Aug 17 | 2016

Certified Resale Home: Delivering a superior customer experience

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customer experienceIt’s pretty clear that brands with a good understanding of the value of customer experience manage to be so successful in large part because of word of mouth. This level of exposure is what every company strives for!

Looking at real estate, agents are typically chosen based on referrals and/or repeat business (having worked with the same client previously). But what really underlies this choice?  In my opinion, CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.

There have been numerous technological advancements that have made buying and selling a home much easier (i.e. online property searches, buy and sell checklists, electronic transaction platforms with e-signature etc.) but the secret ingredient will always remain the same – give a customer a great experience and they will come back for more or let others know about it.

When it comes to return on investment, delivering a superior customer experience will go beyond any marketing spend. It was one of the key opportunities we identified when FCT started to devise our Certified Resale Home service. Of course, it helps that delivering superior customer experiences has been our core value for the past 25 years.

Certified Resale Home is an impartial, honest and expert assessment of a home that provides greater transparency and information so that the seller, realtor, and buyer can make informed decisions.

Here’s what it can do for everyone involved:

The seller – get the best possible offer, quicker

  • Immediately differentiate the property and make it stand out
  • Optimize purchase offers
  • Enhance buyer comfort

The buyer – reduce anxiety and reduce the buyer beware environment

  • Build trust by offering more transparent information through a recognized ‘brand’
  • Ensure they have an impartial and honest inspection to rely on and peace of mind and confidence with a warranty to fall back on

The agents – increase customer satisfaction and generate referrals

  • Take control of the situation and get out in front of issues for their client
  • Reinforce their value with a superior full-service experience
  • Time is money – close listings faster

We are currently piloting with RE/MAX Niagara (Ontario) and Century21Carrie.com (Winnipeg).  If you are a homeowner looking to sell in those areas, contact us for more information. All pre-listing home inspections are fulfilled by AmeriSpec® Inspection Services.

Warranty Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited
® Registered Trademark of AmeriSpec Inspection Services.

May 31 | 2016

Preparing your home for sale: A checklist for helping you stand out and sell faster

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real estateCompetition can be fierce in the real estate market. So how do you make sure your home is the one that gets attention and gets sold? Well, a lot of factors come into play that are beyond a homeowner’s control, such as current market conditions and regulatory environment. That being said, there are a lot of things that a homeowner can control to maximize opportunity and profit. Here is a quick list to help you make the most of your selling experience before you even put your home up for sale:

  • Do some research to determine your home-selling strategy and ask yourself: Is now the best time to sell from both an emotional and a marketability perspective? How much do I want/need to get in terms of a selling price?
  • Prepare yourself emotionally to have people in your home. Potential buyers will be scrutinizing your living space — and you need to be ready for the feedback, both positive and negative.
  • Locate paperwork that will answer potential buyers’ questions such as utility bills, tax bills, warranties, renovation dates and invoices, property surveys and so on.
  • Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and do a thorough walk-through, critiquing your home from their perspective. Making a few small touch-ups and repairs can make a big impression.
  • Clean, declutter and depersonalize your home so that prospective buyers don’t get distracted from its features. For a complete listing of areas to consider when making your home look its best, click here.
  • Maximize curb appeal to create a powerful first impression that draws prospective buyers. Here are some good ideas to make your home inviting as suggested by MoneyTalksNews.com.
  • Enlist the help of an experienced, certified and trusted home inspector like AmeriSpec® Inspection Services. By understanding what repairs — both minor and major — your home needs, you can get in front of potential conditions that can slow or derail a sale altogether.
  • Interview several realtors before selecting one to represent you and your listing. It is important to choose one that specializes in your particular area and type of home; one that has a solid reputation and valid credentials; and one that comes recommended. Howrealtorshelp.ca offers 10 questions you should consider asking potential candidates.

By preparing yourself and your home with these simple yet effective tips, you’re well on your way to ensuring a better, faster closing experience.

Do you have any additional tips for preparing a home for sale? Feel free to share by commenting below.  And be sure to visit thecertifiedresalehome.ca for more information on how to put this innovative service offering to work for you.

Apr 11 | 2016

Certified Resale Home aligns with proposed Ontario Bill to license Home Inspectors

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home inspectionIn February, a private members bill (Bill 165) was introduced into the Ontario legislature with the intent of establishing a licensing regime for home inspectors. The Licensed Home Inspectors Act, 2016 is designed to provide a framework for the regulation of the home inspection industry. Here are a few key sections taken from the preamble:

“The purchase of a home is the largest investment most homeowners will make in their lifetime and homebuyers are increasingly reliant on home inspectors. The current unregulated environment for home inspectors poses risk for the consumer. An unqualified home inspection poses a primarily financial risk from situations such as an unexpected repair and maintenance costs. In addition to financial risk, in some circumstances the condition of homes could also constitute a safety risk to homeowners. These risks ultimately hurt consumer confidence and hurt the home inspection industry as a whole.

Home inspections are a good tool for homebuyers, especially new ones. The regulation of home inspectors will ensure the health of the industry and will create accountability that is helpful for consumers. As the complexity of home inspections rises, licensing will raise the standards of the industry.

It is important for the Province to protect homebuyers by regulating the home inspection industry. Increased protection for homebuyers through licensing will increase consumer trust in the real estate transaction and decrease unnecessary consumer risk.”

Higher standards + risk mitigation = a better consumer experience

Our aim with our Certified Resale Home service is to fine-tune the industry’s approach to home inspections, by delivering a certification process that harmonizes home inspections and mitigates some of the more glaring blind spots therein. Certified Resale Home helps to improve the customer experience relating to home inspections by removing anxiety points and creating real value for all the participants.  Establishing trust is critical and we believe that FCT and our home inspection network can do that with:

  • An impartial, honest and expert assessment—high-quality inspections are completed by experienced, educated and insured inspectors who carry E&O insurance and are committed to providing a superior inspection experience, all managed by an impartial third party (FCT!).
  • Greater transparency and more-detailed information lets the seller, realtor and buyer make more informed decisions.
  • Warranty coverage that provides significant risk mitigation for items considered “blind spots” and as such, difficult for the home inspector to opine on.
  • Our coverage is the only one available that transcends the home ownership lifecycle with an 18-month warranty that is fully transferable from seller to buyer on closing.

At FCT, our mission is to make financial transactions simple and secure with superior customer experiences. We feel that Bill 165 is a step in the right direction and support this important initiative to protect consumers by raising the standards of the home inspection industry.  We also believe Certified Resale Home is very much aligned with that stated goal and offers an “in market” solution right now.

For more information about this innovative service, visit us online. And be sure to check back here often. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as Bill 165 progresses through the legislative process.

Mar 10 | 2016

Certified Resale Home gets a makeover and a new partner!

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15-075E-CRH_FB_profile_v2The launch of Certified Resale Home last year was the culmination of significant customer insight and feedback and a result of our drive to fill a gap in the current process with an innovative solution. In fact, by leveraging core competencies of process optimization and risk management, FCT has been delivering innovative real estate solutions for the past 25 years: our mission is and has always been to make financial transactions simple and secure. But what really sets us apart from the competition is our ability to provide exceptional customer experiences. With that at the forefront of our strategy to redefine the current approach to home inspections, we set about making the following changes to Certified Resale Home based on customer need:

  • $20,000 worth of coverage — We’ve upped the maximum coverage from $11, 500 to $20,000 to ensure we’re providing the best warranty coverage possible for the main systems in a home.
  • Removal of previous capped limits – Now an owner can determine how to allocate the limit based on the extent of repair and replacement necessary.
  • Optional extra swimming pool equipment and septic tank system coverage  — For a few dollars more owners can now get greater peace of mind protection for these additional systems.
  • A simplified warranty coverage document — With an easy-to-read, visually appealing design that uses straightforward language and no fine print, we’re aiming to make our coverage simpler to understand and completely transparent.

We are also very pleased to announce that as of February 11, 2016, Certified Resale Home has been available to homeowners through an exclusive partnership with Re/Max Niagara Realty Ltd.  With offices in Niagara Falls, St Catharines and Fort Erie, Re/Max Niagara Realty has joined forces with FCT to bring the unique benefits of Certified Resale Home to these new markets, including:

  • Differentiating the property from other listings;
  • Promoting greater buyer confidence; and
  • Helping the owner sell their home faster.

If you are a homeowner in any of these new markets and you are looking to list your home for sale, we invite you to reach out to your local Re/Max Niagara Realtor to start a conversation about putting the benefits of Certified Resale Home to work for you. For more information on the program, please visit http://niagararemax.thecertifiedresalehome.ca/.

Warranty Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited