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What to Fix Up in your Home before You Sell

If you have a home that is overdue for a renovation, you might be worried that it will be difficult to sell as a “fixer-upper”. In fact, you might delay listing your property for that reason.

The good news is, you don’t need to fix up everything in your home to prepare it for sale. You can be selective and choose only those projects that are most likely to help your home show well and sell quickly.

Here are some projects to consider:

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How Much Should You Budget for your Next Home?

If it’s been a while since you last moved, you might be wondering how much you’ll need to spend on your next home. That’s an important question to answer, even if you’re just at the “thinking about it” stage and haven’t decided whether or not you’ll look for a new property.

After all, knowing your budget might influence your decision. How should you determine your budget?

The first step is to calculate the maximum you can spend. This involves adding the money you’ll get from the sale of your current property after repaying your outstanding mortgage, to any other funds you have available to invest plus the maximum amount of mortgage you qualify to receive.

Of course, just because you may qualify for a large mortgage doesn’t mean you want those bigger payments. So, the second step is to think about your needs. What features are a must in your next home? For example, you might want four bedrooms and anything less would be a deal-breaker.

Make a “must-have list”. That list can by used to find a baseline of properties on the market — and then find their average asking price. This will give you an idea of what it would cost to find a home that meets your must-have list.

The third step is to go beyond needs and consider the features you want. These might not be deal-breakers, but you’d sure love to have them in your next home. They could be a large deck, a location in a desirable neighbourhood, a big country kitchen, etc.

Ask yourself how much you would be willing to pay for those desirable features. $20,000? $50,000?

Once you’ve gone through these steps, you’ll have the information you need to match your needs and wants to what’s available on the market — and you’ll know how much you might expect to pay for your next home.

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 WIFI, 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 necessary. 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 absolutely necessary. Most home WIFI 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.

Finding a Great Home in a Hurry

Do you have only a few weeks to search for your next dream home? Don’t panic. There are things you can do to find the perfect (or, at least, almost perfect) property — without getting too stressed out!

Consider these tips:

  • Pre-arrange your mortgage. You want to be able to make a good offer on a home right away, without worrying about financing. So, talk to your mortgage advisor or lender about getting a mortgage pre- approval. Sellers will take your offer more seriously if you have financing in hand.
  • Decide what you want. What type of home are you looking for? What type of neighbourhood do you want to live in? The narrower your focus, the less time you’ll waste looking at properties that don’t fit your needs.
  • Be open to possibilities. There are probably terrific homes on the market — right now — that are close to what you’re looking for. So be prepared to consider properties that are less-than-perfect. Remember, what a home lacks today may be remedied with a renovation later on.
  • Be flexible with your schedule. When you see a home you like, schedule a viewing immediately, even if it’s at an inconvenient day/time, such as a weekday after work. Finding a great home, quickly, is worth some inconvenience.
  • Get alerted to new listings. As they say, the early-bird gets the worm. So arrange to be alerted to new listings the moment they come on the market. That way, you can see these properties right away.

Want more tips on finding a home, quickly? Give me a call.

Budgeting for Moving Day Expenses

On moving day, you’ll have a big task. You’ll need to get your possessions from your old property to your new one — ideally without delays or damage! Surprisingly, many people underestimate the time and costs involved in doing that. Careful planning and budgeting are crucial to ensuring moving day goes smoothly.

You basically have three options:

  1. Hire a moving company to handle everything.
  2. Hire a truck and crew, while doing some of the work yourself (For example, you can pack and help with loading).
  3. Do it all yourself by renting a moving van and getting friends and family to help

If you’re going with option one, get quotations as early in the buying/selling process as possible. Services, costs and quality vary widely among full- service moving companies.

If you’re going to do some or all of the move yourself, the best place to start is by making a list of what you’ll need. In addition to renting a moving van, or hiring a truck and crew, there are many supplies you may require. For example, you’ll need boxes, protective fill and/or wrapping (i.e. bubble wrap), markers for labeling boxes, packing tape, and more.

You may decide to rely on friends to help load the truck on moving day. That’s fine. Just be sure you have enough people to do the job within a reasonable timeframe, and confirm everyone’s attendance at least a couple of days before.

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 today! 

When You See a Home You Love

Imagine driving through a desirable neighbourhood and, just as you turn a corner, you see the absolutely perfect home. Guess what? It’s for sale! But, there’s a problem. Your current property isn’t on the market. In fact, until this moment, you hadn’t seriously considered moving.

So what do you do?

Your first step is to find out more about the listing. Get a description of the property. Find out the listing price. Check out the size, layout, number of bedrooms and other features. If it all looks good, schedule a viewing.

Chances are, you can do all that in less than a day.

If you go to see the property and still love it, your next step is to determine if it fits within your budget. To do that, you’ll need to quickly find out the Current Market Value of your home — what it will likely sell for — so you can determine how much money you’ll have available after your outstanding mortgage and any other costs are deducted. It’s a smart idea to speak to your lender about getting a pre-approved mortgage at this point too.

Next, you’ll need to make an offer on the new home. Depending on the competitiveness of the neighbourhood, and the likelihood of multiple offers, you might need to list your home first. That, along with a pre-approved mortgage, will make your offer more credible.

You might end up buying the new home before your current property sells. Although that might cause some jitters, this scenario happens all the time in real estate. If you do the right things, and prepare your home properly, there’s a good probability it will sell in time and that everything else regarding the two transactions will go smoothly.

But, you do need to move quickly and make some fast decisions if you want to get that perfect home.

I can help. Call me.

Getting an Early Start on Selling your Home

You’ve probably heard the expression, “The early-bird gets the worm.” It refers, of course, to those who get in early and reap the rewards. For example, if you arrive early to a retail store for a big blowout sale, you’re likely to get the deals before the inventory runs out. The stragglers who come later miss out.

Well, this same wisdom can be applied to selling your home. Starting the process early — even if that means simply doing some initial planning — gives you the edge in several ways.

First of all, you get extra time for preparation. That means you can get your home cleaned, uncluttered and staged without feeling rushed. You also get more time to find out how much your property will likely sell for on today’s market. That’s important information, especially if you’re also looking to finance a new home.

Secondly, there’s less stress. You’ll have more time to make the right decisions. The last thing you want is to be scrambling around, last minute, trying to get your home ready for sale.

Finally, with your initial preparations done, you’ll be able to put your home on the market at a moment’s notice. That’s a huge advantage that’s likely to lead to selling your property more quickly and for the best price. In fact, by getting an early start on the process, you might even find that right now is the best time to list — and you’ll be able to do so, with confidence.

Want help getting an early start on selling your home? Call me