November 10, 2016
9 Things To Look For When Touring A Home
Don’t get overwhelmed right out of the gate when starting your home search; peruse your options with confidence, knowing you are comparing apples to apples as much as possible.
Are you in the market for a new house? These 9 items top the list of things to consider whenever you tour a home:
Keep in mind all the places you need to go, and how far away they are from this current house location. Calculate the distance to your work, schools, groceries stores, and favourite nightlife spots. Wherever you frequent the most, such as your job commute or gym, should be your top location priority. Also, see how close you are to gas stations and freeways. These aren’t always considered, and it can be a pain to have to drive a long distance just to get to the airport or to fuel up.
If this is important to you, stop a few minutes at each window in the home you’re touring to check out the view. Take note of the direction the windows are facing to see if you’ll get that brilliant sunrise or sunset everyday. Also, check out how close you are to your neighbours, and see if they can easily look into a room.
Before you step into a potential home to tour, drive around the neighbourhood a little. Take a look at how people landscape their yard, if they have kids playing in the street, and if a block ends on a busy intersection. This is especially important if you have young kids that will be playing a lot outside. Your neighbourhood also plays a huge role in your home’s overall value.
This might seem like a small detail, but a poorly designed driveway can cause some serious stress. Make sure all your family cars can comfortably drive on it to easily access the garage. Some homes have a pillar dividing two or more spots, which can lead some larger vehicles unable to maneuver inside. Also, make sure you don’t have anything blocking your line of sight when you back out, such as tall shrubs or blind corners.
Size and Floor Plan
Pick up a floor plan while you tour a home, and revisit it and keep the house’s layout fresh in your memory. Imagine yourself walking between each room, and note any troublesome areas. Consider the overall space of each room, and know that a larger space will require you to run your heater longer, add more furniture, but will be perfect for a larger sized family. Measure your current furniture to get an idea of where you would put things like couches, beds, dressers, and any other bulky items. Some furniture might not fit, so make sure you factor these purchases into your budget.
Room Count: Beds and Baths
Consider your family’s needs, and if you will eventually need an extra bathroom or bedroom after a few years. Smaller homes can actually benefit a bigger family since they will be easier to clean, plus they transition well once all the kids have moved out. Take into consideration what you currently have now, and ask yourself if this amount of rooms truly meets your needs.
Ideal Kitchen Layout
Do you enjoy cooking? You’ll want to make sure your kitchen flows well, and that all the appliances you need are easy to access. When you’re touring the kitchen, walk through a typical dinner preparation, from cutting board counter height to oven door clearance space; it should all be tested. Ask your REALTOR® what appliances will stay in the kitchen so you can budget for the missing ones, such as a fridge.
Ask your REALTOR® to show you homes with varying layouts so you can experience how each one might work for your unique cooking needs.
Open every single closet while you tour. Take detailed notes of each storage space on your floor plan of the home, then see if it will work for your needs. When people move, usually they like to de-clutter, but there will still be some items you’ll need to store in your new home. Bring a tape measure with you so you can get exact measurements.
Windows and Finishes
Having natural lighting in each room will cut down on your energy bill drastically. See where each window is placed throughout the home to get an idea of how much sunlight you’ll be getting. Ask your REALTOR® how old the windows are, and if they might need to be replaced. Also, notice the finishes in each room such as the hardware style, molding, and focal points - like a fireplace. These can be changed out or disguised, but it’s best to find a place that already meets your expectations. Bring a camera or use the one on your smart phone to snap some photos of the details that drew you in, then file them with each house’s paperwork for future reference.
It might sound like a lot of prep work to do before touring a home, as well as a lot to think about during the showing, but this will ultimately make your final decision much simpler. You don’t want to miss out on a charming home if you can’t make up your mind, so make it easy on yourself by sufficiently preparing ahead of time, and you’ll be guaranteed to find a perfect home that meets all your needs.
*This article is syndicated and licensed from Realtor.GetWrittn.com.
October 11, 2016
Dream With A Theme
From, Bjorn Rygg, Pillar to Post
While not every room in your home needs to follow a theme, you may find yourself designing a bedroom around a child's favorite Disney character, sports team or activity, or playing up your own hobby or even trying to recreate the serenity of a vacation spot in your own bedroom. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you decorate.
- Make sure you don't go overboard with your theme while forgetting about the practicality of your room. If you can't sit/lie/relax on it, it's about as practical as stiletto heels on the beach. In other words, you don't want a bedroom that shows well but doesn't invite comfort and relaxation.
- Remember that a themed bedroom doesn't mean running out and buying every known accessory relevant to your vision. Your theme can be jumpstarted as easily and inexpensively as choosing the right shade of paint for the walls. Sports fans looking to create a shrine to their team should know there is paint designed to match team colors perfectly, allowing them to instantly surround themselves with logo-matched paint to complement the team accessories they plan to display.
- Looking to create a dreamy bedroom space? You'll want to choose calming colors for the walls and bedding. You may think white is right, but again, keep practicality in mind: spills happen, dirt comes out of nowhere, and before you know it your calming oasis turns into just another stress-inducing imposition. White can work in some situations, but keep your lifestyle in mind before you commit.
September 7, 2016
6 Deal-Breakers that Will Send Home Buyers Running for the Hills
Selling your home is all about appealing to the market. You’re putting a product out there, so of course you have to take steps to make it appeal to your prospective customers. Some flaws are excusable: not having a fireplace in the living room, kitchen tiles that are slightly out of fashion, and so on. When your home has certain flaws, however, you’ve got to take steps to improve or downplay them – otherwise, they’ll send any sane home buyer dashing for the door.
Utilities Gone Wild
Water, heat, and electric are the first things any smart buyer will check in a prospective home, so you’d better make sure yours are up to code and working at full throttle. Get your home inspected before you sell to get aware of any issues at hand, and have them taken care of professionally unless you’re a licensed technician – home inspectors can tell when something’s a DIY job, and you don’t want to get slapped with legal fines down the line if something goes wrong. These utilities are serious issues that could end disastrously without an experienced hand, so don’t let that DIY itch get the best of you.
A Home So Cozy That We Can’t Turn Around
It’s always tough to sell a small home, especially if you and your real estate agent don’t do your part to make the house an attractive purchase without denying the issue. Buyers know when a house is small, but you can expand it to the eye with clever staging – clear out clutter, stage with small furniture, and let in plenty of light. Don’t forget to sell your buyer on the benefits of living small: cheaper utility bills are no joke, especially to first-time home buyers and retirees looking to downsize.
This Place Has Really Let Itself Go…
Some buyers don’t mind a small home improvement project waiting for them when they move in: laying new tiles, repainting rooms, and tearing up carpets aren’t overly expensive undertakings, and can help a new buyer to settle in to a new place. However, there’s a difference between “we should tear up these tiles, they’re not really our style” and “we should tear up these tiles, I think something’s building a civilization beneath them”. Do your part to take care of the big home improvement projects before you even put the house on the market. Your house will sell faster, and you won’t have to take hits on your desired price tag.
Those Aren’t Termites! The Walls Are Just Rustic!
Insect and vermin infestations don’t need to be as severe as a termite attack to have an adverse impression on buyers, and they don’t even need to be infesting the house itself. If your lawn and garden are home to some nasty beasties, your buyers will be able to tell with even the briefest inspection that something iffy is buzzing around – especially when it’s buzzing right in their face.
For severe issues such as the aforementioned termites, a professional exterminator is absolutely essential – the exterminator will not only work to get rid of the bugs, but will also assess any potential damage to the home and its foundations. If you’re lax on getting this inspected and professionally fixed, be prepared for legal repercussions. Less pressing problems, like a booming mosquito population, can usually be improved or eradicated with a little bit of detective work, instead of smelly, lawn-damaging pesticides. Check online for what kinds of environments your given insect invaders thrive in – that long grass is prime real estate for ticks, and stagnant water attracts mosquitos. A bit of lawn improvement can go a long way.
Is That a Lawn or a Jungle?
Many home sellers neglect to include their home’s great outdoors in their prep work, and do so to their own peril. A messy, unkempt lawn will impress no one: not only will it put your home’s curb appeal in the toilet, but if things are especially dire, you might find that potential buyers refuse to even take a step outdoors. Are lions and tigers lurking in that unmowed grass; or more reasonably, ticks and fleas? Are they going to need a tendonitis shot for being in the proximity of your rusted lawn furniture? No buyer wants to be saddled with the responsibility of cleaning up the mess of a yard that you’ve left them, so do your part beforehand and get some gardening done.
In This Neighbourhood, It’s Always Party Time
Noisy neighbours (and their noisy children, noisy pets, and noisy guests) are one of the biggest deal-breakers out there when trying to sell a home, and unfortunately, it’s usually an issue that’s completely out of your control. Noise is only one of the many sins that bad neighbours can commit: there’s also the nosy neighbour, the rude neighbour, and the messy neighbour. A neighbour that parties into the night is just as bad as a neighbour that peeps into your windows, a neighbour that refuses to give back children’s toys that have gone rogue into their yard, or the neighbour whose yard is so messy that they couldn’t give the toy back if they tried.
In the end, the only thing that can solve this issue is communication. If politely requesting that a neighbour cease their bad habits doesn’t work, consider building a privacy fence to block out at least some of the issue – if the problems are severe, you may have to get local law enforcement involved. In any event, it is heavily advisable for you to speak about the issue at hand to your real estate agent so they can devise an appropriate plan to keep prospective buyers informed, but still interested.
Taking care of these deal-breakers before your home even goes up for sale will do a lot for your selling prospects. Homes that are well-maintained and attractively staged consistently spend less time on the housing market, and go for more money, than those that could do with some TLC. Put in some elbow grease, and you and your prospective buyers will be thankful for it in the long run.
August 31, 2016
Three Home Projects That Will Get You Top Dollar For Your Home
If you are considering a home renovation project, it might not be realistic to take on your entire home, but even just a few upgrades can lead to a much higher selling price for your property. In a competitive market, standing out from the other homes in your neighbourhood is paramount. Below are three important projects to focus on before selling your home that are guaranteed to add that added dose of special sauce buyers are looking for.
To many, the kitchen is the most important part of the home – this idea is echoed in an old saying: people talk business in the living room, but friends hang out in the kitchen. The kitchen is where families spend time together preparing meals and talking about the day. It is where friends laugh over a glass of wine and platters of cheese and crackers. It is the nucleus of every house, and it is what a majority of buyers admit is one of their make or break items when comparing multiple listings.
Buyers like to see clean and new appliances. If your budget allows, consider getting stainless steel appliances, ideally in a fingerprint-free finish. If there is no money freed up for this kind of an upgrade, a good, thorough washing can do wonders, and don’t forget to tidy the magnets and photos on your refrigerator while you’re at it.
Next, consider replacing worn or outdated countertops. Granite or butcher block are always in demand, but any high-quality, durable countertop in a neutral tone would be a great addition to your kitchen.
Be sure to take into consideration what is appropriate for your property’s listing price when starting to update your kitchen or any area of your home, for that matter. For example, putting marble floors and granite counter tops in a lower priced property would be a bad investment as the chances of recouping that money in equity down the road might not be as great as you had envisioned.
It's wise to consult with your REALTOR® before diving into home improvement projects so you can get a comparative market analysis. This will give you an idea of what your home will sell for, allowing you to budget appropriately for your renovation projects.
Many homebuyers are intimidated about taking on large renovation projects, preferring instead to get into a home that is “move in ready.” This is especially true of first time homebuyers, as they may not have the initial budget to put up a down payment and then dive headfirst into upgrading or renovating their new home. By presenting potential buyers with a kitchen that is updated and clean, you make it that much easier for them to fall in love with your house and sign on the dotted line.
Tip: Burn a softly scented candle in the kitchen to diffuse any lingering cooking odours if your REALTOR® calls with a last minute showing.
Giving your home a fresh coat of paint is an easy and cost effective project that will give buyers a great first impression. Many people choose to do this project themselves to save money - even hiring professionals to do the job for you can be a great value if they can get the work done quickly and with great quality.
Colour selection is key to a successful paint job; your kids might love the neon green paint in their rooms, but strong colours can definitely turn buyers off. Paint the doors and moldings a slightly lighter colour then the walls. "It's a subtle shift in colour but it really brings your eye to the detail." Says Sheri Thompson, director of colour marketing and design for Sherwin-Williams.
Years of wear and tear can leave your walls with scratches and scuff marks. So even if painting isn’t in the cards for you, taking the time to wash your walls will brighten up your existing paint in no time.
Tip: Pay special attention to the interior lighting of your home. Darkly painted rooms can feel depressing and uncomfortable, but a carefully placed lamp can make all the difference.
Adding proper lighting is a simple and effective way to make your home feel more warm and inviting. Interior designer Melanie Freundlich offers up some excellent tips for using interior lighting in your home:
- A beautifully lit living room is accomplished through variety: variety in height, locations, and even bulb colour.
- Use light to feature something you love, like a favourite painting, a statue, or a wall with a decorative finish.
- The cheapest, quickest solution for upgrading your home lighting: swapping out your switch plates to a fun metal finish or even a bold colour to compliment your wall paint.
Doing all of these fantastic interior home improvement projects is wasted time if potential buyers never make it past your front door. When potential buyers drive up to your property they should see a clean and neat exterior at the very least, and – if possible – it is wise to invest in landscape features even if that just means a beautiful birdbath or window boxes filled with freshly planted flowers. It should also go without saying that your lawn should be mowed and any fallen leaves are removed. Also be sure to pick up trash or debris that can easily collect near fence lines or under trees. As an added touch, add a bright exterior light so that potential buyers can see clearly if they drive by your home after dark.
Tony Rigby, a well-known financial planner puts it this way: “Buyers are often sold on a home before they take a step inside, so it pays to make your property appealing from the outside.”
Tip: Have your home professionally pressure washed or rent your own machine if you are feeling ambitious.
These three simple home projects will definitely make your property stand out without costing you an arm and a leg in the process.
*This article is syndicated and licensed from Realtor.GetWrittn.com.
November 13, 2013
Putting Your Home On The Market? 4 Tips To Generate Interest and Offers
The condition of your home is so important in how well it does when you put it up for sale. If you leave your home the way it is, the way you live in it daily, other people will probably not be able to see it’s potential. It might be obvious to you, but viewers need to be able to see it for themselves. This article outlines 4 ways that you can spruce up your home inside and out to generate the interest you want from buyers.
The first in-person impression potential buyers will have of your house is the outside. You want to tidy up both the back and the front yards. Pull weeds, mow the lawn, and trim the hedges. If you can afford to plant some new and colourful flowers that would really brighten the yard. If your mailbox is looking dull, paint it or shine it up. The little things can make the biggest difference. Don’t forget to sweep the steps and walkway. If you have children who play outside, tidy up their toys. They don’t have to all be put away, but don’t let the yard look like an outdoor playroom.
2. Get rid of clutter
Don’t distract potential buyers with your clutter. If your house looks messy, they won’t be able to see themselves living there. This is the perfect time to get rid of your clutter and junk since you’ll be moving anyway. Put everything in their places. Put books neatly on the bookshelves, DVDs and CDs in their storage areas. Get rid of all paper clutter either by filing them away or recycling them if they’re not needed. Avoid having piles of laundry sitting on the living room floor or dining room table when viewers are coming. Clear off the kitchen counters, except for basic items. You may keep lots of items on the counters because it’s convenient, but to potential buyers it might look like there isn’t enough storage space. Do the same with bathrooms.
3. Spruce up the inside
In addition to decluttering your home, there are a few other things you can do to make your house inviting to viewers. If you have any rooms with bright or colours that are not neutral, you’d be well-advised to repaint them a neutral colour. While it would be easy enough for the new owner to do the painting, but many potential buyers will come into a home and be put off by strange colour choices. Clean the windows inside and out and given all appliances a good cleaning. Things that you no longer notice, like chipped paint in the hall, are things that people coming into your home for the first time will likely notice.
4. Make it homey
Make your house feel warm and comforting to all who enter. Homey to you might mean lots of family photos all over the place, but people viewing your home are not your family. They want to be able to imagine their own family in the space. Put away most, but not all, of your photos. Things that you can add to make your house feel more homey are things such as flowers and candles. These are common items that most people enjoy. Scents also play a part in making a house feel homey. If you can, bake cookies that will come out of the over right before house viewers arrive. The smell of freshly baked cookies is one of the most comforting and reminds us all of home.
The time that you take to spruce up your home and make it look as fresh as possible will improve your chances of making a sale quicker than if you don’t do the extra work.
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