When you shop for a new home, you’ll probably start by thinking about what you need in your next property. Your list might include a spacious kitchen; three bedrooms; and, a mature tree in the backyard.


Those are property features and, of course, they’re important. But finding your next dream home involves more than just property features. It also involves getting what you want from the surrounding area. After all, a home isn’t going to be enjoyable if commuting to work from your neighborhood is long and agonizing. So when you shop for a new home, also think about:

  • Work. How will you get to work? Is public transit nearby?

  • School. Where will your kids go to school? Is transit or bus service available? Will your kids be able to walk to school?

  • Kids. Where will your kids play and hang out? Are there nearby playgrounds and parks?

  • Neighbors. Do the local homeowners seem like the kind of people you’d like as neighbors?

  • Shopping. Where will you do your weekly shopping?

  • Hobbies. How far will you be from golf, theater, or other hobbies?
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You visit a garage sale on a sunny Saturday morning and find a bicycle that you think would be perfect for your child. You look at the price tag and it’s about twice as much as you would expect to pay. When you question the owner, he says, “That bike has a lot of sentimental value for me. I couldn’t let it go for less.”


Chances are, you’ll pass on the bike. The owner sees the bike and happily remembers teaching his daughter to ride it. What you see is just a bike! You can’t buy someone else’s memories.


This scenario sometimes plays itself out in real estate. A homeowner has fond memories of his home. He may have renovated the den himself and is proud of his work. He may delight in memories of family BBQs on the deck.


That doesn’t mean the house will sell for more than its market value.


So when you put your property on the market, make sure emotions don’t get in the way of pricing it properly.


Fortunately, memories will stay with you, even without your house. You’ll be able to happily take them along to your next home.

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You’re probably aware that there’s more to the cost of a new home than its purchase price. So, to help you make an informed decision, ask yourself the following questions:


  • How much do you expect to pay for moving expenses? Don’t forget to include packing materials in your calculations.

  • “Closing costs” are the extra charges you will have to pay at closing. How much do you expect your closing costs to be?

  • Estimate how much you’ll pay for activating your phone, internet service, cable television, and other utilities in your new home. These little costs can add up.

  • Will your new property require painting, repairs, and other preparations once you move in? How much will they likely cost?

  • Will you need to purchase new furnishings, decor, and other items for your new home? What’s your budget for those items?

The more aware you are of the true costs of a home you’re interested in buying, the better choices you’ll be able to make about that home. If you decide to buy, you’ll be able to do so with much more confidence.

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If you’re planning on moving, you’re probably focused on how much your new home is going to cost. However, it’s also a good idea to understand the real costs associated with selling your current property.


In fact, there are some costs and expenses you may not have anticipated. Here are a few examples:


Home inspection. You might think you’ll only need a home inspection for a home on which you’ve made an offer. However, it might also make sense to have a home inspection completed on your current property in order to identify potential issues that might get in the way of a sale. Buyers feel more confident when considering a home that has had a recent professional inspection.


Cancellation costs. There may be extra expenses associated with cancelling internet services, newspaper subscriptions, home security systems, and even lawn care services.


Repairs. You should budget to get any maintenance issues, such as a broken door handle, dealt with before your home goes on the market.


Staging. Tasks like getting rid of clutter, arranging for the carpets to be professionally cleaned, having the hedges trimmed, and doing other things to make the property look attractive to buyers all fall under the umbrella of “staging”. You can do much of this work yourself, or hire a professional.


Moving. It’s a good idea to budget for the costs of moving. Even if you’re using a friend’s truck and planning to do most of the packing and hauling yourself, there may still be costs such as packaging materials, gas, and perhaps even pizza for your crew.

At the end of the day, these costs may turn out to be negligible when compared to the value of your property. As your real estate professional, I can help you understand all the costs and help make the selling process go smoothly.

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Do you remember the last time you viewed a home for sale? What do you recall about that property? You likely remember the features and characteristics that stood out, such as the gorgeous hardwood floors, the spacious kitchen with the long island, or… the faucet that was dripping in the main floor washroom!


Obviously, you want potential buyers to notice the great features of your home rather than those things that are less appealing. So, when preparing your home for sale, pay particular attention to what a buyer is likely to notice and remember.


Say, for example, you have a small unused bedroom that has become the unofficial storage room. If something doesn’t go anywhere else, it gets put in that room! Now it’s a cluttered space.


What will buyers remember about that room after a viewing? Will they see the potential for a home office or comfy reading room? Most likely, they will just remember a small, cluttered, potentially unusable space.


Buyers will also notice a dripping faucet, a scuff in the wall, or the lingering smell of spicy cooking in the kitchen. They will remember all the things that stand out, regardless of whether they are positive or negative.


So, when you list your property, make sure that what stands out for potential buyers are the desirable features of your property.


If you have a wonderful sitting room with large windows and a great view, make sure that space is clean and comfortable. You may even want to “stage” it a little, perhaps with some fresh flowers and a good book sitting on the end table.

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When you’re putting your property on the market, you want to make it seem as big and comfortable as possible. After all, buyers are attracted to space. However, you probably have at least one room in your home — and perhaps even more — that feels small and a little cramped.


Of course you don’t want the buyer’s first impression of the room to be its size. Since it isn’t practical to be knocking down walls and renovating, what should you do? Here are some ideas for making small spaces seem larger and more comfortable:


  • Remove any items and extra furniture that make the room feel smaller than it really is.

  • Remove any obstructions near the entranceway. You should be able to open the door fully and walk in without bumping into a desk or bookshelf.

  • Don’t use heavy curtains on the windows. Let the light in.

  • Use soft light bulbs with enough wattage to fill the room with full and pleasant (but not blinding) light.

  • Less is more. Keep knickknacks, pictures and other décor items to a minimum.

  • Keep the door fully open during viewings.

  • Make sure there’s enough space for two people to walk in and move around without bumping into each other.

  • Give the room a purpose. “This is the home office.” Or, “This is the comfy reading nook.” If a small room doesn’t have a reason for being, it will seem like wasted space.

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When preparing a home for sale, most people focus on making the inside look as appealing as possible. But the outside of your property deserves your attention too. After all, it’s the first thing a potential buyer sees.


You can dramatically improve the appearance of your property by giving it a “wash and haircut”!


Clean the driveway, walkways and deck or patio. A pressure washer — which can be rented from most home improvement stores — works best, although you can do nearly as good a job with a water hose and walkway cleaner.


Trim hedges and shrubs. Mow the lawn. Pull any weeds out of flower beds.


These small measures will help you make the best first impression on buyers.

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Preparing the Offer

Many of you may worry that the property you love will somehow slip through your fingers. Don’t be. You’ve got an expert by your side. Me. My job, as your real estate agent, is to ensure you get that home – and at a price that works for you and that you get it before other Buyer’s have the opportunity.


The first step is preparing the Offer. This is the document I present to the seller that basically states the price you’re offering, as well as any conditions.


The price we go in with is critical- You want it to reflect the true market value of the property so the seller will take your offer seriously. Don’t worry. I know how to prepare a winning offer and get you the property at the lowest possible price. In fact, I look after your interests throughout the entire process.

 

How the Process Works

When you decide to make an offer on a home, here’s what typically happens:

  • I’ll recommend a price that has the best chance of being accepted by the seller, without over-paying for the home.

  • Obviously, sellers prefer offers that have no conditions. However, I will suggest conditions such as; home inspection, financing, and insurance… We’ll talk about that.

  • I’ll prepare the necessary documents and present your offer to the seller and his or her real estate agent personally.

  • If the offer isn’t accepted, or if the seller makes a counter-offer, I’ll work with the seller’s agent, skillfully negotiating on your behalf to make a deal.

  • I’ll communicate with you throughout the entire process. You’re never in the dark when you work with me.

  • Once the seller agrees to a deal, I’ll help lead you through removal of any conditions and closing the deal. Then, the home is yours. Congratulations!

I realize that making an offer can seem like the nail-biting part of the process. It doesn’t have to be. That’s the advantage of selecting a real estate agent who, like me, puts clients first. When you go after a property you really want, you can take comfort in knowing you have an expert on your side… someone who knows how to get that home for you.

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