Category Archives: Real Estate

If you are selling your home privately…

Selling your home privately?
Resources from a Real Estate Lawyers

Then you should know that there are resources out there that can help you get your home ready and in tip top shape to get the best possible selling price.

Realtors typically know all kinds of people and businesses from roofers, home inspectors to home stagers to prepare your home for sale.  But do you?

I was at a Realtor’s event recently and met some incredible people who can help you prepare your home when trying to sell it privately.  Buyers may also be interested in some of these services like the home inspectors, moving boxes and environmental remediation people.

PICTURES & FLOOR PLAN LAYOUT – Brian Brown from Snapd iGuide has a remarkable business that comes into your home and takes professional photos – but the remarkable part is that his photo technology actually measures the dimensions of each room and maps out a floor plan layout of your home.  The floor plan layout can be posted on the internet and viewers can click on every room and they will get a virtual view of the entire area.  It looks amazing and professionally done for a very low cost.  Only $250 for homes up to 2500 sq ft.   To me that is a remarkable price for what you are getting.  Check out their website at or just contact Brian at / 519-831-7322.

HOME STAGING – And you must meet Jill Ackerman and Shardie Stevenson from Stage Right. Jill and Shardie are remarkable individuals.  Jill reminds me of the famous actress Maude.  Strong, bright and that golden white main is stunning.   Jill will come to your home and, regardless of whether you have moved out or not, she will stage your home for viewings so that it makes the best possible impression on potential buyers.  How can you go wrong with that kind of assistance?  Just call Jill at 289-880-0500 / or check out her website at


Jill & Shardie of Stage RightLeft to Right:  Jill Ackerman, Karmel Sakran and Shardie Stevenson

SIGN POST & PACKING BOXES – And then there is Jim Osborne who thought he had retired and ended up buying a couple of businesses.  One is Smartposts which manufactures lawn signs that advertise your home for sale.  They look professional like any other realtor sign.  Smartboxes is Jim’s other business which provides a variety of eco-friendly green moving boxes you can rent for packing your belongings.  They are strong and easily stackable.  You can call Jim at 905-960-1021 or – or check out his 2 websites: and

UNWANTED STUFF – Of course, there may be stuff you don’t want to take with you and that is when you want to call my friend, Chris Wade of Goodwill Amity to donate those items.  If memory serves me correct, Chris’ team will come out to your home to pick up those generously donated items.  You can reach Chris at 905-526-8482 or

MOULD REMOVAL – I had a great time chatting with two wonderful people, Richard Hughes and Kerry MacMullin.  Richard is a bright and engaging fellow who owns and operates HIP (“Home Improvement Professionals”) Mould Pros.  Richard’s business is to remove mould from your home.  Kerry makes Richard look good by providing him with all the back end support while he`s is on the road.  Richard explained that there are a variety of ways to remove mould from homes and he swears by his technique which he says is fully insured, fully guaranteed and certified by a professional engineer.  Richard took the time to explain the various methods used and why his method is second to none.  Check him out at or call him at 519-766-2042 or

richard and Kerry of HIPLeft to Right:  Kerry MacMullin, Karmel Sakran and Richard Hughes

HOME INSPECTION & ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION – There were several other professionals with whom I did not really get a chance to chat with for very long….but here they are:

  1. Henry Kwasniak of Healthy seems to focus more on Commercial/Industrial buildings.  His information shows that he is an MOL certified trained technician for Abatement and MOE licenced disposal for mould and asbestos.  You can reach Henry at 1-855-666-6853 or /;
  2. John Hansen of HouseMaster serves Hamilton, Burlington & Surrounding Areas and he can provide a WETT Certificate for fireplaces. John provides 20% discount for all veterans and can be reached at 905-966-7378 or /;
  3. Ed Iwanchuk and Dan Davies of TeamOne are certified in the use of Infrared Camera technology. A realtor was at their booth and swore by them.  Ed and Dan can be reached at 905-745-9250 or /; and,
  4. Dan Kern of HomeWorks Inspection Services Ltd. is a registered home inspector who also serves the Burlington, Hamilton & Brantford areas. Dan can be reached at 905-630-8775 or /

CMHC – Cathy Aquilina, Account Manager with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation provided me with some very helpful information for homebuyers who are putting down less than 20% towards the purchase of a home.  Keep in mind that CMHC does not deal directly with homebuyers.   CMHC deals directly with the mortgage brokers and lenders.  Lending institutions submit the application for CMHC coverage on behalf of the buyers.  However, Cathy told me that she regularly speaks at homebuyer seminars and there is great information on the CMHC website.  And best of all, there is an APP that can be downloaded by homebuyers called “Ready Set Home”!   Visit their website at

 NOTICE TO READER:  GGS does not assume any liability of having introduced readers to the individuals and/or businesses referenced above.  The individuals and/or businesses referenced above are presented for the readers reading pleasure and the reader is solely responsible for exercising their own due diligence and good judgment on whether to engage their services or not.

Article written by Karmel Sakran

Readers may contact Karmel Sakran at 905-639-1222 ext. 224

Selling your home?  Talk to a Real Estate Lawyer »

Burlington, Hamilton, Milton, Mississauga, Guelph

The real estate market is going crazy and it is frightening because…

Buying Selling in the Real Estate Market from a lawyers perspective

Homes are selling incredibly fast and often selling above list price. The reason seems clear…low inventory of homes for sale and many more buyers. Bidding wars are now the norm.

I have heard from many realtors that the strategy is to list the home on Friday, schedule a Sunday open house and accept offers on Monday.

People knowingly present an offer they feel will beat other offers. I have one client that is frustrated for being out bid on 4 different homes. Yet, I have a seller client that received 18 offers on her home and accepted an offer $70,000.00 over list price with offers still coming in.

And because of the bidding wars, banks are now insisting on obtaining an appraisal of the property where in the past they relied on the Purchase and Sale Agreement as satisfactory proof of the fair market price. After all, banks want to verify the fair market value of the property as part of their due diligence and determining what they perceive as the true loan to value ratio.

If the lender bank determines that the property requires insurance from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the lender bank will submit the lending application to CMHC who, in turn, will review the application for approval.  If CMHC has any concern, CMHC will request their own appraisal to satisfy themselves as to the overall risk.  CMHC performs this on a case by case basis and their underwriter will ultimately decide whether to extend CMHC insurance coverage.

I have two simple questions. Are the current bidding wars a self-correcting mechanism to adjust home prices up to their true fair market value? Or, are home buyers going to regret overpaying for their new homes?

Home ownership is great, but at what cost?

Article written by Karmel Sakran

Readers may contact Karmel Sakran at 905-639-1222 ext. 224

Buying or selling a home? Talk to a Real Estate Lawyer »

Burlington, Hamilton, Milton, Mississauga, Guelph

Home Buyer and Home Seller Closing precautions

Ensure a smooth closing and avoid issues –  a Real Estate Lawyer advises.

It is unfortunate, but it does happen on rare occasions…

That a buyer pulls up to their newly purchased home and the seller has not cleared out of the home!  And worst of all, it is obvious that it will be a few hours before the seller completely vacates the home.

Even the best real estate lawyer can’t anticipate this issue occurring when closing a deal.  Neither the buyer’s lawyer nor the seller’s lawyer go to visit the property, so there is no way for either lawyer to visually assess the likelihood that delivery of vacant possession will be delayed.  When this happens, the buyer is inconvenienced and frustrated and often out of pocket because the movers are waiting to move furniture into the home.

For our buyer clients, we advise them to arrange a visit the day before closing to assess how much or how little has been packed and/or removed by the sellers.  This visual observation is usually a good indicator whether vacant possession will be delayed.  We also ask our clients to report any concern to us and their realtor so that communication can be sent to the seller’s lawyer and realtor to address the issue with their respective clients.

And, if a buyer wants to be extra careful, there is no harm in driving by the morning of closing to have an outside visual of the property and determine whether things are being moved or whether it appears the home has already been vacated or whether any debris has been left about the property.  After all, the goal is to avoid any issue BEFORE money is paid over to the seller’s lawyer.

At our firm, we always ask our seller clients “when do they expect to be completely out of the property”.  This is particularly important where the parties are selling because of a separation and one has remained in the home.  Regardless of why people are selling, we aim to avoid any misunderstandings on the part of our clients.

Our advice is to be out no later than 1pm but preferrably by 11am the day of closing.  This is what we tell our clients to ensure there are no surprises that create animosity and discontent between the sellers and the buyers; and of course, potential litigation.

We also advise our clients to ensure they leave their home in a broom swept condition free of any debris, such as old furniture, unwanted lawn furniture, and other things a seller may presume buyers would appreciate having.  This approach has always worked well for our clients.

At GGS, we are proactive in trying to avoid problems and ensure a smooth and happy real estate closing.

Article written by Karmel Sakran

Readers may contact Karmel Sakran at 905-639-1222 ext. 224

Home Buyer or Home Seller real estate closing? Talk to a Real Estate Lawyer »

Burlington, Hamilton, Milton, Mississauga, Guelph

Shhhh! – here’s how to get money back from your bank when paying off your mortgage:

Mortgages: Selling or Refinancing your home tips from a Real Estate Lawyer

When you sell your home or refinance, a bank will send a payout statement to the lawyer handling your matter that sets out the total amount owing to be paid to remove the mortgage off title to your home. Of course, a buyer or new lender will require you to remove the mortgage registration off title. Almost all lenders add interest, pre-payment penalties, fees and disbursements to the principle amount owing on your mortgage.

One line item on your payout statement will be an “administrative fee” – usually $250 to $350. First tier lenders, like BMO, RBC TD Canada Trust, Scotiabank, CIBC will refund this amount to you. Here’s how. “After” the refinancing or payout occurs, you go into your local branch and speak to someone in authority that you know, like the bank manager. If you have a good rapport and good history with your bank, then they may very well refund the funds back into your account. Don’t try this “before” the payout occurs because the bank wants to make sure that you have paid all that they have demanded first before refunding any amount to you. The administrative fee is included by “head office” of the bank because they are required to do so. They don’t know you. Only your local branch knows you and they have the discretion to refund the amount to you.

This can also, in some limited cases work for any pre-payment penalty charged to you. In some instances, and this is typically when your relationship with the bank is substantial, the local branch may refund some or waive your entire pre-payment penalty. Of course, if you are financing with your bank, speak to them up front about waiving or refunding the pre-payment penalty. Again, head office will include the pre-payment penalty and after refinancing, your local branch will then honour their commitment to refund the amount to you.

In my experience, second tier lenders, like MCAP, Streetcapital, FCT, will not consider such requests.

Sellling, Buying or refinancing your home through a mortgage?

Speak with Karmel Sakran, Real Estate Lawyer »

Burlington, Hamilton, Milton, Mississauga, Guelph