Is there a neighbourhood you drive through occasionally and think, “Wow. I’d love to live here. What a fantastic area”?
Why don’t you take that thought any further? Maybe you think getting into that neighbourhood just isn’t doable – at least, not right now.
Perhaps you’re worried about the home prices or the current lack of homes for sale in that area. Maybe there’s some other reason, such as the possibility of higher mortgage payments.
Of course, those are all valid concerns. But why not find out whether or not they would genuinely hold you back?
For example, if you’re wondering whether you can afford a home in that neighbourhood, you can find that out with a reasonable degree of certainty. You can:
- Get a current market value assessment so you know, approximately, what you’d likely get for your home.
- Find out the average selling price of homes in the target neighbourhood.
- Calculate what you’d be able to put down on a new home.
- Find out how much mortgage you’ll need and what your payments would be.
Once you’ve taken a closer look at the actual numbers, you might discover that a nice home in your desired neighbourhood is within reach.
So, get the facts you need instead of assuming you can’t get into the neighbourhood you want.
The fact might be, you can!
Call today if you’d like to explore that possibility. I can help you get the facts you need.
When you think about selling your property, do you dwell on the possible work and stress involved? You're not alone. Many homeowners share the same concerns.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
In fact, there are plenty of ways to add some fun, anticipation, and even a sense of adventure to the selling process. Here are just a few ideas:
- Plan fun things to do when your home is being shown. That can include walks, sports activities, or trying something you and your family have never done before.
- Declutter for your own benefit. Instead of thinking about decluttering as a chore required for the sale, focus instead on how much more comfortable your home will be after decluttering. Studies consistently show that less clutter reduces stress and increases a sense of well-being.
- Get everyone in your home anticipating the move in a positive way. Put pictures of your next home, including neighbourhood shots, on the fridge door. Sit together on the computer and explore your new neighbourhood's features and amenities.
- Celebrate milestones in the selling process. For example, when you're finished preparing your property for sale, go out to celebrate. Make a checklist of milestones and how you'll celebrate each one.
- Get the help you need. A big part of the stress of selling is the anticipated work involved. Remember, you don't have to do it all yourself. Much of what needs to be done can be handled by contractors and other professionals.
There are many other ways to make selling your home a positive and turbulent-free experience. Give me a call if you'd like more ideas and suggestions.
When you’re shopping for a home, you may become interested in a property for sale that someone else is also considering. In fact, there may be several other buyers entertaining the idea of making an offer.
In such a competitive situation, what should you do if you really love that home?
Obviously, you’ll need to move quickly and make some fast decisions.
Start by making certain the property fits within your price range. The last thing you want is to have an offer accepted and find out it is beyond your budget. That’s why it’s a good idea to arrange for financing before you go home shopping.
Next, you want to make an offer that is so enticing to the sellers that they’ll put your offer at the top of the pile, if not close to it. So, what makes an offer enticing?
Obviously, price is a big factor. You want to go in at a price that’s attractive to the sellers, without overpaying. Imagine finding out later that the nearest offer to yours was $15,000 less. Ouch!
Chances are your offer price will need to be at or slightly above asking. Find out what similar homes in the area recently sold for — what real estate agents call “comparables” — and use those as a guide.
It’s also important that your offer contains few, if any, issues that may be concerning to the sellers. The ideal offer will feature:
- A closing date that’s convenient for the seller.
- A deposit amount that shows you’re a serious buyer.
- Acceptance of any of the buyer’s “exclusions”. (For example, they want to take the fridge and stove with them.)
- Evidence you can get financing. (Many lenders offer a “Mortgage Pre-approval Certificate”.)
If you want to increase the likelihood that you’ll find — and, more importantly, get — your next dream home, call today.
Your front walkway is one of the first sections of real estate a buyer will set foot on when coming to see your home. So, it makes sense to make that pathway to your front door as appealing as possible.
The obvious way is to make it as clean and clear as you can. Ensure there are no obstacles in the way, such as overhanging branches, kid's toys, or potted plants. What you want is a clear, unobstructed and pleasant walk to your main entranceway.
If your walkway needs deeper cleaning, consider a powerwash. There are special detergents available that are designed specifically for stone, asphalt or cement walkways and other outdoor surfaces.
A deep cleaning isn't a major project. In most cases, the job can be done within an hour. Yet, the result can be stunning.
If you're selling in the spring or summer, another way to make your walkway look better is to add flowers or other plants along the sides. Don't overdo it. You only need a few flowers or a couple of shrubs to make a big difference.
The great thing about adding a few flowers or shrubs is the impact they can have on your entire frontage making it more attractive, and adding to your home's overall curb appeal.
Making your walkway look better may seem minor, but keep in mind that when buyers make their way to your front door, they're forming their first and often most important impression of your property. The walkway plays a small but important role in making it a good one.
Want more ideas for making your home show better, so it sells quicker and for a higher price? Call me.
If you’re thinking about selling in the spring, don’t wait until the new year to start planning. In fact, you’ll save yourself a lot of work and get ahead of the game if you start planning now.
What’s that old saying? The early bird gets the worm! In this case, by starting the process this month, you’ll be in excellent shape when you’re ready to list in the spring.
Here are just a few examples of what you can do in December to get the process started:
- Walk your property and note any maintenance issues that need attention.
- Decide which items to stow or sell to declutter your home.
- Determine what improvements you’ll need to make in order for your home to look great to buyers (i.e. painting.)
- Find out approximately how much your property will likely sell for in the spring market.
- Clarify the kind of new home you’d like to move into, including ideal neighbourhoods.
- Look into your financing options, so you’ll know the price range you’ll be shopping within.
- Connect with any professionals you may need, such as contractors, a mover, and a real estate lawyer.
- Take advantage of any December shopping deals for products you may need, such as home improvement project materials, packing supplies, etc.
As you can see, the more prepared you are this month, the more stress-free and successful the home selling process will be for you in the spring.
And one more tip: contact me to get the conversation started about selling your home in the new year. It’s coming fast!
If you need to sell your home in the next month or two, you might be worried. After all, aren’t spring and summer the ideal seasons to list your property? If you list in November or December, you might have difficulties attracting buyers and getting the best price for your home. Right?
While it’s true that spring and summer are traditionally busy periods in the real estate market, properties do sell every month of the year.
So, if you’re thinking of selling, you’ll need to know two things:
• What comparable homes are selling for at this time of year.
• How long homes are taking to sell, on average.
There might be a local seller’s market this month. That would mean there are more buyers looking for homes like yours than there are sellers. If that’s the case, your property will likely sell fairly quickly; perhaps you’ll even get multiple offers.
But, even if there’s a buyer’s market at this moment, that doesn’t mean your property won’t sell. It just means your home will need to be staged and marketed effectively to attract the right buyers and pique their interest in making an offer.
Regardless of the market, chances are, there are buyers out there looking for a home like yours. They just need to find out about it, become interested in viewing it, and be wowed when they see it.
So, don’t be too concerned about the month. If you’re ready to sell, there’s a way to make it happen.
Call me for more details.
If you have a home that is overdue for a renovation, you might be worried that it will be difficult to sell as a "fixer-upper". In fact, you might delay listing your property for that reason.
The good news is, you don’t need to fix up everything in your home to prepare it for sale. You can be selective and choose only those projects that are most likely to help your home show well and sell quickly.
Here are some projects to consider:
- Repairs. Few things stand out more during a viewing than something in obvious need of repair. That includes minor issues, like a dripping bathroom faucet, as well as major concerns, such as the central air conditioning unit not working. Get these repairs done.
- Painting. Painting is one of the easiest and most affordable DIY projects you can do. Yet the impact it can have on your home is stunning. Some rooms are completely transformed by a fresh coat of paint.
- Kitchens & Bathrooms. Buyers love to see great looking kitchens and bathrooms. In fact, there are even magazines devoted just to those rooms! You don't necessarily need to do a major renovation of these spaces, but a makeover can be a good idea. Consider replacing sinks, countertops, and/or cabinet hardware.
- Floors. If the floors in any of your rooms have become worn and unsightly, look at options for refreshing them. Consider replacing carpeting, refinishing hardwood, and/or getting tiles professionally cleaned and polished.
- Outdoors. Sometimes you can compensate (a little) for a less-than-ideal interior by sprucing up the outdoor space. Explore ways to improve your deck or patio, walkways, and landscaping.
Even if your home is older, you can make it more attractive to buyers with any one of these projects.
Want more ideas for finding eager buyers for your home? Call today.
Outdoor lighting has come a long way from the days of patio lanterns and strings of lightbulbs. These days, there's an exhaustive array of options available to illuminate your outdoor space, and make it more appealing and comfortable, particularly in the evenings.
Here are just a few ideas:
- Solar garden lights. These lights are on stakes that can be easily inserted throughout the garden. Powered by the sun, they generate enough energy to cast a soft, pleasant glow along walkways or in flower beds in the evenings.
- Deck post lights. These are easy to install because they're designed to sit on top of a standard 4x4 wood deck post. Most are solar powered.
- Street-style lamps. As the name implies, these look similar to old-fashioned street lamps. Installation is a little more complex, but still DIY-friendly. They're eye-catching and have a dramatic impact on the look of your outdoor space.
- Portable lantern lights. These are outdoor lights that are portable and often made to look like a decorative fixture for a coffee table or side table. They can be placed anywhere.
- LED walkway lights. These are small lights that fit neatly and almost invisibly under stairs and around walkways. Walkway lights not only look good but also improve safety. Most are battery powered.
- Planter lights. This is one of the most interesting options. Each one is both a flower pot and a light in one! The pot itself is translucent which allows the light inside to shine through.
Design experts say you should treat your outdoor space as you would any room in your home. Lighting it up for evening comfort and enjoyment is a good place to start.
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 this 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.
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, at least, 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 do you want to live in? The narrower your focus, the less time you’ll waste looking at properties that don’t fit your needs.
- Be open to possibilities. There are probably terrific homes 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 they say, 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 home, quickly? Give me a call.
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
Imagine driving through a desirable neighbourhood and, just as you turn a corner, you see the absolutely perfect home. Guess what? It's for sale! But, there’s a problem. Your current property isn't on the market. In fact, until this moment, you hadn’t seriously considered moving. So what do you do?
Your first step is to find out more about the listing. Get a description of the property. Find out the listing price. Check out the size, layout, number of bedrooms and other features. If it all looks good, schedule a viewing. Chances are, you can do all that in less than a day.
If you go to see the property and still love it, your next step is to determine if it fits within your budget. To do that, you'll need to quickly find out the Current Market Value of your home — what it will likely sell for — so you can determine how much money you'll have available after your outstanding mortgage and any other costs are deducted. It’s a smart idea to speak to your lender about getting a pre-approved mortgage at this point too.
Next, you'll need to make an offer on the new home. Depending on the competitiveness of the neighbourhood, and the likelihood of multiple offers, you might need to list your home first. That, along with a pre-approved mortgage, will make your offer more credible.
You might end up buying the new home before your current property sells. Although that might cause some jitters, this scenario happens all the time in real estate. If you do the right things, and prepare your home properly, there's a good probability it will sell in time and that everything else regarding the two transactions will go smoothly.
But, you do need to move quickly and make some fast decisions if you want to get that perfect home.
I can help. Call me.
You've probably heard the expression, "The early-bird gets the worm." It refers, of course, to those who get in early and reap the rewards. For example, if you arrive early to a retail store for a big blowout sale, you're likely to get the deals before the inventory runs out. The stragglers who come later miss out.
Well, this same wisdom can be applied to selling your home. Starting the process early — even if that means simply doing some initial planning — gives you the edge in several ways.
First of all, you get extra time for preparation. That means you can get your home cleaned, uncluttered and staged without feeling rushed. You also get more time to find out how much your property will likely sell for on today's market. That's important information, especially if you're also looking to finance a new home.
Secondly, there's less stress. You'll have more time to make the right decisions. The last thing you want is to be scrambling around, last minute, trying to get your home ready for sale.
Finally, with your initial preparations done, you'll be able to put your home on the market at a moment's notice. That's a huge advantage that's likely to lead to selling your property more quickly and for the best price. In fact, by getting an early start on the process, you might even find that right now is the best time to list -- and you'll be able to do so, with confidence.
Want help getting an early start on selling your home? Call me.
Ideally you should have a week or two available before you list your property in order to stage your home and make it look its best for buyers. But, what if you listed quickly and within hours of the For Sale sign going up a buyer wants to view your property?
In that scenario, you need to do some quick "staging" to get your home ready. Let's assume your property is already clean and tidy. Here are some other things you can do.
- Open the curtains, even at night. This will make each room seem brighter, more appealing and more spacious.
- Pull out some boxes or storage bins. Put away personal knick-knacks (like that bowling trophy) and other personal items to reduce clutter on shelves and countertops.
- Clear countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms. Put the old toaster oven out-of-sight.
- Make sure lighting throughout the house is bright and comfortable. In darker areas, plug in a lamp.
- Clear away as much as you can in the foyer. Make that space look open, uncluttered and welcoming.
- Move cars out of the driveway. Give the buyer a convenient place to park!
- Make the beds. Fluff pillows on sofas.
- Clear away as many items as possible from the closet floors (such as shoes.)
- Open a window and air out the kitchen, especially if you just finished cooking.
- Make sure your pet is in a crate or, if possible, out for a walk. Not everyone loves pets.
These staging tips take only a few minutes each, but can make a big difference in the impression your home makes on a buyer.
Want more home selling advice? Call today.
Imagine you've found the perfect home. You love it. You've made an offer that's been accepted. So far so good! The only catch? You've wisely made the offer conditional on passing a professional home inspection.
What happens if that home inspection reveals a major issue?
First, you should know that, depending on the age of the property, a home inspection will typically turn up at least a few areas of concern. The inspector might find loose insulation in the attic that is thinning out or roofing shingles that will need replacing in two or three years.
Issues like those are not usually deal-breakers.
However, if the home inspector finds a major issue — such as old wiring that's worn and presents a safety concern — then you're facing a potentially high cost of repair should the deal go through.
In a situation like that, as your real estate agent, I will address the issue with the seller, usually through the seller's agent. Since neither of you will want to lose the deal, the seller often agrees to get the repair done at his own expense or, have some or all of the estimated repair cost deducted from the sale price.
Will the deal be in jeopardy? Usually not. In most cases, if you have a real estate agent like me working in your best interests, it all works out.
For some people, the thought of listing their home for sale is stressful. They worry about all the things they have to do — and all the things that might go wrong.
Luckily, it doesn't have to be that way. Here are some tips for making your home sale go smoothly:
- Give yourself time to prepare. If you're thinking of selling six months from now, start preparing your property now. Do any necessary staging, and get it looking its best. Avoid doing these tasks at the last minute.
- Set the right price. Pricing your property too high will likely result in few, if any, buyers coming to see it. You might end up having to lower your price later, causing your home to linger even longer on the market. That's stress you don't need!
- Have a flexible viewing schedule. If you make it too difficult for buyers to see your property, they might lose interest or simply choose to buy another home. Be as flexible as possible when a buyer wants to view your property.
- Plan get-away activities. When a buyer comes for a scheduled viewing, don't be home. Instead, plan some fun activities for your family. Think: playground, shopping, cycling, the zoo, etc.
- Accept the ups and downs. Prospective buyers might say they love your home and plan to make an offer. Then you don't hear from them again! It happens! Accept the inevitable ups and downs of selling your home.
- Get help with repairs. You'll probably have things that need to be fixed around the home, like a dripping faucet that needs repair or a room that needs painting. If possible, hire a professional to do some of that work.
- Finally, work with a great real estate agent. That will make the biggest difference in ensuring your move goes smoothly and stress-free.
Looking for a real estate agent like that? Call me!
Wouldn't it be nice if you had all the time in the world to find your next dream home? You could leisurely browse the current listings, select homes you'd like to see, schedule visits on dates that are most convenient for you, and make an offer on a property only after you've had plenty of time to consider all the alternatives.
Sure, that sometimes happens, but it's not typical. Often, people shopping for a home are on a timeline. Sometimes a very tight timeline.
So how do you find your next dream home when you don't have all the time in the world?
First, you need to develop a clear picture of the home you're looking to buy. How many bedrooms? What size of property? What type of structure (two story, back split, etc.)? Then, you need to list your preferences. These might include "large kitchen" or "main floor office".
Once you've completed that exercise, you'll have a more detailed profile of the type of property you want. That will make it easier to decide which of the listings on the market you want to see.
You should also narrow down the area in which you'd like to live. If you have three or four targeted areas, and only consider listings in those areas, your home search will be much faster.
What if you don't know the neighbourhoods well? Visit a few. Drive around. Explore. Get as much neighbourhood data as possible, such as demographics, recreational activities, parks, shopping, schools, etc. Then choose the neighbourhoods that fit your lifestyle.
Finally, the best way to find a new home on a tight schedule is to work with the right real estate agent — someone who, like me, is experienced in the local market.
Call me anytime.
When you're having a garage sale, one of the toughest tasks is pricing your items. If you put a price tag on your old golf clubs that’s too high, no one will buy them. If you make the price too low, they might sell quickly, but you’ll spend the rest of the day wondering if you could have gotten more!
It's similar to selling your home — except with your home, the stakes are much higher. You want to price your property to sell, but you don’t want to leave any money on the table.
How do you accomplish that?
Setting the right list price for your home requires a combination of skilled calculation and industry savvy.
Let's start with the "calculation" part...
When you work with me, I'll review recently sold properties that are similar to yours in type, size, features and location. Then, using that data, we’ll calculate a range that represents your property's "current market value."
For example, consider a spacious 15-year-old bungalow in a nice neighbourhood. If similar homes in the area have sold for $475,000-$550,000 in the last six months, then it's obvious that your home should sell in that range too. A list price above or below that range would be in the danger zone.
But skilled calculation is only half the task.
Setting your list price also requires expertise in the local market, combined with good old-fashioned gut instinct. That instinct comes from being on the front lines of many property transactions.
That's why working with a good real estate salesperson is so important, when you’re deciding on the list price for your home.
Want to discuss selling your home? Call me.
If you're working with a landscaping contractor, you want to develop a good working relationship with that professional, so you can avoid delays, stress and other issues. After all, the last thing you want is a tree planted in the wrong spot because of a misunderstanding!
The same holds true when working with a real estate agent. Whether you're buying, selling, or both, you want the process to go smoothly and successfully. Creating an ideal working relationship with your agent is an important step toward making that happen.
How do you do that?
First, ask your agent to go over the process with you. If you're selling your home, you want to understand the steps the agent is going to take. That way, there will be fewer surprises. In particular, you’ll want to discuss how viewings will be handled. You'll need to come to an agreement as to when your home will be available for viewings, how short-notice viewings will be handled, and whether or not "lockbox access" will be needed.
Don't be afraid to ask questions, even if you're worried about seeming to be naive. (You won't!) You don't want to have unanswered questions or concerns between you and your agent.
Also, know that misunderstandings and mistakes can happen in any relationship with a professional. So if an issue comes up, discuss it right away. Don't let it fester.
Finally, remember that your agent should be a professional like me, with expertise in buying and selling in this market. When I make a recommendation regarding pricing, prepping your home, viewings, etc. remember that I am working in your best interest. I want to sell your property, quickly and for a good price, just as much as you do!
Looking for an agent you can trust? Contact me today!
If you need to upsize or you’re simply ready for a change, it’s tempting to consider a major renovation. After all, renovating means you don’t have to go through the process of selling your property and buying another more suitable home. You just fix up the one you’ve got!
However, you need to carefully consider the pros and cons of renovating before going this route. You don’t want to invest in a costly renovation only to end up with a home that still doesn’t meet your needs.
Say, for example, your current property doesn’t have a home office. Since all the bedrooms are taken, you decide to renovate a portion of the basement. Building that new home office may seem like a simple project, but once you consider new electrical, flooring, lighting, etc., it really isn’t. Like most renovations, it will probably cost more than you think. Plus, you’ll need to consider whether you’ll really want to work in the basement.
In this case, it might make more sense to find a new home with an extra bedroom that can be converted, or, better still, a dedicated home office space — with windows!
Of course, there are many circumstances in which a renovation may be the best way to go. If you don’t like your kitchen, for example, upgrading it may not only get you the kitchen you want, but also add value to your property.
Basically, you need to ask yourself: "Which is more likely to get me the home I really want – a renovation or a new home?"
If your answer is a new home, then there is probably a property on the market right now that would meet your needs. Let’s talk.
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