Saturday, April 11, 2015

I should be asking you...

If you are legally married and how the property is held?

Recently had an older couple downsizing; where they had already purchased a condo. When selling the house I asked if it was held jointly? The husband said in his name only and didn't need the wife's signature. The wife said they took VOWs in front of the Priest but they did not get a marriage license. I pressed to have the wife sign as a party to the transaction.

The Husband's lawyer called demanding I stop insisting on Spousal Consent to Sale of the Matrimonial home, I simply responded "If [he] provided me with a letter of indemnity to Save me harmless from any subsequent claims I would be pleased to follow his lawful instructions"


Other things I need to ask;

How to Validate Information Your Clients Provide
validate informationThe word “lie” is a noun that is defined as “an intentionally false statement”. Has a client lied when they provided inaccurate information to you? Some industry professionals think so – we are not so sure.
When a client provides you with their information or information about their property, and then that information turns out being incorrect, more often than not it’s because your client was:
  • Confused
  • Forgot
  • Didn’t know
You can have a whopper of a lie, when someone knows they are concealing from you, right down to little white lies (as perceived by the client) where a problem or two in the home is not disclosed to you and the client hoping it will slip by. While little white lies are far more common than whoppers, both can cause big problems.
This is why, as a real estate sales professional, you have to:
  • Ensure that you are clearly asking your client the right questions.
  • Ensure that you are equipped to validate information your clients provide to you.
In real estate, it seems that there are key areas/circumstances where omissions and non-disclosures often come into play:
  • Issues with the property that a homeowner may be aware of.
  • The client thinks that the property is worth far more than it is.
  • Someone else on title to a property.
  • Financial challenges with the borrower or the property – perhaps there is no equity, the mortgage is in default or there is a lien.
Here are some tips for you to validate clients’ provided information:
  1. Try to have as complete information as possible. Ask lots of questions and be calculated about the questions that you ask. Doing so may uncover an issue before you spend time and expense and enable you to guide your client as to how they can navigate their issue.
  1. Perform some basic due diligence. You can run a search on GeoWarehouse to validate homeowner and mortgage information, as well as check the sales history on the property and sales comps. If you suspect that there is a lien, you can use the GeoWarehouse store to obtain a Parcel Register* to validate same.
  1. Financial challenges – this can be 2 prong. Financial challenges with the client could mean that they may have difficulty getting a mortgage, and financial challenges with the property could mean that there is not enough equity to pay your fees. You can learn of financial challenges with the property using step 2. You can learn of financial challenges with the client by asking them (if they require a mortgage) for a pre-approval or to speak with their broker to confirm that there won’t be any surprises on that side.
  1. Undisclosed problems with the property itself – in these instances the homeowner may not even be aware of a problem with a property. You may not be a home inspector but there are some noticeable things that may tip you off. It’s better that your client know and address it than to have potential buyers come through who notice and then decide not to make an offer. Here are some things inside your client’s home that you can take a look at – or take a look at when showing other homes to your clients:
  • Plumbing – in the kitchen and all bathrooms:
  • Open cupboards and check if you see visible leaks or signs of water damage
  • Run water to check water pressure
  • Water heater – check the age
  • If appliances will be included – ensure that the fridge, stove, oven, dishwasher, washer and dryer all work by turning them on.
  1. Finally – Google is also an excellent source for information. Through a Google search you can learn if there was a disaster in the area where the home was, a flood, fires – all sorts of things.

Conduit provides a snap shot of any insurance claims related to a property going back 5 years.   So water damage or sewer back up's and repairs will be found.

The Home Buyer's Insurance is available with a purchase to protect you from wiring plumbing and major appliance failures.

It's time to call me to sell....  Call today! 647 218 2414  

Friday, April 10, 2015

When the square footage is wrong

Agent takes the square footage of the condo floor plan and rounds up!   Then ROLLS the square footage of the balcony into the square footage of the condo unit.  [balcony is a common element that is exclusive use]  Next year the agent uses that as the Square Footage.   You move in and find the unit SMALLER than advertised.

What are the rules?

5 Things to know about square footage I have received calls from buyers and real estate agents complaining about finding out that their home or condominium had less square footage than was represented on their original MLS® listing.
My immediate thought was "did the home shrink after closing?" In other words, if the square footage was really important to you, why didn't you measure it yourself before you bought the home?

Here are 5 lessons to remember about square footage:
1.    When you buy from builder plans, nothing is guaranteed
Some builders attach plans with square footage to their agreements, other don't. Even if the plan is attached, The Tarion Warranty Programme permits registered builders to make errors up to 2% and unfortunately, there are no penalties if the error exceeds 2%. While buyers can request a price adjustment if the error exceeds 2%, in my experience, most builders will not agree with this. In addition, there is confusion as to whether the measurements are just for interior living space or whether it goes to the exterior walls, and it may not account for pillars or other obstructions inside the unit.
So even if you are relying on builder plans when figuring out the square footage, there may be errors in them.
2.    Buyers may be able to sue if the difference is substantial
The case law has gone both ways as to whether a buyer can successfully sue if they find that the seller misrepresented the square footage and the difference was substantial, say over 10%. In some cases the listing brokerage was held responsible for not properly verifying the information. But it is not guaranteed.

3.    Will disclaimer clauses protect sellers and real estate salespeople
A disclaimer clause will likely protect a seller from liability, unless they knew the information was false and gave it out anyways. However, a real estate salesperson is required to do their due diligence. That does not mean that you can just copy the square footage from an expired listing. If you do not do any due diligence, you may still have violated the Real Estate Council of Ontario Code of Ethics, even with a disclaimer clause.

4.    If you are acting for the buyer, ask how the seller came up with the square footage
While buyer salesperson can normally rely on a listing salesperson to conduct due diligence, it is a good idea to always ask where the number for the square footage came from. Was it on plans, through MPAC or just from a prior MLS® listing when they bought in the first place? In addition, if you see a disclaimer clause, explain this to the buyer and consider having the property measured by the buyer themselves for verification.
5.    If you are not sure, just measure it yourself
It is easy to be fooled when it comes to square footage. Professional home stagers are experts at making rooms appear larger than they are by the furniture that is used. If you are acting for a seller, discuss with the seller the advantages of hiring a professional to verify the square footage before putting the home on the market. If you are acting for a buyer, ask them if the square footage is important to them, and if necessary, take the time to do some of the measurements with the buyer to make sure the area is close to what is being represented.

By asking the right questions both before listing and during the offer negotiations, there should be no complaints or claims about square footage after closing.If you have any stories to share about the GTA housing market or just need some advice, please contact me at  

Same rules apply when your two car garage has an interior hall closet protruding into the garage space or a staircase and landing added inside the garage to deal with the elevation [height] of the garage that renders your two car into a single car garage.

The plan and elevation drawings [and municipal tax department] now indicate you have a two car garage where two cars cannot fit.

Good advice from Mark Weisleder