By: Thomas Cook

What Are Some Of The Top Home Buying Errors According To The Ontario Real Estate Association?

It's easy to make a mistake when it's your first time doing something new. Many home buyers in Ontario are purchasing homes for the very first time - but with such a large investment, it's wise to avoid any mistakes before they occur. #1: Not knowing what you can afford While there are plenty of calculators and homebuying budgeting tips available online, they may not give you a clear idea of what you can actually afford. Before you begin looking at houses that are outside of your price range, speak to a real estate agent or lender to find out your Gross Debt Service Ratio, which is a number that lenders use to determine your creditworthiness for a mortgage. In addition, be...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Tips For Selling Your House During The Winter Months

While the real estate market usually heats up in the spring, many people end up selling their homes in the winter. However, with winter home sales it's important to keep several things in mind before you finally do put your listing on the market. 1.  Choose pictures from the spring or summer months for your listing. No one wants to feel like they're snowed in before they even move in. And while photos from the spring or summertime will show a home somewhat different from what your home looks like now, it will let potential buyers know how they'll be living on warmer days: maybe you have a gorgeous patio or garden that winter photos simply can't do much justice, bu...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Spring Maintenance To Keep Your Country Home Or Cottage Efficiently

Spring definitely seems like a long way off - for now. But even if you don't believe it, soon it'll be warm outside and it'll be time to get your home ready for spring. If you plan on selling your home in the spring, it's especially important to be sure you're ready. The furnace room Do you cram extra holiday decorations, litter boxes and cleaning supplies into your furnace room? So does pretty much everyone else. But the reality is that not only is storing so much "stuff" next to your furnace a fire hazard, your furnace is also deprived of the airflow it needs to operate properly. This room should be decluttered and organized to keep your space clean. Wh...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Spring Is Coming - So Are Leaky Basements

Even though the groundhog forecast six more weeks of winter, a leaky spring basement might be upon you sooner than you think. According to a recent report, ninety percent of wet basements are caused by surface water -- not by underground streams and high water tables. Surface water comes from rain or snow that lands on your property (your lawn, garden, roof, driveway, etc.) or your neighbors'. If your lot slopes toward your home, you're just asking for a wet basement. So how should you fix it?  First, ensure that all the land around your house slopes in the right direction... away from YOUR foundations. This can require as little as a couple of bags of topsoil or as mu...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Why Is Buying A Grow-Op Home Such A Big Deal?

It happens in homes of all types - new homes, old homes, expensive homes, etc. It doesn't matter how nice a neighbourhood is or whether it is a country home or a condo in the city, homes that have been used as a marijuana grow-op or drug lab can be found anywhere. The issue is when you, the home buyer, buys one of these homes long after it's been cleaned up. So what's the big deal?  What's to worry about if you, an innocent home buyer, come along and purchase that home?  The problems are often unseen, behind the walls! What happens is that the plants are heated by grow lights and watered continuously to make them grow bigger and faster.  This produces abno...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Why Use A Real Estate Agent To Sell Your Country Home Or Cottage?

Should you hire a real estate agent to sell your country home or cottage? Yes! Real estate agents might surprise you with some of the different aspects of home buying, home selling and home ownership that are covered in their education. Don't hesitate to ask your real estate agent any questions you may have. For example, only six per cent of those surveyed were aware that their real estate agent has been educated in family law matters pertaining to home ownership, and only 10 per cent realized their real estate agent was trained in environmental issues. In addition, only half of those surveyed realized their real estate agent undergoes continuing education, and only 70 per cent kne...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Buying A Country Home Or Cottage: What Comes With The House?

When you are exploring an open house, country home, or cottage for sale, it is important to keep in mind that certain features of the home don't actually come with it. In other words, if you fall in love with a specific fixture you may be extremely disappointed to find that the previous owner took it with them after you bought it. Things that stay with the home and are sold with it are called fixtures, while anything the seller removes and takes with them is called a chattel. Definitions of each type of item are somewhat specific, but are really up to the perception of the individual. For example, something cemented to a wall may be considered a fixture as it is immovable, and som...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Seven Things You Might Not Realize Can Lower The Value Of Your Country Home Or Cottage

Are you making mistakes that could result in your unintentionally lowering the value of your country home or cottage for sale? We've compiled a list of the top seven ways you may be lowering your property value. Take care of them before you put your home on the market for the best possible price on your real estate! Environmental problems can lower property values Environmental problems can include anything in a home that has the potential to make it dangerous to inhabit or hamper your indoor air quality. These issues include mold, asbestos, air pollution or conditions such as humidity that encourage mold and fungal growth. Homeowners with these issues have two options: inform ...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Winterizing A Country Home In The GTA

Is your home ready for winter? We're already into the colder months, and if you haven't taken the time to complete minor repairs and maintenance chores around your home already, you'll be kicking yourself when it's -30 and an emergency. Start early, and recognize that just a bit of preventative maintenance can help lower repair costs, make getting your home ready to sell a quicker process and generally just keep life easier. All of the following winterizing tips can be applied to cottages and other recreational properties as well: Have your fireplace cleaned. You’re more likely to begin using your fireplace soon, so annual fireplace cleaning and maintenance ...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Investing In A Vacation Home In Ontario

I have friends who a few years ago, purchased a vacation cottage. I’m not going to say where, exactly, just to be safe in keeping them anonymous. At the time, I thought it was a great purchase for them. The area the property was in was an area they’d been visiting for years. They were familiar with it, enjoyed spending time there and, in fact, purchased a property they had rented on vacation before. There was a bit of a debate between the two of them about what to do with the cottage when they weren’t using it. At first, they let it remain empty except when their family wanted to use it. One of the couple was fine with this – they got some rent money from fa...Read More