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A Realtor’s Oversight Became a Client’s Problem

Adrian Trott

A real estate agent in Milton recently called to inform me that his client was considering submitting an offer on one of our properties for sale. The property being considered was a detached, single garage home with three legal parking spaces –the importance of this is to follow. He told me that his client would pursue another property if we didn’t accept their offer. This is a common negotiating tactic. As real estate agents, our job is to determine whether or not they’re bluffing.

As our conversation progressed, I discovered that the other property was a larger home, and it was semi-detached with a single garage and two legal parking spaces. I also found out that the primary intent of this purchase was to finish the basement as an apartment, renting it out separately from the upper levels. This is what prompted me to write this blog.

Basement Apartments in Milton

In this particular municipality, Milton, Ontario, two of the many requirements for basement apartments include the property having at least three legal parking spaces, and the property must not be attached. If this buyer were considering the semi-detached house, the property would not qualify on both requirements –a critical oversight on behalf of the buyer’s Realtor.

Hiring a Professional Realtor

The value of having professional representation when transacting in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars, is priceless.

I cannot stress the importance of ensuring your Realtor knows what they’re doing. The value of having professional representation when transacting in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars is priceless. In this case, the buyer may have purchased an unsuitable home, perhaps even finished the basement as an apartment, and maybe even rented it out. However, if the Town found out, they’d be in for a big and costly realization.

Keep in mind that contractors will seldom say no to doing work on a house, and it’s not their job to know local by-laws or question your intentions. I have a client who reached out to us after finishing their basement as an apartment in a semi-detached home. They hired a company to excavate and add a separate, below-grade entryway, a costly feature! They did this only to find out that they couldn’t rent it out separately.

Just because your best friend or your Aunt is a Realtor does not mean they’re the right choice. Do yourself right by interviewing and researching multiple real estate agents.

Tips for Real Estate Investors

If you’re considering buying real estate for investment purposes, as this buyer was, here are some common questions to help you succeed:

  • Do the condo corporation and municipality allow short-term (Airbnb) rentals?
  • Are there minimum stay requirements for short-term rentals in this municipality or condominium? (ie. some require no less than 30-days)
  • What are the basement apartment requirements in this municipality?
  • Is the ‘basement apartment’ in the house I’m considering permitted and registered with the municipality?
  • What have similar properties rented for in the last two weeks to thirty days?
  • How long have similar properties been on the market in the last month before being rented?

Lastly, learn how to properly qualify and filter through tenants to find the right one. Investing in real estate can be rewarding, but it requires work and knowledge like anything.

 

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