London Ontario Home Buyer Toolkit For You


Shopping for a Home in London Ontario & Area? 

shopping for a home in London Ontario

  I have put this page together to help you understand the home buying process and to get you thinking about some of the steps, if taken, will make your buying experience less stressful and much more enjoyable!
  Buying a home can be a  can be a roller coaster of emotions …. Finding the right place…. Securing a mortgage….. moving in. And, if you’re like most of us, your home will be your largest investment. The emotions over such a large and personal purchase can often cloud good common sense.
  Many home buyers do very little research before “diving in” and investing their hard-earned money. Oh, they may know the part of town they like, the price range , the style and even some of the amenities they would like, but your research should not end there.
  Doesn’t it make sense to be as informed as possible? That is what the following is all about. It’s designed to help you avoid 10 common, critical errors many home buyers make. If you follow these 10 suggestions, with the help of the right real estate professional, you’ll make a good practical decision that will truly bebefit you for years to come.
1. Inspect, Inspect and Inspect: Go over the home inspection report with a fine tooth comb. Make sure the report was done by a professional home inspector. For condo purchases, go over the Status Certificate; go over the by-laws and association fees. Don’t take anything for granted… inspect everything!
2. Imagine the property vacant: Your furnishings and decorations will be the ones filling this new residence. Don’t be swayed by beautiful furniture….it leaves with the owner.
3. Income Plus Lifestyle Equals Mortgage Payment: Sit down with a competent real estate professional and honestly discuss your income level and living expenses. Take into account future considerations like: children, add-ons, amenities or fix-ups. Your dream home is certainly worth a sacrifice but don’t mortgage your future.
4. View Several Homes: See at least 3-5 properties. Don’t move on the first property you see but….don’t move too slowly either. With a good real estate professional, you’ll be able to view enough properties to get a good overall perspective of your market. And when you find the right property, all the leg work will be worth it.
 
All Houses for sale on MLS IN London Ontario
5. Utilize Your Team: By aligning yourself with the right real estate professional, you’ll have an entire team working for you. Top real estate professionals have lenders, inspection teams, appraisers, lawyers, trades people, cleaners….an entire group of trained professionals making the whole buying experience simple and easy for you.
.Check twice
6. Be Columbo…Be CSI: Check out all your costs and expense before you sign: utilities, cable, taxes, and insurance, maintenance and homeowner dues, if applicable. Make sure all utilities are on (gas, electricity, and water), so you can inspect everything is in working order, Ask lots of questions and be very detail conscious.
7. Do a Final Walk-Through Before Closing: Visit the property after all the furnishings have been moved out to be sure there are no surprises. Be absolutely sure the property is as exactly as you had agreed upon when the offer was accepted. Many times, things are unintentionally overlooked that could have been spotted in a final walk-through.
8. Plan for Flexibility: Closing dates are not written in stone. Allow for contingencies and have a back-up plan. If you or the sellers need a little more time to conclude the final arrangements, don’t let these delays upset or frustrate you. These types of circumstances are not uncommon in a real estate transaction; however, with a great real estate professional and his/her teams, this will seldom occur.
9. If It’s Not In Writing, It Doesn’t Exist: All promises and discussions are to be in writing. Don’t make any assumptions or believe any assurances. Even the best intentions can be misinterpreted. Have your real estate professional keep an ongoing log (in writing) of all discussions, and get the seller’s written approval for all agreements.
10.        Loyalty Breeds Loyalty: Be open, honest and up-front. Hard feelings and disloyalty will cause headaches, delays or may even keep you from getting into the home you worked so hard to locate. Take the time to select the right real estate professional in the beginning and your home purchase will be a simple, easy and profitable experience you’ll have fond memories of…for years to come.
                              you are in Good Hands
My hope with the above information has been to help you avoid the pitfalls many home buyers go through. I hope you find these ideas valuable and impress upon you that we at Envelope Real Estate take the  buying and selling of real estate  very seriously and have implemented many checks and balances to ensure your purchase is hassle free.
"My Dedicated Buyer Plan" got it's name from the level of care and integrity I bring to real estate in London.

Frustrated When Looking For a Home to Buy in London Ontario?


  Are you spending countless hours searching the MLS, real estate magazines, weekend classified ads and real estate websites looking for the ideal home for a great price and in a great neighbourhood in London Ontario? 

                                 looking to buy a house in London Ontario

                                                 

    If you enjoy doing that, great. Are you aware you may be missing out on some great homes that sell in a day or two or a home that was priced quite so agressively that it sells as soon as it comes on the market or on a specific street?

  Do you think you will get a head jump on others by searching daily or weekly? Avoid paying commissions? Avoid a pesky or bothersome real estate person (don't blame you)? 

  Or, perhaps you are curious or you are in the 'just thinking stage' of real estate. Perhaps to purchase or sell.

  Regardless, real estate changes, people change, neighbourhoods change, real estate markets change and the motivation of buyers and sellers change.

  So how do I, as a real estate professional, as a Broker of Record and Owner keep you, the curious, the maybe, the must have by the end of the month, the retiree, the downsizer, the upsizer, the DINK's (double incomes,no kids), the tire kicker, deal maker, bread winner or just plain ready to move informed about real estate in London Ontario?

  My asociates and I view a lot of houses and condos every week. We do loads of searches daily for clients, we are constantly researching properties, even For Sale By Owners.

                        we  find houses in London Ontario

  My tastes are different than yours, my taste in neighbourhoods, price affordability, style of home, school district, what side of the tracks, how close certain amenities are and I bet, hundreds more.

 As professional house hunters in London we know the jungle, the alleys, the streets, avenues, crescents  and can guide you on the right path to ensure your purchase is wise & financially sensible.

Love it or Leave It” London Ontario’s Only Home Buying Guarantee

100% Home Buyer Guarantee

If you obtain a home through Sutton Group Envelope Real Estate Brokerage and you are not 100% pleased with it, we will sell your home for you for FREE! We offer this guarantee within the first 24 months after you purchase the home.

 Why? 

We want you to be totally satisfied with your home and will do everything to get you into a home that you will love…Guaranteed!

We are confident that we have the ability to listen to you and to being dedicated in finding the “Perfect Home” for you.  We take 100% responsibility; we offer no excuses and no finger pointing.

That’s why we are willing to work for FREE if your home isn’t everything you expected it to be.  You have nothing to lose, 

There is some fine print and here it is:

This home buying guarantee excludes commercial properties, investors & students.

  You won't have to jump off any cliffs, scale any mountains, wrestle a crocodile, put up with a pushy real estate salesperson, cross-eyed lawyers, impotent mortgage lenders, near sighted home inspectors, all you have to do is put up with me!

  Ty Lacroix

          

 

 


The Extra Costs of Buying a Home


 A Purchase Price Checklist When Buying a Home in London Ontario & Area

 Buying a home in London Ontario will take more money than just the purchase price of the property. There are numerous other expenses that will add to the amount that you'll need to spend. This purchase price checklist outlines most of the costs you may occur. 

  it takes more money buying a home

Purchase Price
The starting point in your calculation... if you're like most home buyers, you'll need a mortgage for the majority of this!

Registration Fees
Fees paid to the provincial government for recording a title transfer, mortgage registration or other instruments.
 

High Ratio Insurance
Must be purchased if you are buying a home for less than 20% down. A sliding fee scale applies, depending on the percentage of the purchase price required in a first mortgage (some minor exceptions) which can be added to the mortgage.
More information.

Compliance Letter
Obtained by your lawyer and required in many municipalities throughout Canada before a property transfer can take place. This is an acknowledgment from the building department that the property either has, or is clear of outstanding work-orders. Work-orders are specific clean-up or fix-up requirements that the owner is legally required to do, and which must be completed before ownership can be transferred.

  more paperwork when buying a house

Tax Certificate
Obtained by your lawyer at the time of sale to confirm that local taxes have been paid and are up-to-date. If they are not up to date, the seller is required to pay them from the proceeds of the sale. If there are insufficient proceeds, then you may be legally required to pay the outstanding taxes. If, on the other hand, taxes have been prepaid, you may have to compensate the seller for them.

Provincial "New Home Warranty Program" premiums — New Homes Only!
A third party (provincial) warranty program between a builder and a buyer. With the exception of Ontario and Quebec, membership in such a program is voluntary for the builder. Through these programs, your home is guaranteed against defects for at least one year.  
See Tarion. 

Mortgage Appraisal and Application Fees
Application feees &  appraisal fees are common. Generally $150 — $235 each would apply. (Be careful here, ask your lender what the fees are and if they can waive some or all of it)

Home Inspection
A report commissioned by the purchaser, usually to verify the condition of a property prior to the "firming up" of a purchase agreement. The scope and detail may vary, but most reports outline any particular problems and associated repair costs. Unfortunately, home inspectors in Ontario are not licsenced!
Read More

Land Survey
The legal written and/or mapped description of the location and dimensions of your land. The survey should also show the dimensions and placement on the lot of any structure, including additions such as pools, sheds and fences. An up-to-date survey is often required by a lender as part of the mortgage transaction, although Title Insurance is more prevalent.

Title Insurance
New to Canadian consumers over the last few years is the introduction of title insurance into the home buying process. Title insurance can be purchased by home buyers to protect against potential deficiencies in a number of areas, such as the land survey.  
More about title insurance.

Connection Charges
Some local utility companies (hydro, gas, oil) charge a fee on closing to connect new buyers up to their service. More common, however, is an extra charge on the first billing.

property taxes in London Ontario

Property Tax and Prepaid Utilities Adjustments
If the previous owner prepaid property taxes or other utilities, they will be credited the prepaid portion on closing. If they paid all their taxes by April, expect a large adjustment cost on closing!

Interest Adjustment (IA)
If you arrange to make your mortgage payments monthly on the first day of the month, and your transaction closes after the first day of the month, your lender will charge you interest on closing to the next interest date, called the Interest Adjustment Date (IAD), when your payment cycle will commence. This can be a sizeable amount, but it is the correct interest you should pay. For example, close on June 15th, pay 15 days interest on closing and start payments on August 1st.

 Property Taxes

   Depending on your down payment, your lending institution may decide to include your property taxes in your monthly mortgage payments.

  Property Insurance

   Home insurance covers the replacement value of your home (structure and contents). Your lending institution will request proof that you are insured as it protects their investment on the loan.

 Legal Fees

Shop around; rates vary depending on the complexity issues or experience of the lawyer, (I can supply you the names of several good lawyers for you to call).

Mortgage Loan Insurance Fee

In the event of disability or death, your insurer will pay your mortgage or mortgage payments. *** Be very careful here; compare rates with your lending institution and your life insurance sales person.

 Mortgage Broker Fee

Shop around; most lending institutions will pay the mortgage broker’s fee, not you. Ask up front, “Do I have to pay any fees by using your services?”

 moving truck expenses

 Moving Costs

$50-$100/hour for a truck and 3 movers, 10 –30% higher at end of month and other peak times

Maintenance Fees

     Condos charge monthly fees and vary depending on the building.

 Water Quality and Quality Certification

     If the home you purchased is serviced by a well, you will require and should get regular water portability tests by your local heath unit.

 Local Improvements

     If the area you are moving to has made local improvements (such as sidewalks or addition of sewers), this could impact a property’s taxes by thousands of dollars.

 Land Transfer Tax

     This tax is applied whenever property changes hands and the amount varies on the purchase price of the property. Your lawyer or I can let you know what this amount will be. More info.

As you can see, there are extra costs to consider before you make that purchase. By working with a very good Realtor, you will be aware of these and some you may prevent.

 I use a spread sheet and can come pretty close to giving you an idea of how much extra you may need when buying a home in London.

 Do not stress yourself out! Be prepared!


House Buyer Oh No's in London Ontario


  I did not really intend to name this  ‘house buyer oh no's'  because the following 3 examples of problems were not caused directly by the home buyer, but with a bit more diligence these oh no's would not have happened.

.Three Home Buyer errors

 

   1. We listed this client’s house and received and accepted an offer on it in two days. Financing and home inspection were fine but when the Buyer’s lawyer searched the title, it was discovered the builder and the City did not sign off on the final inspection and there was still an outstanding work permit.

​   My seller client called her lawyer who did her home purchase 9 years ago and his reply? “Not my fault!” Really! Yes, he blamed the City and her and would not take responsibility and blah, blah this and that.

  My client and us contacted the City and after many run arounds, got everything settled. This is not unusual, I have seen it happen many times so that is why, we, the so called lowly REALTOR, research the city for any outstand work orders or efficiencies before we list a house and not depend on the lawyer to do so.

 

  2. We sold our clients house in a newer neighbourhood, they had lived in it for two years and wanted to move to Old North London. When the buyer’s home inspector found two serious issues with the home, the new buyers wanted a price reduction. My seller client’s had a home inspection when they had bought the home and the two deficiencies were not exposed or found.

    I asked the sellers who their home inspector was and how they chose him and he was referred to them by their buyer’s agent. Did they ask for references? Did they ask for experience etc.?

 No, they did not. Upon cooperation with the new buyers and my seller client, we worked out a compromise to the deficiencies, my seller paid for the correction and the sale went through, but at a cost to them of $3300!   

  Buyer errors

 

  The 3rd example is real common and very sad. I was asked to come and list a house that these folks had bought 5 years ago. When I suggested the house price to them, they said “But, that is the price we paid 5 years ago!”Well, I explained to them that they paid $21,000 too much for it when they bought it!

  You can imagine what they said to me.  They decided to go with another REALTOR. At this writing, 8 months later, after two other REALTORS, they have gone to a 3rd Realtor and still trying to sell!

  How sad because these sellers were very nice and hadn’t taken the time to pick the best agent for them when they bought the house in the first place. Oh, by the way, the agent they bought the house with is no longer in business! Wonder why?

  So in summary, the above 3 errors are more common than not and as a professional REALTOR, I find it callous and unnecessary.

​    7 Wonderful Home Buyer Tips


Choices To Make Before Buying a House


     In a recent survey, the biggest and most costly error home buyers make is how they start the process of buying a home in London.

 Usually the first step is deciding you want to move,  to stop renting or downsizing from a larger house. All good so far.

                                            searching to buy a condo in London

 Then, most of you will go and talk to a good mortgage lender( this is a major and crucial step and be careful whom you talk to, I cover that in another report) to see if you qualify and for how much. How much of a downpayment and what would your average payments be. Again, you are on the right track.

 Then what?

 Yup, most of you start searching the MLS listings, Kijiji, real estate websites and real estate magazines (that are usually a month late) and what do you do? You call 4 or 5 real estate sales people who have listings you want to see and set up an appointment.

 While making those appointments you hear the same thing:

  • Are you preapproved for a mortgage?

  • Are you working with an agent?

  • Do you have a house to sell?

  • Perhaps a few more personal questions or the name of your cat or dog! 

 

                                                              Some ask too many real estate questions

 Then you go see a few homes, if you like one you may put in an offer with the listing sales person  without any research or thought of the long term consequences.

   Or, the homes you have seen are not to your liking, but you like the sales person and they convince you that they can help you look for something else, again, without any research of that agent or thought of the long term consequences!

  The wisest thing you can do after you have made the decision you want to move, is to research and contact the real estate sales person who has the skills and experience and whom you will entrust your hard earned money to!

 Maybe interview two or three.

 Then when you have confidence in the sales person you have chosen, that good real estate person will research properties on your behalf, make appointments to match your time table, protect you in the buying and offer process and be there if any challenges come up.

 Do you not think that having that type of representation would be better for you than just entrusting that binding faith with just anyone? A friend of a friend, Uncle Joe's distant cousin who just got her license and needs some money, or your co-worker who's husband 'does' real estate on the side!

11 Questions You may Want To Ask a Real Estate Person BEFORE you start!


What Type Of a Home is Right For Me?


      Selecting A HOME TYPE

  Don't be pressured into buying a home that is not right for you - there are a lot of choices out there. Here are the Pros and Cons of the various types of home options as well as a comparison of resale homes vs. new homes purchased directly from the builder.

 Remember to find the right type of home before buying one. Just because you can afford “bigger and better” doesn’t mean that you will like that style of home. However, just getting into the market is a great first step toward ending up in that Dream Home! Starting to build equity in what has been traditionally the safest investment in Canada will start you on a path toward buying exactly what you want.

 Also remember that your wants and needs change, and in two years, what you want today may no longer suite your needs.

 

Condo Apartment
Pros:

  • Lowest purchase price, lowest taxes
  • Virtually maintenance free — no snow shoveling or lawn mowing.
  • Convenient for singles, childless couples and empty nesters.
  • Often amenities in the building not found in other homes

 Condo/Freehold Townhouse

Pros:

 

  • Lower purchase price and taxes than semi or detached and less maintenance.
  • Better resale value than condo apartment.
  • May have a backyard.

Cons:

  • Lower resale value, hardest to re-sell and can be difficult to finance with low down payment.
  • Can have large maintenance fees that can substantially increase carrying costs.
  • No private yard so you can't enjoy backyard activities such as barbecuing, gardening, etc.
  • Share common walls with neighbours — if they're noisy you're out of luck.

Cons:

 

  • Lower re-sale value than semi or detached and harder to re-sell.
  • Don't own the land — the most valuable asset (unless freehold Townhouse).
  • Share common walls and close to neighbours.

 

Semi-Detached

Pros:

  • Most privacy at least cost — great for first-time buyer.
  • You own the land — the appreciating asset — bricks and mortar depreciate.
  • Good resale value and easy re-sell.
  • Easy to finance at best rates.
  • Usually has larger yard than townhouse, more backyard activities possible.

Detached

Pros:

  • Best resale value and you own the land, the main appreciating asset.
  • Most privacy, least noise from neighbours because there are no common walls.
  • Most desirable type of home with greatest perceived value.
  • Lower priced detached homes tend to sell quickly because of the combination of prestige and affordability.

Cons:

  • Share a common wall with neighbours.
  • Higher price per square foot of living space than a townhouse in a similar location.

 

Cons:

  • Highest purchase price and property taxes.

 

Re-Sale Home

Pros:

  • Lower prices because of some wear and tear (which varies greatly — check closely!) You get the benefit of upgrades (finished basement, pool, etc.) at a depreciated price.
  • Established neighbourhood, current neighbours, etc., are known entities although they can change.

New Home from Builder

Pros:
 

  • You are the first occupant and the house is yours to decorate as you wish.
  • Purchase price includes colours, design features, etc. that you select, usually with negotiable upgrades.
  • Protection from construction deficiencies is usually required by Provincial Law.

Cons:

  • No warranty for repairs required by law, although it can be made a condition of purchase.
  • If existing décor is not to your liking, it can be expensive and time consuming to change.

Cons:

  • There is often an extended period of time without lawns or paved driveways, and with dust from unsodded areas and construction traffic.
  • There can be problems with permits or trade strikes that prevent timely completion and occupancy.
  • Defects in construction may not be addressed promptly.
  • Some closing costs apply to only new homes.

 


Home Buyer Ezines


If you are thinking of buying a house or a condo in London Ontario & area and would like more tips and ideas on how to save, I have a series of 24 free e-zines for house & condo buyers . I do not spam, trade or sell your contact information. You are under no obligation what so ever!




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