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When a Home Inspector Finds an Issue

Imagine you’ve found the perfect home. You love it. You’ve made an offer that’s been accepted. So far so good! The only catch? You’ve wisely made the offer conditional on passing a professional home inspection.

What happens if that home inspection reveals a major issue?

First, you should know that, depending on the age of the property, a home inspection will typically turn up at least a few areas of concern. The inspector might find loose insulation in the attic that is thinning out or roofing shingles that will need replacing in two or three years.

Issues like those are not usually deal-breakers.

However, if the home inspector finds a major issue — such as old wiring that’s worn and presents a safety concern — then you’re facing a potentially high cost of repair should the deal go through.

In a situation like that, as your real estate agent, I will address the issue with the seller, usually through the seller’s agent. Since neither of you will want to lose the deal, the seller often agrees to get the repair done at his own expense or, have some or all of the estimated repair cost deducted from the sale price.

Will the deal be in jeopardy? Usually not. In most cases, if you have a real estate agent like me working in your best interests, it all works out.

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. 

Setting Your List Price Requires Calculation and Savvy

When you’re having a garage sale, one of the toughest tasks is pricing your items. If you put a price tag on your old golf clubs that’s too high, no one will buy them. If you make the price too low, they might sell quickly, but you’ll spend the rest of the day wondering if you could have gotten more!

It’s similar to selling your home — except with your home, the stakes are much higher. You want to price your property to sell, but you don’t want to leave any money on the table.

How do you accomplish that?

Setting the right list price for your home requires a combination of skilled calculation and industry savvy.

Let’s start with the “calculation” part…

When you work with me, I’ll review recently sold properties that are similar to yours in type, size, features and location. Then, using that data, we’ll calculate a range that represents your property’s “current market value.”

For example, consider a spacious 15-year-old bungalow in a nice neighbourhood. If similar homes in the area have sold for $475,000- $550,000 in the last six months, then it’s obvious that your home should sell in that range too. A list price above or below that range would be in the danger zone.

But skilled calculation is only half the task.

Setting your list price also requires expertise in the local market, combined with good old-fashioned gut instinct. That instinct comes from being on the front lines of many property transactions.

That’s why working with a good real estate salesperson is so important, when you’re deciding on the list price for your home.

Want to discuss selling your home? Call me.

Balancing the Emotional and Practical Sides of Buying a Home

Imagine this scenario…
You’re shopping for a new home. You drive to visit a recent listing. As you walk through the front doors, you’re impressed. Every room looks fantastic. You see yourself relaxing on the spacious patio, cooking in the modern kitchen, and enjoying evenings with the family in the cozy living room.
Your emotions are on overdrive. This is your dream home!

Should you make an offer? Probably. In fact, you should make that decision quickly in case there are other interested buyers.
However, your decision shouldn’t be guided purely by emotion. You want to make sure you take practical matters into consideration too.

For example, you’ll want to consider:

  • Is the property within your price range?
  • Does it have everything you need?
  • Do you like the neighbourhood?
  • How old is the property? Are there items, such as the furnace, that may need to be replaced soon?
  • Will it need any major repairs or upgrades?
  • What are the average monthly costs of carrying the home? (Property taxes, utilities, etc.)

Once you’ve considered the purchase of the home from a practical standpoint, you’ll have a lot more confidence in your decision when you make an offer.

Need help? Call me

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!

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!

Should You Renovate or Move?

If you need to upsize or you’re simply ready for a change, it’s tempting to consider a major renovation. After all, renovating means you don’t have to go through the process of selling your property and buying another more suitable home. You just fix up the one you’ve got!

However, you need to carefully consider the pros and cons of renovating before going this route. You don’t want to invest in a costly renovation only to end up with a home that still doesn’t meet your needs.

Say, for example, your current property doesn’t have a home office. Since all the bedrooms are taken, you decide to renovate a portion of the basement. Building that new home office may seem like a simple project, but once you consider new electrical, flooring, lighting, etc., it really isn’t. Like most renovations, it will probably cost more than you think. Plus, you’ll need to consider whether you’ll really want to work in the basement.

In this case, it might make more sense to find a new home with an extra bedroom that can be converted, or, better still, a dedicated home office space — with windows!

Of course, there are many circumstances in which a renovation may be the best way to go. If you don’t like your kitchen, for example, upgrading it may not only get you the kitchen you want, but also add value to your property.

Basically, you need to ask yourself: “Which is more likely to get me the home I really want – a renovation or a new home?”

If your answer is a new home, then there is probably a property on the market right now that would meet your needs. Let’s talk.

5 Ways to Create Extra Space in Your Home

Is your home feeling a little cramped? If so, there are many relatively inexpensive ways to free up more space. Here are some ideas:

  1. Convert traditional into non-traditional space.We’re all familiar with converting a spare bedroom into a home office or kids’ playroom. You can also create space by finding other uses for pantries and walk-in closets.

  2. Explore smart storage solutions.There are many products on the market that revolutionize how you store things. For example, there are closet organizers available that double storage capacity. Check out the options at your local home improvement store.

  3. Get rid of unneeded furnishings. Is there a chair no one ever uses? Is there a side table that takes up a lot of space, with nothing but a few knick-knacks on it? Consider selling these items to free up some space.

  4. Think high.Install storage shelves, hangers or baskets high up in the kitchen and laundry room. Use that storage for items you only access infrequently.

  5. Consider storage rental. If you have furnishings and other items that you don’t want to get rid of, consider renting a storage unit. There may be economical options in your area.

With a little creative thinking, you’ll be amazed by how much space you can create within your existing rooms. 

3 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”
  2. 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!

  3. The Neighbourhood is Changing
  4. 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?”

  5. You’re Ready for Your Dream Home
  6. 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.

BBQ Maintenance that Will Save Your Life

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than 160 people are injured each year in BBQ mishaps. That doesn’t sound like a lot considering the thousands of people who flip burgers on their backyard grills each year. But, you certainly don’t want to be one of those injured!

The best way to prevent fire and injury is maintenance. Remarkably, few people are even aware that BBQ maintenance is necessary. But, it is.

Every spring, experts say you should clean out the venturi tubes. Those are the little metal pipes that carry propane or natural gas. Pipe cleaners work well, although hardware stores also carry specialized tools for this purpose. The goal is to clean out any built- up dirt and debris. Don’t be surprised if you find spider webs inside a venturi tube!

Your BBQ grills should also be cleaned with soap and water each year. Just scraping them before barbequing isn’t enough. Fat and oils from cooking can build up on grills and harden. If you’re getting a lot of flare-ups, this may be the cause.

Finally, make sure nuts and bolts are tightened regularly, and replace any rusty hardware. Regular use, heat and weather can loosen or weaken bolts, particularly on the frame. Several fires each year are caused by BBQs tipping over or collapsing.