Frozen Status of the Great Lakes as of February 17, 2015



9 Things, For Sale By Owner Companies, don’t want consumers to know.

for saleBy Wes Hoover

1. They charge upfront (in most cases thousands). Agents don’t.

When it comes down to it, listing with an agent shouldn’t cost you a cent. I know you probably read that a few times. Agents don’t charge upfront, we only charge when results are provided. This gives you an advantage in more than one way. On the other hand I have heard of individuals paying upwards of $2,000 upfront just for a sign and a spot on a website, only to end up having their house listed and sold by an agent.

2. They aren’t held to any code of ethics.

Real estate agents across Canada are held to a strict code of ethics by CREA. They take the liability if something goes wrong. They are also held to higher standards in advertising and they have duties to you as a client.

3. Just because you’re a real estate professional does not mean you’re rich or overpaid.

This has been the fuel for many slanderous ad campaigns released by popular for sale by owner websites over the years. The truth of the matter is, if it was that easy and they got paid a “small fortune” to sell a house, everyone would get into the business. Selling homes is hard work. Agents often find themselves working for free and hoping to receive a commission.

Consider this situation: A buyer has his agent show him 30 houses over the course a month. The agent spends hours of his time to assist the buyer. The buyer decides not to buy. The agent has worked for free and lost money on expenses. This is a common situation.

4. They can’t put your home on the MLS system.

This system was built by Realtors for Realtors. No one is allowed to list a property on it unless they have a license to trade in real estate. These websites will just refer you to an agent (how ironic), often one from the other side of the country, to put your home on the MLS and nothing else. In most cases the listing won’t even be on your local MLS board, making it sometimes hard to find.

5. They actually petition agents to sell their houses.

After years of bashing the profession, certain for sale by owner websites are now calling on agents to come to their rescue, so they can take credit for selling homes. Tell me another business model where you ask your competition to do the work for you. This is really an admission of one thing – serious buyers go to an agent. Why? Because it will cost you nothing to buy through an agent.

6. They don’t have a real estate license.

This is something a lot of people do not realize. These so called “private sale” websites are just that. They are not licensed to trade in real estate or to give you real estate advice. They can’t even advise you on how to price your property because doing this would fall under an agency relationship and would be considered trading in real estate. That requires a license. These parameters are set in place to protect you, the consumer.

7. You pay them so you can do all the work.

Since these companies are not licensed to trade in real estate they are not permitted to represent you in a real estate transaction. This means they can’t answer buyer inquiries for you, show your home, host open houses, handle paper work, mediate negotiations, advise you on market conditions…and the list goes on and on.

8. Privates sales carry a stigma and uncertainties that make buyers uncomfortable.

Ever gone to view a private sale as a buyer? Then you know it can be extremely uncomfortable and limiting to view someone’s house with them in it. It can be even more uncomfortable to negotiate with them. On top of all this, private sales beg the question, why didn’t they use an agent? Is there something wrong with the house? If they are trying to cut costs now, did they cut costs/corners with repairs?

9. Agents don’t hate for sale by owners.

Wes Hoover webThese companies would have you believe that agents think FSBOs are ignorant. This isn’t the case. We get why you would want to go this route. It can be done, but just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Like many DIY projects you are putting yourself at risk. In this case you are taking a risk with the biggest investment of your life. It will not be an easy process.

In the end, in today’s buyers’ markets you need an agent who will work tirelessly for you to get your home noticed above the thousands of others on the market.  Just remember that limited service will always equal limited results and if it seems too good to be true, it is more times than not.

Wes Hoover is a sales rep with Moncton Area Homes Team, HomeLife Premier Property Group. 506-962-2522; Email; website

“0” Tax on Your Property

Ontario’s Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program

BP20If you own a piece of property that can be deemed as “provincially significant” you can apply for a Land Tax Incentive.  This program, if approved on your land, will exempt you from property taxes on that portion of your land deemed significant.  This is where we often get lands for sale with “0” or very little taxes.  To qualify you must agree to maintain your property as conservation Land and not carry out activities that would degrade, destroy or result in the loss of the natural values of the site.  Properties must be a minimum of 1/2 an acre.

The program runs on a year to year basis.  Once qualified, you will receive a notice each year asking if you want to continue your eligibility for the following year.  You must certify that the information that you provide is accurate, that you intend to maintain the property as Conservation Land and you authorize a representative of the Ministry of Natural Resources to enter your property, from time to time, to confirm.

If you have been receiving a tax exemption and the MNR discover that you are not maintaining as Conservation Land, you lose your exemption and the municipality can recover up to 5 years of taxes that were not paid.

BP1Only lands considered highly significant by the Ministry of Natural Resources qualify.  Lands that are eligible are:  provincially significant wetlands (often identified on your property with EH zoning),; provincially significant areas of natural and scientific interest (identified on your property as ANSI); habitat of endangered species (could be flora or fauna); and lands that come under the Niagara Escarpment Commission (identified on your property as Development Control).

I have this exemption on a piece of property and it’s nice not to have to pay taxes on it.  You can still use the land, you just have to agree to protect the designated natural heritage value of your property.

For more information click here:

Kathy Dimaline is a Real Estate Broker for RE/MAX Grey Bruce Realty Inc.  The comments on this Blog are the opinions, only, of Kathy Dimaline and do not constitute any legal advice or legal opinion and does not represent the interests or opinions of RE/MAX Grey Bruce Realty Inc., brokerage.

Drinking Water Safety

Only 4% of the earth’s water is Fresh, of that, 95% is ground water, and 5% is considered Surface water and NOT safe for drinking.  Ground water is surface water that has been naturally filtered through the ground, making it safe to drink.  Everyone deserves and wants safe drinking water at their residence.
On the Bruce Peninsula only Wiarton, Sauble and Lions Head have Municipal Water systems.  Wiarton charges $25.00 per month plus $1.45 per cubic meter.  Sauble charges $20.00 per month plus $1.32 per cubic meter plus an annual fee of $85.00.   Lions Head charges $525/yr plus $2.25 per cubic meter.  These numbers are based on 2013 rates.
All other residences and cottages have private wells.  It is the owners responsibility to ensure they have safe drinking water for their families, guests (including renters) and potential buyers.  A buyer may accept a property with less than satisfactory water quality but any potential mortgage holder will NOT.  A buyer may accept a property with less than satisfactory water quality provided they have been so informed and are aware of any risks.  Problems with a well, septic, or water quality and quantity should always be disclosed.  Such disclosure will help to protect a seller from future repercussions.
The Grey Bruce Public Health Department only tests private well water for “bacterial contamination”.  We are in a low risk area for “chemical” contamination, however, if you are selling or buying a gas station or a service station or a home or cottage near this type of business, it is wise to test for chemicals as well.  Public Health does not offer this service. has information on how to obtain private testing for “non-biological” parameters.
WatertestA bacteriological analysis tests for Coliform and E. Coli.  The Health Department recommends that you test your well 3 times per year and generally speaking you want a reading of “0” Coliform and “0” E. Coli.  Don’t assume that your water is biologically safe…the tests are free and worth your health.   Click here for Test Result Outcomes
In this area, Coliform is usually bacteria built up in the pipes servicing your home.  This bacteria can be built up through lack of use, ie:  if you come to your cottage only a few times a year, or from contaminated surface water that is seeping into your well.  E. Coli is the bad stuff which is usually human or animal waste.  These contaminants are not likely to be transported to your well through the water table or aquifer through natural flow, but likely conveyed through improperly sealed wells, unused wells, poor septic systems, or nearby farms leaching into the ground water.
It has been my experience, that most wells in this area test well.  However, it is important to maintain your well and your septic system to eliminate possible contamination.  Wells need to be 50’ from any septic system.  Receipt of  a test with E. Coli should indicate to you a problem with your system or a neighbours and this should be investigated further.  I would like to point, however, that you can easily contaminate a water sample by simple improper handling of the bottle.  That’s why the Health Department wants 3 tests to determine stability of the system.  Click here for directions on taking a water sample.
BleachThe Health Department recommends “shocking” or “disinfecting” your well any time a water system has been opened for repairs or if your first sample test has a Coliform reading.  “Shocking” the well simply means introducing chlorine (bleach) to the system to kill bacteria in the lines.  Click here for instructions on disinfecting your well.  If “shocking” the well does not result in a negative reading, ie “0” Coliform…don’t continue to “shock”…it’s time for a professional.  Call a plumber.   You may need a water treatment devise.  There are a number of treatment options depending on your water quality; filters, chlorine pumps, ultraviolet irradiation, ozone, etc.  Most common problems can be solved easily and inexpensively and will give you peace of mind in the future.
You can find further information on safe drinking water by clicking on this link.
Safe water is a privilege and a right.  Be safe, be healthy.
FACT:  The average Canadian household uses 350 litres of water per day, that’s twice as much as the average European household.*  Perhaps it’s because we have access to such an abundance of fresh water!
FACT:  The sale of bottle water is NOT regulated in Canada.  Bottled water may contain naturally occurring bacteria which, under improper and/or prolonged storage conditions, could increase in numbers to levels that may be harmful to health.*
* Public Health Department Safe Water booklet


Kathy Dimaline is a Real Estate Broker for RE/MAX Grey Bruce Realty Inc.  The comments on this Blog are the opinions, only, of Kathy Dimaline and do not constitute any legal advice or legal opinion and does not represent the interests or opinions of RE/MAX Grey Bruce Realty Inc., brokerage.