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Tips to Use When Searching for Family-Friendly Homes
Posted on Fri, 15 Sep 2017, 12:20:00 PM  in Home buying tips
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The time has come to find a new home where you and your family will be happy and thriving. Seems easy, but it can be a challenging process. You have to decide what is a necessity, and what you could live without. Long gone are the days when you and your spouse could move into a fast-paced area with great shopping malls. While most attractions still matter, your main focus should be great school districts, access to emergency services, and kid-friendly neighborhoods. Here are some tips to use when you begin searching for a new home that you and your entire family can enjoy.

 

Get the Kids Involved

This is an important tip to consider when searching for a new home. You want to receive your children’s input because this will be their home as well. However, youfamily home do not want to take your children to countless open-houses. Limit the amount of homes that children walk through. If you take them to more than three or four open-houses, the children will lose interest and you will not receive an accurate point-of-view. You want the kids to remain focused and to give honest feedback. Go visit as many homes as you would like with your spouse, and then narrow it down to four or less before you begin taking the children to look the properties over.

 

Space Matters

On those weekends when the entire family is in the home, you want spacious living rooms and a media room where you can have family games and trivia, movie night, and more. However, you will also want extra space for the times when everyone wants to be alone. Family-friendly homes have spacious rooms where your children rest, do homework, or just relax without feeling overcrowded.

 

The bathrooms in the home are another feature to consider. It would be ideal for everyone to have their own bathroom. This will make school and work days less hectic.

 

School Districts and Emergency Services

Buyers with children should have these two things at the top of their list when searching for a new home. You want to make sure your children have access to the best schools. Do some research on the local schools and the type of community involvement those educational institutions have. This is very important. Go and visit some of the schools with your children, so they can get a feel of the atmosphere.

 

Be sure to choose a property that is near a hospital, police department, and other emergency services. You never know when an emergency will occur, but you should always be prepared when it happens. You do not want to drive long distances, or wait for long periods of time on an ambulance, when your child has been hurt. The safety of your children should always come first.

 

Features that Kids Love

Now that you have chosen the attractions and services that are necessary for most families, you want to take a look at those features that children prefer. While the location does not need to have all of your children’s top choices, you want to choose an area that offers them some fun features and attractions. For instance, playgrounds, toy stores, and movie theaters are features that typically draw the interests of children. Therefore, you will need to find a home that is within a good distance of those places. Keep in mind that while this is your home and you will be making the mortgage payments and major decisions, this is also your children’s home and their choices should matter.

The search for a family-friendly home does not need to be overwhelming. Reach out to an experienced real estate agent who can make the process as simple and stress-free as possible. She will have more useful tips that make the process fun, and tips that help your family make a great buying decision!


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Purchasing a New Home
Posted on Wed, 30 Aug 2017, 09:15:00 AM  in Home buying tips
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Canada is a country representing a wide variety of properties for sale. Home buyers may choose from a remote cabin in what closely resembles a wilderness area, or they may prefer a condo or townhouse located in the downtown area of a modern city. Their lifestyle and position in life will likely be the deciding factor when Canadians decide to purchase a home.

 

Retirees may search for a home where they are able to appreciate the beauty of nature if they aspire to an active and healthy lifestyle. Seniors who do not enjoy great health may prefer to live near a hospital or medical facility in case they experience a catastrophic health event. Younger people who have children also prefer to live further away from the city, but usually choose to be close enough that their commute to work is not too long. Residential communities located on the outskirts of larger metropolis areas are popular neighborhoods with children of school age. Singles and young couples in the millennial age group typically prefer to rent near thenew home city center, and many prefer to purchase a condo as an investment.

 

Canada's economy is relatively stable, and Toronto is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. The diverse metropolis is the capital of Ontario and is located on the shore of Lake Ontario. Toronto offers many employment and educational opportunities as well as a wide variety of outdoor activities. The number of new constructions and home improvement projects is a testament to Toronto's healthy economy. The Greater Toronto Area is a popular residential location due to the availability of transportation into the city center where most people are employed.

 

People who live in Canada are well aware of the frigid winter temperatures, but they have obviously come to appreciate the advantages of living there so much that the weather is tolerable. The far northern areas of the country are less occupied which is likely due to the much colder winters there. The most populated regions of Canada are situated in the southern half of the country.

 

When it comes to the Canadian climate, Victoria, British Columbia is the warmest. The city is located on Vancouver Island about 100 km south of the city of Vancouver. Victoria is British Columbia's capital city, and boasts amazing mountain and ocean views in nearly every direction. The peaceful atmosphere of the city is popular with retirees, although families and students are drawn to the wide range of outdoor activities that include biking, water sports, golf and zip lining.

 

Anyone planning to purchase a new home in Canada will be wise to contact a reputable REALTORŪ in their desired location. A real estate agent will be able to search for the type of property that meets their needs and wishes. While it may be quite possible to successfully purchase a private listing, a professional will guide them through the process with less risk of purchasing a home with problems. In addition, a REALTORŪ has access to homes that are just coming on the market or homes that are foreclosed and bank owned.


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Tips For Choosing Rental Properties That Are Guaranteed To Provide Phenomenal Returns
Posted on Tue, 28 Feb 2017, 10:45:00 AM  in Home buying tips
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Purchasing rental property is a great way to establish long-term financial health. The right unit will serve as an ongoing, passive stream of income that can bolster or even replace earnings that are generated from your primary employment. This is an excellent investment strategy for retirees or for those who intend to leave the workforce within the next several years. It is also perfect for consumers who already own their own homes outright and are ready to expand their portfolios. In order to ensure optimal returns from this investment, however, there are a number of key features that you should look for.

 Tips For Choosing Rental Properties That Are Guaranteed To Provide Phenomenal Returns

  1. A Prime Location

No matter what your goals are when shopping for property, location means everything. This is always going to be the sole feature about your unit that you don't have the power to change. You can alter the flooring, add in new cabinetry and even redesign the look of the property exterior. Where your investment is located, however, is a static condition. You also have to account for the fact that location will play the greatest role in determining how much you're able to charge for rent. Even if a unit has cutting-edge amenities, it won't fetch a reasonable price if it's situated in a high-crime, low-interest and otherwise undesirable neighbourhood.

 

  1. Modern Amenities

Just like home buyers want the latest and most innovative amenities, property renters are starting to demand these things as well. Features like smart thermostats, triple and even quadruple-pane windows, and energy efficient heating and cooling systems can help renters save considerable sums of money on their monthly overhead bills. If any property you're targeting doesn't have these things, find out how much it will cost to add them in on your own.

 

  1. A Robust Rental Market

Certain neighbourhoods are filled with attractive and relatively affordable houses, and yet, the local rental markets are not ideal. This is often the result of limited, local options in employment, limited options for commuting, or average rental prices that are far above the regional norm. Find out how other rental property owners are faring within specific neighbourhoods and determine just what the average rental costs are. These should be sufficiently high for covering your own ownership expenses while allowing for some manner of profit.

 

  1. Quality Schools

If you intend to invest in a multi-unit development or a property type that is best-suited to small and growing families, make sure to target neighbourhoods that have top-rated schools. Many properties will have local school information posted right on their listings. You can compare this data with the details that are offered by major school review sites online.

 

  1. Low Crime Rates

Take a minute to read up on local crime statistics. Even some of the best locations are not immune to problems like burglary and vandalism. Not only will issues like these make your units less marketable, but they can also have a noticeable impact on property values over the years.

 

  1. Ease Of Transportation

When shopping for homes, apartments or condos to rent, most people are looking for options that will simplify their daily commutes. As such, some of the best properties will be located within close driving distance of major transportation routes. It is also important to consider the options in local, municipal transportation that exist as well. With more consumers looking to limit both their fuel costs and their carbon footprints, choosing properties near solid bus routes or train stations is a good idea.

 

  1. A Strong Job Market

A strong job market and a robust rental market usually go hand in hand. If there are plenty of options in nearby work, locals will be able to pay their rent. When shopping for an investment property, check around for new businesses, business expansion and low unemployment rates. It's also possible to find desirable rental properties just outside of bustling metropolitan areas, so long as the options for commuting are good.

When using investment property to generate passive income, it's vital to diligently research your options. Choosing a modern, updated home that located in a safe and top-rated community will invariably provide better returns than will choosing a property in a high-crime, low-interest district. Consulting with a reputable REALTORŪ before finalizing any purchase decisions is the best way to avoid investment mistakes that will diminish your profit potential.


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Getting Ready to Sell Your Home? What to Do About Nightmare Neighbors
Posted on Sat, 31 Dec 2016, 10:05:00 AM  in Home selling tips
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Do you have nightmare neighbors? Maybe their yard looks like the local landfill. Or, they have several not-so-friendly pit bulls that bark and growl every time someone walks by. These types of neighbors are definitely a nuisance, and can be a nightmare when it comes time to put your home on the market. They can cause potential buyers to run the other way.Getting Ready to Sell Your Home? What to Do About Nightmare Neighbors

Thankfully, there are things that you can do to resolve with these types of issues. Here are some steps that you can take to deal with unruly neighbors before you put your home on the market.

Strike up a Kind Conversation

Initially, engage your neighbor in a friendly, tactful conversation about the issues at hand. Approach your neighbor in a kind, yet assertive manner and try to work out a solution. Avoid becoming accusatory or confrontational. It will not get you anywhere. Explain that you are getting ready to put your home on the market, and you would really appreciate their help in maintaining their property or addressing other concerns. Appeal to their interests. Explain that it will also benefit them by driving up home values in the area. If your home sells for a good price, it will increase the value of their home, as well. If the neighbors are renters, then talk directly to the owner, pointing out to the owner how resolving this issue will benefit them in the long run. They have a vested interest in the neighborhood values and will likely take action to preserve that interest. 

Complain to the HOA

If you have tried to talk to your neighbor, and they refuse to cooperate, then the next step is to complain to the homeowner’s association or HOA, if you live in a subdivision that has one. Homeowner's Associations have very strict rules on how homes that are part of the HOA must be maintained. When you contact the HOA, it is best to provide photographs as evidence that your neighbor is in violation of one of the codes. It would be helpful to review the codes before contacting the HOA. If your neighbor is in violation of HOA rules, the association will initially send letters asking them to remedy the situation. If you neighbor ignores the letters, the HOA will fine them, and bring legal action, if needed. The HOA can even foreclose on a home if fines and fees are unpaid. 

Contact the City

Many cities have bylaws that prohibit noise and nuisances. Check to see if your city has bylaws or ordinances in place. If they do, then file a complaint. The city will usually send the owners a notice advising them that they are disturbing the neighbors and that further action will be taken if the disturbance does not stop. It is always best to keep an incident log when making reports. 

If All Else Fails

If you have tried all of the above and gotten nowhere, it might be time to file a lawsuit. This is something that should be considered only as a last resort. Lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming. You would most likely have to prove the harassment is intentional and meant to prevent you from selling the home. 

Dealing with nightmare neighbors can be stressful. But, it does not have to prevent you from selling your home for what it is worth. Keep the above tips in mind when you list your home and consult a knowledgeable real estate professional for guidance, as they can provide expert information to help you sell your home, even in less than ideal situations.


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Strong Areas in the Canadian Real Estate Market
Posted on Wed, 15 Jun 2016, 10:15:00 AM  in Marketing strategies
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Canada is among the most desirable places to live on Earth. The northern nation is famed for having a clean climate, responsible governance and welcoming people. This combination means that real estate in and around populated areas tends to be very valuable by worldwide standards. Like any large nation different areas of the country will have significantly different property values. Regions always have their own characteristics which will draw a diverse group of individuals to the area. In the following article we will highlight a couple of strong areas of Canada for real estate and how they got that way.

Toronto, Ontario

strong areasWhile many mistake Toronto as the capitol city of Canada it is in fact only a provincial capital. This does not take away from the fact that Toronto is still considered Canada's number one city- something akin to New York City in the United States. Much of the nation's agenda is set in Toronto and as Canada's largest city it holds great sway with the nation as well as globally.

The city is eminently livable and has a great deal to offer even the seasoned world traveler. Much in keeping with Canada's reputation as a hotbed of diversity and free thought you can find nearly any race, culture or creed in Toronto. While the cold weather does have an effect on the prices of real estate it is minor at best.

Much of the outlying city suburbs have been growing in price rapidly due to the increasing amount of immigration to the city. With the diverse immigration patterns comes a number of tourists from across the globe. These tourists are visiting friends and family and reveling in the multicultural paradise that Toronto has become. When tourist revenues go up so do home values. Both commercial and residential real estate have been flourishing in the last few years and this trend shows no signs of abating.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Long known as Canada's second city Vancouver, British Columbia is among the most visited and loved cities on the entire planet. Since Vancouver is located on the West Coast of North America it has an incredibly temperate climate compared to the vast majority of major Canadian cities. The weather is similar to other big name West Coast Cities like Portland and San Francisco.

In addition the fact that Vancouver is so close to Asia is a huge boon to the local real estate market. Over the past 20 something odd years investors from across the globe- but especially East Asia- have been driving up prices to unseen levels all over the city. Chinese immigrants are driving much of the growth but people from countries all over Asia are getting in on the real estate boom.

The fact that people from Vancouver have a mild climate, a great deal of cultural diversity and a relatively free and tolerant atmosphere make it one of the strongest areas of Canadian real estate right now. While past performance is no sure guarantor of future performance it makes sense that Vancouver will continue to prosper over the next few years at least.

Vancouver and Toronto are two of the major standouts in the Canadian real estate market but there are many more bright spots. In order to find the best places try to find a mix of culture and climate- mixing the best of Canada with the best of the rest of the world.


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Avoiding White Elephants
Posted on Mon, 30 May 2016, 10:40:00 AM  in Home buying tips
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The sacred white elephants of southeast Asia were symbols of luxury, but they were expensive to maintain, could not be sold or given away, and could bankrupt their owners. When buying a house, you should take care to avoid being saddled with your own white elephant home by looking carefully for these key signs of the white elephant before you buy.


Time on Market
It's true that it may take several weeks to sell a house, but if a home in a strong market such as Vancouver, Toronto, or Calgary has been sitting unsold for several months, you should be extremely cautious about buying it. There may well be a good reason for why it has not sold, and you don't want to discover the dry rot, crazy neighbors, or a flooded basement after you have already signed the contract.

Too Expensive for Neighbourhood
You find a stunning house, filled with premium upgrades, in a modest suburban neighbourhood. Similar houses in more expensive neighbourhoods sell for paymenrts$650,00, and the house you've just viewed seems a bargain at $550,000. The problem is that the neighbouring houses range from $350,000 to $450,000. Because the house you are viewing is priced to high for its neighbourhood, it will be difficult or impossible to resell.

Too Cheap a Price to be Real
We all love bargains. When you see a house on the market for substantially less than comparable houses in the neighborhood of the same size and age, your impulse is to grab the bargain before anyone else bids on it, but you don't want to buy in haste and regret your purchase in leisure. Although sometimes personal emergencies such as bankruptcies, deaths, illnesses, or career issues cause people to price houses for quick sale, in other cases, the low price may be a sign of some problem affecting the house's underlying value.

Consider the Future
A house is a long-term investment. That means that you need to delve into long-term planning for the neighborhood. You don't want to invest in a house backing on a wonderful nature area, if the area is slated to become a new freeway or construction zone. Even when new construction may increase property values, you may not want to spend a few years enduring the noise and dust of construction, and in the short term, it will be difficult to sell a house in an active construction zone. If the area is currently zoned for single-family homes and is rezoned for multi-family or mixed use, the character of the neighborhood will change. School closings or opening may also affect the desirability of a property. 

Needing Too Much Work
Fixer uppers can be great bargains if you have the skills and patience to do the work yourself, and a good idea of just how much time, money, and effort are entailed. If you have a full-time job or don't have strong do-it-yourself skills and a good collection of tools, an inexpensive fixer-upper can turn into an expensive white elephant, eating up all your free time and spare cash. Before investing in a house that needs work, try to get an accurate estimate of the actual cost of the work involved. In the long run, a more expensive "move-in ready" house may actually be cheaper than a less expensive fixer upper. 

 


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ZOI OUZAS Sales Representative
RE/MAX Garden City Realty Inc., Brokerage
64 Main Street West, Grimsby ON L3M 1R6
Office: (905)-945-0660 Office: (905)-563-8527
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