You’ve just bought a home and the seller now wants to change the closing date. Can they do that?
The Agreement of Purchase and Sale will have many terms and conditions that both parties negotiate and finally agree to before finalizing a deal. If one party wants to make any changes after the deal has been accepted, it must be done through an amendment to the agreement, a separate document that all parties sign in agreement to the changes. Sometimes a clause is added to the original deal that gives one party, buyer or seller, the right to change the closing date. The clause will be written in a way that dictates whether or not they can do this unilaterally, by simply serving notice to the other party. On the other hand, it may say that the date can only be changed by mutual consent, in which case an amendment must be generated and all parties must agree. When an issue arises and changes are requested, they can be made the same way, through an amendment to the agreement, and no clause is needed in the original Agreement of Purchase and Sale.
As a buyer, should you arrange a home inspection… even if the seller has provided one?
Savvy Sellers take great care in preparing their homes for selling, and in a brisk market where they are positioning their homes for multiple offers, they often take the extra step of having a recent home inspection report available to prospective buyers. The question buyers have is whether to take the report as the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or should they get their own inspector come through. Some people believe that the report provided by the seller will be manipulated or skewed to benefit the seller, but I have witnessed inspectors refuse to lie or misrepresent the report even when asked by the customer. Sellers are required, by law, to disclose any known issues, both latent (hidden) and patent (obvious).
The buyer can always perform their own due diligence and hire an independent home inspector. They could also contact the home inspector who did the report on the house to ask questions or hire them to come through the home again. Many times it is just not feasible for a buyer to hire their own inspector due to timing or cost and having a report ready to be delivered upon request to all interested parties may encourage an extra offer or two. In my opinion, any Seller who expects their home to sell in competition must have a pre-sale home inspection to provide to all interested buyers, no two ways about it!
I signed a listing agreement, but I’m having second thoughts about selling. Can I cancel? Will it cost me anything?
Signing a listing agreement gives the real estate brokerage the right to market your home for sale. If you are not truly prepared to sell your home you should let your broker know right away and ask them to prepare the appropriate paperwork to cancel the listing. You don’t want to put would-be buyers through an emotional roller coaster ride if you really don’t want to sell. As for costs, unless there is something clearly stipulated in the contract, you should not have to incur costs. Your realtor may have spent some money and a lot of time preparing the listing for the open market, so just be aware of that and try to be respectful. At the end of the day, nobody can force you to sell.
For sellers… is it OK to restrict viewings to work with your work/life schedule?
When you offer your home for sale, it’s not a free-for-all for the public and the seller can retain control of showing times and other restrictions. However, when you are selling a home, you need to make it as accessible as possible for all buyers to get a chance to view it. It’s in your best interest. Generally speaking, the more buyers there are, the quicker the sale. Everyone is busy, so you will have showing requests at various times and every day of the week. Some people need to come during the day because they are on shift work, or the kids are at school. Others need to come at night or on weekends because they can’t leave work to view properties. If you are serious about selling, remember – a home that is easy to show is easy to sell. Try to accommodate every single showing request within reason.
There seems to be a trend to paint over hardwood… is that what buyers are looking for now?
No doubt, design trends can be a benefit and may help sell your home faster, but the average home should gear to the average buyer in order to drive the demand for the home. If your home is in an area where the avant-garde design trends are what buyers are searching for then, by all means, go for it. If you accomplish the look you may see an incredible amount of interest and break records with your sale! Not everyone has the same taste in décor and design, so be careful not to eliminate a large segment of the buying population when you make choices. It takes a while for some trends to catch on for the general public. I sometimes hear buyers say things like, “I really like it, but I don’t think it’s right for my family and my furniture is not going to look nice here.” For anything like painting wood floors, painting brick and so on, make sure you know: a) how difficult it would be to bring it back to its original state b) if the demographic of buyers shopping for a property like yours are looking for that kind of detail.
What is the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker?
Most provinces require real estate sales professionals to be licensed by the province so that they can control education and experience requirements and have a central authority to resolve consumer problems.
The terminology used to identify real estate professionals varies a little from province to province. Brokers are generally required to have more education and experience than real estate salespersons or agents.
The person you normally deal with is a real estate agent or salesperson. The salesperson is licensed by the province but must work for a broker. All listings are placed in the broker’s name, not the salesperson’s.
A broker can deal directly with home buyers and sellers, or can have a staff of salespersons or agents working for him or her.
Why should I use a real estate salesperson?
A real estate salesperson is more than just a “sales person.” They act on your behalf as your agent, providing you with advice and guidance and doing a job – helping you buy or sell a home. While it is true they get paid for what they do, so do other professions that provide advice, guidance, and have a service to sell –such as Certified Public Accountants and Attorneys
The Internet has opened up a world of information that wasn’t previously available to homebuyers and seller. The data on listings available for sale is almost current – but not quite. There are times when you need the most current information about what has sold or is for sale, and the only way to get that is with an agent.
If you’re selling a home, you gain access to the most buyers by being listed in the Multiple Listing Service. Only a licensed real estate agent who is a member of your local MLS can get you listed there – which then gets you automatically listed on some of the major real estate web sites. If you’re buying or selling a home, the MLS is your agent’s best tool.
However, the role of an agent has changed in the last couple of years. In the past, agents were the only way home buyers and sellers could access information. Now agents are evolving. Because today’s home buyers and sellers are so much better informed than in the past, expertise and ability are becoming more important.
The real estate agent is becoming more of a “guide” than a “salesperson” — your personal representative in buying or selling a home.
I have a family friend who is a Realtor. I like her and she is a help but she gives me one price to sell my home for and I think it is too low. So I called another agent who suggested a price more in line with my expectations. Who do I choose?
You might want to consult a couple more Realtors on the market value of your home. Most of the estimates should be in the same ballpark.
It could be that your friend is being more honest with you about the value of your home and the other Realtor gave you a higher number because he already knew you expected it. This is called “Buying a Listing” and is the subject of an article on our web site.
Or it could simply be that your friend is a good friend, but not that great of a real estate agent.
Mixing business and friendships is always risky to the friendship. On the other hand, if your friend is truly competent and was providing wise advice, she may be offended if you ignore the advice and choose another agent.
I have to make a choice between an updated home in an older neighborhood or a newer home in a more modern neighborhood. The home in the older neighborhood has almost everything I want and is much larger, but which makes the most sense as an investment?
If your goal is to buy a home for it’s resale value and the one you are thinking of buying in the older neighborhood is at the upper end of values for that neighborhood, then it may not be the wisest choice. If it is similar or lower in price to the others, then there should be no problem, because pricing should be considered in relation to the local neighborhood and not compared to homes in other neighborhoods (for the most part)
Plus, is it a neighborhood on the decline, or are others going to be fixing things up, too, so that it is a neighborhood that is improving? It could turn out to be a very good deal as long as you don’t “overpay” because of the recent improvements.
Remember that you also buy a home for it’s value to you as a “home,” and that is something else you should consider. Which neighborhood would you AND your family feel most comfortable in?
When buying a new home, what upgrades should we go for? What holds the most value? Do we upgrade the lot? Pick more square footage in the house? Add an extra bedroom?, etc.
A lot depends on why you are buying the house. Are you buying it mostly as a home or mostly as an investment? There is a difference.
For the most part, upgrades are high-profit items for builders. They aren’t designed to enhance the value of the house, but make you happier with the house you do buy.
If you are looking at your home as an investment, then you buy from the smaller to medium size in the tract and spend only a minimal amount on upgrades. If you are looking at your purchase as a home, then you select upgrades that will enhance your quality of living.
One rule of thumb is to always upgrade the carpet and padding.