Wednesday, 18 November 2015 17:30

Your Moving Checklist

Holy cow you bought a home! Congrats!  After all of the thinking, talking, looking at MLS, viewings, second viewings, bank appointments, chats with your parents or chats with your kids, and a compromise (but not too much compromise!) you've finally found your home.  Now what?

It's time to make a list and check it twice...

Four Weeks Before the Move:

Time to purge! We all have stuff that hasn't seen the light of day for months, maybe even years.  You know – that bread maker that you made bread with that one time. 7 years ago. Or maybe you have a museum of old ski/snowboard equipment in your basement? It's time to sell it, donate it to a worthy cause or a friend in need, or trash it.  Trust me, it feels really good!

Book your movers and give yourself a decent window of time to ensure you’re able to book on the day you want to move.  If you need a recommendation, I can definitely send some contact information your way for some trusted companies that even I have used myself!

Arrange for your mail to be redirected.  Either take stock of the mail you receive and change the address with each utility/bank/school, etc. before you move, or you can forward your mail directly with Canada Post and change addresses as mail arrives at your new address.  Remember not to change your address until AFTER you've taken possession.

Start emptying out the fridge, especially the freezer.  Get creative with meal time to use up what you have and be sure to purge that fudge that’s been in your freezer since Christmas 2010!

If you have young children, start talking to them about the move.  Change can be very exciting for kids, but it can also be scary. Promises of setting up their new room how they want it, picking paint colours for their room, or dare I even say donating old toys that can find newfound love in the hands of another child, are all great tactics to getting children on board with the move.  Preparing children for the change will make the transition easier for all involved!

Two Weeks Before the Move:

Still have that hedge trimmer from your neighbor?  Time to give it back and while you’re at it grab your step ladder and paint brushes that they haven’t returned yet!

Ask if the new owners want your extra paint and if not, dispose of it properly along with any other hazardous products.

Arrange shut off and new start dates for hydro, gas and water, and contact your cable/internet provider so that they can be hooked up shortly after moving in to your new home.

Planning on getting the carpets cleaned or the whole home cleaned before moving in?  Now’s the time to schedule that, too!

Start making a floor plan or room list for furniture placement.  This makes moving day a heck of a lot smoother.


One Week Before the Move:

“Oh God, oh God, oh God, we’re moving in one week!”  Relax, you got this!  You’ve been following along with the checklist, right?!

Finish packing your clothes except for what you plan on using for the week.  If that means the same outfit for seven days in a row, so be it!

Take down any curtains or mirrors you’re taking with you.  Might as well pack up that laminated Van Halen poster from the 1999 reunion tour now, as well!

Make sure the garage or shed is in good shape with hoses drained and lawnmower ready to go.

How’s the fridge and freezer looking?  Still got that fudge?

Maybe it’s time for another trip to the Salvation Army to get rid of more stuff (not the Van Halen poster, obviously!)


Moving Day!

Were you up late?  Get three hours of sleep?  Don’t worry, that’s normal for these situations, unless you followed my steps and got eight hours of beauty sleep and you’re bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to take on the day!

Make sure the movers know what is fragile/valuable so they can place it accordingly in the truck and wrap it up with an extra layer of bubble wrap.  If it’s Uncle Dan maybe do it yourself to make sure it’s done right.  Oh Uncle Dan![C1] 

Plan to stay in the old house until everything is packed up and the moving bill is signed off.  It’s always best to do a final walk through to make sure nothing is left behind.

Now’s the time to say your goodbyes and be sure to take a moment to cherish the memories you made!  On the drive over to the new place, look forward to new memories that will be created!  Wait, you locked the windows and doors before you left the old place, right?

Try to get to the new house before the movers so you can be the supreme supervisor and direct furniture/boxes as per your master plan.

Once the movers have left and you’ve checked that nothing has been broken in transit, have a seat on your couch, take a deep breath and relax!  You did it!  Now would also be the perfect time to pop open a bottle of wine and order a pizza.

Congratulations, you’re home!

 [C1]This is awkward.  Maybe try re-wording?  Or just take it out.  The article is already pretty lighthearted and fun, this sentence is just confusing in the grand scheme of the article.

Published in Articles
Wednesday, 18 November 2015 11:22

Keys to buying your Home

Buying a home is both an exhilarating and overwhelming experience.  Let me try and guide you through a few steps to help make it a little smoother and more enjoyable.

Determine What You Can Afford

I can’t stress this one enough.  There’s no point looking and dreaming about million dollar homes if what you can afford is actually half that amount.

Know what you are willing to put down as a down payment. Aim for 20% to avoid CMHC insurance if possible.

Go talk to your bank or mortgage broker to get a pre-approval. Need a reference?  I know a great one!

The bank or mortgage broker will tell you the upper limit of what you can get a mortgage for.  Don’t go there.  Cut it back to something you are comfortable with that won’t make you house poor.

One Time Fees

There are several fees you need to consider before purchasing a home, along with the timing of them.

After an accepted (conditional) offer you’ll have to pay for an inspection ($500) and potentially an appraisal by the bank ($350) , although you should be able to negotiate that the bank pay for that.

If your offer goes through (congratulations and have a look at my article for your moving checklist) you’ll be faced with several expenses upon closing:

·         Legal Fees and Disbursements,

·         Title Insurance,

·         Land Transfer and Property Tax

·         Utilities Adjustments. 

Of course you will also have your moving expenses and the start of your home insurance and utilities to consider, as well.

You should be prepared for roughly 1.5-2% of the purchase price for all of your closing costs.  Make sure you budget for this because this is actual cash and not tacked onto your mortgage.

Making an Offer

So you’ve crunched the numbers, seen enough homes and you’re ready to make an offer - now what?

We sit down to discuss current pricing scenarios and comparables for the neighborhood.  How long has it been on the market? How fast are homes selling in the immediate area? How does it stack up compared to other homes currently sold? If I’ve done my job educating you about values while visiting homes, you should already have a pretty good idea of what you’d like to offer.

There are three major and moving parts within an offer: Price, closing date and conditions.

The first two will have the biggest sway on the owners.  They’ll have a desired closing date (when you take possession of the home); trying to match that up with your ideal date will make things go smoothly.  Price is pretty self-explanatory - everything is negotiable and the price is what they are “asking” for and not something set in stone.

An offer with conditions creates a ‘conditional sale’ on the property with one or more conditions that need to be fulfilled before the sale goes firm.  These could be a home inspection (always recommended), financing, or Insurance.  The home is not sold until all of these conditions are met.

Acceptance of the Offer

Depending on how things go in negotiations there could be several rounds of offers before an agreement is created that all parties will sign off on.

So you’ve got a deal! Now what?

You need to hire a lawyer.  Any lawyer can do it but you want someone that specializes in real estate transactions so they can look after your best interests.  Once again, if you need a recommendation, I can help point you in the right direction.

I am with you every step of the way and can help guide you through the ins and outs of the entire home buying experience.  From mortgage brokers to home inspectors to lawyers, I have some great referrals for you that I have worked with over the years and trust completely.

Published in Articles