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Monday, 30 December 2013

How to find the agent that's right for you



By:Todd Fryer, Broker
Century 21 Aberwin Realty Inc.
www.toddfryer.com

If you were going to sell your home tomorrow, how would you go about finding a real estate agent? Would you choose someone whose name you’ve seen before, in advertisements or on for sale signs? Would you call a real estate office and ask to be contacted by someone at random? Or would you turn to family, friends and colleagues and ask for recommendations?
This is one of the biggest purchases you’re ever going to make, so it’s a good idea to ask around. Even with a referral from a trusted source, it doesn’t hurt to ask the agent a few key questions.
1. Are they a member of the local real estate board or association?
2. Is your agent currently licensed and in good standing?
3. Does the agent belong to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and/or a reliable online homebuyer’s search service?
4. Is your broker and salesperson insured?
5. How will the agent help you accomplish your goals? Will they show you homes that meet your requirements and provide you with a list of the properties he or she is showing you? Or if you are selling, how will they market your home? Will they plan any open houses?
6. Is the agent you sign on with actually the one who will be showing your home or bringing you to see other homes?
My answer to all these questions is YES
It can’t hurt to start paying attention to the listing signs in your neighbourhood and how quickly a ‘sold’ sign appears. Results matter most!
If you aren't having any luck finding an agent, attend a few open houses and watch how the agent works. Do they seem like someone you would like to work with? Are they helpful and knowledgeable about the home they are showing? Chances are if they are doing a good job for someone else, they will do a good job for you too!
Give me a call I can help!

Monday, 9 December 2013

What exactly is a condominium?


By Todd Fryer
Broker
Century 21 Aberwin Realty Inc.


When you start your house hunt for a condo or townhouse, you’ll likely hear the word ‘freehold ‘ tossed around quite often. It means, quite simply, that you are not required to pay a fee each month (or the fee is quite small) to cover costs pertaining to the common grounds in your townhouse complex i.e. snow removal, lawn maintenance etc. When it comes to purchasing a condominium, you can almost guarantee that you will be on the hook for monthly condo fees. But that’s not always the case. 
The word ‘condominium’ is often misused to refer to a type of home. By definition, it’s actually a type of ownership. Whether an apartment, office, or townhouse, a condo version means that you own it but you also have a share in the common grounds of the building/complex or property.
With condominium ownership comes an agreement that all tenants must abide by when they purchase their home. The ‘condo fees’ are collected to pay for the maintenance of the shared property, items such as the roof, parking lot, pool, gardens, elevators and hallways. 
So what exactly is a freehold condo? It simply means that the grounds of the complex are maintained by the tenant-controlled board, but there are no rules governing what you can do with your place inside and out.  Despite the name, it is not actually ‘free’ to live in the freehold condominium. You will likely pay a small fee each month. 
Condos are cheaper to buy than freehold properties but come with that monthly fee that can be anywhere from 20 to 90 cents per square foot. However, it means there’s money in the collective fund to cover regular maintenance and future repairs. You may end up paying more in the long run than you would a freehold property, which doesn’t carry monthly fees, but there’s no guarantee freehold property is as well cared for and up-to-date with repairs.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Watch out for RECO’s top 10 home buying and selling pitfalls

Watch out for RECO’s top 10 home buying and selling pitfalls

Here are the most common buying and selling hazards, and how to avoid them:

1. Allowing emotions to overtake common sense
When you fall in love with a property it can be hard to walk away. Know your budget and don’t overpay.
Don’t forgo a home inspection just to win a bidding war.

2. Hiring the first salesperson you meet
Ontario has over 60,000 brokers and salespersons, with a broad range of approaches to the buying and
selling process. Meet with a few different representatives before settling on one, and make sure you
feel comfortable with them and their approach to the process. Also be sure to get references and
contact them to learn about their experience with the salesperson.

3. Not making your expectations clear with your real estate professional
It’s important that you and your representative have a mutual understanding about what you’re looking
for, and what services the brokerage will be responsible for. Make sure you talk to your broker or
salesperson about the services you expect them to provide, and get it in writing.

4. Failing to read and understand forms and contracts
It can be tempting to speed the process along by signing forms that you haven’t read. But taking the
time to understand what you’re signing can avoid a lot of problems later on. For example, you don’t
want to find out that you’re on the hook for a six month listing agreement to sell your home if you only
want your house on the market for three months. In addition, a holdover clause could mean that if you
sell your property during a specified period without the assistance of the broker or salesperson, you
would still owe them commission.
 Make sure all the blanks on the form are filled in before you sign it, and make sure you get a copy of whatever you sign.

5. Assuming everything is included
Don’t assume that the furnace, dishwasher or other items are included with the property. The seller may
want to take the dishwasher with them to their new home, and the furnace might be under a rental
contract that you’ll be required to take over. Before making an offer, detail all items, known as chattels,
in writing. Your offer can also include a clause stating that the seller will pay out any outstanding leases
on the home’s major systems.

6. Forgetting about what’s within the walls
Granite countertops and new hardwood floors are appealing, but the insulation, wiring and plumbing
are just as important when you’re evaluating a property. Ask your real estate representative to look into
the age of the home’s systems and if there have been any upgrades. If extensive renovations have been
done, your real estate professional can determine if the appropriate permits were issued.

7. Forgetting about what’s outside the walls
When you buy a house you’re also buying a place in a community. Some places are lively, others are
quiet. Some places are filled with kids while others are not. Visit the neighbourhood at different times of
the day to see if it fits your lifestyle. Talk to the neighbours about the community and the locations of
various amenities like grocery stores and banks.

8. Not doing your research
If you’re concerned about buying a home with a troubled past, a simple Internet search for the address
can go a long way. This is also something you can ask the neighbours about.

9. Making verbal agreements
Verbal agreements aren’t a problem, until they’re a problem. Putting everything in writing forces both
parties to be clear about their expectations and provides a record that can prevent disputes later on.

10. Underestimating closing costs
From land transfer taxes to title insurance to a home inspection, the costs of a real estate transaction
can add up quickly. Take the time to include estimates and other expenses in the full cost of buying or
selling a property.

 Source: RECO

Friday, 15 November 2013

Things you should consider before purchasing land

Things you should consider before purchasing land

 By Todd Fryer,Broker
Century21 Aberwin Reality, Inc

Whether it’s the call of the wild or the desire to build the home of your dreams, buying land is a goal of many Canadians. But the dream can be a nightmare if you don’t do your homework. 
If you are planning on building a home, make sure the land is suitable for your plans. Is it swampy, rocky or sloped? Does it have road access? Is it serviced with utilities? How about waterfront? To buy a property only to discover you can’t build on it is heartbreaking, so be sure to research and prepare.
Some websites, such as www.landwatch.com and www.landandfarm.com, can provide listings for land in specific areas. However, using a local real estate agent can help narrow your search and find you properties with the characteristics you need for your dream. Tap into the local knowledge of your agent to connect you with the municipality to ensure your dream home fits by-law restrictions. By-laws vary between municipalities, so don’t assume that what is legal in one area will be also be legal in another. If you plan on building a hobby farm, make sure you research all of the restrictions on building barns, the number of animals you are permitted to keep, manure storage, etc. Waterfront, even the tiniest stream, has its own set of rules, so do your homework now to prevent disappointment later.
If you have excellent credit and high income and equity, a traditional mortgage with a higher down payment and interest rate is a possibility. If your means are more modest, you may consider a line of credit against your existing home and turning to a more traditional mortgage once your dream home is complete. Speak to a broker about other mortgages that may suit your needs. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Are you ready to undertake the purchase of an “as-is” property?

Are you ready to undertake the purchase of an “as-is” property?
 By Todd Fryer
 
 
As-is properties are uncommon in today’s real estate market, but not unheard of. Although to many, “as-is” might as well be written “run away,” to a savvy buyer, a fixer-upper might be a fantastic opportunity.
 
An as-is sale usually mean that the seller isn’t willing to take on any additional upgrades or repairs - what you see is what you get. This is often reflected in the price. As-is properties are priced to sell and sell fast.
 
Of course, the first assumption is that the property is run down and needs some major repairs. This may well be true in some cases, but not always. Rather, it may reflect the status of the seller. The home may actually be in decent shape, but the seller isn’t able to undertake repairs for personal reasons. The seller may be elderly and not capable of the repairs, for example, or perhaps the seller has already been transferred to a new job and can’t undertake any additional projects from a distance. There are many reasons why a seller may choose this unconventional option.
 
If you have additional cash available for repairs and have a home inspector and/or a contractor you trust, this could be the deal you’re looking for. If you shy away from repairs or expect to be able to bargain based on defects revealed in an inspection, this may not be the best option for you.
 
Note that in some areas, as-is has restrictions. Most municipalities require working smoke alarms and utilities before allowing a building to be sold. This varies from city to city, so it’s important to have your agent check for you.
 
When an as-is property appears on your search, it might be worth consideration. Sometimes “as-is” might actually read “buy me”!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Pets and Condos

Find out the rules on pets before you move into your new condo

 By:  TODD FRYER
 
If you are a pet owner and are planning to move into a condo, it’s best to check whether Fido can move in with you, too. 
 
The condominium corporation's bylaws or declaration or rules will stipulate whether pets are permitted and, if so, what kind (whether goldfishes, dogs, birds, cats, etc.), how many, and other restrictions.  While your realtor may have some insight into the pet restrictions in your new condo, inquire yourself or have your lawyer check into it, just to be completely sure.
 
Just as in life, exceptions can be made to the rules. If the owners of 80 per cent of the units consent in writing to amend the bylaw and the condo board supports the change, then you may be able to have Fido move in after all. 
 
According to the Condominium Act 1998, condo boards may pass rules that condo owners must follow, as long as they are reasonable and abide by the Ontario Human Rights Code. In the past, courts have determined that issuing a blanket 'No Pets' rule is unreasonable and unenforceable because it's too vague. Service dogs, such as those trained to help people with physical or mental disabilities, are exempt from pet bans. Residents must be sure to have the proper medical documentation to support this claim.
 
Those condominium corporations that enforce their no-pets rules to the letter, with no history of making exceptions to other unit owners, typically win court cases. Those condo boards that are lax or haphazard in enforcing their no-pets rules may find themselves on shakier territory. 
 
Either way, at this point the final decision will rest with a judge. So if you are a pet owner or are considering getting a pet once you become a homeowner, just make sure the condo you intend to buy allows for pets, present and future.
 
Any Questions?
Give me a call
Todd Fryer
Century 21 Aberwin Realty Inc.
905 869 3473

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Pre-Approval for Self the Employed

Tips to get approved for a loan or mortgage for the self-employed

 
Lenders and the self-employed go together a bit like oil and vinegar. It’s not that small business owners, entrepreneurs and freelance professionals can’t qualify for a mortgage. It’s just that they are deemed more risky and scrutinized more rigorously thanks to their lack of a regular pay cheque.
 
When the federal government tightened up mortgage rules last year, that made it even tougher for the self -employed, the numbers of which have been growing in Canada due to a shaky economy. According to Statistics Canada, in 2011 there were more than 2.6 million Canadians or about 15 per cent of the workforce working for themselves.
 
Lenders commonly look at average incomes for the field the self-employed applicant is in, comparing it to their earnings and income history. Banks also study tax documents and take a close look at tax write-offs in an attempt to reconcile true income from reported income.
 
Typically, financial institutions will want the last two or three years of your Notices of Assessment. These spell out your reported income, what you’ve written off and how much you owe in taxes. 
 
Make sure your credit is up to snuff. Check your credit status to find out if you have any negative marks against you that you can correct or improve upon before applying for a mortgage. Pay outstanding income and property taxes and try to pay your bills on time so your credit history stays strong.
 
Try to have a sizable down payment for your new house. It will likely improve your odds of getting approved and it could help you get a better interest rate. Because your income usually fluctuates from one month to the next, try to build an emergency fund that will also help you qualify for a mortgage.

Any questions give me a call
Todd Fryer
Broker 
Century21 Aberwin Realty
905 869-3473

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Fall Festivals and Fairs



Hamilton and Burlington are bringing the fun with greats fall festivals and fairs


By Todd Fryer
Broker, Century 21 Aberwin Realty
 
September brings fairs, festivals and great ways to herald in the first days of autumn. Hamilton and Burlington offer some of the area’s best outdoor, family fun options. So this September, be sure to take in a Hamilton or Burlington festival or fair.

159th Binbrook Fall Fair
Sept.13-15
The Binbrook Fall Fair offers many things for the whole family to do and see including taking in Canada's #1 Demolition Derby, visiting with farm animals, birds of prey, commercial exhibits, midway rides, live entertainment for all ages and more. Plus Sunday is family day!
www.binbrookagriculturalsociety.org/

11th Anniversary Hamilton Pagan Harvest Festival
On Sept. 15, visit for an hour or spend the whole day. It is a time for Pagans, families, friends and the community to gather and celebrate. Open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Gage Park, there will be acts at the Bandshell, workshops and lectures, rituals, vendors, live entertainment, children's activities and more. Admission is free.
 
163rd Annual Ancaster Fair
Sept. 19-22
Come visit the Ancaster Fair for games, midway rides, animals, contests and more.
www.ancasterfair.ca
 
Open Streets Hamilton
Sept. 23
Open Streets Hamilton is a community-based partnership dedicated to promoting active, healthy and inclusive lifestyles by temporarily transforming streets into a shared space for everyone to experience. Shuttle buses ran regularly between two locations or you can walk, ride and roll any day along the Waterfront Trail, take a trip on the Waterfront Trolley, or simply hop on the Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) as you explore the city. Visit McMaster University’s campus, Westdale Village shops and the Ainsle Wood/Westdale neighbourhood at Open Streets Hamilton. 
www.openstreetshamilton.ca
 
 
Battlefield Apple Festival
Sept. 28
Enjoy a pancake breakfast, games, pumpkin decorating, demonstrations, entertainment, and don't forget to enter the Battlefield Bake-Off from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at the Battlefield Museum in Hamilton. Regular admission rates apply to the museum. Contact 905-662-8458 or visit battlefield@hamilton.ca or www.hamilton.ca/museums.
 
 
Applefest Fall Fair – Burlington
Sept. 29 
Visit the Ireland House at Oakridge Farm in Burlington - admission is by Donation – for an  outdoor Pancake Breakfast to start the day at 9 a.m. And if you love the country-style home-made pancakes and specialty syrup, you will love Applefest Fall Fair. It’s a fun event for the whole family with exciting activities and attractions of a country fair. Bigger and better than ever, Applefest will celebrate the changing of the seasons with fantastic games, crafts, free live musical entertainment and delicious “Harvest Fare” food such as country-style BBQ, delicious apple treats including apple blossoms with caramel sauce, apple cider and of course, apple pie.
 
 
36th Annual Family Fun Fair
Sept. 21
If it is family fun and good food you are looking for, you won’t want to miss this year’s 36th Annual Fun Fair at Countryside Camp & Conference Centre in Cambridge. From 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., enjoy auctions, games, super Jump n Bounce rides, Animal Train, and Dutch, Canadian, and Hispanic inspired foods. For more information call 519-623-4860 or 1-888-226-7722 or vist www.countrysidecamp.com.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Before you buy, be sure you understand – and can afford - your condo fees


By Todd Fryer

Condominium maintenance fees are a monthly charge the owner of a unit must pay to cover the costs of items such as building insurance, upkeep, repairs to common areas including the grounds, the heating and cooling system, water and sewer pipes and property taxes. A portion of those monthly fees are also set aside and put in a reserve fund, or rainy day savings account, for future expenses like a new roof or furnace.  
In Ontario, when you buy a condo, your maintenance fee is predetermined by the developer and is outlined in the Schedule of Declaration. Based on the size of each unit, a percentage of the common expenses is allocated to each unit so that the sum of the whole adds up to 100 per cent. 
A budget is then drawn describing and adding up all expenditures that the condo corporation will incur for a year. Each suite is then assessed its annual proportion of these expenditures. For example, if your annual fee is determined to be $2,000 a year, that’s $166.67 to be paid on the first of every month.
If the budget does not change, the maintenance fee stays the same. But if costs increase by two per cent then all owners’ fees will increase by two per cent.
Special assessments could also drive up maintenance fees. It’s an additional payment a condo board imposes on unit owners when there’s an unexpected shortfall or expense to be covered and there’s not enough in the savings to pay the bill. For example, a flood in the basement or wind damage to the grounds could prompt the extra payment. Just like monthly maintenance fees, condo owners must pay special assessments. Owners can’t vote on whether or not to levy that assessment.
Like maintenance fees, special assessments are proportional.  A smaller suite will pay less than a larger one. 
In Ontario, special assessments are more commonly enacted in condos built before 2001, when the Condo Act didn’t enforce boards to do reserve fund studies, which, like a home inspection, roots out potential problems in the future and ensures there’s enough money saved to cover those costs.
Before you purchase a condo, be sure you know how much you will have to pay in condo fees. Your realtor and lawyer will help you decide if the fees are reasonable and if the condo fund appears to be managed properly.

Any questions give me a call
Todd Fryer
Broker
Century21 Aberwin Realty
905 869-3473

Monday, 26 August 2013

Pros and cons of buying a condo before it’s built




By Todd Fryer:

There are several pros and cons to buying a condo before its foundation is poured or during construction. Here is a list to help you decide the best way for you to go:
 
Pros:
  • You can customize your unit and make it your own.
  • Buying early in the development is generally the time when prices are the lowest. Typically they appreciate over time. 
  • You only have to put down a 15-20 per cent deposit on the market value and when you sell, you reap 100 per cent of the value. 
  • More time to save or downsize while the project is under construction. 
  • A longer closing period means more time to save for the downpayment.
  • Lower maintenance fees. Buying new means the monthly maintenance fee will likely stay the same as the day construction was completed and remain so for about 10 years. 
 
Cons:
  • On the investment front, your money is tied up for a few years until it's built - with no return on that until you sell and hopefully the value has appreciated by then.
  • You’ve paid out cash for an intangible, something that’s a floor plan layout and artist renderings.  
  • Potential delays in completion. Time delays can occur due to weather, labour shortages, supplier problems, inspection problems, etc.
  • Layout plans may alter without you having any say in it, as the developer has the right to do so. The hefty sales contract is riddled with phrases like “more or less” and “subject to change without notice,” giving the developer free reign to change the plans on which you initially signed.
  • The market may change by the completion date bringing a drop in market value and interest rates may rise or your personal situation may change that would make condo life less appealing. 
  • There may be additional costs on closing.
  • When you finally get the keys to your condo you don’t own it, yet, until the building is registered, and that could take up to a year. Meantime, you have to pay an occupancy fee to the developer. It’s much like paying rent on a condo you own.
 
Before you buy, make sure you’ve weighed all of the pros and cons of buying a condo on spec so that when you’re ready to move in years later, you love the place and have made a wise investment.

Any questions give me a call
Todd Fryer
Broker
Century21 Aberwin Realty
905 869-3473

Monday, 12 August 2013

Understand what your home insurance policy covers before disaster strikes

Understand what your home insurance policy covers before disaster strikes


The June flooding in Alberta and Toronto’s recent 100+mm rainfall in a single day has people worried about how record rainfall, flooding and sewer backups will affect them in the future. Many homeowners are wondering if their home insurance policies will cover such damage.
 
There are many causes of home flooding and it’s important to know what your home policy covers. It’s also important to understand the difference between the insurance distinctions between water damage and flooding. 
 
Simple water damage due to common flooding, such as burst pipes, a leak in your roof or a broken water heater, are usually covered. Some policies may have additional coverage, for an additional fee, for sewer backups and the corresponding cleanup. This is especially important due to the contamination and mould issues that are hand-in-hand with this type of damage.
 
On the other hand, overland flooding, such as that from excessive rainfall, is very likely not covered under a standard policy. 
 
Some water damage extension policies may cover a range of expenses in an official flood. Additional living expenses if you’re forced to flee your home and even spoiled food in the fridge and freezer from power outages can be covered in these extension policies.
 
Review your homeowner’s policy and discuss your coverage in detail with your broker. Be aware that if you are in a high-risk area, such as on a flood plain or near a lake or river, you will pay much higher premiums and corresponding deductibles. Some Toronto residents are discovering that they are not covered, or that their deductibles are too high to make claims worthwhile, so review your policy thoroughly and make any necessary revisions.
 
As with so many things with homeownership, it’s important to read your documentation carefully and discuss policies with your representative long before you may need to make a claim.
 
Any questions give me a call
Todd Fryer
Broker
Century21 Aberwin Realty
905 869-3473

Sunday, 30 June 2013




By Todd Fryer

The front door of your home can make a great first impression and can impact the curb appeal of your home. So if it is in need of a makeover or replacement, it will be well worth it and really be a welcoming addition to your home.
There is always the option of replacing your door for something completely new, but if that is not in your budget, there are many ways to spruce up your front door by adding interest and personality.
One of the easiest and most effective ways is to paint it. A coat of paint is not only inexpensive, but is also a quick fix as it takes just a few hours to do. Choose a fresh new colour or make a statement with a bold colour like red. A bright punch of colour that contrasts with the house colour is a great way to revamp the look of your home. Make sure you pick a high quality outdoor paint that will withstand the weather, high traffic and keys.
Another easy way to improve your front door’s appearance is by replacing the door hardware. Replace the dingy and outdated one that’s been on there way too long with a new style of door handle for a sleek look. Adding a beautiful doorknocker will also add a classic look to your door.
Here are a few other crafty ideas you may want to do to your front door makeover:
Add vinyl details, like your family name or your house number. The options are endless and there are several online companies that will custom design something that’s right for your home. 
Decorate your door with a classic and simple grapevine wreath and change the decorations on it along with the seasons. 
If your door is in rough shape and a new one is within your budget, you’ll have to decide what type of door you want to purchase. You can select doors made of wood, fibreglass or steel. Do you want it to have windows in it for added light into your home? Also, look at insulation, security, and durability when making your decision. Choosing a new energy-efficient one is also a bonus.
Make some easy changes to your front door and see what a difference it will make to the appearance of your home.

Any questions give me a call
Todd Fryer
Broker
Century21 Aberwin Realty
905 869-3473

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Hiring a Mover?



By Todd Fryer:
 
When it comes to moving, hiring professional movers for the job is an option many people prefer. Unfortunately, there are a few horrible stories out there about movers, so you want to make sure that a scam or fraud doesn’t happen to you. 
 
It will take a little bit of time to research and find the right company for your move. Get as many recommendations from people as you can and be sure to ask for references. As you shop around, be sure to do an initial screening of each company you are considering. Go online and do a background check and also check with the Better Business Bureau. Find out how long they have been in business - a few years at minimum and 10 years is ideal. 
 
Next, insist on a written estimate from each company. Do not accept an estimate over the phone. It is a good idea to have an in-home estimate and have the estimator come out to your house. Make sure you show them everything you want moved. Also inform them of any conditions at the new home that might complicate the move such as stairs, elevators, etc. 
 
Review the estimate and ask a lot of questions to address anything you are unsure about. Make sure that the contract covers rates and charges, the mover's liability for your possessions, and confirm dates for pickup and delivery as well as addresses and directions. In general, local moves are charged an hourly rate per worker and long distant moves are charged by weight and distance. Read the estimate carefully. If anything needs to be changed remember to have them send you a revised estimate. 
 
Make sure the company has a license and insurance to move you legally. On moving day, get a copy of the mover’s inventory list.
 
Following these steps will help you feel confident you have selected the right movers to help your moving day be a success. 
 
Any questions give me a call
Todd Fryer
Broker
Century21 Aberwin Realty
905 869-3473

Sunday, 12 May 2013


Owning a Pool



Does a pool add value to my property? Before diving in…read this first!
When it comes to determining if a swimming pool adds value to your home, the reviews run from hot to cold. 
 
On the nay side, home experts say as much as you treasure that gorgeously expensive water feature in your backyard, when it comes time to sell, others may hate it, especially those who have young children because they see it as a big safety hazard. Families with middle-aged parents and teenagers are more likely to be smitten by thoughts of splashing around in the hot sun.
 
Then there are the ongoing maintenance and security costs of owning a pool. Not only will your energy costs shoot through the roof, so will your maintenance expenses. Pools cost approximately $1,000 to $2,000 per year to operate.  Having a pool also raises your homeowner’s insurance rates.
 
But…if you do love the water and plan on using a pool frequently, and have no immediate plans to move, then that kidney-shaped dream may be a good decision for you. 
 
Also, if you live in a neighbourhood of pricey homes, not having a pool may be a deterrent. This has more to do with keeping up with the Joneses – those neighbours in your upscale locale whom already have pools. But you’re not likely to get significantly more money for your house because of its pool; you’re just as likely to be viewed favourably.
 
Aesthetically speaking, pools, especially inground ones, are the crème de la crème in pool options. And with our fascination of bringing our living space outdoors, the sparkle of blue water and the sound of splashing and laughter that emanates from this luxury item, can’t be beat as a focal point.
 
If you love to entertain, there’s nothing better than hosting parties that centre around the pool. Pools are also great for cooling down on a hot summer’s day and for doing exercises such as water aerobics.
 
Expect to pay between $30,000 and $50,000 for an inground pool. Your costs could also run higher given associated expenditures for landscaping.
According to the Appraisal Institute of Canada, the average recovery rate of a pool investment is low and stands between zero and 25 per cent.
 
Bottom line: don’t expect to recover the full cost of putting in a pool, especially with our Canadian weather when our summers seems to be getting shorter and shorter. A pool adds value to your own family’s lifestyle if you truly love diving in and soaking up all the good things a pool has to offer. If you’re truly only doing it for investment purposes, then do your research and make your decisions based on the facts.

Any questions give me a call
Todd Fryer
Broker 
Century21 Aberwin Realty
905 869-3473

Wednesday, 1 May 2013








It’s never too early to start preparing your lawn for summer. As the days begin to get warmer dedicating a few spring hours to your lawn, will help produce that beautiful lush grass you will love all summer. Adding that little extra pizzazz to your home, a healthy summer lawn begins with spring maintence.

Start Early
Even if it still feels a little chilly, it’s never too early to begin your lawn work. Cold winter temperatures require you give a little extra love at the beginning of spring. Be aware winter can also alter the pH of soil, encouraging weed growth. Check your soils pH level (aiming for a neutral 7) and balance as needed. Early weeding, fertilizing and mowing will also help produce that beautiful lush green lawn.

Know Your Soil 
The first key to a beautiful lawn is determining the type of soil you have and how to best work with it. Simply grab a handful and determine if it is tightly packed, holds its shape or runs through your fingers.
Claylike Soil is sticky and does not break. This causes trouble for plants trying to establish roots.

Sandy Soil runs through your fingers, unfortunately water will also slips through quickly, preventing roots from absorbing essential nutrients.
Loam Soil holds shape until crumbled. This is ideal for plants as roots can push through the soil, while still being thick enough to hold water and nutrients. Don’t get discouraged if you find you have claylike or sandy soil. Adding compost will help you create a more loamy texture. Adding grass and plant clippings through the season will also keep your soil loamy.

Keeping it Lush
Choose a lawn seed that compliments the sunlight your grass receives and do not be afraid to re-seed throughout the season if you notice rough patches. Be diligent with weeding to prevent grass from competing with weeds for water and nutrition. Cutting grass when it reaches 4 inches will prevent stress on your lawn. If you find grass loss in high traffic areas, simply poking through dense soil will help to regenerate grass. In terms of nutrition, always water lawns early in the morning to prevent heat evaporation or frying and use a time release fertilizer to ensure nutrient absorption all summer.
Most importantly, remember to take time and kick your shoes off to enjoy the wonderful benefits of your lush green healthy lawn.
 I hope you find this information useful as there is nothing more pleasant then the feeling of soft grass between your toes on a beautiful summer day.

Any Questions always feel free to call me.


Todd Fryer
Sales Representative
Century 21
905 869-3473
www.toddfryer.com

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

What is the role of a real estate agent?



You wouldn't dream of designing a home without an architect or even making a complicated meal without a recipe, so why make the biggest purchase of your life without the help of a trained professional? A real estate agent is an indispensible ally when buying or selling a home.

 Realtors must be registered with the Real Estate Council of Ontario and complete a training program which will allow them to become a licensed real estate agent. With a real estate agent on your side, it's just a matter of signing on the dotted line. 

 Real estate agents do much more than hammering For Sale signs onto front lawns. For buyers, your first meeting with an agent will likely be spent answering questions. They need to know exactly what you are looking for in a home in order to start your search. Your agent will then begin sending you current listings that match your criteria, usually via email. 

 When you see a home you would like to tour, your agent will contact the seller's real estate agent and arrange a viewing. You are welcome to tour as many homes as you like before buying. Don't ever feel pressured into making a decision.
 
 Once you have found THE house, your real estate agent will meet with you to discuss the terms of your offer, including price, conditions and a closing date. This is when the paperwork and negotiations come in. Your agent will act as an intermediary between you and the sellers until an agreement has been made. If the deal goes through, your agent will then submit all necessary forms to your lawyer and your mortgage lender.

Your real estate agent also plays a big role when selling a home. Their first responsibility is to advise you on a competitive price for your home. They will suggest ways that you can effectively stage your home in order to entice the most buyers and arrange for photographs to be taken of your home. It is then your agent's job to market your property. They will advertise your home in multiple real estate publications and online websites (including their own) and will likely submit your home to the multiple listing service (MLS) where it will be seen by thousands of other real estate agents and potential buyers. Your realtor will arrange showings of your home and take the lead in negotiations when dealing with offers. Check out on My website the Over 100 Actions Todd Completes When Selling Your Home


Any Questions always feel free to call me.


Todd Fryer
Sales Representative
Century 21
905 869-3473
www.toddfryer.com

Thursday, 11 April 2013

How to avoid costly renovations that won’t pay back

How to avoid costly renovations that won’t pay back


 
The sights and sounds of hammering and demolition fill your home and this can be an exciting thing, or in some cases lead to renovations gone wrong! So many times home projects that you thought would be a smart investment end poorly with little opportunity to recover the costs when the time comes to sell your home. It may leave you wondering, “What was I thinking?!”
Many homeowners put countless hours each year into home improvements. There are some obvious eyesores that need to be upgraded like used-to-be-trendy faux paint treatments, but then there are those home renovations that sounded like a good idea at the time that may actually end up devaluing your home when it comes time to sell. So before lifting any tools, do your research and find out how the project will affect the value and choose upgrades that will boost your sale price.
Looking back some people ask themselves, “where did we go wrong?” One of the most common mistakes is with redecorating. Any extremely trendy or personality-specific decorating choices can work against you in the future when selling your house. Paint colours that are too bold such as red, orange, purple and black, as well as too many walls covered in wallpaper are usually not the most appealing choices to potential buyers. 
You don’t want to do anything that’s too trendy, even if at the time it’s the latest and coolest thing, as it will probably only last short term. Instead, make choices that will last for years. 
Another big mistake when renovating is purchasing cheap materials to work with. This is just setting up for disaster, as you get what you pay for. Cutting corners in the wrong places will show. Never go for the cheapest!
There are several upgrades that people believe will add value to their home, when in fact it does the exact opposite. Swimming pools and hot tubs are a good example. It seems like a luxury item to add to your home, but many potential homebuyers view them as dangerous and expensive to maintain. Wall-to-wall carpeting is another thing that may be a turn-off for some, as it has been shown that carpeting harbors allergens and dirt.
So as a homeowner sometimes you have to choose between an improvement that you want and one that would prove to be a better investment. Think twice about costly upgrades and renovations that will not add value to your home. 

Its your money! Lets try and keep more of it.

Any Questions always feel free to call me.

Todd Fryer
Sales Representative
Century 21
905 869-3473
www.toddfryer.com

Monday, 25 March 2013

Negotiating Interest Rates


Negotiating Interest Rates

 
 Would you ever buy a car or book a vacation without shopping around? Well the same theory applies when choosing a mortgage rate. The First thing you need to know is it is possible to negotiate with lenders for a better rate. It just requires them to take a lower commission. Always keep in mind a quote is just a quote, until you are accepting an offer.
Be informed. A mortgage contracts is a beneficial agreement between you and your lender. Shop around and know what’s available. Another way to do this is to learn the language. Knowing what you are looking for and the terminology, presents you as an educated shopper. Don’t give people the chance to present you with a less than perfect offer because you don’t understand the terms. 
Also know your own strengths. If you have a good credit rating, strong assets and documentable income, you are eligible for a great rate. Don’t be intimidated. You’ve worked hard and deserve to be treated fairly.
Shop around. Remember you are looking for what suits your financial situation best. Likely your bank will offer you a great rating, as a valued customer, but don’t stop there. Talk to multiple institutions. 
Mortgage brokers provide a free service, so make use of that as well. When doing this, always get a written quote. You want to be clear what is being offered.
Banks usually have great customer service policies. Don’t underestimate the value of being able to negotiate with someone. 
More than a rate. A great interest rate is important, but there are other things to consider. Associated costs and terms can drive up your closing price. You’re looking for the lowest total. Also you don’t want to be surprised down the road. Learn about penalties for making extra payments and what happens if you sell your house before your mortgage is paid in full.
Hidden cost of appraisals and document fees may seem minor when spending thousands, but you’ve earned this money. Often your home bank can waive these fees. It’s worth asking. The lender is being paid by you, let them earn it. 
Give yourself extra time. Pressure to close can leave you scrambling. Taking the time to compare rates and bottom lines is a huge advantage. This is your purchase, settle it the best you can on your terms. 
 Realize you are just another mortgage to the leaders do not be intimated. Ask for a discounted rate and be prepared to move on if they will not come down to a lower rate. By asking for a discount you can save thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage.

Its your money! Lets try and keep more of it.

Any Questions always feel free to call me.

Todd Fryer
Sales Representative
Century 21
905 869-3473
www.toddfryer.com

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Carbon Monoxide


Carbon Monoxide

The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning



Carbon monoxide is often referred to as "the silent killer." This odorless, colourless and tasteless gas, is nearly impossible to detect and also extremely lethal. Homeowners must take extra safety precautions to control the dangers of carbon monoxide in their homes. 
 
What Happens 
When carbon monoxide is absorbed through inhalation it immediately begins depleting your body’s cells of oxygen. Carbon monoxide is absorbed faster than oxygen by red blood cells. As it replaces the oxygen in your blood it also starves cells and vital organs of their required oxygen. Affects of carbon monoxide poisoning are dependent on the amount of exposure you have had. While some affects are only short term, many can be long term as well as fatal. In some cases death occurs in minutes. 
 
Occurrence and Exposure 
Carbon monoxide occurs when organic compounds burn, such as motor vehicle exhaust, fires, engine fumes and non-electrical heaters. It is found in fumes of automobiles, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, gas ranges and heating systems. Danger can occur when there a problem with ventilation creating a buildup in enclosed or semi-enclosed space. Symptoms of exposure can be very diverse, from headaches to chest pain, weakness to confusion and seizures. Be aware of all the symptoms. 
 
Prevention
Your best defense is to have all heating systems, water heaters and gas, coal or oil burning appliances serviced yearly by qualified technicians. Install battery operated carbon monoxide detectors at knee level and check them on a bi-yearly basis. A good idea as a reminder is to ensure they are in good working order every fall and spring when you change your clocks. 
Keeping chimneys free of bird’s nests, leaves and debris will ensure proper ventilation and will prevent any type of carbon monoxide buildup. 
Always use items that create carbon monoxide with care. Never use these items indoors, in garages or near windows. All areas must be well ventilated and more than 20 feet away from your home. This includes never running a vehicle in a garage.  
 
Most importantly, take these precautions seriously. Consider all alarms to be accurate and evacuate immediately. Call 911 and wait for the fire department to access your situation.
With the clocks going ahead last week you should have changed your Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide batteries. I have seen to many times what happens when this simple chore is neglected.

Any Questions always feel free to call me.

Todd Fryer
Sales Representative
Century 21
905 869-3473
www.toddfryer.com

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


Germs!

 


 It has been a bad cold and flu season and it has all been caused by a microscopic organism called "The Germ". You cant completely wipe out these harmful little guys but with minimal effort you can make your home a less likely place to get sick.

Sniffling, sneezing, coughing...sound familiar at this time of year? If you have children, it's even harder to avoid being exposed to viruses. Germs are everywhere and one of the best ways to try to keep you and your family healthy is by germ-proofing your home.
 
Bacteria and viruses can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours, so it’s a must to fight back and keep your home and the high traffic areas clean. Some of the germiest places in your house include doorknobs, faucets, computer keyboards, appliance handles, telephones, children’s toys, toilet handles, and the remote control. Gross right? Kill germs by disinfecting these surfaces. If someone is sick at home, disinfect daily.
 
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, as of January 5, 2013 there have been 13,073 confirmed cases of influenza in Canada. Influenza is spread from person to person through droplets, like sneezing and saliva, and by touching objects and surfaces that are contaminated with the virus. So cleaning the surfaces your hands touch is most important.
 
Most of the disinfectant products contain chemicals that can be hazardous to your health. Try cleaning with white vinegar - it’s a great way to keep your home germ free, it’s non-toxic and eliminates most bacteria, mold and germs. You can also use essential lavender oil which is another germ fighter. Add several drops of it to a cup of water in a spritz bottle and use it to disinfect your kitchen and bathroom.
 
Next, make sure to wash your hands well and often as it’s the most effective thing you can do to protect yourself against influenza and the common cold. Not only will it help keep you healthy, it will help prevent the spread of infectious diseases to others. Make sure you wash your hands before and after handling food, after going to the bathroom, and when you come home. Also teach your children these good hand washing habits to prevent germs. Place bottles of hand sanitizer in several locations around the house to encourage use in addition to frequent hand-washing. Also remember not to cough or sneeze into your hands, spreading germs as you touch things. Instead cough into fabric, like your sleeve.
 
It’s almost impossible to completely avoid germs, but the more effort you put into germ-proofing your home the better chances you’ll have to keep your family healthy.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Estate Planning 101


Estate Planning 101


 You’ve worked hard to save, buy investments and pay down your home. Most likely you want these assets to go to the people you choose for it to go to when you eventually pass on. And, if you’re like most Canadians, you would like to reduce the taxes on your assets to a minimum. Estate planning is simply arranging what happens to your assets in the event of your death.
 
In estate planning, the most important step in organizing your assets so you make the choices is to make a will. Dying without a will, or intestate, means that on your death the provincial government chooses how your assets are distributed. Usually, the first $50,000 of value goes to the surviving spouse and rest is divided among the children. In addition to losing choices, there are also additional delays and fees associated with dying intestate. These delays could be financial burdens to your family.
 
Getting a professionally prepared Last Will and Testament is the most important first step in planning your estate. Ensure once your will is complete that your financial and/or investment advisors are aware of your final wishes. That way, they will take steps that are in keeping with your final plans.
 
The Ontario probate fee is generally a 1.4 per cent tax applied to the entire value of your estate. There are some steps that can help you reduce or avoid paying probate, but take care that they don’t carry more negative consequences than the fee itself.
 
When you make a will, you must appoint an executor. Give careful consideration to who you appoint as executor. The responsibility is time-consuming and complex and the stress of dealing with grief and financials can be challenging. It may also create family strife if, for example, one sibling is appointed over another, especially if the process takes longer than expected.
 
Once you make a will, make a point to review its contents regularly—perhaps once every year or two. An out-of-date will can slow down the process and may cost more in probate or other fees as courts try to track down assets you no longer have. New additions to the family may not be included while those who are no longer members, due to divorces or deaths, may still be listed. Regularly updating your will is a good strategy to make sure your plans are still accurate.
 
If you are a high net-worth individual, discuss options in more detail with estate planning professionals and financial advisors. Plans, such as trust funds, may be good choices for transferring your assets sooner, rather than later.
 
For more information on estate planning, visit www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/justice-ont/estate_planning.asp.
 
Any further questions or assistance please contact me anytime.

Todd Fryer
Sales Representative
Century 21 Aberwin Realty
(905) 869-3473

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

March Newsletter

If you would like to advertise your event in the newsletter please let me know

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Gas Fireplaces 101




Gas Fireplaces 101 

 
Transform cold winter nights with the warm and inviting ambiance of a gas fireplace. A bold addition to any room and an exciting selling feature, a gas fireplace is a luxurious upgrade to your home. Easy and affordable, many people are opting to replace their traditional wood-burning fireplace with gas. Enjoying those snowy winter nights with family and friends has never been easier. 
 
Opting for Gas
Gas fireplaces are quickly becoming a popular choice over wood-burning options. Low in cost, they offer flexibility in design and style and can be installed to any type of room. 
 
Gas Fireplaces operate with your home’s existing gas connection supplied by your local utility company. Propane options are available for residing in remote areas. Saving the hassle of chopping wood, a gas fireplace is controlled by an ignition switch. A safer choice, this also offers flexibility in temperature control.  
Environmentally friendly, gas burns cleaner than wood, producing less carbon emissions.  
 
Also energy efficient, a gas fireplace can help reduce your heating bills and add resale value to your home.
 
Styles
Available in three different options, choose your gas fireplace based on your home’s structure and heating needs.  
Natural Gas Inserts: Installed in your existing fireplace and vented through your chimney, this is similar to your previous fireplace, with the benefits of a gas upgrade.   
 
Free Standing Fireplaces: Similar to a wooden stove with all sides exposed, this fireplace provides the most heat. Versatile in design, this is a popular choice for basements, or living rooms. Venting options vary to suit your home. 
Zero-Clearance Fireplace: As the name suggests, this fireplace can be mounted against any wall or building material. Using direct venting, these fireplaces produce less heat but can be installed anywhere, making them a stunning display in any kitchen, bedroom or living spaces. 
 
Design
Choosing a gas fireplace is like choosing a piece of art. With so many design options available, the gas fireplace has come a long way from the yellow flame. Cast iron inserts pay tributes to traditional designs, while modern steel mouldings can be customized in shape without sacrificing function. 
Hanging fireplaces compliment a country home as easily as a Manhattan loft. Designers today have created breathtaking displays in endless styles and colours. Your options are limitless when it comes to your luxurious new upgrade.  

Quality
There is a huge variation in quality and workmanship when it comes to gas fireplaces, do your homework read the reviews on line. This purchase can become very expensive with installation costs and upgrades. but with your families safety in mind sometimes you get what you pay for!

Todd Fryer

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Facebook Contest


Having a Facebook contest!! Giving away 4 tickets to The National Home Show March 15-24, 2013
Direct Energy Centre - Toronto


All you have to do is like my Facebook page
www.facebook.com/ToddFryerRealEstate
The winner will be drawn on March 10/13
 
I work hard to make sure that the real estate transaction goes smoothly, whether you are buying or selling your home. I specialize in residential and commercial properties in Burlington, Hamilton, Grimsby and surrounding areas
Page: 103 like this

Friday, 25 January 2013

The best place to watch the game?


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Super Bowl: ‘Home Is Where the Game Is,’ Survey Says

“For millions of Americans who tune in, it’s not just about the game and the commercials, it’s about getting together with friends and family in the home,” says Bev Thorne, chief marketing officer of Century 21 Real Estate LLC. “This game represents the last great American campfire, and we thought it’d be fun to take a look at the role the home plays in what has become an iconic cultural event.”
Century 21's survey of adults uncovered these nuggets among others:
  • Nearly nine in 10 Americans say home is the best place to watch the Super Bowl. The majority of those surveyed plan to watch the Super Bowl at either their home or a friend or family’s home rather than at a bar or restaurant. 
  • 66 percent say they plan to watch the game at a “home” because it’s a more comfortable and relaxing atmosphere. Nearly 60 percent say it’s important for them to be able to find a comfortable seat at home. 
  • 76 percent of Americans who plan to watch the game say they prefer to watch it in their pajamas or comfortable clothes (a more common response among women).
  • 46 percent say that cleaner bathrooms are another benefit of watching the game at home. 
  • 52 percent say the quality of the television with its size and resolution is important in throwing a successful Super Bowl party at home. 
  • 42 percent of the adults surveyed say they plan to supplement their viewing of the game by using their mobile devices, such as checking sport news apps on their phone or tablet for additional commentary. 
Source: Century 21 Real Estate LLC

Friday, 11 January 2013

Protecting Your Home While You're Away This Season


Protecting Your Home While You're Away This Season 


Cold winters often prompt many to head for sunshine, sandy beaches and warmer climates. In the excitement of exotic locales and getaways, finding your bathing suit and making sure to pack your sunscreen typically takes priority over residential maintenance issues. However, these areas are important.
1. Turn Down Your Water Heater: Changing the setting on your water heater while you're out of town can help reduce overall costs and energy consumption. New models usually come equipped with a "vacation setting" to help easily facilitate this maintenance tip. If your unit does not have this feature, simply adjust the unit to its lowest setting to achieve the same results. We encourage homeowners to avoid completely turning it off as restarting it when you return may require a technician - a bit of a headache, especially when you're jetlagged.
2. Lower Your Furnace Temperature: Having your furnace on but at a low setting will keep temperatures in your home consistent, while saving money and energy. We recommend keeping it above 15 degrees Celsius or 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It's important to ensure that your furnace remains on to prevent freezing water, burst pipes and flooding.
3. Close Your Main Water Shut-Off Valve: While this may seem very conservative, shutting off the water prevents serious flooding if your furnace breaks down and the water in your pipes freezes. The main shut-off valve controls all the house water and is typically readily accessible near the front of the basement. Since this valve is not used regularly, it may be stiff and in some cases will drip when it is closed. Don't leave this task to the last minute in case you need a minor repair. 

FrozenPipes

 
4. Add Water to Your Basement Floor Drain: The floor drain includes a trap to prevent sewer gases from backing up into your home. When plumbing systems aren't being used over an extended period of time, the water in the trap evaporates, resulting in unpleasant and unhealthy sewer gases entering the home. We recommend pouring water down the drain to fill the trap before going on vacation to ensure the trap water doesn't evaporate while you're away.  
5. Close Dampers on Wood Fireplaces and Stoves: A damper is a flap which allows smoke from a fireplace or wood burning stove to go up the chimney. While the damper has to be open when there is a fire burning, we recommend closing the damper while you are away to reduce heat loss and prevent pests from getting in your home. 
6. Secure Your Home: Ensure your doors, windows and any other access points are locked. Cancel your newspaper and have your mail picked up by a friend or neighbor. Setting lights on timers make it look like the home is occupied. 

Source: Carson Dunlop