Frequently asked real estate questions header photo of a residential driveway at night.

Frequently Asked Questions

THE BASICS

What is a real estate agent?

A real estate agent is a professional with a real estate license that helps you buy, sell, or lease a property, condominium, parcel of land or commercial real estate.

Should you hire a real estate agent?

It is in your best interest to hire a real estate agent. An agent can provide you with researched, current, and reputable data regarding a neighbourhood’s demographics, crime rates, schools, and other essential factors. Real estate agents can make recommendations on potential repairs and suggest quality professionals. We at the Hawkins/Ryerse Group research comparable listings in your area & complete a comparative market analysis to determine the best list price for the sale of your property. Incidentally, if you’re interested in a free report about your neighbourhood’s recent real estate activities, sign up for a free real estate market report on this page.

What do real estate agents do?

We’re here to help you to purchase, sell or rent an array of property types, i.e., residential property, land, commercial real estate, condominiums etc. Real estate agents get you the access needed to tour properties. We also assist clients in understanding the purchase/sale process, and, even more importantly, we help in the negotiation process!

Who pays real estate agent fees?

The Seller typically pays the commission fees.

How to get a real estate agent?

Look for a qualified, experienced, knowledgeable Realtor by doing your research and or by word of mouth. Ask friends, family, and coworkers who they recommend. You can also contact reputable real estate offices in your area and ask which of their agents have experience selling in your neighbourhood. It’s not a bad idea to check their reviews online as well – agents without reviews may not necessarily be a bad choice, but agents with high review ratings and lots of them are more likely a good choice!

Can you be a real estate agent without a license?

No. To work as a real estate agent in Ontario, you must hold a real estate license and insurance.

How to get a real estate agent?

Look for a qualified, experienced, knowledgeable Realtor by doing your research and or by word of mouth. Ask friends, family, and coworkers who they recommend. You can also contact reputable real estate offices in your area and ask which of their agents have experience selling in your neighbourhood.

How to break up with a real estate agent?

Have a conversation with your agent should you feel things are not working out. The simplest way is to wait until the contract expires, pull the property off the market and relist it with a new realtor.

Are real estate agents going away?

No. Over the last few years, there has been a substantial increase in people changing careers and entering the real estate profession. We don’t expect this industry to change how properties are bought and sold for a long time. You wouldn’t get a mortgage without an advisor and it’s not likely people will be buying and selling homes without a real estate agent for a long time.

Can you work with multiple real estate agents?

Yes, a buyer can work with multiple agents as long as they don’t have a written agreement with an agent. In most areas, this is called a buyer representation agreement. This agreement states a buyer agrees to work with a specific agent and buy a home through that agent.

Do real estate agents appraise homes?

Real estate agents can aid in providing a Comparative Market Analysis for your home. We use comparable listings to give you an idea of what your home may be worth under current market conditions. However, they are not certified appraisers.

THE PROCESS

What is the appraisal process in real estate?

The appraisal process is the act or process of developing an opinion of the value of a house.

What is the closing process in real estate?

The closing process finalizes the sale of your home and makes everything official. Before signing closing documents, your lawyer will look over the purchase contract and identify who owes which payments and prepare closing documents. To conduct the closing, ensure taxes, title searches, real estate commissions and pay other closing costs. Record the buyer’s title and ensure that you receive the money due to you. Sellers commonly pay the following at closing:
 
– Mortgage balance and prepayment penalties, if applicable,
– Other claims against your property, such as current or post-due unpaid property taxes
– Unpaid special assessments on your property
– Real Estate commissions
– A title insurance policy
– Home warranty, if applicable
– Survey, if applicable

What is a mortgage, and how does it work? 

A mortgage is a loan often used to buy property. The property is the security for the loan. A mortgage allows the lender to take possession of the property if you don’t repay the loan on time.

What happens if I decide to back out of buying a house?

Suppose you walk away from an agreement to purchase. In that case, you will not only lose your deposit but may also be liable for any damages suffered by the other party, such as the lost opportunity to sell to someone else, expenses arising from a delayed move, or the Seller’s loss of deposit on another home intended for purchase.

How many houses should I view before purchasing one?

It depends on what area you are looking in and what you are looking for.

If you are looking at a condominium where many floor plans are similar, you may want to consider which one has the best location and look at a few to determine which suits your needs best.

If you are looking for a property, consider your needs and wants and start there. For some people, the first home they see may be the one. For others, it may take viewing multiple homes before finding the right one.

What is the first step in buying a home?

The first step in buying a home is determining where you would like to live, how much you can afford and what your needs and wants are. It is a good idea to talk to your bank to understand what price point you can afford and then reach out to your local real estate agent. 

Should I sell my current property before buying a new one?

It really depends on your circumstances. For some, selling your current property first is a better option, for others it may be a situation whereby you put a conditional offer in on selling your home on a property you would like to purchase. We at The Hawkins/Ryerse Group can help you make an informed decision as current market conditions will also dictate the better choice. 

Should I do a final walk-through?

We highly recommend to all of our clients that a final walk-through be performed before the settlement of the home buying transaction. The final walk-through shows buyers what condition they can expect the property to be in when they move in. It is beneficial to complete a final walk-through. The worst case scenario is that you’ve lost a few hours or your life 🙂

How long will it take to sell my home?

The average time frame for selling a home is 15 to 25 weeks, although many variables involved can prolong (or shorten) the process, such as market conditions at the time.

Should I order a home inspection?

Yes, a home inspection is most beneficial when purchasing a property. We at the Hawkins/Ryerse Group highly recommend doing a home inspection before purchasing, as it allows a buyer to hire a professional who will address any major and/or minor issues with a home before purchasing it. The findings in a home inspection will help you decide whether you are comfortable moving ahead with your purchase and ease your mind of any potential surprises you may not know about simply from a showing.

How should I prepare my house before selling it?

– Prep the Exterior
– Keep your lawn manicured and watered regularly
– Trim hedges, weed flower beds, prune trees
– Check the foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and crumbling Inspect doors and windows for peeling paint
– Clean and align gutters
– Inspect and clean the chimney
– Repair and replace loose or damaged shingles
– Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking
– Keep walls neatly cleared of ice and snow in winter
– Add colourful annuals near the front entrance in spring
– Re-seal an asphalt driveway
– Keep your garage door closed
– Apply a fresh coat of paint to your front door
 
Prep the Interior
Hire a professional cleaning service every few weeks while the house is on the market Clean every room and remove clutter. This will make your home appear larger and brighter. Remove items from kitchen counters and closets.
 
Remove all personal photos from the walls and patch holes where they were removed. Re-surfacing soiled or strongly coloured walls with a neutral shade, such as off-white or beige and apply the same colour scheme to carpets and flooring.
 
Checking and repairing cracks, leaks and signs of dampness in the attic and basement.
 
Repair holes or damage to plaster, wallpaper, paint and tiles.
 
Replace broken or cracked window panes, moulding or other woodwork.

HOW TO CHOOSE

How to choose a real estate agent

Do your research! Check in with family/friends, word of mouth is usually best, visit your local real estate agency and talk in person, or do online research. The agents you’re contacting should be available by phone, email, text and in person! In our opinion, it’s a major red flag if communication during your selection process is not good.

How to choose a real estate agent when buying

Ask family and friends who they have used for a realtor in the past and if they had a good experience. Know the neighbourhood you are looking in. Know your needs. Connect with a realtor that specializes in the area you are looking in. Interview a few before deciding. Online research. Know how working with a Realtor protects you. 

How to choose a good real estate agent?

Find an agent that specializes in the area you are interested in. Ask family/friends for referrals. Know your needs. Choose someone you feel you can trust.

How to choose a real estate agent in Canada?

Be honest and forthright. Offer thoughts that will help others when considering using a Realtor.

COMMISSION

What is a fair commission for a real estate agent?

On average commission for a real estate agent ranges between 5% – 6% + HST.

What percentage do real estate agents make?

Real estate commissions can be negotiated, but typically run about 5% to 6% + HST of a home’s sale price. The exact terms of an agent’s commission vary from sale to sale and can depend on the region and firm they work for.

Community Questions 

Is Wasaga Beach a good investment?

From an investment standpoint yes, as Wasaga Beach is one of the fastest growing communities in Ontario.

Is Wasaga Beach a good place to live?

Wasaga Beach is a wonderful place to live. It is a growing community located on Georgian Bay offering one of the world’s longest freshwater beaches. Wasaga Beach offers an array of recreational activities, shops, restaurants, and business opportunities and is located conveniently just a short drive from Collingwood and a short drive to Barrie. It is a wonderful family-friendly community with a small town flare.

How far is Wasaga Beach from Toronto?

Wasaga Beach is approximately 1 ½ hour from Toronto by car.

What to do on Wasaga beach?

There are plenty of activities to do in Wasaga Beach, from swimming at the sandy, freshwater beach to enjoying area biking/hiking trails, visiting area provincial parks, camping, golfing, cross country skiing, skating, hockey, and shopping, dining and more.

How far is Blue Mountain from Toronto?

Blue Mountain is approximately 2 hours from Toronto.

Where should I live in Blue Mountain?

Blue Mountain offers an array of places to live. If you love to ski, many communities at Blue Mountain close to the ski hills. Snowbridge at Blue Mountain, Blumont, Monterra Estates, and Crestview Estates, to name a few. 
 
If privacy and acreage are what you are looking for, there are plenty of great areas in the Blue Mountains to find your dream home.

Is Collingwood a good place to live?

Collingwood is a fantastic place to live. Located on the shores of Georgian Bay, Collingwood is the perfect place to live, work and play. With a small town, family-friendly vibe, the town offers an array of recreational activities, a bustling downtown core with an array of shops and restaurants, a thriving business community. Just minutes to skiing, boating, golfing, hiking, biking, the Village at Blue Mountain, Scandinave Spa and more, Collingwood is a great place to live. 

Is Collingwood safe?

Collingwood is a safe place to live and offers a small-town charm that so many people are looking for. It has a strong sense of community and is a great place to live at any age or stage of life.

How far is Collingwood from Toronto?

Collingwood is located 1.5 hours from Toronto.

Why is Collingwood real estate so expensive?

Collingwood is a sought-after community to live in. With its proximity to Georgian Bay, the ski hills, Blue Mountain, private ski clubs, beaches, Wasaga Beach and recreation, many people choose to make Collingwood home for its lifestyle. Collingwood has a flourishing community of thriving businesses, the medical community, recreational lifestyle, promotion of self-care and offers a live, work, play lifestyle that so many people are looking for.

How far is Collingwood from Blue Mountain?

Collingwood is a 10-15 minute drive to Blue Mountain. 

What to do in Collingwood, Canada?

Collingwood offers an array of recreation activities and more. Located on the shores of Georgian Bay and just minutes from Blue Mountain, Collingwood offers some of the best boating, skiing, biking, hiking, golfing and more in the area. Collingwood also offers an array of shopping, dining and entertainment for all ages. 

Is Collingwood a good investment?

Collingwood offers a small-town vibe with a live, work, and play mentality. It is a family-friendly town with plenty to do for all ages. Offering four seasons of exceptional recreation and an array of shopping, dining, and entertainment options, Collingwood is an excellent investment.

What to do in Meaford?

Meaford is a quaint small town located in the heart of Grey County. Situated on the southern shore of Georgian Bay, the Municipality of Meaford is a fascinating, four-season destination that has it all.
 
Things to do in Meaford include great live theatre and concerts, fresh local food, unique shopping, nature at your doorstep, a beautiful harbour, and so much more.

Is Meaford a good place to live?

Meaford is a friendly, small-town community that will inspire you to want to move! Meaford offers affordable housing, scenic panoramas, sandy beaches, endless recreation opportunities, and thriving arts and cultural scene. Its family-friendly vibe and shared community spirit will have you wanting to stay. 

Is Meaford safe?

Meaford is a very safe place to live. With a small-town vibe and a strong sense of community, Meaford is a wonderful place to live at any age or stage.

How far is Meaford from Toronto?

Meaford is approximately 2.5 hours from Toronto.

Where is Stayner Ontario? Where is it in relation to Toronto?

Stayner is a place with a tiny population in the province of Ontario, Canada, which is located in Clearview Township between Collingwood and Barrie. Stayner is a thriving up-and-coming place to live because of its proximity to Barrie and easy access to the city of Toronto. Stayner is about 1.25 hours north of the GTA.

What to do in Stayner Ontario?

Stayner offers recreational activities, including hiking/biking trails, cross-country skiing, a short drive to Wasaga Beach, and a quaint downtown core with boutiques and restaurants. Short drive to skiing at Blue Mountain, the Town of Collingwood. Easy access to Airport Road.

How far is Georgian Bay from Toronto?

Georgian Bay is a 2-hour drive from Toronto on average.

What to do in Thornbury?

Thornbury is a quaint town located between Blue Mountain and Meaford. Nestled along the shores of Georgian Bay, Thornbury offers an abundance of recreational activities along with a lovely downtown with boutiques and restaurants to enjoy. Ski, golf, hike, bike, boat and more from this friendly small town community.

How far is Thornbury from Toronto? 

Thornbury is approximately a 2-hour to 2-hour and 15 minutes drive from Toronto. 

What is Thornbury like to live in?

Thornbury is a vibrant small town that offers a family-friendly environment with plenty to do for all ages. With an array of recreational activities, excellent schools, parks, a downtown core with lovely boutiques and restaurants, proximity to Blue Mountain, skiing, some of the area’s best golfing, boating, hiking/biking trails, and so much more.

Is Thornbury a good place to live?

Thornbury is a great place to live. With an array of recreational activities, excellent schools, parks, a downtown core with lovely boutiques and restaurants, proximity to Blue Mountain, skiing, some of the area’s best golfing, boating, hiking/biking trails, and so much more. Thornbury is a great place to raise a family or retire.