Satisfaction Guarantee

Satisfaction Guarantee

One of our goals at the Oldford Team is to offer you, as a Buyer or Seller, an efficient, informed, and smoothed process through the buying or selling of a home, land parcel, farm, or investment.  We put our money where our mouth is by offering most Sellers the right of termination of a listing contract from the day we start working together.  We want you to feel like The Oldford Team is earning your business, everyday!

Likewise, we don’t look to bind a Buyer to feeling ‘stuck’ working with The Oldford Team.  We work with Buyers under the premise that our service and knowledge should be good enough to keep you coming back for more.  We strive to earn a trusted and respected working relationship with a Buyer.  We won’t contract with you until we can all agree where, when, and for what goal we are working together.


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Buyer Information

 


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Seller Information

 


 Sample Forms

Looking to get a head start on understanding all the forms we will be reviewing together?  Knowledge is power, and understanding what you are signing is key to a successful negotiation and sale.  The Toronto Real Estate Board put together a ‘plain language’ starter kit in 2014 to enable you to get comfortable with the forms we will be using.  While the forms are tweaked and updated yearly, the basis remains mostly the same.  We will be reviewing all of these forms and providing detailed explanations when we meet with you.  For now, take a look, and call anytime if you have any questions.

Click on a form to download. You must have a PDF viewer installed to view these forms. Acrobat Reader is a free download available at http://www.adobe.com/reader.

Purchase and Sale Forms

Selling Only Forms

Buying Only forms


General Real Estate Information


More Content Coming Soon!

 

 




 

Buyer FAQ

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Why should I get pre-approved by a lender?

There are a few reasons.
Firstly, each seller asks their listing realtor to only bring buyers who are ready to buy. No seller is interested in cleaning, prepping, and vacating their home to show a buyer who is not ready to make a decision about a purchase.
Secondly, if you find the right property to buy, you might find yourself put in a position where you need to act quickly to secure it. The days or week it can take to get your financing in place may make the difference between the seller accepting your offer or someone else’s offer.
Lastly, you may have already met with a lender and received a pre-qualification, but did you get a pre-approval? Also, does your pre-approval apply to only certain property types? Read on to find out more…

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What’s the difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification?

For many lenders, a pre-qualification means a quick visit, usually in person, and probably a credit history pull. To achieve a pre-approval means to provide supporting documentation that the lender will need to verify any statements needed. For example, this might include pay stubs, letter of employment, notice of assessments, gift letters, proof of savings, proof of length-of-deposit times for RRSPs to qualify for the first time home buyer program, etc.
A visit for a pre-approval will also give you more time to discuss incentive programs with the lender such as purchase plus improvements, special property lending (acreages, hobby farms, church buildings, multi-units, etc) as well as first-time home buyer programs like RRSP programs, land transfer tax rebate programs, ownership splitting to take advantage of these programs, etc.

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I’ve been pre-approved, why can’t I buy that hobby farm?

Traditionally, a pre-approval is about you. In getting your pre-approval together, the lender is interested in your borrowing capacity and the paperwork that you can provide to prove it. Once you have been pre-approved and then you select a property to buy, the lender must also approve the property.
This is where the rules for a lending on different types of property start to diverge.

A lender may have stated that they will lend up to %95 percent of the value of the property, but what they may have meant to also say that the previous statement is applicable to single family homes on less than 5 acres and with no outbuildings and of a type consistent with the neighbourhood.
In our experience, many traditional lenders are not interested in lending on the value of extra land, detached outbuildings, or any unique structures (churches, schools, etc).

Thinking from a lender’s perspective, they want the property you are buying to have a guaranteed value for a 90 day re-sale in case of default. Since the lender typically never visits the property, it’s preferable if that value can be shown to the lender by an appraiser who obeys the lender’s desire to demonstrate that value through comparable property sales and active listings in the local area in the recent past.

On top of all of this, a lender’s approval may also be subject to approval by a mortgage default insurer like CMHC or Genworth.

Overall, it can be said that unique property provide for unique sale circumstances. Traditionally, the end result is the requirement for a higher down-payment than what it would take to buy single-family home on an acre or less.
The Oldford Team would be happy to assist you in learning more and point you in the right direction to talk to those who can help. Call or email us anytime to chat further!

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My lender wants an appraisal – what do I need to know?

Different appraisals yield different value estimates based on their intended usage.  You and the seller may have agreed on a value of the property, but the lender OR the lender’s mortgage default insurer of choice (CMHC, Genworth, etc) will want to make sure that they agree with your purchase price.  Here are some important points to keep in mind about appraisals: the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Talk to your realtor about what will happen if the appraisal doesn’t meet the purchase price – will you need more down payment?  Are there ways around it?  Every purchase is unique, and we can help you through it!

The Good

  • You will likely not have to pay for the appraisal.  Note that this is dependent on the property type and your qualifications to the lender, but most residential home buyers don’t currently pay for the appraisal.
  • Appraisal firms that work with lenders typically understand the time pressures of the purchase process and provide a quick turnaround for the lender

The Bad

  • Appraisers working for a lender are typically limited about the information they can use.  For example, if you are buying a unique property, it may be hard for the appraiser to find supporting documentation for your purchase price if the lender limits comparable property usage to 5 kilometres distance or sales less than 90 days old.  The lender may also exclude private sales from being used as comparables.

The Ugly

  • Appraisers working for a lender are may be limited about the parts of the property they can use for valuation.  For example, if you are buying an acreage or home with large outbuildings, the lender may instruct the appraiser to deduct their value from the market price.

What is an appraisal, technically? (source: Enns, MacEachern, Pace, Maloney & Associates Inc, Appraiser)

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Home Inspections – what do I need to know?

Will you be booking other inspections?  See the information about septic inspections, well inspections, oil inspections, wood inspections, and others (gas, electrical, etc).

Before the Inspection, plan some time off work as your attendance is strongly encouraged so that you can understand the full scope of the inspection and pick up on the recommendations that may not make it into the formal report.  A typical inspection will last 2.5 – 3.5 hours depending on the size and type of property.  Be sure to tell your inspector what to expect in terms of what structures are on site and how large they are. Most home inspectors are available with 2-3 days advance notice and typically work during any daylight hours including weekends. Home inspectors are also usually willing to begin an inspection before you arrive in case you are delayed by work.

At the start of the inspection, your inspector will review contract/scope of inspection/limitations/fees.  After you authorize the contract, the inspector will start.  At this point, they may have already inspected the property exterior before you arrived.  Inspectors will review the property room by room from the basement to the living spaces to the attic space.  Some will hand-write you a report on site while others prepare a digital report off-site which is emailed to you that night or next day.

During the inspection, don’t be shy about following and asking questions.  Remember, this inspection is for you!  The severity of issues the inspector notes are subjective to your willingness to do work at a property.  The home inspector may offer some great alternatives to remedy certain problems that otherwise may have gone un-thought of.

While the inspector is going around, this can also be a great time for pictures and/or room/window measurements.  Your insurance company will also often ask you for a home/outbuilding/deck square footage.  You can use this time to measure it out with the extra long measuring tape we will have with us.  Remember, this might be your last time on site before you become the owner.

At the end of the inspection, the inspector will likely perform a full review of the inspection results and focus on maintenance requirements.  While the inspector often makes themselves available by phone or email for further consultation after the inspection, this is your best opportunity to ask any questions.  As the inspector packs up, his/her payment is expected at this time.  It’s also good to check with us before you leave to make sure we have all the necessary measurements for you and taken any water samples, as necessary.

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Septic Inspections – what do I need to know?

Before the Inspection, plan some time off work as your attendance is strongly encouraged so that you can understand the full scope of the inspection and pick up on the recommendations that may not make it into the formal report. A typical inspection will last 1 – 1.5 hours, sometimes 2 hours or more, depending on the type and age of the septic system, soil type, and weather conditions on inspection day. Be sure to tell your inspector what to expect in terms of anticipated septic age and whether the property is vacant. Most septic inspectors are available with 2-3 days advance notice and typically work during any daylight hours; however, many of them do not work on weekends (there are less septic inspectors out there, so they get to be a little bit choosier).  Some home inspectors also offer septic inspections at a discounted rate if you do both inspections with them.  Most buyers will book the septic inspection for the same time/day as the home inspection.

At the start of the inspection, your inspector will review contract/scope of inspection/limitations/fees. After you authorize the contract, the inspector will start. Inspectors will start to probe the ground to find the tank and weeping bed for the septic and then dig up the tank lids and some (2-4) test holes over some of the weeping tile.  Depending on the inspector and their ‘style’ of inspection, they will try and offer you a practical review of the working condition of the system today as well as a potential, anticipated life-span of the system based on its type.

Septic inspections are not just for aged installations.  New technologies are constantly being used in septic system installation and evolving over time.  A ‘new’ system installed 5 years ago may now have different standards of installation because of problems observed in the life of previous installations.  Also, a 1 year old system can be trashed by too large a family or even a small family where one of the occupants is using heavy medication.

A septic system can be the single most expensive system at a property.  Most people deem it worth an inspection.  That being said, septic systems are also very resilient.  We have seen septic systems receive a ‘technical’ failure while then continuing to work for the next family for 10+ years without issue.  A good septic inspector should be able to fill you in on all aspects of septic systems while likely leaning towards a conservative estimation of life-span.  A septic inspector would rather tell you that a system will last 10 years and then have it last 20 instead of vice-versa.

At the end of the inspection, the inspector will likely perform a full review of the inspection results and focus on maintenance requirements. While the inspector often makes themselves available by phone or email for further consultation after the inspection, this is your best opportunity to ask any questions. As the inspector packs up, his/her payment is expected at this time. It’s also good to check with us before you leave to make sure we have any necessary measurements for you and taken any water samples, as necessary.

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Well Inspections – what do I need to know?

Each type of inspection that a you may perform (house, well, septic, oil, wood, etc) is completed differently. A septic inspection is a stress test of sorts your water supply system. In the past, most buyers were happy taking a bacteriological water sample, but the number of buyers doing thorough well inspections is rising.

A well inspection provides a snap-shot in time of the water system for the buyer. The inspection typically last 1-1.5 hours and consists of running the water at a set rate (gallons per minute) until it the water falls to the inlet pipe and ‘runs dry’ or until an hour elapses, whichever comes first. In addition, the well inspector will review the hardness and mineral content of the water as well as the operating condition of any water treatment system. You will likely not notice anything upon your return unless the water supply ran out during the inspection and the pump picked up some sediment. In this case, you may need to clear the aerator screens on your taps.

It is typically recommended that you vacate the property during the inspection. This allows the inspector to speak freely about the home to the buyer. The inspector is human, and he may make mistakes or assumptions that we can correct afterwards, but it doesn’t help the buyer or inspection process to have the seller monitor the inspection process. Also, the time the buyer spends at the property imagining their belongings and life in your property results in an appropriation of the property in their mind. It helps to seal the idea that they are definitely moving to your property.

It is helpful if you can have any well installation records, well upgrade, and any well system repair receipts available for us or on-site prior to the inspection. Also, it can be helpful if you make your well head accessible if it is covered or hidden by an ornamental structure. If your well head is underground, you don’t need to do anything.

Pre-inspection recommendations include checking your well head if it is above grade to make sure the well cap is secured and not full of cobwebs and bugs that might be falling into the well casing. If your well head is hard to locate, it may be helpful to have a little map/letter in the house prior to the inspection to help the inspector locate the well head.

Given the nature of the stress-testing of the well, it is not unusual for a well to reach its bottom within the hour even if this never happened during your occupancy. An hour of high flow water is typically more than a family would use during a whole day! Where is this water being discharged during the test? If there is a septic inspection happening concurrently, the septic inspector may ask to have it flow through the waste system to see how its flow is handled. If there is no septic inspection, the well inspector will usually discharge the water to the property’s edge with a hose.

Before you leave your property before the inspection, take one last look around and turn on the lights to welcome the buyers in to their new place. Just like a showing, no music or smells is best, and a plate of cookies will make everyone happy!

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Oil and TSSA Inspections – what do I need to know?

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Wood and WETT Inspections – what do I need to know?

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What is Title Insurance? Do I need it?

Title insurance is sometimes a necessity as required by your lender. The topic of title insurance often doesn’t come up in conversation until you are sitting in front of the lawyer with their pen pointing to the signature line to accept your title insurance policy. Learn a little more about what it is and what it does by following this link.

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Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) Inspections

Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) typically come to the forefront when working with a commercial property; however, an ESA may be also be needed or worthwhile for residential properties in proximity to commercial property, large multi-unit residential properties, or even institutional properties (churches and schools) that are being sold and having their use changed to residential, for example.

ESA investigations can be thought of as a multi-step process.  Phase 1 is information gathering, Phase 2 is testing, Phase 3 is remediation.  ESA’s could be triggered as part of due diligence in buying/selling a property, getting lending in place for a purchase, working through a rezoning process that requires a Record of Site Condition report, or other reasons.  Each Phase is typically increasingly costly and takes an increasing time to complete.  It is important to note that a set of ESA reports does not guarantee that you will obtain all knowledge of contamination of a property, but rather that you will mitigate unknowns through an information review and testing of sites of likely potential contaminating activity on a property.

  • Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments are typically triggered where there is a desire to have an initial risk survey performed that seeks to determine environmental risk and related issues associated with a property whether that be from the subject property’s use or the use of the property surrounding the subject property.  The completion of the report is non-intrusive to the property in that it is a research based report – nothing is physically done to the property.  The Phase 1 report process typically involves records review (chain of title, aerial photography review, ministry records review, etc), interviews (site managers, municipal officials, previous owners, etc), site inspections to identify sites of potential contamination and sites of potential impact, an information review/analysis, and the issuing of the report indicating the likelihood of contamination.  The report informs if contamination is likely or unlikely and will recommend a Phase 2 as appropriate; however, it does not guarantee the presence or lace of contamination.  The cost of a Phase 1 ESA can vary depending on the size of the property, but as of this writing (Winter 2015), the local cost can vary from $4,000 to $9,000.  You can view more information by following this link: Guide for Completing Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments.

 

  •  Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessments are typically triggered where there is known contamination or where a Phase 1 ESA report indicates the need for further investigation.  Phase 2 ESA’s are intrusive by their nature as their purpose is to investigate for the presence of contaminants and it includes site testing from specific areas of potentially contaminating activities (for example, under a fuel storage tank or out the back door of a building or around a floor drain).  An estimated cost for clean-up/remediation usually comes out of a Phase 2 ESA.  The cost of a Phase 2 ESA can vary greatly as it depends on the number of samples taken and the methods used to take those samples.  We have had direct involvement with Phase 2 reports that have cost between $9,000 to $20,000.  You can view more information by following this link: Guide for Completing Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessments.

 

  • Phase 3 Environmental Site Assessments are typically triggered once there is a desire to address any contaminants whether that means remediation/removal of the materials, containment of any contamination, or leaving a site as-is and conduct a risk assessment.  The cost of Phase 3 can vary greatly as it depends on the amount of contamination to be removed and how accessible it is for equipment to remove it.  Phase 3 can often involve removal of materials, more testing, more removal, more testing, etc.

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Thinking Ahead: What are some buying decisions I am making now that will affect me when I sell?

Mortgage financing: Did you ask what kind of penalty you will incur if you need to sell your property before the end of the term?

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Seller FAQ

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I want to know what my property is worth, can you help?

Absolutely!  The Oldford Team offers free market value evaluations for the purposes of selling, buying, estate planning, and more.  We offer this service to the local community such that we have an opportunity to meet and maybe help you when you need a realtor in the future.

Please note that free market evaluations result in you receiving a lot of information.  These visits typically last an hour to an hour and a half while we review the property (almost like a mini home inspection) and then review the results, the market, and special conditions with you.  At the end, you will receive a written summary of the anticipated market value and costs to sell.

If you are looking to get a market evaluation for the purposes of refinancing or to present to a financial institution, please call.  You may need assistance only provided by a lender approved evaluator.

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Why is my market value estimate different than my other appraisal?

Different appraisals yield different value estimates based on their intended usage.  Our goal is to reflect what we believe the market will bear for price given a reasonable time on market.  Other appraisals may have different targets in mind such as the following:

  • Other realtor appraisal:  Each realtor who is competent and knowledgeable about the area where your property is located will likely present you with the same evidence of property comparables that are sold and for sale; however, it is in the interpretation of that information presented that you will find the difference in accuracy of the market value estimate.  Does the realtor know of any new competition coming on the market?  What about private listings for sale or sold?  Have they been inside the comparable properties they are talking about?  Do they know the difference in feel from street to street?
  • Bank/Lender appraisal for a buyer:  The intent of this appraisal is the same as a market value estimate; however, the nature of the lender’s decision makers not being local means that the lender must place greater restrictions on their lending practices and what they will accept as proof of value.  Many lenders will tell their assigned appraiser to limit the amount of land to be appraised for residential home sales.  Likewise, they may instruct their appraiser to not value outbuildings.  Also, they may limit their appraiser to only use comparison properties that are within a certain distance or recently sold within 90 days.  The more unique the property that you are selling, the more difficult it may be for the appraiser to support the agreed upon sale price.
  • Bank appraisal for refinancing:  Over the decades we have seen bank appraisals veer from cautious to liberal depending on the willingness of the bank to lend money.  For example, in a tight lending market, they may under appraise to ensure there is minimal risk of lending too much.  In a loose lending market, they may be less restrictive in the practices and the appraisal may come in over market value with the idea that you are a good borrower who will repay and is at a low risk of default.
  • Insurance appraisal:   These can vary wildly, almost always trending higher than market value.  An often seen example is when a residential home has a large outbuilding.  That outbuilding may be worth $100,000 replacement cost to the insurance company; however, a buyer may only be willing to pay $50,000 unless the outbuilding is their main goal from the purchase.

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What is an appraisal, technically? (source: Enns, MacEachern, Pace, Maloney & Associates Inc, Appraiser)

Market value is defined as being “the most probably price which a property should bring in a competitive and open market as of the specified date under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeably, and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus.”

Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as of a specific date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby: 1) buyer and seller are typically motivated; 2) both parties are well informed or well advised, and acting in what they consider their best interests; 3) a reasonable time is allows for exposure in the open market; 4) payment is made in terms of cash in Canadian Dollars or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto; and 5) the price represents the normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special or creative financing or sales concessions granted by anyone associated with the sale.

The most probable price refers to a price, normally expressed in terms of money, payable for the property in an arm’s length market transaction. Market value is measured as the most probably price reasonably obtainable in the market at the date of valuation in keeping with the market value definition.  This estimate specifically excludes an estimated price inflated or deflated by special terms or circumstances such as unique financing, sale and leaseback arrangements, special considerations or concessions granted by anyone associated with the sale, or any element of special value.

Should bring refers to the fact that the market value of land is estimated amount rather than a predetermined or actual sales price.  It is the price at which the market expects a transaction should be completed on the date of valuation, meeting all other elements of the market value definition.

Competitive and open market means that the property would be marketed in the most appropriate manner to obtain a sale at the best price reasonably obtainable in accordance with the market value definition. The length of marketing time may vary with market conditions but must be adequate to allow the asset to be brought to the attention of an adequate number of potential purchasers. The marketing period always occurs prior to the valuation date.

A seller who is typically motivated is neither over eager nor is a forced seller who is prepared to sell at any price. Nor is a willing seller one who is prepared to hold out for a price not considered to be reasonable in the current market.  The seller is motivated to sell the asset at market terms for the best price attainable in the open market and after property marketing whatever the price may be. The factual circumstances of the actual landowner of the subject property are not a part of this consideration because the willing seller is hypothetical.

A buyer who is typically motivated is one who is motivated but is not compelled to buy. The buyer is not over eager nor determined to buy at any price. The buyer is one who purchases in accordance with the realities of the current market and with current market expectations rather than the imaginary or hypothetical market that cannot be demonstrated or anticipated to exist. The assumed buyer would not pay a premium or a higher price than the market requires. A appraiser must not make unrealistic assumptions about market conditions or assume a level of market above that which is reasonably obtainable.

Market value also assumes an arm’s length transaction, which is between parties who do not have a particular or special relationship that may take the price level atypical of the market.  The market value transaction is assumed to be between unrelated parties that are acting independent of one another.

Market value also assumes that the parties had acted knowledgably and prudently.  This means that both the buyer and seller are reasonably informed about the nature and characteristics of the asset, its actual and potential uses and the state of the market as of the date of valuation. Each is further presumed to act for their self-interest with that knowledge and to prudently seek the best price for their respective positions in the transaction. Prudence is assessed by referring to the state of the market at the date of the valuation and not with the benefits of hind-sight at some later date.

Exposure time is the length of time the subject would have been exposed for sale in the market had it sold at the market value concluded in this analysis as of the date of this valuation. A definition of market value is also not complete without an indication as to the estimate of exposure time linked to the value estimate. The exposure time estimated for the subject is found later in the report together with the final estimate of market value.

Market Value and Fair Value. It should be noted here that market value (an appraisal and economic term) is not necessarily “fair value” (an accounting term.)

Current, Prospective and Retrospective Appraisals. A current appraisal refers to an appraisal with an effective date contemporaneous with the date of the report, at the time of the inspection or at some other date within a reasonably short period from the date of inspection when market conditions have not or are not expected to have changed.  It is important for the client to realize that the final estimate of market value e at a particular date is after an exposure time that is always presumed to have preceded the effective date of the appraisal.
A prospective appraisal is an estimate of future value wherein the effective date is after the date of the report.
A retrospective value opinion, on the other hand, refers to an effective date that is prior to the date of the report.

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What should I expect for our first meetings?

Once you and the Oldford Team partner that you spoke with have arranged a time to get together, you should budget 1 to 4 hours for your meeting depending on what you would like to accomplish.

Many sellers want to meet and greet so that you can get a sense of who we are in person and what we can offer you for services before you take a day or more to reflect on the information we provided and then make a separate appointment to put your property for sale. A visit like this usually lasts 60 to 90 minutes. We take the time during this initial visit to do a ‘mini-inspection’ of sorts on your property so that when we sit together, we can try and eliminate the possibility of surprises later in the sale process. During our visit, we will review with you the market conditions, the Oldford Team’s marketing strategy, recent properties that have sold that are similar to yours, properties that will act as competition to yours that are currently for sale, any special circumstances to the sale process, arrive at a recommendation for an estimated sale price, and answer any and all questions you might have about real estate.

During our second meeting, or as a continuation of the first part of our meeting, we will put the property up for sale by completing the appropriate legislative and administrative documents. If you are ready, we will have professional photography equipment ready for pictures or we can book for a return visit. This part of our visit usually lasts an hour and a half to two hours. Here is a list of items that would be helpful to have at the ready for the listing appointment:

Needed Documents

  • Spare key for the house/garages/barns on the property.
  • Most recent final tax bill.
  • Individual identification for all signatories.

Desired Documents

  • Survey or diagram of the property.
  • Summary of utility costs for a year (hydro, natural gas, water & sewer, propane, oil, wood, etc) and the name of the companies provide the utility.
  • If oil or wood heat, the most recent inspection report for your system (TSSA or WETT) if possible.
  • Rental equipment and cost and provider. Also, a copy of the contract, if possible.
  • Leased equipment and cost and provider. Also, a copy of the contract, if possible.
  • Internet provider
  • Cable provider
  • Plans or drawings of the home
  • Any warranties or receipts for recent work (shingles, furnace, windows, septic pumping, etc).
  • Well drilling record.
  • Water test result if recent.
  • Septic installation record and latest septic pumping receipt.

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Where do we advertise and how do we go beyond traditional advertising?

What sets us apart beyond the traditional advertising venues below?

Every Realtor can tell you they advertise in the best way for your property, but make the comparison, and we think you will agree that The Oldford Team can reach out to more people.

Below, you’ll see that we make every attempt to stay ahead of the curve of local Realtors by engaging in multiple, significant web-portals and their feed sites as well as social media engagement and search-engine advertising.  We also continue with the traditional venues of local newspapers, gas station/grocery store real estate publications, and brand touch points ranging from highway signage to community sponsorship.

Above all of this though, the most often cited reason for receiving a buyer inquiry, in the words of buyers, is that “..we see The Oldford Team everywhere!”

It is through our increased connections with the buying public and with their realtors that we can bring sales that would have otherwise been missed.  Even if a buyer is not calling about your property specifically, you can be assured that our team will be looking for ways to introduce them to it.  Likewise, through our years of working with other realtors while keeping a good reputation, we have earned the ability to guide our Realtor colleagues to houses that they or their buyer clients may not have picked out themselves.

Internet

To be honest, there is no better place for your property to find its advertising home than on the internet.  From the massive website recognition of www.mls.ca/www.realtor.ca and www.royallepage.ca across Canada and Internationally to the more local OttawaRealEstate.org and our ever growing www.oldford.ca, your property will feed from these sites to the more recent upstart sites and the social media venues for real estate.  We are continually upgrading our web offerings – from social media and Youtube channels to complete web-site revamps, we want to be your ever growing real estate partner on the web.

With the paramount importance of internet advertising and picture/video presentation being so important, we are also always looking at ways to be show your property.  From enhanced HDR photography to video tours to aerial drone tours, let us help you show your property to the best of its ability!

Internet locations

Newspapers, Road signage, & Touch Points

“…We see The Oldford Team everywhere!”  Well, it’s not by accident.  With the relatively larger advertising budget that our team accesses, we maintain traditional advertising venues in addition to internet presence.  We strongly believe these extra touch-points allow The Oldford Team and your property to have increased connections with the buying public and with their realtors that would have otherwise been missed.

It’s often been said that it takes many connections with a brand before a buyer wants to engage with it (see the Effective Frequency article on Wikipedia).  Through our increased expenditure on touch points/impact points, The Oldford Team talks to more people.  Even if a buyer is not calling about your property specifically, you can be assured that our team will be looking for ways to introduce them to it.

See more touch points here and here!

Touch point locations

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What happens when I list my property?

To assure you that your property is marketed to its fullest potential and to obtain the highest possible market value, we have detailed an effective marketing plan from start to finish.

  • Carefully evaluate your home and its competition and current market conditions
  • Prepare a Comparative Market Analysis to establish fair market value
  • Prepare listing contract
  • Prepare seller disclosure statement
  • Enter listing in the MLS system
  • Take photos of property
  • Place For Sale Sign on property
  • Place lock box on property, if needed
  • Inform each salesperson in my brokerage of this new listing
  • Schedule property for Brokerage and MLS tours
  • Prepare and submit advertisement to newspaper
  • Make listing available to internet web sites
  • Hold open houses
  • Arrange showings for other agents
  • Pre-qualify potential buyers
  • Review list price based on agent feedback and market condition
  • Provide a weekly market activity report
  • Present and review all offers with you
  • Negotiate the transaction on your behalf
  • Finalize the closing
  • Provide references for qualified moving and relocation services

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I want to try listing my property for a price I know is kind of high – what’s the pro/con?

Sellers often ask us, “Can’t we just try it at this price? Can’t we at least test the market we a high list price? What’s the harm?”

The Oldford Team, as your real estate professionals, are immersed in the market every day and have experienced-based knowledge to help us know the market value of your property. We will be the first to root for you if the exact right buyer arrives and pays a high price for your property – it might happen…maybe.

The problem with an inflated asking price as a starting point for a listing is that your property will never again garner the same amoutn of buyers’ attention as its first day on the market.  Some buyers who might be interested in the house will never bother to look at it because they think it is out of their price range. At the same time, the house will not compare favourably with homes in the same price range that have been priced at their market value.

When you list a home that’s worth $299,000 for $325,000, the person who comes to look at it is comparing it to other homes on the market for $325,000. The people looking to buy a $299,000 home are not looking at yours because it’s out of their price bracket.  You are being seen by the people that don’t want your offering, and the people that do want to see your property are not getting to see it because it doesn’t meet their search criteria. This is especially important because the public and Realtors do their searches, on the internet, by price range. If you are overpriced, property will not show up in the search results.   Click here to see more information about realtor.ca price brackets and how they work.

Once a property has been on the market for weeks, you may decide to adjust the price depending on feedback only to find that time is not all that’s been lost. When a property has been on the market for a period of time, the price often starts to be reduced. Every buyer asks, “Why has it been on the market so long? What’s wrong with it?” We say nothing – the seller just decided to start with a high list high. A buyer will often react with a question of “If they’ve dropped now, I wonder what the bottom is?!”

When the market is good and prices are increasing over time, some sellers will decide to wait until the market catches up with their asking price and remove their homes from the market in the meantime.

The sellers we work with choose an asking price with our recommendations in mind that we have given to them in advance. We let them know that you, as seller, are the boss.  Your are in charge, but you have hired us to be your guide and counsel and to give you professional advice on the market and its fluctuations. Sometimes, if you wish to ask higher than our suggested range, we will ask you to sign a letter stating that you have opted to start at a price that was not recommended by our professional evaluations. If a property has been listed for at least 3 weeks without any offers its time to re-evaluate the asking price.  When we visit with you, we will explain why 3 weeks is an important time consideration.

If nobody is showing your property during a time that other sellers properties are being view, that is an indication that the buyer pool and Realtor community have not accepted the product/price combination that is being offered.

Every seller needs helpful information. Nobody wants to feel like they are getting less then full market value.
As Real Estate Professionals, we TELL you what you NEED to hear, not what you WANT to hear!  Let’s work together to make sure you have a clear understanding of the market so that you can lead the charge to achieving your goal!

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What is a MLS or realtor.ca price bracket that you talk about?

On the most popular site for property search in Canada, www.realtor.ca, properties can be viewed by zooming in on a map or searching for neighbourhood names amongst other options such as type of property (waterfront, agricultural, etc).  It the greater Ottawa’s rural areas, many buyers are not particular about living South, West, or East of the city.  The primary goal is commute distance.  In fact, you can see the price of a home drop for every kilometer of distance from Ottawa.

Given a typical buyer’s large geographic search area, their search will often include a list price criteria refinement.  At the time of this writing, and historically, the search resolution for pricing is in $25,000 increments.  This means if a buyer limits their search to $200,000 and your are priced at $201,000, they don’t see your property.

These brackets are not the end-all, be-all, but they are an important consideration when choosing your property’s list price.  We will be happy to tell you more when we visit your property for a complementary market evaluation.

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What are you doing at the Oldford Team to sell my property after I list it for sale?

One of the most often voiced complaints from clients working with Realtors is the lack of communication. While The Oldford team is working furiously to ensure every marketing opportunity is available to you, we strive to keep you in the loop. Unfortunately, you only get to see the top of the iceberg.

Your property may get 100’s of internet views for each email or call received. It may take dozens of calls before a showing. It make dozens of showings before a buyer chooses your property. To help make the process transparent, here’s a typical day as we work for you:

Morning 6:30-10:00 a.m.
  • Wake up to the calls from farmers, shift workers, and early risers
  • Answer the day’s first emails
  • Talk to lawyers and township officials about zoning and community developments that may affect local properties
  • Talk to banks, mortgage brokers, and appraisers to schedule appointments for them and get updates on files
  • Talk to relocation companies about buyers coming to the area
Day 10:00-5:00 p.m.
  • Distribute advertising to internet sites, social media, and newspaper style publications
  • Improve our marketing by looking into new venues and new technology advances in current venues
  • Re-evaluate market conditions for our current clients to be able to advise them of market changes
  • Book showings for Realtor colleagues
  • Connect with Realtor colleagues for feedback
  • Connect with Realtor colleagues to give further information
  • Connect with Realtor colleagues to tell them about new listings
  • Update seasonal photography
  • Finalize closing arrangements with clients
Evening 5:00-10:00 p.m.
  • Meet with clients after their work hours for offer presentation, listing amendments, etc
  • Book last bath of showings
  • Answer last calls and emails

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Open Houses – yes or no?

The Oldford Team wants to help you examine every marketing opportunity for your property. Some work better than others. Here is our opinion about open houses in rural areas formed by over 30 years of hosting them.

Statistically, open houses account for less than 1% of the sales in the real estate market overall. This number drops even more in rural areas. We find it can be best summed up by saying that if someone is interested in your property, they are not going to wait for the open house. They call and book the appointment to have a private viewing at a time suitable to them – wouldn’t you do the same? Again, this is especially true in rural areas where there is a lack of secondary properties having open houses for buyers to check out on the open house day after driving out to view your property. The result is little turn-out from qualified buyers (who usually book a private viewing) and little turn-out from unqualified buyers (who are usually the ones accounting for the volume through an open house).
In a more populated area, open houses can sometimes generate substantial traffic due to the ability for buyers to open-house-hop in a neighbourhood. Our experience with open houses in these areas is that it is a great way for us to meet future buyers; however, the ones that are currently qualified and ready to buy are usually showing up with their realtor – the open house just happened to fit their viewing times of other houses on that day, and they would have booked a private viewing if that had not been the case.

Before the Internet became such a dominating presence in real estate sales, open houses were much more effective. People used to come in and say, “I’m looking for a three bedroom home in this area for this price range, can you help me?”. They were blind to other option until the Internet came about. Now, people use the Internet as their open house every day.

A further difficulty we face in hosting open houses that do generate traffic (for example, a listing in South Ottawa or a rural waterfront property on a sunny Summer weekend) is that the common perception visitors arrive with is they will be allowed to wander through your house at their leisure. Recommendations made through our real estate governing bodies and lessons learned have lead to ‘best practices’ being implemented to minimize possibilities of theft and damage during an open house. The result is that unless we are instructed otherwise by a seller, open houses are now conducted by only having one potential buyer viewing the interior per licensed realtor accompanying them at the property at any given time only once the visitor has registered by giving their name and contact information. This works well when everyone shows up in an orderly manner and is comfortable giving out contact information, but as soon as we get multiple people arriving at once and asking them to wait, the interactions can get tricky. We remember an open house we did in Ottawa in the late 2000’s. We were three realtors hosting and had over 30 people come in & out over two hours. Not one of them was ready to buy the house, let alone any house – they just weren’t serious about being that far along in the buying process. The property sold the next day to someone who booked a private viewing the next morning.

In summary, open houses are not a marketing device that we feel hold a net value benefit for a seller in this area. We put open houses in a similar value bracket as advertising houses through Kijiji classified ads (see here for more info about Kijiji and how they work better for some properties than others). If this becomes a deal breaker for you, let us know, and we will do our best to accommodate. We are glad to host an open house by special request. In fact, we are glad to explore any and all marketing opportunities that may be of interest to you, above and beyond our current marketing venues.

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What about Kijiji or similar sites?

Every marketing venue yields different levels of success for different types of properties. Realtor.ca is often the dominate advertising source because it is the number one location that home buyers think to visit when shopping for their next home. Unique properties (churches, schools, etc), commercial properties (auto shop, rural business locations, etc) and handy-man specials, though, can sometimes benefit equally from secondary sites such as Kijiji.

Some people like having their property on Kijiji because of the visible traffic counter. We have similar back-end counters for all of our current marketing venue websites as well; however, they are not visible to the public. We will gladly communicate the information to you as part of our regular market updates.
Interestingly, we find that most houses follow the same traffic pattern.  It’s hard to interpret the actual number too much, unless there is a total catastrophy with no traffic at all.  We believe the biggest reason for this inability to read into this data too much is that so many people browse housing websites even if they have no intention of buying.  As a result, we find that the numbers hold steady across all of our listings, even if there are many or very little showings.  The numbers, in general, do tell us a little bit about the general atmosphere in the market in that if everyone’s numbers are down, the market is softer.  We also see this same pattern available to us through the number of showings we are booking across the spectrum of listings that we carry.

We use Kijiji advertising for properties for which we think it is best suited such as properties that need a cash buyer (no traditional lending available), offer non-traditional living (church or yurt or off-grid), or in some other way differ from the traditional stock of housing (small business for sale, for example).  We can load your property by special request. The pro to this is that any exposure is good exposure.  The con is that we have yet to yield any good results from Kijiji for ‘traditional’ residential properties.  We believe, strongly, that if someone has decided to look for a house, their first stop is www.realtor.ca.  We make sure to post your listing through to other major websites including our national and regional Royal LePage sites because it seems that some buyers have an affinity for checking those particular sites.  Likewise, we have people who do say to us that they monitor our website regularly for properties in this area.  To a letter, though, they all also check www.realtor.ca.  Of course, we cover many other websites and paper publications, too, just in case.

In summary, Kijiji is available as an advertising venue to our clients by special request. We are happy to help you put your property on the site, just ask!

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How do we market to the Nation’s Capital community like politicians, professional sports players, etc?

As the largest real estate company in the capital area and holding the largest market share, we are in a unique position as a company to engage political arrivals as well as other Ottawa location-based arrivals such as hockey, football, and soccer players. Throughout Royal LePage Team, we are often helping these individuals buy and sell.

It has become a given that most of these individuals will be staying in Ottawa proper or gravitating towards the more traditionally well-heeled West end as in any city because there is always a thought in their minds about the ability to quickly sell when their time in the area comes to an end.

To maximize our potential ability to reach this audience, we believe that our inter-office marketing is key. The Oldford Team’s long experience in the business, our relationship with other experienced and successful realtors throughout the capital region, tight relationships with the Royal LePage franchise owners, and our regular position as a top 1% realtor team across Canada with Royal LePage for many consecutive years makes sure that we have a voice to be heard.

The goal of our efforts is to bring the rural areas South of Ottawa and its executive properties to the forefront and noticed as much as possible for these buyers.

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Home Inspections – what do I need to know?

Each type of inspection that a buyer may perform (house, well, septic, oil, wood, etc) is completed differently.  A house inspection is a non-invasive, non-destructive, visual inspection that provides a snap-shot in time of the property for the buyer.

A typical inspection will last 2.5-3.5 hours.  Often, a home inspector will show up 20-30 minutes in advance to tour the exterior of the property and examine exterior aspects.

It is typically recommended that you vacate the property during the inspection.  This allows the inspector to speak freely about the home to the buyer.  The inspector is human, and he may make mistakes or assumptions that we can correct afterwards, but it doesn’t help the buyer or inspection process to have the seller monitor the inspection process.  Also, the time the buyer spends at the property imagining their belongings and life in your property results in an appropriation of the property in their mind.  It helps to seal the idea that they are definitely moving to your property.

It’s also important to remember that an inspection is only a snap shot in time.  For example, a 15 year old oil-fired furnace at one house may be maintained yearly and have a long life ahead of it while another 15 year old oil-fired furnace at another property may be dirty, have clogged filters and oil nozzles, and be nearing the end of its life.  The inspector has to make the assumption, based on typical furnace lifespans, that both properties’ furnace are near the end of their expected life-span.  To help thwart these ‘snap-shot in time’ limited decisions, it’s recommended that you have warranties, service receipts, and any evidence of maintenance for systems for your home prepared and given to us, or left in your property, prior to any inspection.

Likewise, it is important to have all components of the property operational for an inspection.  For example, any pilot lights should be lit for gas fireplaces/stoves.  Attic access hatches, crawl-space entry hatches, electrical panels, etc should all have clear and unimpeded access.

Pre-inspection recommendations include leaving out all appropriate documentation, having a fresh furnace filter in place, having clean Heat Recover Ventilator(HRV)/Air exchanger filters, having clean water system filters, etc.  Be careful while preparing for an inspection if you are on well and septic, though, as you don’t want to burden those systems pre-inspection (see here for information about well inspections and septic inspections).  Lastly, make sure your sump pit pump float is working and set at an adequate level such that there is not too much water in the pit.

Before you leave your property before the inspection, take one last look around and turn on the lights to welcome the buyers in to their new place.  Just like a showing, no music or smells is best, and a plate of cookies will make everyone happy!

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Septic Inspections – what do I need to know?

Each type of inspection that a buyer may perform (house, well, septic, oil, wood, etc) is completed differently. A septic inspection is a mildly-invasive, mildly-destructive, interactive inspection that provides a snap-shot in time of the sewage system for the buyer.  The inspection is slightly invasive and destructive in that a septic inspector will typically be digging up the tank lids and digging 2-4 test holes over the weeping tile.  With good inspectors, a tarp is often used to limit the spread of dirt.   Nevertheless, your lawn will likely be a little different than when you left.

A typical inspection will last 1 – 1.5 hours, sometimes 2 hours or more, depending on the type and age of the septic system, soil type, and weather conditions on inspection day.  Most buyers will book the septic inspection for the same time/day as the home inspection.

It is typically recommended that you vacate the property during the inspection. This allows the inspector to speak freely about the home to the buyer. The inspector is human, and he may make mistakes or assumptions that we can correct afterwards, but it doesn’t help the buyer or inspection process to have the seller monitor the inspection process. Also, the time the buyer spends at the property imagining their belongings and life in your property results in an appropriation of the property in their mind. It helps to seal the idea that they are definitely moving to your property.

It is helpful if you can have any septic installation records, septic pumping receipts, and septic system repair receipts available for us or on-site prior to the inspection.  Also, it can be helpful if you mark the location of the septic tank lids, especially if hidden under a deck or walkway.

Pre-inspection recommendations include using minimal water in the days leading up to the inspection.  Too often, we see sellers doing lots of laundry and cleaning on the day before inspections to that the house will be clean and welcoming for the buyer.  All the while, they are over-burdening their septic system with excess water.

Remember, from a buyer’s eyes, a septic system can be the single most expensive system at a property. Most buyers deem it worth an inspection.  Septic inspections are not just for aged installations.  New septic system technologies are constantly evolving, and a ‘new’ system installed 5 years ago may now have different standards of installation because of problems observed during the life of previous installations. Also, a 1 year old system can be trashed by too large a family or even a small family where one of the occupants is using heavy medication.  That being said, septic systems are also very resilient. We have seen septic systems receive a ‘technical’ failure while then continuing to work for the next family for 10+ years without issue. A good septic inspector should be able to explain to a buyer all all aspects of septic systems; however, the inspector will likely lean towards a conservative estimation of life-span. A septic inspector would rather tell a buyer that a system will last 10 years and then have it last 20 instead of vice-versa.

In general, septic inspectors are looking for high & dry installations in a bed of high-draining  gravel/sand with no breakages in the physical components of the system (tank, weeping pipes, etc) and no evidence of over-saturation of the soil around the pipes with bio-mass.  Interested in learning more about septic systems?  The local conservation authority has a good set of four information videos here.  Note that septic inspectors also like to see reductions in water quantity going to a septic.  Low-flow fixtures are good.  A sump pump hose or a water softener hose going to a septic system is a big no-no for a septic inspector.  Re-route those ASAP!

Before you leave your property before the inspection, take one last look around and turn on the lights to welcome the buyers in to their new place. Just like a showing, no music or smells is best, and a plate of cookies will make everyone happy!

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Well Inspections – what do I need to know?

Each type of inspection that a buyer may perform (house, well, septic, oil, wood, etc) is completed differently. A septic inspection is a stress test of sorts your water supply system. In the past, most buyers were happy taking a bacteriological water sample, but the number of buyers doing thorough well inspections is rising.

A well inspection provides a snap-shot in time of the water system for the buyer. The inspection typically last 1-1.5 hours and consists of running the water at a set rate (gallons per minute) until it the water falls to the inlet pipe and ‘runs dry’ or until an hour elapses, whichever comes first. In addition, the well inspector will review the hardness and mineral content of the water as well as the operating condition of any water treatment system. You will likely not notice anything upon your return unless the water supply ran out during the inspection and the pump picked up some sediment. In this case, you may need to clear the aerator screens on your taps.

It is typically recommended that you vacate the property during the inspection. This allows the inspector to speak freely about the home to the buyer. The inspector is human, and he may make mistakes or assumptions that we can correct afterwards, but it doesn’t help the buyer or inspection process to have the seller monitor the inspection process. Also, the time the buyer spends at the property imagining their belongings and life in your property results in an appropriation of the property in their mind. It helps to seal the idea that they are definitely moving to your property.

It is helpful if you can have any well installation records, well upgrade, and any well system repair receipts available for us or on-site prior to the inspection. Also, it can be helpful if you make your well head accessible if it is covered or hidden by an ornamental structure. If your well head is underground, you don’t need to do anything.

Pre-inspection recommendations include checking your well head if it is above grade to make sure the well cap is secured and not full of cobwebs and bugs that might be falling into the well casing. If your well head is hard to locate, it may be helpful to have a little map/letter in the house prior to the inspection to help the inspector locate the well head.

Given the nature of the stress-testing of the well, it is not unusual for a well to reach its bottom within the hour even if this never happened during your occupancy. An hour of high flow water is typically more than a family would use during a whole day! Where is this water being discharged during the test? If there is a septic inspection happening concurrently, the septic inspector may ask to have it flow through the waste system to see how its flow is handled. If there is no septic inspection, the well inspector will usually discharge the water to the property’s edge with a hose.

Before you leave your property before the inspection, take one last look around and turn on the lights to welcome the buyers in to their new place. Just like a showing, no music or smells is best, and a plate of cookies will make everyone happy!

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Oil and TSSA Inspections – what do I need to know?

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Wood and WETT Inspections – what do I need to know?

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Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) Inspections

Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) typically come to the forefront when working with a commercial property; however, an ESA may be also be needed or worthwhile for residential properties in proximity to commercial property, large multi-unit residential properties, or even institutional properties (churches and schools) that are being sold and having their use changed to residential, for example.

ESA investigations can be thought of as a multi-step process.  Phase 1 is information gathering, Phase 2 is testing, Phase 3 is remediation.  ESA’s could be triggered as part of due diligence in buying/selling a property, getting lending in place for a purchase, working through a rezoning process that requires a Record of Site Condition report, or other reasons.  Each Phase is typically increasingly costly and takes an increasing time to complete.  It is important to note that a set of ESA reports does not guarantee that you will obtain all knowledge of contamination of a property, but rather that you will mitigate unknowns through an information review and testing of sites of likely potential contaminating activity on a property.

  • Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments are typically triggered where there is a desire to have an initial risk survey performed that seeks to determine environmental risk and related issues associated with a property whether that be from the subject property’s use or the use of the property surrounding the subject property.  The completion of the report is non-intrusive to the property in that it is a research based report – nothing is physically done to the property.  The Phase 1 report process typically involves records review (chain of title, aerial photography review, ministry records review, etc), interviews (site managers, municipal officials, previous owners, etc), site inspections to identify sites of potential contamination and sites of potential impact, an information review/analysis, and the issuing of the report indicating the likelihood of contamination.  The report informs if contamination is likely or unlikely and will recommend a Phase 2 as appropriate; however, it does not guarantee the presence or lace of contamination.  The cost of a Phase 1 ESA can vary depending on the size of the property, but as of this writing (Winter 2015), the local cost can vary from $4,000 to $9,000.  You can view more information by following this link: Guide for Completing Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments.

 

  • Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessments are typically triggered where there is known contamination or where a Phase 1 ESA report indicates the need for further investigation.  Phase 2 ESA’s are intrusive by their nature as their purpose is to investigate for the presence of contaminants and it includes site testing from specific areas of potentially contaminating activities (for example, under a fuel storage tank or out the back door of a building or around a floor drain).  An estimated cost for clean-up/remediation usually comes out of a Phase 2 ESA.  The cost of a Phase 2 ESA can vary greatly as it depends on the number of samples taken and the methods used to take those samples.  We have had direct involvement with Phase 2 reports that have cost between $9,000 to $20,000.  You can view more information by following this link: Guide for Completing Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessments

 

  • Phase 3 Environmental Site Assessments are typically triggered once there is a desire to address any contaminants whether that means remediation/removal of the materials, containment of any contamination, or leaving a site as-is and conduct a risk assessment.  The cost of Phase 3 can vary greatly as it depends on the amount of contamination to be removed and how accessible it is for equipment to remove it.  Phase 3 can often involve removal of materials, more testing, more removal, more testing, etc.

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