Thursday, July 11, 2013

Avoiding Second Thoughts On A Second Property (NewsLetter)

We're in the height of the summer holidays – prime vacation time.  Is there a chance you might find yourself sitting on the dock of your rented cottage, daydreaming about one day owning your own vacation or retirement property?  Before making any impulsive decisions, make sure you discuss your plans with your real estate representative first.
If not a vacation home, perhaps you're thinking about purchasing an investment property, or even mulling over housing options for the upcoming school year that would accommodate your out-of-town, college-aged child while serving as a rental unit for his or her roommates.
To avoid the possibility of buyer's remorse later, it's important to first discuss your plans with a real estate representative who understands the particularities of different types of ownership issues for your specific circumstances, and who can advise you on issues that may not have applied to your primary property.
Scheduling an appointment with your bank or mortgage broker prior to getting caught up in the excitement of choosing a second property is also key, since borrowing guidelines are not necessarily the same for non-primary properties as they are for primary properties.
If you have any questions on today's real estate market – in regards to a primary property or a secondary one – please call today for a no obligation discussion.  It's always wise to do your research and get a clear understanding of all the issues surrounding different types of properties before making any decisions.

Monday, July 8, 2013

HGTV article by Gavin Chen (NewsLetter)

Don't forget to check out "Top 5 Renovations To Make Money On Your Condo" by Gavin Chen

Top 5 Renovations To Make Money On Your Condo

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Selling In The Summer (NewsLetter)

Making buyers feel comfortable in your home is key to selling it, but that can be difficult when the mercury spikes.  Here are a few tips for showing your home during the hot, hazy days of summer.

  • Make sure your home's temperature is comfortable.  Don't skimp on the air conditioning; if you have (quiet) fans, use them.  Have a friend visit and tell you if it's too hot, or even if you've overdone it on the A/C – you don't want buyers to rush through your home without getting a good look at it because they're uncomfortable.
  • When the temperature rises, you probably keep your window coverings closed.  If you're tempted to keep them closed during showings too, to help keep things cool, don't: darkness doesn't do when selling your home.  It's natural light (and plenty of it) that buyers want, as well as appealing views.  So keep those window treatments open!

  • Home-hunting is thirsty work any day of the year, but especially so during the scorching summer heat.  Leave some cold bottled water out for buyers, ideally in a decorative container full of ice, along with a note on some nice stationary reading "Help yourself!"  It's a small gesture, but one that buyers will really appreciate (and remember!) at this time of year.
  • Many sellers bake before showings or even simmer cinnamon sticks for a welcoming aroma.  Opt for refreshing scents during the dog days of summer, and avoid the oven and stove.  Dab citrus essential oil on light bulbs or combine it with water to make a spray; run citrus peels through your garbage disposal or leave them in strategically placed bowls.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Fully Detached (NewsLetter)

Emotionally detaching from your home is key to remaining objective when setting your asking price and sitting at the negotiating table. Here's how to stop seeing your home as "your" place, and start seeing it as a product to be marketed and sold like any other.

Get packing. Start with the personal stuff: photographs, diplomas, trophies, kids' artwork, souvenirs, knick-knack collections, etc. With these things gone, it's easier for buyers to imagine themselves living in the space – and it's easier for you to picture them there, too. Besides, you'll have to pack these things up at some point anyway.

Redecorate – for buyers, that is. When your property's on market, its d├ęcor should appeal not to you, but to the greatest number of potential buyers: think neutral colors and subdued patterns on walls and floors. When it stops looking like your home, it stops feeling like your home – that's a step in the right direction for you and for buyers.

Adopt a show-ready lifestyle. While your home is for sale, you need to tweak your daily routine so as to be prepared for buyers' arrival at a moment's notice. That means making some rooms off-limits, taking the trash out every day, and making beds every morning, for example. With the change in routine comes the needed change in mentality.

Ask your real estate sales rep for a report on comparable sales – current sales of properties similar to yours in terms of square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, etc. Seeing such a breakdown will help you to paint a picture of your home that's by the numbers rather than one that's drawn from emotion.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Market Remains in Balanced Territory (NewsLetter)

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) continues to monitor the national real estate climate, and so far verifies that our overall housing market remains firmly in balanced territory.

CREA keeps track of the number of home sales processed through the MLS® systems of real estate boards and associations and other cooperative listing systems in Canada. CREA President Wayne Moen confirms, "There is little new to report about national sales activity, which continues to hold fairly steady at the lower levels first reached when mortgage rules were tightened in mid-2012." He adds, "That said, things are becoming more interesting among local markets, with improving sales in Vancouver and Toronto likely to come as something of a surprise to some. As always, all real estate is local, so buyers and sellers should speak to their REALTOR® to understand how the housing market is shaping up where they live or are considering to live."

Timely updates and market information are vital in today's real estate climate. In addition, a recent survey highlighted the need for specific conversations about affordability in today's market, with more than 63 percent of Canadians indicating a "major need" for more information about the financial details of buying a home. That figure rose to 70 percent for respondents between 18 and 29.

Remember that your one-stop information source about all things real estate is just a phone call away. Please call anytime with all of your real estate questions!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What's Up? Not Interest Rates! (NewsLetter)

Back in January of this year, the Bank of Canada announced that it would be keeping its key policy interest rate where it's been for more than two years – at one percent. This is positive news for would-be buyers in today's real estate market, especially in the midst of our active real estate season.

While the continued low interest rates may partially reflect a not-so-positive recognition that Canadian economic growth slowed more abruptly in the second half of 2012 than was previously anticipated, it is a silver lining for both first-time buyers contemplating buying real estate and current homeowners thinking about moving up in the market. What it is not, encouragingly, is a signal that the housing market is in trouble. In fact, Gregory Klump, Chief Economist with CREA, says history supports the notion that some sort of major event is needed to create a housing market collapse.

"In the late 1980s, it was a case of a spike in interest rates, in late 2008 and early 2009 it was a massive layoff," said Mr. Klump. "You need a massive and extended economic shock and none of that is in the forecast."

Of course, nobody definitively knows which direction our real estate market is heading towards, but these things are certain: there will always be movement in the real estate market, and real estate conditions can vary substantially from area to area.

Please call today for a personal, no-obligation review of your own housing plans!

Clutter Caution (NewsLetter)

Much has been said about the effects of clutter on homebuyers and home sales, but what about its effects on you and your everyday life? Most of us have a little clutter in our homes, which poses no threat to our quality of life, but for some, it can have a negative impact on our happiness and healthfulness. Here's how.

Stress and Other Negative Emotions 
Studies have shown that clutter can be a source of constant, low-grade stress, whether because it assaults the eye and brain with too much visual stimuli, resulting in feelings of "information overload", or because clutter is a visual reminder of the work you feel you should be doing – that is, cleaning up. Clutter can also engender feelings of lethargy, shame, hopelessness, and a loss of control over one's life and may be felt by the whole family.

Time and Money 
Clutter isn't just a psychic drain, it's a drain on your time and finances too. When you have a place for everything and everything is in its place, things are easy to find; when you live in clutter, you waste valuable time and energy every day looking for things – things that may be right in front of you, but obscured by clutter. A disorganized home can also cause us to waste money: we may not pay bills on time, or buy duplicates of items we "lost" or didn't realize we already had, for example.

Your Social Life 
Does the thought of having guests over send you into a tailspin of anxiety? Is getting ready for company an all-day event? Have you stopped inviting people over or making friends because you're embarrassed about your home? Are you habitually late for appointments because you're held up looking for things, causing conflict with friends and family? Or perhaps people have begun to treat you differently and are uncomfortable or avoid spending time in your home.

Living in the Past 
Holding onto "stuff" can be a way of holding onto the past. When we're tied down by the memories that are tied to our belongings, it's hard to move forward in life, to achieve our goals and address persistent problems. To put it in Feng Shui terms, "nothing new flows into your life until you make room for it". In other, more familiar words — out with the old and in with the new. Remember, you don't need to hold on to the item in order to hold on to the memory.

Safety and Sanitation 
Clutter can make a home difficult to navigate through, increasing the likelihood of trips and falls – something you especially want to avoid in homes with children or older adults. Speaking of children, clutter makes it easier for them to get their hands on things they shouldn't. It also makes it harder to keep your home clean, as it obscures surfaces and collects dirt itself, leading to excessive dust and perhaps mold, which is particularly problematic if anyone in your home has respiratory sensitivities.