How It Pays to ‘Think Forward’ When Buying

If you’re looking to buy a home that you can live in forever, you should consider future-proofing.

Future-proofing aptly describes the process of buying a home with an eye to the future.

It’s about where you are in your life and where you’re going.

Are you a twosome thinking about becoming parents? Are you a family with kids who will soon leave the nest? Or are you a savvy buyer looking for location? In all cases, future-proofing is the way to go.

First, check for amenities that suit your current and future lifestyles. If you’re family-conscious, that means more than establishing whether there’s a school nearby. It means ensuring that there are lots of young families in the neighbourhood, as evidenced by parked bikes, swing sets and toys. You’ll want to make certain there are parks nearby, as well as libraries, recreation centers and cultural activities. A daytime scouting trip should give you a feel for this, but as important is an evening drive. Those charming bars and cafes that lend sophistication to a neighbourhood in daytime may become sources of noise and mischief at night.

Safety should be a key concern. Can the kids safely walk to school? Are there bike lanes or a block parent program? There should be sidewalks on at least one side of the road, maybe traffic calming devices and, of course, good street lighting. Does the neighbourhood feel safe? While you might be happy that there are stores and restaurants in your new area, if you’re planning to be there for the long term, be sure to check with the city planning department to ensure that there are no upcoming unpleasant surprises, such as a new highway two blocks over. Your real estate agent can help with this.

Think sustainability. A neighbourhood that preserves its natural assets and prizes green space will be a good place to live for a long time. Old shade trees, big yards and gardens, and walking trails are not only environmentally sensible, but make the neighbourhood a prettier place to live, now and in the future.

Why Behind-the-Scenes Work Is Key to Selling a Property

Anyone can put a “For Sale” sign on a property, but an experienced real estate agent makes all the difference when it comes to marketing and promoting a property. Following are some examples of what goes on behind the scenes in promoting a property:

1. Communication: Writing a description that sells isn’t as simple as it might sound. Presenting a property in the best light while maintaining professional objectivity is as much an art as a skill. Experienced agents understand what buyers are looking for and how to communicate with a specific target market.

2. Contacts: If the most important aspect of property valuation is location, contacts must surely be the most important aspect of selling a property. Real estate agents are expert networkers with extensive contacts within the community. In addition to listing the home on the Multiple Listing Service, personal websites and other Internet venues, real estate agents often send out mailers to prospects on their personal client lists. Using an agent often allows sellers to close on properties months faster than trying to go it alone.

3. Confidence: It’s no secret that people are more inclined to do business with someone who puts them at ease and instills a sense of confidence. Buyers and sellers alike often feel more relaxed, free to ask questions and open to negotiation when working through a third party. Agents work closely to show the home, provide valuable feedback and create a win-win situation that benefits everyone involved.