Has summer clutter taken control of your home? Fall gives everyone the perfect reason to declutter from summer and prep for the rest of the year. If you have a cluttered home, here are a few tips to help you begin your fall cleaning.
Start with the Closets Closets are the easiest place to begin. You and your kids should try on every piece of clothing. Get rid of anything too small or out of style. Next, move the summer clothes to the back and your fall and winter clothes to the front. Make sure those clothes still fit; if not, they must go!
Lose The Summer Garage Chaos Do you have bikes, gardening supplies, summer sports equipment taking over your garage? Take a weekend and give your garage a fall makeover. Donate or sell old toys, bikes, and tools. Map out a storage plan to fit your summer stuff and make your winter tools accessible.
Freshen up The Kitchen Whether it's for the big game or the upcoming holiday season, fall is the start of hosting season. Take time to declutter, organize and scrub your kitchen. Get rid of the extra little things you don't use. You might be surprised at the duplicate items you find. Trash, donate, or sell the items to make a little extra cash.
Get Rid of Old Toys If you have kids, you most likely have old toys shoved into a closet, drawer, or corner. If they haven't seen the light of day in a while, it's time to pass them on.
If you're looking for a new home with more space, fall is a great time to buy and sell. Call us for a 10-minute consultation. 604-984-7253.
Even if you haven’t been following the real estate industry lately, there’s a good chance you’ve heard we’re in a serious sellers’ market. But what does that really mean? And why are conditions today so good for people who want to list their house?
It starts with the number of houses available for sale.
The latest REBGV Home Sales Report for July 2021 shows the Sales-to-Active listing ratio is still astonishingly high. Today, we have a 2-month supply of homes at the current sales pace. Historically, a 6-month supply is necessary for a ‘normal’ or ‘neutral’ market in which there are enough homes available for active buyers.
When the supply of houses for sale is as low as it is right now, it’s much harder for buyers to find homes to purchase. That creates increased competition among purchasers which leads to more bidding wars. And if buyers know they may be entering a bidding war, they’re going to do their best to submit a very attractive offer. As this happens, home prices rise, and sellers are in the best position to negotiate deals that meet their ideal terms.
Right now, there are many buyers who are ready, willing, and able to purchase a home. Low mortgage rates and the ongoing rise in remote work have prompted buyers to think differently about where they live – and they’re taking action. If you put your house on the market while supply is still low, it will likely get a lot of attention from competitive buyers.
Today’s ultimate sellers’ market holds great opportunities for homeowners ready to make a move. Listing your house now will maximize your exposure to serious buyers who will actively compete against each other to purchase it. Connect with a local real estate professional to jumpstart the selling process.
The Best Use of Time (and Money) When It Comes to Renovations
In the current sellers’ market, many homeowners wonder what, if anything, needs to be remodeled before they list their house. That’s where a trusted real estate professional comes in. They can help you think through today’s market conditions and how they impact what you should – and shouldn’t – renovate before selling.
Here are some considerations a professional will guide you through:
1. With current supply challenges, buyers may be willing to take on projects of their own.
A more balanced market typically sees a 6-month supply of homes for sale. Above that, and we’re in a buyers’ market. Below that, and we’re in a sellers’ market. According to a recent report by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, our current supply of homes for sale still remains solidly in sellers’ market territory:
“Low housing supply remains a fundamental factor in Metro Vancouver’s housing market,” Stewart said. "Home sales remain above average and we’re starting to see price increases relent as well. Going forward, the supply of homes for sale will be among the most critical factors to watch. This will determine the next direction for house price trends."
So, what does that mean for you? If you’re a seller trying to decide whether or not to renovate, this is especially important because it’s indicative of buyer behavior. When there aren’t enough homes for sale, buyers may be more willing to purchase a home that doesn’t meet all their needs and renovate it themselves later.
2. Not all renovation projects are equal.
You don’t want to spend time and money on a project that isn’t worth the cost or is too niche design-wise for some homebuyers. According to an article by Renofi.com, basing home updates on what’s trendy right now can be a costly mistake:
“The last thing you as a homeowner want to do is center your home design around a passing fad – even worse, one that’s design quality won’t last a good while.”
Before making any decisions, talk to your real estate advisor. They have insight into what other sellers are doing before listing their homes and how buyers are reacting to those upgrades. Don’t spend the time and money to be trendy – if your buyer wants to upgrade to the newest fad later, they can.
3. If you’ve already made upgrades this past year, your agent can help spotlight them.
If you have already completed some renovations on your house, you’re not alone. The pandemic kept people at home last year, and during that time, many homeowners completed some home improvement projects. A recent Scotiabank Report found:
“After a year of the pandemic, Canadian homeowners are more likely to plan renovations than buy and sell their current property or purchase an investment home, despite an active housing market, a Scotiabank poll revealed. Six in ten Canadian homeowners are planning to renovate in the next 2 years, with backyards, kitchens and bathrooms topping the list.”
Let your real estate professional know if you fall in this category. They can highlight any recent upgrades you’ve made in your house’s listing.
When it comes to renovations, your return-on-investment should be top of mind. Talk with your local real estate professional to find out what projects you should prioritize before you sell and how to highlight your upgrades to maximize your house’s potential.
The key to an easy move is careful planning. There are many action items that need to be taken prior to the move all the way up to the actual day the first box is loaded on the moving truck. Take time to write down and organize the decisions and activities that will need to be accomplished prior to the move such as securing a mover and changing your address. Ideally, you should try to break up the tasks over a two-month period. By doing so, you won’t overload your schedule, plus it can save you time and money. To get you started, consider using the checklist below as a guide.
Eight Weeks Prior:
Get estimates from at least 3 professional movers. If you are going to do it yourself, get estimates on rental trucks.
Decide which furniture and household goods you’ll be taking, which need to be disposed of and which need to be replaced.
If you will be moving to a new city, contact the Chamber of Commerce of that town for a new residence packet. Your sales professional may also have information.
Six Weeks Prior:
Inventory your possessions besides furniture – Kitchenware, decorative items, electronics, apparel and so on.
Complete a change of address form with the post office. This can be easily done at www.canadapost.ca Make sure you notify organizations, credit card companies, and publications to which you subscribe of your new address, too.
If children are changing schools, arrange for a transfer of educational records.
Itemize moving-related costs with the mover including, packing, loading, special charges and insurance.
Four Weeks Prior:
Make arrangements for packing your belongings. If you will be using professionals, schedule with the company for packing to take place a day or two before the move. If you will handle the packing on your own, purchase adequate boxes, packing materials and tape. Arrange for short-term or long-term storage if needed.
Three Weeks Prior:
Begin packing items you won’t need immediately or that will go into storage.
Contact utilities on both ends of the move to order terminations or turn-on for occupancy date. Confirm travel arrangements for family and pets.
Two Weeks Prior:
Terminate newspaper and other delivery services. If necessary, arrange and confirm new bank accounts and local services in you new neighborhood.
One Week Prior:
Gather important papers, records, and valuables for protected shipment to new home or safe deposit box. Obtain any prescription medications needed for the next few weeks.
Day Before or Actual Moving Day:
Defrost refrigerator/freezer and give away all perishable food.
Keep a box marked “Last Box Packed/First Box Unpacked” for tools, flashlights, first aid kit, important documents and so on. On moving day this should be the last box placed on the truck.
Pack items to carry with you such as valuables, financial records, personal papers and so on; give the movers a telephone number and address to reach you.
To be sure, a detailed action plan can get your move well down the road before you ever depart to your new destination.
5 Things Homebuyers Need to Know When Making an Offer
When it comes to buying a house, you’re looking for the perfect place to call home. The problem is, in today’s market there just aren’t that many homes available to purchase. With inventory hovering near record lows and sky-high buyer demand, a multi-offer scenario is the new normal. Here are five things to keep in mind when you’re ready to make an offer:
1. Know Your Numbers
Having a complete understanding of your budget and how much house you can afford is essential. That’s why you should connect with a lender to get pre-approved for a loan early in the homebuying process. Taking this step shows sellers you’re a serious, qualified buyer and can give you a competitive edge in a bidding war.
2. Brace for a Fast Pace
Today’s market is dynamic and fast-paced. According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the average North Vancouver home is on the market for just 7 days – and in West Vancouver, 9 days. A skilled agent will do everything they can to help you stay on top of every possible opportunity. And, as soon as you find the right home for your needs, that agent will help you draft and submit your best offer as quickly as possible.
3. Lean on a Real Estate Professional
While homebuying may seem like a whirlwind process to you, local real estate agents do this every day, and we know what works. That expertise can be used to give you a significant leg up on your competition. An agent can help you consider what levers you can pull that might be enticing to a seller, like:
Offering flexible rent-back options to give the seller more time to move out.
Your ability to do match their dates or make an offer that’s not contingent on the sale of your current home.
It may seem simple, but catering to what a seller may need can help your offer stand out.
4. Make a Strong, but Fair Offer
Let’s face it – we all love a good deal. In the past, offering at or near the asking price was enough to make your offer appealing to sellers. In today’s market, that’s often not the case. From Spring 2021 Statistics courtesy of the REBGV, more than 60% of homes on the North Shore sold at or over their asking price.
In such a competitive market, emotions and prices can run high. Use an agent as your trusted advisor to make a strong, but fair offer based on market value, recent sales, and demand.
5. Be a Flexible Negotiator
If you followed tip #3, you drafted the offer with the seller’s needs in mind. That said, the seller may still counter with their own changes. Be prepared to amend your offer to include flexible move-in dates, a higher price, or minimal contingencies (conditions you set that the seller must meet for the purchase to be finalized). Just remember, there are certain contingencies you don’t want to forego. For example, resist the temptation to waive the inspection contingency. Instead, consider doing a pre-offer inspection. There are various levels of inspection that can be provided in this case.
When it’s time to make an offer, it’s important to consider not just what you need, but what the seller may need too. Contact a local real estate professional for expert advice on this step in the homebuying process. Relying on an agent’s knowledge and guidance can help you put your best offer on the table.
With several Big-Five bank CEOs calling for regulatory action to slow the red-hot housing market, it didn't take long for the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), the governor of federally regulated financial institutions, to respond. In a news release issued today, OSFI proposed an increase in uninsured mortgages' qualifying rate to the higher of the mortgage contract rate plus 200 basis points or 5.25% as a minimum floor.
Based on posted rates of the country’s six largest lenders, the current threshold is at 4.79%. Before the pandemic, the posted rate was widely considered too high relative to much lower contract rates. Remember, Canada's six largest lenders under OSFI's jurisdiction set the posted rate each week when they submit to the Bank of Canada the so-called 'conventional 5-year mortgage rate'. It has increasingly born little relationship to actual contract rates.
OSFI, once again, shows itself to cozy up to the Canadian banking oligopoly. Keep in mind that delinquency rates on the Canadian banks' mortgage books are very low--both in historical terms and compared with financial institutions in the rest of the world. OSFI couched this proposal in terms of "the importance of sound mortgage underwriting."
In the release, OSFI said, "The minimum qualifying rate adds a margin of safety that ensures borrowers will have the ability to make mortgage payments in the event of a change in circumstances, such as the reduction of income or a rise in mortgage interest rates. As mortgages are one of the largest exposures that most banks carry, ensuring that borrowers can repay their loans strongly contributes to the continued safety and soundness of Canada’s financial system."
The comment period ends on May 7. OSFI reported that they would communicate the revised B-20 Guideline by May 24, with an implementation date of June 1, 2021.
This all but ensures that the current boom in home buying will accelerate further in the spring market--providing an impetus for borrowers to get in under the June 1 deadline. OSFI's move will trigger an even hotter spring housing market as demand is pulled forward just as it was before the January 1, 2018 implementation date of the current B-20 ruling.
This will not impact non-federally regulated FI's such as credit unions, mono-lines and private lenders, nor does it immediately impact insured-mortgage borrowers.
The federal government is in charge of mortgage qualification for insured mortgages. CMHC and the finance department could well follow OSFI's lead in tightening qualifying rules for insured loans.
It is noteworthy to remember that on January 24, 2020, OSFI indicated that it was reviewing the benchmark rate (or floor) used for qualifying uninsured mortgages. At that time, the thought was that the widening gap between the posted rate and the contract mortgage rate was too large and that OSFI and the Bank of Canada would publish a mortgage rate weekly that would better reflect the contract rates. The new qualifying rate would be that contract mortgage rate plus 200 basis points. This consultation was suspended on March 13, 2020, in response to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the hot topics in real estate right now is -- if I sell my home where am I going to go? What if I can’t find a new home? And what happens if I need to sell before I can buy a new home?
Our team has some great tips for helping solve these big dilemmas: • We can write an offer on a new home contingent upon you selling your home but in this hot market this is our least competitive option. • Sell your home to the buyers then rent back your home for a couple of months from the new buyers until you find your next home. • Sell your home with a reverse contingency -- your sale would be contingent upon you finding your next home within a reasonable time period. • Sell your home then move to a short-term rental like an Airbnb, VRBO, or extended stay hotel until you find your next home. • Sell your home and move in with family or friends short-term. • Take out a bridge loan on your current home to have a downpayment for your new home
We want to assure you that you have options and selling for top dollar, with terms that are in your favor, and buying while interest rates are at an all-time low are great ways to take advantage of this amazing real estate market we are currently in.
The BC government recently introduced Bill 7 - Tenancy Statutes Amendment Actto extend the current residential rent freeze to December 31, 2021, create regulations to prevent renovictions, and improve dispute resolution. These changes, if passed, will come into effect on July 1, 2021.
The new rent freeze means all renters who have received a rent increase notice that would have taken effect after March 30, 2020, and before Jan. 1, 2022, can disregard those notices. Starting in 2022, rent increases will be capped at the rate of inflation.
Landlords will be required to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) before terminating a tenancy agreement if they’re renovating.
Landlords won’t be able to end tenancies for renovations that aren’t substantial or don’t require the rental unit to be vacant.
Proposed changes will improve the residential tenancy dispute resolution process by expanding grounds for the RTB to review arbitrator decisions, including formally reviewing a decision where it’s clear an error has been made. The goal is to divert cases from the judicial review process to the RTB’s internal review process, reducing costs to tenants and landlords, the courts, and government. All of these changes fulfil recommendations of the government’s Rental Housing Task Force. (Opens 72-page pdf)
The industry perspective
David Hutniak, the CEO of LandlordBC, says his members of organization aren’t happy the rent freeze has been extended throughout 2021. “Many landlords haven’t been able to, and now won’t be able to compensate for inflationary increases to for their businesses for two years. Property taxes are up, insurance costs are up,” Hutniak said, noting landlords and tenants have been helped by the government’s structured rent repayment plan. As for the renoviction regulations, Hutniak explains that landlords can still make investments. “If the scope of the renovations requires ending tenancies and vacating the building, we can still do this. We just have to go through a RTB arbitrator. Overall, this will increase transparency and end conflict.”
A strata depreciation report is a thorough written, and sometimes illustrated, physical assessment of the condition of a strata property that identifies current and future issues that need to be addressed with associated cost estimates. According to provincial regulations, a depreciation report must include an inventory and evaluation of a building’s:
* Exterior (such as roofs, roof decks, doors, windows and skylights),
* Systems (such as electrical, heating, plumbing, fire protection and security); and
* Common amenities (such as fitness room, pool, bike lockers etc).
* Collectively, the items listed above are known as "common property" as they are elements that are shared by all owners of individual units within the building.
Why is a Strata Depreciation Report important?
It helps strata corporations plan for the repair, replacement and renewal of common property and assets, especially those that require considerable outlay of money, such as roofs, windows, elevators, roads or utilities.
They are also an important part of a Buyer’s due diligence as they provide insight into future repair and maintenance needs and their associated costs. It is in your best interest as a Buyer to thoroughly review strata depreciation reports and seek legal or other expert advice before making a buying decision.
Buyers should also understand that a depreciation report covers common property as part of a strata building and not individual units within that building. As such, be sure to get an independent inspection for the specific unit you are considering purchasing.
What isn’t covered in a Strata Depreciation Report?
Depreciation reports don’t normally cover every item in the common property or routine repairs and maintenance. Buyers should still do their own due diligence in having the property inspected as well as obtaining other strata documents, including but not limited to bylaws, rules, regulations, meeting minutes, strata plans, summary of insurance coverages etc. To obtain additional information, Realtors will typically request other strata documents in addition to the depreciation report.
Are Strata Depreciation Reports mandatory in BC?
In most cases, yes.
Under B.C.’s Strata Property Act and Regulations, strata corporations must obtain a depreciation report unless the strata consists of fewer than 5 strata lots. The Regulations also require the report to be updated every three years.
Yet - Strata Corporations can opt out …
Strata corporations in BC can waive their requirement to obtain a depreciation report, or defer the renewal of one, if 75% of the owners pass an annual vote in favour. Voting to waive a depreciation report can backfire however, with the long-term costs of unanticipated repairs and maintenance needs often far outweighing any short-term savings gained from opting out. In addition, prospective buyers are sometimes reluctant to invest in stratas that don’t have a long-range maintenance plan in place and as important - lenders and insurers may consider stratas without depreciation reports greater risks.
This year will be remembered for many reasons, and optimism is one thing that’s been in short supply since the spring. We’re experiencing a global pandemic, social unrest, an economic downturn, and natural disasters, just to name a few. The challenges brought on by the health crisis have also forced many homeowners to reevaluate their space and what they need in a home going into 2021. So, experts are forecasting that next year is one in which we can be optimistic about real estate for three key reasons:
1 The Economy Is Expected to Continue Improving
Following a record contraction of the Canadian economy in the first half of 2020, the third quarter saw a vigorous rebound in economic growth. Real GDP grew 8.9 per cent, or 40.5 per cent on an annualized basis, bringing the economy back to within 4 per cent of its pre-COVID-19 level. The distressing second wave of COVID-19 and the restrictions it has necessitated have jeopardized the recovery that’s currently underway.
However, we still expect the economy to post positive real GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2020, though there is the risk that a renewed fear of public spaces combined with targeted restrictions will prompt a modest retracing of output.
The ultimate economic impact of COVID-19 by the end of 2020 will be a Canadian economy that is about 2 per cent smaller by year-end. That said, promising results from vaccine trials should lead to very strong growth in 2021 as pent-up spending floods back into the economy. We expect Canadian real GDP will grow by an average of 4 per cent over the next two years.
Courtesy: BCREA Economics
2 Interest Rates Are Projected to Stay Low
Along with a massive expansion of its balance sheet to facilitate QE, the Bank of Canada has also reaffirmed its plans to keep its overnight policy rate at 0.25 per cent until it sees slack in the Canadian economy fully absorbed. Given current forecasts for economic growth, that may not occur until 2023, meaning these low rates will be around for quite some time. There are, however, other factors in the economy and financial markets that may push mortgage rates marginally higher over the next year.
3 Future Home Sales Are Forecasted to Grow
Canadian real estate brokerage Royal LePage expects home prices to rise 5.5 per cent in 2021, building on unexpectedly strong growth this year, driven by a shortage of properties for sale and record low interest rates.
"The upward pressure on home prices will continue," supported by lack of supply to meet surging demand and policy makers promise to keep interest rates at record low, Royal LePage chief executive Phil Soper said.
The average Canadian home price rose more than 15 per cent in October from a year earlier to an all-time high, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.
Royal LePage expects the shift to larger homes, which has driven a surge in sales and prices of single-family houses this year, will moderate as "life returns to normal," easing some of the pressure on condo markets.
Experts forecast that buyers and sellers are going to be active in 2021. If you’ve thought about buying or selling your home this year but have held off, now may be the time to take advantage of this market. Reach out to a local real estate expert to take the first step toward your new home today.
Good news continues to arrive, albeit in bits & pieces, concerning Strata Insurance rates in our province.
The B.C. Financial Services Authority is the regulator responsible for the private sector insurance industry in British Columbia.
At the direction of the Minister of Finance, BCFSA released its interim report on the rising cost of strata insurance in British Columbia on June 16, 2020. This report found that premiums have risen by approximately 40 per cent throughout the province on a year-over-year basis, with deductibles experiencing up to triple-digit increases over the same period. The Province introduced amendments to B.C.’s Financial Institutions Act and the Strata Property Act to help address the cost and availability of strata insurance in B.C.
Around this time each year, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to sell their houses. Similarly, others who already have their homes on the market remove their listings until the spring. Let’s unpack the top reasons why selling your house now, or keeping it on the market this season, is the best choice you can make. This year, buyers want to purchase homes for the holidays, and your house might be the perfect match.
Here are seven great reasons not to wait to sell your house this holiday season:
1. Buyers are active now. Mortgage rates are historically low, providing motivation for those who are ready to get more for their money over the life of their home loan.
2. Purchasers who look for homes during the holidays are serious ones, and they’re ready to buy.
3. You can restrict the showings in your house to days and times that are most convenient for you, or even select virtual options. You’ll remain in control, especially in today’s sellers’ market.
4. Homes decorated for the holidays appeal to many buyers.
5. Today, there’s minimal competition for you as a seller. There just aren’t enough houses on the market to satisfy buyer demand, meaning sellers are in the driver’s seat. Over the past year, inventory has declined to record lows, making it the opportune time to sell your house.
6. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop during the holidays. Buyers who have been searching throughout the fall and have been running into more and more bidding wars are still on the lookout. Your home may be the answer.
7. This season is the sweet spot for sellers, and the number of listings will increase after the holidays. In many parts of the country, more new construction will also be available for sale in 2021, which will lessen the demand for your house next year.
More than ever, this may be the year it makes the most sense to list your house during the holiday season. Reach out to a local real estate professional to determine if selling now is your best move.
There are many benefits to working with a real estate professional when selling your house. During challenging times, like what we face today, it becomes even more important to have an expert you trust to help guide you through the process. If you’re considering selling on your own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO), it’s critical to consider the following:
1. Your Safety Is a Priority
Your family’s safety should always come first, and that’s more crucial than ever given the current health situation in our country. When you FSBO, it is incredibly difficult to control entry into your home. A real estate professional will have the proper protocols in place to protect not only your belongings but your family’s health and well-being too. From regulating the number of people in your home at one time to ensuring proper sanitization during and after a showing, and even facilitating virtual tours for buyers, real estate professionals are equipped to follow the latest industry standards recommended by the WCB and CREA to help protect you and your family.
2. A Powerful Online Strategy Is a Must to Attract a Buyer
Recent studies have shown that, even before COVID-19, the first step 44% of all buyers took when looking for a home was to search online. Throughout the process, that number jumps to 93%. Today, those numbers have grown exponentially. Most real estate agents have developed a strong Internet and social media strategy to promote the sale of your house. Have you?
3. There Are Too Many Negotiations
Here are just a few of the people you’ll need to negotiate with if you decide to FSBO:
The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
The inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find challenges with the house
The appraiser, if there is a question of value
As part of their training, agents are taught how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate the emotions felt by buyers looking to make what is probably the largest purchase of their lives.
4. You Won’t Know if Your Purchaser Is Qualified for a Mortgage
Having a buyer who wants to purchase your house is the first step. Making sure they can afford to buy it is just as important. As a FSBO, it’s almost impossible to be involved in the mortgage process of your buyer. A real estate professional is trained to ask the appropriate questions and, in most cases, will be intimately aware of the progress being made toward a purchaser’s mortgage commitment.
Further complicating the situation is how the current mortgage market is rapidly evolving because of the number of families out of work and in mortgage forbearance. A loan program that was available yesterday could be gone tomorrow. You need someone who is working with lenders every day to guarantee your buyer makes it to the closing table.
5. FSBOing Has Become More Difficult from a Legal Standpoint
The documentation involved in the selling process has increased dramatically as more and more disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. In an increasingly litigious society, the agent acts as a third-party to help the seller avoid legal jeopardy. This is one of the major reasons why the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.
6. You Net More Money When Using an Agent
Many homeowners believe they’ll save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save on the commission.
A study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of an agent. In some cases, the seller may even net less money from the sale. The study found the difference in price between a FSBO and an agent-listed home was an average of 6%. One of the main reasons for the price difference is effective exposure:
“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”
The more buyers that view a home, the greater the chance a bidding war will take place.
Listing on your own leaves you to manage the entire transaction by yourself. Why do that when you can hire an agent and still net the same amount of money or more? Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house alone, reach out to a local real estate professional to discuss your options.
1.Maximize curb appeal The outside should draw people inside. Neatly trimmed bushes, mulched beds, weeded lawns all help make that crucial "first impression". Freshly painted front doors with new mailboxes and house numbers are easy ways to create maximum impact without breaking the bank. Adding seasonal urns by the front door for some color are another way to brighten up concrete steps or boring brick.
2. Choose a neutral color palette
Bold colors are great for living, but not for selling. Light and Bright should be your motto! Stick with a warm, neutral palette like tans, taupes, and greys. Avoid dark colors, especially in small spaces (like powder rooms). Keep the ceilings white to keep walls looking tall. Rule of thumb, if the walls haven't been painted in over 2 years, now is the Time!
Return on investment: 109 percent*
3. Let there be light
Lighting plays a vital role and is often overlooked when getting a property ready for sale. Dark hallways, rooms with little natural light, basements, and bathrooms should be addressed. A minimum of a 2-bulb overhead fixture with maximum watt bulbs can transform a dingy area. There should be NO overhead receptacles without a light fixture! Consider adding pendant fixtures in dining rooms and eating areas. Big box stores offer affordable options in brushed nickel or silver fittings.
Adding ambient lighting is essential especially in areas where there is no overhead outlets. Adding table lamps and floor lamps will help brighten up any room and help your property appear as "light-filled" as possible.
Return on investment: 303 percent*
This is the other main area that always increases the value of a home. It will ALWAYS cost you less to replace worn carpet or add new flooring then to leave it to the new home owners.
Most purchasers are looking for reasons to discount their offers. Flooring is one of the first things buyers see when they walk in. If their first thought is "I will need to replace these floors", I guarantee they are discounting their offers $5000-$10000 for condos and $7000 – $15000 for houses. Doing the work yourself will cost you a fraction of that amount.
Return on investment: 107 percent*
5. It's all in the details
Replace all burnt out bulbs, touch up any nicks and dents in high traffic areas, replace torn screens, and fix leaking faucets. Once the fix-ups are done it's time to focus on the pretty stuff. Fresh linens in the bathrooms, a bowl of fresh green apples on a kitchen island, fresh flowers on a dining table or in the entranceway.
Adding live or silk greenery to bathrooms and adding a new crisp bedding set to the Master all help create the impression of a well-cared for home.
6. Clean, clean, clean This may seem like common sense, but unfortunately, it's still the one area owners tend to try and shortcut. This is the time to hire a professional cleaning company. Special attention should be placed on appliances, inside and outside of cupboards, baseboards, and windows. Bathrooms should be scoured and if necessary use grout cleaner to get the tiles looking spotless!
7. Highlight best use of the space
Tenants may have liked to use the dining room as an office, but it should be shown with it's intended purpose. Giving a room more than one function (i.e. guest room and office) is a great way to effectively show the space. In condos, this becomes essential when space is at a premium.
Using small glass desks with a stool you can tuck in can creatively introduce a "workspace" where one wouldn't think possible. Adding a daybed to a den/office creates extra sleeping space. Determine what adds the most value to potential buyers in your neighborhood and showcase the space accordingly.
8. Kitchens and bathrooms are the places to invest.
If you have dated cabinetry, cracked and worn laminate counters, chipped or broken tiles, consider investing in repairing and upgrading these rooms.
If your budget is limited, changing cabinetry hardware to brushed nickel or silver knobs and handles will give it an immediate appeal. Consider painting cabinetry instead of replacing them.
Depending on the price point of your property it is often worthwhile to install stone counters. This immediately adds value and is very durable for long term use. If stone is not in the budget, consider a "stone-like" laminate counter. Recaulking around sinks and bathtubs is a simple improvement that can greatly improve the look of a bathroom.
Return on investment: 172 percent*
Remember, Vacant properties sit, staged properties sell! Staged homes sell 2 – 3 times faster and up to 6 percent more than unstaged ones**. People perceive staged units that are well decorated as worth more. Professional stagers know how to highlight the features of the unit and distract from any "not so desirable" features.
If your budget is limited consider focusing on the main living areas and at least one bedroom. If you can't borrow furniture and artwork, rental companies carry everything from furniture to linens. Just keep in mind that the goal is to show people how to use the space effectively.
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