Sign Up To Our Monthly Newsletter and Receive the Latest Updates and Information


Welcome To Our Real Estate Update, December 2023

Dear Reader,

Just about everyone can relate to this scenario.

You set an ambitious goal for the new year. You feel motivated and determined. But, later that year, you realize you’ve barely moved the needle toward achieving that objective.

Ouch!

How do you avoid that from happening?

Social scientists who study goal achievement say that getting momentum early in the game is key. That means taking some measurable action now, even if the goal is months away.

For example, if you’re thinking of getting your kitchen renovated this spring, do something about it this week. Talk to some contractors. Get estimates. That early momentum will help ensure the renovation gets done on time and to your liking.

The same holds true if you’re thinking about moving. Of course, moving may be the furthest thing from your mind at the moment. But if you were to consider selling later in 2024, now would be the best time to make initial plans.

I hope all your goals for 2024 cross the finish line and are successful. If I can help you with any real estate-related goals, give us a call.



Easy-to-Miss Home Security Tips for your Vacation


 

If you’re relaxing on a Caribbean beach, or enjoying a bus tour through historic Paris, the last thing you want to worry about is your home. Most people know the basics of keeping a home secure while away. Here are some additional tips that are easy to miss:



• Tell your kids not to boast about your fabulous vacation plans, especially on social media. The fewer who know that the house is empty, the better.


• Ask a neighbour to pick up any mail dropped at your doorstep. But, don’t rely on that alone. Call the post office to temporarily halt delivery.


• Set-up timers to automatically turn lights on and off. However, most will stop working if the power goes out and they’ll restart with the incorrect time when the power comes back on. That’s why you should keep at least a couple of lights turned on continuously.


• Open the blinds. If you’re leaving in the evening, or before dawn, this can be easy to forget. Closed blinds during the day are a dead giveaway that the owners are away.


Finally, experts recommend creating a home security checklist, so you don’t forget anything. That alone will give you peace-of-mind.






Start the Home Selling Process this Month


If you’re thinking about selling in the spring, don’t wait until the new year to start planning. In fact, you’ll save yourself a lot of work and get ahead of the game if you start planning now.



What’s that old saying? The early bird gets the worm! In this case, by starting the process this month, you’ll be in excellent shape when you’re ready to list in the spring.


Here are just a few examples of what you can do in December to get the process started:


• Walk your property and note any maintenance issues that need attention.


• Decide which items to stow or sell to declutter your home.


• Determine what improvements you’ll need to make for your home to look great to buyers.


• Find out approximately how much your property will likely sell for in the spring market.


• Clarify the kind of new home you’d like to move into, including ideal neighbourhoods.


• Investigate your financing options, so you’ll know the price range you can afford.


• Connect with any professionals you may need, such as contractors, a mover, and a real estate lawyer.


• Take advantage of any December shopping deals for products you may need, such as home improvement project materials, packing supplies, etc.


As you can see, the more prepared you are this month, the more stress-free and successful the home selling process will be in the spring.





Protecting your Home Gadgets from Hacking


Imagine your coffee maker switching on by itself, staying on for hours, overheating and becoming a fire hazard. That’s not science fiction. As more and more appliances incorporate Wi-Fi, the opportunities for hackers to play havoc with your home gadgets increase.



How do you prevent that from happening? Here are some safety tips:


If your gadget uses a password to access the settings, change that password frequently. Ideally, change it once every 3 months.


Some gadgets, such as alarm systems, come with their own connection to the internet. Learn how to turn that connection off if it becomes necessary to do so.


Don’t leave an internet-connected appliance or other gadget on constantly unless it’s required. For example, you don’t need your home speaker system connected to your digital music providers all the time.


Baby monitors with video are a common target for hackers. Use a password unique to that device and change it often. Never leave the monitor on when not in use.


Never share passwords with anyone unless it is necessary. Most home Wi-Fi systems have a “guest” feature with a separate password and limited access. Use it.


In this age of internet connectivity — from coffee makers to stereos and even washing machines — it’s smart to play it safe. Know what’s connected and protect yourself.






Notable, Quotable, Quotes!




“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”


Henry David Thoreau




“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”


Bill Bradley




“Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”


Gloria Steinem




Welcome To Our Real Estate Update, November 2023

Dear Reader,

There’s no doubt it’s difficult to predict the future. After all, no one beyond a few data scientists in a backroom at Google predicted that AI would become so prevalent so quickly.

But, as difficult as it is to see what’s coming next, it’s not entirely impossible.

In the real estate world, for example, it’s not easy to anticipate the ups and downs of the market. However, someone who studies the market data and has the requisite real estate savvy, can give you a good sense of what the market will be like two, three, or even six months from now.

That’s good news for you. If you’re thinking of selling in the next few months, you can get a rough ballpark idea of what the market conditions will be, how long it will take to sell your home, and how much, approximately, it will sell for. That information is definitely advantageous.

Of course, no one has a perfect crystal ball. But I can help you get a reasonably good idea of what the market will be like — and that will help you make a more informed decision.

So, when you need a peek into the near future, reach out to me. I’m happy to provide you with the answers, insights, and advice you need, anytime.


How to Sweeten an Offer without Raising the Price

If you’re making an offer on a property, obviously the price you go in at plays a big role in whether you get that home. That’s especially true when there are other competing offers. However, while the price is important, it’s not the only factor. There are other ways to make your offer more appealing.

For example, the closing date may be important to the seller. They may be relocating out-of-town and need to move on a specific date. If you can accommodate the closing date, that’s likely to be an attractive benefit to the seller.

Having your financing in order and being able to attach a pre-arranged mortgage certificate to your offer will also sweeten the deal. Knowing there is unlikely to be financing issues will make the seller feel more comfortable selling to you — as opposed to someone whose financing is less certain.




Tips for “After Dusk” Viewing Appointments

When you’re selling your property, you want buyers to see it at its best. But, a percentage of potential buyers will only be able to see your home in the evening. If it’s getting dark by the time they arrive, your home may not look as good as it does during the day.

Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to compensate.

Start with lighting. Make sure your home is well lit during an evening viewing. It doesn’t need to be so bright that it’s blinding! You’re looking for pleasant lighting throughout the home, including in traditionally darker spaces such as closets. Professional stagers say turning the light on above the stove is a good idea too.

Also, make sure the curtains are open, especially if there’s an appealing evening view. Open curtains add to the sense of spaciousness.

People tend to equate evenings with relaxation. Put on soft background music during a viewing and avoid anything loud or energetic, such as the television.

Finally, buyers are particularly sensitive to seeing clutter when viewing a home after dusk. As much as possible, try to make your home “guest ready.”





What to Look for when Watching a Walk-Through Video

Walk-through videos are becoming increasingly popular. The seller’s agent simply films a tour of a home, often including commentary, and then makes the video available to prospects.

When you’re shopping for a new home, you want to get the most out of watching this type of video, especially if you’re relying on it to help you decide whether to make a viewing appointment.

Consider these suggestions:

• Remember, it’s a video. Take advantage of the ability to pause, go back and forth, and take screenshots you can review later.

• When you’re watching, look for everyday items that can give you perspective, such as a lamp, sofa or chair. These items will help you gain a more accurate sense of room sizes.

• Although that previous tip will help, it’s still difficult to judge room size on a video. So, don’t be quick to dismiss a listing because you think the rooms might be too small.

• Pay attention to what is not shown. Did the agent leave the ensuite bathroom out of the video? That may indicate an issue.

• When viewing the main rooms, such as the living room and kitchen, try to get a sense of how your furniture will fit.

• Make a list of features and characteristics you want in your next home. Have that list handy as you watch the video. You can use it as a checklist.

• While you’re watching, jot down any questions you have about the property.

After watching the video, if you like what you see, take the next step. Schedule a viewing appointment.




Notable, Quotable, Quotes!

 “Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.”

Oprah Winfrey

 “Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity — not a threat.”

Steve Jobs

 “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Wishing is not enough; we must do.”

Goethe





Welcome To Our Real Estate Update, October 2023



Creating a Welcoming Environment when Selling your Home


When buyers view your home, how do you want them to feel? Do you want them to feel like they’re intruders or a nuisance? Of course not! You want them to feel welcomed. So how do you create that impression? Here are a few proven ideas:



• The foyer. This is where buyers first set foot in your home. It’s where they form their first impressions. So, make sure the foyer is tidy and feels spacious. Ensure the doormat (if you have one) is clean or new. If you anticipate wet weather during a showing, have a convenient place for buyers to put their footwear.




• Lighting. Does a dark space or poorly lit room make you feel welcomed? Likely not! So, go through your home and check that the lighting is sufficient and pleasant. If possible, have three light sources in each room, including passive light from windows.




• Interior doors. Nothing says “You’re not welcome” more than a closed door. So, wherever possible, have interior doors open. You want buyers to feel comfortable exploring your home without questioning whether they can enter a particular space. There may be exceptions, of course, such as the door to a storage room.




• Personal items. In most cases, buyers are walking through a stranger’s house. (Yours!) So, there may be a sense of discomfort. For example, if buyers see a family portrait on the wall, they might feel like intruders. To put buyers at ease, remove as many personal items as possible. By creating a “blank slate”, you’ll help them visualize themselves living there.

The more welcomed you can make buyers feel when they view your home, the more interest you’ll get.






Benefits of Being an “Early-Bird” Shopper

“The early bird gets the worm” is a popular expression. Indeed, there are many examples in life when being early, or even first in line, gives you an advantage.



Real estate is one of them.


When shopping for a new home, being among the first to learn about a new listing benefits you in several ways:


• You have more time to see the property and plan.

• You might be able to make an early offer.

• You’re under less pressure to decide quickly.


Overall, by finding out about a new listing early, you improve your chances of getting the property.


How do you get the early-bird advantage?


If you scour the internet for new listings, you can still miss opportunities. For example, “Coming soon” listings may not yet be published on the MLS. A better strategy is to arrange to be alerted to new listings and coming-soon opportunities the moment they come up. That way, you’re always the early-bird and your likelihood of finding and buying your next dream home increases.





Should you Stage your Home yourself?

There’s no doubt that an effectively “staged” home is likely to sell faster and for a better price. Studies in real estate sales consistently prove it. However, you might be asking, “Is it better to do the staging myself? Do I need to hire a professional?”

 


Let’s look at the pros and cons.




If your home is already in demand and likely to get multiple offers, you might get away with doing the staging work on your own. In that case, it’s still advisable to get professional advice rather than “guess” your way through the process. There may be specific staging approaches that apply to your home, that only a professional would know to recommend.




There are, of course, some downsides to doing it yourself, such as the extra work involved, as well as the fact that you may not have the experience or materials (such as staging furniture) to do a professional job.




By contrast, when you hire a professional, or at least get professional advice, you take advantage of the latest staging best practices to make your home more attractive and desirable to buyers. That is especially important in a balanced or a buyer’s market.




So, when it comes to staging, remember that homes that show better tend to get more and better offers.




Notable, Quotable, Quotes!

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you.”
Walt Whitman

“Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.”
Steve Jobs

“Stay true to yourself. An original is worth more than a copy.”
Suzy Kassem






Welcome To Our Real Estate Update, September 2023


How to Decide if a Neighbourhood is Right for You

Say you’ve found a house for sale in an area that’s unfamiliar to you. How do you figure out if it’s going to be the ideal neighbourhood?

The first step is to take a walk. Stroll the neighbourhood and explore. If you get the chance, chat with homeowners and get their opinions of the area. Ask what they love about it. Also ask what they don’t like.

Next, determine how the neighbourhood is going to fit with your lifestyle. You’ll want to consider things like commuting routes, local amenities, schools, parks, shopping, etc. Google Maps is a great tool for this. Just turn on the satellite view and get a bird’s eye view of the area and its features.

Finally, get the latest data on neighbourhood characteristics such as noise, demographics, crime rates, and more. You’ll be surprised by how much data is available, and the valuable insights you can gain about what it’s going to be like to live there.

If the neighbourhood turns out to be a good fit, consider making an offer on that house!




When a Buyer Makes an Offer, What Happens Next?

Imagine you’re selling your home and an offer from a buyer comes in. You’re excited. Your home might soon be sold!


What happens next?

Typically, we will review the offer together. There will likely be several things about the offer that need to be carefully considered. The most common are:


  • The offer price.
  • Evidence the buyer is financially able to purchase the property.
  • Conditions on the offer, if any.


If the offer price is far less than you anticipated, there might be an opportunity to counter-offer at a higher price. This is part of the art of negotiation, which is an important step in selling your home successfully.


The buyer’s ability to afford your property is also important. Ideally, you’ll want to see a Pre-Arranged Mortgage Certificate from the buyer’s lender, or some other evidence that there won’t be any financial problems closing the transaction. The amount of the deposit is also key.


Finally, you’ll want to look at conditions. The most popular condition requires that your property pass a home inspection, but there may be others. Obviously, an offer with no conditions is ideal.




Considering Contractor Factors


At some point, every home needs to be upgraded to become more functional for the family members who live there – or for resale. However, a major renovation can be frustrating, unless you’re working with a reliable, knowledgeable general contractor. Here are some suggestions to help make your project go smoothly:


1. First, do your homework in advance. Identify needs and wants, such as design features and style, with an open mind about costs, timing and resale value.


2. Ask reliable sources for recommendations, but don’t make commitments without meeting a number of contractors. Ask about adherence to budget and timing as well as advice on expectations. Ensure each contractor is registered in good standing with your municipality, and can adhere to building codes, secure permits and provide liability protection.


3. Interview at least three qualified contractors. Find out about their choices for architectural drawings or plans, subcontractors, suppliers and materials. Confirm the product and labour warranties they provide. Once satisfied, request that these and other details be included in a quotation with costs, completion dates, payment schedules for workers and materials, plus allowances for changes.


4. Meet on-site regularly, keep a journal and get receipts for purchases. Don’t pay cash, or hand over your credit card. If necessary, ask your bank to issue a new card with strict limitations. 






Notable, Quotable, Quotes!

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
Benjamin Franklin

“Your passion is waiting for your courage to catch up.”
Isabelle Laflèche

“One of the hardest things in life to learn is which bridge to cross and which bridge to burn.”
David Russell





Welcome To Our Real Estate Update, August 2023


Getting Family Members Enthusiastic about Moving

You may be excited about selling, but do your other family members share your enthusiasm? Kids can often be hesitant about, or even resistant to moving. That can make the selling process more stressful.

The good news is, there are ways to get everyone in the family keen on the idea.

One effective technique is to get everyone involved in the planning process, especially kids. Seek their input. Keep them informed. Include them in conversations. The less of a mystery the move is to them, the more comfortable they’ll feel about moving.

When it comes to kids, another technique is to show them what their new neighbourhood is going to be like. (Or, if you haven’t purchased yet, show them the areas you’re targeting.) Point out schools, parks, and other neighbourhood features. That will build their anticipation.

For those family members who seem particularly troubled about moving, take the time to have a frank conversation with them. Let them relate their concerns. Sometimes having their concerns heard is all that’s needed to help them feel better about selling and moving.

Of course, there’s no perfect solution. But, these techniques can help get everyone in your family keen on the adventure.


Checklist for Selling your Home this Fall


If you’re thinking of selling this fall, this is the ideal time to start the process. The earlier you get ready, the more successful your sale will be. It will likely go a lot smoother, too.

So, with those benefits in mind, here is a quick checklist that will guide you in preparing to list this fall:

Financials. Find out how much your home will likely sell for in the current market. That calculation is made by looking at what comparable homes in the area have sold for recently.

Decluttering. The more neat and spacious your home looks to buyers, the more appealing it will be to them. So, be relentless when decluttering.

• Fixing. If anything needs to be repaired or replaced, this is the best time to get that work done. You don’t want to have to scramble to find a contractor later on.

• Staging. Staging is the art and science of setting up a room so that it looks attractive to buyers. Well-staged homes tend to sell faster and for a higher amount. You can stage your home yourself or get professional assistance.

• Scheduling. When you list in the fall, you want to make it as convenient for buyers as possible to book appointments to see your home. So, make sure you have plenty of scheduling flexibility.

• Targeting. Are you also buying a new home? If so, then start the process now. Decide what type of home you’re looking for specifically and narrow your focus to those neighbourhoods you want to get into.

Starting the selling process now gives you a head start when you list this fall. So, begin working through this checklist today.




The Role of Carrying Costs when Buying a New Home


When searching for a new home, many buyers will focus only on the list price and what they may need to offer to get the property. For example, a buyer might think, “We can get this house for $XX. That’s within our price range!”

Of course, the selling price plays the pivotal role in whether you can afford a particular home. But carrying costs should also be considered.

Carrying costs include any regular expenses related to the property. The obvious ones are gas, hydro, water, garbage, and taxes. But there may be others. For example, a home may also have a subscription-based alarm system, high-speed internet, and hot water tank rental.

If there are common elements, such as a private street or some other neighbourhood feature, there may be an annual maintenance fee.

It’s also smart to factor in predicted maintenance and repair costs, especially when buying an older home. A property that hasn’t had its roof shingles replaced in 20 years may be due soon.

So, when you’re shopping for a new home, consider what the carrying costs will be. That will help you make a more informed decision.

Stretching to pay a little more in monthly costs may be worth it, if you love the home and it, (as well as the neighbourhood) has everything you want.



Notable, Quotable, Quotes!


“Today’s accomplishments were yesterday’s impossibilities.”

Robert H. Schuller


“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”

Karen Lamb


“You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.”

Wayne Dyer






 

Welcome To Our Real Estate Update, July 2023

Buying the Faraway Home


Shopping for a new home in a distant town, city or neighbourhood can be a challenge. It’s especially difficult if getting there requires a very long drive or flight. So, if you’re thinking of moving out-of-town, here are some home shopping tips to consider:

Schedule a longer than normal viewing appointment. Make sure the seller is aware that you’ll need more time to see and evaluate the home, so they don’t book another appointment too soon after yours.

Spend extra time in the neighbourhood and surrounding area. Drive the streets. Go for a walk. If possible, chat with neighbours you run into.

Get all the facts you can about the home and surrounding area. You’ll want to take a close look at crime statistics, property turnover, demographics, etc.

Don’t rush your travel plans when going to see a listed home. Try to arrive for the viewing relaxed and energized (rather than stressed and fatigued), so you can see the property in an unhurried manner.

Following these simple tips can bring you a lot closer to finding your faraway dream home.




The Cure for Cabinet Clutter


When a buyer opens a cabinet door in your kitchen, it’s not an invasion of privacy. The buyer simply wants to get a sense of the available space. So, you can expect some buyers to explore cabinet space, especially in your kitchen and bathrooms.

That’s why making sure cabinet space looks clean, organized, and spacious is so important. Consider these tips:

If you store a lot of items inside a cabinet, make liberal use of storage bins, baskets, and small plastic containers. Clutter doesn’t look like clutter when it’s organized!

Go through each cabinet and get rid of as many items as possible. Pay particular attention to expired products. If you haven’t used an item for a while, question whether you need to keep it anymore.

Consider storing some items somewhere else in your home. For example, pack up less used items and store them in a larger closet or other storage space.

Thoroughly clean cabinets that are prone to odours, such as the ones under the kitchen sink or used for storing food.

Buyers will only give a cabinet space a quick glance, yet they’ll form a lasting impression. Make sure it’s a good one!





Monitoring Devices for Seniors

The 2020s may become known as the decade in which we re-evaluated our homes and found ways to make them better serve our needs. Part of that assessment has already begun, especially amongst seniors who desire greater independence and want to continue to enjoy comfortable, productive lives in their own homes. Enabling their wishes in as safe an environment as possible often requires support from other family members and/or caregivers. It’s a big responsibility that may be eased somewhat by increased confidence in the latest electronic monitoring devices.

Thanks to improved portability and tracking capabilities, the latest models of these devices are less restrictive and require less input from users. Some types monitor vital statistics such as heart rate or blood pressure. Others track movement from room to room, or doors unlocking, while some even monitor medication schedules or facilitate live one-on-one conversations. With so much technology available to help seniors live in ways they prefer, it’s important to consider all aspects of electronic supervision, and have frank conversations about the costs and benefits of the various options.



Notable, Quotable, Quotes!

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.”
William Shakespeare

“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.”
Shannon L. Alder

“One of the hardest things in life to learn is which bridge to cross and which bridge to burn.”
David Russell





Welcome To Our Real Estate Update, June 2023


Setting Emotions Aside When Selling



Imagine shopping for a used car. You find one that you like and while negotiating the price, the seller gets sentimental. He shares happy memories of family picnics, his kids’ soccer games and other adventures with the vehicle. Then he demands a higher price. After all, he couldn’t possibly part with it for anything less.


Are you likely to pay for his sentimental value? Probably not. Yet the same thing often happens when selling a home.

It’s normal for homeowners to form an emotional attachment to their property. It can be very difficult to watch their home being treated as a product with a price tag, and watch buyers stand in the living room discussing furniture arrangements. Emotions can get in the way of a sale. It can even cause some sellers to stay firm on a high price, when a reasonable offer within market value is received.

After all, as they say, ‘Home is where the heart is.’ So, when it’s time to sell your property, think about all the ways you will take your happy memories with you. Then, focus on selling for the best price within the current market conditions.




Is it the Right Time to Sell?


If you’re entertaining the idea of selling your home, especially within the next year, one question you might be grappling with is, “Should I sell now, or wait until market conditions are more favourable?”


The answer is simple. Your decision to sell should be guided by your own needs and desires and not by what you think the market will be like months from now.


First of all, it’s nearly impossible to predict the future in the real estate market. Months from now, it could be a buyer’s market, a seller’s market, a quiet market, or even a frenzied market! Who knows? It’s like trying to predict what the weather will be like on this day next year.


And, if you’re also buying a new home, then market conditions play a less important role. After all, if you sell in a seller’s market and get a high price for your home, you’ll also be paying a seller’s market price for your new home.


In most situations, the “right” time to sell is when you’re ready to make a move.




Savvy Negotiation Helps Win the Deal


Purchasing a home is not the same as buying a product off the shelf. You don’t simply pay the price on the tag and know it’s yours. You can’t just see a home for sale and say, “I’ll take it!”, especially if the market is competitive. You need to make an enticing offer.


That offer, of course, would include the price you propose to pay. That price may or may not be the “price tag” or the asking price. For your offer to be successful, it needs other ingredients too. For example, winning offers often include evidence that appropriate financing has been arranged. This gives the seller confidence that you can afford the home and that the deal won’t fall through due to an issue with the mortgage.




Also, you may need to put conditions on your offer, such as making it conditional on selling your current home. You’ll need to be careful here. Adding a condition or two may be necessary to protect your best interests but may also dissuade the seller from accepting your offer.




Negotiation is perhaps the most important part of the buying process. Even if there are no competing offers, there will likely be back-and-forth discussions about price, conditions, closing dates, and more. Savvy negotiating is critical, not only to ensure you get the home, but also that you get it for the lowest price and best terms possible.




Real estate negotiation is not for the timid. It requires in-depth knowledge of the local market, hard-won negotiating skills, and experience. If you’re selling your home, buying a new home, or both, keep in mind the important role that negotiation has in getting you what you want.





Notable, Quotable, Quotes!

“There is nothing like a dream to create the future.”
Victor Hugo

“Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.”
Napoleon Hill

“You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.”
Roy T. Bennett



Welcome To Our Real Estate Update, May 2023



Creating the “Wow” Effect in Buyers


It’s incredible how quickly people form first impressions. According to some studies, people can develop lasting opinions within seconds of seeing someone, something, or someplace new. 

That’s why, when preparing your property for sale, it’s important to do everything you can to make sure it looks attractive to buyers.

Nowhere does this first impression phenomenon play out more than when a buyer first enters your home. The moment they walk through your front door, they’ll look around, take in the scene and form an impression.

Ideally, you want that crucial first impression to be, “Wow. This place looks great! I can hardly wait to check out the rest of this home.”

So how do you ensure that happens?

One way is to play the role of a buyer yourself. Walk through your front door as if you’ve never been inside your home before. Pretend you’re a buyer and look around. What do you see? What impresses you most from that perspective? What do you notice that concerns you?

Pay attention to anything distracting: walls in need of painting, cluttered furniture arrangements, too much or too little lighting. This exercise will give you immediate ideas for improving — or Home Staging, as it’s called in real estate — the view from the front door foyer. For example, you might discover that a weekend painting project along with some decluttering, would make a big difference in how your home looks from this vantage point.

Typically, it doesn’t take much work to make these types of changes and improvements. But, when you do, your home is likely to look more impressive to buyers as they walk through your front door. That’s an impression that’s likely to linger as they view the rest of your property.

That’s why, when preparing your property for sale, it’s important to do everything you can to make sure it looks attractive to buyers.

Nowhere does this first impression phenomenon play out more than when a buyer first enters your home. The moment they walk through your front door, they’ll look around, take in the scene and form an impression.

Ideally, you want that crucial first impression to be, “Wow. This place looks great! I can hardly wait to check out the rest of this home.”

So how do you ensure that happens?

One way is to play the role of a buyer yourself. Walk through your front door as if you’ve never been inside your home before. Pretend you’re a buyer and look around. What do you see? What impresses you most from that perspective? What do you notice that concerns you?

Pay attention to anything distracting, walls in need of painting, cluttered furniture arrangements, too much or too little lighting. This exercise will give you immediate ideas for improving — or Home Staging, as it’s called in real estate — the view from the front door foyer. For example, you might discover that a weekend painting project along with some decluttering, would make a big difference in how your home looks from this vantage point.

Typically, it doesn’t take much work to make these types of changes and improvements. But, when you do, your home is likely to look more impressive to buyers as they walk through your front door. That’s an impression that’s likely to linger as they view the rest of your property.





Cleaning Tips for Instantly Improving Curb Appeal


As you may know, curb appeal refers to how your property looks from the street, where potential buyers first see it. Your home’s curb appeal can have a big impact on the sale of your property.

In fact, it’s not uncommon for a buyer to drive by a listing, rather than stop, because they don’t like what they see.

So, how can you improve your home’s curb appeal quickly? One way is to do some outside cleaning.

Start with the main entryway. Wash down the front door and sweep (or power wash) the front steps. It only takes a few minutes, but you’d be surprised by the impact it can have. Sweep or power wash your walkway too and you’ll improve the overall look of your home — sometimes dramatically.

Clean your front windows to brighten the look of your home’s facade. It doesn’t have to be an arduous chore. In fact, there are washing products available that attach to your garden hose. You don’t even need a ladder! Ask your local home improvement retailer for recommendations.

If you have hedges and shrubs, give them a trim. To keep your trimming level, use a wide board, or even a piece of cardboard, then cut to the desired height. Pull off any dead leaves or branches. Of course, also mow the lawn!

Finally, inspect your property from the street. Can you see anything else you can do to quickly improve the look? Do you notice anything that is unsightly or distracting, such as garbage bins that could be relocated?





How to Deal with a Competitive Disadvantage


If you’re selling your home and there are other listings in your area, buyers will naturally compare your property to those other listings.

Is there something about your home that you’re concerned will be seen as a competitive disadvantage? For example, do you have a small kitchen or fewer bedrooms than most other homes in the neighbourhood?

There are a few things you can do to compensate for such disadvantages.

First, highlight the advantageous features of your home. Chances are, there are characteristics that make it stand out. For example, the look and style of your home may be cozy and enchanting. Or, you might have a desired feature, such as a terrific view.

Next, do everything you can to ensure your home makes the best impression possible to buyers. Remember, most buyers will only see your property once. So, pull out all the stops. That means decluttering, cleaning, painting, getting any needed repairs done, and staging effectively.

Finally, make sure you set the asking price strategically. That doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be low. But it does mean that the price should reflect the market value of your home.




Notable, Quotable, Quotes!

“Whatever fear I have inside of me, my desire to win is always stronger.”
Serena Williams

“Spend time thinking of what you want, rather than what you don’t want.”
Sanaya Roman

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.”
Dolly Parton




Welcome To Our Real Estate Update, April 2023


Understanding Market Value

When you decide to put your house up for sale, we will start by working together to determine the market value of your property. That’s important to know because if you price your home too much above its market value, you probably won’t get any offers. Alternatively, if you price your property too low, it might get snapped up quickly, but you’ll have left a lot of money on the table.

So how do we determine your home’s current market value?

We will look at a variety of factors, such as the desirability of the neighbourhood, the features of your home, how well it has been maintained, renovations and other improvements you’ve made, and of course, its location. We will also review what similar homes in your area have sold for recently – which is, perhaps, the strongest indicator of current market value.

Once we know the market value of your home, we can make an informed decision as to how to price it so that it will attract the right type of buyers and the best possible price.




When to Consider Buying a “Diamond in the Rough”

Let’s face it. When you visit a home during a scheduled viewing or open house, you’re usually seeing it at its best. The rooms are tidy. The sinks are clean. The closets are organized and uncluttered. Even the lighting is set to its brightest.

That’s just good old-fashioned marketing.

However, not every house you see will look this way. For any number of reasons, a house on the market may be less than tidy, poorly decorated, and even in need of minor repairs. You may open the front door in anticipation, only to be immediately turned off by stains on the carpets, faded paint on the walls, cluttered hallways, and more.

First impressions form quickly. It’s easy to make quick judgments and move on. But you may be passing on what could be a dream home. Don’t make that mistake. Make your purchase decision based on a carefully considered second impression, not just your first. When viewing a house, imagine how it will look with a fresh coat of paint, some redecorating, the minor repairs completed, and your furniture adorning the rooms. You might just find that a home that doesn’t show well is really a diamond in the rough.

(One caveat: Be careful of houses that don’t look like they’ve been well maintained. There could be issues lurking that may require expensive repairs or renovations. Always make a professional home inspection a condition of your offer.)

There are advantages to buying a home that doesn’t show well. They attract less interest and, therefore, less competition from other potential buyers.




Is this your Year to Get Gardening?

 

Whether you have a large backyard or a modest balcony, gardening is fast becoming one of the most popular pastimes across the land. Homeowners have become more focused on their property’s appearance and productivity, while also recognizing how gardening can contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Whether you are interested in nurturing beautiful blooms and bushes, or cultivating home-grown herbs and vegetables, a little planning will give you lasting enjoyment. One of the first things you need to do is to identify your microclimate to determine its suitability for growing specific plants.

Similarly, it’s important to know the hardiness of your preferred plants, and how much sun and shade they require. Make sure your soil is conducive for optimum growth and supplement with appropriate nutrients as needed. Be prepared to back up nature’s rainfall with a reliable source of supplementary water, either manually or through an automatic system. Now that you’ve done your prep work, the true pleasures of gardening begin – but don’t think it’s an easy hobby! It takes hard work to keep the weeds at bay and your garden on track, but you’ll see the fruits of your labour grow before your very eyes.



Notable, Quotable, Quotes!

“To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”
Unknown

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races, one after another.”
Walter Elliott

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
Benjamin Franklin




Welcome To Our Real Estate Update, February 2023


6 Undisputed Ways to Make your Home Sell Faster


There are few certainties in this world, but there are surefire ways to sell your property faster regardless of market conditions. These strategies have been proven time and time again. So, if you’re thinking of selling this year, take a good look at these recommendations:

  1. Clean and tidy up. Making your home “guest ready” is the easiest way to ensure buyers are impressed during a viewing.
  2. Declutter. The more spacious your home looks, the more impressive it will be to buyers. You can box items and give them away, sell them or put them in storage.
  3. Price it right. Deciding on the right listing price is crucial. If it’s too high, you’ll discourage otherwise qualified buyers from seeing your home. If it’s too low, you might send the wrong message to the marketplace.
  4. Optimize curb appeal. The better your home looks from the street, the more buyers will become interested. Curb appeal is important because it’s the first impression a buyer makes, and that impression lasts. 
  5. Stage your home. You don’t necessarily need to replace all the furniture. However, studies consistently confirm that a well-staged home sells significantly faster than a comparable un-staged property.
  6. Leverage the latest marketing and selling tactics. You want the marketing of your home to bring in the most qualified and interested buyers. You then want sales strategies that turn those buyers into offers and negotiation skills to turn the right offer into a sale.



Keep these proven strategies in mind when putting your home up for sale.






Scams Are on the Rise


The more consumers increase their use of online shopping using a variety of sites and payment methods, the more susceptible they become to fraud, including false threats or enticements from scammers posing as retail, bank and credit card companies.


With personal profiles being shared more frequently, it stands to reason that hackers will gain increased access to email addresses and other contact information. In addition, the scammers’ methods of “phishing” for personal information has become increasingly sophisticated, with correspondence that is often difficult to distinguish from legitimate business communications.


Disguised as a legitimate business or bank, they can send phony alerts that act like an electronic Trojan horse. The consumer is tricked into divulging additional more sensitive data such as an account number or a password. We all need to be wary of any unexpected emails and phone messages that may implore us to act on impulse by clicking or replying. Always ensure you are not giving away personal information to criminals.






Should You Get a Major Improvement Done before Selling?

There’s no doubt about it. The more “move in” ready your property is, the more attractive it will be to buyers. There is always an advantage when buyers can imagine living in the home without having to make any major repairs or improvements — at least for the short term.


But, does that mean you need to get every big issue dealt with before you sell? Not necessarily.


Say, for example, your flooring needs replacing soon. Sure, that may influence the interest-level some buyers have in your property. Yet, homes sell every day with these kinds of issues.


What it comes down to is cost-versus-benefit. Painting, for example, costs little (compared to other types of improvements), yet can make a big difference in how your home appears. So, the benefit is high compared to the cost.

On the other hand, redoing your kitchen is an expensive undertaking. Although you’re likely to add value to your home as a result of the renovation, you might not get your entire investment back when you sell.


So, consider each improvement you’re thinking of making based on its cost, how much more you’ll get for your home, and how much more quickly you anticipate your property will sell.





Notable, Quotable, Quotes!


 “Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”


Napoleon Hill


 “You have to learn the rules of the game. Then you have to play better than anyone else.”


Albert Einstein


 “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”


John D Rockefeller





Welcome To Our Real Estate Update, January 2023

 Does your Home Still Match your Lifestyle?

When you purchased your current home, chances are it was a good match for your lifestyle. It had the space you needed, the features you wanted, and a location that worked for you.

But for most people, lifestyle and needs evolve through the years. Kids get older. Jobs or careers change. People take on new hobbies and other interests.

As a result, the home that was ideal a few years ago may not fit with your current lifestyle.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to shop for a new home! However, it may mean that it’s worth taking a look at the market and seeing what’s possible.

Think about the kind of home that would support your lifestyle today. Ask questions like:

  • How many bedrooms do we need?
  • How easy is it to travel to work each day?
  • What special features do we want in our home? (Big backyard? Rec room? Quiet neighbourhood?)
  • What do we want nearby? (School? Playground? Walking and biking trails? Shopping? Entertainment? Golf?)
  • What else does our home need in order to support our lifestyle?

After asking yourself some of these key questions, ask other family members for their opinions too.

You may, in fact, find that the property you have now is still ideal for your lifestyle.

If, however, your home is no longer a good fit, you have options. You can stay in your current home despite it no longer being ideal; you can make some changes (a renovation, perhaps); or, you can see what’s available in the housing market.

If you need help with any of these options, call today.




Synthetic and Composite Countertops

New countertops have always been a major contributor to kitchen makeovers, and the range of choices has never been greater. Beyond laminates and tile, or natural stone, wood and bamboo, some durable acrylics have become quite popular.


But, there are also newer composite materials that offer advantages which might make them an ideal compromise between natural and synthetic countertops. Generically known as solid surface, engineered stone or quartz composite, they go by many different brand names, and have unique features not found in other surfaces.


For example, they tend to be harder and more durable and stain resistant than traditional countertops, because they are formed with a combination of natural materials and synthetic bonding compounds. The solid-surface types appear seamless, are made of about 2/3 mineral powders and 1/3 resin, and are available in a range of colours and designs that sometimes mimic nature (e.g., white marble). The quartz types are closer to 90% natural stone fragments with about 10% resin, so they are even harder by comparison, although the range of colour and design options is narrower. Nowadays, with so much to consider, it’s wise to consult a countertop expert about your material options and installation costs.

 





Lighting Matters when Selling your Home

Remember the last time you were in a furniture store or other major home retailer? Remember the fully decorated displays of furniture, appliances and other products? Some of those may have even been organized as model rooms.

What did most of those displays have in common?

Chances are, they were well lit.

In fact, in the retail industry, there are professionals who specialize exclusively in display lighting. It plays such an important role in showcasing and selling home products successfully that the stores are willing to absorb the expense.

The same holds true for your home.

If you want to show your home well, and sell it quickly and for the best price, make sure every room is well lit.

There are probably some rooms in your home where the lighting is adequate, such as the kitchen and bathrooms, and perhaps the foyer. But there are other areas where the lighting may be mediocre. Take a close look at:

  • Closets
  • Storage areas
  • Bedrooms
  • Laundry rooms
  • Hallways
  • The garage

If there are areas in your home that are dark or shadowy, the solution may be as simple as installing higher wattage bulbs, provided your fixture can accommodate them. Keep in mind that brightness can vary significantly from one type of bulb to another. Your goal is to make the room feel bright yet comfortable on the eyes.

Also, don’t forget to open drapes and blinds. Often the best and most pleasant source of light for a room is the sun shining through a window.

Want more tips on showing your home well? Call today.




Welcome To Our Newsletter, December 2022



4 Simple & Affordable Ways to Decorate for the Holidays:



Want to decorate for the holidays, but don't have a ton of cash to spend trimming your tree or stringing up lights? There's still a way.

Here are some quick and easy holiday decor tips that won't break the bank:
  1. Change out your welcome mat for a more festive one.
  2. Replace your front porch light with a red or green bulb.
  3. Wrap empty boxes in wrapping paper and use them as decor throughout the house.
  4. String popcorn and cranberries for some handmade garlands.
Dollar stores typically have a large selection of holiday decor, too, so be sure to try your local shop for low-cost options.



3 Perks of Buying a Home in the Winter:

 
If buying a house is on your radar, you may want to act soon. The winter housing market offers serious perks for homebuyers.

Here are just a few of the benefits:
  • Less competition. Fewer homebuyers are on the market this time of year, meaning no costly bidding wars.
  • Lower home prices. When demand is low, home prices fall. Sellers are more willing to negotiate, too.
  • Cheaper moving costs. Due to the harsh weather, few people move in the winter. This means more availability and lower costs with movers.
Considering a home purchase? Don't wait long. As the busy spring buying season approaches, competition and prices will start to heat up.

 
 4 Benefits of Refinancing:


 

Looking to save some cash in the New Year? Refinancing your mortgage loan might be able to help.

 

 Refinancing can mean:

 
  • Lower interest rates. If your credit has improved or market rates are lower than your current rates, you can reduce the interest you pay monthly and over time.
  • Lower monthly payments. Choose a longer loan term or qualify for a lower rate, and your monthly payments will fall in step.
  • Access to cash. Tap your home equity with a cash-out refinance. Use it for bills, tuition, or holiday expenses.
 


Welcome To Our Real Estate Update, December 2022

Will a Home Inspection Help Sell your Home Faster?

Usually, a home inspection is done after an offer is made to buy a home. The offer will typically include a condition that the property must pass such an inspection. The buyer then hires the inspector, who goes through the home, top to bottom, inside and out, looking for issues.
However, you can also get an inspection done as the seller. In this case, you are paying for an inspector to produce a report on your home — before you sell. In fact, this is often called a pre-sale home inspection.
Why would you do this?

A pre-sale home inspection can make your property more attractive to buyers. This is especially helpful if you’re selling in a buyer’s market, where there are more homes like yours for sale than there are buyers. The report serves as an enticing feature of your listing because it reassures buyers that there are no unknown issues.
So, getting a pre-home inspection is something worth considering. For a buyer deciding between your listing and another home for sale, it can be a determining factor.
 


 

The Psychology of Clutter

There’s an interesting psychological characteristic of clutter. We tend to notice it more in other people’s homes than in our own. In fact, we may not even realize a room in our house feels cluttered and uncomfortable to visitors.
That’s why making each room look neat and spacious is so important when you’re selling your property.
Although the task may seem daunting at first, decluttering is relatively easy to do.

The simplest technique is to box things. You’re going to move anyway, so boxing makes sense. You can store the boxes of items you’re keeping in your garage. If you have a lot of boxes, renting short-term storage is an option.
When decluttering, you’re bound to come across items you no longer need or want. You can create separate boxes for items to trash, donate, or sell online. Deal with these right away, so they’re not included in your stored boxes.
An uncluttered home shows dramatically better to buyers. When they see a cluttered space — even if it’s neatly organized — it creates a reason not to buy. So, declutter your way to a faster sale at a higher price!
 


Take Advantage of Year-End Savings Opportunities

Want to save money in 2023? There are many money-saving opportunities — including tax savings — that you can realize if you take action before the year ends. Here are just a few examples of what to consider:
  • Do you own a business? Even if it’s just a side-hustle to make extra money, you can save on taxes if you make planned purchases this month. For example, if you need a new printer, buy it in December. That way, you may be able to take a deduction this year.
  • Check your subscriptions. Many types of subscriptions — publications, online apps, memberships — automatically renew in December. If you subscribe to something you no longer want, cancel it this month. Otherwise, you might be stuck paying the renewal fee.
  • Review your investments. Sit down with your advisor and go over your investments and other savings. You may be able to take advantage of year-end opportunities. Also check for investments or financial instruments that may be set to automatically renew this month.
  • Watch for price hikes. It’s common for companies to raise prices at the beginning of a new year. Review your bills for announcements of fee increases. Some of those may be negotiable. You might also want to make other changes to reduce the impact.
Taking time this month to review expenses and investments could save you a bundle in 2023. It’s worth the effort!




Welcome To Our Newsletter, November 2022.





Mistakes That Can Derail Your Mortgage App


A pre-approval isn't a guarantee you'll get that mortgage loan.

Want to keep your mortgage application on track? Avoid these mistakes:

• Big purchases. Making a major purchase just ahead of buying a home can send up a serious red flag.

• New credit cards. These require hard credit pulls and can lower your credit score. They also mean more debt, which can cause lenders to worry.

• Late payments. Falling behind on credit card and loan payments can send your credit score down (and your chances of getting a loan with it).

Changes in your employment can also derail your mortgage application, so avoid any job changes just before buying a house.

 

 


The Best Month to Buy a House
 
 
 
 
Did you know we're quickly approaching the best month to buy a house? According to data, homebuyers save the most by buying a home in December. All real estate is local so I can help you understand your local market but in some cases, buyers can pay up to 5% below listed price in some neighborhoods, months or categories.Buyers pay the biggest premiums by purchasing in the summertime. Buying in June means spending about 7% more than market value.


 
 
 

How To Get The Best Black Friday Deals
 
 
 
 
Want to save big this holiday season? Black Friday is the day to do it.
Here's how to get the best deals on the year's biggest shopping day:
  • Start early. Many stores start offering deals days or even weeks ahead of Black Friday.
  • Sign up for your favorite retailers' email lists. It might get you extra savings (or at least alert you to big deals).
  • Preload your payment info. A lot of Black Friday deals are limited, and you don't want to lose out by taking too long during checkout.
You can also sign up for store-specific rewards cards to get even steeper discounts.


The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are member’s of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.