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Who Knows What Canadians Want to Know?

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 28 May 2002 00:00

Since first-time buyers have no past real estate experience to fall back on, they have it the worst. However, even seasoned Canadian property owners may be stuck when it comes to knowing who to turn to for accurate information, not a sales pitch.

The following experts can provide impartial, knowledgeable services and practical advice relevant to a range of home-related decisions. Most professionals on the list below are backed by professional or trade associations that often provide local contacts and hiring tips. Some work for non-profit organizations, others operate businesses or work for large corporations. You may also discover a few innovative professionals offering brand-new or area-specific services.

"Buyer be aware" is still the best approach. Weigh free evaluations and inspections carefully since the donated service may include a hidden bias. In all cases, it is a good idea to ask what help any referring organization will provide if you have problems with the service provided or the experts involved.

  • Air quality inspectors assess interior air quality to identify problem areas and solutions for improving air quality. This is important for those with respiratory conditions or allergies. ( Also see PJ's April 9 article, "Canadians Unaware of Radon, a Silent Killer [ Canadians Unaware of Radon, a Silent Killer ]". )

  • Appraisers provide independent estimates of property value. Fees may differ with appraisal designation, e.g. AACI , CRA, MVA [bullet] Architects and home designers help transform living spaces to enhance comfort, home safety and real estate value. They can also assist with aging-in-place renovations or adding wheelchair-accessibility features. Their skills can help you get the greatest benefit from what you want to invest.

  • Building contractors and renovators estimate renovation practicality and cost. A contractor's advice is useful for assessing the feasibility of adding an accessory apartment or suite, renovating a home or dividing a large house or room into two units.

  • Energy-efficiency inspectors offer advice on reducing energy costs (heating and cooling) and improving home comfort.

  • Fire fighters and fire inspectors check homes for fire hazards and make suggestions on improving home safety. This service is usually delivered free as a community service.

  • Home inspectors with engineering credentials are able to determine the soundness of a building and evaluate the type and cost of necessary repairs and modernization. They are helpful in determining the extent and cost of renovations necessary and in evaluating property condition before buying.

  • Landscape architects and gardening consultants add value and utility to a property. They can transform an overly-demanding garden into a practical, low-maintenance asset or redesign entrance areas, patios and flower beds to accommodate baby strollers or wheelchairs.

  • Real estate developers and municipal planners analyze the possibility of developing your property to increase the financial return on the property or to combine accommodation for the owner with income-generating or saleable units.

  • Real estate professionals offer assistance selling and buying property, estimating market value, assessing renovation potential and arranging financing. They may also be helpful in investigating and evaluating alternative housing choices. Real estate brokers and salespeople offer many complimentary services. They operate under agency law and are legally obligated to provide more consumer support than "buyer beware." Copyright 2002. PJ Wade. Reprinted from "Your Guide to Caring for Your Aging Parents" (Coles Publishing 2001 ISBN 0-7740-0613-7) with permission from the author.
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    PJ Wade

    Futurist and Achievement Strategist PJ WADE is “The Catalyst”—intent on Challenging The Best to Become Even Better. A dynamic speaker and author of 8 books and more than 1800 published articles, PJ concentrates on the knowledge, insight, communication prowess, and special decision-making skills essential for professionals and their clients who are determined to thrive in the 21st-Century vortex of change.

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