Posts in Kijiji Real Estate

Staying Safe While Looking For Housing

Kijiji is a great way to buy or sell a house, list an apartment for rent, or find accommodations. We do our best to keep the site clean and safe, but an important aspect of maintaining a safe site is helping users recognize attempts at scams when they come across them.

If you come across ads or replies that are suspicious, be sure to report them to our staff, or the police if the situation warrants it. Here is how to keep yourself safe from real estate fraud:

  • View properties in person. Kijiji is only intended as a community site, and you should never rent a property without seeing it, or meeting the prospective tenant first. If either party claims they are overseas, they are unlikely to be legitimate. It is common that foreign fraudsters copy listings and won’t be able to show off the inside of an apartment. If they won’t show the inside, be aware that they might not own the building.
  • When looking for rental units, be aware of photos that look very professional or that appear to be model homes. Sometimes listings for properties for sale are copied to rental listings. Be suspicious if there are descriptive passages that would only be relevant to buyers, such as when the roof or furnace was last replaced. These are also signs that the ad might have been copied from a house for sale listing.
  • Be on your guard if the photos are grainy or only show small portions of the space, such as the bathroom.
  • When visiting a property, make sure you bring someone with you, or ask for personal identification of anyone you invite into your home. Make sure you tell someone who you are meeting and where you’ll be.
  • Never send or wire money. Sign a contract, write a postdated cheque, and ask for ID of the other party.
  • Kijiji doesn’t offer any type of buyer protection or payment programs. If anyone claims otherwise or you get an email advertising these services, please forward it to spoof@kijiji.ca as it is an attempt at fraud.
  • Never give out your credit card number or sensitive personal or banking information to those you communicate with over the internet. Be very suspicious of any ads that want responses such as your age, occupation, income, gender, bank, or SIN number as these can also be attempts to steal personal information.
  • Educate yourself about common types of fraud. Be suspicious of offers for large sums of money for helping with any task. Use your common sense – if it seems too good to be true, it most likely is.
  • Buying your First Home: Make an offer

    Taking the plunge to purchase your first home? This is the 3rd and final installment in our first time home buyers guide from our friend Julia. Read the first post on transitioning to home ownership here and the second post, on shopping for your dream home here.

    Finding a home you want to live in is both nerve-wracking and exciting. There could be others who want the same home as you or you could have some difficulty negotiating with the sellers. In my case, my husband and I were lucky in that we were the only bidder on the home. We trusted our real estate agent in preparing our offer and gave her two numbers — how much we’d like to have the home for and what we would be willing to pay for it. In the end, she negotiated based on what other homes were selling for in the area and helped us seal the deal after a few counter-offers. As part of the offer, I also got to keep the chandeliers I loved so much when I visited the home.

    Offers of purchase typically include fixtures and appliances, the amount you’ll be depositing, the closing day and other conditions that can include having a satisfactory home inspection report or a lender approval of mortgage financing. If these conditions aren’t met, you can back out of buying the home.

    Put in your offer? Almost there...still a few steps until you have a home to call your own.

    Put in your offer? Almost there…still a few steps until you have a home to call your own.

    What now?

    Contact your lender to begin the process of completing your mortgage application. Your lender will go through all the kinds of mortgages you can get, what kind of terms you can get, interest rates, amortization periods, and payment schedules available. This was the most overwhelming part of the homeownership process, which I consulted my older siblings about and other homeowner friends.  Be sure to ask your mortgage lender any questions you may have. Don’t be afraid to get the lender to go over the different mortgage scenarios.

    You’ll also need to hire a lawyer to handle the final paperwork. On the recommendation of our real estate agent, my husband and I hired a person who made our closing day go smoothly. She handled most of our money matters and was able to register our home in our names. She then gave us the deed, handed us the keys and off we were to our new home.

    Moving

    Because it was our first home, my husband and I chose to move our belongings ourselves rather than hire a company to do it. We figured that since we had not yet accumulated a lot of possessions, it made sense to do it with the help of friends and family while we were still young and quite able. We also bribed them with beer and pizza. If this isn’t your style, there are plenty of movers available to help on Kijiji.

    One last thing before you relax

    Because I can be a little paranoid at times, I asked my husband to change the door locks as an extra security measure. I wanted piece of mind knowing we were the only ones who had keys to our new home. It’s easy to do too. You can visit the local hardware store where they’ll have a few options, or hire a locksmith.

     
    Have you bought a home? What details caught you off guard? Let us know in the comments!

    Buying Your First Home: Shopping for Your Dream Home

    See part 1 of how to break into the housing market. Here is part 2, detailing our friend Julia’s journey to home ownership.

    When I dreamed of moving out of my parents home, I figured I’d choose a place that was similar to theirs — a single detached home with a large yard and a suburban neighbourhood.

    Dreaming of a big home in suburbia?

    Dreaming of a big home in suburbia?

    But what I quickly realized was, my options were limited with the budget my husband and I set.

    Here are some things to consider when searching for your new home.

    Know your needs

    Consider finding a home that will meet most of your needs over at least the next five years. That’s what my boyfriend and I decided to do when we narrowed our housing choices to either a small and modest detached home or a townhouse. We gave our real estate agent certain parameters to help us in our search. Not only did we want at least two bedrooms and two bathrooms, but we also wanted a place where we could barbecue and park both of our cars. We figured having two bedrooms would allow us to grow into this home should we decide we wanted to have children.

     

    Location

    It was important that the location of our home be between my boyfriend’s job in Toronto and my job (at the time) in Mississauga. We chose a few areas to look around in like Mimico, New Toronto, Long Branch, High Park and Liberty Village. Most of these areas were up-and-coming neighbourhood that many young professionals were moving into. The neighbourhood also gave us options on whether or not we wanted to take public transit.

     

    Let the shopping begin!

    We looked at a number of small single detached homes and townhouses in our preferred area. Kijiji Within weeks it became evident to us that we much preferred a townhouse because the thought of doing extensive home renovations and keeping a home well maintained seemed like a daunting task. To us, a townhouse was also a good compromise between condo living and a suburban home. You would still get the feeling of living in a home, but you wouldn’t have to mow the lawn. A great piece of advice we got from family and friends was to look carefully at every nook and cranny there was in the home. Visit the home twice if you have to to make sure you’ve looked at every detail without being distracted by the window dressing.

     

    We ended up visiting the townhouse we fell in love with three times to make sure it was the right fit for us.

    Part three explains how we sealed the deal.

    Buying your first home: Making the leap from renting to owning

    Whether you have tired of living with parents, renting, or just want to get into the real estate market, there are plenty of reasons to want to purchase a home to call your own. Gone are the days when it was undoubtedly the best course of action for the masses; with the markets so hot in Canada, new home buyers need to seriously think about the many factors that go into whether it is the right decision before signing up for a lifelong mortgage. How do you know when the time is right for you? Here are some tips from our friend Julia about her personal journey to home ownership!

    Want to turn your dream of home ownership into reality?

    Want to turn your dream of home ownership into reality?

    Examine your financial situation

    Taking a good look at your finances will put into better perspective whether you’re financially ready to buy a home.

    My boyfriend and I knew we were in good shape because both of us had been investing in RRSPs for a few years, we had some savings and both of us had steady jobs. The problem was we had no idea what we would be able to afford. With home ownership, there are expenses like heating, property taxes, home maintenance and renovations and if you are considering buying a condominium, condo fees too. A quick search on the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation website gave us pointers. Through their affordability spreadsheets and calculator tools we were able to crunch the numbers, calculating what our monthly expenses were and how much debt we were paying off.

    Talk to a mortgage lender

    Ready to take the next step, we met with a mortgage broker a friend recommended that was able to talk to us about the home-buying process without pushing us to sign papers. A good lender will help you calculate what kind of mortgage you can afford and the maximum house price that you should consider with no strings attached. The lender can also advise you on what you should put towards a down payment, which is typically at least 5 per of the purchase price. With the savings we had, we decided we could afford to put 20 per cent down (putting more money forward at the beginning will reduce the amount of interest you will pay over your mortgage term).

    Get pre-approved for a mortgage

    Before we started shopping for a home we got pre-approved for a mortgage on the advice that it would help the process move much more smoothly. Having an estimated mortgage amount also helped us in budgeting for a home. We shopped around asking for quotes from the broker we had originally talked to and some financial institutions friends had recommended. In the end, much to our surprise, we went with the financial institution, which gave us a written confirmation for a fixed interest rate.

    With our finances in order we were finally able to get to the fun part, shopping for a home.

    Stay tuned for part two to learn how we narrowed down what type of home we wanted and the location we wanted to settle down in.

    Comparing Housing Prices After a Casino is Built

    Back in May, the City Council of Toronto voted 40-4 against a casino in the Downtown core of Toronto.  The debate of having a major casino built in Downtown Toronto was a heated one.  On one hand, a casino would of created, “10,000″ new jobs but on the other hand, Torontonians felt the City did not need 11,000 casino parking spaces at a cost of $1 billion and 7.5 football fields worth of slots and card tables.

    This debate will probably not be settled today on our blog but Kijiji and Rentseeker did take a look at housing prices pre and post casino.

    There are many factors that go into the prices of housing but it is interesting to note that after a casino was built in the below Canadian cities, the average price for housing only moved slightly – except in Richmond, BC.  However, today, the average price of housing in most of these cities,  is greater than it was pre casino.

    Do you feel luck and want to be close to the bright lights, slot machines and card tables? Check out these places to buy/rent:

     

    Housing Prices Before and After Casino

    Categories:Kijiji Real Estate