4 Ways to Get What You Want in an Active Market

The Canadian real estate market has continued to thrive even with an uncertain global economic forecast. Canadian home buyers are being driven by low interest rates and reasonable access to financing. As a result, buyers must be ready to tackle an active marketplace. Following are some tips to help you cope:

Have Your Financial Ducks in Order: Find a mortgage professional and get preapproved for a mortgage. Speaking with a mortgage professional will also allow you to make sound financial decisions by giving you the basic parameters of the monthly payment you should expect and expenses that you may not have considered when deciding to buy. This will allow you and your real estate agent to structure your search by defining what you can afford to buy.

Know What You Need in Your New Home: Every buyer is looking for unique qualities and features in his or her new home. A buyer may want three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a garage. If these are must-haves, then there is no point in looking at a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home.

Use a Real Estate Agent: Finding a real estate agent to act as a buyer’s agent will ensure your best interests are kept in mind during the home-buying process.

Be Decisive: There is a sense of urgency in many markets across the country, and buyers need to be able to act quickly. A mortgage preapproval will speed up the process. Hesitation and lengthy conditional periods may cause a buyer to lose the home he or she really wants.

In a thriving real estate market, buyers must be ready to put their best offer forward.

The Pros and Cons of Living in a Townhouse

Townhouses have an old and honourable history as dwellings for European royalty. But do they make sense in the 21st century? Increasingly, the answer is yes. And here’s why.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation defines a townhouse as one of several single-family homes joined by common walls.

For empty nesters looking to downsize, townhouses offer an attractive alternative to condo apartment living or trading down to a smaller single-family home. However, they aren’t for everyone, so it’s important to do some research before signing on the dotted line.

Following are some of the pros and cons of townhouse living:

Pros:

  • Heating costs may be reduced because only two sides of the home have outside exposure.
  • A trend towards larger and more luxurious townhouses means you are getting a similar amount of floor space for a lower price.
  • Townhouses occupy less land, which is one reason they are less expensive – and easier to look after.
  • A townhouse generally maintains or increases its value compared to a condo apartment, but not as much as a detached house.

Cons:

  • You are more likely to be disturbed by neighbour noise, and you usually will have a small backyard.
  • You’ll have little say in what the outside of your home looks like. Some condos dictate numbers of pets, garage paint colour, and whether you can barbecue.
  • You have less light in the home because only two sides will have windows.
  • As with any other home purchase, you need to do your homework and ask questions. Your real estate agent can help.

How to Help Your Agent Sell Your Home Quickly

While your real estate agent may be working flat out to sell your home, you – as the seller – also have an important role to play.

It’s up to you to prepare your home for sale.

While your real estate agent may suggest, recommend and even cajole, selling your home is your job, and no one else can do it for you.

You have only one chance to make a first impression.

It’s so true.

A recent survey indicated that more than 60% of buyers knew the property was for them the minute they walked in the door.

So make sure you put a lot of your effort into that first impression.

Cut the grass or shovel the snow to make it easy to get to your front door.

Repair stairs and railings and remove all the usual clutter.

For a great first impression, paint the front door a colour that coordinates with your trim and add new hardware.

De-clutter the foyer and make it a grand entrance. A mirror over a hall table reflects light and gives your entrance a finished look.

In the living areas, remove some of your furniture and paint the walls a neutral colour to give them a spacious feel. Use lighting, even in the daytime, to brighten dark corners. In the bedrooms, organize your closets to make them seem roomier.

Kitchens and bathrooms can sell – or not sell – your home. If you can afford it, replace outdated appliances and fixtures. If you can’t, go for a good first impression with uncluttered, sparkling-clean counters.

In the bathroom, new fluffy towels and accessories may help visitors overlook the dated vanity.

While it’s listed, your home should always be kept clean, tidy and smelling fresh. Help your real estate agent and you’ll find that between the two of you, 60% of buyers may just find your house is “the one.”