Thursday, January 26, 2012

Five Questions to Ask Your Contractor Before Your Brantford Home Remodel

Although I am a Brantford real estate agent and not in the contracting business, part of my job is to be aware of how much value certain remodeling projects will add to a home. In fact, when sellers approach me and say that they’re ready to list their home on the Brantford real estate market, I always ask if their home is updated or if it needs a little bit of remodeling. The reason why this is so important is because in this market, prices are on the lower side and buyers have more of an opportunity to get a home on the cheap. If you invest a little bit of money into the right remodel, then there is a chance that you can raise the value of your home and get more for the property.

Some remodeling projects will be relatively inexpensive and require little labor, while others might be more costly and require a contractor. Whatever the case, I feel that it is part of my responsibility as a Brantford real estate agent to help guide sellers who are interested in remodeling before putting their home on the market. In order to ensure that my clients get the right contractor for the job, I recommend that they ask these five questions before hiring someone. After all, if the remodel is botched, then there’s no way your Brantford home’s value will go up when you decide to sell! If you ask these questions ahead of time, you will more likely find the contractor who will get the job done right.

Would you give me an itemized bid? Some contractors prefer to give one, bottom-line price for their work, leaving you in the dark about what each element of the remodel costs individually. Since the company has to figure out the cost line by line anyway, it’s no inconvenience to them to show you the details of the bid. If they’re withholding this information or reluctant to show you the itemized details, then that should be a red flag and it may be time to move on to the next option.

Is your bid an estimate or a fixed price?
I can’t tell you how many Brantford homeowners have said that they took a look at the bid and assumed that it was the finalized price on their remodel. Some contractors treat their bids as estimates, which could result in a higher bill at the end of the project. If a long list of unknown factors is stopping your contractor from giving you a fixed price, then attempt to eliminate those by giving the contractor freedom to inspect your home on a more thorough level.

How long have you been in business in the area? A contractor who has been in business for ten years in your area will have a solid foundation and network of suppliers and subcontractors in the area. He will have a reputation to uphold, and as a result, your project will be priority to him. Hiring a newer contractor or someone who typically works farther away won’t necessarily hinder your remodel; however they won’t have the deep-seeded reputation, and as a result they may not care as much.

Who are your main suppliers?
Think of a contractor’s suppliers as their references. After all, who knows more about the quality of work of the person you’re hiring then the people who supply them with the tools to do it? If a contractor has a few quality suppliers that he has an ongoing, working relationship with, he most likely produces great work and is an honest businessman. Contractors with little supplier connections or who don’t have a significant relationship with any one supplier should raise a red flag, as there is likely a reason for that.

Can I meet the job foreman? Contractors are not typically the workers who are at your home every day working on your remodel. That would be the job foreman. It’s important to get to know this person, since they will essentially be the ones at your home every day overseeing the project and working on it hands-on. Meeting the job foreman in person and observing a project that they are currently working on will give you an idea of whether or not this is the person you want managing the day-to-day aspects of your remodel.

If you ask these five questions of your contractor before hiring them to do the remodel on your Brantford home, then you will likely find the person who is right for the job. A flawless remodeling can result in value being added to your home, so as a Brantford real estate agent, I think that it is very important to consider hiring a contractor if needed. These questions will get you started in the process of getting your home ready to list on the Brantford real estate market!

If you have any questions about listing your home, or if you are interested in one of the beautiful homes on the Brantford real estate market, don’t hesitate to contact me! I’d love to help you in any way I can. I hope to hear from you soon!

Wally Dufrat | Sales Representative
RE/MAX Twin City Realty, Inc. Brokerage
515 Park Road North | Brantford, ON N3R 7K8
Direct:  (519) 752-5400 & (877) 759-5900 | Cell: (519) 761-7400 | Fax: 519-752-3400

Before You Buy or Sell Your Next Home, Visit My Websites at: or for FREE Information!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Buy Your Brantford Home Sooner Rather Than Later!

If you’re a Canadian homebuyer, then you should feel very lucky at the moment. While the rest of the world seems to be in a housing slump, Canadian real estate has been strong and thriving. This is primarily due to the affordable prices and low interest rates that are drawing Brantford homebuyers in to the market. As a Brantford real estate agent, I have been using the strength of the current housing market to benefit both buyers and sellers in the area.

According to Canadian Real Estate Magazine, if the December figures are any indication, then 2012 will continue to be a strong year for the local real estate market. Home sales activity has gone up 4.6% from last year, suggesting that the record low interest rates have satisfied buyers. Home prices have gone up only 0.9%, and the fact that low interest rates are not significantly increasing home prices means that buyers will want to continue to purchase homes all year long.

As a Brantford real estate agent, part of my job is gathering data like this and using it to show potential homebuyers why they should buy a home now. In an industry as turbulent as real estate, the conditions can change in as little as one month, so if you wait too long to buy a home, you could end up missing out on a fantastic opportunity. Since the current real estate climate in Canada is strong, now should be the time that you act on buying or selling a home! Here are a few of the many reasons that you should buy your Brantford home now:

•    Home prices are stabilized. You don’t need to worry about prices fluctuating a great deal in the current real estate market. Increases or decreases are minimal, so you can look at homes in your price range and not be afraid that in a short time it will be unattainable.
•    Interest rates are low. Now is the time to apply for a mortgage loan and get a great rate! This will help you avoid high mortgage payments down the line, and you can work out a plan that is more manageable for the future.
•    The market is strong and thriving. The fact that prices are increasing slightly means that more sellers will be willing to put their home on the market, which means that as a buyer, you’ll have more options. The best part about this is that conditions still suggest that it’s a buyer’s market, so more houses will be going on the market, but you’ll have the benefit of having the conditions work in your favor.

As a Brantford real estate agent, I use my many years of experience and extensive knowledge of the current market conditions to let my community know when it’s the best time to buy or sell their home. If the December figures were any indication, then 2012 will be the year for buyers in Brantford real estate. Now is the time to act!

If you have any questions about what it takes to buy a Brantford home, don’t hesitate to contact me! I’d love to help you in any way that I can. I hope to hear from you soon!

Wally Dufrat | Sales Representative
RE/MAX Twin City Realty, Inc. Brokerage
515 Park Road North | Brantford, ON N3R 7K8
Direct:  (519) 752-5400 & (877) 759-5900 | Cell: (519) 761-7400 | Fax: 519-752-3400

Before You Buy or Sell Your Next Home, Visit My Websites at: or for FREE Information!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Just Listed: 850 Colborne Street - $25/SqFt: Future Office Building Space in Great Location!

Offered At:   $25/SqFt

To be built. Total sq.ft. - 4750. Approx 4 units. - 1x 1750 sq.ft. 3 x 1000 sq.ft. Can be modified to lessee's requirements. Will be a  very attractive plaza in a great location close to new residential areas, bus route, parks and more. On main thoroughfare. Proposed sketches, elevations and floor plans are available.


1 Office Available at 1750 SqFt
3 Offices Available at 1000 SqFt
All Utilities Will be Available
Proposed Sketches, Elevations & Floor Plans Available


Corner Lot
Ample Parking
Close to Residential Areas
Close to Bus Route
Close to Parks


Wally Dufrat | Sales Representative
RE/MAX Twin City Realty, Inc. Brokerage
515 Park Road North | Brantford, ON N3R 7K8
Direct:  (519) 752-5400 & (877) 759-5900 | Cell: (519) 761-7400 | Fax: 519-752-3400

Before You Buy or Sell Your Next Home, Visit My Websites at: or for FREE Information!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Get Your Brantford Home Sold This Winter!

If my many years of experience working as a Brantford real estate agent have taught me anything, it’s that many people are reluctant to sell their home during the winter months. Between the frigid temperatures and buildup of snow, the last thing people feel like doing is getting their home ready for sale and putting it on the market. Similarly, many home buyers would rather finish out the school year or put off their move until the weather gets a bit nicer. It’s an understandable deterrent, however my experience has taught me that going through a Brantford real estate transaction during the winter can be incredibly beneficial.

As a homeowner who wants to reap the benefits that listing a home in the winter can bring, it’s important to go above and beyond when you prepare your home for sale. While listing your home during the winter can be challenging, it is possible. The strategic tactics listed below will help you get your home sold during what is often known as real estate’s off-season. If you follow these trusty tips, then you’re much more likely to get your Brantford home sold this winter!

1. Set a realistic price. Since the market is slow during the winter, the buyers and sellers who are active during this time are typically very serious about the transaction. In order to get the traffic flowing to your property, you need to make sure that your home is priced correctly. Buyers expect discount prices during the winter months, so in order to avoid lowball offers, you need to price your home accurately at the beginning. The more realistic the price is early-on, the more likely it is that buyers will take you seriously.

2. Make sure all of your photos are snow-free. If you can, have your Brant County real estate agent arrange for pictures to be taken either before it snows or shortly after the first flurry melts. It’s the best way for a buyer to really see what your home looks like when it’s not covered with frozen water!

3. Maximize your home’s curb appeal, despite the snow.
While it’s apparent that you won’t be able to have the pristine landscaping and perfectly manicured garden that you could have in June, the doom and gloom of winter is no excuse to neglect curb appeal. Clear the walkways and driveway of snow and put a clean doormat by your front door. You also need to make sure that all remnants of dead autumn leaves and tree branches are cleared from your yard.

4. Make your home staging seasonal. Despite the dreary weather in the winter, you can still add a comfortable, cheerful tone to your home staging this season! Start by de-cluttering and removing any overly personal touches from your home and put them in off-site storage. This will create the neutral space that will allow homebuyers to imagine themselves and their possessions in your home. From there, rearrange your furniture so that each room is shown at its maximum potential. As a finishing touch, bake a fresh batch of cookies or apple pie before a showing. This will create a warm atmosphere as potential buyers are coming in from the cold weather outside.

5. Enhance your interior lighting. Unfortunately, winter is naturally darker than summer, so you can’t rely on natural lighting to make your home look great when a buyer stops by for a showing. Maximize what natural lighting is available by having all of your windows professionally cleaned. It may also be a good idea to replace lower wattage lightbulbs with 100-watt ones. This way, the artificial light can make your home look a little bit brighter on a particularly dark day. Sure, this will drive up the electric bill a bit, but it’s worth it to showcase your home in the best light possible and sell it faster.

Despite the rough climate and onslaught of laziness that tends to come with the winter season, there are several benefits of listing a home during this time of year! The buyers and sellers on the market are much more serious due to the slowdown in the market, and there is potential to sell your home quickly. If you follow these tips closely, you will find that your Brantford home will sell!

As a Brantford real estate agent, I think it’s important to let my clients know how they can successfully sell their home at any time of year. If you have any questions about what you need to do to list your home right now, don’t hesitate to contact me! I’d be happy to answer any of your questions. I hope to hear from you soon!

Wally Dufrat | Sales Representative
RE/MAX Twin City Realty, Inc. Brokerage
515 Park Road North | Brantford, ON N3R 7K8
Direct:  (519) 752-5400 & (877) 759-5900 | Cell: (519) 761-7400 | Fax: 519-752-3400

Before You Buy or Sell Your Next Home, Visit My Websites at: or for FREE Information!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Choose the Right Lender for Your Brantford Real Estate Loan!

While the overall climate of the Brantford real estate market is healthy and strong, many people who are looking to buy a home or invest in real estate are having trouble obtaining financing. This is a discouraging factor for many who are looking to break in to the local market. Whether it’s through buying a Brantford home or investing in a new multi-family complex in the area, both homebuyers and investors alike are fearful to strike now because lending restrictions have gotten tighter. As an experienced Brantford real estate agent, I feel that it’s important to inform my clients about the lending process and let them know why their loan application could potentially be declined.

The primary factor that is important to recognize is that not all lenders are the same. Different lenders have varying criteria that they look for on each loan application, and a number of different factors can affect whether or not they give somebody a loan. The key to obtaining financing successfully is to do your research on each lender and find out which one looks for criteria that best matches your situation. From there, you can approach that lender and obtain the loan you need for your Brantford property.

Here are seven factors that could vary by lender. Use these factors as a starting point for your research. Remember, the more you know, the more success you’ll have in getting a loan!

Geography. If you’re looking to buy a home or invest in a property in an area where property value fluctuates or the local economy is in a downturn, then some lenders may not be as willing to give you a loan. Find a lender that doesn’t make this a priority or fine-tune your property search to areas that have been seeing more prosperity and growth in the economy and stability in property prices.

Property type. Some lenders are better for investors looking to buy multi-family and rental properties, and others are better for those looking to buy a new home. It’s important to go to the lender that will be most open to giving financing for the type of property you’re looking to buy. This is a matter in which you will have to be sure to do your research!

Number of rental properties. If you’re an investor who needs financing on more than two rental properties, then you’ll need to be careful! Some lenders make two their maximum per individual and some go as high as five. Some may not even have a limit! It’s important to consult your Brantford real estate agent about which lenders will give financing for the number of properties you’re looking to invest in.

Qualification ratios. Each lender will have specific criteria about what makes for a strong loan application. Some accept higher debt load to income levels and others care more about the potential of the property values than the actual applicant. This is another instance in which you’ll need to do your research; if you can find the lender that will prioritize your strengths, then you’re more likely to get financing!

Product offering. Make sure you ask what sort of client segment each lender focuses on. For some lenders, their focus tends to go towards clients that are self-employed or have difficult credit, and others may cater to people in a different scenario. It’s important to know which products each lender offers for your particular financial situation before you approach them for a loan.

Rental income. If you’re an investor who is looking to buy a rental property, then many lenders will look at rental income and factor that in to whether or not they should give you a loan. What varies by lender is the percentage of rental income that they will use for evaluation. Usually, lenders factor in between 50-80% of a rental income in a loan application and consider it extra income or rental expenses. Know what percentage you want each lender to consider ahead of time and use that number to find the right lender.

Financing structure. Are you looking to invest under a corporate structure or independently? Different lenders prefer different forms of financing, so it’s important to make sure that you approach a lender that is most willing to work with your finance plan.

When it comes to picking a lender, using these seven factors to make your decision will serve you much better than simply picking the people who have the lowest interest rates. In order to complete a transaction successfully in the Brantford real estate market, it is important to look out for your best interest and make sure you are working with people who are the most experienced in dealing with your particular situation.

As a Brantford real estate agent, I have many years of experience that have allowed me to work with several different kinds of clients. If you have any questions about what it takes to obtain financing, don’t hesitate to contact me! I’d be happy to help you in any way I can. I hope to hear from you soon!

Wally Dufrat | Sales Representative
RE/MAX Twin City Realty, Inc. Brokerage
515 Park Road North | Brantford, ON N3R 7K8
Direct:  (519) 752-5400 & (877) 759-5900 | Cell: (519) 761-7400 | Fax: 519-752-3400

Before You Buy or Sell Your Next Home, Visit My Websites at: or for FREE Information!