Real Estate Tips
CONSIDERATION BEFORE YOU BUY
The first thing you'll need to determine is what your long-term goals are and then how home ownership fits in with those plans Narrowing down your big-picture homeownership goals will point you in the right direction. Here are five questions to ask yourself:
- What type of home best suits your needs?
You have several options when purchasing a residential property: a traditional single-family home, a townhouse, a condo, or a multi-family building with two to four units. Each option has its pros and cons, depending on your homeownership goals, so you need to decide which type of property will help you reach those goals. You can also save on the purchase price in any category by choosing a fixer-upper, although the amount of time, sweat equity and money involved to turn a fixer-upper into your dream home might be much more than you bargained for.
- What specific features will your ideal home have?
While it's good to retain some flexibility in this list, you're making perhaps the biggest investment of your life, and you deserve to have that investment in purchase fit both your needs and wants as closely as possible. Your list should include basic desires, like neighborhood and size, all the way down to smaller details like bathroom layout, kitchen and number of garages.
- How much mortgage do you qualify for?
Before you start shopping, it's important to get an idea of how much a lender will actually be willing to give you to purchase your first home. You may think you can afford a $300,000 home, but lenders may think you're only good for $200,000 depending on factors like how much other debt.
- How much home can you actually afford?
On the other hand, sometimes a bank will give you a loan for more house than you really want to pay for. You want to look at the total cost, not just the monthly payment. The monthly payment is extremely important, but I like my clients to be a wear and not be House Poor. Know electricity, water, your medical bills and other items that you would typically spend in a month not just the monthly mortgage payment.
- Who will help you find a home and guide you through the purchase?
As a Real Estate Broker can help you locate homes that meet your needs and that are in your price range, then meet with you to view those homes. Once you've chosen a home to buy, I will negotiate the entire purchase process, including making an offer, negotiate counter offers and I work closely with your lender of choice, and completing all the contractual paperwork associated with the purchase. Priding myself as real estate professional specialist I can help protect you from any pitfalls you might encounter during the process. There is a large risk and not having an agent on top of their game could potentially cost you your earnest money. Ask me how to prevent this from happening to you.
GET YOUR HOME SOLD
Declutter – but don’t depersonalize
- Get rid of all the excess stuff that has accumulated in every nook and cranny. Put it in storage or give it to a friend and offer it up at your local free store.
- People need to be able to envisage what the property would look like if they were living there. People often find this difficult, so make it easy for them to see all the fantastic living space you’re offering them.
- Don’t make it look like a generic hotel; leave some personality. Apart from anything else it gives buyers suggestions as to what they might do.
- People are often buying into a lifestyle as much as a property. Show them the attractive side of your lifestyle
- Consider removing any bulky furniture that makes the room feel small and replacing it with smaller furniture.
A fresh lick of paint
- Giving your walls a fresh lick of paint, neutral paint will make your home seem lighter and bigger.
- It will enable the viewers to more easily imagine how they would adapt the rooms to their needs.
- It will be easier for the buyers to move in and use the rooms immediately than if the walls were still bright purple or lime green.
- Create a good first impression – give the front door a new coat of brightly coloured paint, add flower pots outside in the entry way.
Fix and clean
- Make any minor repairs necessary – holes in walls, broken door-knobs, cracked tiles, torn or threadbare carpets. Many buyers want to move in without making changes, so allow for this.
- Clean everything until it sparkles. Get rid of limescale, clean and repair tile grout, wax wooden floors, get rid of all odors, hang up fresh towels. This will make the place more appealing and allow viewers to imagine living there.
- Tidy up the garden: cut bushes back, clean the patio and furniture of moss and dirt, and cut the grass. While this doesn’t add much value to your home it makes it more likely to sell as people visualize themselves using the garden
Update the kitchen
- The kitchen is the most valuable room in a house. It is worth the most per square foot and can make the difference when buyers are unsure.
- Consider refacing your kitchen cabinetry, only if yours needs a facelift. This is much cheaper than installing new cabinetry and often as effective.
- Upgrading kitchen counter tops is expensive, but can add serious value.
- Declutter the surfaces and just leave a bowl of fruit out. Take out any bulky appliances.
Light and airy
- Wall mirrors make a room look much bigger and lighter. Consider putting some up, especially in smaller rooms or hallways.
- Clean windows inside and out, and replace any broken light bulbs. Making the place feel light and airy makes rooms feel bigger and the property more attractive.
- Ensure that you have lamps on in any dark corners.
- Putting a soft lamp in the bathroom can create a warm glow.
Light a fire
- If it’s a cold evening, or even chilly day, light your fire. Consider burning some pinecones for the delicious smell. This will make your home feel warm and inviting. If you don’t have a fire then ensure the fireplace is clean.
Make it look pretty
- Make sure the windows are properly dressed with blinds or curtains as naked windows make a place feel impersonal and run down. Buy some cheap ones (i.e. Ikea) if necessary.
- Plants and flowers bring color, life and light to a room and also smell delicious. So does that fruit bowl on your kitchen counter.
Get the right smells
- Bad smells are the single biggest turn off for prospective buyers. Don’t just cover them up, fix the source of the smell. Clear drains, wash bins, open windows, air the kitchen from old cooking smells, get rid of furniture that is embedded with cigarette smoke, and wash all bedding.
- If you are a smoker, place bowls of vinegar around the house and leave out for three days. Though the vinegar will smell when you open the windows it will disappear quickly taking a most of the stale cigarette smell out with it.
- Remove dogs for all showings and even if fluffy doesn't always use the basement box, for the love of selling your home...go to the basement and clean the litter box.
- Conversely, good smells can make a property feel like an alluring home. While it might be impractical to bake fresh bread, cakes or brownies for every viewer that visits your home, you could perhaps brew some fresh coffee.
Showing the property
- You’ll have chosen a good estate agent (see How should I choose an estate agent? ), so let them show the property.
- It’s their job to know what things to say, what to highlight and what to downplay.
- Home owners please leave. Let the broker do their job. Most buyers feel more relaxed when the home owner is not home.