Friday, May 29, 2015

Buyers Were Asking: Debt Reduction

One of the most exciting facts about buying a home is that you're now about to start building equity, ensuring your money now begins to work for you.  With that said, you might be a little concerned over this huge debt you've just taken on.  There are ways though that you can effectively manage your debt(s).  Before agreeing to sign on with a lender, ask lots of questions about the prepayment options.  One of the best ways to decrease your debt and to reduce your interest costs is to increase the frequency of your payments.  Not only will you pay less in interest, you will pay the debt off faster.  Contrary to popular belief, paying your mortgage off as quickly as you can is not always your smartest plan.  What?  Yes, you read correctly.  Pay off your most expensive debt first.  Often, this is your visa.  The debt you want to attack is the one with the highest interest rate.  If you're  prone to run a balance on the visa, use the money you were going to throw on the mortgage to eliminate the visa debt and then, keep it under control.  Get in the habit of paying the balance of your visa when the bill comes in.  Once you've paid off your most expensive debt, apply the same strategy to your next highest debt and so on until you=ve worked through all debts but the mortgage.  Once you've learnt to keep your highest interest rate debts under control, you can then begin to plan to escalate that debt reduction.  Good luck and good planning!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Sellers Were Asking: First Impressions

You only have one chance to make a first impression, or so the saying goes, and no-where is this more true  than with the showing of your home. These days, as, buyers do "drive-bys" in an effort to eliminate unsuitable homes, you really only have one opportunity to catch a potential buyer's interest, so creating curb appeal is important.  This spring, we are fortunate to have the buds now in bloom.  This, coupled by the awful winter, buyers are out in droves, so,  make your home inviting.  Be creative!  A nice wreath on the front door, welcome mat and clean, uncluttered appearance works.  Inside, clean your house from top to bottom. Make sure hardwood gleams, carpets are thoroughly vacuumed and dust has been banished. Remove clutter and use this opportunity to start packing by putting collectibles away. This allows potential buyers to imagine their own possessions and knickknacks in your home. When sales reps and potential buyers do view your spotless home, get out so they can move about freely. Some buyers are uncomfortable if the sellers are around and they tend not to spend as much time looking as they would have if the sellers had gone out. So, go shopping, take a walk or take the kids to the park. Definitely leave the house during an open house. Relax and let your sales rep do what you have contracted him/her to do, namely sell your house. If you're thinking about selling, give us a call!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Buyers Were Asking: Pre-Conceived Notions

The toughest thing for most people is to try something new.  Particularly with buying your first home and deciding on what may well be your last home, this buying public often has pre-conceived notions on housing styles, areas and pricing.  

The hardest move you will ever make is the downsize one as it really challenges you to project your life out for a good 5 years in the short term and 10 in the long.  Will you still be driving in 10 years?  

Just as with your first home, you need to consider what is important, or, will become important as you age.  On the flip side, for the first timer, you need to consider if a baby is in the plan in the short term.  If so, where are the schools in relation to the home you are considering?  The misnomer we, as realtors, often face is the pre-conceived notions of the buying public.  

That specific condominiums will not offer what you are looking for.  That certain first time homes are better than others because they may be the newest or offer pools and gyms.  We can direct you, however, you need to be able to open your field of vision.  Rather than saying, ‘no, that won’t work’, try, ‘ It can’t hurt to take a look’.  

Really, if you don’t explore all options available to you, you may miss the perfect new home for yourself! 

Friday, May 8, 2015

You Were Asking: Communication

A very important tool in any negotiation of sale is communication.  When it comes to offer negotiations, there will be more than one.  Consider that your conversation with your sales rep is the very first one as you may have differences of opinion.  That is expected.  Essentially, your rep will guide you as best he/she can in any given market.  Today’s market, fraught with competing offers with homes being bid far beyond asking prices, it really is anyone’s guess what another buyer will pay.  The second negotiation is between the listing or selling rep, depending on what you are doing.  Some real estate sales representatives communicate very well, others, don’t.  That can become a challenge to ensure information flows quickly. The third negotiation is with the two individuals attempting to achieve a win/win buy and sale agreement.  These two parties, most of the time, don’t meet at the negotiation table.  In an attempt to keep emotions at bay, the listing and selling sales reps play an important role to represent their respective clients in, hopefully, a harmonious negotiation. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Buyers Were Asking: Co-operative Housing

In this strong market, some people are turning to co-ops as an affordable home ownership option.  The key difference in co-ops and condos is the type of ownership.  

With co-operative ownership each owner retains a share of the asset and as such, this forms the partnership with all other owners.  There is a board of directors as is the case with condominium ownership, but, this board will also be the panel of ‘judges’ any shareholder wishing to become an owner must present himself before to secure approval BEFORE moving in.  

Another main difference to ownership is the method to secure financing.  Because this ownership involves partnership, a traditional bank mortgage will not be extended as the bank cannot become a shareholder.  Typical methods to finance are clear out cash or a line of credit backed by other assets.  The units are typically one to two bedroom apartments where each owner pays a fee for exterior maintenance and upkeep of the parking surfaces, lawns and garden areas, similar to a regular condominium.  

Just another alternative to look into.