Monthly Archives: December 2016

Tips to Preparing for an Open House

In today’s world of technology, more and more people decide to go house hunting online. Still, this doesn’t mean they won’t take the opportunity to take a look at your home on an open house day. In fact, this is one of the best ways to get your house noticed by potential buyers. But if you want to get the most of your open house day, you have to prepare for it properly. We have come up with 4 tips that will help you do so.

Get Rid of Pet Odors

If you have a pet, you might have got used to their odor in your home. But bear in mind that not all of the potential buyers might like animals and any odors like this might be a reason why they decide to set their sights elsewhere. It’s also important to mention that there is a lot of people who are allergic to pets, and they are always less likely to buy a home that smells like cats or dogs. Mixing 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in a spray bottle and spritzing the air all over your home should help you eliminate the pet odor.

Groom Your Garden

During your open day, potential buyers are not only going to examine the interior of your home, but they will also want to take a look at your backyard. That’s why you should make sure that everything in your backyard looks great. And grooming your garden is definitely a great way to start. You can mow your lawn, pull weeds and cut any old branches you come across. Remember that your front garden will be the first thing the potential buyers will see, so putting some extra effort into grooming is always a good idea.

Modernize Your House

It is no secret that modern houses are much easier to sell. Having this in mind, you should also try to do whatever you can to bring your home into the 21st century before you actually organize an open day. This means you should think about installing a smart thermometer or security camera. You can also have your TV mounted to the wall instead of having it stand on a cupboard, just make sure you hire professionals do this for you. If you live in Australia, you can always contact experts who offer wall mount installation services in Brisbane.

Remove Your Personal Items

Potential homebuyers always want to imagine your house as their new home. And if there are your personal items all over it, they will hardly be able to do so. For this reason, you should put away stuff like family photos or your kids’ drawings from the fridge. Also try to de-clutter the entire place as much as possible. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should take all of your stuff somewhere else. Just try to minimize the number of items that will prevent others from imagining your house as their future home.

Do all of these things and your open house day is guaranteed to be a big hit. The more effort you put into preparing for this event, the more likely you will be to make a sale. Not to mention that if you prepare properly, you might end up getting even more money for your house.

Tips To Sell Your Home In 2017

It’s 2017. Now what? Yes, the new year is typically a time for hope and renewal and for those who are looking to sell – and simultaneously buy – a home, it can represent a fresh start. But this year, political and social realities are giving some would-be home sellers pause.

Thankfully, the real estate market continues to show real strength, with many housing experts projecting home sales prices and inventory to rise in 2017, replacing doubts with consumer confidence.

“Housing prices rose nationally by around 6% in 2016, but the expected increase in 2017 ranges from 3% to 5%,” said 24/7 Wall St. “With inventory of existing homes at historic lows and a rise in interest rates thanks to the Federal Reserve, housing inventory for 2017 is almost certain to rise. For prospective sellers that means that if you were planning to sell your home this year, it’s time to get cracking.”

If you’re thinking about selling this year, these tips will help.

Be patient

Sales have been swift in many parts of the country for several years now. That can make sellers who don’t get offers on day one feel antsy. Despite some ultra-competitive markets where multiple offers and offer-asking-price sales skew the national numbers, across the country, the average days on market of a home for sale is 50.

Price it right

You may be tempted to price your home at the top of the market – or set a new top if you’re in an especially desirable area and if inventory is low. But overpriced homes don’t sell, which is probably why your real estate agent is recommending a lower listing price.

If you’re insistent about your price, don’t be surprised if you get zero bites or the nibbles you do get are far below what you’re asking. Your agent’s pricing strategy will be based on market conditions and designed to get you the most money in the least amount of time. What it won’t be based on: What you owe on the home, what you think it’s worth based on your own estimation, or what you need to get out of it to buy your dream home.

Don’t be afraid to loan shop

If you’re selling your home to buy another, like most people, you might be concerned about rising mortgage rates. Rates are still near historic lows despite The Fed raising interest rates at the end of 2016 and indicating that further increases are in store for this year.

“Because the mortgage rate makes a big difference in how much you’ll pay for your home, it makes financial sense to shop around for the lowest rate you can qualify for,” said Investopedia. But many people don’t look beyond the first offer. According to a mortgage borrowers survey, “Almost half of borrowers seriously consider only a single lender or broker before deciding where to apply,” and “Seventy-seven percent of borrowers only end up applying with a single lender or broker, instead of filling out applications with multiple lenders or brokers to see which can offer the best deal,” said the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Asking your real estate agent for a few different trusted referrals could make a big difference. “Getting an interest rate of 4.0% instead of 4.5% translates into approximately $60 savings per month,” they said. “Over the first five years, you would save about $3,500 in mortgage payments. In addition, the lower interest rate means that you’d pay off an additional $1,400 in principal in the first five years, even while making lower payments.”

Make sure your home is clean and lean

It’s more important than ever to make sure your home is as close to perfect as possible before you put it on the market. Unless your agent is planning to market the home as a “project,” it needs to be spotless. You’d be surprised how much better your home can look just by applying some simple staging secrets.

Listen to your agent’s advice

Staging may only be the beginning of what your home requires to get it sold, and your agent’s advice will be critical to getting it where it needs to be. “Sure, you no doubt know more about your home than anyone else. But your real estate agent knows more about how to sell it,” said Realtor.com. “And your agent may make some suggestions you might not like to hear. It’s tempting to take offense or just ignore this advice, but if you do, you could risk seeing your house sit on the market and grow stale.”

Be careful of over improvements

Getting your home in great shape may mean making some improvements, updates, and upgrades. But be careful not to go too far.

“Dying to install new kitchen cabinets or retile your master bath? Home sellers often assume any upgrades they make to their home will pay them back in full once they sell, but that’s rarely the case,” said Realtor.com. “On average you will recoup just about 64% of the money you spend on renovations once you sell—and certain improvements can actually work against you if they’re unusual or undesirable in your market, Jason Shepherd, co-founder of Atlas Real Estate Group, told them.

Tips To get The Home Ready For Senior Years

Downsizing to a condominium or apartment isn’t in everyone’s retirement plan. In fact, many people don’t want to give up their home or their community just because the years are marching on.

Forty-seven per cent of pre-retired and 56 per cent of retired survey respondents said “staying in my home is critical for my quality of life,” according to a 2015 HomEquity Bank/The Brondesbury Group’s retirement study of Canadians aged 55 plus.

However, aging in place may require some work. A HomEquity Bank/Ispos Canada survey focusing on Canadian homeowners 55 years and older asked if renovations were needed so they could remain in their homes. Fifty-eight per cent said that improvements would be needed (46 per cent said minor renovations would be required while the others said the renovations would be major).

Forty-four per cent of the 300 Canadian homeowners surveyed in spring 2016 said their kitchens and/or bathrooms would require work to make them accessible.

Another 38 per cent of those surveyed for the HomEquity/Ispos survey said they would have to add grab bars and hand rails in their home. Twenty-one per cent said they would want to install security or medical aid systems.

It’s never too early to start planning to age in place. “The earlier you start planning, the more prepared you will be to respond to changes that occur as you age, such as changes in your health, mobility or social connections,” says the Government of Canada website page.

“To successfully plan ahead, you need to start thinking about how you want to live as you age and what steps you need to take to achieve that lifestyle…Making choices now will give you greater control over your independence, quality of life and dignity.”

Go through your house to see what changes can be made to help you age in place, and as you renovate, include as many of those features as possible.
If you’re doing major renovations, you may choose to add an elevator, widen doorways and hallways or add large walk-in showers instead of a hard-to-climb-into freestanding tub. If major renovations aren’t feasible, you may want to add a stair lift to help you get up and down stairs, or add a full main-floor bathroom and convert a main-floor room into a bedroom so you don’t have to navigate stairs.

Door levers are easier to use than knobs. Consider installing electric outlets higher from the floor so users don’t have to bend as low, and place switches closer to the floor to make them accessible for people in wheelchairs.

Even if people don’t have mobility issues now, they may want to think about future accessibility designs. Adjust the height of counters and have a removable portion under the sink to accommodate a wheelchair.

The Rona Home and Garden website says a good bathroom layout should include a toilet area in the least visible part of the room, separate from the rest of the room if space allows. “For maximum comfort, allow 30 inches of space on each side of the toilet and 30 to 40 inches in front.”

In the shower and bathtub area, leave at least 60 inches along the side for easy access and another 30 inches in front of the tub. Include a cabinet or shelves to store towels and other necessities.

Leave eight inches free on either side of the washbasin. Vanity heights of 32 or 34 inches are more ergonomic for wheelchair users or smaller people, says Rona.

“Try to make sure cabinets are installed more than 36 inches from the edge of the bathtub or deck (for a drop in tub). If there is a wheelchair user in the family, allow at least 60 inches for easy manoeuvrability between fixtures and furniture.” A minimum of 60 inches between the different elements of the bathroom, such as countertops and fixtures, is required to manoeuvre with a wheelchair or a walking aid.

Other ideas include installing a taller toilet and adjustable-height shower heads. Cork floors are a warmer, softer and less slippery option than ceramic tiles for kitchens and bathrooms.