Posted by Brian Lamb Marketing and Associates

Buying or selling real estate can be a tricky process. There are hundreds of commonly used terms that could make up a language of their own. Here are some home buying terms that you will most likely encounter when you purchase your home.

Features that enhance and add to the value or desirability of real estate. Common amenities include swimming pools, professional landscaping, gourmet kitchen and so on.

This is a schedule that outlines your loan payments for the duration of the home buying loan. It details how much of each monthly payment goes toward the principal and how much goes toward the loan interest. Initially, the bulk of your payments will be applied toward the interest.

An estimate of the value of property, made by a qualified professional called an “appraiser”.

A one-storey house, cottage, or cabin.

Violation of an obligation in a contract.

A real estate professional who has acquired a higher level of training and experience than a sales agent. A minimum number of classes must be taken along with passing a state  exam to acquire a broker’s license. Generally they are a legal representative or a proprietor of the office. Brokers usually charge a fee or receive a commission for their services.

Building Code
A set of stringent laws that control the construction of buildings, design, materials and other similar factors.

A large property complex that is divided into individual units and sold. Ownership usually includes a non-exclusive interest in certain "common properties" controlled by the condominium management.

The final procedure in a home sale in which documents are signed and recorded. This is the time when the ownership of the property is transferred.

Closing Costs
Expenses in addition to the purchase price for buying and selling a property.

Comparative Market Analysis. A CMA is a report that shows prices of properties that are comparable to a subject property and that were recently sold, are currently on the market or were on the market, but not sold within the listing period.

Conventional Mortgage 
A first mortgage issued for up to 75% of the property’s appraised value or purchase price, whichever is lower.

Counter Offer
An offer made by the seller back to the buyer altering one or several terms and/or conditions of the offer as originally written.

A legal document that conveys (transfers) ownership of a property to a buyer.

Earnest Money
Along with an offer, buyers can make a deposit on the home to demonstrate the seriousness of the offer. When an earnest money deposit is made, it is held by an escrow until closing. It is then added to the down payment.

Funds held before closing by a third party, usually including the earnest money deposit. Future taxes and homeowners insurance, held by the mortgage company after closing, are also considered escrow.

FSBO, For Sale By Owner
This term refers to property that is being sold without a real estate agent. FSBO is also used to refer to the homeowner who is selling the property.

The process after home buying is complete by which a lender repossesses and resells a property after the owner has defaulted.

Investment Real Estate
Real estate that generates income or is otherwise intended for investment purposes rather than as a primary residence. It is common for investors to own multiple pieces of real estate, one of which serves as a primary residence, while the others are used to generate rental income and profits through price appreciation. The tax implications for investment real estate are often different than those for residential real estate.

Property or real estate, not including buildings or equipment that does not occur naturally. Depending on the title, land ownership may also give the holder the rights to all natural resources on the land. These may include water, plants, human  and animal life, fossils, soil, minerals, electromagnetic features, geographical location, and geophysical occurrences.

Land Value
The total value of the land, including any upgrades or improvements to the land.

Land Transfer Tax
Payment to the provincial government for transferring property from the seller to the buyer.

This is a legal claim that keeps the property from being sold until the lien is paid off.

MLS - Multiple Listing Service
An organization that collects, compiles, and distributes information about properties listed for sale by its members, who are real estate brokers. Membership isn’t open to the general public, although selected MLS data may be sold to real estate listing websites. MLS’s can be local or regional.

Real Estate Agent
A person with a state/provincial license to represent a buyer or a seller in a real estate transaction in exchange for commission. Most agents work for a real estate broker or realtor.

Title Insurance
An insurance policy that protects a lender’s or owner’s interest in real estate property from assorted types of unexpected or fraudulent claims of ownership. It’s customary for the buyer to pay for the lender’s title insurance policy.

Government (usually municipal) laws that control the use of land within a jurisdiction.

Posted by Brian Lamb Marketing and Associates

Having regular checkups by a doctor is critical to ensuring good health. The same concept holds true for one of your most important financial investments: your mortgage.

Plenty can change in someone’s life during the standard five-year mortgage a lot of Canadians sign up for. You may need to change your mortgage because of a career change, having kids or entering retirement.

Canadians tend to become complacent about their mortgage payments when they could be saving a lot of money. For example, the more adverse you become to risk, the less likely a variable mortgage will be right for you. Using online tools, such as a mortgage calculator and a mortgage penalty calculator, you can determine how much you can expect to pay if you break your existing mortgage.

What is a Mortgage Check Up?
It is a process used to compare your current mortgage rate and product to today’s rates and available products. It will help you determine the product that is best suited to your needs. It will also assist you with making the choice between a Variable Rate Mortgage or a Fixed Rate Mortgage?

The process takes into account your current mortgage rate, outstanding mortgage amount, and remaining time left in your term, and compares it to today’s rates and products. It will give you the information you need to make a smarter decision with your mortgage and help you pay it off faster.

With the large variety of mortgage products available today, there is a good chance that there is one that suits your needs better than the one you have now.

How often you should make a mortgage checkup?
Many financial advisers recommend that you do a mortgage checkup once a year, and several Canadian mortgage companies offer this service free on their website.

It may be worthwhile to renegotiate your mortgage or increase your payments. An extra payment of $100 a month on a standard $200,000 mortgage could save almost $18,000 in interest and shorten the amortization period by about four years. Many banks allow people to pay a lump sum of the principal on the mortgage’s anniversary and increase their monthly payments. This is a golden opportunity that you should take if, for example,  you received a tax refund, applying that refund to your mortgage, rather than making a personal purchase, can save you significant money.

Posted by Brian Lamb Marketing and Associates

Spring cleaning is a tradition that allows us to freshen up our homes and get a head start on the hectic seasons of spring and summer.

As the signs of spring make their first appearances in nature, it is time to pay tribute to the joy and jubilance of nature. It’s also time to wake up your home with a new, modern and fresh look. 

Here are a few tips to help you cheer up your home this spring:

1- Organize, clean and de-clutter
Spring decorating begins with cleaning and de-cluttering. Extra clutter and crowding in your home décor can drain your energy. Remove any forgotten autumn, winter, Christmas and Valentine decorations and pack them away. Clean and polish surfaces including shelves, tabletops, end tables and countertops. The point is to lighten and brighten up the appearance of the areas you want to redecorate. Clean your windows and open them up to air out the staleness left by seasons of hibernation and closure. You want to bring the outside in. 

2- Rearrange furniture 
Start to change the feel of your home, or a specific room or two, by bringing in some very simple key elements to modify your surroundings. Your aim is to change from cold and closed in colder seasons, to warm, fresh air and brighter for the spring season. It is both a change of season and a change of mood.

Most of your furniture has probably been in the same position for years. Simply switching the placement of a couch, or repositioning the TV can make you feel like you have a whole new room. If you don't have much room for movement, change and update the smaller things, like pillows, throws, and lamps. Remember, even a small change will do you good and will brighten up your home. 

Informal table settings are on the menu for spring's more relaxed approach to entertaining. Lose heavy tablecloths for casual placemats, and experiment with colour by mixing-and-matching dishware in pretty patterns. Simple things like changing throw pillows on chairs and couches, to brighten the furniture and room, can put new spots of colour throughout the room.

3- Give your home a new feel
Nothing brings the feel of spring in like the colours and textures of the season. Keep a spring garden in mind and pick the colours and flowers you like the most from the spring garden colour palette. Choose the ones that look best with your overall colour schemes, already in place. 

And, nothing says spring more than fresh flowers. Make sure to be consistent with creating arrangements. Choose a colour scheme, like all white, instead of mixing bouquets. Use the same type of flower in one glass container with a beautiful white satin or grosgrain ribbon wrapped around it.

Make your home sing by introducing some pretty, spring colours and textures and get happy. The infusion of brighter colours and fresh flowers and plants reinforce your seasonal changes and gives your home a new relaxing look and feel.

4- Brighten up your rooms
New, updated window treatments can make one of the most profound changes to the look and feel of a room. With spring in the air, you want to maximize the natural light that flows into your rooms. Choose something light and airy, like a soft drapery or a sheer window shading. If you are worried about privacy, you can place room-darkening blinds that you can adjust for a look and feel that is tailored to your unique needs. In addition, sunscreen window shades are especially popular options that will prepare your home for the glare of the sun and the heat of the upcoming summer. 

5. Think outside the home 
After winter has left its cold and dingy mark, the outside of your home will also need some touching up. Be sure to wash the doors and windows, and touch up the paint if necessary. Hang a wreath of silk spring flowers, or place real potted plants on your porch! 

Hopefully these tips will help inspire you to refresh your home for spring without spending too much money.