Thursday, December 31, 2015

Sellers Were Asking: Too Many Treasures

Frequently we run across a disappointed buyer who hardly looks at a house we thought she'd fall in love with because all her attention is caught by an abundance of stuff. Can a house actually be too well decorated?  Usually not, but it can be too full of stuff, even though it is excellent stuff. 
It's difficult to tell people they simply have too much, that less, in home selling is always more.  A buyer must be able to assess a home's suitability in typically less than an hour (I book a house per half hour).  And, in a hot market, they've got to act fast.  Often, there's not enough time to go back for a second look.  It makes their job so much more difficult when they can't see past the knick knacks to determine whether the kitchen has room for a high chair.  
So, what's a seller to do?  Reduce the collectibles.  If you're serious about selling keep in mind you're going to have to start packing sooner or later.  So, start sooner.  It may be you have too many pictures in a small room.  Removing some will only make the room look more spacious.  Kitchen counters look more generous if most of the appliances, bowls, bottles and notepads are gone.  Even an over-magneted refrigerator door can be distracting.  
If we can help, give us a call!

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Christmas Story: My Two Moms


As I watch our families gather for this year's Christmas celebration, I marvel at my Mom's ability to greet each family member with a mixture of sheer joy and in the next moment, utter confusion.  The memories come flooding back through music and dance.  So, every second Friday, my brothers Mo and Mark take her to the Legion for a fish n' chip dinner and dancing to all the old music she knows by heart.  Mo dances well, keeping step with her agile grace.  I, on the other hand, am admonished with the...One, Two, Three...One, Two, Three...of the ever patient teacher, who now openly informs me I am not as good a dancer as my eldest brother.  I am slowly meeting the two faces dementia is evolving in my Mom.  Some, quite comical, if you know my quirky sense of humour, the other, saddens me as I am reminded daily of her struggle to cover up the lapses quickly eluding her.  She now is 89 and holding strong in her 94 year old self.  My wish for her to remain 89 comes with a slap with all the frightened questions now arising.  'Where are we going?', 'Who are those men?', and the funny announcement that brother Mo put the wrong number on her birthday cake...yet again this year.  She whispers, 'we won't say anything, best not to embarrass him'.  

She loves her great grand children even though she asks "who do they belong to?". Our Christmas celebration came early this year and we coupled it with birthday celebrations. Sherry's Dad's legacy lived on in a railway train cake with a car for each birthday celebrant. We were also joined by Sherry's brother Rick, Mom, and nieces Caitlin and Jenna with their spouses Adam and John, along with cousins Norrie and Paula, whose Mom, my Aunt Nora also suffers from this unwelcome affliction.  Music and song provided by Rick Hill, much to the delight of grandsons Calvin and Grayson who happily danced to Christmas tunes. Sadly, as in many family celebrations, some family members choose to stay away and are missed.  As each year ticks on by, the realization that life is short and yet life lives on by what you do for and to others while you still can. 

May your family come together to celebrate the passing of 2015 and the opening life 2016 will offer.  

Friday, December 18, 2015

Buyers Were Asking: Complex Concerns - Empty Nester

For the empty nester, the prospect of moving into a town home complex is often met with anxiety...
  • What if I hate living in such close quarters?  
  • Condo fees are a waste of money.  
  • I'll never fit all my stuff in!  
RELAX...  Too many people get all worked up at even the prospect of selling the family home and then a year later, after the condo move, will tell us they should have done it years sooner.  You really owe it to yourself to at least take a look first and then make the decision that best suits you.  By investigating all your options, you'll at least increase your choices rather than just deciding that this is not at all an option.  

It's really about quality of life, isn't it?  Take a drive through complexes you think might be to your liking.  Drive through at 9 AM, 12:00 PM, 3:30 PM and 10 PM.  You'll see first hand what is happening in the neighbourhood...
  • Are there lots of little children playing in the playgrounds?  
  • Are the grounds in good repair?  
  • Is the complex in a neighbourhood you are familiar with?  
  • Is there enough parking?  
If you're having trouble settling on a complex to start looking into, view units in different complexes.  That way, you're broadening your options.  Once you've settled on a specific complex, ask your sales rep to show you all of the available homes within the complex.  You can then start narrowing down the floor plan which best suits your needs.  Maybe you want a finished basement for your new found hobbies.  Maybe you prefer to finish it yourself so that you can ensure it is to your specific tastes and needs.  

If you decide, nope, you really would prefer a smaller home, then, that's ok too.  At least you've investigated your options!  
If we can help, please give us a call! 

Friday, December 11, 2015

You Were Asking: Damage Caused by Grow Ops

If you are an unfortunate landlord who has leased property to individuals running a grow op, dependent on the length of operational time, your property may have already undergone major damage. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the average claim to repair the damage caused is $41,000.  
If you own investment property, realize that even units located in high-rise buildings have been found to attract marijuana grow operations.  You need to be extremely cautious when qualifying your new tenants.  The Canadian Real Estate Association offers the following guidelines for your protection:
  • Third party tenancy agreements
  • Questionable income sources
  • Offers to pay in large amounts of cash
  • Monthly cash rental payments
  • Secretiveness 
  • Poor credit worthiness

Although you may want to save yourself commission dollars in renting your investment property yourself, Realtors are trained to look for questionable signs and will be verifying credit worthiness.  Why risk your investment?

Friday, December 4, 2015

You Were Asking: Open Houses

Our sellers have mixed feelings about open houses, some want them, some don't.   When sellers ask if they're productive the answer is, "Yes, open houses work to expose your home to a lot of potential buyers in a two hour time frame.”  Consider it a ‘bulk’ showing.  Here are some guidelines for running a successful open house:
Seller: Your role is to polish the place, pull back the drapes (unless there's a used car lot next door), turn on all the lights, turn off the TV and the dishwasher, get rid of the kids and the dog, and above all.....Get out of the house and leave it to your sales rep.  You'll only inhibit prospects who want to look the place over carefully. 
Buyers: Don't hesitate to visit, even if you're not yet ready to buy.  You will begin to educate yourself and see what is available.  Stay within your price range. Don't be worried if you're asked to sign in, if you're already working with a sales rep., say so.  If it were your home, wouldn't you want people to identify themselves before they entered?  And, of course, take your shoes off, don't smoke, and, restrain your children.
Neighbours: You needn't be embarrassed about entering.  Neighbours are often instrumental in assisting in the sale.  You may know a friend or relative who loves the area and street.  By previewing the home for them early, you may give them advanced feedback on the benefits and features.
Sales Reps: Come prepared.  Do you have enough information sheets?  Are you fully aware of recent activity in the area?  Are you prepared to describe this home's benefits over the competition's?  Show the home, point out benefits of the property and area.  Don't stay in one room just waving the people through.  When you leave, turn lights off, check the doors and leave some feedback for the sellers advising how the open house went.