Real Estate Advice

6 Mistakes Home Buyers Make

Mistake #1. Not Getting the Right Type of Pre-Approval for a Mortgage

You should always get pre-approved before you start looking for a new home.  However, getting pre-approved based on your income only can be misleading - especially if you have ANY debt (student loans, credit cards, lines of credit, vehicle loans, etc.).  Make sure you ask the mortgage broker or person at the bank that you are dealing with for financing, HOW they are qualifying you and insist that it include all your financial items in order to get a clear picture of how much you will be able to afford.  This can save you hours of searching for homes in the wrong price range or worse, purchasing a home and then finding out you don’t qualify for financing.  Pre-qualifying gives you peace of mind, helps narrow your search criteria and most importantly, gives your RE/MAX agent a negotiating edge by being able to alleviate the sellers concern over financing. The latter is especially important should a competing offer surface.

Mistake #2. Not Shopping For Mortgage Terms

Rates are negotiable!  There are many different lending institutions that offer mortgages beyond the traditional banks.  It is important to be aware that there will be different options for you, depending on which institution you talk to.  Posted rates should viewed as a starting point.  You need to know what the best rate is and this is usually done by get competitive quotes.  Also, ask about the financial institution's ability to cover appraisal fees, and about buy-out fees, penalties, payment options, portability, etc.  The time spent can save you thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage.

Mistake #3. Not Getting Professional Inspections

Nobody wants to purchase a home only to find out later there are defects, latent or otherwise.  Ensure you obtain inspections on previously built homes where structure, damage, insect/rodent issues, radon, asbestos, etc. may be an issue.  (New builds are up to your discretion, as most come with some amount of warranty on them.)  If the inspection identifies deficiencies you may be able to negotiate the purchase price to cover required repairs or make your satisfaction of the inspection subject to the homeowner remedying the problem.  Your RE/MAX agent can advise you on inspections you should consider.

Mistake #4. Not Hiring A Professional Real Estate Agent.

Using a realtor to assist you in buying a home is just good sense.  Here are only some of the reasons why:

  • We can create an automated home search for you, so that you are aware as soon as a home becomes available matching your criteria;
  • We look out for YOUR best interests when selecting, assessing and negotiating for you.  A seller's agent's duty is to the seller, not you;
  • You do not pay our commission.  Commission is paid from the listing end and is divided between the seller's agent and the buyer's agent.  Many reputable agents use a Buyer's Agency Agreement.  If this is the case, a small deposit may be required similar to that of retaining a lawyer's services;
  • We can ensure the price you pay is market value;
  • We can offer expert advice on what to look for in the property;
  • We can provide advice on which conditions should be included in your offer;
  • We are skilled in negotiations in order to get the best deal for you.

Mistake #5. Buying First Before Selling

If price is important you should always sell your present home before buying another.  It has the advantage in letting you know exactly how much money you will have available for your next purchase.  Selling your home first allows you to place fewer conditions on your purchase which makes your offer more attractive to a seller.  The other advantage is if you find a terrific house, chances are others will also find it attractive and you stand to lose it if you can’t make an offer without a condition a selling another property first.

Mistake #6. Not Knowing The Full Cost Of Home Buying

Know all the costs associated with your purchase.  Consider the following costs:   legal fees, transfer tax, property taxes, new home landscaping, fencing, appliances, window coverings.

Top 5 Home Renovation Tips

Renovations can be daunting, stressful and expensive.  They can also make your home feel and function better though!  The trick is to know which renovations are worth investing in and which you could probably do without.  When selling a house, these decisions can be even more imperative due to budget, time and creating the best marketability for the property.

I have worked as an interior decorator, home stager and realtor for many years.  My goal is always to save you money, reduce your stress and have you end up with a home you can live your best life in or a house you can get the most money out of!  Below are a few of my general tips to get you started in your decision-making process about your next renovations.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or another trusted professional to help guide you through the process.


If your yard has been loved by people and animals over the years, it could probably use a bit of "sprucing" up (pardon the pun)!  Well done landscaping can increase your return on investment substantially when you are getting ready to sell.  If professional landscaping is not in the budget, a good clean-up, some grass seed, weeding and some fresh, colourful potted plants can make all the difference!  Increasing your curb appeal will get more steps through your house!


This step can be important when it comes time to sell your house.  If electrical, plumbing, wall removal or full additions are being done, potential buyers will want to have the peace of mind of knowing everything passed an inspection.  If the choice is being made between two houses that have had renovations done - one with permits and one without, which would you choose?


Today's stress-filled world leaves us all crying out for rest and relaxation. RE/MAX knows that making your bathroom the best it can be will generate a 56% better return on investment than the average renovation.  The goal should be to create a spa-like environment in your bathroom - relaxing colours, upgraded fixtures and natural elements brought in will achieve the best results.


The kitchen is always where the party ends up - it is the hub of the household.  RE/MAX knows that creating a beautiful space for your family and friends to gather in will earn a 44% better return on investment than the average.  When renovating a kitchen, consider the effectiveness of the space, going with a style that honours the type of house you are in and remember that the little details make all the difference!


Great looking floors are a strong feature of any home.  It often makes all the difference.  RE/MAX knows that this upgrade can generate a 22% better return on investment than the average.  Start by deciding on the best type of flooring for the space you are wanting to change.  With the increase in allergies and respiratory issues people are dealing with, taking out old carpet is a good start.  There are many tile, hardwood and vinyl options now that are absolutely beautiful!  When in doubt, ask a professional's opinion on type, style and colour.