Explore Nepean, ON
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
Comments 81
There are some very poor renovations being done and then sold as upgrades in homes.  The expression "Putting Lipstick on a Pig" (meaning that it is still a pig) applies in many cases.  One of the areas that should concern homeowners is where a wall has been removed.  There is almost always evidence that this has happened.  Look for an unusual layout of an older home - more modern than expected.  Look for an arch or beam across the ceiling (which hopefully means that there is a beam holding up the next floor), look for a strip of different coloured carpeting or hardwood (used to fill in the space where the wall was), feel a bump or rise in the floor.  If the removal has been professionally done, ask for the work permits and bills for the renovation.  If these are not available, make sur...
By Kerry Fox
(Kerry Fox, Barrister & Solicitor)
Comments 0
Condo board forces owner out In a recent ruling, an Ontario court issued an order compelling a condo owner in Toronto to vacate and sell her unit within 3 months.  The case summarizes the condo owner's  behaviour as including "physical assaults on other unit holders, acts of mischief against their property, racist and homophobic slurs and threats repeatedly made against other unit holders, playing extremely loud music at night, watching and besetting other unit holders and using her large and aggressive dog to frighten and intimidate other unit holders and their children." The Condominium Act  prohibits condo owners from damaging property, or doing anything which might cause injury to an individual. A condominium board is required to ensure that the Act is being complied with.  In Toron...
By Jean Richer, Straight Talk on Real Estate
(Keller Williams Realty Inc.)
Comments 1
For Sale: Ottawa 3 Bedroom House 4 Hillview RdOttawaK2H 5G5 »map »more details Bedrooms:  3 Bathrooms (full):  2 Price:  $415,000 Year Built:  1963 Yearly Tax:  3900 Frontage:  96.35 ft Depth:  86.39 ft Basement:  Fully Finished Garage:  Single, Attached Exterior Front Kitchen Kitchen Kitchen Dining Room Dining Room Description This beautiful split level tastefully decorated home on pie shape lot offers so much.Main floor has large bright kitchen with many cupboards, dining room and living room with hardwood floors and wood burning fireplace.2nd level has hardwood floors throughout, large master bedroom and 2 other good size rooms with lot of closet space.Split lower level offers large den with hardwood floors and large bright window and 3 piece bathroom.Fully finished basement offer l...
By Kerry Fox
(Kerry Fox, Barrister & Solicitor)
Comments 0
Ontario condominium survey  Give your feedback to the Ontario government if you've had any positive, or negative, experiences with condominiums. The survey, launched in July, contains questions such as whether you've ever had a dispute with a condominium board of directors, or whether you're satisfied with the funding of the condominium reserve fund for your building. I think it's helpful that the government is asking current condominium owners about their experiences. But, it's people who've never bought a condominium before that need to be educated, not people who already own one. You need consumer awareness of how a condominium works (and whether it suits your lifestyle) before you buy a condominium, not after the fact. From my perspective, one limitation of the current legislation i...
By Kerry Fox
(Kerry Fox, Barrister & Solicitor)
Comments 4
Reality TV comes to Ottawa! At long last, Ottawa is soon to be home to a new real-estate based reality TV show. Realtor Paul Rushforth, and interior designer, Penny Southam, are being featured in a new show called 'All for Nothing'. Two sets of competing homeowners are challenged with who can best prepare their houses for sale. Unlike some other shows, the premise of this show is that the homeowners do whatever renovation or repair work is necessary in order to list the property themselves, rather than hiring contractors.  Homeowners are competing for the prize that Paul Rushworth will list their home for sale at zero commission.  If you are interested in being cast for this show, you can check out the production company's website. The show premieres October 7th on the W network. Kerry ...
By Kerry Fox
(Kerry Fox, Barrister & Solicitor)
Comments 0
Are you worried about bed bugs? According to a recent article in the Toronto Star, some who work in the real estate industry are wondering when home buyers will start including conditions in their offers with respect to whether a property is contaminated with bedbugs. Apparently, in many major cities, the incidents of bedbugs are on the rise in residential apartments, condos, houses, and even commercial buildings. They are difficult to get rid of and spread very easily. I don't know of any recent outbreaks in Ottawa, but there have been outbreaks in Toronto, Calgary, Regina and Vancouver. What can you do to protect yourself as a home or condo buyer? Like most things involving buying a property, the rule of thumb is always "buyer beware". It's probably better to hire an inspector to tell...
By Kerry Fox
(Kerry Fox, Barrister & Solicitor)
Comments 0
Do real estate lawyers work in "puppy mills"? Have you ever wondered what is the biggest area of negligence claims against Ontario lawyers? As it turns out, it's in real estate law! According to a recent article in the Law Times, 36% of all claims involving Ontario lawyers involved real estate law. What's to account for this high concentration of claims in one area of law? As the article mentions, there's no doubt that some lawyers dabble in real estate law. However, many lawyers concentrate a good percentage of their time doing real estate closings, but are faced with the same pressures as any other business owner to keep their costs down in order to stay competitive in the marketplace.  I love a quote in the Law Times article which describes some law offices with high volume real esta...
By Kerry Fox
(Kerry Fox, Barrister & Solicitor)
Comments 0
Regulations may be coming for mortgage prepayment penalties With interest rates as low as they've been in years, many people selling their homes or refinancing have been faced with tremendous prepayment penalties. Although you can negotiate the penalty if you stay with the same lender, a lender isn't going to waive a prepayment penalty completely unless they can charge you a higher interest rate for the term of the loan.  The penalties are based on what is called ‘the interest rate differential', essentially, the difference between the rate you are paying and the rate the lender could charge you, or someone else, for a new loan.    If you know you're going to be breaking your mortgage early, and you've sat down and tried to calculate your prepayment penalty, good luck. Even if consumers...
By Kerry Fox
(Kerry Fox, Barrister & Solicitor)
Comments 2
Do you have right to use a mutual driveway? There was an article in the Toronto Star recently about a couple who purchased a home in Toronto. After closing, they objected to their neighbour continuing to use a driveway located on their property in order to access the garage at the back of the neighbour's house.    Many older properties in older neighbourhoods do not have parking at the front of the house, but in the rear. In this case, accessing the garage required driving down a driveway sandwiched between their house and the abutting owner's house. According to the new owner, there was no right of way registered on title relating to use of the driveway. On the other hand, the neighbour alleged that he has been using the driveway to get to his garage for 33 years. Who's in the right?  ...
By Kerry Fox
(Kerry Fox, Barrister & Solicitor)
Comments 7
What can you do to protect yourseld from title fraud?   It's a tell-tale sign of title fraud if you suddenly stop receiving your tax bill, or utility bills. This might be the first sign to a homeowner that something is wrong. A lawyer, mortgage broker, or another person in the real estate industry, may be involved in the fraud, or may have unknowingly participated in the scheme.  Properties which are targeted for title fraud are, typically, owned by a single person rather than a couple, are mortgage free, are situated in higher-value neighbourhoods, and may be rented out to tenants. Title fraud is a kind of identity theft. A fraudster will forge a homeowner's identity, providing forged financial information and personal identification to a lender or mortgage broker, and retain a lawyer ...
By Kerry Fox
(Kerry Fox, Barrister & Solicitor)
Comments 0
FSBOs want to intervene in MLS debate A national association of For-Sale-by-Owner companies is trying to intervene in an upcoming hearing before the Competition Tribunal involving real estate broker's access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The National FSBO network wants to intervene at the hearing on the basis that it offers real estate services that compete with those services offered by agents through the MLS. The Competition Bureau is trying to open up the MLS by allowing agents to offer a variety of services through the MLS, in addition to the "full service" model.  In other words, they want the public to be able to hire an agent just to list a property on the MLS without having to pay for all of the other services that an agent has traditionally provided.  The FSBO network ...
By Kerry Fox
(Kerry Fox, Barrister & Solicitor)
Comments 0
Battlers with builder over condo prices I came across an interesting article today about a new condo project in B.C. When the condo market in B.C. was at its peak in 2007, some buyers paid top dollar to purchase units at The Morgan, in Surrey B.C.  From the time the agreements of purchase and sale with the builder were signed until the building was complete and ready for occupancy, the condo market in B.C. had dropped significantly. In fact, it dropped so significantly that lenders were no longer willing to lend money based upon the purchase price of the condo units. In order to complete the purchase, a buyer would have to come up with an increased downpayment from his or her own funds. According to the story on the CBC website, some buyers were threatened with legal action if they refu...
By Kerry Fox
(Kerry Fox, Barrister & Solicitor)
Comments 0
Condo buyers should read disclosure package Condo buyers are always concerned about common expenses, and anything that might happen that could raise them above normal levels. If you're thinking about buying a brand new condominium, you'll be encouraged to hear about a recent court case. This case is from Toronto and involves a condominium that required, in its declaration, that all unit owners contribute to the cost of acquiring and maintaining a superintendant's unit, plus a parking space and a locker unit to go along with this unit. There was nothing contained in the purchase and sale agreements with the condo buyers to put them on notice that the unit owners would be forced to absorb these costs. However, the condo buyers did receive disclosure packages which included the condominium...
By Kerry Fox
(Kerry Fox, Barrister & Solicitor)
Comments 0
Will province reduce land transfer tax to offset the HST? Many people who work in the real estate industry are worried about the effect of the HST when July 1st rolls around.  There are rebates if you're buying brand new construction, and the HST doesn't apply to resale homes. That the HST won't apply to resale homes is one bit of relief.  But, it will add an extra 8% to all of the services associated with buying or selling a home. This includes commissions to realtors, legal fees, appraisal and inspection fees and, probably, registration fees.  OREA has proposed that now the province reduce the land transfer tax in order to offset the effects of the HST on homebuyers. Right now, it's only first time buyers who get a break on the land transfer tax in the amount of a $2,000.00 rebate. I ...
By Kerry Fox
(Kerry Fox, Barrister & Solicitor)
Comments 0
Condo case suggests smoking a looming problem in condos   In a recent B.C. case, an elderly couple with various health difficulties, including respiratory problems, pursued a human rights case against their condo corporation. Another condo resident, a smoker, moved in beneath the couple's unit. Second-hand smoke apparently made it's way into the couple's unit upstairs, exacerbating their health problems.  Although the couple complained to the condo board, nothing was done about the problem. In this case, the condo did not have any rules prohibiting smoking in a resident's unit (although, presumeably, they would have such rules for common areas, hallways, balconies, etc.) The position of the condo board was that because they didn't have any rules or bylaw prohibiting smoking, there was n...
By Kerry Fox
(Kerry Fox, Barrister & Solicitor)
Comments 0
New condominium website for condo buyers If I were a condo buyer, I'd love to be able to go online to find comprehensive information about brand new condominium projects. If you're living in Toronto, you're in luck! Check out the new Toronto-based website LiveHigh.com. They call themselves ‘your source for everything condominiums'.  LiveHigh is a website devoted to existing and new condominium developments in Toronto. Judging by a quick review of the site, there's a lot going on in Toronto condominum development.  The blog portion of the site reproduces stories which have been posted elsewhere on condos and real estate in Toronto. It would be a nice addition for the blog to also talk more extensively about common issues that condo buyers have: ie. noise issues, dealing with a property m...
By Kerry Fox
(Kerry Fox, Barrister & Solicitor)
Comments 0
New mortgage rules for homebuyers to come into effect April 19, 2010 Many new homebuyers require CMHC-insured mortgages. If you can't afford to put down a 20% downpayment on a property, lenders require that a homebuyer purchase insurance through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. This insurance protects the lender's interest if a homebuyer defaults under the loan, and the market value of the property isn't high enough to satisfy the outstanding loan. New changes being instituted by CMHC mean that a homebuyer may only be able to qualify for a smaller CMHC mortgage. Ultimately, this means that, for certain individuals at least, they will have to set their sights on purchasing less expensive homes.  The most significant change is the introduction of a new credit test that homebuy...
By Kerry Fox
(Kerry Fox, Barrister & Solicitor)
Comments 1
What's the deal with the SPIS form? I would always recommend that homebuyers review a Seller Property Information Statement (SPIS) form before their conditions are waived. Any representations made on the SPIS need to be truthful. These days, most people get home inspections. But a home inspector may not be able to see everything. If closets are being used for storage and the basement is crammed to the rafters with boxes, the conditions of walls, ceilings and foundations of a home may be obscured (intentionally or unintentionally).  An SPIS form is invaluable for things you can't readily detect about a property. Issues like water damage , or mould, are prime examples. Would you necessarily know that the property you're considering buying is on low lying land and floods every spring? As a...
By Kerry Fox
(Kerry Fox, Barrister & Solicitor)
Comments 0
Why do homebuyers need title insurance in Barrhaven, Nepean, Ontario? Most purchases today are going to close with title insurance. Title insurance has been around for about a decade, and it gives a homebuyer coverage for a bundle of issues like:  tax arrears water arrears outstanding work orders zoning violations, and not having an up-to-date survey Title insurance doesn't mean that a full title search isn't done. It is. The lawyer still reviews all the documents on a homebuyer's property title. Your lawyer will order a title insurance policy in lieu of ordering various searches with the municipality. Anything you're searching with the municipality (whether it's tax arrears or work orders) costs money. The fees for these searches is often considerably higher than the cost of a title in...
By Kerry Fox
(Kerry Fox, Barrister & Solicitor)
Comments 0
What is interim occupancy in a condo in Barrhaven, Nepean, Ontario?   As a condo buyer, if you're buying brand new construction, the closing is always a two-step process. As soon as the condo unit can be occupied, the builder usually requires a condo buyer to assume interim possession.  The final closing doesn't take place for at least several months after the condominium declaration is registered, and ownership of the units can be legally transferred to the condo buyers. It's not until the final closing that the property ownership is transferred to the buyer and the mortgage is registered. During interim occupancy, a condo buyer pays common expenses, an estimate of the property taxes, and interest on the unpaid balance of the purchase price. You don't get a credit for these payments on...

Nepean, ON Real Estate Professionals