You turn on the television and watch a news story about housing prices going down. Then you receive a flyer in the mail about a property around the corner that sold for a decent price. Next you read a newspaper article about the housing market on the upswing again.
It’s a little like being on a roller-coaster ride!
Unfortunately the ride isn’t much fun if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home. In fact, it can be very confusing and frustrating. You just don’t know if “now” is the right time to make a move.
In reality, the housing market has been fluctuating for decades. Yet, people sell their homes every day for good prices, and just as many people get into their next dream homes affordably.
When you hear news of market fluctuations, there are two important things to consider.
First of all, a lot of media information about the housing market is national, or at least regional. If the housing market is trending up or down nationally, remember that it doesn’t necessarily mean that your LOCAL market is doing the same.
In fact, it’s entirely possible for housing prices to be rising in your neighbourhood while they are falling nationally, and vice versa.
Secondly, if you’re selling a current property while buying another home, then the net effect of market fluctuations may cancel out.
Say, for example, that the local market is on the upswing. You’ll probably be able to sell your current home for a good price. However, the home you purchase will likely also be priced to reflect the upswing.
The same holds true when the market is down.
All that being said, there are some circumstances in which you need to consider market fluctuations when deciding whether or not to make a move. A good REALTOR® will help.
After purchasing a new home, buyers are often focused on securing a good mortgage, hiring a reputable moving company, and preparing for moving day.
Those are all important. Just don’t forget about home insurance! It’s an easy detail to miss. If you wait until the last minute to make those arrangements, you may not have time to shop around and get the best policy and rate.
When is the ideal time to shop for home insurance? When your offer is accepted. Don’t leave it until the last minute.
Lighting is, perhaps, the most important element in decorating. The right lamp, chandelier or ceiling fixture can instantly make a room more attractive and inviting. The wrong lighting, unfortunately, can have the opposite effect.
Here are five secrets to making the right choice:
How much lighting is required in a room? To calculate, simply multiply the square footage by 1.5. Therefore, a 12′ x 16′ living room would require 288 watts of lighting (12 x 16 x 1.5 = 288).
How big a chandelier do you need? Simply add the dimensions of the room together. So a 12′ x 16′ area could accommodate a chandelier that is 28 inches in diameter (12 + 16 = 28).
How far apart should lighting fixtures be installed in a hallway? Experts say that ideally a light should be positioned every 8 to 10 feet.
How do I create ambience? In the dining area for example, select a light fixture that can accommodate a dimmer switch. The ambiance of the room improves if you can soften the lighting during meals or when entertaining.
Using floor lamps? The bottom of the lampshade should be around 42 inches from the floor.
Before shopping for a new home, people often create a “wish list” of the features they desire most. That's a good way to ensure you choose a home that best fits your needs and desires. For example, you might want an extra bedroom for guests, ample space for a home office, a local playground for the kids, and so forth.
However, many buyers don’t make their lists complete enough. You might find a home with the extra bedroom and nearby playground you want, only to realize, too late, that your commute to work becomes twice as long. You missed the importance of the commute because it wasn’t on your list. Ouch!
When you make your wish list, don’t be afraid to dream big. You might not be able to find a home that includes everything you desire, but you may be surprised by just how close you can get.
Here are some wish list items to consider:
- Distances to places you visit regularly – work, schools, running trails, recreation centres, restaurants, entertainment venues, shopping centres.
- Specific home features – a backyard tree, large closets, a fireplace, a two-car garage, a beautiful view.
- Neighbourhood characteristics –safety, sidewalks, nearby public transit, playgrounds, the neighbours.
A complete list helps you make a better decision about which homes to consider. It helps you balance the positives — “I love the large kitchen with the marble countertops” — with the negatives — “The bathroom off the master bedroom is small” — to ultimately make the best buying decision.
Also remember to take your list with you when shopping for a new home. Use it as a checklist or as a way to organize notes. Ultimately it will make it easier to shortlist homes, compare them, and determine when you’re ready to submit an offer.
Want to find out which homes on the market fit your wish list?
Let’s face it. When you visit a home during a scheduled viewing or open house, you’re usually seeing it at its best. The rooms are tidy. The sinks are clean. The closets are organized and uncluttered. Even the lighting is set to its brightest.
That’s just good old-fashioned marketing.
However, not every house you see will actually look this way. For any number of reasons, a house on the market may be less than tidy, poorly decorated, and even in need of minor repairs. You may open the front door in anticipation, only to be immediately turned off by stains on the carpets, faded paint on the walls, cluttered hallways, and more.
First impressions form quickly. It’s easy to make quick judgments and move on. But, you may be passing on what could be a dream home.
Don’t make that mistake. Make your purchase decision based on a carefully considered second impression, not just your first.
When viewing a house, imagine how it will look with a fresh coat of paint, some redecorating, the minor repairs completed, and your furniture adorning the rooms. You might just find that a home that doesn’t show well is really a diamond in the rough.
(One caveat: Be careful of houses that don’t look like they’ve been well maintained. There could be issues lurking that require expensive repairs or renovations. Always make a professional home inspection a condition of your offer.)
There are advantages to buying a home that doesn’t show well. They attract less interest and, therefore, less competition from other potential buyers. The listing price may be lower too.
You shop for a home. You find one you like. You make an offer — conditional on a satisfactory home inspection.
Okay so far.
Then the inspector discovers a problem with the home that may require an expensive repair or renovation. Perhaps the frame in the front door is cracked; or there's a leak in the roof; or the furnace is due to be replaced.
What do you do?
You don't want to pass up an opportunity to purchase what could be your dream home. On the other hand, you don't want to have to deal with potentially costly repairs.
First, keep in mind that you did the right thing.
It's always a good idea to get a home inspected by a professional before the offer is finalized. A qualified home inspector will go over the property with a fine tooth comb, top to bottom, inside and out, inspecting the structure, electrical systems, HVAC systems and more.
It's their job to find any deficiencies in the home and alert you to them.
If a deficiency is found, your next best step is to discuss the issue with your REALTOR®, and go over your options. Those options may include amending the offer price to cover some or all of the costs of the repair, or requiring the seller to get the repair done before you move in.
Don't worry. This is a normal part of the negotiation process. Chances are, an agreement can be reached that is satisfactory to both parties — and gets you the house you want!
And, because you had a home inspection done, you'll know the true condition of your home when you buy it. That's peace of mind.
Remember the last time you were in a furniture store or other major home retailer? Remember the fully decorated displays of furniture, appliances and other products? Some of those may have even been organized as model rooms.
What did most of those displays have in common?
Chances are, they were well lit.
In fact, in the retail industry, there are professionals who specialize exclusively in display lighting. It plays such an important role in showcasing and selling home products successfully that the stores are willing to absorb the expense.
And the same holds true for your house.
If you want to show your house well, and sell it quickly and for the best price, make sure every room is well lit.
There are probably some rooms in your house where the lighting is adequate, such as the kitchen and bathrooms, and perhaps the foyer. But there are other areas where the lighting may be mediocre. Take a close look at:
- Storage areas
- Laundry rooms
- The garage
If there are areas in your house that are dark or shadowy, the solution may be as simple as installing higher wattage bulbs, provided your fixture can accommodate them. Keep in mind that brightness can vary significantly from one type of bulb to another. For example, a 40-watt energy efficient bulb may not give off as much light as a comparable standard bulb. So do some experimenting. Your goal is to make the room feel bright yet comfortable on the eyes.
Also, don’t forget to open drapes and blinds. Often the best and most pleasant source of light for a room is the sun shining through a window.
It’s great when you have lots of time to prepare for something important. But life doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes you have to move quickly, and do the best you can with the time you have.
Say, for example, you had to get your house ready for sale, and you only had a week to do so. What could you do in those few days to make your home as attractive as possible to potential buyers? Here are some ideas:
- Clean the house from top to bottom. Make it look “guest ready”.
- Get rid of as much clutter as possible. If necessary, put some things in storage. Try to make every room look organized and spacious.
- Get all minor repairs done.
- Paint. It’s the fastest and cheapest way to dramatically improve the look of any room.
- Don’t forget the outdoors. Prune the hedges, sweep the walkways, and deal with any potential eyesores — such as a rusted old bike stowed in the side yard.
- Place some fresh flowers in the dining room and outside next to the front door.
- Depersonalize your house as much as possible. For example, stow away family pictures. You want buyers to imagine themselves living there, not you.
This is just a partial list of ideas. A good REALTOR® can help you with more tips on preparing your house so that it sells quickly and for the right price.
We are all staring at our smart phones days and nights. From the age of 1 to the age of 99. The phones are ringing, beeping, and making all sorts of sounds to be noticed. So, why on earth don't we respond?
Why on the phone, via text or e-mail cant we be polite just like we are in a face-to-face communication?
You received documents, or information, or e-card - just say "thank you"!
Someone asked you a question - just respond something, acknowledge, tell them you are working on getting the answer and will get back to them later.
Your phone rings and you cant answer? - text message takes 30 seconds and half a finger move to send - just let them know you are still alive
You don't know who you are ignoring so don't ignore. In any case those are people and people don't deserve to be ignored.
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