Saturday, July 23, 2011

How to get the funds to make that next home just right.

Finding the perfect home can sometimes be almost impossible.  However, there is a way to make that almost perfect home, perfect for you.

Case in point.  Buyer (A) has been looking for the perfect home for months.  They finally locate the almost perfect home, but because it doesn’t have a finished basement and they don’t have the additional funds to do the work if they purchased the home, they decide to keep looking.  Buyer (B) has been looking for the perfect home for months as well.  They locate the same almost perfect home with the unfinished basement (they too want a finished basement, but don’t currently have the additional funds to complete the work), but they put in an offer and it's accepted based on their terms of securing the home with a mortgage that will allow them to finish the basement. 

Mark Goode at Mortgage Architects calls it the Purchase Plus Improvements Mortgage and here’s how he outlined it to me in recent email.

Steps to securing the Purchase Plus Improvements Mortgage

  • A detailed list of improvements, including a copy of contracts outlining the scope of the work and cost estimates is required.

  • An appraisal with two separate values will be required: current value of the property “as is” and the estimated value of the property once the improvements are completed.

  • Lender will lend based on the improved value as confirmed by the appraiser.

  • The entire committed amount of the mortgage will be advanced to the solicitor.

  • The solicitor will be instructed to holdback the cost of the improvements.

  • All improvements must be completed within 90 days or the funds will be recalled and applied back to the mortgage.

  • Once an inspection from an appraiser confirms ALL work is complete and a copy of the building permit (if applicable) has been received, the balance will be released.

EXAMPLE: Purchase price: $300,000 Improvements: $20,000
Total mortgage: $304,000 (95% of $320,000)
$284,000 will be released on closing date. $20,000 will be released upon completion of improvements i.e. improvements are 100% complete and a final inspection has taken place.

If you are finding it frustrating to locate the perfect home, check with your lender to see how this option might work for you.  You can always include a condition in your Purchase Agreement about obtaining an acceptable detailed list of improvements from a builder of your choice along with the condition of mortgage when submitting your offer.

If I can be of any assistance you can always Get Jack here. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lawn care during hot weather!

We are currently into the dog days of summer.  So, here are a couple of ideas from those in the know concerning your lawn during a hot spell. 

First, when mowing your lawn think about this.  Mow to a height of 7.5 cm (About 3").  This isn't just during the hot season, but all summer long.  However, you will want to cut the grass less often during hot weather.

The main thing to remember is that during hot spells, do not cut the grass any shorter than 7.5 cm.

If it doesn't rain for 7 to 10 days you need to water, but you can water too little or too much.

If you want to keep the grass green, water for 2 to 4 hours to provide 2.5 to 5 cm (1" to 2") of water. In the event of drought, water if possible, but do not water in the afternoon or when it is windy, because too much water will be lost through evaporation.

And, here's a note of caution.  Light watering, e.g., for only 15 minutes, should be avoided because it promotes shallow roots that cannot reach the water table.  The develoment of a shallow root system means an on-going problem of green grass quickly turning to brown grass.

Here's another link from CMHC concerning lawn care.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Improve Your Curb Appeal

One of the most important parts of selling your home is how it looks from the street.  We are always told to never judge a book by it's cover, but the fact remains that most people do, and in the case of increased showings on your home, curb appeal is the front cover of your home that will either perk the interest of a buyer or have them saying, "forget it."

Here are a five inexpensive tips to improve your home's curb appeal.

1) The front door:  This door can work wonders in attracting the attention of a potential buyer.  By adding an eye popping colour to a front door it will create some excitement and it can lift your overall exterior colour scheme to new heights.  Consult with a colour expert for some ideas on what colours will work for your home.

2)  Porch and front steps: If you have older concrete steps or a flagstone walkway consider some paint to breath new life into the appearance.  Most home improvement stores carry paints and stains specifically made for concrete. If your porch and front steps are wood, invest in the stain or paint needed to make them look inviting.  If you have a brick or stone entry, hose it down or power wash for a quick improvement.

3) The sidewalk: Naturally a new sidewalk of stone, or brick will totally enhance your curb appeal, but here's a simple solution to make your walkway much more inviting with little or no cost.  Eliminate all signs of grass or weeds that might be growing through cracks in the walkway.  Edge the side of the walkway to cut back the lawn or consider adding a small flower bed along the side of the walkway to enhance the framing of the walkway. Edging the walkway won't cost you a dime and even a small flower bed along both sides of a walkway with a few flowers is relatively inexpensive, but works wonders. 

4) Accessories:  The little extras around your front door such as new or freshly painted numbers for the home, a new or freshly painted light fixture and mailbox, a welcome mat at the front door and perhaps a potted flower arrangement all add to the curb appeal and that first impression as a buyer comes to your door.

5) The lawn:  It's great if your lawn could win an award, but the most important things to remember include keeping the lawn cut, trimmed, and to weed your flower beds.  If you normally cut your lawn once per week, change your schedule while your home is listed to once every five days to ensure it always looks neat and tidy.