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.

Surprising ways buyers find homes

Do you ever wonder how most people find the homes they eventually buy? You might imagine them driving by a “For Sale” sign or seeing a home for sale in the newspaper and then calling to enquire.
 
Of course, many buyers find out about listed properties that way. But, according to research by the National Association of Realtors, there are many other — sometimes surprising — ways buyers find their next dream home. For example:
 
• 88% of buyers find a home with the help of a real estate agent.
• 90% of buyers search online as part of the home buying
process. (Such as viewing a property’s profile on the agent’s website.)
 
• 69% of buyers searching for a home using Google, use a specific local term, such as “Whitby-south homes for sale”.
 
• 29-46% of buyers attend an Open House as part of their home
hunting activities.
 
Overall, the research shows that buyers are using a multitude of ways — combining online and offline methods — to find homes.
What does all this mean to you? If means that if you’re preparing your home for sale, you need to ensure your marketing plan takes into account all the ways buyers are finding properties — so you can be sure that they will find yours.
 
Looking for a REALTOR® who knows how to market your home for maximum exposure? Call today.

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.

What buyers don't want to see in your backyard

 
 
When you put your home up for sale, you want it to look its best to potential buyers. That’s why you clean, tidy and de-clutter every room.
 
Some sellers, however, miss the backyard. You need to pay just as much attention to that space as you do to the interior of your home. The backyard is as important a living space as the family room. To some buyers, even more.
 
Buyers want to see an attractive backyard space, with the grass cut and the hedges trimmed. The more neat and tidy you can make it, the better. Be sure to sweep walkways and wipe down patio furniture.
 
Also, watch out for the following things that buyers do not want to see:
 
• Bags of garage and other waste.
• Doggie do-do. (Be sure to stoop and scoop!)
• Rakes and other tools piled in the corner.
• Cluttered and disorganized storage sheds, pool huts and other
backyard structures.
• Weeds in the flower beds.
• Items stored underneath the deck.
• Hoses not stowed neatly.
• Electrical outlets and water faucets that don’t work.
 
These are not difficult issues to fix. Doing so will positively impact the impression the buyer gets of your backyard.
 
Do you have a backyard that shows particularly well in the summer? Here’s a tip: Take pictures. Those photos will help buyers be able to appreciate how it looks should you list your home in the winter.
 
Want more tips on making your home show well so that it sells fast? Call today

Concerned about condensation on Windows?

If you see a haze of condensation on your window, should you be
concerned? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on a number of factors.
 
First of all, an occasional build-up of condensation is normal and often the result of fluctuating humidity in the home. Usually, it’s nothing to worry about. If you’re using a humidifier, try adjusting the levels. If the humidity is being generated naturally, try placing a dehumidifier nearby. Also, remove any plants and firewood from the area, as they can release a surprising volume of moisture into the air.
 
Do you see moisture in between the panes of glass that make up the window? If so, that means the seal has failed and moisture has crept in. Double and triple pane windows often contain a gas (argon, for example) that boosts the insulating qualities of the window. When the seal fails, the gas disappears, making the glass colder and often allowing condensation to creep in. Eventually, you’ll want to get it replaced.
 
If you see moisture build-up anywhere on the frame of the window, particularly at the joints, that could be a sign of water leaking through. That’s an issue you should get checked out immediately by a window contractor.

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.


How much should you budget for home maintenance?

If you own a car, you know there’s more to the cost-of-ownership than just finance payments and gas. You also need to budget for maintenance and repairs. If your car is older, those costs are going to be higher. That’s just common sense.

The same is true of your home. It’s wise to budget for anticipated repairs and maintenance. Otherwise, you might be caught by surprise when you find that your furnace stops working and needs to be replaced. That can easily be a four-figure expense.

Experts recommend that you set aside 1% of the value of your home for repairs and maintenance. For a $500,000 property, for example, that would be $5,000. That is, of course, merely a rule of thumb. If your home is older, you may need to budget more.
Another recommended method is to budget $1 a square foot. If you have a 2,500 square foot home, that would be a budget of $2,500. Again, that number would need to be higher for older properties.

When budgeting, consider things that are getting old and will likely need to be replaced within the next three years. Examples include roof shingles furnace, A/C unit, deck, fence, plumbing, and windows. Depending on the size and model, a new A/C unit will cost at least $5,000. Anticipating that expense will help you plan accordingly and avoid the shock of an unpleasant and costly surprise.

Keep in mind that budgeting $2,000 for repairs and maintenance doesn’t mean you’ll actually spend that money this year. But, if needed, the budget will be there, and that’s peace-of-mind.


Will the neighbourhood go up in value?

When you purchase a home, you’re hoping it will continually go up in value — just like a good investment.

However, there’s something else that you want to see go up in value as well: the neighbourhood. In fact, the neighbourhood plays a key role in what the home will be worth in years to come. If the neighbourhood goes down in terms of desirability, so will the market value of the home.

That’s why, when shopping for a new home, it’s important to get a feel for the value of the neighbourhood, and whether or not it’s on the upswing.

How do you do that? One way is to simply take a walk. Look at the
properties. Are they well maintained? Is the landscaping groomed and attractive? Those are signs of “pride of ownership” — a clear indication that owners value their homes and the neighbourhood.

Another way is to do some research. Has crime gone up in the
neighbourhood? Are there improvements planned, such as new parks? Is the neighbourhood attracting the kind of people you want as neighbours? How does the neighbourhood school rank?

Some of this information may be difficult to get on your own. A good REALTOR® can help you. Call today.


Deciding On The Discretionary Move

Sometimes we don't have much choice about selling our home and buying another. Circumstances, such as a job relocation, may have made that choice for us.

However, most often the decision to move is discretionary. Sometimes people move simply because they think it's a good idea. They feel that "now" is the right time to find their next dream home.

So how do you make that kind of decision?

There are, of course, many reasons to make a discretionary move. Usually, those reasons fall into one of two categories: need and want.

You may need to find a new home, for example, because you've outgrown your current property. Perhaps you have a growing family and require more space. Maybe you're doing more entertaining and need a larger backyard with a more spacious deck. It could be that the commute to work is arduous and you need to move to a place that's closer.

Those "needs" may motivate you to move, but sometimes a "want" plays an important role, too.

For example, you may want to live in a quieter neighbourhood or in a newly built home that requires less maintenance. Maybe you simply want a change.

If you're thinking of making a move, take a moment to write down a list of your needs and wants. Seeing them on paper will help make the decision easier.

Looking for expert help? Call today