No Comments

5 Signs Of A Rental Scam

Sadly, across Ontario and even our communities, Rental scams are becoming more and more common place. We’ve put together some information that will help you understand how the scam works and what to look out for. 

If you’re on the hunt for a new rental home, you now need to be vigilant about a new type of rental scam proliferating online. Fraudsters are finding new ways to trick would-be tenants into falling for phony online ads. This scam can bilk prospective tenants out of money and time, plus cause undue stress to owners of the properties being listed fraudulently.

How The Scam Works

Basically, these rent scammers are taking photos of properties that are already online, on housing sites like MLS or, and using those photos to create fake rentals ad. They usually offer the rental well below market rates to attract interest, making it one of those “too good to be true” scenarios. 

When curious tenants start inquiring about the ad, the fraudsters will likely give suspicious reasons why they can’t meet you in person. For example, they are “out-of-town” and unable to show you the vacancy. The fraudsters will then ask you to send them a security deposit or the first month’s rent via wire transfer. They might even pressure you by saying other applicants are interested in the property. Sometimes the scammers will entice you with a discount if you send more than the first month’s rent.

The money requests are usually to be transferred via MoneyGram, Western Union or even a gift card. But once you send that money out of the country – say goodbye because it will be virtually impossible to get back.

Rent scams on the rise

According to a 2020 report, an Ontario man had his home unknowingly put online by rent scammers using photos of his property, which was in the process of being for sale. Would-be tenants began knocking on his door asking about the property and one even said they already sent a $1,000 deposit. 

It’s all part of a disturbing trend of rental scams taking advantage of tenants looking for a home. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says that Canadians have lost $1.4 million in the last three years to these online rental scams. The Better Business Bureau claims that 50% of those looking for a rental home will likely encounter these types of online scams on sites like Craigslist, Kijiji and Facebook.

5 red flags of a rental scam 

  1. The first red flag to watch for is the price. If this is a nice property, way below the market rate, it could be a scam. Of course, it could be a great deal too, but make sure you should investigate it thoroughly.
  2. The “owners” of the property say they are out of the country, or out of town. Remember: it’s highly unlikely a landlord would list a rental and then leave town.
  3. If the listing’s photos are vague, and only show the outside of the property, it could be a scam. A good landlord will post quality images of the inside and outside. And if you see a “for sale” sign in the photo, you should probably avoid it.
  4. Any requests for security deposits or first-month instalment, without a formal rental agreement, should be met with deep skepticism, especially if it’s through a wire transfer like MoneyGram or Western Union going outside the country. Gift cards are another major red flag.
  5. If the alleged owner wants to communicate with you outside the rental platform or direct you to a website asking for personal or financial information, then you should turn and run away (virtually). 

How to stay safe from rental scammers

Searching for a rental home can be challenging on its own without having to deal with scam artists trying to steal your money. Here are some tips on how you can protect yourself from these online vultures.

  • Research the property in-person, if possible, and insist on meeting the landlord at the address. Take the time to visit the rental listing and see if it’s accurate and truthful to its online ad. If you cannot see it in person, ask a friend or family to view it for you.
  • Double-check the address isn’t being used elsewhere online. Google search the address to see if it’s been used in a duplicate post, or reverse image search the photo.
  • Request a lease or contract before you consider sending a deposit. Review it thoroughly and make sure it is legitimate. 
  • Know your rights as a tenant. The Government of Canada provides information on the rental process and which provincial housing ministries you should be aware of. Also, you should contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (1-888-495-8501), the RCMP or your local police if you have information about this type of online rental scam.

Of course the safest way to find your next rental property is to contact a For Sale In Barrie agent who will be with you every step of the way!

No Comments

Increase Your Home Value With These 10 Tweaks

The Spring Market is here and the temperature is about to get turned up on an already hot market. With a little effort and minimal cash, these low-cost improvements can make a big impact on your house’s value and your happiness at home. Put your spring cleaning effort into areas that can increase your home value! 

Upgrade The Kitchen
A full reno can be costly, so try small tweaks like refreshing the backsplash, painting the cabinets or installing updated appliances.

Reinvent Your Closet
Combat clutter by creating a place for everything and putting everything in its place. Consider custom organization to max out storage capacity.

Deck The Walls
Paint can transform a room in a single afternoon. Pick a colour to match a room’s mood, or get back to basics with bright white.

Refinish Hardwood Floors
Buff away those scratches and put a dent in those dings. Refinishing hardwoods can bring back that brand-new look.

Freshen Up The Front Door
Put your home’s best foot forward with a new front door. Steel and fibreglass are current top picks.

Get Mowing
Grass looking a little shaggy? Give your lawn a haircut. Booking a service lets you set it and forget it.

Dig Up Some Dirt
Planting perennials ensures blossoms year after year while annuals bloom beautifully for a season. Native plants and succulents keep water bills low.

Pile On The Mulch
Bring landscaping back to life with a fresh application of mulch around trees and garden beds.

Follow A New Path
Installing a pathway or patio out of pavers or gravel makes a yard more inviting.

Light Up The Night
Landscape lighting and modern outdoor light fixtures give your home a new nighttime look.

Let us know what cost saving improvements you’ve been making around your home!

No Comments

10 Ways To Stay Motivated

We’ve all seen it happen, January comes and you are meticulous about acquiring new habits and pursue them with an optimistic outlook – the thought of a fresh start. However, by the time March break has arrived, you’re tired, jaded and back in the same routine! 

As Spring is in the air, it’s important to not lose sight of your goals for the year. Whether it’s a Real Estate goal, a professional goal or even a personal goal. Take a look at our 10 tips to stay Motivated for the rest of the year. 

Identify your big why

When the going gets tough, what is the one thing that will help you push through and visualise yourself at the end of the obstacle course? Maybe you’re sitting on the deck of that new cottage this summer?

Seek Accountability

Whether it’s a fitness, career, real estate or financial goal, buddy up with someone with a similar goal, or someone who inspires you to move forward. If your means allow, coaching may be a great option. Stick together so that you can lift each other up when you’re struggling and celebrate your successes together. 

Set SMART goals

That’s specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time based. Having clear and direct goals in every area of your life will breathe fresh motivation into your journey.

Stay creative and inspire

Get motivated by inspiring others! Become a regular on online forums, or start a social media page focused on the goal that’s nearest and dearest to your heart, or even on mindset as a whole.

Put progress on paper

Go old school with a note-book tracking your progress, or use an app to see how far you’ve come and stay inspired to keep going. 

Plan it out

Create a detailed plan for the aspects of your life you are trying to elevate. If it is a routine, make three versions, to account for various levels of busyness and energy.

Build Up

Instead of going full speed ahead and burning out, start small and work your way up to the next big milestone. 


Train your mind in the art of resilience, and you’ll have an easier time sticking to your goals. 

Embrace the failure

You’re bound to hit a roadblock or two along the way. The difference between giving up and moving forward is whether you let that derail your plans or shake it off.

Shift your perception

Identify your limiting beliefs, or opinions that you might believe to be absolute truths, and challenge yourself to acknowledge alternative truths you may be ignoring.

What have been your goals this year so far? Are you staying motivated and on track? Let us know!

No Comments

Top Interior Design Trends To Watch Out For In 2022

It’s been two years since the pandemic started, and many of us are still working remotely from our homes, whether it’s out of our makeshift office in the kitchen, living room, or whatever space is conducive to productivity. As we continue to navigate forward this year, be sure to carve some time out of your busy schedule to find ways to enhance and elevate your home. Lucky for you, we curated a list of the hottest interior design trends that will not only give your space a much-needed makeover but also restore a sense of hope and optimism about what lies ahead in 2022.

Remember: There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to embellishing your space, so use the following trends as inspiration, not prescription. If you’re looking to sell your home in the near future, speak with your For Sale In Barrie agent to find out how you can leverage these trends to appeal to home buyers.

50 Shades Of Green

Green represents new beginnings and growth, so there’s no better colour to herald the upcoming spring season. To create an uplifting and revitalising environment, you could use a pop of jewel-toned greens. Whether it’s adding a plush velvet green couch to your living room or adorning your dining room with a jade vase, your options to bring nature indoors through furniture and decorative pieces have never been easier. Before you know it, your home will become the ultimate destination for relaxation and restoration among friends and family.

Old-School Charm

What’s old is new and what’s new is old. Antiques and vintage items pay homage to the past and add extra personality and eclectic style to your home. They also preserve the memories of those who once had the great fortune of owning beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces to embellish their space. To add some retro charm to your home, bring out your grandmother’s antique floral porcelain vase and place it in the centre of your dining table. Or add some brilliance to your living room with an art-deco table lamp. No matter what era you’re partial to, there’s a piece of furniture or accessory that will help you create an entirely new look.

Stay Ahead Of The Curve

Whereas straight lines and sharp edges lend a sleek, modern feel, rounded shapes add softness to an interior space, giving it a warm ambiance. Going beyond circles, rounded shapes also include egg shapes, ovals, arches, and more. If your space looks too much like a geometry worksheet, try breaking up the harsh edges by adding a curved swivel chair or coffee table in your living room. Or add some oomph in your hallway with a beautiful, oval-shaped mirror to reflect a sense of freshness and relaxation that can’t be seen with a traditional square or rectangle mirror.

Bright And Colourful Kitchens

Last year, neutral palettes reigned supreme in the realm of home decor. While this trend will remain popular for the foreseeable future, it’s time to break out of the tried-and-true colour scheme and embrace bold, vibrant colours. Liven up your kitchen with a splash of colour; whether it’s painting your walls a beautiful, seafoam green or experimenting with geometric prints and patterns, add some joie de vivre to the space. After all, your kitchen should inspire you to experiment with different recipes and come up with culinary masterpieces that rival those of your favourite Michelin star chef.

Little Black Accents

There’s nothing quite like black accents to add a touch of sophistication and beautiful contrast to your home. This is especially true if your home is alight with natural wood tones or other organic materials. The same sentiment can be extended if you prefer a more minimalist space. Look around your house to see where you can incorporate some edge. Could your white sofa use a small, black side table to accentuate your living room’s best features? Or perhaps you can add a couple of black throw pillows to make your sofa the room’s centrepiece. No matter how you want to incorporate this timeless colour into your home, know that a little goes a long way.

Illuminate With Style

Equal parts function and fashion, statement lamps are making a comeback this year and they’re poised for a bright future. Coming in all shapes, sizes, and colours, decorative lamps can put a spotlight on different areas of your home (especially rooms that don’t get a lot of natural light). On the quest for a stunning architectural piece? Try perching a sculptural-metal table lamp on your coffee table. If you’re looking for something more subtle yet still striking, a Grecian-bust table lamp on your nightstand might just be the inspiration you need to fulfil your New Year’s resolution to read 30 pages of a novel every night before bedtime.

Tell us what’s worked in your home, we’d love to know! 

No Comments

Buying In A Seller’s Market

You keep hearing “it’s a great time to sell your house”… and it is! However, if you’re trying to purchase a home right now you are facing more challenges than ever before. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible! Your For Sale In Barrie agent is here to help smooth out any bumps in the road and will be with you every step of the way. 

With the majority of the Canadian housing markets being identified as Seller’s Markets, this means that most buyers, here in Barrie and Nationally, will likely be up against limited housing supply, lots of competition, and the same question on their lips; how do you buy a home in a seller’s market, with the cards stacked against you. 

We’ve identified some buying strategies to employ that will help you find a home in a seller’s market.

Be Informed

Having a handle on market conditions is a key first step in a successful transaction. This is the case regardless of market conditions, but especially if you’re trying to buy a home in a seller’s market. Remember, real estate is very local, so what is happening in one community might be different in another. Here’s where it helps to tap into a professional, experienced real estate agent. Every For Sale In Barrie agent will be able to empower you with all the information you need to help make informed decisions. 

Know Your Budget

How much can you afford to spend on a home? This is different from a mortgage pre-approval. Take into consideration your lifestyle, and what sacrifices you’re willing to make. If you’re planning to buy more home, you might have to curb your spending elsewhere. If you won’t be making any lifestyle changes in interest of home ownership, you may have to lower your home-buying budget or make some other concessions, such as the size of the home or the community.

Really Important Tip… GET PRE APPROVED! 

Get pre-approved for a mortgage. This gives you an idea of how much a lender is willing to finance, and how much you can spend. A pre-approval also locks in the current interest rate for up to 120 days, so you can shop with the peace of mind that you’re insulated from rate hikes in the near future. If the rate drops, your lender should honour the new lower mortgage rate when you’re ready to make your purchase.

Be Prepared To Act Fast

If you’re hoping to buy a home in a seller’s market, you’ll need to take quick and decisive action when you find a property that interests you. For every home that you’re interested in, so are many other buyers. 

Make A Strong Offer

In a seller’s market, you may only get one chance – and it’s not always about the money. A real estate transaction can be complicated with a lot of moving parts. With all other things being equal between your offer and someone else’s, one that’s tailored to the seller’s needs (such as a short or long closing) can tip the scales in your favour. Aside from conceding to the seller’s wishes, an offer in a seller’s market should have as few conditions as possible. This is where you will really benefit from the experience and knowledge of your For Sale In Barrie agent. Every transaction is different and they will be able to guide you on what to include and what not to include based on the property that you’re interested in. 

A conditional offer means that certain terms must be met in order for the offer to be valid. Some common conditions include:

  • Conditional on financing: This is a common condition for first-time homebuyers, which requires the mortgage lender to sign-off before the deal can go through. The buyer has a few days to get this, and the process will include a home appraisal. If the lender does not agree to finance the property, the buyer will notify the seller and the offer becomes null and void.
  • Conditional on home inspection: A home is the biggest purchase most people make in their lifetime, so a satisfactory home inspection is generally recommended. This ensures the house is in good condition before the deal can go through. If it isn’t up to par, the buyer can return to the seller and request repairs, a reduction in the price, or can rescind the offer entirely.
  • Conditional on the sale of a home: If a prospective homebuyer already owns a home, he or she may want to ensure that it is sold before agreeing to purchase a new property.

Offer conditions aren’t ideal for the seller, as each one has a potential domino effect. But buyer beware! You may be tempted to remove the “conditional on financing” or home inspection condition in an effort to beat the competition. For your own protection, we recommend keeping these as part of your offer but once again, your For Sale In Barrie agent will guide you through the process and react to each different situation.

Be Prepared To Pivot

After the last couple of years, you’re likely already accustomed to this as a key Pandemic survival strategy. And if you’re hoping to buy a home in a seller’s market, you’ll need to keep it up. As we all know, market conditions can change on a dime. Have a back-up plan in place, in case you need to delay the purchase – or need to jump on an opportunity sooner than expected!

Work With A Pro

Homebuyers always have the option to handle their transaction on their own, or to work with a professional real estate agent. Working with an experienced agent can ease much of the stress associated with finding and buying a home in a seller’s market. Not to mention, most of the time your agent’s commission will come from the seller’s end of the transaction thus not costing the buyer anything. Your For Sale In Barrie agent will help explain this to you when you meet. Just some advantages include:

  • better access to homes in and out of the local market.
  • knowledge of neighbourhoods and market conditions.
  • negotiating skills (not usually a factor in a seller’s market, but good to have in your back pocket!)
  • we handle the paperwork – enough said.
  • guidance and support in the biggest buying decision of your life.

Have Thick Skin

Last but not least, don’t take rejection personally. Instead, learn from the experience and keep trying. Homebuyers who have been living in persistent seller’s markets know the pain of rejected offers and being “beat” by another buyer. Working with the right real estate agent helps buyers see new listings as soon as they hit the market, so you can jump on “the one” when you find it. At For Sale In Barrie, we’re with you every step of the way. 

“Where will I move to??”… Where do you WANT to move to? Let’s talk!

No Comments

Everything You Need To Know About Home Liens

Liens often have negative connotations for homeowners. Yet if you’re reading this, you may be surprised to find out that you already have a lien on your home and that liens are not always as bad as they sound. We’ve compiledeverything you need to know.

Understanding How Liens Work

A property lien is a legal claim against a property, allowing the creditor to use it as collateral to collect what they’re owed if the debtor cannot make payments.

Consider this common scenario to better understand how liens work: taking out a loan to finance a purchase. To secure loan repayments for the duration of the contract, the lender will use one of your assets as collateral. In most cases, the chosen asset will be your home. However, if you fail to repay the loan through some unfortunate circumstances, the lender can file a property lien on your home. This gives them the legal right to force the sale of the property to recover the amount they’re being owed.

In Canada, the most common property liens result from falling back on mortgage payments. Yet homeowners can also be faced with a lien if, for example, they fail to pay taxes and even bills of contractors working on their property.

Types of Liens

Property liens can be split into two main categories: consensual (or voluntary) and non-consensual (involuntary). Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Consensual or Voluntary Liens

As the name suggests, a consensual lien is one that you consent to. In the simplest of terms, any time you take out a loan, you voluntarily agree to have a consensual lien. Taking out a mortgage loan is the most common example, but liens can also occur when taking out a line of credit. In the case of a mortgage, your home is used to secure your obligation to pay for the newly acquired asset. And as long as you stay on top of the payments, you will retain ownership of the property.

Involuntary or Non-consensual Liens

Involuntary liens are any liens attached to your property without your consent. They result from local laws being enforced and can be put on a home by a lender, a tax authority or a legal judgment.

  • Mortgage lien: this lien may start as consensual, but if you default on your payments, the lender has the legal right to take possession of your home and sell it to recuperate losses. Out of all property lien types, this one is the most likely to result in foreclosure if you are more than 120 days overdue on payments.
  • Tax lien: if you fall behind on paying your property taxes, the municipality may put a tax lien on your home. As with overdue mortgage payments, the taxing authority can sell the property through a foreclosure to settle the debt. In most cases, the municipality will issue a tax certificate giving you one year to pay in full prior to the lien being issued.
  • Mechanic lien: this type of lien occurs if a mechanic or contractor is not paid for the work they performed on your property. In some cases, it can also occur if the contractor did not pay their supplier for the materials used for the work.
  • Judgment lien: occurs when a creditor wins a lawsuit against a debtor, and they become entitled to the funds resulting from the sale of the debtor’s property to settle the debt. It can result from loan nonpayments, but also in case of accidents and injuries where insurance is not enough to cover the bills, for example.

Is It Bad to Have a Lien on Your House?

The short answer is: it depends. For example, consensual liens will be visible on your credit report, yet as long as you’re up to date with your payments, they do not damage your credit score. In fact, consensual liens can benefit your credit score, letting banks and lenders know that you are a trustworthy borrower.

Liens become problematic if they are the result of nonpayment. Keep in mind that your payment history makes up a significant part of your credit score, and late payments can deduct valuable points. In addition, tax, mechanic, and judgment liens will remain on your credit report for seven years, so it’s best to avoid them at all costs.

An involuntary lien can also make it difficult to sell your home. And, in a worst-case scenario, you can even risk losing your property altogether if it goes to a foreclosure auction.

Removing a Lien From Your House

The best way to remove a property lien is to pay off your underlying debt. Alternatively, you can also negotiate a partial payoff with the lien-holder.

Do you have a lien on your property and are considering moving? Talk to your For Sale On Georgian Bay agent to discuss your options. We’ll be with you every step of the way.