Norm Merz

Sales Representative


CELL 905-541-4917


What forms are needed when buying or selling a home?

What forms are needed when buying or selling a home?

When it comes to buying or selling a home, there are a few important documents that will come into play during the process. Some of these forms include pre-written clauses that your realtor will discuss and explain to you. Due to the nature of these contracts, be sure to read them thoroughly and always, always ask for clarification if needed.

Seller Representation Agreement (Listing Agreement): The listing agreement serves a number of functions. It establishes the relationship between the brokerage (and real estate representative) and the seller, it outlines specifics about the property for sale and it explains the services that will be performed and remuneration agreed upon. A Data Input Form will also be completed, describing the property in more depth i.e. legal description, age, room dimensions, zoning, etc.

Seller Property Information Statement (SPIS): Completing this form is optional for sellers. This form expands on information already provided about the property for sale, including items like restrictive covenants, known easements, details about past renovations, moisture issues, etc. If a SPIS has been provided by the seller, the salesperson should inform potential buyers of its existence. It is important to note that the SPIS is not a warranty or guarantee for buyers and should not replace a home inspection.

Buyer Representation Agreement: This agreement is an authority granted by a buyer to a real estate brokerage to act on his or her behalf during the purchase of a property. It outlines and explains the responsibilities of both parties and the commission arrangement. While a realtor in Ontario is required to complete the agreement and submit it to the buyer before any offer is made, the buyer is under no obligation to sign it.

Agreement of Purchase and Sale: An agreement of purchase and sale is like a conversation in writing that expresses the buyer’s wish to purchase a property and the proposed terms of sale. It only becomes legally binding when everything is mutually agreed upon and signed by both parties. Commonly referred to as an offer, this document summarizes the terms that the buyer is seeking. Items always covered in the agreement of purchase and sale will be deposit amount and sale price, conditions, chattels and fixtures, completion (closing) date, etc.

While the exact forms may vary from city to city across the province, the fundamental concept behind each is the same.

Protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning

Protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning

It’s been two years since regulations came into effect requiring the installation of carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in every home. Yet every year 50 Canadians still perish from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Known as ‘the silent killer’, CO is a tasteless, odorless, invisible gas that is a product of combustion. If you’re thinking that there’s no way for carbon monoxide to enter your home, you may be surprised by some of the sources. It is found in fumes of automobiles, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, fireplaces, gas ranges and heating systems. Danger can occur when there is a ‘problem with ventilation, creating a buildup in an enclosed or semi-enclosed space’.

The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, weakness, chest pain and confusion, though many fall unconscious before they can remove themselves from the affected area. Over time, CO poisoning will cause irreversible brain damage and even death.

If your home is still without a CO detector, head to your local hardware store and pick one up for under $50. There are a few different types of detectors on the market – some are battery operated, some are hard-wired into the wiring of your home and some simply plug into an electrical outlet. Because CO mixes with air and doesn’t rise like smoke does, it can be placed at any height in a room but should always be located near sleeping areas.

Be sure to have a conversation with children or elderly relatives living in the home so that they understand the purpose of a CO detector and what action they should take if they hear the alarm. The alarms typically emit a different sound than a standard smoke detector, so make sure your family knows the difference. Just like with smoke alarms, when the carbon monoxide detectors goes off, leave the building and call 911 from a safe place.

For more information about carbon monoxide safety, visit the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs at http://www.oafc.on.ca/carbon-monoxide.

Prevent frozen pipes in your home this winter

Prevent frozen pipes in your home this winter

While burst water pipes aren’t extremely common, it does happen on occasion and it’s definitely something you want to do your best to avoid. Now that the winter weather has arrived, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you won’t have to deal with the mess and expense of a burst water pipe.

Pipes burst because the water inside them freezes and expands. This is most likely to occur in pipes that are particularly vulnerable to cold weather, like those near outside walls and in crawl spaces, attics and in the garage. It can happen with both copper and plastic materials. If a pipe freezes and bursts, water will begin rushing into your home, potentially causing thousands of dollars in damage.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prevent this disaster in your home. Pipes in vulnerable places should be protected with insulation or heat. You can buy foam or fiberglass pipe insulation at your local hardware store to wrap around the pipes. For areas that you are particularly concerned about, pipe heat cables or tape can keep water flowing even in temperatures as low as -40 degrees.

Other ways to prevent a burst pipe:

• If you haven’t already done so, unscrew your outdoor hose; turn off the outdoor water supply and drain.

• Keep your garage door closed at all times.

• Open kitchen, bathroom and laundry cabinet doors to let warm air circulate.

• Don’t turn your heat down too low if you’re leaving for a vacation. You shouldn’t drop the thermostat below 55 degrees F (12 degrees Celsius).

If you suspect your pipes are frozen, turn on a basement tap to cold. Apply heat to the suspected frozen area of the pipe using hot, wet rags, a blow dryer or an electric heating pad. Never use an open flame.

Make sure you are aware of the location of your home’s main water shut-off valve. If a pipe does burst, you will need to shut off the water supply immediately and contact a plumber. Do your best to clean up any water quickly to prevent mold and mildew damage.

Keep your winter gear under control

Keep your winter gear under control

Unless you’re the queen or king of organization, you likely have boxes or bags in your home stuffed with winter wear. Tangled scarves, mismatched mittens, bulky coats and stray boots – these are just a few of the items you can expect to invade your foyer or mudroom this winter, especially with the winter we’ve already been having. With just a little effort, you can cut down on the clutter and hopefully prevent yourself from buying the same winter wear items over and over again.

A home for everything – Regardless of your storage method of choice (bins, baskets, lockers will all do the trick) it’s important to give each family member an area for their own stuff and make them accountable for it. Add a little flair to each family member’s area by personalizing it with a monogram or nameplate.

Multi-purpose storage – You know those plastic shoe organizers that hang over the back of your closet door? They are ideal for storing smaller loose items like mittens, scarves, hats and umbrellas. Buy an organizer with clear pockets so you can easily identify its contents. Because these hang vertically you will save plenty of closet space, too!

Choose hooks over hangers – Let’s face it, kids are busy little creatures and they are much more likely to hang their coat on a hook than they are to take the time to use a hanger. Install hooks or pegs under an entranceway shelf for hanging wet coats and scarves that need some drying time before stashing away. The inside of the closet is another great place to introduce these handy organizers.

Make the most of your space – Use that empty space below your coats in the closet. Add a pull drawer system, or multi-tiered shoe racks in order to put that space to good use.

Wash away those holiday stains with ease

Wash away those holiday stains with ease

If you did a lot of entertaining this holiday season, there’s a chance you have ended up with a few little presents you didn’t actually want – stains on your carpet or furniture. Parties are filled with festive drinks, food and fun and the chance of a splatter of gravy or a few drips of red wine making their way to your carpets or upholstery is pretty high. Don’t let an accidental drip or dropped glass ruin a great party. Arm yourself with these stain-fighting tricks:

Coffee and wine stains: From hot chocolate to peppermint martinis and sparkling wine, these concoctions can make any holiday party feel extra special, but spills on clothes, furniture and table linens are bound to happen. Soak the fabric in a chlorine-free and colour-safe solution and mix with water to remove the stubborn stain.

Food residue: Don’t panic if you had gravy dripping down your blouse or cranberries smeared on your holiday table runner. Simply blot away as much of the excess stain as possible, and then soak clothes and linens overnight in a solution of water and stain remover. When ready to wash, add an extra scoop of stain remover to your wash to boost detergent for better overall cleaning and whitening.

Everyday dirt: Friends and family tend to make frequent appearances during the holidays, which mean extra dirt, mud and snow get tracked inside your house. Easily remove the mess from your carpets and rugs by applying an oxygenated-based stain fighter solution directly to the affected area. Wait one to five minutes, blot well with a dry towel, rinse with water and then let it dry.

Stress less about the mess this season by keeping a tough stain remover on hand. When next year’s festivities roll around, you’ll be glad you packed away your holiday décor clean and spot free.

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