Century 21 Heritage Group Ltd

Real Estate Questions and Answers

If you have any questions  please send me an email at jmcgee@rogers.com and I will be happy to send you an answer.

You may find the following questions and answers helpful.


Q. We have been trying to sell our house privately for over 4 months, without so much as a call!    We hate feeling like we’ve thrown away money. Any advice?


A. Yes, give me a call! Two problems may be price and exposure. Often private sales are priced above the current market conditions, which will eliminate potential buyers. Marketing techniques need to reach the buyers interested in your type of home. I would be happy to discuss current market conditions with you and provide you with helpful tips to get your home noticed. If you are considering listing with a Realtor, I can tell you about our different service packages. I’m sure one will be the right fit for you. 


Question:  I was at an Open House and overheard the agent say "..that house is a fizz bo".  What does fizz bo mean?

Answer:  It is the acronym FSBO, meaning For Sale By Owner. FSBO’s have a high failure rate for a number of reasons ranging from overpricing to lack of marketing. Most sellers do not have the time, skills or market knowledge to effectively sell their home. Even with the aid of a marketing agency, most FSBO’s fail because buyers want the security of a professional realtor protecting their interests in such a large and important investment.

Question:  What does 'curb appeal' really mean?

 Answer:  The term ‘curb appeal’ basically means that the house shows very nicely from the road. Sometimes it is the architectural design of the house that people are attracted to, but more often, it is the appearance of a well kept home. A house with a poor outside appearance can have a negative influence on buyers, as they may dismiss your house without even seeing the inside. Your realtor can provide you with many useful suggestions to improve the outside appearance of your home.

Question:  I am thinking of selling my home.  Why use a Realtor, when I can save money by selling it myself?

Answer: Buying a home is the biggest investment most people make.  With all the complexities involved in a real estate transaction, buyers want a professional Realtor representing their interests during the process of purchasing a home.  When a buyer does consider a private sale, they expect the price to be a 'deal' since they are giving up the protection of working with a Realtor.  Therefore, the buyer expects to benefit from the money you are saving!

As a seller, do you have the time, skill, knowledge and emotional detachment to negotiate the best price for your home?  Working with the right Realtor will give you: the service of an insured, trained professional; current market knowledge; an effective marketing plan to showcase your home; make it convenient for buyers to see your home; and negotiate an Offer of Sale to most benefit you.  Only a Realtor can list your home on REALTOR.ca and mls systems, where, in today's world, buyers begin their search for homes.

Question: My house has been listed for months and I haven’t had one offer.   What should I be doing?

Answer:   Listen to your Realtor.   She or he can keep you informed with weekly updates about the market, including any recent sales and any new listings, which are now competing with your home. In a competitive market, proper pricing is essential.
Try to keep your home clean and tidy. Clutter distracts buyers from seeing the true value of your home.   Box up seasonal or unused items and items for a future garage sale, and store off site if possible. There will be less to pack later!
Vacate your home when a Realtor is bringing a buyer for a showing (when possible).   Most buyers feel uncomfortable when the owners are present and move through quickly instead of taking a good look at your home and therefore, may miss the true value. 
For more helpful hints, give me a call or click on the For sellers page.

 Question:  What is the Home Buyers Plan?

 Answer:  The Home Buyers Plan is a Federal Government incentive to help first time buyers purchase a home. The plan allows for first time buyers to withdraw up to $25,000 from their Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP), tax free, to put towards the purchase of their first home, but must be put back into the RRSP within 15 years. For first time buyers in Ontario, the Provincial Government also offers a Land Transfer Tax Rebate of up to $2,000. To find out more information about these programs, please give me a call or click on the First Time Buyers page.

 Question:  Should I wait until the market improves to list my home, or should I list it now?
The answer really depends on the seller’s motivation. If you are selling and buying at the same time, the market price you buy at, will be relative to the price your home is sold for. The same holds true if you wait. If you consider waiting to sell your home until an up market happens (prices are  increasing), then you will get more money for your home, but you’ll pay more for the new home that you buy.
If, as a Seller, you are in a situation where you “Have to Sell” because of financial pressures or employment relocation, then the answer is easy, List it now! Selling your home is always about catching the right buyer with the right home at the right time at the right price! You never know when the potential buyer for your home is entering the market. So it’s best to be “out there” and on the market, available for the Buyer to find your home. When the right buyer enters the market, your home can be sold!




Question: We are interested in getting a house with a basement apartment to help pay the mortgage. What is the difference between an ‘in-law suite’; ‘basement apartment’ and ‘registered suite’?
 Answer: ‘In-law suite’ usually describes a home with a specific area within it that permits enough privacy for a family member to live on their own, without being alone. Depending on the municipality’s bi-laws, it may be deemed illegal, as it is considered a second suite.
Basement apartment refers to a separate living area below grade that has been or is currently being rented for income. It may or may not be legal.
Extreme caution should be used as each municipality has its own rules and regulations regarding use. Your realtor must disclose material facts, but you should consult with your lawyer before making an offer.
A registered second suite is a term being used in municipalities (ie. Barrie, Brampton) with very strict rules and regulations regarding renting out a section of a home. These cities have strict laws that prohibit the use of a second suite without it being registered, and there are stringent guidelines that must be followed for registration. Your Realtor can provide you with detailed information concerning registered suites.
For more tips or answers to real estate questions, please contact me at jmcgee@rogers.com or go to my website joannemcgee.com

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