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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

Does the Area Have What You Want?

Imagine going to a restaurant with your family for dinner. You’re planning on ordering a nice pasta and salad. Your heart is set on it. But, after you go to the trouble of driving there and getting a table, you discover that pasta is not on the menu.

That’s disappointing!

Of course, it’s only a meal. You can go somewhere else next time. But, what if the same scenario played out once you had moved into a new neighbourhood? Imagine you were counting on public transit being in easy walking distance, but discovered the nearest stop is four blocks away. Argh!

That’s why it’s important to ensure a neighbourhood has the characteristics you want — before you make an offer on a home you like.

Think about what you want most in a neighbourhood. Consider work, commuting, schools, playgrounds, noise level, walking and cycling, hobbies, shopping, entertainment, etc.

If there is a neighbourhood feature that is very important to you, check it out for yourself. For example, if easy access to a main highway is desirable for commuting, take the route for a test drive.

You can get a lot of information on a neighbourhood through the listed property’s description and MLS listing.

Want more in-depth insights into an area you’re considering? I have that information. 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 today

9 Steps to Finding your Next Dream Home

If you’re thinking ahead to your next dream home, the road you need to take to get there may seem confusing. Do you search for listings online? Drop by Open Houses on the weekends? Call the number on For Sale signs?

Let’s break it all down! Here are the specific steps you need to take to ensure you find a home that fits your wants, needs and budget.

  1. Find out how much your current property will likely sell for on today’s market.
  2. Arrange for financing, so you know what you can afford.
  3. Select neighbourhoods you’d love to live in. (That may involve some fun exploring!)
  4. Decide on the type of home you want to buy. (For example: detached, three-bedroom, etc.)
  5. Prioritize the property features you want most, so you can be flexible if a feature is missing from a home listed on the market that is otherwise ideal.
  6. View properties on the market that closely fit your criteria, particularly new listings that may not yet be posted online. (Tip: Arrange to be immediately notified of new listings that are a good fit for you.)
  7. When you find a home you want, make an offer designed to get the property — without overpaying.
  8. Negotiate until you secure the deal. This may involve counter-offers.
  9. If the negotiation is skillfully done and all goes well, the home is yours.

As you can see, there isn’t a lot of mystery in finding your next dream home. You just need to take the steps and get the professional help you need along the way.
Looking for a real estate agent that can get you to the finish line? Call today!

How to Buy a Home in a “Hot” Area

Is there an area you’d love to get into that’s “hot”? In other words, an area where, as soon as a new home comes up for sale, buyers are clamouring to see it?

It can be intimidating to try to buy into a neighbourhood like that. On one hand, it’s the type of area you’d love to call home. After all, there are good reasons why it’s so popular! On the other hand, you might be discouraged by the competitiveness and prices.

If you want to live in that neighbourhood, there are a couple of things you can do that will increase your chances of success.

The first is to create a strategy. Most buyers rush to see a listing in a desirable area only when it shows up on MLS — or sometimes only when it’s advertised. You’ll have a better chance of getting into the neighbourhood if you are alerted the moment a property comes up for sale and you have pre-arranged financing. You’ll get to the head of the line and be ready to make a credible offer.

The second option is to consider targeting other neighbourhoods with similar characteristics. You may have long-dreamed of living in Prestigious Area A, yet there might be a Hidden Gem Area B that is just as good. Maybe it’s even better!

Ultimately, your goal is to find the home you want in a neighbourhood you like. The right strategy will get you there.

Contact me for more information.

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 six months from now, 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!

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.