Turning your family home into a model home

When selling your home, don’t forget about curb appeal! When buyers look at your home the first impression is a major factor on whether you’ll get an offer or not. Check out this video… HOME STAGING TIPS:

Why a Home Doesn’t Sell

Do you ever wonder why some homes don’t sell when listed?  Check out this video for some insight – knowing this info may prevent you from making some crucial mistakes when listing your home for sale. HOME STAGING TIPS:

Emotional Mistakes Home Sellers Make

Have you ever said something in the heat of the moment, then wished for weeks later you could reel those words back in?  Truth is, all of us commit emotion-driven mistakes in some areas of our lives.  But when it comes to selling your home – read: cashing out your most valuable asset – the stakes are simply too, too high to allow yourself and your transaction to fall prey to predictable emotional pitfalls.   Fortunately, when it comes to emotion, what’s predictable is avoidable if you’re willing to acknowledge and correct for your own feelings and how they can foul up your decision-making.  This list will help you predict – and better yet, avoid – some common decision traps driven by emotions. 1.    Price reduction paralysis.  Wikipedia defines panic as “a sudden sensation of fear which is so strong as to dominate or prevent reason and logical thinking, replacing it with overwhelming feelings of anxiety and frantic agitation consistent with an animalistic fight-or-flight reaction.”  But there’s a real estate-specific reaction to panic that the infinitely wise Wiki editors left out: freezing up entirely. In cases of overpricing, the seller has most often started out as overconfident in their home’s prospects on the current market.  But as the days on the market turn into weeks, or even months, that overconfidence morphs into panic: panic that the place will only get a lowball offer, panic that the place won’t ever sell, panic that the seller will be stuck in the property, panic that the seller’s future life or career plans will be ruined.  This is a panic that snowballs into increasingly disastrous hypothetical scenarios, and fast. Unfortunately, this panic is often accompanied by a fear that actually reducing the home’s list price will actually kick off the snowball effect. This couldn’t …

Top Ten House Staging Tips to Help You get More for your Home When You Sell it.

Thinking about selling your house?  Taking a bit of extra time to consider the following suggestions can definitely help make a better first impression and help your home stand out from the others. Here’s the top 10 home staging suggestions, as recommended by professional home stagers: 1. Keep it clean Look at your home as though you’re seeing it for the first time. Is every room neat, spotlessly clean, dusted and uncluttered? Steam clean carpets and wax floors. Wash walls, heating and A/C vents and light fixtures. Pay special attention to your bathroom and kitchen – make sure that tile grout is mildew free and baseboards scrubbed. Clean the refrigerator and stove as well as the washer and dryer (inside and out). And, don’t forget about the windows! Make sure that all windowpanes, ledges and blinds are spick and span. 2. Lose the clutter Have a yard sale or take old furniture, clothing and knick-knacks to Goodwill. Organize shelves, put away items and purge your home of unnecessary items. Make sure that your kitchen and bathroom counters are free of small appliances and personal effects. 3. De-personalize your home Make your home “anonymous,” so that buyers can envision it as their potential home. Put away any family photos, sports trophies, collectibles, knick-knacks, and souvenirs. This will also help to remove clutter and create more space. 4. Freshen-up Adding a fresh coat of paint and laying new carpet will clean and brighten up your home. Choose neutral colors and make it consistent throughout the home. If you choose to wallpaper, make sure that the paper is properly applied, your color choice is neutral and patterns are kept to a minimum. 5. First impressions count Like a first date or job interview, the first impression of your home is the most important. …

Does the quality of photographs matter when trying to sell your home?

I find it interesting that so many Realtors don’t place a priority on the promotional materials used to feature the homes they are trying to sell. Especially considering that most home buyers are now being introduced to the home for the first time online – you’d think that quality photographs would be essential. When poor photographs are used to feature a property, many negative aspects can be perceived such as the home appearing much smaller and crowded than it really is (by using the wrong lenses), and much darker (by not knowing how to take proper exposures). Below are photographs of one of my listings – a side by side comparison of SOME photographs I’m using to market my current listing, vs a previous time this same house was marketed on the MLS with another Realtor. If you were selling your home, which would you prefer? When hiring a Realtor to market your home, make sure they are hiring a professional photographer to capture your home in the most favourable way.  Your home will stand out much better, and this is especially important when trying to sell your home in a very competitive market such as the one we’re dealing with right now in South Surrey / White Rock, BC.

When is the best time to sell your home?

If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, you might be waiting until the “market is right”. After all, if the local market suddenly booms, your property will likely sell for a higher price. That may be true. However, there are other factors to consider in your decision to list.For example, will you be buying a new home as well? If so, then the higher selling price will probably be offset by the higher cost of the new property. In addition, there may be characteristics of your home that will help sell it quickly and for a good price – today – regardless of the market conditions. A good REALTOR® will help you make the right decision. Call today

Questions to ask before hiring a property inspector

Hiring the right home inspector is important. After all, you want the inspection to leave no stone unturned when determining the condition of the house you are considering purchasing. Unfortunately, the professionalism and range of services vary widely in the home inspection industry. So it pays to ask the right questions before you choose. Here are a few suggestions: “What does your inspection cover?” A home inspector should be able to present you with a detailed list of what is covered in the inspection. Don’t settle for a vague verbal promise like, “We check everything top to bottom.” Get it in writing. In addition, you should get an assurance that the inspection complies with all Local and State or Provincial regulations. “What are your qualifications?” As with most professions, experience counts.You want to check how long the inspector has been in the business, and how many homes like yours he has inspected. Also ask about his credentials.What professional training programs has he completed? Does he belong to a recognized home inspection association? “Do you also offer to do home repairs or renovations?” If he does, it’s a conflict of interest.You want an inspector to give you an unbiased report as to the condition of the house, without any expectation of getting some contracting work on the side. “How long will the inspection take?” You’ll want to find out if the inspector takes his time and does a thorough job, or rushes things so he can get as many homes done in a day as possible. On average, a typical single family home should take two to three hours to inspect properly. “May I contact some references?” Ask for references from people in the neighborhood you are considering. Then, make sure you call them.  

Boosting Curb Appeal – a little goes a long way

“Curb appeal”. You’ve probably heard that term used before. It refers to how valuable and enticing your house looks from the outside, typically from the perspective of a potential buyer “standing on the curb”. Many people focus on preparing the inside of their house for sale, and neglect preparing the outside.This is a mistake. Studies confirm that curb appeal has a huge influence over how quickly your house will sell, and for how much. How do you improve curb appeal? You don’t need to do a major landscaping renovation! In fact, small improvements often make the biggest difference… improvements you can easily do over a weekend. Here are some suggestions:     Clean the outside of front windows. Make them sparkle! Remove grass,weeds and other unwanted growth between driveway and walkway stones. Prune shrubs and trim trees. Re-sod bare spots on the lawn. Edge the lawn. (A simple task that can have a dramatic visual impact.) Water the flowerbed. (Flowers look brighter and more healthy within one hour of watering.) Sweep the walkway and driveway. Rake the leaves. Remove signs such as “Beware of dog” and “No solicitations”. Check the welcome mat. If it’s worn or dirty, replace it. Also, consider buying some attractive potted flowers to put near the entranceway. They are worth the investment. As you can see, it doesn’t take much to boost the curb appeal of your house. Just a little work and a few added details will make a big difference. Need more ideas for increasing the “sales appeal” of your house? Call 604-764-1380 or use the contact form below.  

Ten Ways to Get the Best of Winter When Selling Your Home

If your home will be for sale this winter, it is important to master certain seasonal issues that are less significant or even non-existent at other times of the year. Here are 10 bits of sage advice from RE/MAX agents that can help put a “Sold” sticker on that yard sign. Let Those Lights Shine: The best way to combat winter’s short and frequently cloudy days is to turn on your house lights. For a showing, every single light in the house must be on, even in the closets and utility/mechanical rooms, according to Marlene Granacki of RE/MAX Exclusive Properties, Chicago. “Make sure all the bulbs are working, and stock up on all the right bulbs for lamps and fixtures so burned out bulbs can be replaced immediately,” she advises. “Also, it’s a great idea to keep the lights on in the front of the house even if no showings are scheduled. People are always driving past the house, and keeping it lighted makes it look happy and welcoming.” She also advises opening the drapes and blinds during the day to let in light and let visitors enjoy the view. Provide Convenient Parking: It’s vital that buyers have a convenient place to park. They won’t want to walk very far in cold weather or be forced to climb over a snow bank to exit their vehicle. Because parking is often more restricted around condominiums, sellers should make sure their agent can pass along parking details to buyers. Make It Easy to Enter: Winter showings can get off to an awkward start if prospective buyers arrive with snow or salt on their shoes. “Make it easy for buyers to deal with their shoes when they arrive,” recommends Barbara Hibnick of RE/MAX Showcase, Long Grove, Ill. “Put a festive area rug at …

What A Listing Entails

Are you thinking of selling your home? If so, you will need professional help to ensure your home gets maximum exposure and is properly marketed. You will want to enlist the services of a REALTOR to make sure you achieve your goal. The listing is the beginning of a selling process that includes a well-thought-out and detailed marketing plan, accessibility to a wide range of potential buyers and commitment to professional service. Technically speaking, a listing is an authority granted by you to a real estate agent to act as your REALTOR in offering your property for sale, according to the terms and conditions set out in the listing contract. When you list your home with a real estate agency, you are entering into a binding agreement with that firm, so it is important to choose a company and a REALTOR with whom you will be satisfied. To find the right firm and individual, ask friends and relatives for recommendations and try interviewing three REALTORS and ask them about the services that they will offer when they list your home. What You Can Expect Your REALTOR will conduct a thorough inspection of your property and do a comparative market analysis to see what similar homes in the area are selling for. This, along with your individual circumstances, will help you determine a suitable price range for your home. You will also decide how long the listing will be. Placing your home on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) gives it maximum exposure in today’s marketplace because it ensures details about your home are shared with all other REALTORS in the area. Your REALTOR will ask you for information on taxes, surveys, title deed and the mortgage, if any – all of which is important to potential buyers – and will tell …

Does It Make Sense To Use A Realtor?

If you have been thinking about selling your home, perhaps you have been toying with the idea of trying to sell it yourself to save paying a commission to a REALTOR. However, when you consider the amount of time needed to market your home along with the costs of advertising and other incidentals, you may be surprised to discover that not only are you unlikely to save much, it will also likely take much longer to sell your home privately. There is also the chance that you may not get as much for your home. Consider also all the documentation, negotiation, and legalities involved in selling a home. It is a tremendous responsibility to single-handedly manage a transaction involving what is probably the largest purchase you have ever made. Is your time valuable? You will have to consider how much your time is worth and whether you are prepared to sacrifice much of it to show your home to potential buyers. Keep in mind that without the help of a trained REALTOR you will not necessarily be able to distinguish the serious buyers from people who are merely browsing. Greater Exposure You want to ensure that the maximum number of potential buyers learn about your home. That’s why it makes sense to work with a REALTOR. REALTORS have access to the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) system. MLS® and REALTOR service offer you a tremendous marketing combination. When a REALTOR lists your home on MLS® it gives your home maximum exposure to all other REALTORS in the area. As most buyers also work with a REALTOR, this ensures exposure to a broad range of interested people. Objectivity For most people, selling a home is an emotional experience and you will not necessarily be as objective as a REALTOR would be about …

Subtle Ailments Can Turn Away Prospective Buyers

Things like unkempt yards and ugly wallpaper are obvious turnoffs, but there are other things that can jinx a sale. Before hammering a For Sale sign into the front lawn, most sellers rectify major deterrents including faded paint, broken windows and messy yards. Unfortunately, real estate agents say many miss a handful of less obvious ailments which can have buyers turn on their heels long before they have finished touring a home. It is the small things that make the difference. The home should have a feeling that is well maintained and allowing buyers no excuses to walk away. Many small problems can be repaired with a screwdriver or a hammer, or by spending a few hours on the end of a broom or paintbrush. The cost is often less than $500. Here are ten problems sellers often ignore when their properties go on the market: Grout around ceramic tiles in kitchens and bathrooms is loose, missing or discoloured. No one likes a skuzzy bath or kitchen area, so invest a few bucks in caulking and use a toothbrush and cleaners n dirty grout. Mailboxes and address numbers are crooked, dirty or pitted. Poor numbers make a home hard to find and a loose mailbox shows lack of maintenance that home shoppers may feel extends throughout your home. A new mailbox and letters will cost less than $75, a good investment since they’re among the first things a potential buyer sees. Rooms are dark. Vampires like dark rooms, but most homeowners don’t. Replace old lightbulbs, wash windows and throw open drapes, blinds and awnings. Wallpaper and paint are outdated, dirty or too dramatic. Sounds boring, but go neutral when you freshen up your paint and paper because there’s less chance you’ll turn off a buyer who, more likely than not, …

Selling Your Home – Doing It Yourself!!

Your home has been cleaned, freshly painted and you are ready to put it on the market. Could you sell it by yourself? No doubt you could, but when you consider all aspects of the selling process, chances are you will choose to use the services of a REALTOR – a licensed, trained professional who has the knowledge and skills to ensure you get the best possible price and that the selling process goes as smoothly as possible. Frequently, people who attempt to sell their home without the help of a REALTOR do so in hopes of saving the commission or fee. There is a good chance, however, that such an approach will not pay off as potential buyers will often submit lower offers in such cases. In addition, without the help of a REALTOR and access to the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) it will likely take significantly longer to sell your home. The MLS® is best described as a co-operative marketing system to ensure maximum exposure of properties for sale. Fundamentally, it is a central registry of properties used by REALTORS to match buyers with properties for sale. Before attempting to sell your own home, ask yourself the following questions: Do you have sufficient knowledge to determine the price range for your home? Are you aware of changing market conditions and of recent sales of similar homes in your area? Do you have the skills and resources to advertise and market your home effectively? Do you know what types of financing are available? Are you informed about various financing methods? Do you have a network of contacts to produce potential buyers and are you able to screen out unqualified prospects – people who are just curious? Are you comfortable inviting strangers into your home at 9 p.m. because they …

Reviewing An Offer To Purchase

If you have ever sold a home before, you know there is a lot more to an offer to purchase than merely the price the buyer is willing to pay. Other important factors that must be weighed carefully include a suitable closing date, financing, conditions and items which are to be included in the sale. It is a good idea to discuss all of these points with your REALTOR. Closing Date The closing date is one of the most important things to consider. Is it going to involve extra cost to you to have to move on a particular date? Are you going to have to store your furniture because of a short closing or face the prospect of carrying two properties for a couple of extra months because of an unusually long closing? Financing Financing also has a great impact on the offer. For example, if you have to discharge existing debts and mortgages against the property, be sure to verify whether you will have to pay early discharge fees. In the offer, the buyer may also request that you take back a mortgage. If you are retired and you are trading down to something smaller, you may want to take back a mortgage and enjoy the resulting income. On the other hand, if you are trading up, you may not be interested in this option because you may need the funds for a bigger down payment. Conditions Conditions on financing are generally quite short and, as a seller, you will want to know if the buyers will be able to get the necessary financing before you accept their offer. You may be better off with an offer that is slightly less in price but has fewer restrictive conditions. Items included in the sale Buyers may wish to include …

Preparing Your Home For Sale

When your home is for sale, it’s often more than just the purchase price and location that will make or break a deal. Making your home look its very best and presenting it as a desirable place to live are also very important. Work with your REALTOR Your REALTOR can give you an objective opinion of what you need to do. REALTORS have the experience and knowledge that can help identify problem areas or suggest improvements. In most cases, REALTORS will not suggest major renovations. A few minor repairs here and there and a thorough cleaning are usually all that are required. Cleaning up the homestead Virtually all buyers are on the lookout for one thing – a clean home. Many will simply walk away if a home looks uncared for and, at the very least, an untidy home will fetch a lower selling price. Ensure your home is spotless and free of clutter. The two most important rooms in a buyer’s mind are the kitchen and the bathroom. Pay particular attention to these areas – they should sparkle and shine. Making repairs There are certain items that must be repaired if there are problems. A leaky roof, for example, must be fixed. Any electrical problems will have to be addressed. Furnaces, water heaters and plumbing also fall into this category. Other areas may not need major repairs but will need attention. These can include leaky faucets, holes in window screens and any broken glass, etc. If some of your walls are too dirty to come clean, you may wish to consider a paint job. Carpets and rugs should also be clean and in good repair. Outside and in Take a close look at the state of your yard. If you are showing your home in the summer, trees and …

Making Your Home Attractive To Buyers

Are you thinking of selling your home? If you’re one of the many homeowners who choose this time of year to move – whether you’re trading up or down, or simply relocating -you’re probably starting to prepare your home for the sale. Before you become overwhelmed by the task, it’s a good idea to sit down and look at your home objectively. An attractive, well-kept home generally has a better chance of selling a little faster. Also, the old adage “first impressions are lasting ones” is very true. If you haven’t made substantial improvement or changes over the years, it’s not a good idea to take on major renovation projects simply to sell your home. This can be an expensive and lengthy procedure and there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to recover all of your costs. Instead, try to determine what types of minor cosmetic improvements can be made, like general cleaning, painting floor refinishing, and so on. These projects generally don’t require a lot of capital and your home can be greatly improved by them. Consult with your REALTOR to see what types of improvements make the most sense. START WITH THE OUTSIDE An inviting exterior ensures that potential buyers will inspect the interior, so it’s important to keep your lawn and hedges trimmed and edged, the flower beds cultivated, and your yard free and clear of clutter and refuse. If you have any loose siding or pavement, it’s a good idea to get these items repaired. And if you have any cracked or broken windows, get them fixed as well. Missing shingles or eaves troughs should also be replaced and loose shutters or awnings secured. You may also want to consider painting the exterior of your home to spruce it up a little. And if you …

LOW COST Exterior Improvements

Exterior Improvements – Minimal or No Cost Rake leaves, mow lawn and keep edges neat. Lawns and flowers should be weeded regularly. Trees and shrubs should be pruned and trimmed. Remove old lawn mowers, tractors, disabled autos, broken lawn ornaments, topless tables, armless lawn furniture and seatless chairs. They are reasons for a buyer to make a u-turn. Hoses should be coiled and place inconspicuously when not being used, other garden equipment should be stored in some type of shelter when not in use. A yard should be free form unnecessary clutter, a place should be free from children’s toys and equipment. All animal litter should be removed daily. Fix the garage door so it opens and closes. House and garage doors should be free from finger marks. Wood surfaces should be kept painted, oiled and stained. Porches, steps, verandas, balconies, patios and other extensions of the home must be uncluttered, clean and repaired. Shades and awnings in good repair with colours unfaded will improve exterior house appearance. Keep garbage cans deodorized and out of sight, or placed inconspicuously. Walks and entrances should be well maintained and free from excess water, ice and snow. Put some crushed stone on walkways and driveways that turn muddy in the rain and fill any potholes. Keep gates, fences, walls and out buildings repaired and painted. Outdoor furniture should be kept clean. Firewood should be stacked neatly. Barbecue grill should be cleaned. Metal accessories (door knobs, door knockers, lamps, etc.) should be cleaned and polished. Attach downspouts to the gutters and paint, if needed. Any loose roof shingles, tiles, etc. should be secured and repaired. Paint the front, back and side entrance doors. Nothing looks worse than a peeling door. The fence is falling, and so is the sale. Get rid of it or …

Documents You’ll See When Selling Your Home

WORKING WITH A REALTOR BROCHURE Buyers and sellers are presented with this brochure at the earliest contact with a real estate agent. Industry regulations have now made it mandatory for a real estate licensee to disclose the capacity in which the agent will be working with you: i.e. as a buyer’s agent, a seller’s agent or as a dual agent, before assisting or representing you in a real estate transaction. The agent will then ask you to sign a statement acknowledging that this disclosure of agency representation has taken place. He or she will then tear off and keep the signed statement and give you the brochure for future reference. Signing the disclosure statement in the Working with a Real Estate Agent brochure does not bind you to any obligation to that real estate agent. It merely confirms that you have discussed your agency representation options with the agent. MLS® LISTING CONTRACT The Multiple Listing Service® Listing Contract outlines the terms of the listing contract, including the length of time for the listing, the price, the commission to be paid, all the parties to the listing, the address and the legal description of the property to be sold, how the seller is to be paid, the preferred possession date, the financial obligations and other information regarding the property. The listing agreement is the seller’s agreement with the listing agency, not the salesperson individually. If the salesperson leaves that company, it is up to the seller and the listing company to decide whether or not the listing will go with the salesperson, or whether it will stay with the original company and be assigned to another salesperson. As with other services, there is GST payable on commission, so when you are calculating your proceeds, take that into consideration. CHANGE ORDER FORM …

Creating Curb Appeal

What’s curb appeal? It’s that certain something about your home that catches the eye of the passer-by and makes them want to take a closer look. If you’re selling your home, curb appeal can quickly draw prospective buyers in for the first time. Without it, buyers may pass up on the chance to see inside and will miss what might have been the perfect home for them. Your REALTOR can give you numerous tips and suggestions to help you make that first impression really count. Here are a few ideas: Keep your lawns neatly trimmed and edged. Trim trees and shrubbery to get rid of overhanging branches that might obscure a potentially good view of your home, or pathway leading to the front door. Turn over the soil in your flowerbeds. If there’s little color in your front garden, make a splash with a display of inexpensive annuals, flower boxes and wooden tubs. Clay and plastic posts can also be filled with flowers and small shrubs and displayed in the yard or by the front entrance to give the feel of a warm welcome. Birdhouses and feeders, dried flower wreaths and hanging baskets on the front porch can give your home countryside curb appeal. Keep your porch, driveway and front yard clutter free. Remove garbage bins as soon as possible after pick-up, and avoid any build-up of junk mail. Repair or replace broken steps or walkways. You might be used to the uneven paving or rickety stairs outside your home, but they could be hazardous to visitors, as well as unsightly. Your home’s roof, chimney and exterior should look sound and well-cared for. Freshly painted woodwork is often well worth the time and money invested in it. A good spruce-up can make a big difference If painting is unnecessary, your …

Chattles & Fixtures

Put It In Writing Before You Sell!!! If you are thinking of selling your home, have you given much thought to what you plan to leave with the home and what you would like to take with you, such as the washer and dryer, the fridge and stove, or even that heirloom chandelier in the dining room? While these may not seem like important concerns right now, your failure to address them in your listing and the contract of purchase and sale could lead to a major misunderstanding with a potential buyer. The last thing you would want is the loss of a sale of your home due to a dispute or misunderstanding over a relatively minor item. A REALTOR will guide you through the listing process and will ask you what you want to include in the sale. It is a good idea, however, to make up a list before meeting with your REALTOR to ensure you do not forget something. Chattels are normally removed When chattels are included in the agreement, they must be listed in the contract of purchase and sale. It is fairly common practice for sellers to include items, which would normally be considered as chattels, such as appliances and window coverings, in the selling price. Fixtures normally stay A REALTOR will explain that fixtures are permanent improvements to a property which normally stay with the property as part of the sale. For example, if you have upgraded your wiring or heating system, these are considered to be permanent fixtures. Keep in mind, however, that the law is not always crystal clear about what constitutes a fixture. There are circumstances where you may plan to remove something that might ordinarily be considered a fixture – like your chandelier. Other items to consider are lawn ornaments, …

20 Tips For Selling Your Home

As a homeowner, you can play an important part in the timely sale of your property. When you take the following steps, you’ll help me to sell your home faster, at the best possible price. The easiest and most reliable way to improve the appeal of your home is to enlist a quality home service professional. The right professional can help you get everything in order – from repainting the kitchen to providing a thorough cleaning – so you can stay focused on more important things. Make the Most of that First Impression A well-manicured lawn, neatly trimmed shrubs and a clutter-free porch welcome prospects. So does a freshly painted – or at least freshly scrubbed – front door. If it’s autumn, rake the leaves. If it’s winter, shovel the walkways. The fewer obstacles between prospects and the true appeal of your home, the better. Invest a Few Hours for Future Dividends Here’s your chance to clean up in real estate. Clean up the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen. If your woodwork is scuffed or the paint is fading, consider some minor redecoration. Fresh wallpaper adds charm and value to your property. If you’re worried about time, hire professional cleaners or painters to get your house ready. Remember, prospects would rather see how great your home really looks than hear how great it could look “with a little work.” Check Faucets and Bulbs Dripping water rattles the nerves, discolors sinks, and suggests faulty or worn-out plumbing. Burned out bulbs or faulty wiring leave prospects in the dark. Don’t let little problems detract from what’s right with your home. Don’t Shut Out a Sale If cabinets or closet doors stick in your home, you can be sure they will also stick in a prospect’s mind. Don’t try to explain away …