Transcript: How To Buy A Home, New Parents | Jan 23, 2002

(music plays)

A title appears inside the shape of a house: More to Life. Words spin against a red and orange background: Health, Family, Home, Money, Fitness, Life. Fast clips show images related to the previous concepts, such as a dollar bill, a wheat field, and strands of DNA.

In animation, the title appears inside the shape of a house: "More to life."

Then, Mary Ito sits in a studio with textured yellow walls and the logo of the show in the background, which reads "More to life."

Mary is in her late thirties, with short black hair and bangs. She's wearing a gray blazer and a patterned black blouse.

She says HELLO. I'M MARY ITO. WELCOME TO "MORE TO LIFE." IT'S A FUNNY RELATIONSHIP. INTEREST RATES GO DOWN AND PEOPLE START THINKING ABOUT BUYING A HOUSE. NOW, IF YOU ARE IN THE MARKET FOR A HOME OR MAYBE YOU'RE THINKING OF SELLING YOUR HOUSE, MAKE SURE YOU STICK AROUND BECAUSE WE'LL HAVE GREAT ADVICE TODAY. WITH ME IS REAL ESTATE AGENT KAREN MILLAR AND ALSO I'M JOINED BY LAWYER ALAN SILVERSTEIN. HE'S THE AUTHOR OF MANY REAL ESTATE BOOKS, INCLUDING HOME BUYING STRATEGIES FOR NEWLY BUILT HOMES.

Karen is in her fifties, with short wavy blond hair. She's wearing glasses, a purple blazer and a matching blouse.
Alan is in his late forties, balding, with a boxed beard. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit, white shirt and blue tie.
A picture of his book appears briefly on screen. The cover is yellow, with a picture of Alan on the cover.

Mary continues WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU TODAY. MAYBE YOU'RE WONDERING IF NOW IS THE RIGHT TIME TO BUY YOUR FIRST HOME OR MAYBE YOU NEEDED A VICE ON HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT AGENT FOR YOU. GIVE US A CALL WITH ALL YOUR REAL ESTATE QUESTIONS. THE NUMBER TO DIAL IN TORONTO IS...

A caption reads "416-484-2727. 1-888-411-1234."

Mary says WE WILL ALSO TAKE YOUR E-MAIL QUESTIONS AT...

The caption changes to "moretolife@tvo.org"

Mary says HELLO. THANKS FOR COMING IN. LET'S START OFF, FIRST OF ALL, KAREN, THE MARKET IS SO INCREDIBLY HOT RIGHT NOW, TELL US WHY.

Karen says MAINLY BECAUSE OF THE INTEREST RATES BEING SO LOW. IT'S AN OPPORTUNITY TO GET IN, ESPECIALLY AS A FIRST-TIME HOME BUYER.

Mary says WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WOULD HAVE SEEN THIS KIND OF ACTIVITY GOING ON? THIS ACTIVITY?

The caption changes to "Karen Millar. Real Estate Agent."

Karen says OH, I THINK IN THE LAST BOOM, SORT OF LATE '80s, UM, THERE WAS MULTIOFFERS AND THERE WAS A LOT OF ACTIVITY.

Mary says UH-HUH.
ALAN, DO YOU THINK INTEREST RATES ARE LIKELY TO STAY LOW FOR A WHILE OR WHAT DO YOU FORESEE IN YOUR CRYSTAL BALL?

The caption changes to "Alan Silverstein. Real Estate Lawyer."

Alan says THE RATES ARE LOW BECAUSE THE ECONOMY'S NOT DOING ALL THAT WELL. IF YOU TALK TO PEOPLE IN REAL ESTATE, IT'S DOING VERY, VERY WELL. AS THE ECONOMY IMPROVES, RATES WILL INCREASE. THERE'S TALK THAT RATES HAVE BOTTOMED OUT OR CLOSE TO BOTTOMING OUT. YOU MAY SEE HIGHER RATES LATER ON DURING THE YEAR. IF YOU'RE THINKING OF BUYING YOUR FIRST HOME, GET PREAPPROVED, IT DOESN'T COST YOU ANYTHING, IT'S NO COMMITMENT, BUT IT HOLDS THE RATE, DEPENDING ON THE LENDER FOR 60 OR 90 DAYS. THEN YOU IS SEE IF YOU CAN BUY THE FIRST HOME.

Mary says NOW, WHAT WOULD BE THE LONGEST TERM YOU COULD GET ON A FIXED-RATE MORTGAGE?

Alan says LENDERS ARE OFFERING SO MANY DIFFERENT THINGS. THERE'S, UM, ALL KINDS OF PACKAGES. MOST PEOPLE WILL GO FIVE YEARS FOR A CONVENTIONAL MORTGAGE. YOU CAN GO LONGER, 10, 25 DIFFERENT LENDERS ARE OFFERING. MOST PEOPLE WOULD WANT TO TOP IT OFF AT FIVE. IN OTHER WORDS, THE RATE IS FIXED FOR FIVE YEARS, AND IF YOU GO LONGER, YOU'RE PAYING A PREMIUM OVER THE THE FIVE YEARS.

Mary says OKAY. HERE'S MY DILEMMA. UM, I HEAR FROM EVERYBODY... I READ IN THE PAPERS AND ALL THESE AGENTS KEEP SAYING, NOW'S THE TIME TO BUY BECAUSE THE MORTGAGE RATES ARE SO LOW, YOU GOT TO BUY NOW. YOU KNOW, WHEN I LOOK AT SOME OF THE STATS THAT HAVE COME THROUGH ON HOUSING PRICES AND I SEE IN THE HOT DEMAND AREAS OF TORONTO THAT THEY HAVE GONE UP, THE PRICES, UP TO 25 percent EVEN. THEN I THINK, OKAY, IF YOU WEIGH A LOW MORTGAGE RATE WITH A HIGH COST OF A HOUSE, RIGHT, BECAUSE IT'S GONE UP THAT MUCH AS OPPOSED TO ANOTHER TIME WHEN MORTGAGE RATES MAYBE WERE SLIGHTLY HIGHER BUT THE HOUSING PRICES WERE LOWER, AM I HEAD WHEN YOU FACTOR ALL THAT IN? ALAN?

Alan says PEOPLE ARE LOOK AT THE COST OF BUYING A HOUSE VERSUS THE COST OF RENTING. FOR MOST PEOPLE TODAY, IT'S STILL CHEAPER TO BUY THAT HOUSE BECAUSE THE RATES REALLY ARE THAT LOW. YOU'RE RIGHT, IT MAY BE BETTER CONSIDER DOING THINGS AT DIFFERENT TIMES. RIGHT NOW WITH THE RATES THE WAY THEY ARE... WE ARE NOWHERE NEAR THE PEAK OF 1989. THE AVERAGE PRICE WAS 280,000. WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO BEFORE WE HIT THAT PLATEAU. WITH THE RATES THIS LOW AND THE PRICES AT THIS TIME OF YEAR STILL VERY GOOD, WE HAVEN'T HIT THE SPRING MARKET. THE SPRING MARKET IS WHEN PRICES PEAK ANOTHER 5 percent TO 7 percent. IF YOU GET IN THE MARKET NOW, YOU'D DO BETTER THAN APRIL.

Mary says IT IS DEPENDENT ON YOUR SITUATION.

Alan says THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO WON'T BUY BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO BUY. OUR WORLD HAS SO MUCH CHOICE. IF PEOPLE WANT TO BIKE, IT'S A FANTASTIC OPPORTUNITY. FIVE YEARS AGO REAL ESTATE WAS A FOUR-LETTER WORD. NOWADAYS PEOPLE WANT TO GET IN THE MARKETPLACE. FOR SOME PEOPLE IT'S NOT RIGHT. IT'S A PERSONAL DECISION.

Mary says YEAH. SEE, WHAT ALSO WORRIES ME, THOUGH, BECAUSE THERE IS SO MUCH HYPE, AS IF PEOPLE ARE MISSING THE BOAT BECAUSE THE MORTGAGE RATES ARE SO LOW, IT CREATES THIS, UM, FRENZY, SORT OF AN ARTIFICIAL KIND OF HYPE AND PEOPLE GET CAUGHT INTO THAT FEELING, MAYBE NOT THEY WERE LOOKING TO BUY A HOUSE, BECAUSE THEY FEEL THEY'RE MISSING THE BOAT, I BETTER BUY. KAREN, DO YOU SEE IT AT ALL?

Karen says SURE, I SEE IT NEARLY EVERY NIGHT. THE WAY PEOPLE ARE THINKING AT THINGS NOW, IT'S NOT WHAT A HOME COST, BUT WHAT IT COST TO CARRY. IF YOUR RENT IS 2,000 dollars, AS ALAN WAS SAYING, IF YOUR RENT IS 2,000, YET YOU CAN AFFORD, BECAUSE OF THE INTEREST RATE TO CARRY, UM, YOU CAN CARRY A 400,000 dollars MORTGAGE, YOU CAN LIVE IN A BEAUTIFUL HOME. I DON'T THINK YOU'RE AS... YOU WILL NOT BE RENTING A A HUGE HOME. YOU KNOW WHAT, YOU CAN AFFORD TO BUY ONE NOW.

Mary says UM. OKAY. LET'S START SAYING CALLS. WE GOT KAY ON THE LINE FROM WATERLOO. HI, KAY.

The Caller says HI, MARY. HOW ARE YOU?

Mary says FINE, THANKS. GO AHEAD.

The Caller says WE ACTUALLY BOUGHT A HOME BACK IN '92. WHEN MY HUSBAND LOST HIS JOB IN '97 WE SOLD. NOW WE'RE LOOKING TO GET INTO THE MARKET AGAIN. WE'RE LOOKING TO BUY, HOPEFULLY, SOME TIME THIS YEAR. NOW, I KNOW THERE ARE SOME LEGISLATIONS OUT THERE THAT FAVOUR FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS. I'M WONDERING WHAT SHOULD WE BE CONSIDERING AT THIS TIME? IS THERE ANYTHING OUT THERE FOR PEOPLE LIKE US WHO ARE LOOKING TO GET INTO THE MARKET AGAIN AND WHAT EXACTLY SHOULD WE BE CONSIDERING IN BUYING A HOME THIS TIME IN.

Mary says OKAY. THERE'S A LOT TO THAT ANSWER.

Alan says I'LL TACKLE THE INCENTIVE PROGRAMMES. WHAT TO LOOK FOR KAREN CAN DISCUSS.
ONE IS THE 5 percent DOWN PROGRAMME WHICH ALLOWS PEOPLE TO BUY A HOUSE WITH 5 percent DOWN. IT'S EXPENSIVE BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO PAY A HUGE INSURANCE PREMIUM, 3 AND... 3 quarters percent. SO THAT'S SOMETHING YOU MAY WANT TO CONSIDER IF YOU CAN SKOUNG TOGETHER THAT 50 percent, IT WILL SAVE YOU MONEY. ALSO, WE HAVE THE R.R.S.P. PROGRAMME, THE HOME-BUYERS PLAN. PEOPLE SAY, WELL, THAT'S FOR FIRST-TIME BUYERS, BUT IT'S FOR PEOPLE FIRST-TIME BUYERS WHO HAVEN'T OWNED A HOME FOR FIVE YEARS. IT'S BASICALLY FOUR FULL CALENDAR YEARS PLUS THE BALANCE OF THE YEAR YOU'RE IN NOW. HAVING SOLD YOUR HOME IN '97, I THINK YOU WOULD QUALIFY THIS YEAR. YOU CAN BORROW UP TO $20,000 FROM YOUR R.R.S.P., YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND BORROWING 40,000 IN TOTAL, YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY ANY INTEREST ON THAT LOAN AND YOU'VE GOT 15 YEARS AND ACTUALLY MORE TO PAY IT BACK AS A LOAN BACK TO YOUR R.R.S.P. IT WILL HELP REDUCE YOUR CARRYING COSTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE, MAYBE GET YOU A LOWER THRESHOLD FOR THE INSURANCE AND A PROGRAMME YOU WOULD WANT TO INVESTIGATE.

Mary says LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT THAT, THOUGH. YOU SAY YOU'RE BORROWING FROM YOURSELF, ACTUALLY. YOU'RE BORROWING THE MONEY, THAT DOES COUNT AS INCOME, THOUGH, RIGHT. YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY TAX?

Alan says IF YOU BORROW FROM YOUR R.R.S.P. AND PAYING BACK THE INTEREST INTO THE R.R.S.P., THE INTEREST EARNED WITHIN YOUR R.R.S.P. IS TAX FREE. INSTEAD OF INVESTING THE MONEY IN THE STOCK MARKET OR MUTUAL FUND, YOU'RE INVESTING IN YOURSELF. WELL, LET ME GO BACK. I MAY HAVE MADE A WRONG STATEMENT. YOU'RE NOT REALLY PAYING ANY INTEREST ON IT. I WAS CONFUSING SOMETHING ELSE. YOU'RE BORROWING THE MONEY AND DON'T HAVE TO PAY INTEREST ON THAT PROGRAMME. IF YOU BORROWED 5,000 dollars, YOU GOT TO PAY BACK A THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR TO THE PLAN, THERE'S NO INTEREST ON THAT PART OF THE LOAN. IN OTHER WORDS, INSTEAD OF HAVING A MORTGAGE OF 100,000, YOU MAY HAVE A MORTGAGE OF 85,000 AND 15 IS FROM YOUR R.R.S.P.

Mary says THE 5,000 IS CLEAR, AND THEN YOU CAN PAY IT, WITHIN A CERTAIN TIME FRAME?

Alan says 15-YEAR PERIOD.
I'M SORRY FOR BEING CONFUSING. SOME PEOPLE WILL BORROW FROM THE R.R.S.P.s FOR ANOTHER PURPOSE.

Mary says FINE, THAT'S CLEAR. KAREN, DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO ADD?

Karen says THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO IS FIRST OF ALL, GO TO SPEAK TO YOUR BANK AND SEE, UM, WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD TO BUY, AND THEN PICK OUT YOUR LOCATION AND START, UM, AND THEN IN THAT LOCATION, UM, IF YOU HAVE... IF YOU KNOW A REAL ESTATE AGENT, YOU'D SIT DOWN WITH A REAL ESTATE AGENT. GO TO YOURBACK, DECIDE WHERE YOU WANT TO LIVE AND THEN SPEAK TO A REAL ESTATE AND THEY'LL SHOW YOU HOMES.

Mary says NOW, WE WERE MENTIONING EARLIER ABOUT THIS FRENZY THAT'S GOING ON OUT THERE. WE HEAR LOTS OF STORIES ABOUT BIDDING WARS. WHAT ACTUALLY IS A BIDDING WAR? EXPLAIN IT TO US.

Karen says A BIDDING WAR IS WHEN THERE'S MORE THAN ONE OFFER ON... ON THE PROPERTY.

Mary says UH-HUH.

Karen says WHAT HAPPENS IS, UM, A TIME IS SET FOR THE AGENTS AND THE PURCHASER'S AGENTS TO MEET WITH THE LISTING AGENT AND THE HOME OWNERS, AND EACH OFFER IS PRESENTED, ONE AT A TIME, AND THE VENDOR THEN CHOOSES TO EITHER ACCEPT ONE OR... OR... OR ASK THEM TO GO BACK AND IMPROVE THEIR OFFERS.

Mary says NOW, THESE ACTUALLY ARE... ARE CREATED, AREN'T THEY? I MEAN, THIS IS AN ARTIFICIAL SITUATION CREATED BY THE LISTING AGENT, ISN'T THAT RIGHT?

Karen says WELL, NOT REALLY. IT'S CREATED BY THE MARKET. THERE IS... IT'S SUPPLY AND DEMAND.

Mary says UH-HUH.

Karen says IF THERE'S NO INVENTORY THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN ONE HOUSE GETS ON THE MARKETS. WE HAVE SO MANY PURCHASERS WHO WANT TO BUY. A HOUSE GETS LISTED, I HAVE A PURCHASER I'VE BEEN TRYING TO SHOW HOMES FOR THE LAST THREE MONTHS, AND EVERY TIME I MAKE AN APPOINTMENT, IT'S SOLD BECAUSE THERE'S NOT THREE OR FOUR HOUSES ON THE MARKET, ONE COMES ON AND THERE MAY BE, UM, 40 GOOD STRONG AGENTS IN THAT NEIGHBOURHOOD. WE ALL HAVE BUYERS.

Mary says UH-HUH.

Karen says IT'S SUPPLY AND DEMAND.

Mary says RIGHT. WHAT I'M GETTING AT IS... I MEAN, WHY WOULDN'T YOU TAKE THESE OFFERS WHEN THEY COME IN? WHEN YOU SETTLE IT UP AT A CERTAIN TIME AND EVERYBODY SHOWS UP, THERE'S PSYCHOLOGY GOING ON THERE. IT'S IN THE BEST INTEREST, OF COURSE, OF THE VENDOR AND LISTING AGENT TO DO IT THAT WAY, SUSPECT THAT RIGHT?

Karen says WELL, UM, IT'S ALSO THE BEST INTEREST OF PURCHASER, BECAUSE IT ALLOWS ALL THE PURCHASERS TO HAVE A CHANCE TO VIEW THE HOME. IF I LISTED A HOUSE TODAY, LIKE YOUR HOUSE... IF I LISTED YOUR HOME TODAY AND RIGHT AWAY, BECAUSE WE'RE ON THE INTERNET AND THE MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE, IT IS SUCH AN INCREDIBLE TECHNOLOGY WE HAVE FOR MARKETING HOMES. WITHIN FIVE SECONDS OF ME TAKING YOUR LISTING AND... AND SUBMITTING IT INTO THE COMPUTER, EVERYBODY HAS THE OPTION OF SEEING IT NOW. NOW WE'VE GOT TO GET THEM IN. YOU'RE WORKING LONG HOURS, YOU CAN'T GET THERE UNTIL TOMORROW MORNING. IT'S NOT JUST THE VENDOR WHO'S LUCKY OR WHO THIS BENEFITS. IT'S THE PURCHASERS, BECAUSE NOW THEY GET A CHANCE TO VIEW THE HOME. BEFORE THEY DIDN'T.

Mary says I THINK A LOT OF PURCHASERS MIGHT DISAGREE WITH THAT, WEATHER THEY ACTUALLY BENEFIT OR NOT. ARE YOU A FAN OF BIDDING WARS?

Karen says IT'S NOT THAT I'M A FAN. I DO BELIEVE THIS, I BELIEVE PURCHASERS HAVE THE RIGHT... I THINK IT'S AWFUL THAT YOU SEE A HOUSE, UM, ON THE MARKET AND IT'S JUST BEEN LISTED AND I PHONE UP TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO SHOW IT AND IT'S SOLD. I THINK, MY GOODNESS, YES, THE VENDOR HAS PAID, UM, FOR THE MLS ISN'T, THE MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE, IT NEVER GOT OUT. IT WAS... AND... AND ALAN... I MEAN, YOU THINK BIDDING WARS GET THE HIGHEST PRICE. WELL, UM, HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT? I MEAN, AS A VENDOR, YOU'VE GOT YOUR INVESTMENT IN YOUR HOME AND YOU TAKE THE FIRST OFFER THAT COMES BECAUSE IT'S THE FIRST PERSON THAT'S SEEN IT, YOU TAKE THE OFFER? I MEAN, SOMEONE OUT THERE WOULD HAVE PAID 20,000 MORE. WE THINK WE'VE GOT THIS INCREDIBLE MARKET AND ALL OUR PRICES ARE SO HIGH, BUT LOOK AT WHAT'S HAPPENED IN NEW YORK, LOOK AT OTHER CITIES. ARE PRICES ARE NOT THAT HIGH.

Mary says WELL, YOU KNOW, WE WERE TALKING ABOUT STATISTICS, I GUESS I ALSO FACTORED IN AS I WAS MENTIONING THE PSYCHOLOGY AND THE EMOTIONS INVOLVED. THAT KIND OF SITUATION... YOU KNOW, IT'S A HOME... IT'S A HOME FOR MANY OF THESE PEOPLE THAT THEY'RE BIDDING FOR. HOW DO YOU FEEL AT THE END OF THE NIGHT WHEN YOU SEE THESE COUPLES' FACES?

says HORRIBLE, IT'S HORRIBLE. AGAIN, I GO BACK TO WHEN YOU SAY IT'S GOOD FOR AGENTS. I MUCH PREFER NOT TO DO A MULTI OFFER BECAUSE THEY'RE REAL PEOPLE. THE AGENTS HAVE WORKED SO HARD AND THEY DON'T GET... IT'S A TOUGH JOB YOU HAVE THAT YOU CAN WORK EIGHT HOURS OR THREE MONTHS WITH YOUR PURCHASER, YOU GO IN, YOU PRESENT THE OFFER, AND YOU DON'T GET IT AND YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO GET. IT'S A LOT OF WORK FOR NOTHING. THEN YOU GO BACK AND YOU HAVE TO SAY TO THE PURCHASERS, YOU KNOW, I'M VERY SORRY, THEY'VE ACCEPTED ACCEPTED ANOTHER OFFER. I HATE IT.

Mary says UH-HUH. ALAN, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT BIDDING WARS AND WHAT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?

Alan says MULTIPLE OFFERS BREED BIDDING WARS AND OVER ASKING. SOMEBODY MIGHT BE PAYING MORE FOR THE HOUSE THAN THEY CAN AFFORD. PEOPLE SHOULD SET A LINCHTS ESPECIALLY IF THEY GET PREAPPROVED AND HOLD TO IT. IF YOU HAVE TO LOSE THE HOUSE, SO BE IT. IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD THE HOUSE AND YOU PAY MORE THAN YOU SHOULD, IT'S A RECIPE FOR A DISASTER. SURE, FROM A SELLER'S POINT OF VIEW, BIDDING WARS WILL PROBABLY PRODUCE A HIGHER PRICE. AS A BUYER, YOU'VE GOT TO SAY, I CAN ONLY GO SO FAR AND SAY I'LL HAVE TO TRY AGAIN TOMORROW.

Mary says IF THAT'S THE CASE AND WE'RE SEEING PRICES GOING WAY OVER WHAT THEY SHOULD BE VALUED AT, UM, WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT THE FUTURE, THEN? ARE WE LOOKING AT A LOT OF HOME OWNERS HERE WHO HAVE A PRECARIOUS SITUATION?

Alan says I THINK THINGS WILL PROBABLY CHANGE IN THE NEXT 60 DAYS. YOU'RE GOING TO THE SPRING MARKET, YOU'RE GOING TO SEE AN INCREASE IN INVENTORY. NORMALLY THE SUPPLY IS LOWEST DURING THE WINTER. WE'VE SEEN A STRONG FALL AND WINTER MARKET. ONCE MORE INVENTORY COMES ON THE MARKET, YOU'LL PROBABLY SEE THINGS LEVEL OFF, I COULD BE WRONG, BUT THINGS WILL LEVEL OFF BECAUSE YOU'LL SEE MORE OUT THERE TO CHOOSE FROM, MORE TO PICK FROM THE LITTER.

Mary says OKAY. LET'S TAKE ANOTHER CALL. WE GOT DAWN ON THE LINE.

The Caller says HI.

Mary says GO AHEAD.

The Caller says THIS IS KIND OF COMING IN GOOD FOR ME, BECAUSE IT'S TIME TO BUY A HOUSE. OUR FAMILY HAS OUTGROWN WHERE WE'RE RENTING. WE WERE WONDERING WHAT KIND OF DEPOSITS PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR THESE DAYS IN PROPORTION TO ACTUAL COST OF THE HOUSE AND IF THERE'S ANY OTHER HIDDEN COSTS IN ACTUALLY BUYING A HOME?

Mary says ALAN, WHY DON'T YOU ADDRESS THAT.

Alan says MOST DEPOSITS ARE 35 percent. IF YOU'RE BUYING A HOUSE FOR 200,000 dollars, YOU CAN EXPECT TO HAVE A 10,000 dollar DEPOSIT ON THE TABLE. NOT ENOUGH OFFERS SAY THAT YOU GET THE INTEREST ON THE DEPOSIT. I KNOW YOU'RE NOT GOING TO GET VERY MUCH, BUT IT'S IMPORTANT YOU GET SOMETHING BECAUSE YOU'RE INVESTING YOUR MONEY INTO THE BROKER'S TRUST ACCOUNT, GET A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR IT. THERE'S NO STANDARD FORM CLAUS, YOU HAVE TO ASK FOR IT. TOO OFTEN I DON'T SEE IT. YOU MAY ONLY GET YOURSELF 25 OR 30, WHAT THE HECK, IT WILL PAY FOR THE PIZZA THE DAY OF MOVING WHEN YOU HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO EAT AND YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A LITTLE BIT OF MONEY TO PAY FOR FOOD.

Mary says KAREN, DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER ADVICE TO ADD FOR PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY IF THEY'RE LOOKING FOR THEIR FIRST HOME?

Karen says I THINK THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO IS REALLY, UM, MAKE SURE THAT YOUR FINANCING IS IN PLACE AND YOU KNOW EXACTLY HOW MUCH MONEY YOU HAVE SO THERE ARE NO SURPRISES. IF YOU DO GET CAUGHT WHERE YOU'RE BIDDING, UM, AND YOU HAVE TO, UM, OVERBID, KNOW WHAT COST IT'S GOING TO BE TO YOU.

Mary says UH-HUH. HOW OFTEN DO YOU SEE A REALLY STICKY SITUATION WHERE PEOPLE ARE GETTING IN OVER THEIR HEADS?

Karen says UM, WELL, UM, I GUESS... I GUESS I DON'T SEE IT AS MUCH AS I USED TO SEE IT. LIKE, TEN YEARS AGO I USED TO SEE IT MORE. I THINK NOW THE REAL ESTATE UM... REAL ESTATE ITSELF IS MORE EDUCATED AND WE HAVE TO, YOU KNOW, REALLY, UM, SIT DOWN WITH OUR PEOPLE AND KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY THEY HAVE, AND, UM, I THINK THERE'S MORE CAUTION NOW BECAUSE WE DON'T WANT TO GET IN TROUBLE, THERE'S DISCHLORODISCLOSURE. IF WE HAVEN'T DONE OUR JOB THE FINGER WILL BE POINTED AT US.

Alan says MARY, IT'S A PROCESS. SIGNING THE OFFER IS THE LAST THING YOU DO, NOT THE FIRST. YOU LINE UP YOUR PROFESSIONALS, YOUR AGENT, YOUR LAWYER, YOUR HOME INSPECTOR, YOU CHECK OUT YOUR FINANCING, YOU DETERMINE WHAT YOUR CLOSING COSTS ARE GOING TO BE, YOU DETERMINE NEEDS AND WANTS OFF THE BAT AND THEN ONLY THEN DO YOU GET INTO THE MARKETPLACE. IF I'M WRITING THE GREAT CANADIAN NOVEL ABOUT BUYING THE HOME, THE SIGNING OF THE OFFER IS THE CLIMAX, IT'S NOT CHAPTER ONE.

Mary says YOU HAVEN'T WRITTEN THAT ALREADY?

Alan says NOT YET.

Mary says I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT YOU WOULD HAVE BY NOW. ANOTHER CALL. TOM ON THE LINE FROM MISSISSAUGA. HI, TOM.

The Caller says GOOD AFTERNOON. I HAVE A QUESTION, AND YOU'VE SPOKEN ABOUT IT BRIEFLY, A NUMBER OF INCENTIVES FOR FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS. I'M JUST WONDERING, I USED TO OWN A HOME... I BOUGHT A FIRST HOME A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO AND SOLD IT THREE YEARS AGO, ARE THOSE ANY OF THOSE INCENTIVES THAT BECOME VALID AGAIN IF A CERTAIN NUMBER OF YEARS HAVE PASSED? I KNOW YOU MENTIONED THE R.R.S.P. AND IS THAT APPLICABLE TO LAND-TRANSFER TAXES?

Alan says WELL, YOU MENTION THE THIRD PROGRAMME WHICH IS LAND-TRANSFER TAX REBATE. IT'S A REBATE THAT ONLY APPLIES TO FIRST-TIME BUYERS EVER. IF YOU EVER OWNED A HOME BEFORE, YOU DO NOT QUALIFY. R.R.S.P., AS I MENTIONED, YOU PROBABLY WOULD QUALIFY FOR THE 5 percent DOWN. NOW WITH ONLY THREE YEARS, YOU'D HAVE TO WAIT A LITTLE BIT LONGER BEFORE YOU'D QUALIFY FOR THE R.R.S.P. PROGRAMME. IT'S TECHNICALLY CALLED THE HOME BUYERS PLAN. YOU LOOK FOR R.R.S.P. PROGRAMME, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO FIND IT. IT'S CALLED THE HOME BUYERS PLAN.

Mary says KAREN, CLARIFY FOR US WHAT EXACTLY IS THE ROLE OF REAL ESTATE AGENT? I KNOW IT CAN COVER MANY... A SHOULDER TO CRY ON, A COACH, A BABY-SITTER EVEN, I KNOW, AT TIMES. WHAT IS THE ROLE?

Karen says WELL, IT'S REALLY THE ROLE OF A PROFESSIONAL. YOU... YOU... YOU HAVE TO BE, UM, NOT THEIR BEST FRIEND. I THINK THAT SOMETIMES... SOMETIMES WE GET CONFUSED. IT'S TO PROTECT THEM AND REPRESENT THEM AND TO PROTECT, THEY MUST KNOW GO TO THEIR LAWYERS, THEY MUST GO TO THEIR BANKS. WE ORCHESTRATE THAT. WE MAKE SURE THESE THINGS ARE DONE. UM, WE EDUCATE THEM AS FAR AS WHAT IS ON THE MARKET, UM, SO THEY ARE... THEY SET THEIR OWN VALUE. AN AGENT SHOULDN'T GO AND SAY, WELL, THIS HOUSE IS WORTH THIS. IT'S NOT UP TO THE AGENT TO SAY THAT. IF THE AGENT HAS DONE A GOOD JOB WITH THEIR CLIENTS, THEIR CLIENT SHOULD KNOW THIS IS VALUE AND I'M GOING TO PAY X AMOUNT OF DOLLARS FOR IT.

Mary says DOES THE ROLE DIFFER IF YOU'RE THE BUYER OR THE SELLER?

Karen says UM, NO.

Mary says NO.

Karen says I DON'T THINK SO. I THINK YOU HAVE TO REPRESENT YOUR CLIENT WHETHER IT'S THE VENDOR... THE VENDOR, YOU'RE DOING MORE MARKETING THAN THE PURCHASER'S AGENT. PURCHASER'S AGENT, YOU'RE DOING A LOT OF RUNNING AROUND, YOU'RE GOING TO INSPECT HOMES, SHOW HOMES, YOU'RE SENDING THROUGH E-MAIL, YOU'RE... THE DIFFERENT LISTINGS THAT COME OUT, BUT A LISTING AGENT, I THINK, IS... IS MORE OF A MARKETER.

Mary says I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE CONFUSED, THOUGH, WHEN IT COMES TO BUYING WHETHER, IN FACT, THE AGENT WILL GET THE HOUSE FOR THE BEST PRICE FOR THEM. I THINK THEY FEEL THERE'S COMPETING TORONTO HERE, RIGHT, WITH, YOU KNOW, WITH WHAT THE AGENT IS GETTING AND WITH THE HOUSE PRICE ITSELF. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT, BECAUSE I THINK THERE IS A... SOMETIMES A SENSE OF DISTRUST?

Karen says IF AN AGENT IS GIVING OPINIONS ON... ON THE SALE... TO MAKE THE SALE, I WOULD DROP THAT AGENT. A LONG TIME AGO I LEARNED THAT AS SOON AS THE DOLLAR SIGNS WERE IN THE EYES OF THE SALESPERSON, FORGET IT, WALK AWAY. COMMISSION SHOULD BE THE LAST THING ON AN AGENT'S MIND. IT IS THE END RESULT OF DOING A GOOD JOB, BUT, SO, THAT'S THE FIRST HOW YOU CHOOSE A REAL ESTATE AGENT IS DO YOU TRUST THEM? MANY AGENTS WILL SAY... AND I THINK WRONGLY, TOO... OH, THAT HOUSE ISN'T WORTH IT. THEY'RE NOT THE JUDGE. IT SHOULD BE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE THE JUDGE.

Alan says MARY... SORRY.

Mary says GO AHEAD.

Alan says YOU HAVE TO ASK WHO YOUR AGENT IS WORKING FOR. IF YOU'RE A BUYER, THE AGENT COULD BE WORKING FOR YOU OR THE DUAL AGENT WHERE THE AGENT WORKS FOR BOTH SIDE. IT'S DICIER BECAUSE ANYTHING YOU SAY TO YOUR AGENT COULD BE DISCLOSED TO THE VENDOR BECAUSE THE AGENT'S ALSO WORKING FOR THE SELLER.

Mary says RIGHT.

Alan says AT THE BEGINNING, WHETHER YOU'RE A BUYER OR SELLER, FIND OUT WHETHER THE AGENT WILL BE WORKING STRICTLY FOR YOU OR FOR BOTH SIDES. YOU HAVE THAT CHOICE, AND THERE'S BENEFITS EITHER WAY. ONCE YOU MAKE THAT DECISION, THEN YOU'LL KNOW IF YOU'RE WORKING WITH YOUR AGENT WHO'S GOT YOUR BEST INTERESTS AT HEART ONLY OR THE BEST INTERESTS OF BOTH SIDES AT HEART.

Mary says THERE ARE BENEFITS WITH ME. TO ME, JUST LOOKING AT IT QUICKLY, I WOULD THINK, WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF HAVING AN AGENT WORKING FOR BOTH? MAYBE IT IS SOMETHING I SHOULD STEER AWAY FROM.

Alan says THEY KNOW THE PROGRAMME TEST OF BOTH SIDES, AND THEY TRY TO BRING THE PARTIES TOGETHER LIKE A NEGOTIATOR. IN OTHER WORDS, WE KNOW HOW FAR APART, WE THINK THERE'S A DEAL, WE WILL TRY TO GET BOTH SIDES TO COME TOGETHER FOR A PRICE SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN. IT'S A VERY DELICATE ISSUE IN THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY, BUT IT DOES WORK.

Mary says IT DOES WORK?

Karen says YEAH. WHEN YOU'RE TALKING TO THE PURCHASER OR VENDOR, YOU SAY, I AM GOING TO TELL YOU EVERYTHING, BUT I'M NOT GOING TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT MOTIVATION AND THE PRICE. WHEN I HAVE A PURCHASER, WE WERE DISCUSSING DUAL AGENCY, I WILL SAY TO THEM, IF YOU DON'T WANT ME TO REPRESENT YOU, THEN PLEASE GO TO ANOTHER AGENT, BUT I AM A FACILITATOR. LY HELP YOU GET THIS HOUSE, BUT, PLEASE, DON'T SAY TO ME, I WILL PAY 300, BUT GO IN AT 280. I DON'T WANT TO HEAR THAT.

Mary says NO. NO YOU DON'T NEED THAT INFO.

Karen says THAT DOES PUT ME... I DON'T LIKE THAT. THIS IS THE PRICE IS AT. IF IT'S MIST LISTING, THESE ARE THE REASONS I'VE LISTED IT AT THIS PRICE, IT'S WORTH IT. IF YOU DON'T THINK SO, THAT'S FINE, GIVE ME YOUR PRICE AND I'LL PRESENT IT TO THE VENDOR.

Mary says IT'S A TRICKY SITUATION FOR THE AGENT TO BE IN, YOU KNOW.

Alan says IT'S A VERY CONTROVERSIAL ISSUE RIGHT ACROSS NORTH AMERICA.

Karen says I LOVE IT. I KNOW WHO THE PURCHASER IS, I KNOW WHO THE VENDOR IS. IF ANOTHER AGENT BRINGS ME AN OFFER, THEY REPRESENT THE PURCHASER FOR SURE, FISET TO THEM, IS THERE ANY MORE MONEY, OF COURSE THEY'RE GOING TO SAY, UM, WELL I DON'T KNOW... SOME SAY I DON'T KNOW IT ALL DEPENDS. SOME SAY, YEAH, THERE IS, EVEN THOUGH THEY'RE REPRESENTING THE BUYER, THEY DON'T DO A GOOD JOB. AT LEAST I KNOW MY BUYER. IF THEY CAN'T AFFORD THIS HOUSE AND MY VENDOR WANTS X AMOUNT OF MONEY, PLEASE, DON'T INSULT MY VENDOR, DON'T WASTE EVERYONE'S TIME, I'LL SHOW YOU ANOTHER HOME.

Mary says SO OFTEN IT'S NOT THAT CLEAR, RIGHT? A VENDOR AND A BUYER, THEY'RE AT ODDS WITH EACH OTHER AND THEN YOU HAVE THE PERSON IN THE MIDDLE WHO'S WORKING BOTH CAMPS. I FIND THAT VERY... NO THAT PERSON HASN'T EDUCATED THE PURCHASER OR THE VENDOR. IF THE PURCHASER IS ASKING... OR THE VENDOR IS ASKING, YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW, A PIE-IN-THE-SKY PRICE, WHO'S FAULT IS THAT?

Karen says IT'S ALL A QUESTION OF DISCLOSURE. IF THE AGENT IS GOING TO ACT FOR BOTH SIDE, IT'S GOT TO BE DISCLOSED. YOU AS THE BUYER AND SELLING HAVE THE CHOICE, I WANT THIS OPTION BECAUSE I THINK THERE'S BENEFITS TO IT. I DON'T WANT THIS OPTION, I WANT MY AGENT TO WORK STRICTLY FOR ME. THAT'S SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE DETERMINED RIGHT AT THE OUTSET, THE LINES ARE DRAWN AND EVERYBODY KNOWS HOW EVERYBODY WILL ACT IN THE FUTURE.

Mary says OKAY. LET'S TAKE ANOTHER CALL HER... HERE. TONYA, HI.

The Caller says HI.

Mary says HI.

The Caller says UM, I'M CALLING WITH A QUESTION FOR THE LAWYER. WE SOLD AND PURCHASED ANOTHER HOME IN. THE SALE OF OUR HOME, WHICH WE WERE VERY GLAD TO SELL AND GET OUT OF, WE HAD SIGNED A ZILLION PAPERS LIKE EVERYBODY DOES, BUT APPARENTLY WE FORGOT ONE, AND WE GOT A CALL ALMOST AT THE CLOSING DATE OF THE SELLING OF OUR HOUSE, OH, YOU'D FORGOTTEN THIS PAPER SO I WENT AHEAD AND SIGNED IT FOR YOU. WE QUICKLY GOT A GLIMPSE OF IT A FEW DAYS LATER AND REALIZED SHE FORGED OUR SUGGESTS THIS. PAPER JUST MEANT OUR REALTOR WAS WORKING FOR US AND THEIR REALTOR WAS WORK FOR THEM, BUT I DON'T WANT THIS TO COME BACK AND HAUNT US, BECAUSE HE DID TRY TO WRITE OUR NAMES ON THIS PIECE OF PAPER?

Alan says THERE'S TWO ISSUES. NUMBER ONE, THERE WAS FORGERY. SECOND, THE QUESTION IS, WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES? YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT A DOCUMENT OUTLINING WHAT THE ROLE OF THE AGENT IS IN THE TRANSACTION, REPRESENTATION. IN OTHER WORDS, IT WAS NOT ONE OF THE MORE CRITICAL FORMS. THE AGENT SHOULDN'T HAVE DONE WHAT THE AGENT DID. YOU MAY WANT TO PURSUE IT WITH THE AGENT OR WITH THE AGENT'S BROKE OTHER THE LICENSING BODY, WHICH IS THE REAL ESTATE COUNCIL OF ONTARIO. THE PAPER SHOULD HAVE BEEN DELIVERED THAN HAVE THE AGENT SIGN IT. THAT'S SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO DISCUSS WITH THE AGENT AND THE AGENT'S BROKER IN. TERMS OF LEGALITIES, I DON'T THINK ANYTHING SERIOUS WILL FLOW FROM IT, BECAUSE IT'S ONE OF THE MORE INNOCENT DOCUMENTS IN THE WHOLE TRANSACTION.

Mary says ALAN, WHAT CAN YOU DO, THOUGH, IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG WITH YOUR AGENT, WHAT RECOURSE DO YOU HAVE?

Alan says WELL, THINGS HAVE CHANGED IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS. UP UNTIL FIVE YEARS AGO, THE GOVERNMENT WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY AND THEY DIDN'T HAVE A CODE OF ETHICS, THEY HAD LIMITED WAYS OF TRYING TO DISCIPLINE AN AGENT. IT HAD TO BE SOMETHING, BASICALLY, IN BREACH OF THE LEGISLATION. WHAT HAPPENED FIVE YEARS AGO IS THE GOVERNMENT SET UP A BODY CALLED THE REAL ESTATE COUNCIL OF THE ONTARIO. I'M ONE OF THE DIRECTORS. IT'S LIKE THE LAW SOCIETY IT'S LIKE THE ONTARIO... THE COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS. IT'S A REGULATORY BODY THE SAME AS ANYONE ELSE. WE NOW HAVE IN PLACE A DISCIPLINE PROCESS, A CODE OF ETHICS, INSURANCE PROGRAMME, MANDATORY CONTINUING EDUCATION. IF SOMEONE IS DISSATISFIED WITH THE WORK OF THEIR AGENT, THEY CAN LODGE A COMPLAINT. IF THE COMPLAINT IS WARRANTED, THERE CAN BE FINES, SERIOUS COMPLAINTS CAN SEE AGENTS LOSE THEIR LICENSE.

Mary says HAS THAT HAPPENED?

Alan says IT HASN'T HAPPENED YET, BECAUSE THE PROCESS IS ALL VERY KNEW... NEW. THERE HAVE BEEN FINES. YEARS AGO PEOPLE WOULD LODGE A COMPLAINT WITH THE REAL ESTATE BOARD. THAT WAS THE WORST PLACE TO GO, BECAUSE IT FELL INTO A BLACK HOLE.

Mary says RIGHT.

Alan says YOU WERE COMPLAINING TO A TRADE ORGANIZATION ABOUT ONE OF THEIR MEMBERS. IF YOU COMPLAIN TO GOVERNMENT, THEY DIDN'T HAVE THE AUTHORITY. NOW, WITH THE COMPLAINTS, COMPLIANCE AND DISCIPLINE PROCESS AND THE CODE OF ETHICS, IF YOU FEEL YOUR AGENT HAS VIOLATED THE CODE OF ETHICS, YOU CAN LODGE A COMPLAINT, THERE WILL BE HEARINGS, ALL THE RULES OF JUSTICE ARE IN PLACE, BECAUSE TAKING AWAY SOMEONE'S LICENSE OR FINING THEM IS SERIOUS. THE POINT IS THERE'S MUCH MORE CONSUMER PROTECTION NOW THAN BEFORE.

Mary says HOW DO AGENTS FEEL ABOUT RICO? I MEAN, HOW DO YOU FEEL, KAREN?

Karen says IT'S GREAT. IT TAKES US UP ANOTHER NOTCH. IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS, IT'S STRONGER. WE ALWAYS DID HAVE RECOURSE. THE TORONTO REAL ESTATE BOARD HAD... LIKE, I'VE BEEN A MEMBER OF THE ETHICS, UM, COMMITTEE AND ARBITRATION FOR THE LAST TEN YEARS. WE NEEDED ANOTHER BODY TO COME IN AND REGULATE THE TORONTO REAL ESTATE BOARD. NOW WE HAVE IT. SO, UM, I THINK IT CAN ONLY HELP US. IT MAKES THE PUBLIC LOOK AT US AS PROFESSIONALS, WHICH I THINK, LIKE... YOU KNOW COMMISSIONED SALESPEOPLE THEY'RE TOUGH TO LOOK AT AS PROFESSIONALS. THIS WILL ALL HELP. THIS IS A GREAT THING.

Alan says I WANT TO BRING TWO POINTS TO PEOPLE'S ATTENTION. UP UNTIL FIVE YEARS AGO... UP UNTIL, ACTUALLY, A YEAR AND A HALF AGO, THERE WAS NO MANDATORY INSURANCE IN THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY. YOU COULD SELL REAL ESTATE WITHOUT HAVING ERRORS AND OMISSIONS INSURANCE. IF YOU DON'T VISIT, YOU CAN'T SELL. SECONDLY, THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO PROTECTION FOR DEPOSITS IF A BROKER AB ESCONDIDOED WITH FUNDS, AND CONSUMERS DID LOSE MONEY, AND THEY HAD ABSOLUTELY NO RECOURSE. WE NOW HAVE INSURANCE IN PLACE THAT HAVE IF AN AGENT AB ESCONDIDOS WITH FUNDS, THAT THE CONSUMER'S PROTECT. I'M PROUD TO HAVE BEEN CHAIRMAN OF THAT COMMITTEE. A REAL ESTATE OFFICE HAS BEEN CLOSED DOWN, THERE MAY BE CONSUMER LOSSES, THERE MAY BE A NEED LOO-TO-LOOK TO THE INSURANCE PROGRAMME FOR THE FIRST TIME. THE INDUSTRY DEFINITELY HAS BEEN KICKED UP A COUPLE NOTCHES.

Mary says LET'S REMIND OUR VIEWERS, WE ARE TALKING TODAY ABOUT REAL ESTATE. IF YOU'RE LOOKING AT BUYING A HOUSE OR SELLING A HOUSE AND HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, GIVE US A CALL TODAY. THE NUMBER TO DIAL IN TORONTO IS...

The phone numbers and email reappear briefly.

Mary says WE'VE GOT, UM, LET'S SEE HERE, JOYCE ON THE LINE FROM AJAX. HI, JOYCE.

The Caller says HI. MY QUESTION IS, THIS, UM, PURCHASING AGREEMENT THAT YOU SIGN WITH THE AGENT THAT BASICALLY HE'S GOING TO SELL YOU... OR SHE... IS GOING TO SELL YOU THE HOME YOU'RE LOOKING FOR IN THE AREA, UM, WE WERE ADVISED, BY MY HUSBAND EMPLOYER, WHO IS FOOTING THE BILL, NOT TO SIGN IT BECAUSE THEY'VE HAD A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH IT I.E., YOU'RE STUCK WITH A BAD AGENT AND, UM, YOU REALLY HAVE NO RECOURSE AND SO ON. ANYWAY, THANK GOODNESS WE DIDN'T SIGN IT BECAUSE WE WENT THROUGH FOUR REAL ESTATE AGENTS, AND, UM, I'M TELLING YOU, I COULD WRITE A BOOK. LAUGH.
ANYWAY, I FIND THEY REALLY, REALLY PUSH FOR YOU TO SIGN IT, AND WE HAD ONE INCIDENT WHERE WE WERE STAYING IN OSHAWA LOOK AT HOMES IN AJAX AND ONE AGENT WE TOLD THEM RIGHT UP FRONT WE WEREN'T GOING TO SIGN THIS, HE CAME TO PICK US UP AT THE HOLIDAY INN IN OSHAWA, WELL, IF YOU DON'T SIGN IT, I HAVE ALL THESE HOUSES LINED UP, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO SEE THEM. OKAY, HOW ABOUT YOU SIGN THIS SAYING YOU'RE GOING TO FORCE ME TO SIGN IT AND I'LL GIVE IT TO MY HUSBAND'S EMPLOYER. OH, HE WENT AWAY MAD. I JUST FOUND THAT JUST HORRIBLE.

Mary says DO YOU HAVE A COMMENT ON THAT? WHAT ABOUT THE SIGNING OR NOT SIGNING?

Alan says WELL, THE QUESTION OF THE BUYER AGENCY AGREEMENT, WHICH IS WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT, UM, IT'S NECESSARY IN ONE RESPECT BECAUSE IT GIVES YOU, THEN, ALL OF THE RIGHTS OF A CLIENT TO REAL ESTATE AGENT. IF YOU DON'T SIGN IT, YOU HAVE A LESSER GROUP OF ENTITLEMENTS AS A CUSTOMER. THERE IS A DISTINCTION BETWEEN SIGNING IT AND NOT SIGNING IT. NUMBER ONE, IT DOESN'T SPECIFY WHAT THE AGENT'S GOING TO DO FOR YOU, SECONDLY, TOO MANY AGENTS ARE ASKING FOR AN EXTREMELY LONG PERIOD OF TIME. YOU CAN PUT A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME IN IT. THERE'S NOTHING THAT SAYS AN AGENT CANNOT SHOW YOU PROPERTIES IF YOU DON'T SIGN IT. THE FELLOW WHO IS THE REGISTRAR AT RICO HAS MADE IT CLEAR, BECAUSE THE CODE OF ETHICS SAYS SO, THERE'S CERTAIN THINGS THE AGENT CAN DO EVEN THOUGH THE AGREEMENT HAS NOT BEEN SIGNED AND ONE OF THEM IS TO SHOW PROPERTIES. I THINK THAT AGENT NEEDS A LESSON. AS FOR YOUR CONCERN, THE PROBLEM, AS I SAID, IS IT'S GOT TO BE SPELLED OUT WHAT THE AGENT'S GOING TO DO AND THE TIME FRAME. YOU DON'T HAVE TO SIGN FOR 60 DAYS, 15, 30. IT'S GOT TO BE SIGNED AT SOME POINT IN ORDER FOR YOU TO BENEFIT FROM ALL THE WHAT WE CALL IF I DISTURB YEAR RESPONSIBILITIES OF AN AGENT.

Mary says DO YOU RECOMMEND A CERTAIN IS TIME PERIOD?

Alan says TOO SHORT IS NO GOOD, TOO LONG IS NO GOOD. IF AN AGENT'S GOING TO FIND YOU A PROPERTY, THEY'RE GOING TO DO SO BETWEEN THREE AND FOUR WEEKS. I KNOW A LOT OF AGENTS MAY SAY, THAT'S WAY TOO SHORT. IF YOU CAN'T WORK IT OUT THAT QUICKLY, IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. AT THAT POINT, IT'S MORE THAN THE MISSING OF PERSONALITIES.

Mary says WHAT DO YOU THINK, KAREN, THREE TO FOUR WEEKS.

Karen says I THINK THAT'S GOOD. I WANTED TO SAY SOMETHING TO THE CALLER AND THAT IS, UM, THE REASON WHY THE AGENTS ARE SO KEEN ON... ON YOU SIGNING THIS IS BECAUSE, UM, IN OUR INDUSTRY, IF THEY SHOW YOU A HOME THAT YOU LIKE, UM, AND LET'S SAY, UM, BUT ANOTHER... YOU'D LIKE ANOTHER AGENT, YOU CALL UP AND THE OTHER AGENT AND SAY, I SAW THIS WONDERFUL HOUSE, CAN YOU DO THE OFFER FOR ME, SO THAT AGENT DOES THE OFFER, UM, THEN THEY'RE ENTITLED... THE FIRST SALESPERSON IS ENTITLED TO THE COMMISSION, UM, BUT THE SECOND AGENT WILL GET THE COMMISSION, SO WHAT WILL HAPPEN IS THE FIRST AGENT WILL, UM, ASK THE TORONTO REAL ESTATE BOARD TO, UM, GO AFTER THE SECOND AGENT TO CLAIM COMMISSION AND THE FIRST THE BOARD WILL DO IS ASK, DID YOU GET THE AGENCY BROKER CONTRACT SIGNED? AND YOU HAVE NO PROOF THAT THE FIRST AGENT ACTUALLY WORKED WITH YOU. THAT'S A MISCONCEPTION, BECAUSE, ACTUALLY, THAT PIECE OF PAPER DOES NOT ENTITLE THE FIRST AGENT TO COMMISSION ANYWAY. I THINK THAT'S WHY, UM, MOST OF THE AGENTS WANT THAT SIGNED, IT'S JUST TO PROTECT THEIR COMMISSION.

Alan says THERE'S ANOTHER REASON, AS WELL, WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT FOR CONSUMERS. I SPOKE EARLIER ABOUT HAVING YOUR AGENT REPRESENT YOU AS A BUYER, THE ONLY WAY THAT CAN TAKE PLACE LEGALLY IS IF YOU SIGN THAT AGREEMENT. IF YOU DON'T SIGN IT, TECHNICALLY, YOUR AGENT IS A SUBAGENT TO THE OTHER AGENT AND YOUR AGENT IS NOT WORKING FOR YOU.

Mary says IS A SUBAGENT TO VENDOR'S AGENT?

Alan says THAT'S WHAT I MEANT. IF YOU WANT THE FULL GROUP OF FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITIES, FIDUCIARY DUTIES, PLUS SEPARATE REPRESENTATION IN LAW, IT HAS TO BE SIGNED.

Mary says UM, IS THAT AGREEMENT AN EXCLUSIVE ONE FOR THE AGENT? MEANING, THAT IS YOUR ONE AND ONLY AGENT AND NO OTHER?

Alan says THAT IS YOUR AGENT FOR THE PERIOD OF TIME. THAT'S WHY I GO BACK TO THE DUTIES THAT SHOULD BE SPELLED OUT. I THINK THERE'S A VAST AREA FOR IMPROVEMENT THERE AND THE TIME FRAME. IF YOU'RE TYING YOURSELF TO AN AGENT FOR 60ER90 DAYS, IT'S NOT THE SAME.

Mary says WHAT IF YOU WERE LOOK AT TWO DIFFERENT AREAS AND THE AGENT IS NOT WORKING IN THE AREA YOU'RE INTERESTED IN?

Alan says YOU COULD BUILD AN EXCLUSION IN. IN OTHER WORDS, LIMIT YOURSELF TO A CERTAIN GEOGRAPHICAL AREA OR CERTAIN TIME FRAME. I MEAN, THESE ARE CONTRACT STANDARD FORMS, BUT THAT CAN BE MODIFIED.

Mary says WHAT ABOUT THAT, KAREN? WHAT ABOUT GETTING INTO MORE THAN ONE AGENT, THEN?

Karen says WELL, THIS IS TOUGH, BECAUSE, UM, NO ONE WANTS TO WORK SOMEONE FOR FIVE MINUTES IF YOU DON'T... IF YOU DON'T LIKE THEM, SO IT'S HARD. I'M NOT GOING TO HIRE A LAWYER... SIGN A CONTRACT WITH A LAWYER BEFORE I'VE SAT DOWN WITH HIM AND TALKED WITH HIM AND, YOU KNOW, WORKED WITH HIM, UM, BUT HE WILL CHARGE ME. WELL, YOU GET THE FIRST HOUR FOR FREE OR SOMETHING, BUT WITH REAL ESTATE AGENTS, THEY CAN DO AN AWFUL LOT OF WORK AND NOT GET PAID FOR IT.

Mary says WHAT ABOUT IN THE INSTANCE I WAS SAYING, THOUGH? IF YOU'RE LOOKING AT TWO DIFFERENT GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS AND THE AGENTS DON'T WORK IN EITHER AREA, THAT'S WHY YOU HAVE TWO?

Karen says SURE. IT'S A CONTRACT YOU CAN CHANGE ANY WAY YOU WANT IT. UM, WHAT I WOULD DO... WHAT I THINK IS MOST IMPORTANT IS THAT YOU SHOW WHO YOU REPRESENT, THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS YOU SIGN IT, SO YOU CAN HAVE THIS CLIENT OR CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP, WHICHEVER YOU CHOOSE AND IT BENEFITS THE PUBLIC. IT SHOULD BENEFIT THE PUBLIC MORE THAN IT BENEFITS THE AGENT. YOU ALSO HAVE TO HAVE THE CONSENT FORM SIGNED, UM, AND WHEN YOU GO IN TO PRESENT AN OFFER, YOU SHOW THE, UM, VENDOR WHO YOU'RE REPRESENTING AND THE OFFER... YOU SAY IN THE OFFER WHO YOU REPRESENT SO THERE CAN BE NO MISTAKE WHO YOU'RE WORKING FOR. I THINK THAT'S, UM, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. BETWEEN THE AGENT AND THE CUSTOMER, OR THE CLIENT, YOU CAN WRITE ANYTHING YOU WANT ON THIS PIECE OF PAPER. LET'S CLARIFY WHAT THE DUTIES ARE, WHAT YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES ARE, AND, UM, I THINK THAT'S... THAT'S HOW IT SHOULD BE. YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU LIST A HOME, WE SIGN A CONTRACT, IT'S FOR 60 DAYS. THAT'S BECAUSE I'M GOING TO DO A LOT OF WORK, I'M GOING TO SPEND A LOT OF MONEY ON YOU. 60 DAYS IS GREAT. WHY WOULDN'T YOU WANT TO SIGN A CONTRACT WITH AN AGENT FOR FINDING YOU A HOME?

Mary says OKAY. WE'VE GOT DAN ON THE LINE FROM THUNDER BAY.

The Caller says IN 1994 I WAS A FIRST-TIME HOUSE-BUYERS AND I VIEWED THE PLACE I'M LIVING IN NOW THROUGH A AGENT. ANOTHER VENDOR CONTACTED MANY AND SAYS, LISTEN, IF YOU WANT THE PLACE, THIS IS THE DEAL. I'M GOING TO FLIP THE PLACE OVER TO A FAMILY MEMBER, YOU PAY ME,000 DOWN AND THE PLACE IS YOURS AND I'LL GET YOUR LAWYER AND MY LAWYER TOGETHER. WHEN ALL THE PAPERWORK CAME DOWN TO END, I ENDED UP PAYING 72,000 TO THE HOUSE, 8,000 WENT TO VENDOR AND BYPASSED THE AGENT. WATCHING YOUR INTEREST SHOW TODAY, I MADE A BIG MISTAKE, DIDN'T I? WHAT CAN I DO?

Mary says ALAN?

Alan says FIRST OF ALL, UM, I THINK WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE, YOU'RE PROBABLY IN THE CLEAR BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG. THERE WERE SHENANIGANS GOING ON AT THE OTHER END, AND IT'S REALLY THE OUR OF WHETHER THE VENDOR IS ULTIMATELY GOING TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COMMISSION BECAUSE OF THE WAY THEY STRUCTURED THE TRANSACTION. BETWEEN YOU AND ME, I THINK THERE IS A VERY GOOD CLAIM FOR COMMISSION BECAUSE THE PROPERTY WAS SOLD AND THIS WAS DONE TO TRY TO AVOID PAYING COMMISSION. FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT. AGAIN, IF YOU HAVE SOME FEELINGS THAT MAYBE THE AGENT SHOULD KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON, UM, YOU CAN GO AHEAD AND TELL THEM THAT THEY'RE ENTITLED TO COMMISSION AND THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO SUE THE VENDOR FOR COMMISSION, NOT TRY TO SET ASIDE THE TRANSACTION, BUT ESTABLISH THIS WAS A SHAM TO CUT THE AGENT OUT OF THE COMMISSION PICTURE.

Mary says HOW MUCH DOES THAT GO ON?

Alan says ASK THE AGENT. I DON'T DO LITIGATION. I'M SURE, UM, THERE ARE PLENTY OF TIMES THAT PEOPLE... I MEAN, ONE OF THE EASIEST TRICKS IS TO SIMPLY WAIT FOR A LISTING TO EXPIRE. THAT'S A LEGITIMATE TRICK AS LONG AS YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE PROPERTY BEFOREHAND. THERE'S A CARRY-OVER PERIOD. IF YOU HAVE A LIX OF 60 OR 90... WHAT IS IT?

Karen says 90 DAYS.

Alan says IF YOU WERE INTRODUCED TO THE PROPERTY DURING THE TIME THE LISTING WAS IN PLACE, PEOPLE CAN THINK, I CAN BUY IT RIGHT AFTERWARDS. THERE'S THIS CARRY-OVER CLAUS. IF YOU BUY DURING THAT TIME OR INTRODUCED TO THE PROPERTY DURING THE PERIOD OF THE LISTING, THE AGENT IS ENTITLED TO COMMISSION. IT'S NOT AS SIMPLE TO SAY, I'M GOING TO WAIT FOR THE LISTING TO RUN OUT.

Mary says THIS CARRY-OVER CLAUSE IS, WHAT?

Karen says 90 DAYS.

Mary says OH, THE CARRY-OVER CLAUSE IS 90 DAYS.

Alan says IN OTHER WORDS, IF YOU SAW A PROPERTY NOW AND THE LISTING EXPIRES IN JANUARY AND THERE'S A 90-DAY CARRY-OVER YOU COULDN'T BUY IT UNTIL MAY FOR VENDOR TO BE FREE OF COMMISSION. THAT'S THE VENDOR'S PROBLEM. WE DON'T HAVE THE SITUATION WHERE BUYERS PAY COMMISSION, THEY DO INDIRECTLY, BUT NOT DIRECTLY. THE AGENT WOULD HAVE A GOOD ARGUMENT SAYING MARY SAW THE PROPERTY IN JAN, THE HOLD-OVER CLAUSE STILL ENTITLES THE AGENT TO COMMISSION.

Mary says TALKING ABOUT BUYING THE HOUSE NOW, IN THE WINTER, ARE THERE CERTAIN FACTORS YOU HAVE TO CONSIDER IF YOU'RE THE BUYER, KAREN? IF YOU'RE BUYING IN THE WINTER?

Karen says WHEN YOU DO A PURCHASE, YOU ALWAYS MAKE IT CONTINGENT ON HOME INSPECTION. IT'S HARD TO DO A HOME INSPECTION... YOU CAN'T TURN ON THE AIR CONDITIONER, SO YOU DON'T KNOW IF IT'S GOING TO WORK, IF YOU'RE BUYING A HOME WITH A POOL, THAT'S ANOTHER PROBLEM, YOU CAN'T INSPECT THE POOL IN WINTER. THAT'S ABOUT ALL. YOU CAN CERTAINLY TELL EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT A HOME. IN THE WINTER, THE HOME LOOKS THE WORST. IF YOU LIKE THE HOME IN WINTER OR ESPECIALLY MARCH, WHICH, YOU KNOW, IS A VERY DEPRESSING DEPRESSING LOOK IT TO, THEN YOU'RE GOING TO LOVE IT IN THE SUMMERTIME.

Mary says I MEAN, IF WE HAD A HEAVY SNOWFALL, COULDN'T THAT HIDE A LOT OF THINGS.

Alan says IF WE HAVE A HEAVY SNOWFALL AND THERE'S NO INSULATION IN THE ROOF, THEN YOU'RE GOING TO KNOW. NO, IT'S A DIFFERENT KIND OF MARK NET THE WINTER BECAUSE THERE'S LESS DEMAND, GENERALLY, THIS IS AN EXCEPTION TO THE RULE, AND THERE'S LESS SUPPLY. BUT THAT ALSO MEANS... MOST YEARS, MAYBE THIS YEAR, AGAIN, IS AN EXCEPTION, THAT YOU CAN NEGOTIATE A LITTLE BIT BETTER DEAL. THE OLD STORY IS, THE BEST WAY TO BUY A HOUSE IS THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS. THIS YEAR IT DIDN'T APPLY. THERE'S NOBODY TESTING THE WATER THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS. ANYBODY WHO HAS TO SELL IS SELLING. THAT'S WHY, WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE WINTER MARKET, IT'S BEEN A CARRY-OVER. IT'S AS IF... WE REALLY HAVEN'T SEEN A WINTER YET, WE HAVEN'T EVEN SEEN A WINTER MARKET YET.

Mary says HOW MUCH DOES THE WEATHER HAVE TO DO WITH THAT?

Alan says WHEN PEOPLE ARE INDOORS, THEY'RE NOT BUYING HOUSES.

Mary says WHAT I MEANT, YOU KNOW, WE HAD SUCH A MILD FALL LEADING INTO WINTERS RIGHT. DID THAT HAVE MUCH TO DO WITH IT AS WELL?

Alan says THE STRONG FALL MARKET, THE GOOD WEATHER, THE LOW RATES, IT'S COASTED US INTO 2002. TO BE HONEST, I THINK THERE STILL IS LEGITIMATE CONCERN ABOUT THE ECONOMY. IF PEOPLE ARE LOSING THEIR JOBS, THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BUY HOUSES.

Mary says YEAH.

Alan says THE POINT IS RIGHT NOW PEOPLE ARE NOT... I DON'T THINK THEY'RE THROWING CAUTION TO WIND, BUT THEY'RE NOT RIGHT NOW AS CONCERNED. REAL ESTATE SEEMS TO BE THE FLIP SIDE OF THE STOCK MARKET. THE STOCK MARKET NOW IS THE FOUR-LETTER WORD AND PEOPLE IN REAL ESTATE, AS A SAFE HAVEN, DON'T FORGET, IT'S ONE OF THE FEW THINGS LEFT THAT'S TAX FREE. YOU MAKE 20,000 dollars ON YOUR HOME, IT'S TAX FREE AND THEIR AIN'T NOTHING OUT THERE THAT'S GOING TO COMPETE WITH THAT.

Mary says OKAY. LET'S TAKE A CALL FROM BARB IN SUDBURY NOW. HI, BARB.

The Caller says HI.

Mary says HI.

The Caller says I WONDERED IF YOUR GUESTS COULD TELL ME WHAT FEES THERE ARE IN CLOSING OR BEFORE CLOSING, PROPERTY SEARCHES, LAWYERS FEES AND WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THE PRICE THEY WOULD BE.

Alan says NOT A PROBLEM.

Karen says HE'S THE LAWYER.

Alan says YOU HAVE A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT COSTS, SOME OF THEM, UM, ARE ACTUALLY COMING DOWN IF YOU LOOK AT ALTERNATIVE SOURCES. THERE'S LEGAL FEES AND DISBURSEMENTS. THERE'S GST ON THOSE ITEMS, CLOSING ADJUSTMENTS WITH THE SELLER, COST ASSOCIATED WITH ARRANGING THE MORNING, PROFESSIONAL LAND TRANSFER TAX WHICH IS ON AN ESCALATING SCALE. THEN 10 dollars A THOUSAND UP TO 250, 15 FROM 250 TO 4 SXUN 20 A THOUSAND OVER THE 400,000 THRESHOLD. MY RULE OF THUMB FOR ALL YOUR CLOSES EXPENSES IS 2 percent OF THE PURCHASE PRICE. I TELL PEOPLE THAT. WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE, PEOPLE SAY, JEEZ, IT'S LIKE PITCHING HORSESHOES FROM A MILE AWAY AND I GOT WITHIN 50 FEET. THAT'S A GOOD RULE OF THUMB IS THE 2 percent. WHAT I MEAN BY HOLDING DOWN EXPENSES, IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS, WE'VE SEEN TITLE INSURANCE COME TO ONTARIO. IT'S USE: WHAT IT DOES IS IT LETS US CLOSE DEALS FASTER, QUICKER, CHEAPER. WE DON'T HAVE TO DO THE SAME SEARCHES. WHAT'S HAPPENING IS THE COSTS ARE BEING LOWERED BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE TO SPEND 100 dollars ON A BYLAW REPORT AND 65 dollars ON A TAX CERTIFICATE AND PAY 50 dollars TO THE LAW SOCIETY AND SEARCH BACK FOR PRIOR LIENS FOR 40 YEARS. FOR A NOMINAL CHARGE, USUALLY 200 dollars, INCLUDING ALL TAXES, THE TITLE INSURER WILL ASSUME THE RISK. WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO CLOSE DEALS FAST, CHEAPER, BUT I STILL TELL PEOPLE TO USE THE 2 percent RULE. IF YOU HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF MONEY LEFT OVEROVER, FIX UP THE HOUSE.

Mary says WHAT PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE SELL PRIVATELY? DO YOU HAVE IDEA?

Alan says I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY STATISTICS THAT SHOW THAT, BUT I DON'T THINK IT'S NEARLY AS MUCH AS PEOPLE WOULD THINK, BECAUSE PEOPLE FIND IT TOUGH EVEN TO NEGOTIATE DOWN IN THE BAHAMAS A HANDBAG. NEGOTIATION IS A LOST ART. PEOPLE DON'T DO IT SO THEY HIRE THE PROFESSIONALS.

Mary says I'M WONDERING, KAREN, WHAT'S BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE, UM, TRIED TO SELL WITHOUT AN AGENT AND THEN HAVE COME TO YOU? WHAT DO YOU HEAR?

Karen says WELL, I HEAR FROM... FROM... FROM THEM THAT THEY FOUND THAT PEOPLE... THE PUBLIC WOULD CALL AND SAY, I'M COMING AT 3:00 AND THEY'D ARRIVE AT 7:00 OR THEY DIDN'T SHOW UP. IT BECAME FRUSTRATING, AND THEN, UM, AS I TRIED TO EXPLAIN TO THEM, YOU HAVE TO ASK QUESTIONS THAT ARE PERSONAL WHEN YOU'RE SELLING A HOME. IT'S NOT JUST GETTING THE OFFER. IT'S SO MANY OTHER THINGS. YOU GOT TO MAKE SURE THEIR FINANCING IS PLACE. JOE PUBLIC, ARE YOU GOING TO ASK, WHAT DO YOU EARN? ARE WHERE ARE YOU GETTING YOUR MONEY FROM? IT'S EMBARRASSING. PEOPLE DON'T LIKE TO DO IT. THAT'S WHY THEY RATHER ME HANDLE THAT, BECAUSE IT'S SORT OF YUCKY.

Mary says YEAH, YEAH. OKAY. LET'S TRY TO SQUEEZE IN ONE MORE CALL. WE'VE GOT PHILLIP ON THE LINE FROM TORONTO.

The Caller says HI.

Mary says HI.

The Caller says ACTUALLY, MY QUESTION HAS TWO PARTS IT TO. ONE IS, UM, I'M TRYING TO FIND OUT WHETHER, UM, I COULD GET A MORTGAGE REFINANCED, BECAUSE I PURCHASED A CONDO IN NOVEMBER OF 2000, AND WHEN THE INTEREST RATES WERE UP, AND THE INTEREST RATES HAVE NOW DROPPED, SO I WAS WONDERING IS THERE ANY WAY THAT, YOU KNOW, THE MORTGAGE COULD BE REFINANCED OR NEGOTIATED FOR A LOWER INTEREST RATE?

Alan says I'M MORE THAN HAPPY TO TACK TALL. YOU HAVE TO SPEAK TO YOUR LENDER. THERE'S NO OBLIGATION ON THEIR PART TO DO IT. IF THEY DO ALLOW YOU TO DO IT, FOR THE MOST PART, YOU'RE GOING TO BE PAYING THE INTEREST RATE DIFFERENTIAL. ALTHOUGH PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT REFINANCING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE LOWER RATES, YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHAT THE NUMBER WILL COST YOU TO BREAK THAT MORTGAGE. DON'T LET THEM JUST PLUCK A NUMBER OUT OF THE AIR. LET THEM SHOW YOU HOW THEY'RE CALCULATING THE NUMBER. WITHOUT WHAT YOUR CURRENT RATE AND WHAT THEY'RE COMPARING IT WITH, THERE'S NO WAY OF KNOWING THE NUMBER IF THEY'RE CHARGING YOU IS FAIR. THAT'S THE THING. YOU MAY NOT HAVE THE RIGHT, AND EVEN IF YOU DO HAVE THE RIGHT, IT MAY COST TOO MUCH.

Mary says THIS MAY ACTUALLY GO AGAINST YOUR PHILOSOPHIES BECAUSE YOU'RE OUT THERE TO GET PEOPLE TO BUY A HOME, BUT I'M WONDERING FITTER HAPPENS WHERE PEOPLE GO INTO IT THINKING THEY'RE HOUSE PEOPLE AND THEY WALK AWAY THINKING, YOU KNOW WHAT, IT'S BEYOND A MONEY ISSUE, IT'S BEYOND A LOT OF THINGS, WE'RE NOT JUST MEANT TO HAVE A HOUSE?

Karen says SURE. THAT'S PERFECTLY OKAY.

Mary says IT'S SO INGRAINED IN OUR CULTURE, ISN'T IS IT, THAT YOU GET TO BE A CERTAIN AGE, ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE A COUPLE AND HAVE KIDS, YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE A HOME. WE'RE ALMOST MADE TO FEEL GUILTY IF WE DON'T OWN A HOME BY A CERTAIN PLACE?

Karen says IF YOU CAN FIND A PLACE TO RENT... ONE OF MY MENTORS IN THE BUSINESS, AN OLDER LADY WHO HAD BEEN IN THE BUSINESS FOR 35 YEARS, SHE RENTED BECAUSE SHE FOUND THAT WHERE SHE WAS LEV I LIVING THE RENT WAS SO INEXPENSIVE THAT IT DIDN'T PAY FOR HER TO BE IN A HOME. SHE'S VERY HAPPY. IF YOU LIKE TO MOVE AROUND A LOT AND YOU DON'T WANT TO HAVE THE OBLIGATIONS OF HOME OWNERSHIP, IT'S... THEN DON'T.

Alan says THE ONLY THICK I CAN ADD IS THE RULES CHANGED FIVE YEARS AGO. NOW WE DON'T HAVE THE SAME RENT CONTROL IN EFFECT. IF PEOPLE GOT LOW RENTS, THAT'S ONE THING. YOUNG PEOPLE NOW ARE MAYING... PAYING MARKET RENT. THAT'S WHY PEOPLE ARE GETTING INTO THE MARKETPLACE, BECAUSE THEY'RE PAYING RENT.

Mary says KAREN MILLAR IS A REAL ESTATE AGENT WITH ROYAL LEPAGE IN TORONTO, ALAN SILVERSTEIN IS A REAL ESTATE LAWYER.
ALAN'S LATEST BOOK IS CALLED Home buying strategies for newly built homes.

A slate reads "Real Estate Council of Ontario; www.reco.on.ca."

Mary continues And you can contact Karen at 416-443-0300.
WELL, NICOLE AND ANTHONY SEYMOUR KNOW ABOUT BUYING A HOUSE AND GETTING MARRIED AND HAVING A BABY. THEY'VE DONE ALL THESE THINGS RECENTLY AND THEY SHARED THEIR EXPERIENCES WITH TVO'S "PLANET PARENT."

A clip plays on screen with the caption "Video Diary."

A young man holds a smiling baby.

The man says HEY. LAUGH.

A caption reads "Nolan Seymour. 6 weeks old."

A woman says HEY, SWEETHEART. ROX, PAPER SCISSORS ON THE CHANGE?

The man says SURE.

A caption reads "Anthony Seymour. New Dad."

The woman holding the camera says READY?
ONE, TWO, THREE.

As she holds the baby, Anthony says DOES HE NEED TO BE CHANGED?

The woman says I DON'T THINK SO. DIDN'T YOU JUST CHANGE HIM.

The caption changes to "Nicole Seymour. New Mom."

Nicole is in her twenties, with long brown hair.

As the couple sits on a couch, Anthony says MY NAME IS ANTHONY SEYMOUR. I'M 28 YEARS OLD. THIS IS MY WIFE, IN THIS CASE COACH. SHE'S 24, SHE WILL BE 25 NEXT WEEK. WE HAVE A LITTLE BABY NOLAN WHO'S SIX WEEKS OLD.

Before leaving the house, Anthony kisses Nolan and says BYE, NOLAN. SEE YOU AT 9:00.

Anthony continues NEW JOBS, NEW HOUSE, NEW BABY, GOT MARRIED ALL WITHIN THE LAST YEAR AND A HALF.

Nicole says IT MAKES US KIND OF WONDER WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.
I THOUGHT I WAS PREPARED FOR BABY, BUT ONCE THE BABY WAS HERE, YOU REAL ESTATE YOU CAN'T BE PREPARED FOR THAT.

Holding the baby, she says OKAY.

Back in the interview, she says
I THINK THE HARDEST PART ABOUT THE CHANGE IS THE LONELINESS DURING THE DAY AND JUST HAVING SOMEBODY THERE TO TALK TO DURING THE DAY. I MEAN, I COULD TALK TO NOLAN, BUT HE DOESN'T TALK BACK, NOT YET. CALLING PEOPLE DURING THE DAY, EVERYBODY ELSE IS AT WORK, THEY'RE ALL BUSY WITH THEIR LIVES AND I'M JUST SITTING AT HOME CLEANING OR DOING LAUNDRY AND STUFF. IT DOESN'T SEEM THAT WHAT I'M DOING IS REWARDING.

Filming boxes of clothes, she says WE ARE DOING LAUNDRY TODAY. WE'VE GOT OUR WHITES, WE'VE GOT OUR DARKS, WE'VE GOT OUR BABY.

She continues
I KNOW I'M RAISING A CHILD, WHEREAS AT WORK I COULD SEE MY AWARDS AND KNOW I'VE ACCOMPLISHED CERTAIN STEPS AND LEVELS AT WORK. YOU DON'T REALLY GET THAT AT HOME DOING THE FAMILY LIFE AND HOUSEWIFE-TYPE STUFF.

[PHONE RINGING]

She steps into the kitchen, picks up the phone and says HELLO.
THAT'S OKAY. I DON'T NEED A MASTER CARD. I ALREADY HAVE ONE.

At her interview, she says WITH THE LONELINESS, ABOUT ONCE A WEEK, I'LL HAVE A GOOD CRY AND THAT GETS IT OUT OF MY SYSTEM.

As she sits on the floor crying, she says SOMETIMES THE DAYS GET LONGER. THEN SOMEONE FROM MASTERCARD WILL CALL. IT'S HARD. IT'S HARD. I DO MISS ANTHONY DURING THE DAY A LOT. COME 8:00 WHEN HE'S SUPPOSED TO BE HOME, WE'RE JUST WATCHING THE CLOCK WAITING FOR HIM TO COME THROUGH THE DOOR.

At night, Anthony walks through the door and says HEY.

Nicole says HELLO.

At the interview, she says
I DON'T KNOW IF HE FULLY UNDERSTANDS, BUT I'M SITTING AROUND ALL DAY.

Anthony says IN MY MIND WHEN I WAS PLANNING... OR THINKING ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN WHEN I WENT BACK TO WORK WAS A BIG CHANGE BECAUSE I HAD BEEN HOME FOR JUST OVER THREE WEEKS, SO WE HAD BEEN TOGETHER FOR EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY PRETTY MUCH FOR THREE WEEKS. I KNEW THERE MIGHT BE PROBLEMS.

As they eat dinner at the table, she says I'M GOING CRAZY.

He says I TOLD YOU, IF YOU WANT TO GET AWAY FROM THE HOUSE, LET ME KNOW. I HAVE NO PROBLEM.

She says I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW. THAT'S EASY ENOUGH FOR YOU TO SAY.

He says I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY.
I THINK THE SOLUTION IS THERE. YOU'RE SAYING IT'S NOT. WE ALREADY DISCUSSED THAT ISSUE.

She says NOW I FEEL GUILTY.

He says WHY?

She says BECAUSE.

At the interview, he says IT WAS GOOD THAT SHE DID EVENTUALLY TELL ME. IT... IT MADE ME REALIZE HOW BIG THE SCOPE WAS OF SITUATION. I DIDN'T REALIZE IT WAS... IT WAS SUCH A BIG PROBLEM. I KNEW THERE MIGHT BE SOME PROBLEMS. IT REALLY OPENED MY EYES TO WHAT WAS GOING ON.

She says MY FRIENDS CAN'T REALLY SUPPORT ME BECAUSE THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT I'M GOING THROUGH. I HAVE ONE FRIEND THAT'S MARRIED, BUT MOST OF THEM ARE STILL SINGLE AND THEY'RE STILL GOING OUT AND PARTYING AND STUFF, AND THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND. IT'S A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT LIFE TO THEM.

At home, as she holds the baby, a young woman says YOU WERE PARTYING HARD.

A caption reads "Lora Cotter. Nicole's Friend."

Nicole says YEP.
I DIDN'T GET TO BED UNTIL 4:30.

[LAUGHTER]

Lora says GOOD TIMES.

Nicole says I'M USUALLY GETTING UP AT 4:30.

Holding the baby inside a bathroom, Anthony says WHO'S DAD?

At the interview, he says THE BIG THING IS THE LEARNING CURVE IS VERY STEEP. WE HAD NO IDEA WHAT WE WERE DOING AT THE BEGINNING. WE LEARNED A LOT IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. IT'S MADE A BIG DIFFERENCE AS FAR AS KIND OF OUR SANITY AND SLEEP AND EVERYTHING.

As they play cards, Nicole says SINCE I WON LAST TIME, I'LL DEAL.

At her interview, she says I DON'T THINK WE HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THE LONELINESS GETTING WORSE, JUST BECAUSE WE ARE TALKING ABOUT IT AND THAT'S THE MAIN THING IS THAT WE HAVE TO KEEP COMMUNICATING.

The baby cries as they bathe it.

Nicole continues
NOLAN'S STARTING TO DEVELOP A LOT MORE AS WELL, AND HE'S STARTING TO GROI... I GUESS GROW UP, BUT, I MEAN, HE'S ONLY SIX WEEKS. ALREADY WE CAN SEE SUCH A CHANGE IN HIS PERSONALITY.

As she bathes the baby, she says HEY, SWEETHEART.

Anthony says HIS EYES... HIS EYES ARE BECOMING MORE AWARE. THEY'RE NOT JUST FLUTTERING AROUND EVERYWHERE. HIS HAND MOVEMENTS ARE BECOMING MORE DELIBERATE. WHAT'S THAT? IT JUST AMAZES ME THE CHANGES EVERY DAY. I'M SO HAPPY AND SO PROUD OF NOLAN AND MY WIFE, FOR THAT MATTER.

Nicole says I THINK MY FAVOURITE PART IS THE NEW LOVE THAT YOU START FEELING FOR YOUR OWN CHILD. LIKE, YOU LOVE YOUR HUSBAND, YOU LOVE YOUR PARENTS, YOU LOVE YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTER, BUT NOTHING CAN COMPARE TO THE LOVE THAT YOU HAVE FOR YOUR CHILD I THINK, UM, BECAUSE WE'RE SO CLOSE AND BECAUSE WE'RE SHARING SO MUCH AND WE'RE SO IN SYNC WITH EACH OTHER, WE'LL BE FINE. IT WILL WORK OUT.

They lovingly hold the baby and smile.

The clip ends.

Back in the studio, Mary smiles and says Adorable. And you can see more on Planet Parent, it's on TVO every Wednesday night at 7 o'clock. But that's it for today's show. Thanks so much for watching, and please join me each weekday, Monday to Friday, for More to Life at 1 o'clock.

A slate reads "The advice given in the preceding program is of a general nature only. Viewers should consult their own legal advisor for legal advice specific to their circumstances."

Watch: How To Buy A Home, New Parents