Safe Area, Buyer Backing Out, Improvements for Selling, Final Walk Through
Paint roller rolling black paint onto a white wall


Dear David,
How can I be sure that the house I buy is in a safe area? – Concerned Citizen

Dear Concerned,

An experienced Realtor can help in this regard as they have a working knowledge of neighbourhoods throughout the city. That said, there are other ways you can get a feel for whether or not a prospective neighbourhood is safe. If your home search is in the early stages, keep tabs on local news reports (or view them online) to get a feel for different areas. I would also recommend reaching out to the local police precinct for accurate and up-to-date information about criminal activity in the vicinity of a specific address.

Dear David,
We sold our house three weeks ago and just got word that the buyers may not be able to get financed. What do we do now? – In the Lurch

Dear Lurch,

Call your lawyer first. If the buyer is unable to close on the transaction, you will have to establish the best course of action from a legal standpoint. Second, call your Realtor. While the sales agreement you have made with this buyer is a legally-binding contract, it may be possible (or even desirable) to extend the conditions if that’s what is needed to keep the deal from falling apart. Third, don’t panic. While it may feel like your plans are being upended right now, your Realtor can put your home back on the market and sell it again, hopefully with similar results. In the interest of avoiding situations like this, I always encourage mortgage pre-approval for potential buyers.

Dear David,
What minimal improvements net the greatest returns when selling? – Budget Conscious

Dear BC,

Paint and de-cluttering are the quickest, easiest and least expensive ways to make your home feel larger, fresher and more welcoming. A fresh coat of paint can hide years’ worth of dings and fingerprints, making your home feel newer and cleaner almost instantly. If painted in a neutral shade, it may also help potential buyers to see your home as move-in ready rather than “a project”. Clutter reduction will make rooms seem more spacious, while tidy closets and storage spaces may quell concerns that your home lacks adequate storage space. The goal is to let potential buyers envision themselves living in your home. Rooms that look clean and spacious always appear more inviting.

Dear David,
What’s a “final walk-through?” – Eager Buyer

Dear Eager,

A final walk-through, arranged through your real estate agent, is done just before closing. Its purpose is to ensure that the seller will be releasing the property to you in the condition outlined by your contract, that agreed-upon repairs (if any) have been made, that fixtures and chattels (if applicable) remain in the home where agreed upon and that nothing has gone wrong with the home since you last viewed it. A final walk-through does not reveal any issues in the vast majority of cases, but this final step can help you avoid unwelcome surprises on moving day.