You've heard of the term "curb appeal". It refers to the initial impression buyers get when they first see your property from the street. If the impression is a good one, it sets the right tone for the rest of the home viewing.
How do you boost curb appeal? Here are some proven ideas that you can get done in an hour or so:
• Wash both the inside and outside of the front windows. You'll be amazed at the difference that can make.
• Sweep the walkway leading up to the front entrance. Add a new welcome mat. Also, wash down the front door.
• If possible, remove cars from the driveway. Let buyers imagine their own cars parked there!
• Mow the lawn. Lightly trim the hedges. Weed flower beds.
• Remove anything from inside window sills that may look unsightly from the outside. Try putting a couple of flowering plants there instead.
• Place any trash bins out-of-sight. For example, put them in the garage or neatly at the side of the house.
• If the entrance door hardware is old and worn, change it. New hardware can make a bigger difference than you might think.
• Make sure the outdoor lights are working, especially if you're showing your home in the evening.
• Add some flowering plants to flower beds, or buy a couple of portable potted plants and place them strategically.
• Clean your mailbox. If it’s rusted, replace it.
• If you have a power washer, give the walkway and driveway a quick blast. Just be sure it will be dry before the buyers arrive.
These one-hour improvements may seem minor, but anything that helps buyers form a more positive first impression of your home is worth the effort.
When you sell, you’ll probably want to get the best possible price for your property. Who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, there are many ways to inadvertently leave money on the table – sometimes thousands of dollars.
How do you avoid that possibility? Just remember the 4 Ps:
• Prep. Do everything you can to prepare your home so that it looks great to buyers. Clean, declutter, fix, make improvements. Home staging can also help. In fact, effectively staged homes have been shown to sell for up to 5% more than comparable unstaged properties.
• Price. Set the right asking price. That’s crucial. If it's too low, you'll attract only deal-hunters — and you might end up getting less than you should. If the asking price is too high, however, you'll discourage those buyers who might otherwise be interested and willing to make a good offer. Be careful with pricing!
• Promotion. There may be qualified buyers out there who would be eager to see your property. But, they need to find out about your listing and the great features of your home first! Reaching these buyers requires more than merely profiling the listing on the MLS. Homes that sell for top dollar often have strong marketing — directed to the right buyers.
• Proposal. Once an offer comes in, there may be an opportunity to negotiate with the buyer to maximize the final price you get. This requires deep knowledge of the local market as well as street-smart negotiation skills. If done effectively, these negotiations can help put more money in your pocket.
These four Ps are easy to remember, but sometimes not so easy to implement! That's why working with a great real estate agent is so important.
Contact me to get the conversation started.
It can be tough to make the decision to sell. In fact, for many homeowners, it's overwhelming. If you're considering making a move and struggling with the decision, here are five helpful questions to ask yourselves:
1. "What are our practical reasons for selling?"
This question refers to what you'll get by moving to a new home. The reasons could include a bigger backyard, shorter commute to work, an extra bedroom, a more desirable neighbourhood, etc.
2. "What are our emotional reasons for selling?"
This question refers to how you'll feel about living in a new home. For example, you might feel safer, less cramped, less worried (because the local schools are better), or happier (because the shorter commute means more time with your family.)
3. "What type of new home can we afford?"
This question involves finding out how much you'll likely get when you sell your existing home and how much of a mortgage you qualify to receive. With that information, you'll have a price range within which you can comfortably shop plus a clear idea of what your mortgage payments will be.
4. "In what ways will our lifestyle be better in a new home?"
This ties in closely with emotional reasons for selling. It relates to what your life will be like in a new home. Try to paint a picture in your mind. For example, you might want to be able to spend Saturday afternoons relaxing in your bigger backyard or Sunday nights entertaining friends and family in your larger living room.
5. "What else do we need to know before we decide to sell and move?"
Sometimes people are hesitant about selling simply because they have unanswered questions.So, if there's any part of the selling and buying process that’s not clear, be sure to ask me.
Did thinking about these questions help make the decision easier? If you need more help or want to talk about your decision, call today!
Ideally, you would like buyers to wait until they’ve viewed your whole property before they judge it. However, the reality is, buyers start forming an impression of your home as soon as they see it from the curb. So, it pays to do everything you can to improve your property's "curb appeal".
Here are some ideas:
- You can improve the impact of your landscaping by trimming hedges, removing any unsightly weeds, and cutting the grass. Planting just a few fresh flowers can make a big impact.
- If your main entrance door is old, a fresh coat of paint will make it
look like new. In some cases, the effect is significant.
- Remove any items that might distract the buyer from forming a good
first impression. For example, garbage cans, stored items along the
side of the property, etc.
- Make sure the curtains and blinds on your front windows are open
during viewings. That will make your home look more friendly and
- If your driveway has grease stains and other blemishes, consider
renting a power washer and giving the driveway a thorough cleaning.
- Clean your front windows. If possible, also clean the exterior panes.
- Finally, if possible, park your vehicles on the street and away from your home. Doing this will not only make your home look more inviting to buyers, it will give them a convenient place to park.
Most of these tips can be done in less than a day. Yet, they can make a big difference in your home's curb appeal. They are worth the effort!
You've probably heard the expression, "The early-bird gets the worm." It refers, of course, to those who get in early and reap the rewards. For example, if you arrive early to a retail store for a big blowout sale, you're likely to get the deals before the inventory runs out. The stragglers who come later miss out.
Well, this same wisdom can be applied to selling your home. Starting the process early — even if that means simply doing some initial planning — gives you the edge in several ways.
First of all, you get extra time for preparation. That means you can get your home cleaned, uncluttered and staged without feeling rushed. You also get more time to find out how much your property will likely sell for on today's market. That's important information, especially if you're also looking to finance a new home.
Secondly, there's less stress. You'll have more time to make the right decisions. The last thing you want is to be scrambling around, last minute, trying to get your home ready for sale.
Finally, with your initial preparations done, you'll be able to put your home on the market at a moment's notice. That's a huge advantage that's likely to lead to selling your property more quickly and for the best price. In fact, by getting an early start on the process, you might even find that right now is the best time to list -- and you'll be able to do so, with confidence.
Ideally you should have a week or two available before you list your property in order to stage your home and make it look its best for buyers.
But, what if you listed quickly and within hours of the For Sale sign going up a buyer wants to view your property?
In that scenario, you need to do some quick "staging" to get your home ready. Let's assume your property is already clean and tidy. Here are some other things you can do.
· Open the curtains, even at night. This will make each room seem brighter, more appealing and more spacious.
· Pull out some boxes or storage bins. Put away personal knick-knacks (like that bowling trophy) and other personal items to reduce clutter on shelves and countertops.
· Clear countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms. Put the old toaster oven out-of-sight.
· Make sure lighting throughout the house is bright and comfortable. In darker areas, plug in a lamp.
· Clear away as much as you can in the foyer. Make that space look open, uncluttered and welcoming.
· Move cars out of the driveway. Give the buyer a convenient place to park!
· Make the beds. Fluff pillows on sofas.
· Clear away as many items as possible from the closet floors (such as shoes.)
· Open a window and air out the kitchen, especially if you just finished cooking.
· Make sure your pet is in a crate or, if possible, out for a walk. Not everyone loves pets.
These staging tips take only a few minutes each, but can make a big difference in the impression your home makes on a buyer.
Want more home selling advice? Call today.
For some people, the thought of listing their home for sale is stressful. They worry about all the things they have to do — and all the things that might go wrong.
Luckily, it doesn't have to be that way. Here are some tips for making your home sale go smoothly:
- Give yourself time to prepare. If you're thinking of selling six months from now, start preparing your property now. Do any necessary staging, and get it looking its best. Avoid doing these tasks at the last minute.
- Set the right price. Pricing your property too high will likely result in few, if any, buyers coming to see it. You might end up having to lower your price later, causing your home to linger even longer on the market. That's stress you don't need!
- Have a flexible viewing schedule. If you make it too difficult for buyers to see your property, they might lose interest or simply choose to buy another home. Be as flexible as possible when a buyer wants to view your property.
- Plan get-away activities. When a buyer comes for a scheduled viewing, don't be home. Instead, plan some fun activities for your family. Think: playground, shopping, cycling, etc.
- Accept the ups and downs. Prospective buyers might say they love your home and plan to make an offer. Then you don't hear from them again! It happens! Accept the inevitable ups and downs of selling your home.
- Get help with repairs. You'll probably have things that need to be fixed around the home, like a dripping faucet that needs repair or a room that needs painting. If possible, hire a professional to do some of that work.
- Finally, work with a great real estate agent. That will make the biggest difference in ensuring your move goes smoothly and stress-free.
Looking for a real estate agent like that? Call me!
When you're having a garage sale, one of the toughest tasks is pricing your items. If you put a price tag on your old golf clubs that’s too high, no one will buy them. If you make the price too low, they might sell quickly, but you’ll spend the rest of the day wondering if you could have gotten more!
It's similar to selling your home — except with your home, the stakes are much higher. You want to price your property to sell, but you don’t want to leave any money on the table.
How do you accomplish that?
Setting the right list price for your home requires a combination of skilled calculation and industry savvy. Let's start with the "calculation" part...
When you work with me, I'll review recently sold properties that are similar to yours in type, size, features and location. Then, using that data, we’ll calculate a range that represents your property's "current market value." For example, consider a spacious 15-year-old bungalow in a nice neighbourhood. If similar homes in the area have sold for $675,000-$750,000 in the last six months, then it's obvious that your home should sell in that range too. A list price above or below that range would be in the danger zone.
But skilled calculation is only half the task.
Setting your list price also requires expertise in the local market, combined with good old-fashioned gut instinct. That instinct comes from being on the front lines of many property transactions.
That's why working with a good real estate salesperson is so important, when you’re deciding on the list price for your home. Want to discuss selling your home? Call me.
If you're working with a landscaping contractor, you want to develop a good working relationship with that professional, so you can avoid delays, stress and other issues. After all, the last thing you want is a tree planted in the wrong spot because of a misunderstanding!
The same holds true when working with a real estate agent. Whether you're buying, selling, or both, you want the process to go smoothly and successfully. Creating an ideal working relationship with your agent is an important step toward making that happen.
How do you do that?
First, ask your agent to go over the process with you. If you're selling your home, you want to understand the steps the agent is going to take. That way, there will be fewer surprises. In particular, you’ll want to discuss how viewings will be handled. You'll need to come to an agreement as to when your home will be available for viewings, how short-notice viewings will be handled, and whether or not "lockbox access" will be needed.
Don't be afraid to ask questions, even if you're worried about seeming to be naive. (You won't!) You don't want to have unanswered questions or concerns between you and your agent.
Also, know that misunderstandings and mistakes can happen in any relationship with a professional. So if an issue comes up, discuss it right away. Don't let it fester.
Finally, remember that your agent should be a professional like me, with expertise in buying and selling in this market. When I make a recommendation regarding pricing, prepping your home, viewings, etc. remember that I am working in your best interest. I want to sell your property, quickly and for a good price, just as much as you do!
Looking for an agent you can trust? Contact me today!
Thereare many good reasons to put your property on the market. Some examples include a relocation, the kids leaving the nest, the need for something bigger or smaller, and the list goes on and on.
However, there are also some less-than-obvious indicators that it may be time to sell. Consider the following:
1. Your Property is no longer a Good "Fit"
Your home may have been perfect for you when you bought it. But things change. Families grow. Needs evolve. For any number of reasons, your property may no longer be a good fit for you. If that's the case, it makes sense to at least take a look at what's available on the market. Who knows? Your next "perfect" home may be for sale right now — within your price range!
2. The Neighbourhood is Changing
You may have been in love with the neighbourhood when you first moved in. But, over time, the characteristics of any area can change. Those changes don’t necessarily mean the neighbourhood is getting worse. In fact, it may be changing in a positive way; perhaps becoming more urban. But, "more urban" may not be what you want. So take a look at the direction your neighbourhood is heading. Ask yourself, "Do I still want to be living here in two years?"
3. You're Ready for Your Dream Home
Remember when you purchased your current property? Did it have every feature you wanted? Was it your dream home? Or, did you have to compromise on a few things, such as the size of the kitchen? If you had to make some tough choices back then, it might be time for you to finally get the home of your dreams.
Those are just three indicators it may be time for you to make a move. Of course, there are many others. If you've been entertaining the idea of selling your property and finding your next dream home, give me a call. I can show you what's available on the market, and keep you informed of new listings that match what you're looking for. Contact me anytime
You've probably heard about "home staging". As the name implies, it's all about arranging each room in your home in a way that will make the best impression on buyers. Here's what you need to know about staging if you're thinking of listing your property.
1. Staging can get you a higher price.
On average, a fully-staged home tends to sell for 17% more than an unstaged home of the same type in the same local market. Depending on the current market value of your property, doing some staging in your home could put thousands of extra dollars in your pocket, post-sale.
2. It can speed up the sale.
A study by the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) showed that fullystaged homes spend an average of 90% less time on the market. So, if you need to sell quickly – without dropping your price – or you just want the comfort of having offers come in sooner, staging will definitely help.
3. You don't have to go crazy.
Completely staging every room in your home is going to give you the full benefits of this strategy. However, you don't have to go that far. In fact, just implementing a few simple staging techniques to some key rooms can make a big difference.
4. Get professional help or advice.
When it comes to home staging, don't guess at it. Get professional help or advice. As a REALTOR®, I have a lot of expertise in this area and often provide clients with proven, do-it-yourself staging tips and suggestions. I also provide a professional stager as part of my services when listing your home. Contact me anytime.
When you think about looking for a new home, one of the first questions that probably comes to mind is: "What type of property can I afford?" That's an important question because your price range is a major determining factor in the types and sizes of homes you should be viewing.
You don't want to waste time looking at properties that are beyond your price range. At the same time, you don't want to purchase a less-than-ideal home, only to realize later on that you could have afforded more.
So how do you determine what type of new home you are qualified to purchase?
The first step is to find out what your current property would likely sell for in today's market. I make that calculation for clients all the time. It involves reviewing what homes similar to yours have sold for recently, as well as other data — such as special features your home may have that are likely to boost the selling price.
Once you know the current market value of your home, subtract any outstanding mortgages and estimated selling expenses, and you’ll end up with an amount that can be applied to the purchase of your next home. (You may also have other funds you want to use.)
The next step is to talk to a lender or mortgage broker to see how much of a new mortgage you qualify for. (Call me if you need a recommendation.) It's important to get a Pre-Qualification or Pre-Approval. That makes the offer you make on a new home more credible.
If you want to find out the types and sizes of homes you can get into, give me a call. I'd be happy to show you the possibilities!
For some homeowners, the process of listing, showing and selling their home can be stressful. Fortunately, there is plenty you can do to make it much less nerve-racking—and even exciting and enjoyable.
Here are some ideas:
1. Make a plan. Decide when you’re going to show your property, search for a new home, view listings, etc. Block out these times in an agenda book or calendar. That way, you and your family can see what’s coming up.
2. Be flexible. Few things go exactly as planned! So, it’s important to build in flexibility. For example, you may plan to see homes for sale on Saturdays, but if an opportunity comes up on a weeknight, give yourself room in your schedule to jump on it.
3. Eat well. There are numerous studies that connect poor nutrition with increased stress. When people are selling and moving, there’s a tendency to rely on quick fixes, such as hot dogs and pizza! Try to plan more nutritious meals that will keep everyone healthy and energized.
4. Get stuff done early. Doing things last minute, such as finding a real estate lawyer or getting rid of clutter, can quickly lead to stress and frustration. Whenever possible, get tasks done early. That way, you won’t have to worry about them.
5. Hire the right professionals. By far, the surest way to a stress-free move is to get the right professionals working for you: everyone from contractors to mortgage brokers to movers.
By the way, a big part of what I do for clients is help make every aspect of buying, selling and moving go smoothly. Contact me to learn how I can help you.
Sometimes the reason for putting your home on the market is crystal clear. For example, you might have a job relocation and need to move. Or, you might have decided to downsize because the kids have left the nest.
However, there are many other motivations to list your home that are not as obvious, and yet are still good reasons to make a move. Here are just a few examples...
• You’re bored with your home and are looking for a change.
• There’s something you’ve always wanted in a home that your current property doesn’t have, such as a wooded backyard.
• You want to be closer to work, or to activities you enjoy, such as golf.
• You want to be closer to family.
• The neighbourhood is changing in a way that no longer fits the lifestyle you want.
• There’s another neighbourhood you’ve always dreamed of living in.
• Your tastes have changed and you want to live in a different type of home.
None of these reasons makes it an absolute necessity to list your property and find a new home. Yet, they’re all worth considering, especially if moving will make you and your family happier, and provide you with a more desirable lifestyle.
Want to talk about the possibilities? Call today.
Your neighbourhood has a lot of features that can help sell your home faster. Unfortunately, buyers don’t usually notice those features just by driving around. So, you need to make sure they get all the information they need about your neighbourhood.
For example, say homes don’t go on the market often in your area. That’s an indication that the quality of life in the neighbourhood is so good that no one wants to leave! In real estate we measure the area’s “turnover rate”, and it’s handy data to have when listing your home.
Another bit of data that buyers can’t simply see is the local crime rate. But, most police departments keep those statistics. If your neighbourhood has a low crime rate, that’s an obvious plus to sellers.
Demographic data can also be helpful when selling your property. If your neighbourhood has a lot of families, for example, that’s going to be appealing to buyers with kids.
Even local development plans can play a role in making your home more attractive to buyers. If a new ramp to a major highway is in the works nearby, getting to work is going to be easier. That’s a big benefit to commuters.
Other types of data that can help sell your home include:
• Planned local construction.
• Proposals for neighbourhood improvements. (For example, a new playground.)
• Rates at which local property values are increasing.
Any information that shows the advantages of living in your area is going to be useful when selling. By the way, this is the kind of information I put together to provide to prospective buyers when selling your home. Contact me today.
Preparing your home to list in the Spring? Here are some great pre-listing tips to get you started..
As a general rule of thumb all properties will directly benefit from the following pre-listing improvements:
Repairs: Any small repairs that are necessary should be attended to prior to listing the property. Go through the subject property critically and take care of all the things that have not been done. We often get used to little annoyances like a squeaky door or hard to open cabinet doors. We often don't notice rusty house numbers or a wobbly fence, but the buyers will! You can hire a handyman or go at it yourself and do these things before you consider putting your house on the market. Buyers look for homes that have been well maintained inside and out.
Paint: Get a good quality paint and go over the inside of the home. It makes a big difference and makes the property look fresh and well cared for. If the exterior needs a touch up, it's worth it to have that painted as well. Choose light neutral colors for paint.
Landscaping: Take a critical look at the yard. If you need inspiration, go to a new home development to see what the pros do with landscaping. Also check pintrest or on-line sources. It doesn't have to cost a fortune to pull out shrubs or plants that are not thriving and replace them with nice new ones. Focus on the areas that are immediately around entry points to the home, walkways and entrance areas. These are the areas that will be most noticeable to buyer’s. Use ground cover around the new plants in the flowerbeds and add seasonal flowers to unify the space. Water the lawn and add seed to refresh it if it’s patchy.
Clutter: We all have lots of stuff! Remove any and all non-essential items from the house. Pack away, "knick-knacks," collections, family photos and all furniture that is not absolutely necessary. Less is more inside the home and gives buyers a chance to envision themselves living there. This also helps you to get some of the pre-packing done before moving day comes.
While the above is general advice about preparing a property for sale, each home does have its own set of unique circumstances. Before listing, my professional home stager and I will create an additional staging plan tailored to your specific property to help it show it off in it’s most favorable light once. We want don’t want you to spend time or money unnecessarily on the preparation. Our plan can help you pinpoint the critical improvement areas that will create high return on investment and improve the overall marketability of the property.
Imagine you were selling your car, and a prospective buyer was on the way over to see it. What would you do? You would probably make your vehicle look as clean and shiny as possible, inside and out.
The same holds true if you’re selling your home and there’s a potential buyer on the way. You want the buyer to be wow’d by your property. Here’s a handy checklist to follow:
• Clean every room. Make your entire house look as “guest ready” as possible.
• As much as is feasible given the time, reduce clutter. Consider packing some items into boxes and storing them in the basement or garage.
• Get pets out of the house. You can take them for a walk, have a neighbour watch them, or take them to a good kennel.
• Turn on the lights, even during the day. You want each room to look bright.
• If there are any maintenance issues, such as a dripping faucet, let your Realtor know. Often, it’s best for buyers to be told rather than discover such issues themselves.
• Open the curtains, except in those rooms where the sun will be uncomfortably strong during the viewing.
• Move your vehicles from the driveway so the buyer can park there. (That can help them imagine living there, which is what you want!)
• Make sure your foyer is especially clean and uncluttered. It’s the first “room” the buyer visits.
• Avoid cooking just before a viewing. Even if the meal is wonderful, the aroma may linger. (Some people don’t like the smell of certain dishes, such as fish.)
• Freshen up the outdoor space. Mow the lawn. Sweep the walkway.
This viewing checklist will help you prepare your home quickly, so when the buyer comes in your front door, there’s a much better chance he or she will be impressed.
Buyers are using the internet to search for properties more than ever before. In some cases, they can even go on a “virtual” tour of a home using their smartphone or desktop computer. So, you might be wondering if the old-fashioned Open House still works these days?
The answer is yes. Otherwise, you wouldn’t see them advertised. If Open Houses didn’t work, no one would be doing them!
No matter how good the internet gets, it can’t compete with a buyer being able to visit a property in person, walk through the rooms, stand in the backyard and imagine himself BBQ-ing with his family, stroll the area, and meet neighbours.
An Open House makes it easy for buyers to do just that.
It’s an open invitation for them to come by at a specific date and time, to see the property and chat with the REALTOR®. It’s a casual environment, which many buyers prefer. Some buyers, in fact, are more comfortable going to an Open House before scheduling a private viewing.
Will you need an Open House to sell your home?
That depends on a lot of factors. When I work with clients, I put together a marketing plan designed to sell the property quickly and for the best price possible. Depending on the circumstances, that may or may not include an Open House.
If you have questions about what would be involved in a quick and successful sale of your home, contact me. I’d be happy to chat and answer your questions.
Is selling your property the furthest thing from your mind? Well, here are some reasons for listing your property that you might not have considered.
1. Your property may be worth more than you think. (It’s difficult to determine market value on your own. I can calculate it for you. Give me a call.)
2. You might qualify for a better home than you anticipate.
3. Perhaps you are tired of your current property and want a change.
4. There may be homes on the market in a neighbourhood in which you’ve always wanted to live.
5. Your current property may no longer meet your needs.
6. Your neighbourhood may have changed in ways you don’t like.
7. You might be ready to downsize or upsize and you no longer want to put that off.
8. You may want to sell in the fall, so you can have a fresh start in a new home in the new year.
9. Depending on the type of home you’re considering, you could end up with lower mortgage payments or no mortgage at all.
10. You might want to move to a home that’s more conveniently located near work, family and hobbies.
Of course, you may have your own reasons for listing this month. Why not discuss them with a real estate expert? Me. I can answer your questions and explain the options available to you.
When you list your home for sale, you want as many buyers as possible to find out about it. So consider how many friends, neighbours and work colleagues you have. Then think about how many people they know.
The number is likely in the hundreds. One of those people could be looking for a property just like yours.
That’s why getting your friends to spread the word about your listing is so effective. How do you do that?
One strategy is to have a moving party. This gives you an opportunity to ask your friends, as a group, to tell others about your listing. You can also encourage your friends to bring a guest who is currently in the market for a new home.
Another good idea is to put a profile of your listing on Facebook. This is the fastest and most convenient way for your Facebook friends to point others to your listing.
Do you have friends who work at larger organizations like banks and factories? They probably have access to an employee lunch room with a bulletin board. You can spread the word by asking them to put up an information sheet on your listing.
Try one or more of these ideas. Combined with my marketing plan for you, they can help get more qualified buyers to your doorstep.
Want more tips on promoting your listing? Call today.