|If you can properly prepare yourself ahead of time for closing on your home, you won’t be so overwhelmed with the process. Watch out for these typical missteps in your preparation.
1. All contracts and agreements are legal documents, so take the time to carefully review them prior to signing. Any email or document that you receive from your agent, lender or title officer demands your attention prior to moving forward. Don’t fall prey to just scanning materials that require electronic signatures.
2. Pay full attention to what the sellers have stated on their property disclosures. Look for ambiguities and vague responses and investigate any concerns prior to closing. The same care should be part of your thought process when reviewing the title report.
3. A simple but costly mistake is having your name appear in conflicting versions on different documents. Many signatures require notarization, so be sure your driver’s license matches your name on your paperwork. The lender and title officer must be in sync on your legal name, or delays will result from having to have documents redrawn.
4. It is important to have your closing funds ready to wire to the title company upon request. If you don’t allow enough time for the transfer to take place, you won’t be closing on time. If you are planning on handing over your funds drawn on a cashier’s check, it is a good idea to see if the closing agent will accept a cashier’s check. Many do not.
5. Constant communication with your agent, lender and title rep about any financial or life changes will help avoid last-minute modifications in your loan documents and any needed adjustments on other closing paperwork.
Call me anytime with questions regarding your closing so we can avoid any possible delays.
When you are ready to sell your home, it is important to work with your real estate agent to arrive at a competitive listing price. You have an idea of what your home is worth, but it will be your agent who will help you objectively price your home. Depend on the expertise of a real estate professional to be able to research the market and be receptive to your input. Your team effort will result in a price that will sell your home.
An agent will start by finding recent sales that are comparable to your home in age, location, square footage, amenities and number of bedrooms and baths. Since no two homes are identical, the agent will make value adjustments to the features of the comparables (also known as comps) that differ from your home. An average selling price will then be taken from the newly adjusted comps to help determine the estimated value of your home. Similarly, active listings will contribute to how your home is priced.
Accurate pricing can’t take place without also factoring in market conditions. Take advantage of online data that breaks down sales by area. Median sales price and the average number of days for past sales will be valuable information when deciding on the final price tag for your home.
Pricing your home to sell in a reasonable amount of time in any market is my goal as your real estate agent. Call or email for an appointment so we can team up to get your home sold.
In a competitive real estate market, buyers want to give as much strength to their offers as possible in an effort to try and edge out other offers for the same property.
One creative way to try and get a seller’s attention is for a buyer to write a letter to the seller explaining why the seller should select their offer. In the industry, these letters are referred to as love letters. These letters often include family photos.
While you may think this is a great idea, you need to know that love letters can be a detriment.
A letter to a seller that unintentionally reveals your status in one of the seven protected classes of the Fair Housing Act could result in a violation if the seller makes a decision based on information pertaining to your race, colour, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin provided in your letter.
Writing a personal letter can also hinder your negotiating power because a seller could view your letter as you “showing your hand” before negotiations even begin.
A seller can become uncomfortable if you divulge too much information in a love letter. You would be weakening the strength of your offer position because the seller can no longer be objective in negotiating with you.
You want to think twice before you put pen to paper to create a love letter. Instead, find ways to improve the content of your offer to give it as much strength as possible. The seller views the sale as a financial transaction that should not be emotion-driven.
You want to buy a home based on the merits of your offer. I can help you put your best offer on the table. Call or email me, and let’s make your home-buying experience a positive one.
Before you sell your home “as is,” you need to take a moment to understand what “as is” means so you can decide if it’s right for you. An as is sale means that you are selling your home in its present condition, good or bad, and that you don’t intend to make any repairs or provide any warranties. You will still have to provide state-mandated disclosures.
In a seller’s market, you have a better chance of attracting buyers who will accept your home as is due to the low supply and high demand for affordable homes. Fixer-uppers have greater success selling in a seller’s market, despite selling at a reduced price. You will likely sell your home for less when you save repair costs, but you can still enjoy some profit when you close.
An as is sale usually moves along faster because your responsibility is limited to putting the house on the market without having to do staging or obtaining pre-sale inspections.
There are probably more cons than these pros when you sell as is. The biggest negative is having to sell your home for less than market price to offset what a buyer will expect to have to remedy.
Another significant obstacle is the lack of confidence that buyers have in trusting the property disclosures in an as is sale, making it difficult to get strong selling prices. There are a limited number of buyers who are willing to buy homes in as is condition if there are a lot of repairs needed. Additionally, as an as is seller, you need to have well-honed negotiating skills because experienced house flippers will negotiate hard to get the lowest price possible.
Our experienced team has worked with all types of home sales, and we invite you to contact us so we can take you down the path of marketing that works best for you.
There is no defined time that is best to buy or sell a home because there are a few influencing factors that will determine when it is right for you. Our goal is to keep you informed on these factors so you can make the decision that’s best for you.
If you know what the market activity is at any given time, it should dictate when you move forward with your planned real estate venture. The supply and demand of homes will determine the availability and price. The statistics that we provide you will help you select the right time to buy or sell your home.
As a seller, you want to list your home when available inventory is low so you can entertain more buyers and be more aggressive with pricing. As a buyer, you want to shop for a home when there is plenty of inventory to pick from. More homes on the market means more ability to negotiate the price.
Interest rates will influence your timing and also determine which home you can afford. Low rates allow sellers to be more assertive on pricing because more buyers can qualify to buy their homes.
Buying or selling a home in the late spring or early fall is generally a good choice but not always the most advantageous. There is more competition, so consider listing your home during less market activity. As a buyer, you will have fewer buyers to compete with while you can still see a reasonable inventory of homes.
If you are wondering when the best time is for you to buy or sell a home, call or email us, and we’ll update you on the present market activity and how it may affect your timing. We are always here to help.
As an existing homeowner who is ready to purchase another home, you may only be able to do so once you have sold your present home, so the purchase of your new home is contingent on you selling the home you are in. To be a successful seller and buyer at the same time, here are five strategies that can help you avoid owning two homes or having two mortgages.
1. Be intimately familiar with the contingency agreement so that you can maintain tight timelines with buyer performance on your present home. Your success in closing on a new home depends on your buyer’s ability to close on your home.
2. If you are in a seller’s market, be prepared to have your accepted offer rejected if the seller receives another offer that is not contingent. Most sellers will want you to agree to the “bump clause” that will allow them to move forward with a stronger offer if you can’t remove your house sell contingency and stay in the deal.
3. Show the seller that you are a serious contingent buyer by aggressively pricing and marketing your present home. Stage your home and increase its curb appeal for a faster sale.
4. A strong contingent offer will have a better chance of a seller being willing to negotiate a deal. Be aggressive on the offering price, and keep the terms and other contract contingencies to a minimum.
5. For expert advice and guidance, be sure to work with an experienced real estate agent who can help coordinate the simultaneous selling and buying of your home.
Contingent sales can pose many challenges, so please don’t hesitate to call upon our sales team for help. We can also help you with a backup plan in the event your home sells before you can buy another.
When it’s time to sell your home, will you be the one who puts up the For Sale sign? The idea of putting up a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) sign will probably be a consideration with the hope of avoiding the majority of the 6–10% selling costs that come with having a real estate agent list your home.
With an FSBO, prepare to take on all of the duties and liabilities that you otherwise would be paying an agent to assume. You will have to find access to comps to accurately price your home, and you will need to be aware of the legal aspects of a home sale. Be sure to check your state’s laws for selling your home and determine if there are any regulations you must additionally comply with as a FSBO. Any omissions may be costly and litigious.
If you are an inexperienced seller and choose to market your home and take on the challenges of a For Sale By Owner, you will quickly appreciate the skills that a real estate professional brings to the table. FSBO listings usually have a hard time targeting the right buyers and are often underpriced and less attractive.
Working with a real estate agent will help you avoid these common problems, assure a successful sale and still realize a profitable outcome. Our team is here to list and market your home for you so your next home sale will be as stress-free as possible. Call or email us, and let’s put you in the best possible position when you sell your home.
A number of factors can come into play when it comes to the timeline for selling your home. Let’s take a look.
Location and neighbourhood desirability have traditionally impacted marketing the most. Good location and community appeal attract more interested buyers and can greatly reduce the number of days your home is on the market.
When interest rates are low and the economy is doing well, there will be more qualified buyers. An often-overlooked factor in the loan qualification process is that the house must also qualify for the sought-after loan. A home with lots of deferred maintenance or significant code violations runs the chance of receiving a negative appraisal for the buyer’s loan, potentially causing the deal to fail and the house going back on the market in search of a cash buyer.
A home’s age and amenities will influence a buyer’s decision to make an offer. A home will sell faster if it is in move-in condition, with a buyer having to do very little to make it “home.”
Your house should “hit the market running” and can do so by having a competitive listing price that comes from a proper valuation of recent comparable sales and active listings. Most buyers have done their homework and will be drawn to those properties that present good value and will appraise near the sales price.
Knowing the market trends of who is buying, what the present supply of housing inventory is and the demand for that inventory are also key factors that will influence your days on the market.
We want to help you enhance the positive factors so that they can offset those influences that we cannot control. Our goal is to make the marketing time for a home sale as predictable as possible.
If you have any questions about factors that impact the selling timeline, please give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to go over them with you. I’m always here to help.
Top-notch first impressions of your home can help ensure its successful marketing but also create an inviting feeling to your casual visitors when they step onto your property. Boosting curb appeal doesn’t have to be an expensive undertaking or one that takes weeks to accomplish. As a matter of fact, a whole lot can be achieved in just one day. Here are six easy ways to create a first impression that is a lasting one.
1. Start with a thorough cleaning of the front porch slab, door, windows, walls and ceiling. This will set the stage for your curb appeal makeover.
2. If scrubbing down the front door doesn’t make it visually “pop,” then paint it a colour that complements the colour of the house but also brings a visitor’s eye to the entry with some brightness.
3. An easy and fun fix is to find a new doormat with a classy look, often incorporating colour that coordinates with the front door. What an inexpensive way to take your curb appeal up a notch!
4. While shopping at the home improvement store for paint and a doormat, be sure to check out the aisle with new house numbers, especially if your old ones are dingy and cannot be cleaned up. Be sure the style of the numbers is in tune with the character of the front of your home.
5. If you shop carefully, you can also find reasonably priced new door hardware to harmonize with the new house numbers.
6. To add additional colour, introduce well-placed potted flowers on the porch and the entry walkway. Low-maintenance plants will endure through the season without requiring a lot of attention.
If you’d like additional ideas to boost curb appeal, we’re always here to provide guidance. We’re just an email or call away.
What better way to kick off your house hunt than to log on to your computer to “virtually” check out the availability of homes that will complement your lifestyle? We have tuned into the online needs of buyers, putting comprehensive property information at their fingertips. Search filters, property data, and media production quality are better and easier to access than ever before.
Your virtual house hunt enables you to insert yourself into a prospective home without physically being there, all through virtual tours, 3D images, a multitude of still photos, floor plans, and written descriptions that accurately depict the property you are viewing. Not only can a comprehensive online presentation leave you feeling like you just physically toured the home, it will also give you a great picture of the exterior spaces and the neighbourhood and how the house is located by incorporating satellite imaging links.
Be aware of possible “red flags” that result from omissions in the virtual viewing. Missing views of exteriors or some living spaces may be a sign that a property has some deficiencies. This will be an opportunity to have us investigate what is not in view so you can decide if the property is worth pursuing.
After you have completed your virtual house hunt, we can help you coordinate safe viewing appointments of the properties that you feel will fulfill your needs. We’re here to help you through every step of the process.
The opportune time to buy or sell a home is not carved in stone. There are three primary factors that will influence you as to when you should move forward with buying or selling a home.
Buyers and sellers can benefit from knowing what their local market activity is at any given time. I can help you with that. Since supply and demand of available properties dictate price and availability, our role is to provide you with the statistics to properly time listing or selecting your home.
As a buyer, you will want to house shop when there are a lot of homes on the market, but that may not always be possible. You will have not only many choices but also more opportunity to negotiate with anxious sellers.
Conversely, sellers will want to list their homes during times of shrinking inventory so they can attract more buyers and be tighter with their pricing.
The direction of trending interest rates will also be key in determining if you can buy more or less of a home than you like and when you should move forward with your search. During times of low rates, sellers can be rewarded with stronger pricing, knowing that more buyers will qualify to buy their homes.
The seasons and where you live play a part in any real estate market. While buying and selling during the late spring through early fall may seem to be the most logical time to enter the market, it doesn’t hold true across the board.
Wintertime markets can even cause attraction in zones with better buying options. However, sellers should always give consideration to listing during these perceived slow market times because their competition will be far less and there will always be a number of buyers on the prowl.
With my experience, I can put the market numbers and the seasons together for your recipe for buying or selling success.
It is not a given that every sale will close on the contracted closing date. With this in mind, it is important to have contingency plans to cover any delays that will hinder moving plans for both buyer and seller. The buyer who wants to move in prior to a delayed closing and the seller who accommodates such a request may find themselves in a predicament if things don’t go according to plan. Keep in mind that even if there is a written agreement to allow an early move-in, a legal dispute can still evolve from the unforeseen.
Early occupancy by a buyer means that the seller will have to maintain insurance on the property until closing, but there will be a potentially costly change to that policy. The new coverage would be landlord insurance to cover the now “tenant-occupied” home. Part of the closing process is the funding of the buyer’s loan and a final check of clear title. If a final verification of employment is not in order for the underwriter, funding will not occur and may cause the lender to withdraw the loan commitment. If the final title check reveals a last-minute recorded encumbrance against the property, the sale closing could be indefinitely delayed. These are all good reasons for early occupancy to be avoided.
While the buyer benefits the most from an early move-in, the seller potentially suffers great loss in the event of any buyer default. The seller will have vacated their home, thinking it was sold. This, coupled with the house possibly having been altered or damaged by the buyer during early occupancy, could create unanticipated financial hardship. The seller still owns the house and remains liable for activities on the property.
In any of these scenarios, it wouldn’t be long before buyer and seller would find themselves entangled in a legal battle over monetary damages. The message is loud and clear. Both the buyer and seller need to plan their moves with a flexible timeline and avoid early buyer possession in the event unexpected delays cause a late closing.
If you’re considering upsizing or downsizing, let me know what I can do to help make that transition as smooth as possible for you.
Before your real estate agent places the “For Sale” sign in your front yard, you want to be sure that no stone has been left unturned when preparing your home for marketing. The “To Do” checklist that your agent gives you is created to help protect you from the unknown once you are under contract to sell. It is also a great checklist for taking care of everyday preventative maintenance of your home.
One of the key items on your list will be the recommendation to obtain a professional structural pest inspection prior to listing instead of waiting for an acceptable offer to see if your home is the subject of hidden pest or water damage.
For a fee of $100-$200, a state-licensed pest inspector will scrutinize everything from the rafters down to the foundation, looking for signs of active wood-boring invaders and/or dry rot.
Termites and certain beetles can be causing behind-the-scenes damage to the structure, while water could be causing wood to rot where it is not properly protected. Once the inspection is complete, you will receive a report with suggested remedies and estimated costs for any areas of active infestation or dry rot. If and when you want to correct any problems is up to you.
Having this information before you move ahead with an offer gives you great advantages when selling your home. You will know the cost to get a clear pest report prior to agreeing on a selling price. Your buyer’s loan approval may depend on having a clear report so closing delays will be avoided.
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about the home selling or buying process. I’m here to be your resource.
Where can we expect to see the greatest real estate activity next year? Realtor.com recommends keeping an eye on several markets that are poised for success.
You might not be surprised to discover where some of these hot markets are located, but you may be surprised at why they made the list. The top five (Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax and Montreal) each offer unique opportunities and appeal that have made them a must-watch market for 2020.
A strong and growing economy is one of the leading factors in most of the hottest markets. For example, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax are all experiencing solid economic growth.
Movement is another common denominator that is affecting housing markets across Canada. In Ottawa, some residents are streaming in from other areas, such as Toronto, in search of more affordable housing. At the same time, immigration continues to make Toronto one of the fastest-growing cities in North America. On a smaller but significant scale in Halifax, an influx of immigrants is increasing the demand for homes.
A third factor affecting the residential market in these top cities is success in other real estate markets. As places like Toronto experience healthy growth in industrial and office sectors, overall appeal and price of real estate improve. Winnipeg (number nine on the list) also has a strong industrial property market, which is benefiting the city overall.
If you’d like to learn more about current housing trends or where to make your next real estate investment, feel free to contact me with any questions.
A 50-foot fence would provide plenty of privacy. A moat will keep people out of your yard. But I’m guessing you probably want something a little more attractive for your property.
Fortunately, there are tasteful, appealing options that will allow you to keep nosy neighbours at bay. The two main areas to focus on are windows and landscaping.
Windows provide sunlight, outdoor viewing, and fresh air, but they can also provide your neighbours with a play-by-play of what’s going on inside your home. If your property is feeling more like a fishbowl than a house, try adding a privacy feature to the windows.
Window tinting can be a great option. These tints can block visibility from the outside while allowing you to enjoy your views. As a bonus, some window tinting can also reduce sun exposure, which can help keep your home cool and protect décor from fading.
Of course, window treatments such as curtains and blinds can also provide privacy, but these can make your home feel like a cave. To maintain privacy and natural light, choose cellular shades or lightweight and light-coloured curtains that keep rooms bright.
The right selections in your yard can also provide privacy. Plan your landscaping to include features that block neighbours’ views into your yard and home.
Attractive trellises are a good choice. These create wonderful privacy screens while adding greenery to your surroundings. Choose your favourite vine or other decorative plant and arrange it so that it adds beauty to your backyard and privacy to your home.
Potted plants are an alternative to trellises and can be just as effective in making your home less visible to prying eyes. Place tall plants strategically in your space to create a private backyard oasis or shield your living room window from the world.
What else is nice about all of these options? They are versatile. While fencing is a fairly permanent fixture and can be expensive to install, these privacy options are easy to switch out at any time, and they can fit budgets of any size.
You want to get the best price for your house. You’re willing to do some remodeling – if it will deliver significant ROI. What’s worth the effort? Here are three projects worth considering and three that you can skip.
The kitchen: Kitchens sell homes. If your culinary centre is looking worse for the wear, it will likely turn off potential buyers. Updating your kitchen is a good way to increase the value and appeal of your home.
Bathrooms: These areas are also high on buyers’ priority lists, so they should be on yours, too. Focus efforts on the master bath and the powder room.
Curb appeal: First impressions are important and the front of your home is the first thing buyers see. Make efforts that will boost curb appeal, such as repainting the exterior, adding plants, and sprucing up the entry with a new door. These projects can often be completed at low cost but offer high return.
Pools: While you may enjoy countless hours of fun in your pool, this feature probably won’t pay for itself in home value increase. In fact, it could be a turnoff for some buyers.
Wine rooms: While they may sound elegant, wine rooms or other original-design spaces are often too niche. Their limited audience makes them a poor investment choice.
Removals: Just because you never use that fireplace doesn’t mean you should demolish it. Removing features is typically not a good investment. Potential buyers may wish it were still there, and you aren’t likely to recoup the cost of removing the feature.
For expert input on your remodeling efforts, contact our office. We can discuss the projects that could get the best return on investment and what I’ve seen in demand in your market.
According to the Better Business Bureau, the moving industry is one of the most complained-about industries in Canada. How can you avoid negative experiences? Be aware of common scams, and take steps to protect yourself from these fraudulent activities.
Get it in writing: It might be tempting to get a quick quote and schedule your move over the phone. Don’t do it. This is one of the easiest ways to get scammed. Since you have nothing in writing, the movers can easily charge whatever they want once they begin, and they may hold your belongings hostage until you pay an outrageous amount. Always schedule an in-house walk-through to get an accurate quote, and get the agreed-to amount in writing.
Read the fine print: When you sign a contract with a mover, read all the fine print. Make sure you understand the terms of payment before you sign. Unscrupulous movers may include terms that allow them to hijack your belongings after demanding more money. If you’ve signed anything that allows for these practices, the police will be unable to intervene.
Vet the movers: Before you agree to work with a moving company, research its reputation. Contact the Better Business Bureau to check the company’s rating. Ask for recommendations from friends. Read online reviews. Ask movers for proof of registration, proof of insurance and an office address. Take the time to vet the mover, so you know you are working with someone you can trust.
Try a hybrid approach: Consider renting and driving the truck yourself, and hiring movers for loading and unloading only. This will keep your possessions under your control to prevent hijacking scams. (It can also reduce the cost of the move!)
Is your home ready to welcome potential buyers? To create the best appeal (and fetch the best price), it is helpful to stage your home. Home staging refers to preparing your space to make it appealing to the highest number of buyers, with the goal of selling the home quickly and profitably.
While each house offers unique appeal, a few staging tips are helpful for nearly any home. To roll out the red carpet for your potential buyers, include the following must-have items.
Plants: Greenery makes a room feel warm and inviting. Use floor plants, tabletop plants or shelf plants to bring life to the corners of the room.
Candles: These provide a nice touch, but be sure to choose unscented or lightly scented. You don’t want to overwhelm visitors with an aroma or risk choosing a scent they don’t like.
Flowers: Add colour and cheer to your yard and your interior with in-season blooms.
Throw pillows: Adding these to your beds, chairs and/or couches can provide a nice finishing touch to your décor that makes the space more appealing.
Towels: Coordinated linens in the bathroom create a clean, crisp, and luxurious atmosphere. Make sure towels are hung neatly and are in good condition. A brand-new hand towel can provide a nice touch.
Artwork: Neutral artwork on the walls is preferable to family portraits. Remember, the goal is to make your space appealing to as many buyers as possible. This means depersonalizing so they can envision themselves in your space instead of you.
Innovative technology is transforming the real estate marketplace. As they design and select homes, today’s buyers are weighing options that were nonexistent for homeowners 20 years ago. Modern houses, enhanced with smart technology, have become more than rooms and walls. They are integrated systems of efficiency, entertainment, and security, designed to cater to a high-tech lifestyle.
These technological advances are adding value to homes in creative ways.
Convenience: Control centres allow owners to manage almost everything in the home remotely. They can turn up the heat, turn on the lights, or turn off the television from around the globe. With remote access, homeowners no longer have to worry about misplaced or stolen keys. They can even grant entry to others while they are away from home.
Security: Wireless technology and video surveillance options have transformed home security. Systems can be added without drilling holes and hiding wires. Cameras and video technology allow personal, remote observation of the home inside and out. In addition to securing their home against crime, owners can check on Fido, confirm a package delivery, or enjoy peace of mind that the kids arrived safely home from school.
Efficiency: Smart technology can provide greater efficiency for utilities, which can provide significant savings over the years. Improved temperature control technology, remote access to thermostats, and better utility sensors can create a highly efficient home.
Linkage: The internet of things has added multiple new features to homes. Homeowners can link smart appliances, security systems, and more to connect every facet of their lives. The connectivity a home offers can boost its value to plugged-in buyers who are seeking modern networking capabilities.
These smart technologies are becoming more affordable and more accessible. It’s likely that more and more buyers can expect to find high-tech options listed among standard home features.
If you’re considering a smart upgrade to your home, reach out to our office so you can get the best information to determine which innovations make the most sense for your market.
The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s a bustling centre of activity where people gather to cook, eat, socialize, and entertain.
As the central hub, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms of the home. This space will immediately attract buyers or turn them off. It’s much easier to look passed a small bedroom or an outdated powder room than to get over an undesirable kitchen. The kitchen must be designed to meet the needs of their lifestyle. If it’s not a good match, the buyer will likely eliminate the home as an option.
To prevent this from happening, homeowners can make strategic efforts that will improve their property’s culinary appeal.
Refurbish rather than replace: Cabinetry is a significant factor in a kitchen’s appeal. Since replacing cabinets is an expensive endeavor, many homeowners are reluctant to take on this project. Fortunately, other options won’t break the budget. Consider repainting the cabinetry or replacing only the doors. New cabinet hardware can also create a brand-new look.
Invest in appliances: Modern, matching appliances offer immense appeal. They look sharp, offer convenient features, and typically provide high efficiency to reduce utility bills.
Make it sparkle: Cluttered countertops have never helped sell a home. Buyers want to see the kitchen, not the mess. Keep counters clear and clean and ensure the entire space shines.
Consider the market: When considering kitchen improvements, homeowners should always consult with a trusted real estate agent to ensure upgrades are in alignment with their neighbourhood, the target buyer, and current trends. Reach out with your questions. We are happy to help.