Lee Lander

Broker of Record 289-231-0937 Contact Lee Directly

Shai Lander

Broker 905-252-7424 Contact Shai Directly

The Seller Experience

Lee and Shai Lander are the perfect partners to help you sell your home: Friendly, honest, and genuine, they approach the seller experience as trusted partners with the goal to help you prepare, price, and sell your home with confidence.

At RE/MAX Realtron Lander Realty Inc., Brokerage, they offer experience and knowledge of how to successfully sell a home from preparation, to negotiation, to final sale. Their knowledge of the local neighbourhoods and housing market allow them to market your home's most attractive features for the best price. The Lander Ladies are tough, effective negotiators who always have your back. They also believe in the softer side of the sale, listening closely to your needs and requirements in the sale process, and they respect your time, your home, and your family...right down to your pets.

You work directly with the ladies in charge, every time, as they believe in building friendships and relationships, not just making another sale.

Are you ready for a real estate partnership? Contact Lee and Shai Lander today!

Thinking of Selling your Home?

Don't hire a REALTOR® without getting good answers to these 10 questions!

You've decided to sell your home and see the benefits of engaging a Real Estate professional to help you through the process. The problem is its hard to swing a For Sale sign without hitting someone who claims to be the best person for you to list your house with.

So who do you choose? Many REALTORS® advertise "great customer service" or that they're "always there for you" or some other meaningless platitude. But these buzzwords and catch phrases are so widely used that they are of no use whatsoever in making one of the most important financial and emotional decisions of your life.

Therefore to help you cut through this cluttered world, here is a list of questions you should ask any REALTOR® who is interested in helping you sell your home:

1. How much experience do you have?

Notice it doesn't say How long have you been in the business? Simply being in the business for a long period of time does not necessarily mean you have a bunch of relevant experience. Sometimes of course the knowledge gained by having been "around the block" a few times is useful. However ask your potential REALTORS® about their transaction volume for the last few years. This will allow you to judge whether they have enough experience in current market conditions to really understand how to maximize the potential in your home right now.

2. Are you a full time or part time REALTOR®?

Some Realtors only practice part time in order to supplement their income or allow them the freedom to focus on other vocations or activities. Others devote a full time effort and their complete attention to their practice as if it were any other full time career choice. Neither approach is absolutely right or wrong as each REALTOR® has a different motivation for choosing Real Estate. But its important for you to consider how this may impact the process of selling your home.

3. What is your average List Price to Sale Price ratio?

For maximum return in minimum time its important to price your home properly when it first hits the market, as generally the first few days your home is listed is when most people will look at it. But don't be fooled by this statistic. There are ways REALTORS® can manipulate the system to make it look like the eventual selling price was very close to list but a deeper look reveals substantial list price reductions prior to the eventual sale. Be sure to understand what's behind the numbers you are being told.

4. How would you market our home?

A true professional REALTOR® will have put some previous thought into this answer so listen for an indication that he/she is talking about your home and not simply spitting out the same cookie cutter marketing as everyone else. But don't be alarmed if you don't get too many details; most professional REALTORS® will also recognize the value of their experience and knowledge and will not necessarily hand that information out for free to anyone who asks.

5. Will you provide references from past clients?

A REALTOR® with a solid history of client satisfaction will not hesitate to offer up a list of names for you. In fact, they may already have the list available and encourage you to call.

6. What separates you from your competition?

Again, its important here to look past the meaningless platitudes and empty promises. A top producing REALTOR® will have a clear understanding of why their past clients turn into repeat clients and strong referral sources.

7. What documents will I have to sign?

REALTORS® that are following the professional standards set by the industry will make all of the paperwork available to you for review and be willing to explain it to you thoroughly. Make sure you do not allow them to move on until you are completely comfortable.

8. How much do you charge?

Brokerage and REALTOR® fees or commissions are negotiable so ask under what conditions if any would a reduction be available. Remember to not cut off your nose to spite your face; a REALTOR® who is quick to give away his/her own money may be equally as quick to give away yours when negotiating your home sale transaction.

9. What if we are not happy with your service?

Find out under what circumstances can the listing agreement be terminated after it is signed. Remember that technically the agreement is with the REALTOR® on behalf of the Brokerage so a cancellation requires the Broker's approval. Accordingly don't be surprised if the REALTOR® can not give you an unrestricted commitment to honour your request to terminate.

10. Is there anything else I need to know?

At the risk of providing you with even more information, most REALTORS® will have a couple of points to add when addressing this question. There is usually always something else to be discussed even if its just some things to think about for the next meeting or some questions to help the REALTOR® understand your needs further. The REALTOR®s that say there is nothing else at this point would seem to lack either the desire or the knowledge [or both] to ensure you are fully informed.

There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer to any of these questions. It is more a case of determining what makes sense to you and your circumstances and what your gut tells you. Try to take the emotion out of it so you can make as objective a decision as possible. Regardless of the REALTOR® you ultimately choose, your choice to engage a professional is a solid starting point.

Bidding Wars - Good Idea?

There has been a lot of noise recently about the Real Estate bidding war frenzy in major Canadian markets like Toronto. We've heard stories about houses attracting in some cases 30 or more offers and ultimately selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars over asking with. But does this really benefit the home's Seller?

Whether the tactic is suggested by the Sellers themselves or at the urging of their Realtor, significantly underpricing the home for the express purpose of creating a bidding war is not acting in good faith: you should not list your home at a price that you are not prepared to take if offered. That's like your local grocery store advertising a bananas at $.25/pound but when you arrive to buy you're told that actually they won't take anything less than $.49/pound.

There's a reason that businesses are not allowed to operate this way; why should home sellers be any different? Given the high level of dollars and and emotions involved in a Real Estate transaction, shouldn't good faith be a minimum expectation?

Consider this well-publicized example from earlier this year. A rundown 1,200 sq ft 4 bedroom home in Mimico sold for almost $200K over its $379,900 listing price. There were 31 bids. The Realtor admitted they even had a pool in their office with staff betting on how many bids the home would receive. Really? Good to see they are entertained, and potentially financially gained, by playing games with people's homes. Quite often in these scenarios, the eventual winning bid is somewhere around the price that market comparables suggest the listing price should have been in the first place. In the end, where's the benefit to either the Buyer or the Seller? It's smoke and mirrors, usually so the Realtor can boast that they got "X" over list with "Y" number of bids. (Perhaps the more honest boast would be "Look at me - I either didn't know what the selling price should be or I didn't care, and by taking advantage of an artificially-created frenzy I was able to get my Seller what they would have got anyway had I been better at my job.")

But its not just a moral argument as there are risks to the Seller in this strategy.

Lets just say for the sake of argument that a bidding war pushes the price well beyond what could have been reasonable expected given the comparable sales for similar homes in the area, what happens then? Well first of all note that in these situations its likely that the Buyer had to forego a financing condition. If they are a cash buyer or require very little mortgage than there should be no problem. However if the Buyer needs a mortgage to buy the house and the lender gets the property appraised, guess what they base the value on? Right...those same comparable sales in the area that are much lower than the winning bid price for this home. At best the winning bidder has to scramble to find extra downpayment money. At worst, the winning bidder is not able to get a mortgage, and the Seller/Seller's Realtor find out much much later that their deal is not going to close. Usually by then, the other interested bidders have moved on to other homes and this home goes unsold. In any event, this does not seem to be a responsibly arrived at win-win for everyone.

The other risk for the Seller is where no offers come in as expected. Sometimes a property priced lower than it should be scares some buyers away: maybe they simply don't want to get sucked into a bidding war, or maybe the relatively low price makes them think there is something wrong with the property and that's why its price is so low. Often they will dig for more information but they may just as easily move on to another home.

All in all, it seems like a more sound practice is to price the home at or around its expected selling price. Work with a Realtor who is active in your area and has the knowledge about local market conditions to provide you with a fairly accurate picture of your home's value. From there they will consult with you to determine an appropriate strategy for marketing/pricing your home on the market. If that includes a slightly lower price to generate some heightened initial interest and to position your home favourably amongst other similar homes on the market, than this is very likely a good approach. But $200K under...???

While ultimately its the market that determines the actually value and not the Seller (or Seller's family and friends) nor the Realtor. Remember what a Realtor can not determine from the market is exactly what an individual Buyer's motivation is, so its possible to get a higher price even without the frenzy of a bidding war.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

You may be thinking about buying your first home. You may be thinking about upgrading to your dream home. You may already have your dream home that you will never move from. Whatever the case your credit habits could have a huge impact on how much your home-ownership experience costs you.

In a nutshell your house will cost you less in the long run if you use credit wisely. Its the typical risk vs. reward scenario - if you are perceived to be a "good bet" then mortgage lenders are more likely to make their best offers available to you. Conversely if you have a tendency to miss payments or use more credit than you can seemingly afford then you will have to accept higher mortgage costs in order for a lender to "take a chance" on you. The difference could literally be $1,000's and $1,000's in interest and fees.

A home is usually your largest single financial commitment and your credit-worthiness is a big part of how much that financial commitment ends up being. Accordingly it would seem like a good idea to dig into how personal credit works and how to make it work for you.

Most businesses in Canada that extend credit to their customers make use of two main reporting agencies: Equifax and Transunion. Essentially such businesses are both suppliers and consumers of the credit information these two agencies compile. Not only do businesses use the information to make their own credit-granting decisions but they also provide the debt and payment information of their existing customers to these agencies for other businesses to similarly use.

With all of this information in hand the agencies assign you a Credit, or Beacon, Score. In the case of Equifax for example, 900 is the highest possible score but generally anything 680 or more is considered very good credit. While there are many factors that go into determining this score there are three factors that, if managed properly, will help put you, or keep you, in the "good bet" category. The great part is its really quite simple and for the most part doesn't cost you any more money than what you are spending today.

First don't have too much credit. Lots of open but unused credit cards or lines of credit is not necessarily good; the possibility that you could use all of them will be a concern to a potential credit-grantor. (Ten unused cards each with a $1,000 limit can add up in a hurry if all get maxed-out suddenly.) Furthermore all those "extra" open accounts provide fraudsters more opportunity to make you their next victim. Identify what your regular ongoing credit needs are, keep the cards/accounts that accommodate these needs, and close the ones that are left.

Also, do not go over the limit, even if its only by a few dollars. (Unfortunately over is over regardless of how much over you are.) Similarly, maintaining a balance that is close to the limit is also not advisable. The percentage of the limit that is actually used matters. For example a $450 balance on a $500 credit card is 90% used. But if you can pay that down to $300 you're now only at 60% used and in a much better position. However what if you don't have that $150 right now? In that case consider asking the credit card issuer to raise your limit to $750. If successful you will immediately drop to 60% usage ($450/$750) without taking a penny out of your pocket.

Finally, do not miss a payment no matter how little it may be and even if its only the minimum required amount. Ideally you want to pay more than the minimum however if that's not possible don't simply skip it. Remember you are asking someone to lend you money on the basis that you will make the required payments. If your history suggests that you in fact do not make payments on your existing obligations, why would a new lender trust that you are going to do so now?

Even better, make more payments than you are required to, even if you don't increase the total amount paid: mathematically $25 twice a month is the same money out of your pocket as $50 once a month however the fact you are making more payments than required will work in your favour. Regardless of whether you are buying for the first time, moving up to your dream home, or simply renewing your existing mortgage, making these slight modifications to your credit behaviour will help push your Beacon Score upwards and put you in a better position to secure the most advantageous mortgage products available.

What better way to bring even more enjoyment to your home than to know you have reduced how much it costs you to live there.

Do Open Houses Sell Houses?

Yes...or No?

Technically speaking the correct answer is YES because there are cases where Open House visitors end up buying the home. But is it worth the trouble and inconvenience?

Even the professionals can't decide. Ask any Real Estate Agent what they think and its very likely they will be firmly planted on one side of the fence or the other - there's not too much in between.

In reality the correct answer is Yes and No. When done properly, Open Houses can be a valuable component of a comprehensive, multi-faceted home marketing strategy. But like so may things in real estate {and perhaps in life in general} a lack of planning and/or poor execution can render an Open House ineffective, if not detrimental, to the sale of your home.

If presumably your goal is to sell your home then of course it makes sense to expose it to as many people as possible, in as many ways as possible. To eliminate the Open House "channel" is to eliminate the potential buyers who prefer to view homes this way.

So if your REALTOR® is going to host an Open House for you, make sure they - and you - do the right things before and during the event.

Clean Your House

Potential buyers often can't see past the dirt to what may otherwise be the perfect home for them. It also may subconsciously make them feel the home itself has not been well cared for. Conversely a shiny, tidy home can help them see themselves living there and give them comfort that routine house maintenance has also been performed. Wash the floors, tidy and dust the counters and shelves, make the beds, put away clothing & toys, and clean the kitty litter. Showing you have pride in your home will elevate others' perception of your home.

Spread The Word

Nobody will come if they don't know they can so make sure your REALTOR® advertises the Open House in advance. Realtor.ca is critical to getting the word out but also your local paper and social media are effective tools. Simply putting a couple of signs on the curb the day of the Open House will not generate as much traffic as giving people advance notice.

Leave Your House

This may not be easy to understand, but potential buyers do not feel comfortable looking around your home and talking openly to your REALTOR® if you are there. Its also a good idea to take your dogs and cats with you if at all possible so they don't hamper a potential buyer's ability or desire to have a really good look at your home.

Your REALTOR® Should Be There To Sell YOUR Home

Sometimes agents use Open Houses simply as a way to get access to potential buyers that they can sell other homes to. There's nothing wrong with discussing other homes with these buyers if, and only if, its determined that your home is not the right one. But these conversations should happen later on so your Realtor's focus remains on your home.

The REALTOR® Should KNOW Your Home

If it happens that your REALTOR® does not attend the Open House and instead sends another agent in their place, you need to make sure this agent knows your home and the surrounding neighbourhood. If not, potential buyers will leave the Open House with incomplete or inaccurate information and the lack of confidence that brings.

On its own, an Open House is not any more or less likely to achieve a quick sale than only having an MLS Listing or only putting a sign on the front lawn if that's all that you do. However an Open House is certainly worth bothering with if its done right and when its in conjunction with other initiatives as part of a complete and well thought out marketing strategy.

Remember, regardless of how much information buyers can access online these days, there's very few people who buy homes without seeing them in person first. An Open House affords them an opportunity to do this in a relatively informal, low pressure manner. Therefore it would seem YES is the correct answer.

Selling In The Spring?

Are you considering selling your home in the Spring? Traditionally Spring is the busiest time in the Real Estate calendar. But that doesn't mean its a bad idea to be selling your home when everyone else is also. In fact if done right the busy Spring market can actually be a benefit to you.

The key to a successful sale is being able to position your house as the obvious choice for buyers faced with many houses to pick from.

To start with, there are some tried and true steps to follow in advance to help make your home stand out in the crowd:

Cut the clutter.

Buyers are drawn to a tidy and organized house. Remove, discard, sell, or donate the things that clutter your home. If that seems daunting, break the task into small pieces - shelf by shelf, drawer by drawer, room by room - and you'll surprised by how quickly your entire house has been de-cluttered. Get rid of the clothes that are no longer worn; you'll have less packing for moving day and your closets will appear bigger to potential buyers. A garage sale is a great way to purge unnecessary items before putting your home on the market.

Visually a home with minimal furniture and a lack of knickknacks and other personal items will look much larger compared to the exact same house packed wall to wall with stuff.

One reason for buyers to choose your home.

Fix what's broken or damaged.

Simple repairs are well worth the effort; things like dripping faucets, broken light switch and receptacle cover plates, squeaky door hinges, burnt out light bulbs are easy and cheap to fix yet bring vast improvements to the overall perception of your home's condition. Fresh paint and caulking will also show you home is in good repair and routine maintenance has not been neglected.

Consider having a pre-sale home inspection performed so you can remedy any issues that a buyer's Home Inspector will eventually uncover anyway. Taking care of these issues in advance will likely result in reduced cost and inconvenience compared to waiting for them to end up as part of a time-limited Purchase Offer Condition. In addition, the presence of a pre-sale inspection report could provide additional confidence in your home's condition for buyers.

Either way, buyers are typically already concerned about the hidden problems [whether they exist or not] so it's important to not give them any additional reasons to walk away from your home.

OK...so your home is ready to go on the market. How do you take advantage of the work you have done to make your home Sale-Ready?

Marketing Strategy

Often overlooked is the significance of a properly designed marketing strategy. As with most things, complete and accurate information is critical to ensuring your home will be well positioned in the market you are competing in. Despite what you may or may not hear on the news or from friends, relatives, and neighbours, its usually not a question of just putting up a sign and sitting back waiting for the offers to come rolling in.

You need to have the facts about current market conditions and trends. You need to be aware of how your home stacks up against your local competition. You can be sure that buyers will know about the other homes for sale in your neighbourhood and will attempt to use them to their advantage when negotiating an offer with you.

You also need to evaluate the most advantageous time for your home to hit the market. Since its well known in the real estate world that the first two weeks a home is available for sale are critical, choosing the wrong time by a week or two either way could have costly results. For example, it may or may not be a good idea to launch your home into the market during the March Break or over the Easter long weekend.

Finally you need to determine exactly how you will market your home. Today's technology provides so many ways to expose your home to buyers. Free online classified websites, local newspaper advertising, Realtor.ca, printed flyers, photographs, virtual tours, panoramic views, text-for-info, open houses - which are best for your home, local market, property type, and typical buyer demographic?

As noted above, timing is crucial so it could be very costly to lose two weeks using a strategy that doesn't work.

For maximum efficiency, it would be wise to engage the services of a professional Realtor who is actively practicing in your area. They already understand the current wide-area and local market conditions based on the facts not simple conjecture, and likely already know which marketing strategies will be most effective for your home.

Perhaps more importantly, top-producing Realtors are highly-skilled negotiators who use all of this market intelligence to successfully produce the outcome you are trying to achieve.

Whatever the case, its important that the value in your home is sufficiently highlighted so that buyers get excited.

First Impressions

As the saying goes you only get one chance to make a first impression; following these steps will help make a great first impression and in the busy Spring market help make your home the obvious choice for prospective buyers looking to move into your neighbourhood.

Successful real estate transactions do not happen by accident; they are the result of in depth market knowledge, disciplined execution of strategy, and keen negotiation skills. Don't be fooled into thinking its easy. After all its very likely your biggest single investment and it should be protected at all costs.

After all, you don't want to end up being just the house that buyers use to negotiate offers on other homes.

Statistics & A Closer Look at the EG Real Estate Market

The health of the real estate market in Canada continues to be a hot topic across all media forms coast to coast AND internationally. It seems that not a day goes by without hearing yet another big bank, think-tank, or other supposed expert issuing their opinion on the subject. Unfortunately however there is no consensus among these commentators so we are forced, with (hopefully) some careful consideration of the various interpretations and their inherent biases, to make up our own minds about the current state of the market.

To further muddy the waters is the reality of statistics: the same set of raw data can be torn, twisted, sliced and diced, and packaged in a way that supports all sides of any argument. Therefore all claims based on statistics should be taken with a grain of salt, or at least given the "does it make sense to me" test when considering the source of the claim, their potential motives, and any other information available.

Having said that, does it really matter to us who live here in East Gwillimbury what's happening nationally, provincially, or even regionally? Perhaps at a high level, as in a statistically general sense our local market tends to follow the trends of the entire market at large because the basic fundamental is the same: Canadian's feel home ownership is good and everyone, everywhere needs a place to live anyway. But does the average price of a house in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto or even Richmond Hill provide any meaningful insight into what's happening right here in our backyard? Vancouver, Calgary? Not really. Toronto? Richmond Hill? Perhaps somewhat, but in a general sense only, as it's logical that rising prices, bidding wars, and lightening quick sales in those areas force buyers to turn their attention northward to what they perceive is a more reasonable, more affordable area.

Therefore in an attempt to understand a little more about our local market conditions we thought we would once again take a look, a rather unscientific high level look, at East Gwillimbury's recent real estate data. Please note that unless otherwise referenced, this data has been compiled from the Toronto Real Estate Board's proprietary MLS system.

There were 334 homes sold during 2015 versus 358 a year earlier. The average selling price was $611,493 which is about 4.96% higher than 2014's $582,612. (In case you were wondering, this is in fact consistent with the rest of the country according to the Canadian Real Estate Association {CREA} who say the national average sale price excluding Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto increased by 5.4% on a year over year basis.)

Despite the highly publicized reports of speedy sales and bidding wars, these 334 homes on average sold at 96.7% of list price in 37 days, remarkably similar to 2014 - 96.4% in 39 days. This suggests that in general Sellers and their Realtors® are doing a good job at evaluating the realistic market for their homes and Buyers are being similarly diligent in their efforts, taking the time to adequately search for and analyze potential properties. Smart? Yes. But too boring for headlines.

Digging a little further the 334 sales were made up of 93 in Holland Landing (vs. 111 in 2014), 127 in Mount Albert (vs. 124), 19 in Queensville (vs. 17), 45 in Sharon (vs. 53), and 50 in Rural EG (also vs. 53). On the surface it looks demand for Holland Landing and Sharon has dropped significantly with the other areas being fairly even. But take into consideration the number of homes available to be bought and the picture changes. In Holland Landing the average supply dropped 23% yet sales only fell 16% and in Rural EG supply was down 12% with just a 6% reduction in sales. Therefore it seems relatively more homeowners want in than out in these areas.

Looking at Mount Albert, sales went up even though there were less homes available for sale demonstrating continued strong demand for that area. And in Queensville the number of homes available and the number of homes sold increased at about the same rate so no real change there.

Which brings us to Sharon, where sales dropped 15% yet the average number of homes available increased 12% suggesting a relative reduction in demand for the area. But does this make sense? Not really given also that the 2015 average sale price in Sharon went up about 10% and the average days on market is essentially unchanged (29 vs. 28). Perhaps some additional homeowners were attracted into the market in an attempt to piggy-back onto the demand frenzy caused by the new home sites that recently opened in Sharon. Also, TREB's stats only reflect resale activity and typically do not factor in non-MLS listed properties such as new construction home sales. Quite possibly some of the new construction customers would otherwise have been potential resale buyers if they wanted to move into the area. While the MLS system wouldn't track those transactions, the selling price of those homes will still have a positive impact on the value of all homes for sale in the area including resale homes.

Whatever the case, understanding the current LOCAL market environment is not only interesting but is critical to the process of selling your home. The national, provincial, or even GTA trends we hear about in the news may have some relevance, but what really matters is what's happening right now in your back yard. And while we have really only scratched the surface herein, the local market is far more complex than it might seem at first. The real challenge is knowing what to look for, how to find it, how to use it, and how it impacts the potential sale of your home.

Unfortunately most people will spend more time researching which new gaming system or big screen TV to buy than the market in which they are selling their home. Given that your home is very likely your biggest single financial investment why not contact your local Realtor® to find out everything you can about the numbers so that you can decide what makes sense to you. Or call us...we love this stuff. We could slice and dice the numbers all day.

What the Heck is Title Insurance?

If you purchased your home and/or got a mortgage within the last 10-15 years chances are you will have bought title insurance as part of the transaction. But at your next neighbourhood BBQ ask how many people either know for sure if they even have it and if so what does it mean? You will likely be surprised how little is known about this thing your lawyer sold you at closing called Title Insurance.

But before we go any further remember that the below is for discussion purposes only aimed at getting the thought juices flowing. You should confirm the details of your own circumstances by reviewing your policy documents and/or seeking independent legal advice.

That said, lets briefly explore what Title Insurance is and who might benefit from having it.

When you buy a home it is supposed to be transferred to you with clear and marketable title, meaning nobody has any claim against or can otherwise impact your ability to control the property's ownership. Of course, if you get a mortgage for the purchase, the lender registers this loan on Title so as to become a claim against the ownership of that property. Accordingly, the property can not be sold to another party without addressing the lender's "claim" (which is usually as simple as paying off the loan and related fees.)

However there are other claims against Title that may come to light that could have a significant impact on your ability to sell your home if you choose. For example, you might discover that there were errors in surveys, public records, or other unknown title defects caused by legitimate human error and/or the fact that a large chunk of residential development occurred well before the technology age where manual processes and record keeping may not have been as reliable as we'd like to think it is now.

Your policy may also protect you against "encroachment" problems. Perhaps a previous owner of your home built a fence in what looks to be the right spot but in actual fact is on your next door neighbour's property. Or perhaps in the absence of a fence a previous owner had built a shed slightly over the legal property line. In cases like these your Title Insurance policy would likely cover the cost or moving the offending items back to where they should be.

Perhaps the most significant coverage in your policy relates to Mortgage or Title Fraud. What if a fraudster pretends to be you and manages to get a 2nd mortgage on your home. He then runs away with the mortgage proceeds leaving you responsible for making the payments. And guess what, you usually don't find out about any of it until its far enough along in the process to cause real problems for you. Your Title Insurance policy can not prevent this from happening but it does step in and help you sort out the mess.

Of course, as with any insurance policy, there are some things it doesn't cover. Some of the typical exclusions are Native land claims, environmental hazards (ie. soil contamination), title defects that you knew of when you purchased (ie. easements or restrictive covenants), and any defects that are created by you once you own (ie. you built a fence on your neighbour's property.)

Now that we know a bit more about it, lets consider who might benefit from a Title Insurance policy. It's really quite simple: ALL homeowners.

Again, if you got a mortgage anytime in the last 10-15 years or so, its likely the decision was not yours anyway. Lenders have been making Title Insurance a condition of the loan for quite some time so if you needed the mortgage, you bought a Title Insurance policy. (Note that Title Insurance makes the closing process a little easier so, in addition to benefiting from the coverages, you may also have paid slightly less in legal fees.)

But maybe you've lived in your home for years, paid off your mortgage, don't have a fence or a shed, and are reasonably certain there are no issues. There's no need for you to have Title Insurance, right?

WRONG!

Homes with large mortgages are already leveraged at or near legal limits so the payoff for the bad guys is minimal. Properties with little or no mortgage are therefore prime fraud targets. Accordingly the protection against fraud is well worth the one-time policy premium even of none of the other coverages is relevant.

For more detailed information, visit the Financial Services Commission of Ontario website and look for their brochure "Understanding Title Insurance" speak or with your Real Estate lawyer.

Why Isn't My Home Selling?

You've put your home up for sale but unfortunately its been a couple of weeks and you haven't generated any legitimate interest. Understandably, you're frustrated and anxious for some action.

You now realize that selling a home is not as simple as putting up a "For Sale" sign and waiting for the offers to come rolling in. When reviewing your strategy consider the following:

A Basic MLS Listing Isn't Enough

To get noticed on MLS every detail needs to accentuate the finest points of your home in order to appeal to the widest range of potential buyers. Your home could also benefit from additional online exposure such as social media, free classified sites, and any number of public real estate sites on the web.

Great Photos Matter

Professional photos are a must for maximum appeal; photos taken with a smart phone may be sufficient in your personal life but give the wrong impression when selling your home. A professional photographer knows how to use proper techniques to highlight the features of your home.

Buyers Don't Buy What They Can't See

Buyers want to see homes when they want and yes, that could be inconvenient for you. If you decline a showing request or otherwise make it difficult, buyers will typically move on to the next home for sale where the owner is likely more accommodating.

Timing

There are certain times during the year that buyers will either not want to shop or not want to move ie. Christmas, March Break, Back to School season, etc... Given that typically deals will close 60-90 days from the date of signing you need to give some thought to how your listing date and potential sale date fits in with these seasonal events.

The REALTOR® You Choose

As with most things in life, you get what you pay for and with Realtors® its no different. Don't simply jump at the one who agrees to lower their commission. This could mean they are not able or willing to spend the money necessary to market your home properly. Saving a few thousand dollars could end up costing you much much more.

PRICE {The Biggie!}

Do your research and be realistic when setting an asking price. Your home will attract the most interest within the first two weeks of being listed. If you are priced too high buyers will simply dismiss your home or not even see it at all because it is outside of their budget.

None of these items are guarantees of a quick and profitable sale. But they are all factors to be re- considered when wondering why your home has not sold.

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