Great Tips Before Buying a Condo in London Ontario

 Before buying a condo in London Ontario, following these ideas, tips and real life experiences and then implementing them most likely will save you money, time, worry and allow you to sleep better!

Buying a condo in London & South West Ontario can be a roller coaster of emotions …. Finding the right one that fits your budget and lifestyle…. Securing a mortgage….. moving in. And, if you’re like most, this condo may be your largest investment. Emotions over such a large and personal purchase can often cloud common sense & unbridled enthusiasm.

condos

Many condo buyers do very little research before “diving in” and investing their hard-earned money. Oh, they may have been going to ‘open houses’, searching MLS or viewing realtor websites and that is usually all they do, but there is more that could be done before making an offer.

Below are a few ideas and with the help of the right real estate professional, (ask them these 11 questions first)you’ll make a good sound decision that you’ll be happy and proud of for years to come.

Inspect, Review and Double Check:

Get a home inspection by a professional home inspector who is thorough and can explain to you his or her findings. For apartment condos, you may or may not want to do the inspection yourself because the windows, doors, roof etc are covered by the condo corporation. Turn on all the appliances, the heat or A/C, all lights, flush the toilets and run all the taps in the house and check electrical switches and receptacles.

​  Have your lawyer review the Status Certificate which will cover  the by-laws and  fees, restrictions and the financial staus of the condo corporation.

Don’t take anything for granted… inspect everything!

    Imagine the unit vacant:

Your furnishings and decorations will be the ones filling this new residence. Don’t be swayed by beautiful furniture….it leaves with the owner.

    Income plus Lifestyle Equals Mortgage Payment:

  Sit down with us and honestly discuss your income level and living expenses. Take into account future considerations like: job security or transfer, life style, amenities or fix-ups.

View More Than One Building or Neighbourhood:

Go through at  least 4-6 properties. Don’t get excited on the first property you see, if you really like it, use it as a yard stick and if the others do not compare, act quickly.  With a patient Realtor, you’ll be able to view enough properties to get a good overall perspective of your market. And when you find the right property, all the leg work will be worth it.

  Utilize The Professionals You Are Working With: 

  By aligning yourself with the right real estate professional, you’ll have an entire group of professionals working for you. Top Realtors have lenders, inspectors, appraisers, lawyers, trades people, cleaners….an entire group of trained professionals making the whole buying experience simple and easy for you.

   More Checking to Do: 

 Check out all your costs and expense before you sign: condo fees, utilities, cable, taxes and insurance. Make sure all utilities are on (gas, electricity, and water) when you do see the unit,  so you can inspect everything is in working order, Ask lots of questions and be very detail conscious. (I use a detailed room by room review manual with every client, it covers everything)

   Do a Final Walk-Through Before Closing: 

 Visit the property 2-3 days with your Realtor  before you move in to make sure there are no surprises. Be absolutely sure the appliances, fixtures and any chattels are still there  as you had agreed upon when the offer was accepted. Many times, things are unintentionally overlooked that could have been spotted in a final walk-through. (This is a standard clause in my Agreement of Purchase and Sale)

  Plan for Flexibility if Needed: 

 Closing dates are not written in stone. Allow for contingencies and have a back-up plan. If you or the sellers need a little more time to conclude the final arrangements, don’t let these delays upset or frustrate you. These types of circumstances are not uncommon in a real estate transaction; however, with a great real estate professional and his/her teams, this will seldom occur.

  If it’s Not in Writing, It Doesn’t Exist: 

 All promises and discussions are to be in writing. Don’t make any assumptions or believe any assurances from any one. Even the best intentions can be misinterpreted. Have your real estate professional keep an ongoing log (in writing) of all discussions, and get the seller’s written approval for all agreements.

happy condo buyers

A few more ideas

Buying a London Ontario Condo?

In a recent survey, the biggest and most costly error home buyers make is how they start the process of buying a home in London.

Usually the first step is deciding you want to move,  to stop renting or downsizing from a larger house. All good so far.

searching to buy a condo in London

Then, most will go and talk to a good mortgage lender( this is a major and crucial step and be careful whom you talk to, I cover that in another report) to see if you qualify and for how much. How much of a down payment and what would your average payments be. Again, you are on the right track.

Then what?

Yup, most start searching the MLS listings, Kijiji, real estate websites and real estate magazines (that are usually a month late) and what do they do? Call 4 or 5 real estate sales people who have listings they want to see and set up an appointment.

While making those appointments you hear the same thing:

  • Are you preapproved for a mortgage?
  • Are you working with an agent?
  • Do you have a house to sell?
  • Perhaps a few more personal questions or the name of your cat or dog!

Questions about buying a home in London Ontario

Then you go see a few homes, if you like one you may put in an offer with the listing sales person  without any research or thought of the long term consequences.

Or, the homes you have seen are not to your liking, but you like the sales person and they convince you that they can help you look for something else, again, without any research of that agent or thought of the long term consequences!

The wisest thing you can do after you have made the decision you want to move, is to research and contact the real estate sales person who has the skills and experience and whom you will entrust your hard earned money to!

Maybe interview two or three.

Then when you have confidence in the sales person you have chosen, that good real estate person will research properties on your behalf, make appointments to match your time table, protect you in the buying and offer process and be there if any challenges come up.

Do you not think that having that type of representation would be better for you than just entrusting that binding faith with just anyone? A friend of a friend, Uncle Joe’s distant cousin who just got her license and needs some money, or your co-worker who’s husband ‘does’ real estate on the side!

11 Questions You may Want To Ask a Real Estate Person BEFORE you start!

Setting a Selling Price For Condos in London Ontario

                       What to be Careful of When Setting Your Selling Price

Meeting with a REALTOR

Meeting a Realtor

You have decided to sell your home and have a fairly good idea of what you think it is worth. Being a sensible home seller, you schedule appointments with three local real estate representatives, (or a friend of a friend who has a friend). They set up a time with you and maybe arrive with a “Competitive Market Analysis” (which no longer is an accurate tool, I’ll cover that in another report) and they each recommend a specific sales price.

Amazingly, two of the Realtors have suggested prices that are lower than what you expected. Even though they have backed up their recommendations with recent sales data of similar homes, you remain convinced your property is worth more.

When you interview the third Realtor’s figures, his or her numbers are much more in line with what you think your home is worth. Or they may have even suggested to you a higher price. Wow! Now you are happy and an exited home seller, perhaps already counting the money.

   A Sales Practice Called “Buying a Listing”

If you are like most people, you have chosen Realtor number three. This is a Realtor who seems willing to listen to your input and work with you. This is a Realtor that cares about putting the most money in your pocket. This is a Realtor that is willing to start out at your price and if you need to drop the price later, you can do that easily, right?

 After all, everyone else does it! Wrong!

The truth is that you may have just met a Realtor engaging in a questionable sales practice called “buying a listing.” He/she “bought” the listing by suggesting you might be able to get a higher sales price than the other realtors recommended. Most likely, he or she is quite doubtful that your home will actually sell at that price. The intention from the beginning is to eventually talk you into lowering the price.

  Why do some “buy” listings this way?

There are basically two reasons: A well-meaning and hardworking Realtor can feel pressure from a homeowner who has an inflated perception of their home’s value. On the other hand, there are some who engage in this practice routinely.

Overpricing a property in London Ontario

If you start out with a price that is too high, there is likelihood you interviewed other Realtors. They did not get the listing, of course. They got “beaten” out by someone telling you what you wanted to hear.

If your listing Realtor routinely engages in “buying “listings, he/she has probably has done this to other Realtors in the same way. Word gets around that their homes are overpriced and the home seller has an inflated value in mind. This can be very difficult to resolve.

In short, you may have ended up with a Realtor who was good at selling you, but not good at selling your home. And you are willing to pay them a fee for it?

wasting your time

It is human nature for you to want the highest price for your home. However, when you choose the Realtor who promises what you want to hear, it often leads to stress and frustration. Most of the time, it will take you longer to sell your home. Possibly, and this happens, you will end up selling at a lower price instead.

Or maybe as a result of reading this, you will choose one of the “good” Realtors in the first place. They are out there, you know!

What Happens Behind the Scenes?

If you start out with too high a price on your home, you may have added to your stress level—and selling a home is stressful enough! There will be a lot of “behind the scenes” action taking place that you don’t know about. Contrary to popular opinion, a professional listing Realtor does not usually attempt to sell your home directly to a homebuyer. That would be inefficient.

Pro’s market and promote your home to hundreds of other local Realtors and even Realtors from the GTA areas who do work with homebuyers, dramatically increasing your personal sales force. During the first couple of weeks your home should be a flurry of activity with buyer’s agents coming to preview your home so they can sell it to their clients. (See my report “When is the most important time for a new listing)

   If The Price Is Right

If you and your Realtor have overpriced, fewer Realtors will preview your home. After all, they are Realtors, and it should be their job to know local market conditions and home values. If your property is dramatically above market, why waste time? Their time is better spent previewing homes that are priced realistically.

  Dropping Your Price Too Lat

  If you start out with a high sales price, then drop it later—your property is “old news”. You will never be able to recapture that flurry of initial activity you would have had with a realistic price. Your property could take longer to sell.

Price reduced

 

Even if you do successfully sell at above market price to an uninformed buyer, your buyer will need a mortgage. The mortgage lender requires an appraisal. If comparable sales for the last six months and current market conditions do not support your sales price, the property won’t appraise. Your deal falls apart. Of course, you can always attempt to negotiate the price, but only if the buyer is willing to listen.

Your property then goes “back on the market”. Other Realtors will know this, as will their buyers, what do you think their response will be to your home?

Once your home sits on the market awhile, it is harder to get a good offer. Potential buyers will think that you might be getting desperate, so they will make low offers. By overpricing your home in the beginning, you could actually end up settling for a lower price than you would have normally received.

 In summary, when you decide to sell your property, why not work with someone who knows the market and is financially and emotionally strong enough to guide you? Who will not tell you what you want to hear. The truth hurts but you might as well hear it now than 3 months later! To get results, let’s discuss your options and let you start packing!