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Transform and refresh your home now that spring is here!

Spring is a time of renewal so why not bring the season’s vitality into your home by making some simple decorating changes. Here are a few ideas that’ll help you create a fresh spring feel:

  • Swap out heavy curtains for blinds or sheers.
  • Bring nature inside with a few plants or some fresh cut flowers.
  • Switch your cushion covers to spring shades such as yellows and purples.

Celebrate spring’s arrival by bringing a breath of fresh air into your home. Just a few simple changes and a good spring clean can reflect the season’s sunny, fresh energy!

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Address these common turn-offs so buyers don’t run for the door!

When you put your home on the market, it must appeal to a large cross-section of buyers in order to generate a frenzy of activity.

Buying a home is such an emotional decision that even a seemingly small issue can create a bad impression. Here are six of the top turn-offs you need to know:

  1. Get Out – Make yourself scarce during showings as nothing turns buyers off more than a stalking seller.
  2. Fido & Fluffy – Pets and their associated smells will put many buyers off so relocate them before showings and hide their bed, bones, toys, etc.
  3. Killer Clutter – Buyers want to imagine themselves living in your home but most can’t look past other people’s clutter, even if it’s tucked away in closets and cupboards.
  4. Problems Down Below – If your basement’s unfinished, you’ll want to show that it has potential so investigate any signs of moisture and paint the floor white to make it feel more spacious.
  5. Grubby Grout – It’s imperative that your entire home remains thoroughly cleaned right down to the inside of your microwave. Neglected personal spaces like bathrooms will have them running for the door!
  6. Forgo the Fish Fry – It’s best not to cook fish, bacon or other strong smelling foods while your home’s on the market. Always air out your home by opening the windows instead of using artificial scents as some people are allergic.

When you sell your home, your goal is to get the highest price in the shortest amount of time. Sometimes the best way to do that is by focusing on the small stuff. It’s definitely worth the effort and the good news is that depersonalizing, decluttering and thoroughly cleaning your home doesn’t cost a fortune.

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SETTING THE STAGE FOR A PERFECT HOME SALE – STAGING YOU HOUSE

You only get one chance to make a great first impression. Staging Your House Right is Key!

When you put your home on the market, your goal is to sell it quickly and for top dollar. Properly staging your house right from day one will create an amazing impression that will generate a huge buzz!

Staging isn’t so much an expense as it is an investment. Not only is your home likely to sell for a higher price but it will probably sell much faster which is important because homes that sit on the market can quickly lose their value.

Staging your house starts with an ultra clean, de-cluttered and de-personalized home. Buying a home is an emotional decision so buyers must be able to envision themselves living there which is why photographs, trophies and kids’ artwork have to go.

A stager also ensures your home is inviting to buyers by enhancing the functionality and flow of each room. They can remove and store furniture so the house looks as spacious as possible and use lighting and other tricks to warm up the feel of your home. A properly staged home will also look much more appealing to those browsing online which will generate more showings.

If you want to stage your home yourself, you’ll have to go beyond the basics. Start cleaning up the front yard, the porch, the garage and don’t forget the back garden. Buyers have a tough time visualizing themselves in unfurnished rooms so turn your craft room back into a bedroom or transform an awkward nook into a reading spot by setting out a comfy chair and lamp.

Lighting is Very Important

Great lighting will create a warm and welcoming ambience so make sure you update your light fixtures, lamps and light bulbs. Buyers will also be snooping through your cupboards and closets as storage space is often an important factor so don’t forget to stage those areas as well.

Remember, staging your house right it is much more likely to make a great first impression and capture the hearts of home buyers. Whether you pay a professional to stage your home or do the work yourself, staging is a worthwhile investment that will massively increase the odds of your home selling quickly and for top dollar.

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Staging Your House for Maximum Value

Staging is all about highlighting a home’s best features in order to ensure it appeals to as wide of an audience as possible. This month’s article shows why a properly staged home will sell faster and for a higher price.

There’s also some great advice on how to enjoy a better night’s sleep as well as a unique gift idea that helps people in need from all around the world build successful businesses.

Thanks so much for checking out this month’s newsletter. Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general — it’d be great to hear from you!

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Keep Emotion in Check in Real Estate Transactions

PREPARING FOR THE REAL ESTATE ROLLER COASTER RIDE
Never wear your emotions on your sleeve during the real estate ride.

Selling your home is a huge financial transaction that can trigger a roller coaster of emotions.  When you’re being tossed around at every turn, you need to hang on and stay on track.

Although you’ll likely have a strong connection to your home, try not to get offended if a potential buyer wants to rip up your kitchen or paint over the wood trim.

Also, never take comments personally.  It’s natural for people to complain when they’re interested in something so while criticisms may seem negative, they’re actually a sign that the buyer’s interested in your home.

If you receive a “low ball” offer, remember that it’s often just a starting point but be aware of tactics such as “low balling” where an attractive price is initially offered only to be adjusted at a later point on the basis that circumstances have changed.  Recognizing these strategies will help you keep a balanced perspective.

If you’re able to generate multiple offers, make sure you consider more than just the price.  There’s nothing worse than accepting a conditional offer just because it’s over the asking price only to have it fall apart a month later when you could have accepted a firm cash offer that was almost as good.

It’s completely natural for both buyers and sellers to experience a wide range of intense emotions as they navigate through the complex real estate process.  However, if you hop on the real estate roller coaster with a competent agent by your side, you’ll not only enjoy the ride but you’ll look forward to doing it again!

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Renovations Add Value to Your Home

The Biggest Bang For Your Buck!

Whether renovating for yourself… for long term use, or in contemplation of selling, it is important to know where you should start and which items will offer a real payback.

Bathrooms and kitchens are always at the top of any list, and they are often the rooms that make the decision when buyers are comparing homes. However, never underestimate the value of a simple paint job to improve the appearance of a house.

When doing renovations, it is wise not to overspend (or under spend either) and be aware of current trends. The best advice is to hire a contractor or a specialist and do some comparison shopping first. For further information concerning contractors, we would be pleased to offer you our Concierge Service.

Below is the “Top 10 List” according to the Appraisal Institute of Canada (as of the date of their most recent online report).

 

Payback Potential Trends
  • Painting and décor, interior 73%
  • Main floor laundry room
  • Kitchen renovation 72%
  • Ground floor home office
  • Bathroom renovation 68%
  • Hardwood flooring upgrade in kitchen
  • Painting, exterior 65%
  • Whirlpool bath separate from shower
  • Flooring upgrades 62%
  • Built-in kitchen appliances
  • Window/door replacement 57%
  • Addition of kitchen cooking island
  • Main floor family room addition 51%
  • Non-neutral interior paint colors
  • Fireplace addition 50%
  • “Smart” house wiring
  • Basement renovation 49%
  • Home theatre room
  • Furnace/ heating system replacement 48%
  • Skylights

Painting & Décor (interior)

The most important thing to do when getting your home ready for sale is to ensure that it is clean, uncluttered and has a bright coat of paint. These will appeal to the most number of purchasers and are then in a position to visual their own belongings in the home without being distracted by strong colors or clutter etc.

Each house is unique and we would be happy to discuss and advise you on your specific situation.

The “Spruce-Up” for resale purposes

This option may only cost a few hundred dollars and a few hours of your time. Use this as a check list in getting your home ready.

  • Clean thoroughly. This means removing mould, mildew, cleaning grout, glass porcelain, and tile.
  • Give the room a fresh coat of paint.. in a bright color, preferably white or eggshell to make it appear larger.
  • Have carpets cleaned.
  • Purchase plastic trays and boxes to remove personal belongings from the site, so a potential purchaser can visualize their things in stead. Linoleum, a scratched or broken mirror, stained soap dish etc. Maybe the cabinet knobs would add a new look.
  • Organize drawers and shelves. Use some of those plastic trays for brushes etc.
  • Add finishing touches in the bathroom with a new soap dish, a new bar of soap, a new shower curtain and towels. Does the curtain rod or rings need to be replaced?

Perhaps your home would take on a new look with some of the following items;

  • Slip covers to hide worn or soiled fabric on chairs and couches
  • Curtain rods and curtains to match the covers
  • Cushions to compliment the décor
  • Area rugs to add some pizzazz or warmth
  • A few extra pictures or mirrors
  • Plants and flowers to finish it off.
  • If your home needs more than the basic “spruce up” or you would like to do a more in depth renovation, contact us and we will help you find a good renovations specialist.

 

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Pricing Your Home To Sell Right

It is very important to carefully consider your pricing options when you bring your property on the market.

Reasons & Consequences of Overpricing

The biggest detriment to selling real estate is the all too common problem of overpricing. Anxious sellers often want to know why their property is not selling. The answer is usually one of three things: Location; Lack of Marketing and Exposure; or Price. There may be extenuating circumstances or factors that come in to play, but these are the most common things, with the most common being Price.

Understanding the Factors that influence over pricing:

Why do we all sometimes make the common mistake of asking too much? There are several reasons. Obviously, we want the highest price possible for our home. Following are a few other thoughts:

  • Extensive renovations have been done, some of which are hidden costs. (Unfortunately, the full costs of renovations are very rarely recoverable and were done for an owner’s specific enjoyment and use); Sometimes there is a perceived emotional value.
  • Some owners expect that their present home should bring them enough money with which to purchase a more expensive home or in a more expensive area;
  • Perhaps an owner acquired the property in a higher market.
  • The price was based on hearsay or general knowledge, without the benefit of a proper evaluation by a real estate professional.
  • Building in bargaining room.

Proper Pricing

Market value is defined at the price a property will bring if exposed for sale on the open market allowing a reasonable time to find a willing purchaser who buys with the knowledge of all the uses to which it is adapted and for which it is capable of being used.

If a property is properly priced it will do the following:

  • Attract a greater number of potential buyers.
  • Increase your chances for a quicker sale and a better price.

Results of Over Pricing

Missing the Right Buyer

You may think that interested buyers “can always make an offer”, but if the home is overpriced, potential buyers looking in a lower price range will never see it to make that offer.Those who can afford the home at your asking price may recognize that they can get more for their money somewhere else. You may

Those who can afford the home at your asking price may recognize that they can get more for their money somewhere else. You may hear things like “It was too small for them” or “they want a main floor family room.. or an extra bedroom etc.”

What they are really saying is “They expected more for the Price”.

Here is a sequence of events you may expect if your home is overpriced:

  • Salespeople who know it is overpriced will show other properties instead;
  • Your home will sit on the market, while others sell;
  • Prospective buyers, seeing your home on the market for a long time, will begin to feel that there is something wrong with your home.
  • You will begin to get anxious and lose patience.
    Because of time constraints and obligations, you will then reduce the price to be competitive and sometimes if the market is changing you may “follow the market down”.
  • Your property may sell for more than it’s worth because it missed the excitement and became a stale listing. The purchaser was in positions to negotiate more aggressively.

The Role of the Realtor

The Realtor does not determine what your home is worth. Market Conditions, Solds, Competitions, and Trends Determine Value, and then together we determine the price.

Don’t pick the Realtor who promises you the highest price to get you to list with them. Pick the one who knows the market and substantiates the price with facts and experience, like Lakeview Realty Inc. We are here for you! Just Contact Us.

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Preparing Your Home For A Showing

As the saying goes…

“You never have a second chance to make a good first impression”

This is especially true when marketing your home. Try to view it through the purchaser’s eyes, and review this check list to see if it measures up. Preparing your home for showing takes some work.

Curb Appeal:

  • Lawn and Garden: mow, trim, weed, and clean away any dead foliage.
  • Extra vehicles: Remove from curb view.
  • Clean windows and sills.
  • Repair peeled and chipped paint on doors and trim.
  • Repair doors, windows, screens, and hardware.
  • Shutters should hang straight.
  • Doorbell works, door hand in good repair.
  • Locks work.
  • Gutters and downspouts in good repair and free of rust.
  • Add potted flowers or planters, wreath or new doormat at the entrance, if it would enhance.
  • Add new house number or brass fixture if it would enhance.
  • Paint the front door if needed.

Driveway, Walk and Front Entrance:

  • Patch holes, so there are no major puddles.
  • Clear snow and ice.
  • Front steps in good repair.
  • Front door opens and closes easily/ no squeaks.
  • Doorbell rings.
  • Exterior light works.

Decks and Porches

  •  Stain or paint.
  • Repair rot.
  • Secure railings.

Garage

  • Remove clutter.
  • Remote control works and door opens and closes smoothly.
  • Sweep floors, clean grease spots, store garden tools.

Interior Inspection

  • Clean all rugs and broadloom.
  • Clean all floors.
  • Clean all doors and frames (i.e. fingerprints).
  • Wash or repaint soiled walls. (Note if repainting the walls, it is best to “keep it bright”)
  • Patch and paint wall and ceiling cracks.
  • Fix grout and caulking in bathrooms and kitchen where necessary.
  • Wash all windows.
  • Clean lighting fixtures.
  • All windows should work freely.
  • Wash or clean all curtains and drapes if needed.
  • Organize closets, drawers, and basement.
  • Give away, sell, box or store excess clothing and toys
  • Repair and leaky faucets or toilets as required.
  • All drains should drain easily.
  • All mechanics and appliances should be clean and in good working order.
  • Re-glue loose wallpaper.
  • Burned out light bulbs should be replaced.
  • Use a dehumidifier in the basement if musty odor.
  • De-clutter countertops and cupboards.
  • Clean fireplace.

Now all the major items are repaired or checked, following is an outline of last minute items to show to the best advantage.

Final check list for showings:

  • Garbage containers emptied.
  • Towels clean and matching.
  • Kitty litter changed etc. and pets removed or contained.
  • All lights turned on.
  • Exterior light left on during the evening.
  • Air conditioner turned on in warm weather.
  • Fireplace lit or on in cooler weather, where possible.
  • Halls and foyers clear of obstacles.
  • Out-of-season coats, boots etc. put away.
  • Clear and polish coffee tables and furniture.
  • Straighten bookshelves.
  • Drapes opened during daylight hours.
  • Fresh flowers, potpourri, etc. arranged in various rooms.
  • Put linens on the table and perhaps arrange a setting in dining room or kitchen, where appropriate.
  • Jewelry and valuables locked away.

A few last minute tips:

  • Many purchases are made on an emotional basis. Keep your home warm and cozy, if in winter; or cool and fresh in the summer.. so it feels inviting.
  • Be courteous and friendly if you are home, but never force the conversation with a buyer. It is better if you can arrange to be out for showings, so the potential buyer feels more comfortable and can get a better feel for the home.
  • Don’t discuss price or terms with the buyer. Let the salespeople work with their customers or clients in your best interest.
  • Leave the feature sheets, surveys, and marketing material on display and notify me when you are running low.
  • Never let an agent show your home without a confirmed appointment from our office.
  • Never let anyone wander in off the street, no matter how interested they say they are. Give them our card and have them call us for an appointment and details.

These are the basic things that you should review and do where able or appropriate. There may be some other things that we can assist you with in terms of furniture arrangement and décor, that would make it easier for a purchaser to view your home.

If you need any assistance regarding names of dependable trades people or suppliers to help you get the job done, please don’t hesitate to ask. We are constantly adding to the list from satisfied clients. Visit our Concierge Services for more information

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Preparing Your Home For Sale

Spending the time and effort to prepare your home for sale can provide you with benefits you hadn’t imagined in both the length of time your home is on the market and the price you will realize for your home.

Most people ask us when we evaluate their home what things they need to do to prepare. The most important things are obvious. Do minor repairs, paint where necessary (neutral of course) and remove all clutter. There are a number of inexpensive storage boxes on the market that are attractive and useful, which you can use in your future home as well. It’s a good time to start sorting out and packing in moving boxes …or doing that garage sale that you have been planning for a while.

In the alternative, it is probably a good time to start sorting out and packing in moving boxes …or doing that garage sale that you have been planning for a while. “The Moving Store” has everything you need to begin the packing process, (such as different size cardboard boxes, tape guns, and labels etc.) It is also a good idea to have different colour labels for different rooms. (It makes it easier on moving day.)

If doing renovations.. the most important major renovations (as always) are kitchens, bathrooms and main floor family rooms.

We also have names of contractors, workmen, painters and flooring people that we have used and found reliable. Please click here to visit our Concierge Section.

Even if you are not planning on moving in the near future, but are some planning some improvements, make sure they are the right things.

We would be happy to visit and give our opinion on what to do and the current value of your home. Just Contact Us!

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What’s next? From Offer Acceptance to Closing Day

The time between acceptance of your offer and the closing date is sometimes a confusing time period. This article will remove some of the mystery. Hopefully, any questions you might have, have been anticipated; however if there is anything that hasn’t been covered, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

We will be in touch at regular intervals until closing date ( and after) to ensure that everything is proceeding in order.

The Agreement of Purchase & Sale

The Agreement of Purchase and Sale, (and any amendments or waivers) will be sent to your Lawyer or Paralegal as discussed.

The Deposit

The Deposit will be placed in an Interest Bearing Account until closing and credited against the purchase price on the Statement of Adjustments. If there was a clause that the interest on the deposit cheque is to be paid to the purchaser, then this cheque will be mailed after closing.

Title Search & Requisition Date

If there are no conditions in the Agreement, your lawyer will open a file and begin the procedure to ensure that you will have good title to the property. If there are conditions the process will be delayed until the conditions have been waived.

This procedure may include other things, but here are the basics:

  • The Title Search
  • Obtaining a Tax certificate (showing current realty tax information)
  • Assurances from Municipal and Utility Departments that there are no liens or issues affecting the property (i.e. work orders or outstanding payments etc.)
  • A search to ascertain if there are any judgments outstanding against the current owners and if there is a mortgage on your purchase, they will also search regarding your name(s).

All of the searches will be conducted prior to the Requisition Date noted in your Agreement. If there are any questionable issues, they will be addressed in the form of a “Requisition Letter” to the Vendor’s Lawyer; to be satisfied prior to closing. Your lawyer will address any of those concerns (if any) around that time.

Survey And/Or Title Insurance 

If an existing survey for the property is not available (or does not show the current location of the fences, buildings, and structures), the mortgagee will require either a new survey or title insurance.

Title insurance is less expensive and acceptable for the mortgagee, in most situations (insuring the property against possible encroachments etc. that an up to date survey might reveal). First Canadian Title Company is one of such companies offering this survey, but your lawyer may recommend others.

If you choose to have a new survey prepared, we can provide you with a few names of those we have used in the past, or your lawyer may have someone they prefer. We would be happy to assist you in making any arrangements.

Financing

Your lawyer will in all probability also represent your financial institution with respect to your first mortgage. In that regard, they will send any documentation directly to your lawyer, and make the funds available for the closing date. If you have a closing date that extends beyond your rate commitment watch the rates and get in touch if you see rates increasing. (Get your commitment extended.)

Executing Documents & Balance of Down Payment

During the week prior to closing your lawyer will request an appointment for you to execute closing documents, (i.e. mortgage documentation, land transfer tax affidavit etc.) and review the Statement of Adjustments. You will also be required to bring a certified cheque at that time for the balance of your down payment and legal fees. This appointment usually occurs the day prior to closing.

Closing Date

On the closing date, your lawyer will exchange documentation and balance of closing funds with the vendor’s lawyer’s firm and complete the transaction.

Possession

Your lawyer may have many transactions closing on your closing date, and it is often difficult to close early in the day. If you are selling as well, then that transaction has to close first in order to have the money to close your purchase. You are not legally entitled to possession of the keys and your new home until the closing has occurred. Keys will be given to your lawyer on closing.

Keep this in mind when making your moving arrangements. You don’t want to pay for a moving van all day if the closing doesn’t occur until later in the day.

Access Visits Prior to Closing

Visits prior to closing will be arranged through Lakeview Realty Inc. (with the listing agent and the vendor.) If you require any assistance with respect to contractors etc., We have names that we could recommend.

Please visit our Concierge section for more details. We would be happy to help.