Thursday, December 30, 2010

London Ontario Real Estate - The Grants Ad in the RE/MAX Centre City Inc Paper

2011 is here and The Grants are going on Radio.  We are going to be on CJBK 1290 or you can listen live at If you have any Real Estate questions either call The Grants @ 519-667-1800 or email



Wednesday, December 29, 2010

London Real Estate : 5 Tips to Sell a Home in the Winter

2011 is just around the corner!  Wow !! where did 2010 go.

Welcome to winter in Southwestern Ontario.  London so far this year has had as much or more snow than all of last year.  Real Estate continues regardless of the weather and real estate in the winter is always a challenge for both the Sellers and the Buyers.  The Sellers face many different challenges and some of our RE/MAX assoicates from across North America, especially the norther states, have some very sound advice which we want to pass along.  If you have any questions about selling your home in the winter, give The Grants a call at 519-667-1800 or Have a Happy New Year


5 Tips to Sell a Home in the Winter


Selling a home in December, January or February in frigid climates can be a tough task with a slowdown in market activity and chilly weather.

Typically, buyers searching in the winter months are more serious. And sellers who are motivated to close quickly can make it happen with your help this winter.

Here are five tips from RE/MAX Associates in Northern Illinois that you can share with your clients:

1. Let those lights shine. "Turn on all interior lights for a showing – even in closets and utility/mechanical rooms – and make sure all the bulbs are working. Stock up on all the right bulbs for your lamps and fixtures so you can replace burned out bulbs immediately. Also, it's a great idea to keep front exterior lights on even if no showings are scheduled.  Open drapes and blinds to let in light and show visitors the view."
– Marlene Granacki, RE/MAX Exclusive Properties, Chicago

2. Make entry easy. "Winter showings can get off to an awkward start if prospective buyers arrive with snow or salt on their shoes.  Make it easy for buyers to deal with their shoes when they arrive by putting out a nice, festive area rug at the front door so visitors can wipe their feet, and have slippers or disposable booties available. Also, put out a bench, if there's room for one, where visitors can sit and remove their shoes."  
– Barbara Hibnick, RE/MAX Showcase, Long Grove

3. Keep odors under control.  "Homes can be stuffy in winter when windows are rarely opened, and that can allow odors to build up, which is a huge turn-off to buyers. Pet odors can be especially worrisome in winter. Use a room fragrance if needed, but nothing too strong, and clean more often (especially cat litter, which should be changed daily). Consider using an air purifier and adjusting your thermostat so that your furnace fan runs throughout the day to move air through the house and dissipate odors."
– Mike Mondello, RE/MAX Team 2000, Orland Park

4. Make it festive. "Appropriate holiday decorations can give your home a cheerful look during the winter months – and even help homes sell, however, don't go to extremes. Small, decorative white lights on trees and bushes are OK through the winter season, but other decorations should be taken down quickly once the holiday passes."
– Starr Zook, RE/MAX on Track, Aledo

5. Keep it comfy. Adjust your thermostat so the temperature is warm, but comfortable; you don't want it too hot or cold. "When it comes to keeping heating bills under control, don't use plastic sheeting to insulate your windows. You may save a few hundred dollars on heating costs if you cover the windows with plastic, but it could cost you thousands on the sales price because buyers might believe they will have to replace the windows," Hibnick says.

© 2010 RE/MAX, LLC. RE/MAX Affiliates may share this article, provided they do not charge for it and this notice is included. All other rights reserved.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Purchasing a Condominium- The Status Certificate

Purchasing a Condominium - The Status Certificate

Thumbnail image for Condo Living Room .jpgWhen purchasing a resale condominium unit it is important to consider the financial condition of the condominium corporation and not just look at the location, amenities and features of the unit.Most purchasers do not pay enough attention to these other issues. The most important protection for a purchaser is to have a condition in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale which states that the purchase is conditional upon the Purchaser's lawyer receiving a completed status certificate from the condominium corporation and having at least 5 business days to review and approve same. It is essential that the status certificate is properly completed and that the required documents are also provided. The form of status certificate is set out in the regulations to the Condominium Act and the form lists those documents which the condominium corporation is required to deliver with the certificate. Anyone is entitled to request a status certificate and regardless of who requests the certificate a purchaser or mortgagee is entitled to rely on the responses or absence of responses. Because of the binding nature of what is contained in the status certificate, great care should be taken in reviewing. The time for delivery of a status certificate is ten days from the date of a written request and payment of the $100 (including taxes). Often times real estate agents will complain about the length of time it takes to get a status certificate especially since the deal will be conditional upon the status certificate review and parties are always eager to have the deal firmed up. The Condominium Act, however, gives the condominium corporation 10 days to provide the status certificate and no wording should be inserted in an agreement which would shorten that time period, unless the status certificate has been obtained and can be reviewed by the solicitor within the time period set out in the condition. On the other hand, I often hear complaints from property managers who prepare the status certificates and feel that the $100 charge barely cover their costs in providing the documentation and need the time to get the up to date financial information. The status certificate contains important information that will give the purchaser details as to the following items:

Common Expenses The status certificate must indicate when the next payment of common expenses is due, how much is due, if a unit owner is in default of common expenses, and if so, by how It may also contain other added costs such as: Any assessment against the unit for overcrowding Any insurance deductible amount that an owner is responsible for under the insurance policy Costs of repairs to the unit and/or common elements where owner is responsible for and has failed to do; Costs, charges and expenses for non-compliance with an agreement allowing an owner to modify common elements

Surplus or Deficit The certificate also requires that the certificate identify the expected financial position of the corporation at the end of the current budget and requires an explicit dollar value for the expected surplus or deficit. The significance of this information is directly related to the time of the year at which the information is obtained. If the corporation's fiscal year end is December and the status certificate is requested in March, the corporation will be unable to advise a purchaser or any other person who requests the certificate; as to whether there will be a budget surplus or shortfall. If, however, the status certificate is requested in November, a much more accurate picture of the likelihood of and the amount of deficit or surplus should be available.

Anticipated increases The certificate will also note any anticipated increases in common expenses. Some corporations insert very general statements, which suggest that increases may occur at any time due to unanticipated utility increases.

Reserve Fund The Reserve Fund information in the status certificate requires that the exact dollar value of the total amount in the Reserve Fund as of a particular month end, 90 days prior to the date the certificate is issued, be inserted.

Legal Proceedings, Claims The certificate must indicate if there are any outstanding actions to which the corporation is a party and any judgments against the Corporation.

Agreement with owners relating to changes to the common elements These agreements are required between the condominium corporation and the unit owner when the unit owner has been given permission to carry out alterations to the common elements. The agreement sets out the owner's responsibilities for the alterations, puts the obligations with respect to the maintenance and repair of the alterations onto the owner and allows the corporation to carry out any of the owner's obligations, if the owner fails to do so, and collect the costs for doing so as a common expense. These agreements must be included with the status certificate. The agreements must be registered against title to the unit and are binding on future owners. The status certificate together with the accompanying documents contains essential information which a purchaser should carefully review prior to finalizing the decision to buy a condominium unit. The process of the review should be conducted by the purchasers lawyer together with the purchaser in order for a purchaser so that the purchaser is aware of the operations and the financial position of the corporation.

 : Toronto Attorneys & Lawyers Heenan Blaikie LLP Canada


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Home Ownership Assistance Program

It is always nice to have assistance for home owners. We support the Affordable Homeownership Assistance Program offered by the City of London. If you are considering buying or selling - it is time to call The Grants 519-667-1800. Be sure to listen to The Grants on the Homeshow with Mike Stubbs, NEWSTALK Radio 1290 CJBK.begining January 8, 2011.

Life Is A Gift -- Ride It Like You Stole It!

The Corporation of The City of London

May 20, 2010


Homeownership now made easier

The City of London is pleased to announce it will offer the Affordable Homeownership Assistance Program again this year. This very successful program consists of an interest free loan for qualifying home buyers to assist with down payment and closing costs.

To be eligible, households must have a gross household income of $55,000 or less, and must be approved for a mortgage at a recognized financial institution. The selling price of the home must be no higher than $140,000. New this year is an increase to the closing cost assistance, which has been raised to 3% from 1%.

The Homeownership Assistance Program is a partnership between the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of London through the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program (AHP) which offers low-to-moderate income earners the opportunity to purchase a home in London and Middlesex County.

The federal and provincial governments have set a deadline of December 31, 2010 to expend the funding allocated to the City of London.


About the Program

The Homeownership Assistance Program is an interest free loan providing 5% in down payment assistance to interested eligible applicants in London and Middlesex County only. Qualifying home buyers can also receive another 3% of the cost of the home to assist in paying "closing costs" including legal fees, disbursements and registration on title.

Applicants must be renters, at least 18 years old, must not currently own a home or a residential property in whole or in part (including recreation or cottage property). Post secondary graduate students may qualify to deduct their annual Canada-Ontario Integrated Student Loan payments from their gross annual income.

Eligible applicants can select a home of their choice in the open market in London or Middlesex County only. Eligible applicants must meet all the specified requirements, income criteria and must be qualified for a mortgage at a recognized financial institution.

Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Those selected purchasers must find a suitable home priced up to $140,000 by the provincial deadline of December 31, 2010, (the actual closing date of the sale may be after that date).

View full details on the program and the application package. More information is available by calling 519-661-2500 ext. 5523.










Bruce Shriners at London Santa Claus Parade

Bruce Shriners at London Santa Claus Parade

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snow Squall Warning: London, Ontario - The Weather Network

The Weather Network has issued a weather warning that effects the City of London and surrounding area. We urge all to drive safely and stay at home if possible.  Make some bread

Snow Squall Warning

Issued at 2:14 PM EST Monday 6 December 2010


Radar continues to shows flurries and snow squalls off Lake Huron and Georgia bay. The strongest squall comes from Lake Huron between grand band and London and then continues southeastward. Reports of 45 to 70 cm of snow were received over northwestern and southwestern sections of London. Significant blowing snow especially near the shore is likely. Another big squall moves from Georgian Bay towards Vaughan with 15 to 30 cm of snow reported. Snow amount in beaton reached 70 cm. Radar also shows a squall coming off Lake Ontario towards Niagara region. Local amounts 10 to 15 cm are possible.


Strong and cold northwest winds blowing over the relatively warmer waters of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay will result in snow squalls with bursts of heavy snow and local whiteout conditions today and into Tuesday. A significant issue in all areas will be zero visibilities in whiteout conditions from blowing snow thanks to the northwesterly winds gusting to 60 km/h. Motorists should note that dangerous winter driving conditions from whiteout conditions can and suddenly will develop from bursts of heavy snow and blowing snow. Quickly accumulating snow will also be a significant hazard...Which may make some highways virtually impassible to the southeast of Lake Huron due to the longevity of the snow squalls which may result in excessive snow depths. The lake effect flurries and snow squalls may persist into Wednesday in this long-lived event. Environment Canada continues to closely monitor this situation.


London Ontario Real Estate Snow Update, 8 am, Dec 6

Tender Lawn Care Ltd keeps us up to date on the latest London Winter Weather. Drive safe and stay at home if you can.

The Grants

Subject: Snow Update, 8 am, Dec 6
Good Morning.  For the benefit of those considering travelling the City this morning, be advised that even main roads are generally not in the best shape, eg, Wonderland, Commissioner’s, Airport Roads.  Grade and high schools are closed, but as of 7:30 Fanshawe and Western were open and buses were running.  A trip across the City is likely 75-90 mins.
West London got hit hard yesterday, but overnight it was central and especially east London that got a lot of new snow and a lot of drifting.  Some of your clients may observe that their roads do not appear to be plowed, but we will have been at every project at least once in the last 6 hours; just driving around you will see much, much worse; many lots appear to have 18”-2’ of snow without drifts.  Our goal is to keep roads open all day, and to have parking spots cleared once by noon.  Walkways will have been done once by noon; the crews started at midnight.   They will be in tough shape though, with so much new snow.
We will quit most operations by about 3 pm today to give our crews time off from 4 pm-midnight, when we will resume plowing and shovelling.  This 3 pm stop should leave roads passable for anyone coming home at the dinner hour.
Environment Canada warns of 20-30 cm today, and 20-30 more tonight, and 20 more tomorrow.  
Dave Leff
Grounds Maintenance Manager
Tender Lawn Care Ltd.
2026 Oxford Street East
London, Ontario  N5V 2Z8

Thursday, December 2, 2010

London Real Estate -- A real estate rebound

A real estate rebound

Welcome to the Forest City, London Ontario. The London & St Thomas Association of Realtors report an uptick in sales. The increase in sales for November is a great indicator that the London & Area Real Estate Market is strong and providing great value for Buyers. If you are looking to move give The Grants a call at 519-667-1800 or email


HOUSING HOPE: After a tough, four-month losing streak, London-area home sales jump 6.2% in November from last year

Last Updated: December 2, 2010 7:14am

The London area has snapped its long losing streak in housing, with a 6.2% spike in sales last month.

November's numbers -- 620 homes moved -- were this year's first monthly increase in sales, compared to last years, since June.

Every month in between, sales plunged by double-digit levels.

It's a sign the real-estate market is stabilizing and, if anything, coming around faster than expected, one analyst says.

The local real-estate industry's point man echoes that.

"I think we are in a balanced market -- we should see a decent spring," said Richard Thyssen, president of the London St. Thomas Association of Realtors.

David Lan of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said he didn't expect to see a sales recovery until early next year, so the latest numbers are a pleasant surprise.

He's forecast a modest recovery in the market next year, saying London-St. Thomas should see about 8,100 sales in 2011.

While that's down from a peak of nearly 9,400 sales in 2007, before the brutal recession hit the area's manufacturing backbone, it's still considered respectable.

"The overall number will not be that high, but it will be a stable year," said Lan.

November's figures show the market is evening out and shaking off the effects of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), which took effect July 1, said Thyssen.

"It was nice to see things come back after the HST and the downturn that was expected in the summer," he said.

The bright local economic twist came together with a national one Wednesday, with a big-bank study saying household debt in Canada may not be as bad as the headlines suggest and consumers aren't likely to slam the brakes on spending next year.

Focusing only on rising debt, now worth nearly one-and-a-half-times household income, overlooks that family wealth has also risen, the BMO Capital Markets study said. Household net worth is now about six times disposable income, helped by rebounding stock markets and a better savings rate, it said.

After setting a record in May, real-estate sales in the London area waned through summer and fall, falling 15 to 21% from the same period in 2009.

While the 13% HST doesn't apply directly to homes, it affects buyers' other costs -- such as real-estate commissions, moving and legal fees.

There was a strong surge in demand in the London-area market in the first five months of this year, largely driven by fears mortgage rates would rise, Lan said.

That depleted the pool of potential buyers for months. But Lan said mortgage rates have been stable, even dropping, and buyers are starting to drift back.

Prices have held up well in the London-St. Thomas market, despite the recent downturn, Thyssen noted.

The average price of homes sold in November was $223,096, up 3.6% from the same month last year.