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RE/MAX Jazz is an upbeat, trendsetting real estate company located in the heart of Oshawa at 21 Drew Street. A full service brokerage, RE/MAX Jazz proudly offers cutting edge technology, innovative marketing tools and state of the art logistics to buyers and sellers across Durham Region.
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Some Interesting and Informative Buyer Related Articles . . .
If you’re about to buy your first home and are shopping for a mortgage, you have many options from which to choose. Variety allows you to find a mortgage that meets your financial and lifestyle needs.

For instance, is your household income consistent or does it change? Do you expect the number of people in your household to change while you’re paying off your mortgage? And do you expect to stay with your new home during the payment period, or buy a new one?

If you’re financially ready for home ownership, the right mortgage can meet your needs, but it’s important to understand your options. Here are some of the most common ones:

Length of the payment period: Most people want to pay down their mortgage as quickly as possible, but a shorter payment period — called the amortization period — also makes for larger regular payments. Most lenders offer amortization periods ranging from 15 to 25 years.

Open or closed mortgage: A mortgage that allows you to pay off your mortgage in part or in full at any time without penalty, or to renegotiate the mortgage at any time, is called an open mortgage. A closed mortgage will apply penalties for early or additional payments, but usually involves a lower interest rate. Most lenders allow homeowners with a closed mortgage to make additional payments of a determined maximum amount without penalty. Most people select a closed mortgage.

Payment schedule: You have the option of repaying your mortgage every month, twice a month, every two weeks or every week. You can also choose to accelerate your payments, usually by making one extra monthly payment a year.

Interest rate type: Most lenders advertise the interest rates at which they’re willing to lend money. But those rates can change and that can also change how you pay off your mortgage.

If you choose a fixed-rate mortgage, the interest rate will stay the same, giving you peace of mind that your regular payments are gradually contributing to your equity. On the other hand, a variable-rate mortgage will change as the market does, which involves some risk that your payment period will lengthen — or shorten, if interest rates fall — but these mortgages often come with a lower overall rate. A third option allows you a variable rate that is capped to a maximum, shielding you from the biggest changes to the market.

For closed mortgages, these conditions apply during the mortgage term (this is a period ranging from a few months to more than five years). After each term, you can renegotiate your mortgage rate, for example, by choosing a lower interest rate if one is available in the market, or by changing your payment schedule.

To learn more about your mortgage options, CMHC’s Homebuying Step by Step: A Consumer Guide and Workbook will lead you through the home buying process in five simple steps. The guide also provides tools, including a mortgage calculator, to help you estimate costs in advance. Download your free copy of the guide at under the buying a home section.
A recent Western Financial Group study found that millions of Canadian have no idea what the contents of their home are worth and that very few have a strong grasp on what coverage they have or what special limitations there may be on their policy in short, they are vulnerable.

“Most people have neither taken the time, nor accessed the tools to determine what their contents are worth,” says Denise Lang, Western Financial Group's regional vice president of sales in Manitoba. “Yes, they probably have some type of contents insurance, although they lack an accurate picture and this means they may not be properly protected.”

It is essential to work with a trusted broker to make sure you have appropriate coverage. Moreover, if you make any significant purchases (like a wedding ring or piece of art) you should update your policy immediately.

Long-term vacancy can lead to long-term repercussions

Each year when the cold weather arrives, many of us go south leaving our homes unoccupied for weeks, even months. This, too, can affect your insurance protection. A property left vacant for as little as four days may no longer qualify for all coverage under the policy. To avoid risk, you should arrange for someone responsible to look in on your home and contents and, as always, you should advise your insurance broker of your absence and discuss any changes to your policy that may be required.

Beware of atypical weather damage

When we walk out our front doors, many of us immediately do a mental checklist of things we might have forgotten:

“Did I turn off the stove?”

“Is the back door locked?”

“Did I close the windows?”

While this type of worrying seems comical, it matters. Aside from the obvious (like a fire or break-in), a seemingly minor oversight like leaving windows open can lead to water damage to the interior of your home in a rainstorm, which is not typically covered by policies.

“With the heavy rains we've seen in the last few years, small incidences of negligence have become more and more common. Closing a window can really mean the difference of thousands of dollars,” Lang explains. “Additionally, most policies don't cover seepage, so you should talk to your broker if this is a risk.”

You can never prepare for every eventuality, but you can do your best to safeguard your home against an array of often-overlooked dangers. Additional information is available at
When your renewal date is near (the term of your mortgage is ending), it’s important to know your options in order to secure a mortgage that best suits your needs. Your mortgage lender will send out a mortgage renewal notice and many customers simply fill out the form, sign it and return it back to their lender without exploring other options. At renewal time, the key is to shop around for lower mortgage rates.

Renewing your mortgage

Typically, you’ll receive renewal documents four months before the renewal date. This does not mean that you must immediately sign and return these forms. Instead, it’s a good time to reassess your personal financial situation to make sure you find the best possible mortgage option suited to you. You should look at your options at least four months before your mortgage renewal date.
Mortgage renewal tips

Here are some tips to help you navigate through your mortgage renewal process with ease:
-Research and compare mortgage products and rates that are currently available in the market.
-Ask plenty of questions and consider your options carefully.
-Reassess your financial situation.
-Determine your mortgage goals – when do you plan to be mortgage-free? How much can you afford? This will help you determine your amortization period and payment schedule (monthly vs. bi-weekly payments).
-Understand the level of risk you are willing to take so that you can identify whether you should select a variable or a fixed rate mortgage.
-Shop around for Canadian mortgage rates to find a better mortgage rate, using sites like
To help assess your financial situation, ask yourself these questions:
-Are you satisfied with the services offered by your current lender?
-Does your household budget allow you to increase your mortgage payments so you can pay off your mortgage sooner?
-Do you want to change your payment frequency?
-Can you make prepayments?
-Do you want to consolidate other debts that have higher interest rates?
-Do you need money for a major renovation?
Renewing your mortgage is a fresh start. You will be closing out your current mortgage and taking out a new mortgage at a different rate with a lower principal. It’s the best time to reassess your mortgage needs.

From Comparasave - November 29, 2012
When you buy a new home, you get to choose a builder based on their reputation and track record. You can search BILD’s website to find out if the company is an association member, which means they agree to a code of ethics outlining compliance with building standards, fair treatment of employees and consumers, and a commitment to learning.
Builders are proud of their work — they have the skills, experience and integrity to do the job right, and they are committed to customer satisfaction.

New homes are built by BILD members using the latest construction techniques and attention to detail, ensuring the most up-to-date quality workmanship. Not only that, but numerous communities across the GTA have received provincial, national and international recognition for designs that combine function and style.

Homes are built in accordance with the Ontario Building Code, which was updated to include more energy-efficient standards in 2012. Combine that with advanced construction techniques, higher levels of insulation and energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, you not only save money on your energy bills, you also enjoy a far more comfortable home.

Condominiums are still the most affordable path to homeownership in the GTA, with the average price of a highrise suite nearly $200,000 less than the average lowrise home. Land constraints, regulatory requirements and the complex approval process are challenging the vitality of the lowrise sector, and as a result, new homebuyers don’t have a wide variety to choose from.
The building industry wants this to change and that’s why we’re advocating for future homebuyers when we work with our partners in government to improve this situation.

From Halton and Peel regions in the west to Durham Region in the east, throughout the City of Toronto and north to York Region and Simcoe County, our members are building vibrant, well-planned and well-designed communities where you can live, work and play.
Choosing a neighbourhood that fits your lifestyle and a home that fits your budget is a big decision, but once you find what you’re looking for, you’ll feel right at home.

Toronto Star Feb 23/2013
How do you survive a bidding war? As the fall market is ramping up again and tales in the news of buyers getting caught in crazy bidding wars, you need to have a plan to make sure you don’t get caught up in the craziness.

After a bidding war, one lucky home buyer is successful but the rest are left in the wake still without a home, scratching their heads wondering, “What happened” ?

We’ll walk you through the strategy of multiple offers and show you how you can best prepare yourself to buy or sell in this situation.

Let’s start with the Buyer’s perspective…

You’ve been looking at homes and have finally fallen in love so you decide to put in an offer.

How do you play a bidding war? How do you win? And without paying too much?

Sadly, there are no guarantees. But there are a few things you can do to give yourself the best shot possible.

Be Prepared

Always have your financing approved and ready to go. An offer with a financing condition is one of the weakest approaches.

Ensure you have a strong deposit relative to the value of the offer and make sure it’s a certified cheque.

Make the Offer Clean

If at all possible, do not include any conditions in the offer. However, if there are conditions that you need to protect yourself, you need to work within your comfort level.

Get a home inspection done prior to the offer if the owner has not done so already. It may seem like wasted money if you don’t get the house but you don’t want it to be the reason you didn’t get it.

If there are any questions about the property that you need to know beforehand, do your research first instead of making your offer conditional on the ability to expand the house or add parking etc.

Give the Owners what they Want

If possible, give the home owners exactly what they want. Most important can be the close date. If it’s a matter of staying at the in-laws for a couple of weeks to get the house, you may be willing to make that sacrifice

Don’t get petty – if they want to take the chandelier, don’t ask for it back in your offer.

Name Your Price

A friend once described it as being like a poker game. You don’t know what everyone else has and you have to make your bet blind.

Wait until just before offer time to put yours in.
Why? You want to see how many offers are in – there is a theory that the more that are submitted the higher it’s going to go. You also don’t want to inflate the price other bidders after you are putting in.

Decide what you are willing to pay for the house.
Some people can’t get over paying $X over the asking price. The list price is usually artificially low anyway so you can’t use that as a benchmark. Review comparable homes sold in the area. If you had never seen the asking price, what would you be willing to pay?

Determine how far you will go to get the home.
Some people are comfortable with upping their bid to get the house. Think how you would feel if you lost it by just a few thousand.

Whatever the number is, at the end of the day you have to feel comfortable with your bid to the point that if you didn’t get the house, you are ok with it because you would not have paid more. Or if you win, you will never grumble about paying too much.

The Bully Offer

Some people simply lose patience with the whole process, especially if they’ve been down that road before and lost. They’ll find a home they want and will do what’s called “bullying” an offer by putting in an offer before the offer date.

This will only work if the offer is substantial and worth it for the home seller to jeopardize the multiple offer process. If they agree to view your offer, legally they still have to offer any buyer who has viewed the home with an agent the opportunity to submit and offer.

But this strategy can win as it may rush other buyers to the point where they will back out. Your offer should have a very short irrevocable time on it. Just enough to be reasonable but not long enough to let the competition get their act in gear!

Another Strategy

Some buyers simply don’t want to play the bidding war game to begin with. Or, they may be looking for something specific that just isn’t on the market at the time.

We don’t let them play or wait if they don’t want to.

One of our strategies is to target specific streets or homes in a neighbourhood, literally writing down the numbers of homes they think could be a fit. Even though they aren’t on the market, we contact the home owners one by one to see if they are interested in selling.

Just as there are buyers who don’t want competition, there are sellers who don’t want to go through the process of showing their home. It’s a lot of work but it has often worked out that our client found their home and didn’t end up in a bidding war.
Let’s look at it from the perspective of the home seller…

Using a multiple offer or ‘bidding war’ approach can be a great way to sell your home quickly for a great price. But it takes a lot of preparation and nerves.

The Preparation

First, your home must be immaculate and staged properly. This does not just mean decluttering. You need to go beyond staging, ensuring any necessary home imporvemets are done. Although it may take thousands of dollars to fix up your home, the return will be well worth it.

Potential buyers need to see that they can move in without any work needed. It also has to appeal to the widest range of buyers so take the usual staging advice into practice – perception is everything.

Get a home inspection done before you list the home. This will eliminate the ability for any buyers to use this a condition of their offer. It will also save any suprises that could make the deal go south.

The Price

Many agents will price a home way below market value. You want as many people to see the home as possible but you also need to balance the risk if you don’t receive offers. I recommend pricing just below but not beyond your comfort zone. It all depends on your situation.

You should also price below the mental thresholds of people’s shopping range. If you were going to price at $460,000, get it down to $439,000 below the $450,000 mark. Buyers usually set search parameters in $50,000 increments. If you are just above their max, they won’t even see it. If you are just below you’ll make your home available to another huge group of buyers.

Many home owners are afraid they will only sell their home for the list price and are reluctant to go a bit lower. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it could backfire. But if you understand the exact current market conditions (seasonality, supply, demand, comparables etc.) and the home is in great shape then you will be too.

Offer Night

You’ve been holding your breath for a week and now it’s time to tango. Offers can be accepted at your home or at the real estate office. Typically each realtor will come in and present their offer.

You can’t just look at the numbers. There are a lot of things to consider – close date, conditions, the size of deposit. Some of these things may be worth more than a few thousand bucks or a lower offer may be the more secure one.

You may select the top few offers and take a chance to ask the agents to go back to their clients and sharpen their pencils, but this can be risky…if they feel pushed they may walk away and you can be left with nothing. Tread lightly and don’t get greedy!

In Conclusion

If you are going to play the bidding war game as a seller or a buyer, make every decision with comfort and without regret while considering your personal circumstances and goals. And make sure you get the research you need to make the best decisions possible and of course, work with agents (like us who have the experience to guide you though every step.

This Week April 3/13
You may have to pay for a survey if the seller does not have a recent one, or does not agree to get one.

It's an excellent idea to include a home inspection as a condition of your Offer to Purchase, the cost of which will vary depending on the age, size and complexity of the home you are buying.


On closing day there will be a number of costs to complete your real estate transaction. Property insurance covering the cost of replacing your home and its contents must be in place on closing day. Your lender, lawyer, or notary may also suggest that you get title insurance which will cover loss caused by any defects of title to the property.

You will also have to pay any legal fees and related costs as well as land transfer tax, if required, to your lawyer or notary on closing day. The seller may have already prepaid property tax or utility fees, and you will need to reimburse any amount that applies to the time after you take possession of the house.

If you are buying a condominium, you will likely have to pay an Estoppel Fee, sometimes called a Status Certificate.


Some other initial costs to consider include moving expenses, renovations or repairs, condominium fees, home furnishings, service connection fees and deposits.

B e prepared by budgeting

for up-front costs when you buy your home. CMHC's Homebuying Step by Step: A Consumer Guide and Workbook will lead you through the homebuying process in five simple steps. Get your free copy at

Toronto Sun March 15/2013
Here are some answers to common questions about deposits when you are buying a house.

1. When must a deposit be paid?

In Ontario, the standard real estate contract gives the buyer two choices; you can pay the deposit immediately when you make an offer, or you can agree to pay it within twenty four hours after the seller accepts it. Most buyers prefer the second option. If you are in a bidding war, you will be encouraged to come up with the deposit immediately, to show good faith to the seller.

2. Can the buyer get out of a deal by refusing to pay the deposit?

No. Once the deal is accepted, you can’t change your mind. If you do, the seller can sell the property again and if he gets less money than you were going to pay the seller can sue you for the difference, plus legal fees.

3. What happens if the deposit is paid late?

The seller has the right to cancel the deal. This is because all time limits matter in a real estate contract and if you are late, even by a few minutes, the seller can try and cancel. I have seen this happen many times, especially when the seller knows that there is another buyer out there who will pay more money. If you need more time to come up with your deposit, say so in your offer.

4. How much should a buyer pay as a deposit?

This is a tough question, and will largely depend on where your home is located. In Toronto, deposits are now usually up to 5 per cent of the sale price. In Brampton, it is closer to 2 per cent. In some areas of Ontario, deposits can be as little as a few hundred dollars.

5. Why does the deposit go to the seller’s real estate agent and not the seller?

If the seller goes bankrupt or disappears with the deposit, the buyer is not protected. When the deposit is held by the real estate brokerage, it is in trust and is also protected by insurance so even if the brokerage goes bankrupt, the buyer can get their money back.

6. If the buyer is unhappy with their home inspection, can the seller refuse to return the deposit?

This happens more than you think. A deposit cannot be released unless both the buyer and seller agree. If a seller believes the buyer did not act in good faith in trying to satisfy their condition, whether it is a home inspection, financing or a condominium status certificate review, they can refuse to release the deposit. This means it stays in the broker’s trust account until a judge decides who gets it, which can take years. As a precaution, buyers should consider making two deposits in their offer, a small one of say one per cent when the offer is accepted, and a second larger deposit once the condition is satisfied.
Understand the rules about deposits before you sign any real estate contract. It is expensive to change your mind later.
Is it legal for a real estate professional in Ontario to represent both the buyer and seller?

Q: Is it legal for a real estate professional in Ontario to represent both the buyer and seller?

A: Yes, the law that governs the real estate industry in Ontario allows a real estate professional or brokerage to represent both buyer and seller, or more than one competing buyer, of a property. It’s a situation referred to as “multiple representation.”
Under the law, your broker or salesperson must inform you if a multiple representation situation arises and advise you how it will affect the services they provide to you. It’s important to know that they cannot proceed with multiple representation unless all parties consent in writing.
If you find yourself involved in this situation, ask questions and make sure you are comfortable with the implications. Find out more about representation agreements at
Buying a home can be a complicated process. You’ll want to get help from a team of knowledgeable professionals who can provide reliable information and answers to your questions.

Your team will likely include a realtor, a lender or mortgage broker, a lawyer, an insurance broker and a home inspector. Take your time and do some research before choosing any of these professionals.


If you are buying a resale home there’s a very good chance that you will work with a realtor. Your realtor’s job is to help you find the ideal home, write an Offer to Purchase and negotiate on your behalf to get you the best possible deal. Realtors can also provide important information about the community you are considering and help you arrange a home inspection.

When you are ready to select a realtor, don’t be afraid to ask questions – especially about possible service charges. Normally the seller pays a commission to the realtor but some realtors charge buyers a fee for their services.

Lenders and Mortgage Brokers

For most people, buying a home means taking out a mortgage. There are many different institutions that lend money for mortgages including banks, trust companies, credit unions, pension funds, insurance companies and finance companies.

Mortgage brokers don’t work for any specific lending institution. Their role is to shop around and find the lender with the terms and rates that are best for the buyer.

To find a lender or mortgage broker you can ask for a referral from your realtor, family members, friends or other professionals. You can also contact the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP) at


The lawyer on your homebuying team is there to protect your legal interests by making sure the home you are buying does not have any building or statutory liens (a claim against a property for money owing), charges or work or clean-up orders. Your lawyer will review all contracts before you sign them, especially the Offer (or Agreement) to Purchase.

Lawyer fees range widely and depend on the complexity of the transaction and the lawyer’s expertise so be sure to shop around for rates. To find lawyers who specialize in real estate law, check with your local law association.

Insurance Brokers

An insurance broker can help you to shop around for your insurance needs.

Lenders require property insurance because your property is their security for your mortgage loan. Property insurance covers the replacement cost of your home, so the size of your premium depends on the value of your home.

Home inspectors

In order to avoid costly surprises, consider having the home you are thinking of buying inspected by an experienced home inspector. The home inspector’s role is to inform you if something is not functioning properly, needs to be changed or repaired, is unsafe or maybe even identify where there were problems in the past. In most areas of Canada there are no licensing or certification requirements for home inspectors, so look for one who belongs to a provincial or industry association.

Toronto Sun April 5, 2013
By: Mark Weisleder Published on Fri Nov 30 2012
When you buy a condominium from plans that won’t be built for a few years, the developer has to give you a list of important documents when you sign the sale agreement. These include the rules that will govern the condominium and a budget for the first year, so you can figure out in advance what you will pay for common expenses.
You have 10 days from the date the developer gives you that information to change your mind. If you do not cancel, then it is a firm deal.
The lawsuits surrounding the new Trump Tower in Toronto illustrate what can happen. Some buyers of the luxury hotel-condo units are trying to get out of deals in some cases signed seven years ago.
They are claiming that maintenance fees, property taxes and other incidentals on the project’s 276 hotel-condo units have skyrocketed from earlier projections. The developer is countersuing, claiming it is a case of buyers’ remorse.
The situation demonstrates the need to scrutinize condominium agreements before signing, because trying to get out of deals later can prove extremely expensive. Although the Trump hotel/complex is different than most residential condominiums, there are still many buildings that have business units on the main floor, so proper inquiries need to be made in advance.
Here are the questions you need answered during that ten day period.
What additional charges will I pay on closing?
Tarion Warranty Corp. which offers consumers warranties on new homes, requires developers to indicate in the purchase agreement, all additional charges you may have to pay on closing. These are either dollar amounts, such as the Tarion enrolment fee, or things like development charges, which may not be known before the condo is built.
In my experience, these charges can add between 1 and 2 per cent over and above your purchase price. The best way for buyers to protect themselves is to negotiate a cap on these expenses right away, so that there is a maximum that can be charged on closing.
What are the rules regarding pets and visitor parking?
Some buildings may provide parking for visitors or charge them for it, others may not. Some allow pets up to a certain weight; others forbid all pets. There will probably be restrictions on attaching anything to or trying to enclose your balcony or patio. You probably will not be able to change the flooring, remove a wall, change the plumbing fixtures or install appliances without the permission of the Board.
Can the developer decide not to build?
Most agreements contain something called an economic viability date. This means that if the developer does not pre-sell enough units, they can just decide to cancel the project and refund your deposit. Buyers are not entitled to any damages. Check this date immediately, and ask whether the developer has the right to extend it.
What is included in common expenses?
Many buyers believe all expenses will be covered by a common payment each month. This is not true. Some buildings may require buyers to pay for and maintain their own HVAC or hydro. Cable will also be extra. Other condos may even require you to maintain your exterior garden or patio as well. This is typically found in “freehold” townhouse projects.
What if there are business units on the main floor?
Make sure that any commercial unit pays utilities separately, since businesses typically use more water and hydro than a regular unit. Imaging if you have a Tim Hortons on your ground level. Very convenient, but it could mean you are subsidizing their utility costs.
Is the common expense payment guaranteed?
The developer’s budget should indicate what you should expect to pay in the first year. However, if construction is delayed, there is usually a clause that the budget will increase by, on average, an additional 4 per cent per year. This means your expenses also will rise. In addition, the developer only guarantees your common expenses in your first year of ownership. If there is any increase after the first year, you are on your own.
Based on what I have heard from condominium specialists, it is not uncommon for the common expenses to rise almost 30 per cent in the first three years of ownership in a new condo building. This could include leasing contracts for building equipment or systems that do not take effect until the second year, for example when the furnace is not owned. This also includes the fact that, while the law requires a 10 per cent reserve fund from day one, this is usually not enough.
If you can just barely afford this condo based on payments that you are being promised today, you may have serious affordability problems later.
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