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Stay or Move?

5 Questions that Help you Decide It can be tough to make the decision to sell. In fact, for many homeowners, it’s overwhelming. If you’re considering making a move and struggling with the decision, here are five helpful questions to ask yourselves:

1. “What are our practical reasons for selling?” This question refers to what you’ll get by moving to a new home. The reasons could include a bigger backyard, shorter commute to work, an extra bedroom, a more desirable neighbourhood, etc.

2. “What are our emotional reasons for selling?” This question refers to how you’ll feel about living in a new home. For example, you might feel safer, less cramped, less worried (because the local schools are better), or happier (because the shorter commute means more time with your family.)

3. “What type of new home can we afford?” This question involves finding out how much you’ll likely get when you sell your existing home and how much of a mortgage you qualify to receive. With that information, you’ll have a price range within which you can comfortably shop plus a clear idea of what your mortgage payments will be.

4. “In what ways will our lifestyle be better in a new home?” This ties in closely with emotional reasons for selling. It relates to what your life will be like in a new home. Try to paint a picture in your mind. For example, you might want to be able to spend Saturday afternoons relaxing in your bigger backyard or Sunday nights entertaining friends and family in your larger living room.

5. “What else do we need to know before we decide to sell and move?” Sometimes people are hesitant about selling simply because they have unanswered questions. So, if there’s any part of the selling and buying process that’s not clear, be sure to ask me. Did thinking about these questions help make the decision easier? If you need more help or want to talk about your decision, call or be in touch today!

Buying a Home in a Competitive Neighbourhood

Imagine you’ve dreamed of living in a particular neighbourhood, perhaps for years, and then, when you’re finally ready to make a move, finding out that the area is competitive and buying there is definitely a challenge.

 A disappointment? Not necessarily.

There is a lot you can do to buy into a popular neighbourhood, even in competitive offer situations.

Your first step is to start targeting that area now. Find out about property types, prices and trends. In particular, you’ll need to know what price range you should be thinking about, and making sure that it’s going to fit your budget. To do that, you might need to get a determination of the Fair Market Value of your current home.

Next, begin making preparations so you can get a jump on opportunities in that neighbourhood quickly. You don’t want to see a great property come on the market and not be ready to make a move. So, get your current home in order so it’s ready for a quick listing.

If possible, make arrangements to get alerted to new listings as soon as they come on the market. Keep in mind that a new listing may not appear online for several days. By getting advance notice, you can be among the first buyers to see the home and have an early advantage over other buyers.

If it’s likely there’s going to be competing offers for the home you want, there are many strategies that can increase your chances of winning. These involve going in at the right price, minimizing conditions to the offer, presenting the offer appropriately, and negotiating effectively.

Is there a neighbourhood you want to get into? I can help make it happen. Call today.

Staging your Home in a Hurry

Ideally you should have a week or two available before you list your property in order to stage your home and make it look its best for buyers. But, what if you listed quickly and within hours of the For Sale sign going up a buyer wants to view your property?

In that scenario, you need to do some quick “staging” to get your home ready. Let’s assume your property is already clean and tidy. Here are some other things you can do.

  • Open the curtains, even at night. This will make each room seem brighter, more appealing and more spacious.
  • Pull out some boxes or storage bins. Put away personal knick-knacks (like that bowling trophy) and other personal items to reduce clutter on shelves and countertops.
  • Clear countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms. Put the old toaster oven out-of-sight.
  • Make sure lighting throughout the house is bright and comfortable. In darker areas, plug in a lamp.
  • Clear away as much as you can in the foyer. Make that space look open, uncluttered and welcoming.
  • Move cars out of the driveway. Give the buyer a convenient place to park!
  • Make the beds. Fluff pillows on sofas.
  • Clear away as many items as possible from the closet floors (such as shoes.)
  • Open a window and air out the kitchen, especially if you just finished cooking.
  • Make sure your pet is in a crate or, if possible, out for a walk. Not everyone loves pets.

These staging tips take only a few minutes each, but can make a big difference in the impression your home makes on a buyer.

Want more home selling advice? Call me today.

Taking the Stress Out of Selling your Home

For some people, the thought of listing their home for sale is stressful. They worry about all the things they have to do — and all the things that might go wrong.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tips for making your home sale go smoothly:

· Give yourself time to prepare. If you’re thinking of selling, start preparing your property now. Do any necessary staging, and get it looking its best. Avoid doing these tasks at the last minute.

· Set the right price. Pricing your property too high will likely result in few, if any, buyers coming to see it. You might end up having to lower your price later, causing your home to linger even longer on the market. That’s stress you don’t need!

· Have a flexible viewing schedule. If you make it too difficult for buyers to see your property, they might lose interest or simply choose to buy another home. Be as flexible as possible when a buyer wants to view your property.

· Plan get-away activities. When a buyer comes for a scheduled viewing, don’t be home. Instead, plan some fun activities for your family. Think: playground, shopping, cycling, the zoo, etc.

· Accept the ups and downs. Prospective buyers might say they love your home and plan to make an offer. Then you don’t hear from them again! It happens! Accept the inevitable ups and downs of selling your home.

· Get help with repairs. You’ll probably have things that need to be fixed around the home, like a dripping faucet that needs repair or a room that needs painting. If possible, hire a professional to do some of that work.

· Finally, work with a great real estate agent. That will make the biggest difference in ensuring your move goes smoothly and stress-free.

Looking for a real estate agent like that? Call me!

Finding a New Home on a Tight Schedule

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had all the time in the world to find your next dream home? You could leisurely browse the current listings, select homes you’d like to see, schedule visits on dates that are most convenient for you, and make an offer on a property only after you’ve had plenty of time to consider all the alternatives.

Sure, that sometimes happens, but it’s not typical. Often, people shopping for a home are on a timeline. Sometimes a very tight timeline.

So how do you find your next dream home when you don’t have all the time in the world?

First, you need to develop a clear picture of the home you’re looking to buy. How many bedrooms? What size of property? What type of structure (two story, back split, etc.)? Then, you need to list your preferences. These might include “large kitchen” or “main floor office”.

Once you’ve completed that exercise, you’ll have a more detailed profile of the type of property you want. That will make it easier to decide which of the listings on the market you want to see.

You should also narrow down the area in which you’d like to live. If you have three or four targeted areas, and only consider listings in those areas, your home search will be much faster.

What if you don’t know the neighbourhoods well? Visit a few. Drive around. Explore. Get as much neighbourhood data as possible, such as demographics, recreational activities, parks, shopping, schools, etc. Then choose the neighbourhoods that fit your lifestyle.

Finally, the best way to find a new home on a tight schedule is to work with the right real estate agent — someone who, like me, is experienced in the local market.

Call me anytime.

Creating the Ideal Working Relationship with Your Agent

If you’re working with a landscaping contractor, you want to develop a good working relationship with that professional, so you can avoid delays, stress and other issues. After all, the last thing you want is a tree planted in the wrong spot because of a misunderstanding!

The same holds true when working with a real estate agent. Whether you’re buying, selling, or both, you want the process to go smoothly and successfully. Creating an ideal working relationship with your agent is an important step toward making that happen.

How do you do that?

First, ask your agent to go over the process with you. If you’re selling your home, you want to understand the steps the agent is going to take. That way, there will be fewer surprises. In particular, you’ll want to discuss how viewings will be handled. You’ll need to come to an agreement as to when your home will be available for viewings, how short-notice viewings will be handled, and whether or not “lockbox access” will be needed.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you’re worried about seeming to be naive. (You won’t!) You don’t want to have unanswered questions or concerns between you and your agent.

Also, know that misunderstandings and mistakes can happen in any relationship with a professional. So if an issue comes up, discuss it right away. Don’t let it fester.

Finally, remember that your agent should be a professional like me, with expertise in buying and selling in this market. When I make a recommendation regarding pricing, prepping your home, viewings, etc. remember that I am working in your best interest. I want to sell your property, quickly and for a good price, just as much as you do!

Looking for an agent you can trust? Contact me today!

How to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Ideally, you would like buyers to wait until they’ve viewed your whole property before they judge it. However, the reality is, buyers start forming an impression of your home as soon as they see it from the curb. So, it pays to do everything you can to improve your property’s “curb appeal”.

Here are some ideas:

  • You can improve the impact of your landscaping by trimming hedges, removing any unsightly weeds, and cutting the grass. Planting just a few fresh flowers can make a big impact.
  • If your main entrance door is old, a fresh coat of paint will make it look like new. In some cases, the effect is significant.
  • Remove any items that might distract the buyer from forming a good first impression. For example, garbage cans, stored items along the side of the property, etc.
  • Make sure the curtains and blinds on your front windows are open during viewings. That will make your home look more friendly and appealing.
  • If your driveway has grease stains and other blemishes, consider renting a power washer and giving the driveway a thorough cleaning.
  • Clean your front windows. If possible, also clean the exterior panes.

Finally, if possible, park your vehicles on the street and away from your home. Doing this will not only make your home look more inviting to buyers, it will give them a convenient place to park.

Most of these tips can be done in less than a day. Yet, they can make a big difference in your home’s curb appeal. They are worth the effort!

Not-So-Obvious Indicators it’s Time to Sell

There are many good reasons to put your property on the market. Some examples include a relocation, the kids leaving the nest, the need for something bigger or smaller, and the list goes on and on. However, there are also some less-than-obvious indicators that it may be time to sell. Consider the following:

  1. Your Property is no longer a Good “Fit” Your home may have been perfect for you when you bought it. But things change. Families grow. Needs evolve. For any number of reasons, your property may no longer be a good fit for you. If that’s the case, it makes sense to at least take a look at what’s available on the market. Who knows? Your next “perfect” home may be for sale right now — within your price range!
  2. The Neighbourhood is Changing You may have been in love with the neighbourhood when you first moved in. But, over time, the characteristics of any area can change. Those changes don’t necessarily mean the neighbourhood is getting worse. In fact, it may be changing in a positive way; perhaps becoming more urban. But, “more urban” may not be what you want. So take a look at the direction your neighbourhood is heading. Ask yourself, “Do I still want to be living here in two years?”
  3. You’re Ready for Your Dream Home Remember when you purchased your current property? Did it have every feature you wanted? Was it your dream home? Or, did you have to compromise on a few things, such as the size of the kitchen? If you had to make some tough choices back then, it might be time for you to finally get the home of your dreams. Those are just three indicators it may be time for you to make a move. Of course, there are many others. If you’ve been entertaining the idea of selling your property and finding your next dream home, give me a call. I can show you what’s available on the market, and keep you informed of new listings that match what you’re looking for. Contact me anytime.

Four Things You Should Know About Staging

You’ve probably heard about “home staging”. As the name implies, it’s all about arranging each room in your home in a way that will make the best impression on buyers. Here’s what you need to know about staging if you’re thinking of listing your property.

  1. Staging can get you a higher price
    On average, a fully-staged home tends to sell for 17% more than an un-staged home of the same type in the same local market. Depending on the current market value of your property, doing some staging in your home could put thousands of extra dollars in your pocket, post-sale.
  2. It can speed up the sale.
    A study by the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) showed that fully-staged homes spend an average of 90% less time on the market. So, if you need to sell quickly – without dropping your price – or you just want the comfort of having offers come in sooner, staging will definitely help.
  3. You don’t have to go crazy.
    Completely staging every room in your home is going to give you the full benefits of this strategy. However, you don’t have to go that far. In fact, just implementing a few simple staging techniques to some key rooms can make a big difference.
  4. Get professional help or advice.
    When it comes to home staging, don’t guess at it. Get professional help or advice. As a REALTOR®, I have a lot of expertise in this area and often provide clients with proven, do-it-yourself staging tips and suggestions. If necessary, I can also recommend a professional stager. Contact me anytime.