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Antonio M Nogueira

Broker/ Sales Representatives
Phone: (519) 622-1122

Cambridge

766 Hespeler Road,
Cambridge, ON ON
N3H 5L8
CA

Each month, we publish a series of articles of interest to homeowners -- money-saving tips, household safety checklists, home improvement advice, real estate insider secrets, etc. Whether you currently are in the market for a new home, or not, we hope that this information is of value to you. Please feel free to pass these articles on to your family and friends.

 

FEATURE REPORT

Fixing Up Your Home: Protect Your Housing Investment

Your home is an investment in living as well as in savings. If neglected, it will pay no dividends. If properly maintained and improved, it will pay a high yield in comfort and usefulness for your family and in avoidance of costly repair bills. Home improvements also tend to raise neighbourhood standards and, as a result, property values. From an economic standpoint, home improvements mean higher employment, increased markets for materials and home products--and therefore a more flourishing community.

If You Do It Yourself

If you are handy with tools and have the experience, you can save money by doing many jobs yourself. But unless you are skilled in wiring, plumbing, installing heat systems, and cutting through walls, you should rely on professionals for such work. When you buy the required materials, it pays not to skimp. Good materials are not necessarily the most expensive. What you need are products that look good, are easy to maintain, and last a long time. Buy only from reliable dealers.

If You Use a Contractor

Fixing Up Your Home By YourselfIf you plan to use the services of a dealer or contractor, take care to choose one with a reputation for honesty and good workmanship. There are several ways to check on a contractor:

  • Consult your local Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, or Local Consumer Protection Agency.
  • Talk with people for whom he has done work.
  • Ask your lender about him, if you plan to finance the project with a loan.
  • Check his place of business to see that he is not a fly-by-night operator.
  • Find out, if you can, how he rates with known building-product distributors and wholesale suppliers.
  • Ask friends and relatives for names of firms that they could recommend.

Compare Contractor Offers

Before deciding on a contractor, you may want to get bids from two or three different firms. Make sure that each bid is based on the same specifications and the same grade of materials. If these bids vary widely, find out why. Many contractors offer package plans that cover the whole transaction. Under such a plan the contractor provides all materials used, takes care of all work involved, and arranges for your loan. Your contractor can make the loan application for you, but you are the one who must repay the loan, so you should see that the work is done correctly.

Understand What You Sign

The contract that both you and the contractor sign should state clearly the type and extent of improvements to be made and the materials to be used. Before you sign, get the contractor to spell out for you in exact terms:

  • How much the entire job will cost you.
  • How much interest you will pay on the loan.
  • How much you will pay in service charges.
  • How many payments you must make to pay off the loan, and how much each of these payments will be.

After the entire job is finished in the manner set forth in your contract, you sign a completion certificate. By signing this paper you certify that you approve the work and materials and you authorize the lender to pay the contractor the money you borrowed.

Beware of Fraud

Most dealers and contractors conscientiously try to give their customers service equivalent to the full value of their money. Unfortunately, home improvement rackets do exist. Here are a few common sense rules to follow:

  • Read and understand every word of any contract or other paper before you sign it.
  • Never sign a contract with anyone who makes fantastic promises. Reputable dealers are not running give-away businesses.
  • Avoid wild bargains. The best bargain is a good job.
  • Never consolidate existing loans through a home improvement contractor.
  • Do not let salespeople high-pressure you into signing up to buy their materials or services.
  • Be wary of salespeople who try to scare you into signing for repairs that they say are urgent. Seek the advice of an expert as to how urgent such repairs are. High-pressure and scare tactics are often the mark of a phony deal.
  • Avoid salespeople who offer you trial purchases or some form of bonus, such as cash, for allowing them to use your house as a model for any purpose. Such offers are well-known gimmicks of swindlers.
  • Never sign a completion certificate until all the work called for in the contract has been completed to your satisfaction. Be careful not to sign a completion certificate along with a sales order.
  • Proceed cautiously when the lender or contractor demands a lien on your property.

 

13 Extra Costs to be Aware of Before Buying a Home

"The last thing you need are unbudgeted financial obligations cropping up hours before you take possession of your new home." Whether you're looking to buy your first home, or trading up to a larger one, there are many costs - on top of the purchase price - that you must figure into your calculation of affordability. These extra fees, such as taxes and other additional costs, could surprise you with an unwanted financial nightmare on closing day if you're not informed and prepared.

Extra Costs to be Aware of Before Buying a HomeSome of these costs are one-time fixed payments, while others represent an ongoing monthly or yearly commitment. Not all of these costs will apply in every situation, however it's better to know about them ahead of time so you can budget properly. Remember, buying a home is a major milestone. Whether it's your first, second or tenth home, there are many important details to address, during the process. The last thing you need are unbudgeted financial obligations cropping up hours before you take possession of your new home. Read through the following checklist to make sure you're budgeting properly for your next move.

  1. 1. Appraisal Fee - Your lending institution may request an appraisal of the property which would be your responsibility to pay for. Appraisals can vary in price from approximately $175 -$ 300.
  2. 2. Property Taxes - Depending on your down payment, your lending institution may decide to include your property taxes in your monthly mortgage payments. If your property taxes are not added to your monthly payments, your lending institution may require annual proof that your taxes have been paid.
  3. 3. Survey Fee - When the home you purchase is a resale (vs. a new home), your lending institution may ask for an updated property survey. The cost for this survey can vary between $700- $1,000.
  4. 4. Property Insurance - Home insurance covers the replacement value of your home (structure and contents). Your lending institution will request proof that you are insured as it protects their investment on the loan.
  5. 5. Service Charges - Any new utility that services your hook up, such as telephone or cable, may require an installation fee.
  6. 6. Legal Fees - Even the simplest of home purchases should have a lawyer involved to review all paperwork. Shop around, as rates vary greatly depending on the complexity of the issues and the experience of the lawyer.
  7. 7. Mortgage Loan Insurance Fee - Depending upon the equity in your home, some mortgages require mortgage loan insurance. This type of insurance will cost you between 0.5% -3.5% of the total amount of the mortgage. Usually payments are made monthly in addition to your mortgage and tax payment.
  8. 8. Mortgage Brokers Fee - A mortgage broker is entitled to charge you a fee in order to source a lender and organize the financing. However, it pays to shop around because many mortgage brokers will provide their services free to you by having the lending institution absorb the cost.
  9. 9. Moving Costs - The cost for a professional mover can cost you in the range of:
    1.  
      1. $50-$100/hour for a van and 3 movers, and
      2. 10-20% higher during peak demand seasons.
  10. 10. Maintenance Fees - Condos charge monthly fees for common area maintenance such as grounds keeping and carpet cleaning in hallways. Costs will vary depending on the building.
  11. 11. Water Quality and Quantity Certification - If the home you purchased is serviced by a well, you should consider having your water checked by your local experts. Depending upon where you live, determines whether or not a fee is charged, to certify the quantity and quality of the water.
  12. 12. Local Improvements - If the town you live in has made local improvements (such as the addition of sewers or sidewalks), this could impact a property’s taxes by thousands of dollars.
  13. 13. Land Transfer Tax - This tax is applied whenever property changes hands and the amount that is applied can vary.

 

10 Questions To Ask When Choosing A Financial Planner

These questions will help you interview and evaluate several financial planners to find the one that’s right for you. You will want to select a competent, qualified professional with whom you feel comfortable, one whose business style suits your financial planning needs. An interview checklist has been included for your convenience.

  1. 1. What experience do you have? - Find out how long the planner has been in practice and the number and types of companies with which she has been associated. Ask the planner to briefly describe her work experience and how it relates to her current practice. Choose a financial planner who has a minimum of three years experience counseling individuals on their financial needs.
  2. 2. What are your qualifications? - The term "financial planner" is used by many financial professionals. Ask the planner what qualifies him to offer financial planning advice and whether he holds a financial planning designation such as the Certified Financial Planner mark. Look for a planner who has proven experience in financial planning topics such as insurance, tax planning, investments, estate planning or retirement planning. Determine what steps the planner takes to stay current with changes and developments in the financial planning field. If the planner holds a financial planning designation, check on his background with the CFP Board or other relevant professional organizations.
  3. Questions To Ask When Choosing A Financial Planner3. What services do you offer? - The services a financial planner offers depend on a number of factors including credentials, licenses and areas of expertise. Financial planners cannot sell insurance or securities products such as mutual funds or stocks without the proper licenses, or give investment advice unless registered with state or Federal authorities. Some planners offer financial planning advice on a range of topics but do not sell financial products. Others may provide advice only in specific areas such as estate planning or on tax matters.
  4. 4. What is your approach to financial planning? - Ask the financial planner about the type of clients and financial situations she typically likes to work with. Some planners prefer to develop one plan by bringing together all of your financial goals. Others provide advice on specific areas, as needed. Make sure the planner’s viewpoint on investing is not too cautious or overly aggressive for you. Some planners require you to have a certain net worth before offering services. Find out if the planner will carry out the financial recommendations developed for you or refer you to others who will do so.
  5. 5. Will you be the only person working with me? - The financial planner may work with you himself or have others in the office assist him. You may want to meet everyone who will be working with you. If the planner works with professionals outside his own practice (such as attorneys, insurance agents or tax specialists) to develop or carry out financial planning recommendations, get a list of their names to check on their backgrounds.
  6. 6. How will I pay for your services? - As part of your financial planning agreement, the financial planner should clearly tell you in writing how she will be paid for the services to be provided. Planners can be paid in several ways:
    1. a salary paid by the company for which the planner works. The planner’s employer receives payment from you or others, either in fees or commissions, in order to pay the planner’s salary.
    2. fees based on an hourly rate, a flat rate, or on a percentage of your assets and/or income.
    3. commissions paid by a third party from the products sold to you to carry out the financial planning recommendations. Commissions are usually a percentage of the amount you invest in a product.
    4. a combination of fees and commissions whereby fees are charged for the amount of work done to develop financial planning recommendations and commissions are received from any products sold. In addition, some planners may offset some portion of the fees you pay if they receive commissions for carrying out their recommendations.
  7. 7. How much do you typically charge? - While the amount you pay the planner will depend on your particular needs, the financial planner should be able to provide you with an estimate of possible costs based on the work to be performed. Such costs would include the planner’s hourly rates or flat fees or the percentage he would receive as commission on products you may purchase as part of the financial planning recommendations.
  8. 8. Could anyone besides me benefit from your recommendations? - Some business relationships or partnerships that a planner has could affect her professional judgment while working with you, inhibiting the planner from acting in your best interest. Ask the planner to provide you with a description of her conflicts of interest in writing. For example, financial planners who sell insurance policies, securities or mutual funds have a business relationship with the companies that provide these financial products. The planner may also have relationships or partnerships that should be disclosed to you, such as business she receives for referring you to an insurance agent, accountant or attorney for implementation of planning suggestions.
  9. 9. Have you ever been publicly disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions in your professional career? - Several government and professional regulatory organizations, keep records on the disciplinary history of financial planners and advisers. Ask what organizations the planner is regulated by, and contact these groups to conduct a background check.
  10. 10. Can I have it in writing? - Ask the planner to provide you with a written agreement that details the services that will be provided. Keep this document in your files for future reference.

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Trademark owned or controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association. Used under license.


RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage
766 Hespeler Road
Cambridge, ON ON  N3H 5L8
(519) 623-6200
Real Estate License # 4239679