Category Archives: Blog

The Hidden Costs of Buying Your First Home

Now that you have found your dream home in the perfect neighbourhood at a price that you can afford, what’s next?  There is so much more to buying your first home than just the down payment.  As the premier real estate agent for Niagara on the Lake, I would like to share some of the hidden costs that are associated with a first-time home purchase to better prepare you for the process.

Prepare for the Unexpected

The down payment is just one of the many costs that is part of the entire home buying process.  Other unexpected or hidden costs that you will incur include:

  • Closing costs – such as appraisals, lender fees and lawyer fees. These fees are sometimes included in the overall purchase price, but make sure that you have included them in your budget if they are not.
  • Home insurance – you will want to insure your new home against fire, theft and other disasters. You will also want to insure your personal belongings.  Get a quote from your local insurance provider.

Another unforeseen but necessary cost associated with any home is hiring a home inspector.  They will be able to tell you if the home is:

  • Structurally sound.
  • Has any rot in the wood or under the siding.
  • The condition of the roof.
  • Any faulty or poor wiring.

Here’s the Deal:

Many of the major faults that a home inspector may find are not covered under your house insurance.  It may be a good idea to either renegotiate the purchase price or to walk away from the home and start your search again.

Services and Hook-Ups

Even after taking possession of your home, there are hidden costs.  The connection fees for your cable, internet and electricity need to be accounted for and part of your purchase budget.  Now that you are a homeowner, you will also be responsible for paying the property tax on your home as well as the services such as water or recycling and garbage collection.

Remember:

It will cost more to heat and cool your home, so prepare yourself for larger utility fees.  This may come as a shock if you were renting and utilities were included in your rent.

Plan Ahead

When you are looking at homes, make sure include in your purchasing budget any renovations, repairs or landscape work that needs to be done.  You do not want to be house poor without the necessary funds to make your home livable.

Finding the right real estate agent is also a key part in understanding the true cost of purchasing your first home.  Allow them to help you budget for all the hidden costs.

If you would like more information about any of the hidden costs of first time homeownership or would like to see some of the new and exciting Niagara on the Lake real estate options, please contact me today.  I look forward to working with you soon.

 

 

Tips for Buying in the Spring

Typically, the spring season offers buyers a larger choice and selection of homes, so if you have been looking to get into the Niagara on the Lake real estate market, now is the time.  I would like to share the following tips that will find you your Niagara dream home this spring.

Find the Right Real Estate Agent

When you are looking for that perfect home, it is so important that you find a neighbourhood specialist.  A great understanding of the local real estate market and knowledge of the town and its distinct neighbourhoods cannot be over-stated.  Make sure that your real estate agent:

  • Specializes in the area and has sold other homes similar to what that you are looking to buy.
  • Is well respected and liked by other real estate agents – this will open up a large number of properties to you.
  • Has a great sales record can be recommended by other buyers.
  • Is friendly, professional and hardworking.

Get Pre-approved

Before you decide to go house hunting, sit down with a local bank or lender and see how much you will be pre-approved for.  There is nothing more frustrating when you find your perfect home only to find out that it is too far out of your price range.

Find a mortgage number that you are comfortable with and make sure to not over extend yourself, so that you are house poor.  You want to enjoy your new home, not be stressed out each month by trying to make a payment that you can barely afford.

Be Prepared

Although the spring real estate market brings a larger choice and selection of homes, it can also bring a wider group of potential buyers, which translates into a more competitive market.  Make sure that if you find a property that you like, you are prepared to put in an offer and are prepared to pay list price for that home.  Try not to get hung up on the asking price, but rather focus on what the home is worth to you.

Here’s the Deal:

If you find your dream house at a price that you can afford it will not matter if you pay a few thousand dollars more or less for that home over the course of 25 years.

Focus on the Home

When you are buying a home, make sure to focus on the home and not the sale or the owner.  It is of no importance whether the home is a foreclosure, a short sale or being sold by the original owner.  Rather focus on the location of the home and how that home will serve your needs.

Niagara on the Lake spring real estate market is the perfect time and place for you to find your dream home.  If you would like to see some of the new listings that are available or are interested in living in the Niagara on the Lake area, contact me today.

 

 

Tips for Winterizing your Home

Although the first official day of winter is still a few weeks away, everyone can agree that the winter season is underway.  It is time to get out the wool, scarves, gloves and toques and put those winter tires on your car.  It is also time to turn up the thermostat in your home, and unless your home has been properly winterized, this could mean huge costs in heating and wasted energy.

As the premier real estate agent for Niagara on the Lake, I would like to share the following tips on how you can thoroughly winterize your home and keep heating costs down.

Check for Drafts

Drafts can waste anywhere from 5% – 30% of your home’s heat and can quickly chill even the warmest rooms.  Before the first cold snap, take your time and thoroughly check your home for drafts.  The most common places where drafts can be found are:

  • Under doors
  • Around window frames
  • Around the foundations of your home

Fortunately, drafts are quite easily fixed.  For drafts around windows or in window frames, consider using either weather stripping or if the window is not used or in an out of the way spot, consider taping it over with a clear plastic film.

For drafts under doors or between foundations, place towels or rolled up material to stop the incoming cold air.  You can also think about using a door sweep to provide a more permanent fixture for drafts under doors; especially if you use that door quite often.

Tune-up your Heating System

Just like your car, your furnace will need some maintenance from time to time.  A properly maintained furnace can save you up to 5% in heating costs.  To get your furnace running smoothly it may just need a new filter so have a look.  Remember, a quick filter replacement or an annual furnace maintenance is a lot cheaper than having to replace your furnace.

Remember:

If you do have to replace your heating system, look for an energy efficient model and apply for the tax credits that are offered.

Check your Thermostat

If you do not have a programmable thermostat, now is the time.  A digital, programmable thermostat can save you anywhere from 1% – 3% on your annual heating bill.  The thermostat will pay for itself in the first year alone, so why not make the switch?

By going to a programmable thermostat, you can regulate the heat in individual rooms and only heat the rooms that are being used for the time that those rooms are being used.

Winter in Niagara on the Lake

Winter in Niagara on the Lake is a special time of year and you want a cozy, warm and comfortable home to enjoy all that this season has to offer.  If you would like any other strategies on how to winterize your home or would like to see some of the exciting new properties that are available, please feel free to contact me.  I would love to show you why winter is one of my favourite seasons in Niagara on the Lake.

 

Preparing Your Home for the Fall

Fall is one of the most spectacular season in Niagara on the Lake.  The colours of the leaves combined with beautiful sunny weather and crisp mornings all make fall a special time of year.  Fall is also a great time to take advantage of the mild temperatures and do some much needed prep work on your home.

Here are some tips from the premier Bosley Real Estate team to help get your home in tip-top shape this fall.

Outdoors

Many of the fall preparations that should be done to your home are on the exterior.  Make sure to pick a few gorgeous, warm fall days, head outside and get your home fall ready.

Your focus should be on the eavestroughs and gutters.  It is important that these are free of leaves and other debris to allow for proper drainage.  Clogged gutters can quickly lead to pooling water, flooding or water damage, so make sure they are thoroughly cleaned as to avoid them plugging with the first big fall storm.

While you are up on your ladder inspecting and cleaning your gutters, take the time to inspect your roof as well.

Here are some tips on what you will want to look for while you are up there:

  • Inspect all of the shingles on your roof and make sure none are curling or broken. Usually, shingles should last anywhere from 15-20 years before needing replacement, but it is a good idea to inspect them annually.
  • Look at the flashing between the gutters and shingles to make sure that it is uniform and flat with no damaged pieces. Proper flashing means a watertight seal between your roof and gutters.
  • Take the time to look at all seals and caulking around any vents on your roof. If the sealing looks damaged, replace it.

Finally, get out and rake your yard.  Not only do fallen leaves and other debris look unsightly, they can also pose a safety risk as well as a flooding problem if they clog storm sewers.  Dispose of the leaves in proper recycling bags.

Indoors

Not all of your home’s fall preparation is outside.  There are some very important jobs to do to prepare the interior of your home for fall and the upcoming winter months.

The most important indoor fall preparation tip involves weatherproofing all windows and doors in your home.  Improperly sealed windows and doors are the number one energy waster.  You will want to stop all cold air from entering your home before the chill of winter arrives.

Make sure to inspect the weather stripping on all doors and windows.  If the weather stripping is cracked or brittle, replace it.  Make sure that the new weather stripping is thick enough to provide a proper seal.

Here’s the deal:

For doors, sometime weather stripping isn’t enough, in this case, consider using a door sweep to seal the space at the bottom of the door and keep out that cold weather.

It is also a good idea to ensure that your smoke alarms as well as your carbon monoxide detector are working properly.  Replace any faulty alarms or replace the batteries as needed.

Niagara on the Lake in the Fall

Just one look outside your window or a drive through the picturesque scenery in and around Niagara on the Lake will show you what a special time fall really is in the area and why the region is such a coveted place to call home.  If you would like to see any of the gorgeous homes that are for sale in the area, please call today.  I would love to show you Niagara on the Lake in the fall.

Happy family with agent realtor near new house.

Millennials: The Next Generation of Home Buyers

The largest percentage of home buyers these days are Millennials.  This is a new generation of couples and families who are looking for features and qualities in homes that are quite different than your traditional home buyer.  To make your home more appealing to this large audience, Bosley Real Estate would like to offer the following guidelines to show you what Millennials are looking for in a home.

It’s What’s on the Inside that Counts

The traditional home buyer loved to think of all the possibilities in a potential home.  A new coat of paint, a quick interior redecoration, or perhaps even a renovation, were all part of the home buying process.

Well, with Millennials all of that is out the window.  Millennials are looking for a move-in ready home.  They have no interest in renovating or changing the colours on the wall.  To make your home more appealing to the Millennial set, I highly recommend that you show your home with a fresh coat of paint and a move-in ready look.

In addition to a move-in ready home, Millennials are looking for a modern feel to their home.  This means an open concept floor plan.  Believe it or not the two most important rooms to Millennials are the bathroom and the kitchen.

Besides an open-concept layout in the kitchen, other modern features that appeal to the Millennial set include:

  • Granite counter tops.
  • Stainless steel appliances and fixtures.
  • A kitchen island.
  • Sleek looking cabinetry.

Here’s the deal:

If you have been thinking about a renovation in your home, I suggest that you spend your money in either the kitchen or the bathroom.  Not only will these changes attract a new set of clients to your next open house, they may also increase the final sale price of your home.

Go Online

A strong online profile is another key to attracting Millennial buyers.  More than 90% of home buyers start their home search online.  This means that without a strong online home profile, you will be missing out on a huge percentage of possible buyers.

Make sure that your online portfolio includes bright, clear photos of your home as well as a brief video of your home that showcases each room in your house.  The entire rationale behind a strong online profile is to bring people to the next open house or to arrange private showings.

Location, Location, Location

The location of a home can be more important than either the modernity, square footage or even the home’s layout.  Many Millennials are looking for homes with access to green spaces, parks and high walkability scores.  Make sure to feature your home’s proximity to major landmarks such as community centres, downtown and trails to peak interest in your home.

Luckily, Niagara on the Lake is one of the most spectacular places in the province and its location is a huge selling feature.  If you would like more information about any of the listings in this special part of Ontario, please contact me today.  I look forward to working with you soon.

Niagara on the Lake Realty

The Benefits of Having a Buyer’s Agent

In the United States, the concept of a “buyer’s agent” is commonplace when it comes to purchasing real estate. However, here in Canada, the idea is relatively new. A buyer’s agent can be beneficial to house seekers, as a realtor becomes a personal shopper to a buyer. They can negotiate a house in order to get the best possible pricing and terms.

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Heritage Awards

Niagara Residents Receive Heritage Award for Preserving History

Niagara-on-the-Lake real estate sits on land that has been settled for over 200 years. Everywhere you look, you see sites steeped in history. Our community is fortunate to have people passionate about this history. From ages seven to 77 and beyond, our local residents care enough to fight to preserve this history rather than see it fade away forever.

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