How to reduce the chance of burglary by 90%

 
No one wants to deal with a burglary. How do you reduce the chances of one happening?
 
Fortunately, burglaries are a well-studied phenomenon — especially by law enforcement. These studies have identified specific things you can do to cut the risk dramatically. Here are some ideas:
 
• 34% of home break-ins occur through the front door. Experts
recommend investing in a door with a top-quality locking mechanism. (The best are those that lock at three points of contact.)
 
• 50% of burglars will be deterred if your home has some sort of video monitoring system. A thief doesn’t want his face on YouTube!
 
• Unfortunately, signs and window stickers warning of an alarm system do not deter thieves. However, 62% of burglars will immediately run away when an alarm goes off. Always turn on your alarm system when you’re not home!
 
• 22% of burglaries occur through a sliding glass door or patio door. Make sure it’s locked and also use a solid metal jammer.
 
• Some thieves use frequency scanners to gain access to garages. Police recommend changing your remote entry code regularly and putting blinds or curtains on garage windows so thieves can’t see (and be tempted by) any valuables inside.
 
As you can see, there are many simple things you can do to reduce your chances of a burglary dramatically. The effort is worth it.

Should you move or renovate? Three things to consider

 
Determining if you should buy a new home or fix up your current one isn’t easy. In fact, the decision can be steeped in so much drama they make reality TV shows about it!
 
So if you’re considering whether to move or improve, here are three things to consider.
 
1. Will a renovation truly fix what you don’t like about your property? If you’re tired of a small kitchen, for example, it might not be possible, given the layout, to make it any bigger. On the other hand, if you’re craving a spacious rec room with a cosy fireplace then a renovation could make that happen.
 
Of course, there are some things you may want that aren’t specific to your house, such as an easier commute or nearby park. Those are features you may only be able to get by moving.
 
2. How much will a renovation cost? How does that compare to the cost of moving to a new home? It’s important to get accurate estimates of each so you can make a smart decision. This is where a good REALTOR® can help.
 
Keep in mind that renovations have a habit of costing more than you originally anticipate. As mentioned earlier, the final result should be a home you want to stay in for quite some time.
 
3. Beware of compromising versus settling.
 
Whichever decision you make — renovate or sell — you can expect to have to make at least some compromises. That’s normal.
 
For example, consider adding an extension to your house. That’s a major renovation. Is it the ideal way to get the extra room you want? Do the benefits of renovating outweigh the benefits of finding a new larger home designed to include the space you need?
 
Yes, it’s a tough decision. If you’re in the midst of making it, call today, to get the facts you need to make the best choice for you.

How the wrong pricing strategy can cost you thousands

As you’re probably aware, the list price you set for your property has an impact on how quickly it sells — and how much you earn on the sale.
 
What you may not realize is just how significant an impact it has. Consider the following examples.
 
Example 1:
You price your property well above its current market value. As a result, many buyers don’t bother to see it because it’s outside of their price range. Those who do see it are confused by the high price tag, (and may even be suspicious.) They may wonder, “What’s going on?”
 
In this scenario, the home will likely languish on the market for weeks or even months. You might even have to lower the price dramatically to reignite interest.
 
Example 2:
You price your property just a couple of percentage points lower than what is necessary to gain the interest of qualified buyers. That might not seem like much of a problem. How much can a couple of percentage points matter?
 
Those points matter a lot.
 
On a $400,000 property, pricing your home just 2% lower than necessary could cost you $8,000 on the sale. That’s a serious amount of money!
 
So, as you can see, pricing your home right is serious business.
Fortunately, a good REALTOR® knows how to set the right price.
 
Looking for a good REALTOR®? Call today

What home inspectors see that you can't

 
When you make an offer on a home, it’s a smart idea to have a professional home inspector check it out from top to bottom. This inspection will ensure that the property doesn’t have any unexpected “issues”. After all, you don’t want to buy a home only to discover that the roof needs to be replaced, immediately, for thousands of dollars.
 
That being said, you might question whether you really need to invest the few hundred dollars it costs for a professional home inspection. “The home we want to buy looks like it’s in very good shape,” you might be thinking. “I can’t see anything wrong with it.”
 
However, a professional home inspector can see things you can’t. When you view a property that’s on the market, you might be able to notice obvious issues, like a crack in the foundation or a dripping faucet. If you’re experienced with home maintenance, you might even notice roofing tiles that look like they’re overdue for replacement.
 
But you won’t pick up all the issues a home inspector can.
 
A home inspector will, for example, use a special device to check for moisture build-up in the washrooms – which can be an indication of mould. He or she will also inspect wiring to make sure everything is safe and compliant with the building code.
 
That’s not all.
 
Like a determined detective, a home inspector will investigate the property’s structure, electrical and plumbing systems, insulation, and other components — and then report the findings to you.
 
In the end, a professional home inspection gives you peace-of-mind and protects your investment. So getting one is highly recommended — even for recently built homes.
 
A good REALTOR® can recommend a trusted home inspector for you. Looking for more ideas on making smart decisions when buying a home?
 
Call today.

Simple ways to reduce your monthly utility costs

 
Many homeowners think there’s not much they can do about telephone, heating, water and other utility expenses. Sure, you may grumble about a high heating bill one month, but what can you do about it?
 
Turns out, you can do plenty. There are several ways to reduce monthly utility costs that can save you tens or even hundreds of dollars. For example:
 
• Shop around for a better phone plan. Then contact your phone company. They might match the rates.
 
• Turn down the thermostat on your water heater. You likely don’t need tap water to be that hot.
 
• Clean the screen on your outside air conditioning unit regularly. (Gently with the water hose.) Dirt and leaves can build up on it,
reducing the unit’s efficiency.
 
• Leverage the sun. Open curtains in the winter to gain heat. Block direct sunlight in summer to keep the cool air inside.
 
• Scrutinize your bill. There may be extras you’re paying for that you don’t need.
 
• Play with the thermostat. Experiment with setting the temperature a couple of degrees lower. You might not notice any difference.
 
It’s worth paying attention to your utility costs. Just a few smart moves can save you some serious money.

Should you "High Ball" your listing price?

 
One of the most important decisions you make when selling your home is setting the listing price. That can be tricky. After all, if you price your property too low, you leave money on the table — perhaps thousands of dollars. On the other hand, if you price your home too high, many buyers won’t even bother to see it, believing it is too expensive.
 
Even with that reality, there are some sellers who contemplate setting a high listing price in the hopes of a windfall. They want some unsuspecting buyer to fall in love with the home and buy it — even though it’s overpriced.
 
That rarely, if ever, happens.
 
Instead, the listing often languishes on the market because its listing price is conspicuously much higher than its market value.
 
Think about it. If two similar homes, side-by-side, are for sale, and one is priced $40,000 higher than the other, wouldn’t you wonder what was going on? That’s exactly what the market thinks. “Why is that home priced so high?”
 
Of course, many buyers, who might otherwise be interested in the property, won’t even consider seeing it, simply because it’s outside their price range.
 
It gets worse. When an overpriced home sits on the market with no offers for several weeks, the price will often need to be adjusted down. That helps the situation a little. However, you’ve lost the excitement created by a “new listing.” Yours is now an old listing struggling to get attention.
 
There’s a better way…
 
Setting your list price at or near the market value is much more likely to generate interest from qualified buyers and maximize how much you make on your home.
 
That market value may even be higher than you think!
Interested in finding out how much? Call today.

Making your home critter proof

 
You may love animals, but with the exception of your family pets, you don’t want them in your home. Here are some tips for keeping the wildlife around your property where it belongs: outside.
 
• Don’t place bird feeders too close to your windows. Doing so may cause birds to associate a window with food and therefore try to peck their way inside.
 
• Make sure window screens are secure. If you can push a screen loose with your hand, so can a bird or other animal.
 
• Check screens on dryer vents and chimneys. If they are damaged, fix or replace them.
 
• To determine how animals are entering your home, stuff wadded paper in the suspected entry point. If the paper is disturbed the next day, you’ll know where they got in.
 
• Never leave food outside, unattended. After a barbeque, for example, take all remaining food inside.
 
If you do find an animal in your home, never try to pick it up. It may bite or have rabies. Instead, call a professional.

When Is the Right Time to Talk to a REALTORĀ®?

 
When would you talk to a car salesperson? Probably only once you’re ready to buy a new car. You would do some initial research (perhaps on the internet), get an idea of what you want, and then go to the dealership to meet a salesperson, test drive the car and make the purchase.
 
Although that approach may work when you’re buying a car, it’s not the best approach when it comes to real estate.
 
You see, successfully buying or selling a home requires a lot of planning and legwork. You want the process to go smoothly, the right decisions to be made, and the best possible deal to be negotiated.
 
After all, this is the purchase and/or sale of your home!
 
So, the best time to talk to a REALTOR® is as early in the process as possible.
In fact, even if you’re just thinking of buying or selling — and simply want to explore the possibility of making a move sometime this year — you should have a conversation with a good REALTOR®.
 
A REALTOR® will answer your questions, provide you with the information and insights you need, help you avoid costly mistakes, and make sure you’re heading in the right direction
.
When you are ready to buy or sell, having worked with a REALTOR® early in the process will help ensure you get what you want.
 
So talk to a good REALTOR® when:
 
• You have a question about the local market.
• You want to know what your home might sell for today.
• You’re interested in checking out homes currently available on the market.
• You’re in the midst of deciding whether or not to make a move.
• You’ve decided to buy or sell.

Do you have "recalled" products in your home?

 
 
You’ve no doubt noticed the occasional news report about a product being recalled for safety reasons. For example, a car model with a brake problem, or a children’s toy that, under some circumstances, may cause injury.
 
You may not know that these news reports are merely the tip of the iceberg. For each product recall you hear about in the media, there are dozens that get little, if any, publicity.
 
That means there may be products in your home that have been recalled — and you don’t even know about it. It’s a scary thought.
 
How do you find out about recalled products that may affect you? Here are two tips.
 
1. Always complete the registration that comes with many products. This is typically done by mailing in a registration card or filling out an online form. When you register, you’ll be alerted by the manufacturer if the product is recalled for any reason.
2. Both Canada and the United States have agencies that list recalled products on their websites. In Canada it’s the Healthy Canadians website at www.healthycanadians.gc.ca. In the United States it’s the Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.CPSP.gov. It’s a good habit to check these sites every season.
 
If you discover that a product in your home has been recalled, contact the manufacturer immediately. Never assume that the reason for the recall won’t apply to you.

How to deal with a low ball offer

 

If you take care to price your home correctly — that is, at a price that is in line with what similar properties in the area have sold for recently — then you have a good chance of selling it at or near your asking price.

That doesn’t mean you won’t get a low-ball offer. You might. So what do you do when that happens?

First, understand that the buyer may not necessarily be trying to steal away your home at a bargain-basement price. He might simply be mistaken about its true market value. Of course, he might also be coming in at a low price in the hopes he’ll get lucky.

You will never actually know the buyer’s motives. So it would be a mistake to get angry or dismiss the offer out-of-hand. That low-ball offer might end up being the beginning of a negotiation that results in you selling your home at a good price.

Your first step is to work with your REALTOR® to determine:
• How serious the buyer is.
• How qualified the buyer is. (For example, does he have a preapproved mortgage?)
• How amenable the buyer is to a counter-offer that reflects the true market value of your home.
• What that counter-offer should be.

This isn’t an easy process. It takes knowledge and experience to get it right. That’s why working with a good REALTOR® is essential.

Looking for a REALTOR® who is an expert at this stuff? Call today.