Thursday, June 17, 2010

House Hunting 101: Learning About Different Homes & Terminology

After finding a reputable realtor (in our case Roy Eveleigh), deciding what type of place we wanted (e.g. townhouse, detached, number of bedrooms, etc.) and what our price range was, we were off looking at houses. 

The first house we looked at was in Richmond Hill on Church Street South near the Elgin Barrow Arena.  We looked it over on an open house one Saturday at the end of February.  We learned a lot about older homes in this area.  The main one was older homes tend to have lower ceilings in north west of Major Mackenzie Drive and Yonge Street area (Downtown Richmond Hill).   This house, after visiting the basement, was not for me as really the only thing I could observe down there was it had nice carpeting. 

During late February through March to April 2010 the housing market in our price range was moving quickly.  Literally we would see listings on, forward them Roy to book appointments.  The time would come to meet Roy to see the places, but we couldn't.  THEY WERE SOLD!  This was frustrating at times.  I believe that in at least one case we were viewing a house and it sold while we were still in it. 

When these appointments fell through due to the property being sold, Roy took advantage of it to book other appointments of houses we might like or to visit properties that were of educational value.   In one case we visited a foreclosure.  The property was located on Roseview Avenue also in the older part of Downtown Richmond Hill.  Roy promised we probably wouldn't be interested in the place but we should see what a typical foreclosure house might look like.  To say the least the place a several issues, everything from the under the kitchen cabinet do it yourselfer wiring for lighting to weird layouts on the second floor were quite evident.  Only one person knows if the renovations inside were up to code, the Chief Building Official for the Town of Richmond Hill!   By my novice eye, I doubted this property would have passed. 

Another interesting learning experience Roy took us on an open house with tenants still living in it on Nahanni Drive.  We left that place feeling sorry for the sellers agent.  The place was a mess and hadn't seen a vacuum or a little Windex in at least two weeks.  What a dump. 

In contrast we saw another home in north Richmond Hill that we actually thought about putting an offer in.  The place was immaculate and very well kept.  The only thing that stopped us in our tracks was on the listing it said it was "tenanted".  Even Roy was surprised that this place was being rented.  As first time homebuyers, as well, we looking for a place that was easy to move into.  Obviously renters were probably not interested in being forced to move out and we could see possible legal bills dancing in our eyes.  So anything tenanted were not interested in seeing. 

There was lots to learn on the home front.  We were glad Roy Eveleigh was along for the ride.  He was very knowledgable in different features of homes (i.e. he is pretty handy when looking at an electical panel).  We also felt comfortable asking him the usual "we are totally new at this..." questions to Roy.  These questions ranged from: "What is broadloom?" (Answer: carpeting that is not of the area rug nature); "What does 'PC' mean on a listing? (Answer: "Price Change").  Roy was very patient with us and answered are numerous questions in simple language with some examples. 

Learning ropes of the real estate industry while searching for a home was an experience in itself. It was great having an experienced real estate agent along for the ride.


  1. Mike Look for renovations that might have been done by the owner take a plug in ground fault detector and use it if you see new walls with outlets. The last thing you want to do is rewire a room.

  2. No worries Bill. Anything we saw with our Realtor that looked like a "do it yourselfer" we walked away. The place we did buy our Realtor liked.

    Bit of background: our Realtor has been on the property committee at my church (i.e. seen renovations done on an old 1800's structure and new additions)and has redone portions of his house a couple of times.

    Finally, we had a home inspection done. Electrically the place is in tip top shape. The only thing the problem really was a little bit of paint here and a few nuts tightened there.

    My father came along on the home inspection as well and gave the place a thumbs up as well. If he had any reservations I would have walked away from the deal.

    So no worries on the house I'm currently sitting in. But thanks for the suggestion on a ground fault detector.


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