New money laundering legislation for Real Estate

April 28, 2008 · Filed Under First Time Buyers, Real Estate Articles, St. John's Real Estate · Comments Off 

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has announced changes to Canada’s anti-money laundering legislation, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. The changes will have an impact on how real estate transactions are conducted in Canada. New amendments to money laundering legislation are effective on June 23, 2008.

Basically for the general public this means you will have to provide proof of identification when you sit down to purchase a property. Not really much difference from when you open a bank account, purchase a car or purchase insurance or receive a VISA. Need a Passport? Guess what….you need to show birth certificate and another form of identification. Need a marriage license…..same thing. Real Estate was lacking behind in this area. About time the government stepped up in my opinion.

For the Realtor? We have to Identify our clients. Currently, if you have identified an individual before, you do not have to do so again if you recognize the individual. Once the changes come into effect, if you have doubts about the information collected concerning an individual’s previous identification, you will have to identify that individual again.

If the parties in the transaction are each represented by a different real estate broker or sales representative, you will have to identify the individual or confirm the existence of the entity that you represent in the transaction.

If some parties in a real estate transaction are not represented by a real estate broker or sales representative while other parties are, each real estate broker or sales representative who represents a party to the transaction will have to identify or confirm the existence of the parties that are not represented.

To learn more visit FINTRAC’s website at

Underground contractors can cost you everything

April 16, 2008 · Filed Under First Time Buyers, Home Maintenance · 1 Comment 

With the home renovation season upon us, you might be thinking of hiring a contractor. There are many reputable contractors in your community ready to do the work and willing to sign a contract to make sure both parties are satisfied when the job is done, and protected if something goes wrong.

Not all contractors play by the same rules, though, and if you get stung by one of these underground contractors, you could lose everything – your peace of mind, your savings, even your home. Sound serious? It is. As the owner of the property where the work is taking place, you are legally responsible and liable for any damages or injuries that occur on your property, regardless if someone else is doing the work. If that contractor becomes injured, or causes a life-threatening hazard due to sloppy work, you can be sued. A professional contractor is covered by his own liability insurance.
Without a paper trail – no contract, no warranty, no estimate or invoice – there is absolutely no record that the work was done, who did the work, or that they were even paid.

The contractor you hire should have the technical, business and interpersonal skills, the tools and the experience needed to do the job you want done. Hire a contractor who has experience with projects similar to yours. This contractor will know what materials and techniques are needed for your work; and even better, about problems with similar work — and how to solve them.

You want to find out as much as you can, so ask a lot of questions, such as:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • What work are you, or your subcontractors, licensed to do, e.g., electrical, plumbing?
  • What kind of work do you specialize in?
  • Have you done a similar job before?
  • Will you use your own crew for the work or will you subcontract all or part of the job?
  • How would you handle a specific problem related to this project (e.g., installing kitchen cabinets on your sloping floor)?
  • How will you deal with the health and energy efficiency aspects of the job?
  • How and when do you clean up, particularly fine dust?
  • What work schedule will you follow?
  • What kind of warranty do you offer and what does it cover?
  • Do you carry workers’ compensation and liability insurance?
  • Will you provide a written contract?
  • Will you take out all required permits (e.g., building, plumbing, electrical)?

Regardless of your approach to hiring a contractor, the most important fact to remember is… as Mike Holmes does “GET IT IN WRITING”

What is a Home Inspection?

November 26, 2007 · Filed Under Home Inspections · Comments Off 

A Home Inspection is a visual examination and analysis of the major systems of a property. The systems inspected include the Roofing, Exterior, Structure, Electrical, Heating, Cooling, Insulation, Plumbing, and the Interior.

There are a number of reasons we highly recommend a home inspection:

  • To ensure you are not surprised by major defects
  • So you can be advised about the various elements of the home including – heating and cooling systems, structure, electrical and plumbing
  • To learn about how the mechanical systems work and need to be maintained
  • Most homeowners are not expert in the numerous components of house construction
  • A third party can be objective as there is no emotional attachmentHomestead Inspections

No property is flawless….not even brand new homes. When you find the right house, you need to go one step further and find out what problems exist and what could arise in the future. Buying a house is one of the biggest investments most people will ever make, so it makes good sense to have it checked out by a professional home inspector

Mike Conway (689-6004) with Homestead Inspections has a list of Inspection FAQ’s to help answer some of your questions.

Property Descriptions – What’s in a word?

November 25, 2007 · Filed Under Real Estate Articles · Comments Off 

I recently read an article regarding Realtors “poetic descriptions” and how they relate to the property they were advertising. The article suggested that home sales from 1997 to 2000 found that listings using words such as “beautiful,” “good value” and “handyman special” sold faster, while listings with “rental” and “motivated” sat longer, and “must see,” “vacant” and “moving” made no significant difference. Whether this is fact or fiction, they did post a list of interesting words and “their” definitions of the words. Some are quite amusing.


Cut and paste from (

Some words and phrases real estate agents use in listings, along with what they (may) mean:

Very quiet interior: You can barely hear the freeway with the windows shut.

Convenient to shopping: Next to a strip mall.

3+1 bedrooms: The room in the basement isn’t a legal bedroom but, well, you know.

Great bones: You’ll need to tear it down to the studs.

Charming: Small.

Cozy: Tiny.

Cute: Small and fussy.

Dollhouse, adorable: Nauseatingly cute.

Turnkey: Just overhauled, complete with granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances.

Unique: Remodeled by someone on acid.

Handyman special: Bring boots.

Motivated seller: They need to sell before they default on their mortgage.

Dirty, ugly, smelly: Dirty, ugly, smelly.