Friday, August 28, 2015

Buyers Were Asking: Under-Buying

This is a common challenge to overcome when starting your home search.  Whether you are a first-time buyer, or, a move-up buyer, you'll find, you will first start with your "ideal money to spend" in mind.  For most buyers, there is a difference between the budget planned for and what that will purchase.  A good starting point is to plan for what you need and then add in your wish list.  If you are moving up, that becomes easier in that, you may have 1-2 children already in school.  You know you need the 3rd bedroom, possibly a 4th.  It's the first-time buyer who struggles, specifically, the newly wed couple.  Often, they forget to think 3-5 years ahead.  Those next 3-5 years will likely bring about some dramatic lifestyle changes.  Babies, day-care and schooling needs.  Parks, shopping and possibly dropping the second car, meaning walking distance to groceries becomes a must.  Under-buying, then, becomes a financial issue as now, when you least expect it, you have outgrown your home too soon.  If you find your Realtor trying to explain this to you, please listen and digest what she is saying.  We know, we've seen it, and, while, at the time of suggestion, a lot of buyers respond by saying "you're trying to get me to purchase a more expensive home so you can get more commission".  Do the math, we don't make a whole lot more in commission if you increase your purchase by $50k.  You, however, stand to lose a whole lot by forcing your hand to make your sale and re-purchase too soon.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Buyers Were Asking: Real Estate Netiquette

I think the internet is a wonderful tool for searching real estate.  Many who are in the market to sell and/or buy are using the internet as a source to seek out the ideal home.  They visit numerous Realtor sites gathering and requesting information from numerous Realtors.  Armed with reams of information, they then bombard their own Realtor with the information gathered to sort through.  

While the internet was to simplify the whole process, it has, unfortunately, now begun to complicate it. In a quick market, or, very popular market area properties tend to sell fairly quickly, almost nullifying the usefulness of this technology.  

It's time to hit the streets running.  We,  like most Realtors, are on the Realtor MLS site umpteen times a day searching and sorting for you.  You see, that's what we get paid for.  There are hours of background work completed before you meet with us.  You've come to us not only expecting solid negotiation expertise, but, also expecting for us to find you your ideal home.  We often have spent hours of time servicing other Realtor's clients (and, I'm sure, other Realtors have done the same for us) responding to hundreds of e-mails giving directions to our listings, answering questions on suitability, square footage and more.  

While we love to help, please ask your own Realtor to provide you this service.   Realize, we have the right to ask if you are under contract with another Realtor.  If you are, we simply pick up the phone and attempt to have your Realtor take you through the home.  I'm simply amazed at how many people thank me for responding so quickly and continue to ask me to advise them when they are already working with another Realtor.  

Folks, find someone to work with whom you feel comfortable and then direct all your questions to that person.  If we can help, and, you're not already working or under contract with another Realtor, please give us a call.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Sellers Were Asking: How To Decide When To Sell

Housing needs change throughout our lives.  At first, singles need a place to call their own.  Then young families move to get more space for the kids.  Later, "first generation" retirees may want less to take care of, and finally "second generation" retirees may need more support and services.  Many seniors stay in their family homes and are perfectly content to stay there.  Here are a few things to consider if you or older family members have reached the point where a retirement move might be the best strategy.

  • Are you over-housed?  Are you rattling around in your "empty nest", paying more than you want for taxes, utilities and maintenance?  If retirement has meant a cut in income, would a lower-priced home, townhome or condominium be easier to manage?
  • Do you need the equity from your family home?  For some home owners, the equity built up in a home is their main retirement savings.  Sometimes a move is needed to convert that equity into cash and income to be secure for the years to come.
  • Is the home's upkeep manageable?  Do you have the time, energy or interest to paint, clean, mow, etc?  Will the roof need replacing soon?
  • Does your home style match your physical ability?  Are there too many steps or step-down rooms in your current home?
  • Has the neighbourhood changed?  If friends, relatives, neighbours, doctors and stores have gone, maybe it's time for a change.
  • Do you want to be closer to family?  Maybe a move will save long trips and increase your visit time with the grandchildren.
  • Would a move improve your lifestyle? If travel is important, the "turn-key" lifestyle may appeal to you.

If you're in the deciding process, we can help!

Friday, August 7, 2015

You Were Asking: Indoor Mould

Contrary to popular belief, mould present in a home is not always readily noticeable by smell, or by visual inspection.  Often, it is hidden behind walls or underneath flooring.  As suspected, it can also be found behind wallpaper.  In the spring, the excess water can build up and come into your home, causing a flood in the basement.  This is usually caused by poor drainage around the home.  If the water damage is not cleaned up sufficiently in the first 24-48 hours, you may have mould in your home.  If any member of your family is suffering from; unexplained skin rashes, itchy and watery eyes, nose bleeds or even migraine headaches, these symptoms may be caused by mould. So what do you do to prevent mould?  Prevention is key as mould cannot grow where there is no moisture .  Here are a few tips to prevent mould from occurring in your home:
  • Roof - check for leaks throughout, especially in the attic area.
  • Bathrooms - shower areas - clean, clean, clean - ensure your ventilation fan is on when showering.
  • Leaks - are there any caused by plumbing?  Check the lines in bathrooms, kitchen, laundry area.  Ensure any are fixed right away.
  • Air Conditioning Units - empty and clean drain pans often.
  • Dehumidifiers - empty and clean drain pans often

 If you suspect mould in your home, a home inspector who is well versed in mould removal should be called in to take a look.  Your best protection is prevention!