As a prospective homebuyer, you likely have lots of questions swirling in your head. When is the best time to buy a house? How do you choose the right location? What about financing? And how do you make an offer when you’ve found “the one?” Your RE/MAX agent has the knowledge and experience to help you navigate the market. But before you start choosing paint colours and furniture, it’s important to do some research on the purchasing process and everything that follows. Consider these two important things as you decide when the best time to buy a house is.



How much will it cost to buy and live in your preferred area?

When doing your research, it’s easy to find yourself sitting before a blank computer screen, wondering where to begin. Don’t worry, it’s totally normal – especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. Start by researching housing costs in the area you’d like to purchase. Location impacts various costs to a huge degree, so be sure to factor geography into this math lesson.

First, there’s the price of the home. Research prices of active listings to get an idea of how much you’ll need to spend. Check out homes for sale on, and your RE/MAX agent will also be able to pull recent home sales, to give you an idea of how much you’ll actually need to spend. Remember that asking price and selling price are two very different things!

Second, before you make an offer, be sure to calculate the cost of living in the area you’re considering. How much can you expect to spend on:

  • Groceries?
  • Travel to and from work?
  • Parking your vehicle?
  • Property tax?
  • Property/car insurance?
  • Maintenance of the home?

Okay, you know the price. Now what?

What about your personal finances?

Before you decide to buy a home, be aware of the reality of your finances. The decision to enter into home ownership requires more than simply a down payment and a monthly mortgage payment. A degree of financial stability is essential to realizing your dream of home ownership with confidence. Take some time to review your current monthly expenses, and then factor in the additional costs of purchasing a new home to see where your budget nets out. Home prices and interest rates will mean nothing if you aren’t prepared to not only purchase, but maintain a home.

Does your budget match the cost of home buying and ownership?

The last step is to determine if your budget matches up with the current cost of homes in the area you are interested in. If not, explore other areas, different housing options, or determine what financial goals you need to hit before making the purchase decision. If math and economics aren’t your strong suit, schedule a meeting with a financial advisor to ensure your finances are in good shape, both at the time of the purchase and into the future.

Building a budget may not be the most glamorous step you will take on your road to home ownership, but it truly is the most important. All good homes are built on a solid financial foundation that will help the home – and your investment – stand strong for years to come.


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So, you’ve decided to sell your home. No matter what your reasons are for moving, such a big change can be overwhelming. It can seem daunting with everything you need to know. Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. Selling your home can be emotional, which is why it helps to have an expert guide you through the process. Your RE/MAX agent has the expertise you need to make it easier to move on, and help you get the best price for your home, and offering guidance on things like home staging. So, what is home staging anyway? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Home Staging?

If you think it means putting on an off-Broadway production in your living room, you’re wrong – but you’ve come to the right place to get the right answer! To put it simply, home staging is a way of presenting your home for sale in a way that helps prospective homebuyers to imagine themselves living there. The process usually includes:

1. Depersonalizing your space

Even if you’re really proud of your Taekwondo trophy (as you should be!), if it’s on your mantelpiece you should pack it away, along with family photos. (Yes, even the ones of the dog.)

2. Decluttering

Though you may not see it, you probably have years’ worth of items on display such as that coffee table book on origami, your favourite collection of spoons, K-Pop memorabilia, mementos and well, stuff that can be packed away. You may see it as taking away the home’s personality but it’s actually taking away your personality, which allows buyers to see a blank slate that they can put their own personal stamp (or stamp collection) on. Try to think of it as less to pack on moving day. This is the objective of home staging.

3. Redecorating

Changing out stained or worn furniture, painting, reorganizing, decorating can help buyers see the value of your home. Worn out items can distract buyers from looking at the space. This is where a professional home stager is very helpful.

You real estate agent can also advise you on which renovations might help get the best ROI.

Who Pays for Home Staging?

The seller typically covers the cost, with the idea that they will recoup the cost (and then some!) in a higher sale price. According to the National Association of Realtors® a survey by the International Association of Home Staging Professionals revealed staged homes (with an investment of one per cent of the listed price) sell up to 30 per cent fasteron average for 20 per cent more. These are the key benefits of home staging. Hmmm… suddenly, it doesn’t seem as sad to put away that picture of Grandma on your nightstand!

How Much Does Home Staging Cost?

This all depends on the degree of staging required. An older home may need some more intensive updates, such as painting, replacing hardware and light fixtures, or renting new furniture for a period of time. On the other hand, a home that is relatively new and/or updated may only require some simple depersonalizing and decluttering, which costs nothing. In terms of the home staging service, if the seller engages a professional stager then they’ll incur a service fee, which differs by stager. If the seller takes a DIY approach, it’ll just cost them some time and sweat equity.

Ready, Set, Move!


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Do you choose the resale market or opt for a pre-construction home? When you are in the market to buy a home, it is an important consideration. There is no doubt that pre-construction homes have a certain appeal to homebuyers.

Buying brand new provides the opportunity to own a home that no one else has ever lived in. And because the house is in the pre-construction phase, you have the opportunity to customize it to your preferences.

If pre-construction is something you’re considering, here’s the 411 to help you decide if it really is for you.

What is a Pre-Construction Home?

A pre-construction home is exactly what it sounds like, a house you buy before constructed. Most styles of homes are available for pre-construction buying, including:

  • High-rise condos
  • Low-rise condos
  • Detached houses
  • Semi-detached houses
  • Townhouses

For a condo development, you’ll buy a home from blueprints or a 3D computer rendering that provides a simulated walk-through. For houses, you can usually visit a model home that sits on the lot of the future development. Although model homes tend to be highly aspirational in their decor, it’s your chance to get a more realistic look at what you’ll be buying.

The Benefits of Pre-Construction Homes

So, what’s the big attraction of a pre-construction home? There are quite a few benefits, including:


Like buying a new car, a brand new home comes with a warranty. The warranty programs in Canada offer protection for newly built homes, including delays in occupancy and closing coverage, protection for your deposit, and the cost of repairs should there be issues once you move in.

Lower Price Tag

Pre-construction homes can offer better value than the resale market, because you’re essentially buying a promise. You put down your deposits (as per your purchase agreement), and the builder promises to deliver a home by a specified date.

No Bidding Wars

Depending on where you’re shopping for your home, bidding wars can really knock up the price. When inventory is low, buyers are desperate, and the more attractive the home and neighbourhood, the more chance you could end up paying an inflated price for a resale home. When it comes to pre-construction, you’re looking at a set price. You’ll know exactly how much you’ll be paying, usually at fair market value.

Designer Home

You have the option of designing your home with plenty of upgrades available. There are not only got upgrades for finishings like kitchen counters and flooring, but you can often make structural upgrades, including adjusting some floor plan options.

Because you’re making all your decisions during the building process, they are far more affordable than a reno or upgrade once you move in. The pre-construction process allows you to make smart decisions that will increase the resale value of your home.

Lower Condo Fees

When buying a brand new condo, the condo fees are lower in new builds than in resale condos. That is because everything is new, and the management has yet to see how much it costs to operate the building or property, so, as you will read below, this can also become a drawback.

Flexible Deposits and Down Payments

Although you tend to need more for a deposit or down payment for pre-construction, the payments are staggered. You have time to keep saving as there is a small amount paid upfront, and the rest is paid on a schedule that leads up to the final closing.

Better Choices

You’ll have more choices when buying pre-construction compared to resale condos, such as the floor of the unit and the location of your unit (i.e., a corner unit or a better view).

10-Day Cooling Off Period

You’ll have 10 days to “cool off” and reconsider your purchase. You can arrange for financing and have a lawyer review the agreement during this time. Should you change your mind or find something in the deal you don’t like, you can get your full deposit back and walk away.

The Downside of Pre-Construction Homes

As with everything, you have to take the bad with the good. Some downsides to pre-construction include:


You should always go into pre-construction with a hint of pessimism. The reality is that you could face delays. And we’re talking years, not weeks or months. Researching developers will help you find a trusted company with a good reputation for customer satisfaction, hopefully lessening the likelihood of delays.

Condo Fees Rising

Although you’ll see lower condo costs going in, you must prepare to see an increase of as much as 10 to 20 per cent within two years. It takes about two years for the management to realize the cost of running the condo, and increases are always required. This has to be added to your monthly budget when determining if you can afford your new condo, or you might have trouble making ends meet.

Higher Deposits

While you do get the opportunity to stagger your deposit payments, you will be paying as much as 10 to 20 percent overall, compared to a deposit of five percent when signing a resale agreement. In most cases, you’re looking at a five-per-cent sales deposit up front and then payments at four, nine and 18 months, depending on the developer or building schedule.

Mortgage Challenges

When buying a resale home, you’ll usually be making your purchase before your locked-in rate expires. However, this can be a challenge for pre-construction homes if the home completion date is extended and passes your locked-in expiry date.

Occupancy Fees

In the case of a pre-construction condo, there is a registration process required before you can legally own your unit. If you have to move in before registration is complete, that is called interim occupancy. You pay a monthly occupancy fee if you move in during this period, which does not go towards your mortgage. This monthly fee will include your condo fees, the interest portion of the balance owing on the purchase price, and a portion of your property taxes.

Project Cancellation

When you buy pre-construction, you risk the project not making it to the finish line. Whether it’s a lack of sales or rising construction costs, pre-construction cancellation is a reality for many homebuyers. Sure, you get your money back. However, the money you invested in the project has not earned you anything. You could have used it toward another pre-construction development or an alternative investment. On top of that, you originally purchased at an earlier year’s price. That money now has to go toward today’s real estate market, which may have risen sharply, leaving you with less buying power.

Other Pre-Construction Costs

Your pre-construction home also has additional fees, including GST/HST. There are rebates available if the house is your primary residence, depending on your province.

You’ll face some taxes (that you won’t be too thrilled about) if you intend to rent your unit. A good way to avoid these taxes is to live in your unit for a while before renting it out.

There are also closing costs you don’t have when buying a resale home, such as charges for utility meter installations, fees to track your deposit payments, electronic land registration system usage, and more.

These additional fees can add up to as much as three percent on top of your purchase price. Working with a real estate agent and lawyer will help you get a more realistic view of what further costs you’ll have to pay on your pre-construction home. A real estate agent can also help you look at a variety of resale and pre-construction options so that you are sure to find your dream home.

How Do You Buy a Pre-Construction Home?

You can take steps to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of buying a pre-construction home. First, research your builder. Visit online directories to determine if you are purchasing from a reputable builder. You’ll want to know that they have a record of completing projects so that you can be confident that you are investing your money wisely.

Next comes the purchase agreement. You must understand the agreement before you sign it. It is a legal and binding contract, so you must have your lawyer review it before you sign on the dotted line. This review is your chance to understand the warranty coverage on the home better. You are buying a new home, so some parts of your home are covered after you buy it, making it essential that you understand what is covered and for how long.

Speaking of lawyers, some legal professionals specialize in pre-construction homes and are a real asset in the buying and negotiation phase. They know what to be on the lookout for and can guide you. On top of being a significant financial investment, it also requires a more extended buying period, so it’s best to have someone experienced by your side.

Finally, you will need to prepare for your pre-delivery inspection. Before you take possession, you can walk through your new home and ensure that the house is delivered to you as was agreed. You can reference pre-delivery checklists to ensure you are looking for the right things.

New to Pre-Construction Homes? Get The Help You Need. 

Knowledge is key to moving through the pre-construction process, especially if it is your first time. An experienced real estate agent can help you right from the start. From analyzing market data to understanding the purchase price, a real estate professional understands your local market and can guide you throughout the process.


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The time between inking the deal on your first home and move-in day is sure to be filled with anticipation and excitement. You’ll be thinking about the empty rooms in your soon-to-be-occupied home and the promise they hold. But it’s important to give yourself some time in the home to let your ideas evolve into better ones.

By all means visit stores, gather information, ideas, colours and fabric samples to begin your decorating plans. But remember, a truly comfortable and functional home that reflects your personal style will develop over time.  These tips will help first-time homeowners to furnish and style their new abode:

1. Resist the temptation to immediately purchase new furnishings. Organize and move in with what you have, placing furniture in rooms and finding places for items that go in closets, cupboards and drawers.

2. Measure and make a plan for each room on paper. Explore options on graph paper and consider using masking tape to mark out dimensions on the floor or walls of any furnishing you might purchase. This will ensure the pieces will work within your available space.

3. Consider unwanted elements. Home ownership affords you the luxury of making choices.  If you don’t like a lighting fixture or the wallpaper border in the kitchen, you are at liberty to replace it.

4. Consider any changes you would like to make to flooring. Carpeting from the previous owners may be crying out for replacement. Research and price out replacement options with consideration to available products, the temperature underfoot, and any need for noise reduction.

5. Create a budget. Apply a realistic price tag to your wish list and establish a time-frame to achieve your goals. Do things one step at a time and keep a tally against your budget as you go.

Soon enough, your first home will reflect your style and dovetail with your lifestyle.