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9 Real Estate FAQs for Grey & Bruce Home Buyers

9 Real Estate FAQs for Grey & Bruce Home Buyers

The current real estate market is on fire so if you’re thinking of putting your property up for sale, there’s no better time than now. 

However, if you’re looking to buy, current real estate conditions can feel like a minefield — especially for first time buyers. In this post, you’ll learn some common real estate terms to help you evaluate listings and see the questions buyers ask most often when trying to purchase real estate in a fast-moving market.

1. Are Low-Ball Offers Advisable?

When considering a low ball offer that’s below the asking price, you run the risk of souring a prospective sale. They are commonly rejected unless the property is overpriced to begin with, therefore before making your offer, it is advised to research some influencing factors which might sway the seller’s decision. 

These include: 

  • The seller’s motivation behind selling.  
  • Understand the neighbourhood by looking at comparable prices – is the property overpriced or fair? 
  • Are there any contingencies attached to the offer – e.g. does the seller have another house under contract? 

The more you analyze your seller’s motives, the neighbourhood and offer contingencies, the better prepared you are to make an educated offer based on facts and research. This will improve your chances of success. 

2. What is a Condominium?

A condominium is a form of real estate property ownership which comes in two parts.  The first is owning your own unit along with the full title deeds. The second is having joint ownership of the ‘common elements’ within the complex. 

These are often shared with other property owners and include common areas like parking space, pool, clubhouse, sidewalks, etc. You should expect to pay a monthly fee for the shared amenities and property upkeep.

3. What Should We Offer?

There are many factors that can influence an offer, so it is of utmost importance you are fully informed and aware of all of the information and circumstances in play. 

Factors to consider are: 

  • What are the seller’s motivations? Why are they selling?
  • What is the value of other neighbourhood properties?
  • Are there any contingencies attached to the offer? 
  • Are there any rival offers on the table? 
  • Do you need to repair or renovate the property?
  • How will you buy the property — an all cash transaction or (more likely) with a mortgage? 
  • How long has the property been on the market?
  • Has the property price been reduced? 

While it can be tempting to make a low offer, only with thorough research can you make an informed decision that might sway the seller. If you are unsure on where to start researching, Bill can help you formulate a bid that increases your chances of being the winning bidder, without overpaying. 

4. What are Some Tips on Negotiating?

The more you know about your seller, the stronger your position will be when negotiating. 

Also, remember that the seller’s asking price is their desired figure. It isn’t necessarily the valued/assessed price and more often than not, sellers are willing to settle for less as they have overvalued the property. Check the neighbourhood for comparable prices to see if the property may be overvalued for the area, giving you a bit of leverage.  

But keep in mind, if your seller has an experienced and savvy realtor, they may use an aggressive tactic of ‘sticking to the price’ and negotiate hard for the seller. In a hot market, you might also be up against multiple bids and even see homes selling for more than the asking price.

Be prepared for all eventualities and look to your experienced realtor for support in making each next step.

5. What Contingencies Should be Put in an Offer?

It is common practise to sign a purchase contract that clearly states the terms and conditions for both the buyer and seller. It is here you also include the offer contingencies, otherwise you could forfeit your deposit. 

There are two main contingencies you need to know. The first is a Financing Contingency, which states that the property sale is dependent on the buyer’s ability to obtain a loan from the lender (usually through a bank or private mortgage). 

The second is an Inspection Contingency, which allows potential buyers to hire professionals who inspect the property. It is good practise to have a property surveyor to inspect a property before any money is exchanged, thus giving the buyer peace of mind knowing there will not be any hidden complications with the property. 

It would also be prudent to include the seller’s responsibilities in the purchase contract, such as:

  • Passing a clear title.
  • Maintaining the present day condition of the property until closing.
  • Completing any agreed upon repairs.

6. Can You Buy Homes Below Market Value?

Buying a home below market value is an attractive prospect, yet there are some considerations that need to be taken into account. Why might a house sell for below market value and where can you find these properties? 

Here is a list of the different bargain properties to look out for in the real estate market:

  • A foreclosure property – meaning the property has been reclaimed by the lender, (usually a bank). The price is low because the lender can only make a profit once the sale is complete. However, make sure you research the property thoroughly, to identify any potential problems or the cost of repairs needed for the property. 
  • A fixer-upper in an up and coming neighbourhood with the aim of improving the property to either rent out or to resell for a profit.
  • Derelict properties that are due to be torn down. 
  • A leftover house in a new housing development
  • An originally overpriced house that’s been substantially reduced. 

Bargain properties are out there waiting to be found, so make sure you shop around to find your bargain. It is also advisable to view a few properties, so you can compare and contrast and find the most suitable property that fits your needs. 

7. Whose Obligation is it to Disclose Pertinent Information About a Property?

It is the seller’s responsibility to disclose information about the property. However, the obligations to disclose varies depending on location and local building laws. 

Under the strictest of laws, sellers are required to disclose all facts that materially affect the value or desirability of the property.  These might include:

  • Disclosure on the current occupants
  • Who should sign the contract
  • Any and all official letters received
  • Planning matters within the neighbourhood
  • Any problems with the property 

Failure to disclose this information can result in a lawsuit for the recovery of damages on the grounds of fraud or deceit. So it is a good idea to make a note of some important questions to ask the seller when viewing a property. If in doubt, you can always speak to one of our agents for advice. 

8. What Happens Once We Sign an Offer?

When you negotiate a real estate transaction, there are simply too many points to include in the purchasing contract, therefore purchasing contracts generally only include the most relevant points, like the standard financing and home inspection contingencies. 

When drafting the purchasing contract be sure to include any important amendments or additions you want stated, and always make sure these amendments are in writing rather than settled as an oral agreement, which is neither binding nor guaranteed.

9. How Can I be the Winner in a Multiple-Offer Competition?

There will undoubtedly be others vying for the same property. The most qualified buyer is usually the buyer who can offer the best price with the least amount of strings attached — and that means fewer contingencies. If you can satisfy the seller’s conditions before making the offer, like already having a mortgage pre-approval from the bank, that will put you forward as a strong contender.  

It can also be worthwhile to emotionally appeal to the seller. After all, if you and the competitor submit similar offers, the choice will boil down to who the seller prefers. So it doesn’t hurt to build some rapport with the seller. 

At the end of the day, there are many factors that can influence a sale. But a good place to start is to conduct your research thoroughly and to make sure all your paperwork is in order. The rest will follow suit. 

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The Final Walkthrough: What to Expect as the Seller

The Final Walkthrough: What to Expect as the Seller

If you’re selling your home, the final walk-through is an important part of the process. But what is it, and are there any special considerations you should keep in mind?

In this column, you’ll learn what to expect, how to get prepared, and what you can do if there are any issues during your final walkthrough. Use this guide to help reduce stress and avoid any confusion as you finalize your real estate transaction!

What is the final walkthrough?

The final walkthrough occurs just a day or two before closing on the house. It allows the buyer to give the premises a last look over before completing the purchase. 


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Tips for Protecting Your Privacy When Selling Your Home

Selling your home is an exercise in trust, and it can be stressful to have strangers walking through your home. There are a few safeguards to keep in mind to protect your privacy while allowing potential buyers access to their future dream home. 

De-personalize your house

Not all of the people who attend open houses are interested in buying your home. (You know a couple of the neighbours from down the street will check out your home if you have just renovated.) Criminals regularly scope out potential targets by casually touring an open house. 


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Buying in a Hot Market

The real estate market has been on fire for a few months now. If you’re selling, there’s never been a better time to put your house on the market. If you are trying to buy, however, it’s a cutthroat market with many properties being sold astronomically above the asking price. It is possible to find a home to buy in a red-hot market, if you follow these tips.


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10 Steps to a Successful Relocation Move to Owen Sound & Area

Moving to a new, unfamiliar community can be very exciting, but it’s also a major life decision filled with emotion and change. Whether you choose to move to Owen Sound or any of the other towns in Grey and Bruce counties, we know you’ll find lots of friendly people to welcome you. 

To make your transition go smoother, consider these suggestions:


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Why People Choose New Construction Homes

Why People Choose New Construction Homes

When it’s time to buy a new home, you may be wondering whether to build a house from the ground up or choose an already well-loved home. 

It’s not always an easy decision. While the financial aspect of purchasing a home certainly plays a large part, so do lifestyle and convenience factors. Which house is the best for you — a new build or an existing home? Let’s look at some of the factors that will play into your decision.

The appeal of a new build home

There are a number of compelling reasons people choose to build a new home, or to purchase directly from the builder.


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FAQ: Buying a House in Grey and Bruce

FAQ: Buying in Grey and Bruce

Thinking of buying a house in Grey-Bruce? Here are some of the questions we most often get from clients.

Where can I buy property in Grey and Bruce?

Our region has an abundance of beautiful properties along the shores of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, up the Bruce Peninsula, throughout our rural areas, and in our many small towns.

The largest urban centre in the region is Owen Sound, with a population of 21,341. Other major towns include Saugeen Shores, Hanover, Meaford, Kincardine, and Walkerton. The Bruce Peninsula features the town of Wiarton at its base, Lion’s Head in the middle, and Tobermory at the tip. 

How much do homes cost in Grey-Bruce?

The average price for homes sold in Grey and Bruce counties surpassed $502,000 in September, 2020. That marked an increase of about $100,000 or 23.5% over the year prior.


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7 Fun Things To Do This Winter in Grey-Bruce

7 Fun Things To Do This Winter in Grey-Bruce

The snow has arrived in our region once again, but the pandemic is sure to make this winter a unique experience. Social distancing and mask-wearing will continue to be the norm this season, but that doesn’t have to stop us from having fun! 

The Grey-Bruce region offers plenty of great outdoor (and indoor) activities that we can do while still following public health guidelines, keeping us active and exploring the spectacular scenery in our special corner of Ontario.

Here are 7 fun, local activities to help prevent cabin fever and keep you and the family healthy this winter.


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Why Buy a New Build vs a Pre-Loved Home?

Why Buy a New Home

At some point, it’s a decision many home buyers come up against: should we buy a new build or is it better to get a home that’s been lived in before?

Of course, there’s no right or wrong answer! But here are a few considerations about new homes to keep in mind as you weigh your real estate options:


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Real Estate Open Houses Return with Important COVID-19 Precautions

Now that we are in Phase Three of Ontario’s reopening plans, real estate sellers are once again able to showcase your property in an Open House.

An Open House is an important selling tool, enabling buyers to drop in any time and explore the property. If you are planning to sell—or if you are looking for your next home and planning to attend local Open Houses around Grey-Bruce and Owen Sound—here’s what you need to know about Coronavirus precautions and safety measures currently in place.

Safe Open House Viewing – Best Practices for Coronavirus

The Province of Ontario lifted the prohibition on real estate professionals hosting open houses as of Friday, July 17 at 12:01 a.m., assuming that public health and workplace safety measures and restrictions are in place.

As with all public and social activities, the most important preventative step is to stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill or have symptoms of COVID-19.

If you would like to visit upcoming Open Houses in Grey-Bruce and Owen Sound, follow these guidelines from the Real Estate Council of Ontario:

1. Be prepared for a quick screening and check-in.

Anyone visiting an Open House will be asked a few questions to screen for potential Coronavirus exposure. These questions are required by the Ministry of Health; you can see them here.

As real estate professionals, we are required to document the name and contact information of each person who attended the open house to support effective contact tracing by Public Health, if needed.

2. Wear a non-medical mask or face covering.

This face covering is required by Public Health and is to be worn at all times while indoors. See recommendations about masks and face coverings here.

3. Be prepared to queue in your vehicle or outside, maintaining a safe distance of at least two metres between yourself and others.

The Real Estate Council of Ontario has recommended that we consider requiring all clients to book an appointment in advance for the purposes of physical distancing, flow management and contact tracing. If you arrive at an Open House without an appointment, or if the property has a tight schedule of viewings, you may be asked to wait outside or in your vehicle.

4. Avoid touching any surface inside the home.

We will do our best to facilitate this by ensuring that all doors are open and lights on for the duration of the Open House. Hand sanitizer will be provided at our Open Houses. High-touch surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary environment. Even so, we encourage you to avoid touching surfaces as much as possible.

Viewing Properties and Attending Showings During COVID-19

We will make every effort to ensure the safety of homeowners and buyers for the duration of this pandemic. Your wellbeing is Bill’s top priority, and he thanks each and every one of you for your patience and understanding as we continually adapt together to new public health and safety requirements.

If you have any questions or concerns about property viewing during COVID-19, please give Bill a call at (519) 377-7627 or get in touch through the website.

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