Staging Market Advantage: Maximizing a property's sales appeal...quickly AND affordably! Home staging is a marketing investment in selling a home. Setting the stage for a higher selling price and a faster sale, home staging transforms properties from everyday living spaces into homes that buyers can see as their own. With it's proven success rate, home staging is flourishing in real estate markets across Canada... Home Staging Benefits: • STAGED HOMES SHOW BETTER THAN COMPETING HOMES FOR SALE. • RESEARCH SHOWS THAT STAGED HOMES OFTEN SELL FOR CONSIDERABLY MORE MONEY AND IN SUBSTANTIALLY LESS TIE THAN NON-STAGED HOMES. • STAGED HOMES ARE RECOGNIZED AS PROPERTIES READY TO SELL AND ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE SHOWN. • STAGED HOMES ARE RECOGNIZED BY BUYERS AS THE BEST PROPERTIES TO SEE The professional Home-Stager de-personalizes your home and turns into into a blank canvas, so to speak, allowing the buyer to "paint themselves into the picture easily". How to Make Your Home a Show-Stopper! Showing a house is a lot like going on a first date: you try to look well groomed even if that's not how you normally look! The old adage about first impressions being the most important is just as true for your home as it is for you. A clean house gives prospective buyers the impression that the whole house is well maintained including the out of sight items such as plumbing or heating. Most sellers know that a tidy home can help their home sell faster but 'clean' is a relative term. What one person finds acceptable could send another running for the door. Realtors® and Brokers have seen it all: ring around the bathtub, clothes on the floor, pantyhose hanging off the shower curtain, sinks full of dirty dishes, living rooms littered with toys, dust bunnies behind the sofa the size of prairie tumbleweeds… There are three main incentives to keeping your house in perfect showing condition: your home may sell faster, you may get more money for it and by removing the clutter you will allow people to focus on any improvements you've made to your home. (It's hard to see the new tile floor in the bathroom when it's covered in wet towels!) Long before the first open house, take stock of your home. Do you have piles of magazines you've never finished beside your couch? Are your closets and drawers overflowing with clothes you're hoping will come back in style? Do you trip over a pile of shoes when you walk in the door? Be brave and pack up anything you don't use on a regular basis and give away whatever you haven't used or worn in the last five years-bell-bottoms couldn't possibly make another comeback! A good guideline to aim for is the uncluttered, unobtrusive look of a hotel room. While you may feel that achieving such a high level of cleanliness is seemingly impossible for amateurs your efforts will pay off! Begin by washing the walls, windows and doors and shampooing carpets. If you have hardwood you may want to get them professionally cleaned and varnished. Put a drop of oil in squeaky joints. Polish brass hinges and doorknobs. Pets should be kept outdoors or in cages during showings for everyone's safety. If you have a cat, ensure that the litter is changed or cleaned daily. Cat odour can be a great hindrance to the sale of your home since people may worry that the odour will be permanent. Open windows shortly before a showing if possible. For the exterior of your home, a fresh paint job can do wonders. If painting your entire home is prohibitively expensive consider making small updates such as painting the window frames in a contrasting colour (ex. white against a deep blue) or just touching up rough spots. The garden is another outdoor area many homeowners overlook despite the fact that it is the first thing prospective buyers will see. Keep the lawn and bushes trimmed. If you were never much of a gardener you can still have fresh flowers by cheating a bit-make a quick trip to the garden store. Most small annual flowers are available for less then $2 per plant. Choose flowers in only two or three colours to create a sense of uniformity in your garden. Attractive flowerpots on the window ledge can be a nice touch depending on your style of house. Don't be surprised if people also want to see the garage. Some buyers feel the garage reflects the general maintenance of the entire property. Unfortunately, if you are like most people you enter your garage half expecting to be attacked by your belongings. If you have no where else to store the items you don't want to give away, at least try to put them in boxes piled neatly along one wall. Designate one area for bikes and other sporting equipment. Once you've completed these tasks, it's important to maintain the neatness of your home (inside and out) on a daily basis while you have it up for sale. Open houses often take place on short notice. If you start with a clean house, it's easy to wipe off a counter or run the vacuum over the carpet to get it into good condition and ultimately complete the sale. Mistakes a seller can make Home Selling - The Worst Home Selling Mistake a Seller Can Make The Number One Home Selling Mistake But We Want More More When the average seller sits down to interview real estate agents, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement over choosing a sales price. More money means more financial opportunities for the homeowner. Perhaps it means the seller can afford to buy a more expensive home, help pay for her child's college education or take that greatly overdue vacation. Unfortunately, uninformed sellers often choose the listing agent who suggests the highest list price, which is the worst mistake a seller can make. The truth is it doesn't really matter how much money you think your home is worth.Nor does it matter what your agent thinks or ten other agents just like her. The person whose opinion matters is the buyer who makes an offer. Pricing homes is part art and part science. It involves comparing similar properties, making adjustments for the differences among them, tracking market movements and taking stock of present inventory, all in an attempt to come up with a range of value, an educated opinion. This method is the same way an appraiser evaluates a home. And no two appraisals are ever exactly the same; however, they are generally close to each other. In other words, there is no hard and fast price tag to slap on your home. It's only an educated guess and the market will dictate the price. IS IT TOO LOW? Homes sell at a price a buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to accept. If a home is priced too low, priced under the competition, the seller should receive multiple offers to drive up the price to market value. So there is little danger in pricing a home too low. The danger lies in pricing it too high and selecting your agent solely on opinion of value. ONCE YOU GET AN OFFER: Following this list will help to ensure your home inspection goes smoothly: QUICK LINKS: * Great tips on buying and selling from the CANADA MORTGAGE & HOUSING CORPORATION * PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE TIPS ON BUYING A NEW HOME Understand the total cost of buying Your real estate agent and your lender can advise you on the costs of securing a mortgage, land transfer taxes and so on. Ask your lawyer to give you a detailed breakdown of closing costs. Call movers for estimates. Determine if you need to buy new appliances, window coverings or furnishings. Be realistic Location, Layout, Presentation, Amenities and Upgrades/Updates all combine to determine value for a property. Unless you are building your dream home on your dream lot on an unlimited budget you will probably find you need to make some compromises! Understanding your priorities will help you determine which trade offs you can live with to achieve the best fit for your lifestyle. Some things are DEAL BREAKERS - your real estate agent can help you identify those areas so that you can target your best possible property options while eliminating properties that are not going to meet your needs, goals and long term plans. Your objective is to find the home that provides the best overall value within your budget. What Professionals Should You Call On? Because purchasing a home is probably the biggest investment you will ever make, you'll definitely want a team of professionals working with you throughout the process. No one will play a more important role in helping you find a home than your Realtor®. Your Realtor's® job is to: • Help you find the ideal home. • Write an Offer of Purchase. • Negotiate on your behalf to help you get the best possible deal. • Provide you with important information about the community, arrange and coordinate the home inspection and essentially save you time, trouble and money. When the time comes to select a real estate agent, don't be afraid to ask questions — especially about any possible service charges. Vendors normally pay a commission to the agent but some agents charge buyers a fee for their services. Lender/Mortgage Broker If you haven't already gone through the mortgage pre-qualification process, you will need to find a good lender to assist you during the purchasing process and for as long as you have your mortgage. Remember that many different institutions lend money for mortgages, such as banks, trust companies, credit unions, caisses populaires, pension funds, insurance companies and finance companies. It's a good idea to shop around and speak with more than one lender because terms and options will vary. Some people find it helpful to use a mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers don't work for any specific lending institution. Their role is to find the lender with the terms and rates that will best suit the buyer. To find a lender or mortgage broker, you can: • Get a referral from your real estate agent, family members, friends or other professionals. • Contact the Canadian Institute of Mortgage Brokers and Lenders START YOUR PRE-APPROVAL PROCESS EARLY! I recommend Andrew and David... Andrew Young The Modern Mortgage Company Direct: 226-210-2706 [email protected] David Yutze Real Mortgage Associates Direct: 519-670-6427 [email protected] Lawyer/Notary You need a lawyer to protect your legal interests such as ensuring the property you are thinking of buying does not have any building or statutory liens or charges or work or clean-up orders associated with it. He or she will review all contracts before you sign them, especially the Offer (or Agreement) to Purchase. Having a lawyer/notary involved in the process will give you peace of mind and ensure that things go as smoothly as possible. Law associations can refer lawyers/notaries who specialize in real estate law. Lawyer/notary's fees range widely and depend on the complexity of the transaction. Shop around for rates and, when choosing your lawyer/notary. Remember that a lawyer/notary: • Should be a licensed full-time lawyer/notary. • Should be local and understand real estate laws, regulations and restrictions. • Should have realistic and acceptable fees. • Can explain things in plain language. I recommend: Doug Cassino 519 472 6310 153-759 Hyde Park Road, London, ON N6H 3S2 Home Inspector You should consider having any home you are thinking of buying inspected by a knowledgeable and professional inspector. The home inspector's role is to inform you on the property's condition. He will tell you if something is not functioning properly, needs to be changed or is unsafe. You will also be informed of repairs that need to be done and he/she may even be able to tell you where there may have been problems in the past. Every inspection should include an evaluation of at least the following: • Foundation • Doors and windows • Roof and exterior walls • Attics • Plumbing and electrical systems • Heating and air conditioning systems • Ceilings, walls and floors • Insulation • Ventilation • Septic tanks, wells or sewer lines • Any other buildings such as a detached garage • The lot, including drainage away from buildings, slopes and natural vegetation • Overall opinion of structural integrity of the buildings • Common areas (in the case of a condominium/strata or co-operative) There is presently no uniform certification and no requirement for home inspectors to take any courses or to have passed any tests. Anyone can say that they are a home inspector. However, a good home and property inspector generally belongs to a provincial or industry association such as the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors at Home inspector fees are generally $350 and more, depending on the size and condition of the home. I recommend: David Kelly RHI Valley Home Inspection Inc. London - St. Thomas 519-319-7589 Email Dave Troy Simmers-Vanhevel RHI Pillar to Post Home Inspectors London - St. Thomas, 519-472-1112 Email Troy Troy's Website WOOD BURNING FIREPLACE INSPECTION- very important for insurance & revealing potential costly defects Matt Lawless W.E.T.T. inspector 519-652-7080 Email Matt Matt's Website Insurance Broker An insurance broker can help you with your insurance needs, including property insurance and mortgage life insurance. Lenders insist on property insurance because your property is their security for your loan. Property insurance covers the replacement cost of your home, so premiums may vary depending on its value. For fantastic service and rates I recommend: The Co-operators Sam: 131 Wharncliffe Rd S London, ON, N6J 2K4 Phone: (519) 858-3433 Your lender may also suggest that you buy mortgage life insurance. Mortgage life insurance provides coverage for your family should you die before your mortgage is paid off. This type of insurance is often available through your lender, who then simply adds the premium to your regular mortgage payments. However, you may want to compare rates between both an insurance broker and your lender. Be careful not to confuse property or life insurance with mortgage loan insurance, which may be required for high-ratio mortgages.