Friday, September 25, 2015

Sellers Were Asking: Hiring a Contractor


The Fall market is upon us and those of you who are thinking of selling are likely wandering around your houses making lists of items which require your attention.  The challenge becomes how to get your home ready for market before the busy season is gone.  Hiring a contractor becomes a viable option.  The search starts.  Now, just like I suggest with hiring a Realtor, you should obtain three quotes.  Seek recommendations from friends or neighbours.  Here are some questions you can ask to satisfy yourself that you will hire the right contractor:
<        How many projects similar to mine have you completed?  Can I visit the completed jobs?
<        Do you have references?
<        What kind of insurance do you carry?
<        Who will do the actual work?
<        What are your regular work hours?
<        How long will it take you to complete the project?
<        Will you provide a written contract?

The contract you obtain should stipulate a start date and date of completion.  It should give you the right to cancel within a short period before the work commences, say three days after you sign.  It must stipulate how the contractor will be paid.  Never pay the full amount in advance. It is recommended that you pay for one-third when the contractor starts the job, another third when the job is 50 percent completed, and the final payment upon completion, after all inspections are finished.  The contract must also state that the contractor will provide all required permits.  Be wary of a contractor who says you do not need a permit or who wants you to obtain it.  By following these guidelines you'll most likely avoid major problems.  Your home is likely your most valuable asset, take good care of it.

Friday, September 18, 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  presentation 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.  A lush lawn and colourful perennial gardens go a long way to offer that well groomed appearance on the outside.  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. 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, September 11, 2015

You Were Asking: Electronic Signatures Legal?


Finally, yes.  In what is supposed to be a paperless society, the real estate industry sure uses a ton of paper.  When you figure, the traditional system was 6 true copies of all Agreement of Purchase and Sale contracts; we are finally trending to some natural resource conservation!  

The implications of this, while, at first, appearing to be a bit frightening, make a ton of sense...

For one, the paperwork should offer a lot more clarity as with scanning and rescanning and printing and copying, and, in some cases, faxing, the end result of a lengthy negotiation will no longer be an illegible contract.  

Our world has been made so much smaller by the internet and travel is a big part of our lives now, so, simply by virtue of not having to print, sign and email back and utilizing an app to sign, both buyer and seller can be virtually (haha) anywhere.  

What will this do to lessen the impact of a fraudulent transaction?  There are rules as there are always rules. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Buyers Were Asking: Over-Buying


Just as under-buying is a challenge, so is over-buying.  Who over-buys?  Many times, it is the down-sizing market.  This end of the market is very reluctant to part with furniture.  Chairs, comically enough are never plentiful enough.  And, forgive the Realtor who suggests daughter Mary can hold the next holiday meal...a warning to fellow Realtors...don't do it!  As with the market who under-buys, the over-buying market too, will find themselves rambling around in a few years with a home they don't fit in.  Often, they never use the finished basement, they use only the main level.  How do you avoid the problem?  A good way is to really take stock of what rooms you use, and what you use, maybe once or twice a year.  Many down-sizers will not consider even looking at an condominium apartment.  Why not just look?  It doesn't hurt, it's free.  You can always decide you don't like it, but, looking at all of your options is much wiser than just deciding you would hate the lifestyle before exploring the option.  Buildings offer party rooms, so, there's the large dining room, often a fully stocked kitchen (dishes, cutlery, oversized refrigerators) so you can serve the food in a larger space.  Recreational facilities often include a pool, gym and activities board so you don't have to feel you are losing the pool for the grandkids.  Underground parking, utilities (some buildings) included, and a turn-key lifestyle are all favourable reasons to at least consider this home ownership option.