Buying or selling a home is no easy task and let’s face it, like most things in life there are plenty of common mistakes to be made. The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) is a not-for-profit corporation dedicating to protecting consumers through a fair and safe marketplace. They’ve seen it all when it comes to home buying and selling pitfalls and have compiled a list of their top 10 mistakes to avoid. Have a quick read and make sure you don’t become a statistic!

1. Becoming emotionally involved. Know your budget and stick to it.

2. Hiring the first realtor you meet. Meet with at least two or three agents before you make any rash decisions – Ontario has over 60,000 brokers and realtors – find the right one for you.

3. Not making your expectations clear. Your realtor is not a mind reader. He or she works with numerous clients each day, each one looking for something a little different. Communication is key. Determine what services you are expecting from them and get it in writing.

4. Failing to read and understand contracts. It’s true that the amount of paperwork that goes into a listing or home sale is plentiful and skimming over the details can be tempting. This can led to problems down the road however, so don’t feel pressured into signing right then and there – take the time you need to understand everything.

5. Assuming everything is included. Before making an offer, detail all items that you would like included in the purchase, including window coverings and appliances. Your realtor will let you know if the seller has indicated any exclusions on the counter-offer.

6. Forgetting what’s behind the walls. A gourmet kitchen? Hardwood floors? A remodeled bathroom? Sold! Hold your horses, there. While they are great selling features, hardwood floors and granite countertops wont heat your house. Find out the age of the home’s systems and if any upgrades have been done. Insulation, wiring and plumbing are just as important as interior features.

7. Forgetting what’s outside the walls. We’ve all heard it before – location, location, location. Is this a community you want to live in? Do a little recon to find out for sure.

8. Not doing your research. A simple internet search or a conversation with a neighbour may reveal something about the home you’re thinking of buying. Take the time to look in to it.

9. Making verbal agreements. Put everything in writing. Everything!

10. Underestimating closing costs. From land transfer tax to legal fees, closing costs add up quickly. Set aside more than you’ll need to save yourself some stress.

Visit www.reco.on.ca for more helpful tips for homeowners.

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