Dan Petersen

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Real Estate Terms: RE/MAX Home Buyer’s Glossary

Home Buyer’s Glossary: Real Estate Terms You Should Know

The length of time allotted to paying off a loan – in home-buying terms, the mortgage. Most maximum amortization periods in Canada are 25 years.

Assessed Value
The dollar value assigned to a property by a public tax assessor for taxation. This valuation forms the basis for determining property taxes owed by the owner.

Balanced Market
In a balanced market, there is an equal balance of buyers and sellers, which means sellers often accept reasonable offers, homes sell within a good amount of time, and prices remain stable.

Bridge Financing
A short-term loan designed to “bridge” the gap for homebuyers who have purchased their new home before selling their existing home. This type of financing is common in a seller’s market, allowing homebuyers to purchase without having to sell first.

Buyer’s Agent
The buyer’s agent represents the homebuyers and their interests in the transaction. On the other side of the transaction, the listing agent represents the seller and their interests.

Buyer’s Market
In a buyer’s market, there are more homes on the market than there are buyers, giving the limited number of buyers more choice and greater negotiating power. Homes may stay on the market longer, and prices can be stable or dropping.

This is the last step of the real estate transaction, once all the offer conditions outlined in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale have been met and ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer. Once the closing period has passed, the keys are exchanged on the closing date outlined in the offer.

Closing Costs
The costs associated with “closing” the purchase deal. These costs can include legal and administrative fees related to the home purchase. Closing costs are additional to the purchase price of the home.

Condominium Ownership
A form of ownership whereby you own your unit and are interested in common elements such as the lobby, elevators, halls, parking garage and building exterior. The condominium association is responsible for building and common elements maintenance and collects a monthly condo fee from each owner based on their proportionate share of the building. Condos often have guidelines regarding noise, use of common areas and allowable renovations within the units.

A condition or clause in a real estate contract that specifies certain events must occur or certain conditions must be met before the contract is legally binding.

Curb Appeal
The visual attractiveness of a property when viewed from the street or sidewalk. It’s often the first impression potential buyers have of a home and can significantly impact their perception of its value.

Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI)
A financial metric used by lenders to evaluate a borrower’s ability to manage monthly payments and repay borrowed money. It is calculated by dividing an individual’s total monthly debt payments by their gross monthly income, often expressed as a percentage. A lower DTI suggests that the borrower has a good balance between debt and income, making them a less risky loan candidate.

An up-front payment is made by the buyer to the seller at the time the offer is accepted. The deposit shows the seller that the buyer is serious about the purchase. This amount will be held in trust by the agent or lawyer until the deal closes, at which point it is applied to the purchase price.

Down Payment
The down payment is the amount of money paid upfront for a home to secure a mortgage. The minimum down payment in Canada is five percent of the home’s total purchase price. Down payments of less than 20 percent of a home’s purchase price require mortgage loan insurance. The mortgage loan amount is the selling price minus the deposit and down payment.

Dual Agency
Dual agency is when one real estate agent (or real estate brokerage) represents both the homebuyer and the seller in a real estate transaction. There are limitations and requirements around dual agency, which differ by province.

The difference between a home’s market value and the amount owing on the mortgage. This is the portion of the house that has been paid for and is officially “owned.”

Fixed-Rate Mortgage
A fixed-rate mortgage guarantees your interest rate for a pre-determined amount of time, typically five years. When the term expires, you can stay with the same lender or switch to a different one.

Freehold Ownership
A form of ownership whereby you own the property and assume responsibility for everything inside and outside the home.

The legal process through which a lender takes control of a property due to the owner’s failure to make mortgage payments. Initiated after a series of missed payments, foreclosure ultimately results in the sale of the property, usually at a public auction, to recoup the lender’s losses.

Gross Debt Service
The percentage of your total monthly income that goes toward housing costs. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. recommends your GDS remains at or below 39%. Check out CMHC’s Gross Debt Service calculator.

High-Ratio Mortgage
A high-ratio mortgage is a mortgage where the borrower has less than 20% of the home’s purchase price to make as the down payment. A high-ratio mortgage with a down payment between 5% and 19% of the purchase price requires mortgage loan insurance. In Canada, 5 percent is the minimum amount required for the down payment.

Home Appraisal
A qualified professional provides a market value assessment of a home based on several factors such as property size, location, age of the house, etc. This is used to satisfy mortgage requirements, giving mortgage financing companies confirmation of the mortgaged property’s value.

Home Buyers’ Amount
This is a $5,000 non-refundable federal income tax credit on a qualifying home, providing up to $750 in tax relief to assist first-time buyers with purchase-related costs.

Home Buyers’ Plan
federal program that allows first-time homebuyers to withdraw up to $35,000 interest-free from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to help purchase or build a qualifying home. The borrowed amount must be repaid within 15 years to avoid paying a penalty.

Home Inspection
The home inspection is performed to identify any existing or potential underlying problems in a home. This protects the buyer from risk and gives the buyer leverage when negotiating a reduced selling price.

Home Warranty
A warranty that protects the homeowners against future problems with the home for a determined period of time. New home builders are required to offer warranty protection to homebuyers, such as Tarion in Ontario. Home warranty requirements and providers differ by province. Home warranty programs also exist for resale homes.

Land Survey
A land survey will identify the property lines. This is not required to purchase a home, but it is recommended and may be required by the mortgage lender to clarify where the owner has jurisdiction over the property. This is important if issues arise between neighbours or the municipality, should the owner wish to make changes in the future, such as installing a pool, fence or other renovations involving property lines.

Land Transfer Tax

This is the tax payable by the buyer to the province in which the transaction occurred upon transferring land. The amount varies depending on the municipality, land size, and other factors. Most provinces have Land Transfer Tax, though it may have a slightly different name (such as property purchases tax). If you are a first-time homebuyer, you may be eligible to receive a rebate, typically processed at the same time as the land registration, to offset the costs.

Low-Ball Offer
An offer on a home that is significantly below its market value or the asking price set by the seller. In a buyer’s market where supply exceeds demand, you might have more leeway to make a lower offer. When demand exceeds supply in a seller’s market, making a low-ball offer is generally not advisable as sellers have the upper hand.

Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
A database where real estate agents list properties available for sale or rent. It is a centralized platform allowing agents to share comprehensive information about listings, including photos, features, and prices. The MLS is often considered the most accurate and up-to-date source for real estate listings, and it provides the data for many consumer-facing real estate websites.

Mortgage Loan Insurance
If your down payment is less than 20 percent of the home’s purchase price, mortgage loan insurance is required. It protects the lender in case of payment default. Premiums are calculated as a percentage of the down payment, changing at the 5%, 10% and 15% thresholds.

Mortgage Pre-approval
A mortgage pre-approval helps buyers understand how much they can borrow before going through the mortgage application process. It allows you to make an immediate offer when you find a home since you know how much you’ll be approved for that lender and locks in the current interest rate for a period of time, insulating you against near-term rate increases.

An offer is a legal agreement to purchase a home. An offer can be conditional on several factors, the most common being financing and a home inspection. If the conditions are not met, the buyer can cancel their offer.

Transferring your mortgage (and the existing interest rate and terms) from one property to another.

Replacing an existing loan with a new one, typically to secure more favourable terms such as a lower interest rate. Homeowners often refinance their mortgage to reduce monthly payments, shorten the loan term, or access equity for home improvements or debt consolidation.

Seller’s Market
In a seller’s market, there are more buyers than there are homes for sale. With fewer homes on the market and more buyers, homes sell quickly in a seller’s market. Prices of homes are likely to increase, and there are more likely to be multiple offers on a home. Multiple offers give the seller negotiating power; conditional offers may be rejected.

Title Insurance
Title insurance is not mandatory in Canada, but it is highly recommended to protect both the buyer and the mortgage lender against losses related to the property title or ownership, such as unknown title defects, existing liens against the property’s title, encroachment issues, title fraud, errors in surveys and public records, and title-related issues that could prevent you from selling, leasing or obtaining a mortgage. Your lawyer can advise you on this.

The process by which financial institutions like banks and insurers assess the risk associated with a loan, insurance policy, or investment. Underwriters evaluate a borrower’s creditworthiness, the property’s value, and other factors to determine loan eligibility and terms. This risk determines whether the loan should be approved, and if so, at what interest rate and down payment requirements.

Variable Rate Mortgage
A variable rate mortgage fluctuates with the prime rate. Your monthly payments remain the same, but the proportion of your payment going toward principal versus interest can change.

Virtual Deals
The home-buying process completed using technology in place of face-to-face contact. Some common technology tools include 360 home tours and video showings, video conference calls, e-documents, e-signatures, and e-transfers.

Mastering real estate terminology and understanding the nuances of real estate terminology in Canada are critical steps for anyone buying, selling, or investing in property. Whether you’re navigating mortgage rates set by the Bank of Canada or simply trying to interpret the language of a property listing, a solid grasp of the terms used can empower you to make smarter decisions and provide you with the tools you need to navigate the Canadian real estate landscape with confidence.



Home Renovations

Now that the winter is here and we’re all inside more of the time than usual, you may be feeling that your home is a bit cramped. If so, you’re not alone. One in four people say they’ve outgrown their home.

This month I’m sharing some information on why and how people decide to renovate their homes. It could be an easy fix, like reconfiguring existing rooms or a much bigger project, such as building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or adding a second story. I’ve also included typical costs for these projects as well as the ROI. (Of course, costs will vary based on scope of project and location).

If you need a professional to help you with any home renovations, feel free to reach out and I’ll connect you to one in my trusted network.

Dan Petersen⁠
Re/Max Action Realty LTD.⁠
(250) 262-7496⁠


Important Update on 2024 Operating Budget: Property Tax Increase

The city is facing significant challenges, including extraordinary inflationary pressures, supply chain issues, and substantial interest hikes.

Tax Increase Details:
Property owners may see a 4.25% increase in the tax rate this year. Chief Financial Officer David Joy highlighted that this adjustment is essential to address major budget changes, including increased staffing costs such as salaries, wages, and benefits. Despite the increase, our city's tax rate remains lower than that of 59% of similar-sized municipalities.

Residential Property Owners:
With an average property value of $341,852, homeowners can expect to pay approximately $1909 in taxes this year, compared to $1,836 in 2023—an approximate $72 increase.

Commercial Property Owners:
Commercial property tax owners will also experience a similar situation, with an average commercial property paying an extra $741 in municipal taxes, based on an average property value of $926,026.

Budget Balancing Act:
To balance the budget, the city is exploring a combination of tax increases and utilizing funds from the Peace River Agreement (PRA). This strategic approach aims to ensure financial stability despite the economic challenges.

Why the Increase?
The tax increases are necessitated by major budget changes, including rising staffing costs. Salaries, wages, and benefits are expected to increase by over $2,548,000 compared to 2023. Additionally, there are extra costs for events like High on Ice, contributions to the accessibility committee, employer health tax, and more.

Stay Informed:
We understand the impact of these changes on our community. Stay informed, and feel free to attend upcoming council meetings or reach out to city officials for more details. Your understanding and support during these challenging times are highly appreciated as we work towards maintaining the well-being of our city.

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The Top Five Reasons Canadians Will Move In 2024

Discover the top 5 reasons why Canadians are making a move in 2024. From reuniting with family to finding that dream home, it’s all covered. Now's the perfect time to explore the unique opportunities in our thriving real estate market.

Connect with me for a coffee and discussion regarding your unique situation.

Dan Petersen⁠
Re/Max Action Realty LTD.⁠
(250) 262-7496⁠

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New property listed in Fort St. John - City SE, Fort St. John

I have listed a new property at 55 9203 82 ST in FT ST JOHN. See details here

This three bedroom two bath mobile bas needs a bit of a clean-up and its ready to move it. Less than 15 years old it has a vaulted ceilings, full ensuite, lots of natural light, nice easy-care flooring all on a large pie shaped lot in the cul-de-sac of the popular Courtyard.


January 2024 | Bank of Canada Rate Announcement

The Bank of Canada maintains its overnight rate at 5%, with a focus on restoring stability. Global growth slows, inflation eases, and our nation's economy faces challenges. Despite near-zero growth, a gradual recovery is anticipated in mid-2024.

Seeking a trusted mortgage broker to guide you through the financing maze? Connect with me, and I'll hook you up with an exceptional mortgage broker who understands your unique needs.

Unlock the door to your dream home effortlessly!

Read Full Report


Do you know someone moving out of the area?

Ready to make a move? Whether you're buying or selling, I've got you covered by being connected to the top real estate professionals nationwide. Know someone moving? Reach out to me, and let's make their real estate journey smooth and successful!

Dan Petersen⁠
Re/Max Action Realty LTD.⁠
(250) 262-7496⁠


Interest Rates | A Historical Perspective

Interest rates have always fluctuated, but on average have hovered in the 5-10% range for the past three decades. And industry experts believe rates will potentially fall to the low 6 percent range by the end of 2024. Connect with me for an in depth perspective if you’re contemplating buying or selling your home.

Dan Petersen⁠
Re/Max Action Realty LTD.⁠
(250) 262-7496⁠


How To Prepare Your Home For Winter

Winter is a season that brings along chilly temperatures, snow, and icy conditions. While it is a beautiful time of year, it is crucial to take certain precautions and make necessary preparations to ensure that your home remains warm and cozy during this period. As you take the time to prepare your home for winter, you can not only protect your property from potential damage but also create a comfortable and inviting space to retreat to during the coldest months of the year.

Essential Tips in Preparing Your Home for Winter

Heating System Maintenance

Schedule a professional inspection to ensure that your furnace or heat pump is in good working condition. Clean or replace air filters regularly to improve air quality and maximize efficiency. Consider installing a programmable thermostat to regulate temperature and save energy during winter. Additionally, ensure to stock up on sufficient fuel or arrange regular deliveries to avoid running out during the colder months.

Protect Plumbing and Pipe

Drain and disconnect outdoor hoses and shut off exterior water sources. Insulate exposed pipes to prevent them from freezing and bursting. In cold weather, allow faucets to drip slowly to prevent freezing. It is also advisable to know the location of your main water shut-off valve in case of emergencies. You may also insulate your water pipes if you’re planning to take a vacation during winter.

Check Your Roof and Gutter

Clean out gutters and downspouts to ensure proper drainage. Consider installing heating cables along the roof edges to melt ice and prevent the formation of ice dams. Inspect your roof for any damage or leaks and repair them promptly. Additionally, ensure the downspout is away from your home to prevent flooding and water damage. Installing gutter guards is a valuable investment as they can effectively keep debris out.

Ensure Smoke Detectors are Working

Smoke detectors play a crucial role in safeguarding our homes and the lives of our loved ones. It is essential to regularly check and ensure that these devices are in proper working condition. Here are a few steps to follow to ensure that your smoke detectors are functioning effectively:

  • Test the alarms
  • Replace batteries if needed
  • Remove dust and debris on the sensors
  • Check your smoke detector’s expiration date
  • Test interconnected smoke detectors

Ensure Proper Insulation

Proper insulation is crucial in keeping your home warm and preventing heat loss. Check for gaps or cracks in windows, doors, and walls, and seal them with weatherstripping or caulk. Insulate your attic, garage, and basement, as these areas are prone to heat escape. Protect your attic from pests that may seek shelter during winter by inspecting for entry points and placing a screen beneath any vents. If you suspect an infestation, it is advisable to contact pest control.

Emergency Preparedness

Stock up on winter essentials. Keep an emergency kit handy, including flashlights, batteries, candles, blankets, and non-perishable food items. Have a supply of rock salt or sand to melt ice on walkways and driveways. Consider investing in a generator to ensure a backup power source during potential outages.

Protect Outdoor Furniture and Appliances

Remove any dirt, debris, or stains that may have accumulated during the summer months. Once your outdoor furniture and appliances are dry and clean, consider applying a coat of protective sealant or paint to wooden furniture and rust-resistant spray or paint on metal furniture to protect it from corrosion. Additionally, consider using waterproof covers for your appliances to shield them from rain, snow, and ice.

If possible, store your furniture and appliances indoors for the winter months to provide the best protection against extreme temperatures and weather conditions. If indoor storage is not an option, try to find a covered area, such as a garage or shed, where you can store them. Make sure to elevate them off the ground to prevent moisture damage.

Final Thoughts

Preparing your home for winter is not just about keeping your living space warm; it’s about ensuring the safety, comfort, and well-being of your family during the colder months. A well-prepared home not only saves you money but also allows you to embrace the beauty and serenity of winter with peace of mind. So, as the temperature drops, take these steps to make your home a warm and inviting haven for the season ahead!



What's Ahead For The Housing Market?

As we start a new year, the real estate market is once again shifting. Many experts project that home sales will continue softening throughout most of the country due to higher for longer interest rates and lack of inventory.

Here is some information on the state of the housing market along with historical mortgage data to provide some perspective for the time we are in.

We will also look at the place we call home, and why Canada so often makes it into the top places to live charts.

I am always here to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to reach out any time!

Dan Petersen⁠
Re/Max Action Realty LTD.⁠
(250) 262-7496⁠