The Key to Selling Your Home!

May 2019


Should You Buy the “Less Than Perfect” Home?

 
 
 
When you’re shopping for a new home, you want to find a property that has all the features and characteristics you want. Perhaps you’re looking for a large deck surrounded by picturesque landscaping, a beautiful kitchen with gleaming marble countertops, or a cozy living room with a fireplace.

You should be looking for the ideal home. You deserve it! But some home buyers become fixated on finding the “perfect” property, and pass too quickly on those homes that don’t quite measure up.

That can be a mistake, because some of those less-than-perfect properties have the potential to become your next dream home.

First, a home that is lacking some desirable features will probably cost less. Those savings may be more than enough to cover any needed upgrades or renovations.

Secondly, if you look at a home in terms of its potential, rather than the features it happens to have now, there will be more properties available on the market for you to consider.

If you’re determined to have a large wrap-around deck for entertaining, for example, don’t cross homes off your list that don’t have this feature. At least not yet. Instead, view these properties with an eye on potential. Is the backyard big enough to accommodate a large deck? How would that deck look if it were added to this particular property? How much would such a renovation cost?

There’s no doubt about it. You want to find a home that has the features and characteristics you want. If you work with me, there is a good chance you’ll find a property that has most, if not all of them.

But, keep an open mind. Sometimes a “diamond in the rough” can - with an upgrade or renovation - become a home you’ll treasure for years.

 

Pack Your Memories Away

 
 
 
Items that remind us of special people, events, milestones and interests are an important part of what makes a house a home. Pictures on the fireplace mantle, for example, showcase family and friends that are important to us. You might also have trophies, certificates, greeting cards, and other mementos on display in key places.

Of course, all of those things add warmth and meaning to your home. However, if you’re preparing your home for sale, it’s a good idea to pack those memories away - at least until you’ve sold your property and moved to your new home. Why? Those pleasant mementos that mean so much to you may actually turn off potential buyers.

You see, when buyers view your property, they want to be able to clearly picture themselves and their families living there. That’s difficult to do if they see reminders of your family everywhere they look!

So, to help sell your home quickly, make it look great, but not personalized. Think of the showroom displays you see set up in furniture stores. Those displays are most appealing when they enable you to easily picture yourself, with that furniture, in your home. You probably wouldn’t feel that way if it looked like the furniture belonged to someone else.

Of course, buyers will know you currently live in your home. But, helping them imagine themselves living there will help you sell your property faster - and possibly for a better price.

Need more tips on preparing your home for sale? Call today!

 

Creating Quiet In a (Sometimes) Noisy Home

 
 
 
Does your spouse like to practice the drums in the evening? Does your teenager like to play video games, with the volume turned up high? Are there other sources of noise you’d like to minimize?

There are many ways to soundproof areas of your home to reduce noise. Here are some ideas:

  • Furniture placement. Surprisingly, where you place furniture can dramatically reduce incoming noise. For example, a bookshelf that covers one third of a wall can muffle sound from an adjoining room by 25%.
  • Noise harmonization techniques. Soft music, air fans, and other sources of rhythmic noises can actually reduce the unpleasantness of incoming sounds.
  • Area rugs. Adding an area rug, even on top of existing carpeting, can significantly reduce noise coming from the floor below.
  • Acoustic tiles and panels. These are special ceiling tiles and wall coverings that are designed to diffuse and reduce sound infiltration. There are some products on the market that are remarkably easy to install.
 

Notable, Quotable, Quotes!

“Life is a great canvas - throw all the paint on it you can.” 
Danny Kaye

“Well done is better than well said.” 
Benjamin Franklin

“When the wind blows, some people build walls. Others build windmills.” 
Peter Hawkins


April 2019


Your Home at a Glance

 
 
 
Have you ever driven up to a restaurant and been disappointed by your first impression? Perhaps the windows looked dark and gloomy, the façade was worn and unattractive or for some other reason it just didn’t look like a tempting place to eat.

It could still be a fantastic restaurant - a real gem. But, your first impression has soured your anticipation. If you still walk through the front door, it will likely be with much lower expectations.

This scenario often plays out in the real estate market as well.

Buyers drive up to a home for sale and quickly form an impression based on what they see “from the curb”. That’s why you’ll hear real estate experts talk about the importance of “curb appeal”. It’s one of the most important selling points of a property.

If you plan to put your home on the market, you want your home to look as attractive as possible from the street. Fortunately, there are many simple things you can do to improve curb appeal.

For example, you can trim shrubs and hedges, plant flowers, clean the walkway and driveway, paint the front door and garage door, and clean the exteriors of the windows. All these projects are relatively easy and inexpensive. Yet, each can have a dramatic impact on a buyer’s first impression.

Don’t be like the great restaurant that’s hidden behind an unkept façade. Make sure your curb appeal reflects the overall value of your property.

Looking for more advice on selling your home quickly and for the best price? Call today.

 

Making Your Kitchen More Attractive to Buyers

 
 
 
What’s one of the most important rooms in your home? When it comes to selling your property quickly, and for the best price, the answer is clearly the kitchen. In fact, one of the most common explanations buyers often give for not making an offer is, “I liked the house, but I wasn’t too keen on the kitchen.”

That doesn’t mean you must do a major renovation. However, you should do what you can to make the kitchen as attractive as possible to buyers.

Here are some ideas:

First, clear the countertops. Put away the toaster and other items. You want to make the entire countertop area seem as spacious as possible.

If the cabinetry is old, you can spruce it up by installing new knobs, handles and other hardware. A fresh coat of paint on the walls and ceiling can also make the kitchen look like it has had a major renovation - but will only cost a few hundred dollars. According to an article on the website HGTV.com. “The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware.”

Replacing the countertops is a more expensive renovation, but may be worthwhile if the current counters are old and worn.

Finally, when preparing your kitchen for a viewing, make sure it’s clean and tidy. The garbage and recycling bins should be empty. Buyers will open cabinets, so make sure items on shelves are neatly organized with the front labels facing forward.

There are many other ways to make the most important rooms in your home look great to potential buyers. Call today for more ideas.

 

Bringing Fitness Home

 
 
 
Are you thinking about purchasing home fitness equipment? Owning your own treadmill, exercise bike, or rowing machine can save you a lot of time and money compared to joining a fitness club. However, selecting the right equipment can be a challenge. Here are some tips:
  • Try it first. Ask your home fitness equipment dealer to let you do a few minutes of exercise on the machine you’re considering. Most will agree. Be suspicious if they don’t.
  • Ask around. Staff at local fitness clubs know the best equipment. Ask them for recommendations. Also ask friends and colleagues.
  • Read on-line reviews. Type the name and model of the fitness machine you’re considering into Google along with the word “reviews”. Chances are you’ll find several websites that contain candid customer comments, complaints and testimonials.
  • Make sure it fits. Home fitness equipment can take up a lot of space. Make sure the one you select fits in the room you have in mind. Pay particular attention to the ceiling height. You don’t want to hit your head while working out on your stair climber!
 

Notable, Quotable, Quotes!

“Half the failures in life arise from pulling in one’s horse as it is leaping.”
Julius Hare“The ability to express an idea is as important as the idea itself.”
Bernard M. Baruch“It’s the constant and determined effort that breaks down all resistance, sweeps away all obstacles.”
Claude M. Bristol

 

A Bird’s Eye View of Selling Your Home

 
 
 
If you haven’t sold a home before, the process can seem complex and even intimidating. It really isn’t. In fact, the steps to selling your property - quickly and for the best price - are straightforward, although not necessarily easy.

Here’s a bird’s-eye view of the steps to expect:

  • Determine what your property will likely sell for on today’s market. This is referred to as the Current Market Value.
  • Decide on a list price. Doing this properly is crucial. If you set the price too high, you’ll discourage buyers from seeing your home. On the other hand, if the price is too low, you may be leaving thousands of dollars on the table.
  • Prepare your home for sale. This involves cleaning, de-cluttering, fixing and staging so that your property wows potential buyers.
  • Market and promote the property to the marketplace. This needs to be done effectively to maximize the number of qualified buyers who find out about and become interested in your listing.
  • Show your property to buyers interested in seeing it.
  • Negotiate offers effectively so that you sell your property for the best price and conditions.
  • Make a deal and begin the transaction paperwork!

Of course, you don’t have to do it all alone! As your real estate sales associate, I will do most of the heavy-lifting for you. I’ll be by your side throughout the process, helping ensure your home sale is trouble-free and successful.

 

Worried You Won’t Find the Home You Want?

 
 
 
If you’re thinking of selling your home, you may be concerned that you won’t be able to find the kind of property you’re looking to buy. After all, getting into a more desirable home is the main reason many people move in the first place.

Should you be concerned?

There are a couple of things to consider:

First, think about the last time you purchased a car. You probably had a price range in mind and a general idea of the kind of vehicle you wanted. After visiting a few dealerships - or shopping online - you probably discovered seven or eight models that fit your criteria.

Even with that limited selection, you were likely able to pick one that was right for you.

Well, that’s good news. In the real estate market, there are probably dozens of properties available that meet many or all of your criteria. So, the odds are in your favour that you’ll find a property you love.

Secondly, new properties come on the market all the time. As your real estate sales associate, I will keep an eye out on your behalf and quickly alert you to new listings that match your needs and wishes.

Is it possible that you still won’t find a home that’s absolutely perfect for you in every way? Of course it is. However, there is an excellent chance you’ll get into a property that has everything you need and most, if not all, of what you want.

That’s not just encouraging. It’s exciting!

 

Modernizing Your Home Security

 
 
 
As technology evolves and becomes more affordable, homeowners should consider replacing their older equipment with a completely new security system, rather than patching together outdated units that provide specific functions in isolation.

A modern system will wake you up in the morning to your own personalized display screen, adjust your room temperature, turn on your lights and operate other household functions. When you leave the house, wireless technology will allow you to watch your property, both inside and out, from any number of computing devices. This means you can also program household functions from afar.

These newer residential security systems can coordinate a wide range of functions by remote control, from locking windows and closing the garage door, to adjusting the thermostat, drapery and lighting. They can even notify you if a room has been entered or a cabinet has been opened. Commercial-type closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) with live video feed are also being introduced to residential systems in many average-sized homes. In addition, these modern systems coordinate driveway and doorway cameras (connected to your home computer or TV), monitor for break-ins, provide smoke and CO2 detection, and include water sensors for the detection of a burst pipe, leaking water tank or an overflowing tub.

In the near future, residential video surveillance will distinguish pets from people, and even burglars from letter carriers. The latest CCTV cameras can identify intruders using motion or heat sensors or even activity pattern recognition (e.g. climbing a fence or jimmying a lock).

 

Notable, Quotable, Quotes!

“A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind.” 
Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

“The things that one most wants to do are the things that are probably most worth doing.” 
Winifred Holtby

“To handle yourself, use your head. To handle others, use your heart.” 
Eleanor Roosevelt

Should You Move or Renovate?

 
 
 
Determining whether you should buy a new home or fix up your current one isn’t easy. In fact, the decision can be steeped in so much drama, they make reality TV shows about it!

So, if you’re wondering whether to move or improve, here are three things to consider:

1. Will a renovation truly fix what you don’t like about your property?

If you’re tired of a small kitchen, for example, given the layout of your house, it might not be possible to make it any bigger. On the other hand, if you’re craving a spacious rec room with a cozy fireplace, then a renovation could make that happen.

Of course, there are some things you may want that aren’t specific to your house, such as an easier commute or nearby park. Those are features you may only be able to get by moving.

2. How much will a renovation cost? How does that compare to the cost of moving to a new home?

It’s important to get accurate estimates of both the cost to renovate, and the cost of a new home, so you can make an informed decision. 

Renovations often have a habit of costing more than you originally anticipate. Remember, the final result should be a home you want to stay in for quite some time.

3. Beware of compromising versus settling.

Whichever decision you make - to renovate or to sell - you can expect to have to make at least some compromises. That’s normal.

For example, consider the impact of adding an extension to your house. It would be a major renovation. Is it the ideal way to get the extra room you want? Do the benefits of renovating outweigh the benefits of finding a new larger home that already includes the space you need?

It can be a tough decision. If you’re in the midst of making it, call today to get the facts you need to make the best choice.

 

Making “Neighbourhood Targeting” Work for You

 
 
 
Imagine if you dreamed of owning a special limited-edition vehicle. What would you do to ensure that your dream vehicle would someday be parked in your driveway - with your name on the ownership papers?

You would probably start by doing some research. You’d find out how much that vehicle would cost, what features are available, and so forth. You would likely visit a local dealership and take a test drive if a model is available on site. You would keep an eye on the market for any that come up and let the dealer know you’re looking for just that car.

If you did, then, someday, you’d probably be the proud owner of the limited-edition car of your dreams.

What does this have to do with real estate?

Well, you can take the same approach when there’s a neighbourhood you’d love to live in someday. You can target it, learn what homes typically cost in that area, and keep your eye on that market in case a property becomes available that meets your criteria.

By focusing on a specific neighbourhood, you increase your chances of someday living there, simply because you’re focusing on it.

Of course, neighbourhood targeting isn’t as simple as aiming to own a specific car someday. That’s why you need someone like me who can keep an eye on that neighbourhood on your behalf, and alert you to opportunities that become available.

Then, if a listing that’s a good fit comes on the market, you can decide whether or not to make a move. 

Is there a dream neighbourhood you’d like to live in some day? Call today to start making it happen.

 

Low-Cost Storage Hacks for Creating More Space

 
 
 
Comedian George Carlin’s most memorable routine was, “A place for my stuff.” In it, he talked about dealing with the increasing quantity of items we accumulate throughout life.

George was funny. The problem is not. Here are some low-cost ideas for quickly creating storage space for your stuff.

  • Attach a cloth pouch or thin plastic basket to the inside of cupboard doors. This is a great way to store Tupperware lids, cosmetics, etc.
  • Install hooks inside the foyer closet for loose items such as hats and scarfs.
  • Use egg cartons to make effective storage inserts in drawers.
  • Fashion stores often put purchases in stiff, high-quality boxes. Placed on their sides, these make effective storage compartments. (Shoeboxes are especially effective.)
  • Consider using suitcases for out-of-season clothing. In addition to storage, they also provide protection.
  • Never throw out an old wine rack. There are numerous ways these can be used for storage. (For example: tools)

By thinking creatively, you can probably come up with many other simple ideas for creating more storage. The reward is a home that looks neater and more spacious.

 

4 Ways to Make the Home Hunting Process Easier

 
 
 
Shopping for a new home can be intimidating. With so many things to do and think about, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some good tips for making the home hunting process a lot easier and much less stressful.

1. Get your mortgage arranged in advance.
You don’t want to find the ideal home on the market, only to face problems arranging a suitable mortgage. You might end up losing the opportunity. So, make mortgage arrangements in advance by getting “pre-approved”. With that pre-approval, you can shop for a new home with confidence.

2. Clearly define the kind of home you want, and the neighbourhood you want to live in.
You can’t view every home that’s on the market. If you try, you’ll burn yourself out! So, write down a clear description of the kind of home you want. How many bedrooms? Big kitchen? Pool? 

Don’t forget to include the neighbourhood. Upscale? Close to downtown? Lots of trees and parks? Urban and close to shopping and theatres?

With this information, we can quickly create a shortlist of properties that meet your criteria.

3. Take good notes.
After viewing a few homes, you may easily start to forget the details. Was it the first property that had the large elm tree in the backyard or was that the fourth property you saw? If you take good notes, you’ll be better able to make decisions later on about which homes to shortlist.

4. Take care of yourself, and your family.
Eat right. Pace yourself. Don’t try to view too many homes in one evening or on one Saturday afternoon.

Want more ideas for finding the perfect home? Call today!

 

Light Your Way to a Faster Sale

 
 
 
Remember the last time you visited an upscale furniture showroom? The furniture and fixtures on display probably looked great. The colours and textures jumped out at you. It was a feast for the eyes!

There is a good reason why: Lighting.

Of course, the quality of the products has a lot to do with how appealing they look when on display. But smart retailers know that proper lighting is key to making those products look their best. In fact, some retailers even hire lighting consultants!

What does this have to do with selling your home quickly, and for the best price?

Obviously, when showing your property to potential buyers, you want your home to look its very best. Proper lighting can be a big help.

When preparing your home for sale, review the lighting in each room and make sure the space is sufficiently well lit. You want the lighting to be strong enough to prevent dark or shadowy areas, yet not so strong that it’s uncomfortable for the eyes.

Pay particular attention to traditionally dark areas, such as the garage and closets. Make sure those areas are bright too.

If you have a viewing scheduled during the day, take advantage of natural light through windows. Open the curtains!

Finally, one of the most important areas is the foyer. Always make sure the entrance has sufficient lighting. 

Want more ideas for preparing your home for sale? Call today.

 

Doorways to Better Living Spaces

 
 
 
When people renovate or remodel a room, they almost always overlook the door. However, changing the style of an interior door, or adding a new one, can dramatically change the look of a living space - often for the better.

Although the most common type of door is the traditional solid 6-panel door, there are many other choices available. Want to add light and a greater sense of space to a room? Consider a door with glass panels. Do you have an interior door that gets in the way when opened? Change it to a bi-fold door, which cuts the distance of the swing in half.

There are also specialty doors that are designed to block noise, and sliding doors that tuck neatly into the wall when opened.

Interior doors are typically much less expensive than their exterior counterparts. So, making the decision to upgrade or add a door to a room is an affordable design option.

Visit a door showroom and explore the possibilities.

 

Notable, Quotable, Quotes!

“Home is not where you live, but where they understand you.” 
Christian Morgenstern

“Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.” 
Ray Kroc

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” 
John Wooden


Linda's Blog


 

3 Reasons Why a House Isn’t Selling
 
Have you ever driven by a For Sale sign and wondered, “That house has been on the market for a long time, I wonder why it isn’t selling”? You might have asked that question because you were worried the same thing would happen when you put your own house on the market!

Often a home doesn’t sell for one of three reasons:

1. The price is too high.
Sometimes a homeowner will set the listing price exceptionally high in the hopes of getting lucky. What happens instead, however, is potential buyers stay away. In today’s real estate market, a house usually sells at a price that is close to its market value. Fortunately, the current market value of your house - and, hence, its approximate selling price - may be higher than you realize. It’s worth getting a free market assessment.

2. The house doesn’t show well. 
Sometimes a house is strategically priced for the market but doesn’t show well. It’s difficult for buyers to look past issues, such as clutter, and see the potential. In those cases, prospective buyers who view the property, don’t like what they see, and move on. If you put your house on the market, make sure it looks its best for prospective buyers.

3. The listing is poorly promoted.
Clearly, buyers won’t become interested in a property if they don’t know about it. The listing must be promoted effectively, and that involves more than a For Sale sign.

Want more tips on selling your house? Call me today.

Judgements Buyers Make in the First 30 Seconds
 
You’ve probably heard the expression, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” When it comes to selling your home, that is definitely true. In fact, a buyer will come to several conclusions about your property within the first few minutes of seeing it. That’s why it’s so important to make a good first impression.

How do you do that?

One of the best techniques is to pretend you’re a buyer. Drive up to your home. Open the door. Step into the foyer. Take a quick look around. Then ask yourself, “What impressions am I getting from this property so far? What stands out? What impresses me? What concerns me?”

Of course, you want to get a sense that the home is attractive, spacious, and clean. You want to emphasize the enticing features, while minimizing the less desirable qualities. There are many great tricks that can help.

For example, if your foyer is small, eliminate furniture and other items in that area in order to make it look a bit more spacious.

If you have a fantastic kitchen, show it off to the buyer. Make sure the appliances sparkle. Set the table with your best dishware. Make it look like a showcase in a kitchen store. You want the buyer to see it and say, “Wow.”

Buyers make judgements about your home very quickly. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a buyer to make a comment about your property, like - “I love the high ceilings” - within the first few seconds of coming in the door. Don’t underestimate the importance of that first impression.

Of course, serious buyers will scrutinize your property more closely, especially if they have an initial interest. What you want to do is to make sure to peak that initial interest.

Want the latest tips in showing your home effectively, so it sells quickly? Call today.

Will Your Furniture Fit?
 
When you’re viewing a property that’s on the market, you’ll probably try to imagine how your furniture will fit and look in that space. Where will your desk go in the home office? How will you position the sofa and chairs in the living room?

First, it’s often larger furniture that creates the most concern. Make sure you have those measurements on hand when viewing a property. That way, you can use a measuring tape to get a clear idea of how that particular piece of furniture will fit in the room.

Second, there are many online tools you can use to plan and position furniture for a particular size and shape of room. By using a site such as http://www.roomsketcher.com, you can position your furniture - and see how it fits, in just a few minutes.

Finally, when viewing a home, confirm that larger pieces of furniture can be moved into the rooms. A large, wrap-around sofa may not easily make it up or down narrow, winding steps. Knowing that in advance gives you the opportunity to plan accordingly.

notable, quotable... quotes!
 

“It is best to disregard talk and judge only actions.” 
Dorothy Day

“You always pass failure on the way to success.” 
Mickey Rooney

“What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.” 
Mary Pickford

How To Deal With Competing Offers
 
Ideally, you want to be the only buyer who makes an offer on a particular property. That way, assuming your price is acceptable to the seller, you’re almost certain to close the deal.

But, it doesn’t always work out that way. In the case of highly desirable homes, it’s very common for there to be competing offers.

So, what do you do if there’s a competing offer on a home you really want?

First, don’t panic. Just because there are other buyers interested in the property doesn’t mean you won’t get it. There are many factors that influence a seller’s decision to choose one offer over another.

For example, sellers are generally skeptical of offers from buyers who do not have a pre-approved mortgage, or have not yet put their own home on the market.

Conditional offers based on these factors are often a red flag. Most sellers will readily accept an offer conditional on a satisfactory home inspection. However, if there are other more stringent conditions - such as an offer conditional on the buyer selling his own home for a particular price, or an offer conditional on arranging satisfactory financing - many sellers will be reluctant to accept the offer.

Of course, it isn’t always possible to avoid including these kinds of conditions. That doesn’t mean you won’t get the home. A solid presentation of the offer along with my skilled negotiation can make all the difference.

Remove Emotion When Selling
 
Most real estate experts agree that being too emotionally attached to your home can lead to poor decision making, such as over-pricing the listing and making hasty choices based on feelings rather than facts.

Of course, removing emotion from the home selling equation is easier said than done. After all, it is your home. It’s only natural to be emotionally connected to it. So, how do you ensure that emotions don’t get in the way of selling your house quickly and for the best price? Here are some strategies:

  • Think of selling your property as a business transaction only. Focus your emotions on the new home you’ll be moving into soon.
  • Stow as many personal items as possible, such as trophies and family pictures. Turn your home into an attractive product.
  • If a buyer makes a negative comment about your property - “I hate the deck colour.” - don’t take it personally.
  • Avoid judging offers to buy your house based on whether or not you like the buyer.

Finally, whenever you make a decision during the home selling process, ask yourself: “Am I making this decision based on fact or emotion?” If the answer is “fact” then, chances are, you’re on solid footing.

Make Your House “Picture Perfect” For Buyers
 
When you walk into a nice hotel room, what do you usually notice first? It may be the large, often beautiful picture hanging above the bed. You’ll probably find a smaller, equally attractive picture hanging in the bathroom. Often there will be at least two more adorning other walls.

That’s no accident. Hotels know that pictures are the simplest, surest way to make a good-looking room look great.

The same thing holds true when preparing your house for sale. According to home staging experts, hanging a few quality pictures can transform the look of just about any room - even a washroom!

Chances are, you already have pictures hanging in your home. Do you need more? That depends. If you have a room that seems dull, and there is open and empty wall space, try adding a picture. You don’t have to buy one or hang one - just have someone hold up an existing picture. If the look of the room improves, consider adding a picture in that spot.

Pictures don’t have to be expensive; they just need to be of good quality. Many retailers sell good-looking, nicely-framed pictures at affordable prices.

notable, quotable... quotes!
 

“Failure doesn’t come from not reaching your goal, but from having no goal to reach.” 
Benjamin Mays

“No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.” 
William Blake

“You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.” 
Henry Ford


Take a Walk on the Boardwalk (or Sidewalk)


 
If you’ve played the game Monopoly, you’ve probably picked up the Chance card that reads, “Take a walk on the Boardwalk. If you pass Go...”

That’s good advice when shopping for a new home. When you see a property you like and you’re thinking of making an offer, spend some time walking around the neighbourhood. This will give you a better sense of what it’s going to be like to live there.

After all, the last thing you want is to buy a dream home only to find out later that there are issues with the neighbourhood that make living there miserable. 

If you have kids, see how far a walk it is to local parks, playgrounds, schools and community centres. 

If you commute, you might also check out the route from the neighbourhood to your place of work. Is there a left turn that is likely to get backed up in the mornings?

Also check out how well the neighbours take care of their properties. Homeowners tend to keep their homes looking good if they enjoy the neighbourhood.

As you walk, listen. Are there noises from nearby high schools, industrial areas, or highways that are going to be unpleasant for you? Find out if the neighbourhood is near an airport flight path, or if there is a railway in the area. 

If you get a chance, talk to some of the neighbours. Ask them what they like most about living in the area. You’re likely to get some candid - and useful - answers.

Finally, spend some time visualizing living in the area. Can you see yourself enjoying what the neighbourhood has to offer?

If so, then buying a home in that area will likely be a good choice for you.
The Importance of Showing Your Home Often
 
Imagine coming across a “Home for Sale” listing on the internet. It’s in a neighbourhood you’re seriously considering. You and your family are excited. You can hardly wait to view the property and see if it could be your next dream home.
Then, there’s a problem. 

When you contact the agent, she says the homeowners are busy people and won’t be able to show the house until next week. Even then, the only time available is at noon on Wednesday, when you’ll be miles away at work. How about viewing the property on Saturday? Forget it. The homeowners are having company over that day.

Chances are, you’ll lose interest long before you ever get a chance to see that property! 

This may sound a little extreme, but it does illustrate an important point. 

If you don’t make your home readily available for buyers to view, many simply won’t view it, and your property may not sell.

That doesn’t mean you have to be inconvenienced each day by a steady stream of buyers stomping through your property. However, you do need to be flexible.

When buyers become interested in your home - by seeing the listing online, for example, they want to view it as soon as possible. The longer they have to wait, the more likely it is that another property will capture their interest.

They may even make an offer on another home before they get a chance to see yours! 

That’s why as your REALTOR®, I’ll work with you to arrange the dates and times that your home can be shown - a schedule that’s convenient for you as well as for potential buyers.
Deciding Whether to Stay Or Sell
 
Deciding whether to stay in your current home or look for a new one is tough. So tough in fact, that there is a reality TV show about it!

If you’re struggling to make that decision, here are some tips that can help:

  • Find out the current market value of your home. This will give you a clear idea of how much your property is likely to sell for in today’s market.
  • Find out how much you can afford to invest in a new home. This is calculated, in part, by how much of a mortgage you qualify to receive.
  • Determine whether your current home still suits your needs. Do you need to move up to a larger place? Downsize to a smaller property?
  • Figure out whether this is the right time to move to a neighbourhood that you’ve always dreamed of living in.
  • Assess whether your neighbourhood has changed in a way that you don’t like.
  • Decide whether you are still happy where you live. Is it time for a change?

As your REALTOR® I can help you answer these questions and provide the information you need to make the right decision.

notable, quotable... quotes!
 

“The road to success is always under construction.” 
James Miller

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” 
Vincent Van Gogh

“Be the best. If others don’t see it, who cares?” 
Oprah Winfrey


What to Look For, Room by Room


 
When viewing a home for sale, many buyers look at the property from a “macro” perspective. They ask themselves questions like: “Is it large enough?”; “Are there enough bedrooms?”; “Is it in a nice neighbourhood?” While those questions are important, it also pays to consider a potential new home from a “micro” perspective.

Here are some things to consider:

Living room and family room. Are they large enough to fit all the furniture? Are the rooms conducive to family get-togethers and entertaining? Do you need a separate living room and family room?

Kitchen. Is it important to have enough space to eat comfortably in the kitchen as well as the dining room? Does the kitchen have all the cupboard and other storage space you need? Will your fridge fit?

Bathroom. Is the main floor bathroom uncomfortably small? Does the ensuite bathroom have all the features you desire, such as a large tub and/or separate shower? Do you need double sinks?

Bedrooms. Is the master bedroom large enough to fit the bed and other furniture? Does it have the closet space you need? Are the other bedrooms large enough for your needs? (It’s a good idea to get the measurements of these rooms as it can be difficult to judge measurements during a viewing.)

Storage space. This is particularly important if you’re shopping for a condo. Does the storage space or locker have the space you need?

Closets. Are there enough closets for your needs? Is there a linen closet?

Garage. Homeowners use the garage for more than just cars. If you plan to use this space for storage or hobbies, check that the garage will be suitable for those purposes.

Want more tips on selecting your next dream home? Call today!

Don’t Forget Home Insurance
 
When you’re buying or selling a home, there are so many details to look after that it’s easy to miss something. One thing you don’t want to forget is insurance.

Once your property has sold, you’ll need to contact your insurance company to let them know the date that ownership of your property will be transferred (the “closing date”). They’ll arrange to cancel your insurance once you’re no longer the owner of that property.

If you’ll be taking possession of your new home, and leaving your current property vacant for a period of time, you’ll need to make sure both properties are insured. This may also apply to a condominium even if the unit is completely empty. (Contact your insurance company to ask about continuing liability coverage while discontinuing the insurance on contents.)

When you purchase a new home, don’t leave the insurance to the last minute. Contact your insurance company right away. Make sure they are aware of all the features of the new home that may reduce your premiums, such as alarms, and wired-in smoke detectors.

Things to Check During the Weeks After Moving Day
 
When you purchase a new home, the most exciting day is closing day. That’s the day you take possession of the property and, in most cases, move in. But the process isn’t necessarily over. There are still some important details to take care of in the weeks and months after the move.

For example, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re getting all your mail. Ideally, you will have made arrangements with the post office prior to your move to have your mail redirected to your new address. However, that service will eventually expire. Here’s a tip: Introduce yourself to the new owners of your old property. Ask them if they wouldn’t mind holding any of your mail that has been inadvertently delivered to them and you’ll make arrangements to stop by periodically to pick it up. Chances are, they won’t mind.

Also in the weeks after the move, you should take care of any repairs or other maintenance issues that were identified before you purchased the home. In the busy days leading up to moving day and in the excitement of settling in, these issues are easy to forget. You don’t want them to become bigger issues later on.

notable, quotable... quotes!
 

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” 
Aristotle

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” 
Norman Vincent Peale

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” 
James Joyce


Are You Ready to Buy Up?


No matter how much you love your current property, you may be dreaming of the day you can buy up into a better home in a better neighbourhood.

Is that day today, or, is it a few years down the road?

Here’s a quick way to make that assessment.

First, make a list of all the practical reasons why it might be time to move up. Those reasons might include features such as: more bedrooms, proximity to work and school, a larger backyard with trees, nearby parks and walking paths and better access to things you enjoy like theatre.

Next, make a list of the emotional reasons for making such a move. Those reasons might include memorable get-togethers with friends on a more spacious deck, an easier and less stressful commute to work, more family time with the kids and enjoyable Saturday golf at a nearby course.

Finally, take a financial snapshot to determine if you can afford to move up. You’ll need to get a good idea of what your current property will sell for in today’s market, average price of homes in your desired neighbourhood, and how much mortgage you’ll need.

Once you have all that down on paper, you’ll have a clear picture of your readiness. If the practical and emotional reasons for buying up are compelling, and you can afford to make the move, then you have your answer.

The time is now!

By the way, if you need help in making this determination – especially figuring out what your home will likely sell for, contact me today at linda@buying-selling.com

 


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