you can make a quick and credible offer right away.
• Prepare your current home for sale, so you can list it quickly (if it isn’t already listed.)
• Know how to make an enticing offer that a buyer will take seriously. It’s not always the highest price that wins the deal.

Even in a competitive market, you don’t want to end up overpaying. That’s why savvy offer preparation, presentation and negotiation are also keys to getting the home you want.

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Creating a Practical Home Office

Is your home office the dining room table? Is it anywhere you can sit down undisturbed with your laptop? If so, you might be interested in converting a room or nook into a dedicated home office. Depending on what you do for a living, there could be a tax advantage to creating this space too.

The first step is to pick a spot. Ideally, you want an area where you can work without too many distractions. Next, make sure the spot you’ve chosen can accommodate a desk and any other furnishings you’ll need. Think about what you want within easy reach of your work area. Will you need a place for books and other papers? An extra chair for client meetings? A flipchart? A filing cabinet?

Think about all of the options in advance. Then, you’ll want to make sure the spot you picked has the electricaloutlets you need, especially if you’re going to have a printer, special lighting, a computer and other items that need power.

Finally, you’ll want your home office to be a place where you can enjoy working. So decorate it with that in mind. If you like plants, get plants. If you enjoy golf, have your golf trip pictures hanging on the wall.

With a little work, you can quickly create a home office space that is comfortable, functional and enjoyable. It sure beats the dining room!

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Relocating to a Different Town or City

Moving around the corner or even across town is relatively simple because you are likely familiar with the various neighbourhoods and you can access them anytime. If there’s a listed home you want to view, you can simply go see it.

Relocating to a different town or city, however, is much more challenging. It may not be possible for you to make multiple visits to see homes for sale. You may also be unfamiliar with the various neighbourhoods.

So what do you do if you want to move out-of-town or need to relocate due to work?

Your first step is to get the information you need. You’ll want up-to-date data on the neighbourhoods so you can pinpoint the ones that are the best fit for your needs and lifestyle. You’ll also want to get a sense of the types of homes for sale in those neighbourhoods — style, size, features, listing price, etc.

Your next step is to schedule a day to view homes. This visit must be carefully planned so you only see those properties that are likely to be of interest. You don’t want to travel all that way only to end up seeing properties you wouldn’t likely buy. What a waste of time!

So, if you’re relocating, you’ll need help. Give me a call. I can help make the
relocation go smoothly for you. 416-779-8732

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Balancing the Emotional and Practical Sides of Buying a Home

Imagine this scenario…

You’re shopping for a new home. You drive to visit a recent listing. As you walk through the front doors, you’re impressed. Every room looks fantastic. You see yourself relaxing on the spacious patio, cooking in the modern kitchen, and enjoying evenings with the family in the cozy living room.

Your emotions are on overdrive. This is your dream home! Should you make an offer? Probably. In fact, you should make that decision quickly in case there are other interested buyers.

However, your decision shouldn’t be guided purely by emotion. You want to make sure you take practical matters into consideration too. For example, you’ll want to consider:

· Is the property within your price range?

· Does it have everything you need?

· Do you like the neighbourhood?

· How old is the property? Are there items, such as the furnace, that may need to be replaced soon?

· Will it need any major repairs or upgrades?

· What are the average monthly costs of carrying the home? (Property taxes, utilities, etc.)

Once you’ve considered the purchase of the home from a practical standpoint, you’ll have a lot more confidence in your decision when you make an offer.

Need help? Call me at 416-779-8732

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When a Home Inspector Finds an Issue

Imagine you’ve found the perfect home. You love it. You’ve made an offer that’s been accepted. So far so good! The only catch? You’ve wisely made the offer conditional on passing a professional home inspection.
 
What happens if that home inspection reveals a major issue?
 
First, you should know that, depending on the age of the property, a home inspection will typically turn up at least a few areas of concern. The inspector might find loose insulation in the attic that is thinning out or roofing shingles that will need replacing in two or three years.
 
Issues like those are not usually deal-breakers. However, if the home inspector finds a major issue — such as old wiring that’s worn and presents a safety concern — then you’re facing a potentially high cost of repair should the deal go through.
 
In a situation like that, as your real estate agent, I will address the issue with the seller, usually through the seller’s agent. Since neither of you will want to lose the deal, the seller often agrees to get the repair done at his own expense or, have some or all of the estimated repair cost deducted from the sale price.
 
Will the deal be in jeopardy? Usually not. In most cases, if you have a real estate agent like me working in your best interests, it all works out!
 
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Staging your Home in a Hurry

Ideally you should have a week or two available before you list your property in order to stage your home and make it look its best for buyers. But, what if you listed quickly and within hours of the For Sale sign going up a buyer wants to view your property?

In that scenario, you need to do some quick “staging” to get your home ready. Let’s assume your property is already clean and tidy. Here are some other things you can do.

· Open the curtains, even at night. This will make each room seem brighter, more appealing and more spacious.

· Pull out some boxes or storage bins. Put away personal knick-knacks (like that bowling trophy) and other personal items to reduce clutter on shelves and countertops.

· Clear countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms. Put the old toaster oven out-of-sight.

· Make sure lighting throughout the house is bright and comfortable. In darker areas, plug in a lamp.

· Clear away as much as you can in the foyer. Make that space look open, uncluttered and welcoming.

· Move cars out of the driveway. Give the buyer a convenient place to park!

· Make the beds. Fluff pillows on sofas.

· Clear away as many items as possible from the closet floors (such as shoes.)

· Open a window and air out the kitchen, especially if you just finished cooking.

· Make sure your pet is in a crate or, if possible, out for a walk. Not everyone loves pets.

These staging tips take only a few minutes each, but can make a big difference in the impression your home makes on a buyer.

Want more home selling advice? Call today 416-779-8732

Does the Area Have What You Want?

Imagine going to a restaurant with your family for dinner. You’re planning on ordering a nice pasta and salad. Your heart is set on it. But, after you go to the trouble of driving there and getting a table, you discover that pasta is not on the menu. That’s disappointing!

Of course, it’s only a meal. You can go somewhere else next time. But, what if the same scenario played out once you had moved into a new neighbourhood? Imagine you were counting on public transit being in easy walking distance, but discovered the nearest stop is four blocks away. Argh! That’s why it’s important to ensure a neighbourhood has the characteristics you want — before you make an offer on a home you like. Think about what you want most in a neighbourhood.

Consider work, commuting, schools, playgrounds, noise level, walking and cycling, hobbies, shopping, entertainment, etc. If there is a neighbourhood feature that is very important to you, check it out for yourself. For example, if easy access to a main highway is desirable for commuting, take the route for a test drive.

You can get a lot of information on a neighbourhood through the listed property’s description and MLS listing. Want more in-depth insights into an area you’re considering? I have that information. Call today. 416-779-8732