Real Estate & the market is forever changing. Stay up to date and learn some great tips on buying and selling!

Feb. 9, 2022

Finding a Great Home in a Hurry

 

Finding a Great Home in a Hurry

 Do you have only a few weeks to search for your next dream home? Don't panic. There are things you can do to find the perfect (or, almost perfect) property - without getting too stressed out.

 Consider these tips:

Pre-arrange your mortgage. You want to be able to make a good offer on a home right away, without worrying about financing. So talk to your mortgage advisor or lender about getting a mortgage pre-approval. Sellers will take your offer more seriously if you have financing in hand.

Decide what you want. What type of home are you looking for? What type of neighbourhood to you want to live in? The narrower your focus, the less you'll waste looking at homes that don't fit your needs.

Be open to possibilities. There are probably terrific home on the market - right now - that are close to what you're looking for. So be prepared to consider properties that are less than perfect. Remember, what a home lacks today may be remedied with a renovation later on.

Be flexible with your schedule.  When you see a home you like, schedule a viewing immediately, even if it's at an inconvenient day/time, such as a weekday after work. Finding a great home, quickly, is worth some inconvenience.

Get alerted to new listings. As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. So arrange to be alerted to new listings the moment they come on the market. That way, you can see these properties right away.

 

Want more tips on finding a new home quickly?  Give me a call.

Posted in Home
Feb. 9, 2022

Should You Replace Your Windows?

 

Should You Replace Your Windows?

Here's a surprising statistic. Less than 30% of window replacements are a result of the old windows being worn, broken or otherwise in need of replacement.

Clearly, there are other good reasons to consider new windows!

One of the most popular motivations is cosmetic. Brand new windows have a huge impact on the overall look of a home, both on the inside and the outside. New windows can improve curb appeal - an important element when you sell a home. From the inside, new windows can dramatically improve the look of a room.

Another reason to replace windows is to address energy costs. Modern windows are packed with technologies that lower heating/cooling bills. From low-e/argon to special spacer bars to high-insulating construction, these technologies can provide savings you'll notice, especially if you're replacing very old windows.

A third reason is window style and characteristics. Simply put, you may not like your current windows. You may want more glass and less frame to enhance your view. Maybe your windows pull up (vertical sliders) when you'd rather have them open like a door (casements). Perhaps you'd like fancy blinds in-between the panes of glass. Replacing windows lets you get exactly the look and features you want.

Will new windows boost the resale value of your home? They might, at least a little. There's one thing for certain: upgraded windows definitely make your home look more appealing to buyers. 

Posted in Home
Feb. 9, 2022

The 4 Ps to Maximising Your Selling Price

 

 

The 4 Ps to Maximising Your Selling Price

 

When you sell, you'll probably want to get the best possible price for your property. Who wouldn't? Unfortunately, there are many ways to inadvertently leave money on the table - sometimes thousands of dollars.

How do you avoid that possibility? Just remember the 4 Ps:

Prep. Do everything you can to prepare your home so that it looks great to buyers. Clean, declutter, fix, make improvements. Home staging can also help. In fact, effectively staged homes have been shown to sell for up to 5% more than comparable unstaged properties.

Price. Set the right asking price. That's crucial. If it's too low, you'll attract only deal-hunters - and you might end up getting less than you should. If the asking price is too high, however, you'll discourage those buyers who might otherwise be interested and willing to make a good offer. Be careful with pricing!

Promotion. There may be qualified buyers out there who would be eager to see your property. But, they need to find out about your listing and the great features of your home first! Reaching these buyers requires more than merely profiling the listing on the MLS. Homes that sell for top dollar often have strong marketing - direct to the right buyers.

Proposal. Once an offer comes in, there may be an opportunity to negotiate with the buyer to maximize the final price you get. This requires deep knowledge of the local market as well as street-smart negotiation skills. If done effectively, these negotiations can help put more money in your pocket.

These four Ps are easy to remember, but sometimes not so easy to implement! That's why working with a great real estate agent is so important. Contact me to get the conversation started. 

Posted in Selling
Feb. 9, 2022

Protecting Your Home Gadgets from Hacking

 

Protecting Your Home Gadgets from Hacking

Imagine your coffee maker switching on by itself, staying on for hours, overheating and becoming a fire hazard. That's not science fiction. As more and more appliances incorporate WIFI, the opportunities for hackers to play havoc with your home gadgets increase.

How do you prevent that from happening? Here are some safety tips:

If your gadget uses a password to access the settings, change that password frequently. Ideally, change it once every 3 months.

Some gadgets, such as alarm systems, come with their own connection to the internet. Learn how to turn that connection off if it becomes necessary to do so.

Don't leave an internet-connected appliance or other gadget on constantly unless it's necessary. For example, you don't need your home speaker system connected to your digital music providers all the time.

Baby monitors with video are a common target for hackers. Use a password unique to that device and change it often. Never leave the monitor on when not in use.

Never share passwords with anyone unless it is absolutely necessary. Most home WIFI systems have a "guest" feature with a separate password and limited access. Use it.

In the age of internet connectivity - from coffee makers to stereos and even washing machines - it's smart to play it safe. Know what's connected and protect yourself. 

Posted in Home
Feb. 9, 2022

Stay or Move? 5 Questions that Help you Decide

 

Stay or Move? 5 Questions that Help you Decide

It can be tough to make the decision to sell. In fact, for many homeowners, it's overwhelming. If you're considering making a move and struggling with the decision, here are five helpful questions to ask yourselves:

1. "What are our practical reasons for selling?"

 This question refers to what you'll get by moving to a new home. The reasons could include a bigger backyard, shorter commute to work, an extra bedroom, a more desirable neighbourhood, etc.

2. "What are our emotional reasons for selling?"

This question refers to how you'll feel about living in a new home. For example, you might feel safer, less cramped, less worried (because the local schools are better), or happier (because the shorter commute means more time with your family.)

3. "What type of new home can we afford?"

This question involves finding out how much you'll likely get when you sell your existing home and how much of a mortgage you qualify to receive. With that information, you'll have a price range within which you can comfortably shop plus a clear idea of what your mortgage payments will be.

4. "In what ways will our lifestyle be better in a new home?"

This ties in closely with emotional reasons for selling. It relates to what your life will be like in a new home. Try to paint a picture in your mind. For example, you might want to be able to spend Saturday afternoons relaxing in your bigger backyard or Sunday nights entertaining friends and family in your larger living room.

5. "What else do we need to know before we decide to sell and move?"

Sometimes people are hesitant about selling simply because they have unanswered questions. So, if there's any part of the selling and buying process that's not clear, be sure to ask me.

Did thinking about these questions help make the decision easier? If you need more help or want to talk about your decision, please call me any time.

Posted in Home
Feb. 9, 2022

Should you Buy a Resale or a New-Build?

 

Should you Buy a Resale or a New-Build?

If you're thinking about buying a new home, you may be considering purchasing in a new development.

How does that compare to purchasing a resale property?

Buying a newly-built home has some advantages. Depending on the development, you may have leeway in the style of the home, finishes and the lot you choose. Also, when the home is built, you'll be moving into a place where everything is brand new!

On the downside, however, you may be forced to make a decision based purely on marketing brochures and floor plans. Unless there's a model home just like the one you want, you'll be buying sight unseen. Also, there may be unpredictable construction delays - an unpleasant experience if you've already sold your current property.

Of course, buying a resale home may also have a downside. For example, the house might need work, such as a new roof. What you see is pretty much what you get. And, that's true for the floor plan too. You can't ask for the living room to be five feet wider, unless you decide to renovate.

On the other hand, a big advantage of a resale home is moving into a neighbourhood that is already there for you to see and explore. Unlike in a new development, you can get a very clear idea of what it's going to be like to live there.

Plus, you get to see the house too!

Regardless of which way you go, I can help you make the best decision and find the home that's perfect for you.

Posted in Buying
Feb. 9, 2022

Budgeting for Moving Day Expenses

Budgeting for Moving Day Expenses

On moving day, you'll have a big task. You'll need to get your possessions from your old property to your new one - ideally without delays or damage! Surprisingly, many people underestimate the time and costs involved in doing that. Careful planning and budgeting are crucial to ensuring moving day goes smoothly.

 You basically have three options:

1. Hire a moving company to handle everything.

2. Hire a truck and crew, while doing some of the work yourself. (For example, you can pack and help with loading.)

3. Do it all yourself by renting a moving van and getting friends and family to help.

If you're going with option one, get quotes as early in the buying/selling process as possible. Services, booking requirements, costs and quality vary widely among full-service moving companies.

If you're going to do some or all of the move yourself, the best place to start is by making a list of what you'll need. In addition to renting a moving van, or hiring a truck and crew, there are many supplies you may require. For example, you'll need boxes, protective fill and/or wrapping (i.e. bubble wrap and cling wrap), markers for labeling boxes, packing tape, china barrels and more.

You may decide to rely on friends to help load the truck on moving day. That's fine. Just be sure you have enough people to do the job within a reasonable timeframe, and confirm everyone's attendance at least a couple of days before!

Posted in Home
Feb. 9, 2022

Cutting Renovation Costs without Cutting Quality

 

Cutting Renovation Costs without Cutting Quality

As you probably know, it's easy to lower the costs of a renovation. Just hire an inexpensive, fly-by-night contractor - and hope for the best!

Chances are, you won't want to take that risk. So how do you ensure you get quality work while keeping your budget in check?

Here are some tips:

Get estimates from at least three contractors. Often prices can vary widely, even amongst contractors with similar reputations and experience.

Narrow the project focus. If you're getting a bathroom renovated, for example, decide whether you need the contractor to paint the new walls. Can you do that yourself?

Shop around for the building materials. Yes, contractors often have access to wholesale prices. Still, you might be able to find a bathtub and vanity at a lower cost or at least avoid any markup the contractor may charge.

Negotiate. Sometimes a contractor is willing to lower the price for concessions, such as quick payments or more time to complete the job.

Schedule the renovation during a low-demand season. For example, deck contractors charge more in the spring than the fall. It's supply and demand. More people want their decks done in the spring.

Keep in mind that spending a little more for a skilled and reputable contractor can save you money in the long run. The renovation will have fewer, if any, "issues" (that may require an expensive fix) and will last longer. 

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 9, 2022

How Much Should You Budget for Your Next Home?

 

How Much Should You Budget for Your Next Home?

If it's been a while since you last moved, you might be wondering how much you'll need to spend on your next home. That's an important question to answer, even if you're just at the "thinking about it" stage and haven't decided whether or not you'll look for a new property.

After all, knowing your budget might influence your decision.

How should you determine your budget?

The first step is to calculate the maximum you can spend. This involves adding the money you'll get from the sale of your current property after repaying your outstanding mortgage, to any other funds you have available to invest ,plus the maximum amount of mortgage you qualify to receive.

Of course, just because you may qualify for a large mortgage doesn't mean you want those bigger payments. So, the second step is to think about your needs. What features are a must in your next home? For example, you might want four bedrooms and anything less would be a deal-breaker.

Make a "must have" list. That list can be used to find a baseline of properties on the market - and then find their average asking price. This will give you an idea of what it would cost to find a home that meets your must-have list.

The third step is to go beyond needs and consider the features you want. These might not be deal-breakers, but you'd sure love to have them in your next home. They could be a large deck, a location in a desirable neighbourhood, a big country kitchen, etc.

Ask yourself how much you would be willing to pay for those desirable features. $20,000? $50,000?

Once you've gone through these steps, you'll have the information you need to match your needs and wants to what's available on the market - and you'll know how much you might expect to pay for your next home.

 

 

Posted in Buying
Feb. 9, 2022

One Hour Ideas for Boosting Curb Appeal

One Hour Ideas for Boosting Curb Appeal

You've heard of the term "curb appeal". It refers to the initial impression buyers get when they first see your property from the street. If the impression is a good one, it sets the right tone for the rest of the home viewing.

How do you boost curb appeal? Here are some proven ideas that you can get done in an hour or so:

Wash both the inside and outside of the front windows. You'll be amazed at the difference that can make.

Sweep the walkway leading up to the front entrance. Add a new welcome mat. Also wash down the front door.

If possible, remove cars from the driveway. Let buyers imagine their own cars parked there!

Mow the lawn or clear the snow from the drive and pathways. Lightly trim the hedges. Weed flower beds.

Remove anything from inside window sills that may look unsightly from the outside. Try putting a couple of flowering plants there instead.

Place any trash bins out-of-sight. For example, put them in the garage or neatly at the side of the house.

If the entrance door hardware is old and worn, change it. New hardware can make a bigger difference than you might think.

Make sure the outdoor lights are working, especially if you're showing your home in the evening.

Add some flowering plants to flower beds, or buy a couple of portable potted plants and place them strategically.

Clean your mailbox. If it's rusted, replace it.

If you have a power washer, give the walkway and driveway a quick blast. Just be sure it will be dry before the buyers arrive.

These one-hour improvements may seem minor, but anything that helps buyers form a more positive first impression of your home is worth the effort. 

Posted in Home