Showing Homes

It’s Showtime

Showtime: Getting Your Home Ready For Showings

After putting in a huge amount of time and effort to get your home looking good and ready to sell, your hard work is finally going to pay off: your home is on the market—you’re ready to begin showings. Your house should always be at-the-ready for a tour, as agents may bring clients by with very little notice. If they catch you unprepared and you aren’t able to show the house on the spot, you could be losing out on a sale. Concentrate on the following areas to ensure your home is ready to show:

1. People

Homebuyers may feel like intruders if you are present while they view your house, and this will affect their overall impression. Consider taking the opportunity to visit the local coffee shop, go shopping, or take the kids to the park. If you can’t leave while the house is being shown, try to be as unassuming as possible. Do not move from room to room. Don’t offer information, but make yourself available to answer any questions the agent or buyers might have.

2. Lighting

When you know an agent is bringing someone by, make sure all of the drapes and window shades are open to let in as much daylight as possible, or—if the showing is taking place at night—to create a look of comfort and warmth when viewed from the outside. Open all the doors between rooms to create an open, inviting feel. Turn on all lamps and overhead lights, even during the day. Keeping lights on during the day softens the harsh shadows sunlight can create in a room, and illuminates dim corners. During nighttime showings, make sure all outdoor lights are on, as well as pool lights.

Cleaning Home

3. Cleanliness

Scan the floor for debris—newspapers and magazines tend to accumulate without our noticing. Make sure all the counters are clutter-free. Empty the kitchen garbage before every showing, particularly if the garbage can doesn’t have a lid. Keep everything freshly dusted and vacuumed. Beds should be made and bathrooms cleaned (toilet lid down). Every room should sparkle.

4. Scents and Sounds

Avoid using scented sprays before showing your home. Some people simply won’t enjoy the smell, and others may be allergic. If you want to make a room smell pleasant, consider a potpourri pot or a naturally-sourced aroma.
If you or your family is home while the agent is giving a tour, try to stay as quiet as possible. Turn off the television and the blaring radio. Put on some soothing background music at a low volume.

5. Pets

If you have pets, make sure your listing agent includes this in your listing on the Multiple Listing Service. This way, no one will be surprised by a furry welcome if the agent shows the house while you’re not there. If you know someone is coming to tour the house, ideally you should take the pets with you, or arrange to have a friend or family member take them. If this isn’t possible, keep dogs in the backyard, preferably in a penned area. Try to keep indoor cats in one room while people are touring the house, and put a sign on the door.

 

Want to talk to an expert on how you can make sure your home is ready for showings?  Give me a shout!

Real Estate Market Education

Stay Educated

Know the Market before You Buy

The asking prices of most homes on the market indicate the current state of the market, and usually, mirror the prices for which other similar homes in the area have recently sold. In deciding upon a selling price, a home-seller must establish a balance between the desire to draw the highest offer and finding a price that will be reasonable enough to attract an appropriate pool of prospects, and competitive offers. While most selling agents counsel their clients to consider this equation when pricing their home, keep in mind that some homes are not properly priced.
It’s important to educate yourself about the current market before approaching the purchase of a home. The market will always influence a property’s value, regardless of the state of a home, or its desirability.

Here are the types of market conditions and how they may affect you:

1. Seller’s Market:

A seller’s market is considered a “hot” market. This type of market is created when demand is greater than supply—that is, when the number of buyers exceeds the number of homes on the market. As a result, these homes usually sell very quickly, and there are often multiple offers. As a buyer, you need to consider that many homes will sell above the asking price; in other words, you may have less room to negotiate and may encounter competing offers. Though most buyers want to get a home for the lowest price possible, reducing your offer could mean opening the door for another buyer instead.

2. Buyer’s Market:

A buyer’s market is a slower market. This type of market occurs when supply is greater than demand, the number of homes exceeding the number of buyers. Properties are more likely to stay on the market for a longer period of time. Fewer offers will come in, and with less frequency. Prices may even decline during this period. As a buyer, you will have more selection and flexibility in terms of negotiating toward a lower price. Even if your initial offered price is too low, the seller will be more likely to come back with a counter-offer, so you can begin the process of negotiation.

3. Balanced Market:

In a balanced market, supply equals demand, the number of homes on the market roughly equal to the number of buyers. When a market is balanced there aren’t any concrete rules guiding whether you should make an offer at the higher end of your range, or the lower end. Prices will be stable, and homes will sell within a reasonable period of time. You will have a decent number of homes to choose from, and may encounter some competition for offers on the home of your choice, or none at all.
Before you make an offer to purchase a home, establish whether the current market is a Buyer’s, Seller’s, or Balanced market. Also, evaluate the price similar properties have sold for in the area, and the length of time these properties spent on the market. Determine how the home you’re considering compares to these other sales. Is this one over-priced, under-priced, or a fair price? By establishing this information prior to making an offer, you will be in a position to negotiate the best price for the home and be prepared for any additional opportunities that may come your way.

Keep in mind, a realtor is trained to provide clients with this information about the market, helping you make the most informed decision possible. The right realtor will guide you through the ups and downs of the market and keep you up-to-date with the types of changes you might expect. These realtor resources and connections will prove to be invaluable as you navigate the real estate market.

The other main factors that affect market value are:

1. Location:

The proximity of the home to amenities, such as schools, parks, public transportation, and stores will affect its status on the market. Also, the quality of neighbourhood planning, and future plans for development and zoning will influence a home’s current market value, as well as the ways in which it might change.

2. Property:

The age, size, layout, style, and quality of construction of the building will all affect a property’s market value, as well as the size, shape, seclusion and landscaping of the yard.

3. Condition of the Home:

This includes the general condition of the home’s main systems, such as the furnace, central air, electrical system, etc., as well as the appearance and condition of the fixtures, the floor plan of the house, and its first appearances.

4. Comparable Properties:

Examine the selling and asking prices of similar homes in the neighbourhood. Ask your Realtor to prepare you a general market analysis of the neighbourhood you’re interested in, so you can determine a range of value for a particular property. A market analysis will provide you with a market overview and give you a glimpse at what other similar properties have been selling for in that area.

5. Market Conditions/ Economy:

The market value of a home is additionally affected by the number of homes currently on the market, the number of people looking to buy property, current mortgage rates, and the condition of the national and local economy.

Want to chat about what the market condition is right now? Give me a call or emailContact and let me help you.

Leaky Roof

Home Inspection

Top Ten Issues Experienced in a Home Inspection

Each homebuyer has different ideas of what will constitute the ideal home for them, these notions often based on particular aesthetic preferences. But one thing that unites all potential homebuyers is the desire to find a home that is fundamentally sound—in areas beyond the immediate sweep of the eye—and that will provide a safe, comfortable, and efficient foundation for their life behind a new door.

This is where the services of a home inspector come in. During a home inspection, at least 30 areas of the home are placed under the home inspector’s “microscope.” We’ve compiled the ten most common weaknesses uncovered in a typical home inspection. If not addressed, these problems could cost you thousands of dollars in the long-run. So, knowing what to look for, and performing your own thorough pre-inspection, will help you to identify areas for repair or improvement before they grow into costly problems.

1. Damp Basement:

If a mildew odour is present, the inspector will be able to detect it, as this smell is impossible to mask or eliminate. Mildew odour is often the first indication of dampness in the basement. The inspector will also examine the walls, checking for any signs of whitish mineral deposit just above the floor, and will note whether you feel confident enough to store items on the floor.
Repairs can vary and this cost can influence the calculation of your home’s value, so consider enlisting the help of an expert to ensure you have a firm grasp on the bottom line before moving forward with the sale of your home.

2. Poorly Installed/ Defective Plumbing:

In older homes, plumbing problems and defects are very common. The inspector will determine whether your home’s plumbing is subject to leaking or clogging. Signs of leakage can be visibly detected. The inspector will test water pressure by turning on all the faucets in the highest bathroom and then flushing the toilet. If the sound of water is audible, this indicates that the home’s pipes may be too narrow. The inspector will also check for signs of discolouration in the water when a faucet is first turned on. The appearance of dirty water is usually an indication that the pipes are rusted—a water quality problem that should be dealt with immediately.

3. Older/ Poorly-Functioning Heating and Cooling Systems:

Heating/ cooling systems that are older or haven’t been properly maintained can pose serious safety and health problems. An inspector will determine the age of your furnace and, if it is over the average life span of a furnace (15-20 years), will likely suggest you replace it, even if it is still in good condition.
If your heating system is a forced air gas system, the heat exchanger will be examined very closely, as any cracks can result in the leak of poisonous carbon monoxide gas. These heat exchangers are irreparable; if damaged, they must be replaced. While replacing these components may seem expensive, a new system will yield heightened efficiency, reducing monthly heating/ cooling costs substantially, and benefiting your long-term investment.

4. Older/ Unsafe Electrical System:

In older homes, it is common to find undersized services, aluminum wiring, knob-and-tub wiring, or insufficient/ badly-renovated distribution systems. When an electrical circuit is over-fused, more amperage is drawn on the circuit than what the circuit was intended to bear, creating a fire hazard. You’ll typically find a 15 amp circuit in a home, with increased service for larger appliances such as dryers or stoves. If replacing your fuse panel with a circuit panel, expect a cost of several hundred dollars.

5. Older/ Leaking Roof:

An asphalt roof will last an average of 15 to 20 years. Leaks through the roof could be a sign of physical deterioration of the asphalt shingles caused by aging or could indicate mechanical damage caused by any number of factors, such as a heavy storm. If you decide your roof requires new shingles, you’ll first need to know how many layers are beneath, in order to determine whether the roof must be completely stripped before installing the new shingles.

6. Minor Structural Problems:

Common in older homes, these problems range from cracked plaster to small shifts in the foundation. While this variety of problem isn’t large enough to cause any real catastrophe, they should be taken care of before they grow.

7. Poor Ventilation:

Unvented bathrooms and cooking areas can become breeding areas for mold and fungus, which, in turn, lead to air quality issues throughout the house, triggering allergic reactions. Mold may additionally cause damage to plaster and window frames. These problems should be identified and taken care of before any permanent damage is caused.

8. Air Leakage:

A cold, drafty home can be the result of any number of problems, such as ill-fitting doors, aged caulking, low-quality weather strips, or poor attic seals. This nature of repair can usually be taken care of easily and inexpensively.

9. Security Features:

An inspector will look at the standard security features that protect your home, such as the types of lock on the doors/ windows/ patio doors, and the smoke or carbon monoxide detectors and where they’re located throughout the home. Check with an expert if your home is lacking in any of these areas, in order to determine what costs to expect.

10. Drainage/ Grading Problems:

This may be the most common problem found by home inspectors and is a widespread catalyst of damp and mildewed basements. Solutions to this problem may range from the installation of new gutters and downspouts, to re-grading the lawn and surrounding property in order to direct water away from the house.

 

Have questions? Contact me today!

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Additional Costs When Buying a Home

13 Expenses to Expect When Buying a Home

Budgeting for a new home can be tricky. Not only are there mortgage installments and the down payment to consider, but there are also a host of other—sometimes unexpected—expenses to add to the equation. The last thing you want is to be caught financially unprepared, blindsided by taxes and other hidden costs on closing day.
These expenses vary: some of them are one-time costs, while others will take the form of monthly or yearly installments. Some may not even apply to your particular case. But it’s best to educate yourself about all the possibilities, so you will be prepared for any situation, armed with the knowledge to budget accordingly for your move. Use the following list to determine which costs will apply to your situation prior to structuring your budget:

  1. Purchase offer deposit.
  2. Inspection by a certified building inspector.
  3. Appraisal fee –  Your lending institution may request an appraisal of the property. The cost of this appraisal is your responsibility.
  4. Mortgage application at your lending institution.
  5. 5% GST – this fee applies to newly built homes only or existing homes that have recently undergone extensive renovations. Some homes that have been used for Air B&B or other short term rentals may also be applicable to GST
  6. Legal fees – A lawyer should be involved in every real estate transaction to review all paperwork. Experience and rates offered by lawyers range quite a bit, so shop around before you hire.
  7. Homeowner’s insurance – Your home will serve as security against your loan for your financial institution. You will be required to buy insurance in an amount equal to or greater than the mortgage loan.
  8. Property Transfer Tax (purchase) tax – This tax applies in any situation in which a property changes owners and can vary greatly.
  9. Moving expenses.
  10. Service charges – Any utilities you arrange for at your new homes, such as cable or telephone, may come with an installation fee.
  11. Interest adjustments.Find Your Next Home
  12. Renovations – In order to “make it their own,” many new homeowners like to paint or invest in other renovations prior to or upon moving into their new home. If this is your plan, budget accordingly.
  13. Maintenance fees – If you are moving to a new condominium, you will likely be charged a monthly condo fee which covers the costs of common area maintenance.

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Buy or sell - where to start?

Buy or Sell First?

Where to Start…

If you are considering looking for a new house, and are a current home-owner, then chances are you’re wondering what your strategy should be: do you wait to find the perfect new home before you put your current home on the market, or do you sell first and then look around? You have a few options. Use the following as a guide to explore what might be the best move for you.

Sell First:

There are several benefits to selling your current house before searching for your next home. First of all, once you have sold your house, you will know precisely how much money you have to work with. With a concrete price range, you’ll be able to narrow the pool of houses before you begin looking and negotiate accordingly. This will allow you to immediately make firm offers on houses that you are serious about purchasing. You can be first in line with a strong offer you know you can afford, and this will grant even further negotiating leverage as Sellers tend to take stronger offers (think, no subject to finance) more seriously. When they counter or turn down an offer that’s conditional on the sale of a home, they usually think the Buyer will come back with a better and more firm offer once they have sold their current home. However, if you make an unconditional offer, the Seller will usually give you more consideration, as they realize you’re probably looking at other properties and will move on if your offer is rejected. Likewise, if you have already sold your house, you probably do have a wider opportunity to look around, negotiate, and find the best deal and fit for you and your family.

House for sale animationThe flip side of this scenario, however, is that if you don’t find the right property before the closing date of the house you’ve already sold, you may have to look for temporary housing until you do find what you’re looking for. So, before you opt to sell first, you should determine whether you have alternate, temporary options, in case you have to move from your house before you’ve found a new one. How would you and your family deal with living in a transition home for an undetermined period of time?

Buy First:

Buying a new house without having sold your current home may occur if you are interested in a specific property and will only sell your current home if this property comes on the market. It may be a matter oftiming—grabbing hold of the home before it’s too late. The same might be said of a property you haven’t had you eye on previously, but that catches your attention due to its uniqueness or unbelievable price. If buying first means you don’t miss out on the real estate opportunity of a lifetime, it may be the best move.

However, be careful. If you buy another property and aren’t able to sell your current home quickly enough, you could end up having to finance both homes and shoulder the extra debt until you sell. You can get a financial appraisal or market evaluation of a home prior to selling, but this doesn’t guarantee the price you’ll ultimately receive for the home after the negotiation process has run its course. Since your selling price will be an unknown, jumping into a purchase could be a gamble, particularly if your budget is tight.

Make sure you’re familiar with all aspects of the financial reality this scenario would create before you purchase another home. You may be faced with owning two homes at once. What type of financial stress would this bring to your life and how would you deal with it? Consider the fact that if your current house doesn’t sell quickly enough, you may be forced to sell it off at a reduced price in order to align the closing dates of your two properties. What effect would this have on your financial situation?
Conditional Offer:
An additional option involves making your offer to purchase conditional upon the sale of your current property within a specified period. Conditional offers usually include a clause that allows for the Sellers to keep their property on the market and remain open to other offers while you try to sell your home. If the Sellers receive another attractive offer before you’ve sold your home, they may accept and ask you to either remove your condition and firm up your offer or to back down from the offer. A conditional offer forms a kind of middle ground, an area of compromise, for those who are afraid to sell or buy first—but doesn’t hold the advantages of the other two options.Calculator and Contract
One of the drawbacks of the conditional offer is that Sellers tend to take them less seriously. They definitely give stronger consideration to firm offers. This leaves you with less negotiating power. In fact, some Sellers will simply turn down or counter a conditional offer. Other Sellers will believe the Buyer will come back with a more serious offer when their home has sold. So, you may end up having to increase your offer in order to have your conditional offer accepted and keep your foot in the door of your desired house.
Even if your conditional offer is accepted, there is no guarantee another Buyer won’t step in and overthrow your offer before you have sold your current home, which would put you back at the starting line. Also, consider the fact that you cannot withdraw your conditional offer until the end of the period specified in the contract—which means that if a better deal comes along, you will have to wait to jump at it.