How To Choose The Best Real Estate Attorney

When purchasing a home, it’s a good idea to engage the services of a real estate attorney. An attorney will see to it that your rights are protected and will process all necessary legal documents for your purchase. These tips will help you choose the right attorney to steer you through your transaction.

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  1. Start early

    Start your hunt for a good real estate attorney about the same time you seriously begin your search for a new home. You want plenty of time to find a good attorney — you don’t want to end up picking one at the last moment without doing any research.

  2. Seek others’ advice

    Talk to friends, colleagues and family who’ve recently purchased a home and ask them if they would recommend the real estate attorney they used. You could also seek the names of reputable attorneys from your real estate agent — just be sure to get an attorney who’s independent of that agent. Ask about the fees charged by the attorney and how well the attorney helped them to navigate the home-purchase process.

  3. Look for experience

    You want to find a “residential attorney” (an attorney who specializes in home sales) who regularly handles real estate transactions, not one who’s handled one only a handful of times. Check online with your province’s bar association to see if they have a lawyer referral service.  The Canadian Bar Association’s referral service can be found here http://www.cba.org/cba/info/faq/referral.aspx

  4. Go online                                                                                                               Once you have the names of a few attorneys, check to see if they have websites. There, you can find out more about their backgrounds, credentials, specialties, business style, contact information and whether they have any local offices. (You may need to meet several times with your attorney throughout the transaction — this would make having a local attorney preferable.)
  5. Interview

    Select a few attorneys to interview on the phone or, ideally, in person. (Check first whether you’ll be charged for the interview.) Ask them about their background and years of experience, how many closings they typically perform during a month or a year, what services they will provide, and whether they can give you the names of some of their clients as references. Ask up front what their fees will be and how you will be charged. (E.g., some lawyers bill hourly, while others set a flat fee.)

    Also ask whether they see any conflicts of interest — you don’t want an attorney, for example, who’s associated with the local home builder from whom you’re purchasing a house, or one who regularly does business with the seller’s real estate agent.

  6. Do some reading

    Search online for articles written by or about the attorney(s) you’re thinking of hiring. Do they put him or her in a good light? The same goes for advertisements he or she has run, either in the newspaper, online or in the Yellow Pages. Are the ads helpful and tasteful? Also ask for brochures or promotional materials about the attorney or his or her firm to get a sense of the work he or she does and his or her business style.

  7. Get it in writing

    Once you select an attorney, read the “engagement letter” or “retainer agreement” — in which the attorney spells out what services he or she will provide and at what fee — in full, and make sure that you fully understand it and its terms.

5 More Incredible Tech Gadgets To Add To Your Dream Home

Below are 5 more incredible gadgets that would make every home…well, let’s be honest, these things are so cool!

Sony Eclipse

This Sony Eclipse concept created by Hoang M Nguyen and Anh Nguyen is a media player that uses photovoltaic cells situated on its backside to draw in solar power. With this player you have only the slightest chance of ever seeing the “low battery” warning.

Sony Eclipse - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

Sony Eclipse 2 - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

Pouring Light Lamp

A strange but interesting lamp that will surely be sold really fast if it would be put in stores is this one created by Yeongwoo Kim. The lamp uses LED lights that are situated in the bucket and with the help of phosphorescence in the “water” it lights in a marvelous way.

Pouring Light lamp - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

Pouring Light lamp 2 - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

Door Handle With Self-sterilization System

We think every school and hospital should have this.

Door Handle With Self-sterilization System - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

Door Handle With Self-sterilization System 2  - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

Door Handle With Self-sterilization System 3 - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

Door Handle With Self-sterilization System 4 - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

Senzo Nightlight

It’s really annoying during the night when you wake up and can’t find the light switch. The solution is provided by Soledad Clavell and Marcos Madia who created this wonderful nightlight that lights up the room when touching it.

Senzo Nightlight  - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

Senzo Nightlight 2 - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

Electrolux Fireplace

This fireplace created by Camillo Vanacore for Electrolux looks almost magical because of its transformation from off to on, from an opaque ceramic column to a transparent one.

Electrolux Fireplace - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

Keep checking in for our next instalment of amazing high tech gadgets.  Still looking for your dream home?  Contact the Suzy Goldstein Team 

5 Cool High Tech Gadgets to Take You Into The Future

Gadgets are becoming a part of our everyday life and like the mobile phone (one of the first gadgets) we are starting to be addicted, depending on them for our daily actions. As technology advances, so do these gadgets that we are fond of and we are amazed by the new concepts created by young and ambitious designers. These innovations appear from a necessity of solving the problems that old products have and besides new and improved functions, they also come with a beautiful design.

Transparent TV

The transparent tv designed by Michael Friebe is a marvelous piece of technology that combines conventional LCD and the latest TOLED display technology. This allows to create non-transparent / solid moving pictures with rich color reproduction and full contrast range from solid black to pristine white.

Transparent TV - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

Transparent TV 2 - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

Floor Plan Light switch

Have you ever had a problem with forgetting which light switch stands for what light? Taewon Hwang came with the great idea of creating a master light switch with a simple design that shows you what lights you are turning on or off.

Floor Plan Light switch - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

Floor Plan Light switch 2 - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

The AURA Lamp

Looking almost alien like, the AURA lamp lights up a room with a certain texture and that is because it’s a woven lamp hand made in France.

The AURA Lamp - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

Dimensional Wall Panels

People aren’t familiar with 3D wall panels. I don’t know why, cause they surely bring a nice feel to a room, with their interesting shapes that create a beautiful arrangement of light and shadows. They can also be put in shops, restaurants, offices and because of their different that usual look they transmit a nice futuristic look.

Dimensional Wall Panels - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

Dimensional Wall Panels 2 - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

The RIMA lamp

The RIMA lamp is one like no other because of its interesting feature that allows you to control the light via four controller rings that you can slide. This beautiful lamp created by Matthias Pinkert has a processor which controls the heat, intensity, angle of the beam and color.

The RIMA lamp - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

The RIMA lamp 1 - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

The RIMA lamp 2 - High Tech Gadgets To Give Your Home A Futuristic Look

 

Remembering Three Realtors Who Met Their Fate On The Titanic

The Great Titanic Disaster (Library of Congress)

Sunday, April 15, marked 101 years since the sinking of the RMS Titanic.  Three REALTORS® were among the 1,500 people who were lost when the “unsinkable” ship struck an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic.

The three men were all from Winnipeg, Manitoba — at the time nine Canadian real estate boards were part of the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges (now known as NAR). 64-year-old Mark Fortune was a former president and charter member of the Winnipeg Real Estate Exchange. He was returning from a European vacation with his wife, son, and two daughters. J. Hugo Ross and Thomson Beattie, both 36, were friends who had offices across the hall from each other in Winnipeg’s old Merchants Bank Building. Ross was also a former president of the Winnipeg Board, and Beattie was a business partner of the city’s mayor, R. D. Waugh. They had been traveling in Egypt and the Aegean Sea when Ross fell ill and they decided to return home early, booking passage on the Titanic.

According to the National Real Estate Journal, Fortune moved to Winnipeg in 1874 and entered the real estate business four years later. “Within the past ten years,” the Journal reported, “he has been one of the most successful real estate operators in the city. Property which he had held for years became very valuable…he is said to have owned property in nearly all the principal blocks along Main Street and Portage Avenue.” Fortune served four terms on the Winnipeg City Council and was very active in Knox Presbyterian Church.

Ross had served as secretary of the Winnipeg Stock Exchange and attended the fourth NAR convention a year earlier, in Denver in 1911. Beattie took over management of the firm of Waugh and Beattie when his partner was elected mayor. “In many respects they resembled one another,” the Journal wrote of Ross and Beattie. “Both were typical opportunistic westerners, positive of the future of Winnipeg and western Canada.”

Fortune’s 19-year-old son Charles also perished in the disaster, while his mother and sisters were put off in lifeboats. A month later Beattie’s body was found with two others adrift in a collapsible life boat, and he was buried at sea.

At the national convention in Louisville two months later Fortune, Ross and Beattie were remembered in prayer by their fellow REALTORS®, who then voted for Winnipeg to host the 1913 convention.

 

Ten Things To Make Your House More Eco-Friendly

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1. Change your light bulbs-to more efficient ones

2. Change your air filters regularly

3. Install a programmable thermostat 

4. Replace your old water heater

5. Seal up air leaks

6. Upgrade plumbing fixtures to save water

7. Install ceiling fans

8. Replace old appliances

9. Select sustainable materials to replace interior finishes

10. Recycle shopping bags

 

How To Choose The Right Home Inspector

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What Kind of Knowledge Does the Home Inspector Have?

Look for inspectors who have taken inspection courses such as defect recognition, building sciences and home construction. Good home inspectors will have a general understanding of all the various systems and components in a home. Many have practical experience or a background in engineering, construction or related building trades. Professional home inspectors may also have to know and follow a code of ethics and standards of practice.

What Experience Does the Home Inspector Have?

The skills of a home inspector can be expected to improve with the number of years in business and the number of home inspections done. Experienced home inspectors will be better prepared to assess the condition of the house. Look for home inspectors who are familiar with the type of home you are thinking of buying. Different types of housing can have different types of problems. For instance, older Victorian-era homes have special construction techniques, compared to more modern homes. Multi-unit residential buildings can also be very different from single-family houses, in terms of their design and construction.

What Sort of Training Does the Inspector Have?

There are many training programs and courses that home inspectors can take to improve their knowledge and understanding of home design, construction, operation, maintenance, common defects, repair strategies, testing and diagnostics. Different home inspector titles may have different training requirements, so it’s best to try to determine what training inspectors need to get those titles. It’s also important to know that, in most provinces and territories, there are no training requirements for home inspectors, meaning that just about anyone can claim to have the necessary knowledge.

Is the Home Inspector Certified?

Many home inspectors’ associations offer training and certification programs for their members. Some home inspectors take steps to have their knowledge and skills assessed and certified by independent organizations to see if they meet the national occupational standards for home inspectors in Canada. Be aware that the requirements of different training and certification programs vary from organization to organization and from province to province. Asking home inspectors about their training and certification may help you better understand the differences in the programs. This will tell you about the quality of the inspection you might get from home inspectors certified under different programs.

When Considering the Training and Certification of Home Inspectors, Some Questions to Consider Include:

  • Has the inspector been assessed and certified to a national occupational standard for home inspectors by an independent organization?
  • How long was the inspector’s training and certification program? What did the training include?
  • Did the inspector have to perform inspections reviewed by other inspectors before he/she was certified?
  • Does the inspector have to meet continuing education requirements to maintain his/her certification?
  • Is the certification recognized by existing provincial requirements for licensing home inspectors?

Does the Home Inspector Belong to an Industry Association?

Home inspectors who are members of a national, provincial or regional industry association show that they are interested in staying current with and sharing the latest home inspection information. Some associations have developed training and certification programs for their members to demonstrate skills. These programs also serve to classify members in different categories based on their qualifications. In some associations, members cannot advertise their membership in the association until they have reached certain minimum standards. Be aware that being a member of an association does not always mean an inspector has the training, knowledge and experience you may be looking for.

Does the Home Inspector Have a License to Perform Home Inspections?

As of 2011, only the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta have licensing requirements for home inspectors. Elsewhere, there are no mandatory licensing or certification processes for home inspectors, and this means that anyone can provide home inspection services. That is why it is important to choose an inspector carefully.

Can the Home Inspector Provide Three References?

A home inspector should be prepared to offer references. Any qualified home inspector should gladly provide this information upon request. Check with the references and see what they thought of the inspection. For example, ask them whether the inspection was thorough, how long it took, whether the report was clear, how well the inspector communicated the results and whether the home bought reflected the evaluation.

Does the Home Inspector Provide a Written Contract?

A written contract that clearly spells out the terms and conditions of the home inspection is another way to become familiar with what the inspection will cover, what it will not, and, any other limitations that you should be aware of. The contract will also likely detail limitations on the liability of the home inspector for any losses you might suffer for defects or deficiencies not identified during the inspection. It is important to read and understand the home inspection contract before hiring a home inspector to be clear on the services to be provided and any limitations that may apply.

Finding a Home Inspector

Check association websites, the Yellow Pages™ or home trade magazines. Ask friends or family members. Your real estate agent may also make a suggestion. However, be aware that, in some provinces, the regulations and the code of ethics for real estate agents do not permit agents to give you the name of only one home inspector. However, agents are allowed to provide you with a list of home inspectors from which you can choose.

Visit home inspection company websites. You may be able to find information about their industry association, certifications, training and company details. You could also see the qualifications of individual inspectors, their references and the services they offer.

Choosing a home inspector yourself can help you be sure that the inspector will act in your best interests.

A Final Note

CMHC does not recommend or endorse any individual home inspector or association. CMHC supports a common national occupational standard for home inspectors in Canada, to promote the development and professionalism of the home inspection industry and to help protect consumers.

 Need a reference?  Contact the Suzy Goldstein Team.

How To Handle A Multiple Offer Situation

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As happens every spring, the buyers are out in droves.  If you’ve put your home on the market, lucky you! If you’re the buyer, you might be in for some competition, but it’s easy to get the upper hand when you’re negotiating in a multiple-offer situation.

Planning ahead, knowing your limits and having a crackerjack real estate agent (The Suzy Goldstein Team) puts you in the best position for a property win.

1. Limit your liability

Make sure you have your financing in place BEFORE you start looking for a new home. Know what you can afford and make sure the bank agrees. You’d think this was a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often buyers are unprepared and think everything will fall into place. Don’t enter into a multiple-offer situation if you don’t even know what your budget is. And that budget has to include the work you may need to do AFTER you win a bid on a property.

2. Maximum purchase price

You need to know your point of retreat before you get into the heat of battle. What is this property worth and what is the absolute most you are willing to pay for it? Have this price fixed and firm in your mind and with your agent, and don’t waver. It is easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and you don’t want to be the one who bids too much. This isn’t an online auction for an antique fluffy bunny — it’s a serious competition for a serious investment, with staggering consequences if you breach the financial ceiling you set for yourself.

3. Home inspection

If at all possible, do a property inspection in advance of your offer. This way you know exactly what repairs the property may need and you can have one less clause on your offer. It also helps you factor the potential future costs into your budget limit for any bids you put in. Also, if you meet the sellers at the same time as an inspection, that might also give you a leg up if it comes down to an emotional choice between similar deals. Generally business is business, but a personal connection can’t hurt.

4. Be Sherlock Holmes

No, not for the cool hat — get your real estate agent to snoop for any snippet of information they can from the listing agent. Dig deep. The more you know about the property, about your competition and about the other offers, the more prepared you are to go into battle if you find the right home. Information is the sword you need to wield.

5. Writing rules the day

The old saying, “his word isn’t worth the paper it is printed on” has merit when it comes to multiple offers. Get everything in writing — always. Make sure your offer is in writing, including the purchase price, any conditions such as finance, insurance and inspection. And if your offer is accepted, make sure that’s in writing as soon as possible. You want proof, and deserve it when such a big investment is on the line.

Canadians are too friendly sometimes, and fierce competition for the home you want can be off-putting and stressful. But if you plan ahead and work with your crackerjack agents (The Suzy Goldstein Team), you could be the winning offer and get the house of your dreams. A multiple-offer scenario will be worth the effort when you get the keys.

 

7 Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent

1. How long have you been a real-estate agent? As with any profession, experience matters. The more seasoned the agent, the better representation you’re likely to get.

2. Do you sell homes part or full time? The real estate industry has its share of part-timers hoping to stumble onto a few home sales a year. If you’re considering hiring a part-time real-estate agent, ask yourself: Am I confident this agent has tracked local activity closely enough to understand today’s unpredictable market? Will he or she be able to give my home sale the time and attention it requires?

3. What training do you have? Has the agent earned industry designations, or completed specialized training in areas like negotiation or working with first-time buyers? If not, think hard about whether the agent is dedicated enough to the profession to acquire and develop the skills necessary to succeed.

4. How many homes have you sold in the past month, quarter and year? Sales statistics are a quick way to gauge real-estate agents’ competence. 

5. What’s the average “days on market” for your listings? The best real-estate agents know their clients and market so well that they sell homes faster than their competitors. Ask agents for data that compares the average time it takes them to sell homes with the average time it takes all other agents in the local market.

6. What will you do to market my home? There’s a debate among real-estate agents over the value of traditional marketing tools like open houses and newspaper advertising versus website advertising and virtual tours.  If you’re not sure which marketing tools are best, ask agents which tools they think will sell your home, and why.

7. How will you keep me informed? A common complaint among consumers is that after they’ve hired a real-estate agent, there’s radio silence. That can be a big problem.  Specifically ask agents, ‘How am I going to know what’s going on?’ Decide if you want area reports weekly, or more or less often.

You should ask a lot of your real estate agent, after all, they are dealing with the most valuable item you will ever buy or sell.  For a team of professionals, who will never get tired of your questions, contact the Suzy Goldstein Team.

What Makes A Great Real Estate Agent?

 

 

The first answer we got to this question was: communication!

Many real estate agents don’t take the time to call back or listen properly to what their clients want. As for those real estate agents who are great communicators, who do return calls and stay in regular contact, their efforts inevitably pay off. The result is not only a signed contract but also gushing referrals to friends, family and colleagues!  The Suzy Goldstein Team is there for all your real estate needs. There is no such thing as a silly question!

 

“I Told My Real Estate Agent I Needed Time!”

Patience is something that comes up surprisingly often. Patience and real estate agents – how does that work? Mostly it’s the ability to understand that sometimes people aren’t ready to buy the first house they’re shown! We hear a lot about real estate agents who get frustrated after showing three or four properties because their clients still aren’t sure and want to see more. Buying a house is a big deal; it’s not like getting a sweater – you can’t just return it if it doesn’t fit!

A knowledgeable real estate agent is a BIG one on the wish list! The obvious question is: aren’t all real estate agents knowledgeable? The answer: not always. By knowledgeable, I mean understanding the market, knowing the trends and being able to advise accordingly. You are not a real estate agent – you have no idea about the housing market except for maybe what you see on CNN! You’re relying on your real estate agent to guide you.

 

Did Your Real Estate Agent Actually Do What They Promised?

Surprisingly, follow-up ranked pretty high on the list as well. A lot of people experienced very good initial conversations with their real estate agents. They came across as professional, knowledgeable and very eager to please. Unfortunately, there was no follow-up or follow through afterwards.

The last of the top points went for honesty – a real estate agent should be honest. But what does that mean exactly? Honesty should be defined as keeping the clients’ interests as the top priority and getting them the best deal possible. If that means a lower commission or more time taken to close a deal, then so be it.

These are just a few things people felt made a great real estate agent. What qualities would YOU like to see in your real estate agent? Always make sure the real estate agents you are talking to understand your particular needs.   Looking for the best?  Contact the Suzy Goldstein team

Easy Ideas to Organize Your Kitchen

I’ve found a number of pretty neat ideas (pun intended) to better organize your kitchen. Hope you like these ideas as much as I do…

spicejars 

Magnetic primer – who knew? You can now paint your walls magnetic, and this great tip sticks magnetic spice jars from Bed Bath & Beyond onto just about any surface that you paint with magnetic primer. You can even paint with chalkboard paint over the primer and have a magnetic chalkboard! Organize your spices alphabetically so you can find them quickly when you need them. 

pantryshoerack
Shoe Rack in Pantry

Use a shoe organizer on the back of your pantry door to hold snacks and other small items. This will clear clutter from your pantry shelves. You can put snacks in the lower sections that the kids are allowed to eat to keep them from climbing through your pantry. 

drawers
Cupboard Drawers

Turn cupboards into drawers with sliding organizers. You can get so much more space out of your cupboards with this simple solution – no more kitchen gadgets stuck in the back of your cabinets out of site, and no more unloading your entire cupboard to get at the serving dish you haven’t used in 6 months because you couldn’t find it.

Use inexpensive shelf organizers in your fridge to reduce clutter and maximize storage space. I love the idea of a lazy susan with all your condiments – just pull out the whole thing and place it on the table for your next bbq.

Fridge Organization
Fridge Organization

Curtain rods as vertical dividers – this great idea can help keep lids, pans, trays and other skinny items neatly contained and organized in your cupboards. The bonus is you don’t damage your cabinetry in anyway, so you can easily adjust the space as your needs change. Another great use for tension curtain rodes – hang spray bottles from a rod installed in the cabinet under your sink to keep cleaners organized and easy to find.

undersink spray bottles pantry divider
Clever uses for tension curtain rods