Saturday, 21 March 2015

First-time home buyers’ most common mistakes

Buying your first home can be an exciting experience -- but it can also be complex, confusing and time-consuming. Here are some common traps first-time home buyers fall into that you should avoid:

You're Not Sure How Much You Can Really Afford

"How much can I borrow?" is not the same as "How much should I borrow?" The mortgage that you qualify for isn't necessarily the amount you can actually afford. Bear in mind that homeownership brings extra expenses such as utilities, homeowners insurance, property taxes and maintenance and repair costs. Factor those into your monthly budget to find out how much home you can comfortably afford without becoming "house poor."

Overlooking Extra Costs

Your mortgage isn't the only cost to consider when purchasing a home. You'll also have to be ready at the outset to cover closing costs -- potentially including loan origination fees, appraisal and home inspection costs -- as well as moving costs and any necessary repairs you'll need to make when you take possession of the home.

Make sure you have a budget that can cover several thousand dollars of extra expenses related to home buying.

Not Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Before you even start looking at houses, you should get pre-approved for a mortgage. This carries two benefits: First, you'll know the price range for a home you can realistically purchase, and second, many realtors won't even let you put a bid on a house until you've completed this step.

Getting Too Emotional

It's easy to fall in love with a home at first sight, but don't let that initial emotional reaction cloud your judgment. Look beyond the aspects you adore and ask yourself if the entire house is the right fit for you -- is it large enough, is the layout workable, is it in the right neighborhood, will you have to make any costly renovations?

Not Getting a Home Inspection

Without a home inspection, you could be purchasing a money trap without even knowing it. Home inspections shine a light on potentially pricey (and dangerous) issues with a home and can save you from getting in way over your head.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Occupancy Standards

The Condominium Act allows condominiums to limit the number of people who can occupy a unit in a corporation. To do this the standard must be set by by-law. It is recommended that any buildings near educational institutions should include such provisions in their by-laws as doing so provides the corporation with the ability to control the numbers of people living in a unit. The current maximum provided in these by-laws is two persons per sleeping room as set out in the Ontario Building Code.  There are two ways to deal with overcrowded units.

First, is when the overcrowding is a result of people occupying the unit who are not family related members, for example a group of students. One student signs the lease for a two bedroom unit and 5 extra students then move in.  With an occupancy standard by-law, the corporation can seek the removal of the two extra people.

Second, if the overcrowding is as a result of children or extra family members occupying the unit, then the Human Rights Code family status provision will not allow the enforcement of the occupancy by-law provision, but the corporation can levy a surcharge against the unit.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Canadian home sales slip lower in January

Home sales slipped lower in January for the second month in a row. The Canadian Real Estate Association says sales through its multiple listing service in January were down 2.0 per cent compared with a year ago. Compared with December, January's sales were down 3.1 per cent.
The national average price for a home sold in January was $401,143, up 3.1 per cent from a year ago.
CREA says it was the smallest year-over-year increase since April 2013.