Your Spring Yard Sale Checklist Thinking of having a yard or garage sale? It’s a great way to dispose of unwanted items and other clutter, especially if you’re thinking of moving. In addition, yard sales have a charm that selling items on the internet can’t match. That’s why they’re still so popular. If you’re planning a yard or garage sale, here are some helpful tips: • Two-thirds of garage sale shoppers will find you via signage. So, be sure to place plenty of signs around the neighbourhood that clearly point buyers to your location. • Place in-demand items closer to the street so shoppers can see them from a distance. (For example, computers, electronic games, bicycles, exercise equipment, furniture.) • Buyers don’t want to pay a “fair” price at a garage sale. They want a bargain basement deal! So, price items accordingly. • Open early in the day. You’ll find that the biggest shoppers (the deal hunters) will stop by before 9 a.m. Some will be there before you open! • Be sure to have some cash on hand to make change. Of course, you should also be as safe as possible and comply with all applicable public health guidelines. If some items don’t sell, consider donating them to a community thrift shop or dropping them off at a recycling centre. Good luck with your sale!
Should You Worry about Competing Listings? Imagine you've been waiting for the right moment to sell your home and you're finally ready to pull the trigger and list it. But, just as you're about to put up the sign, you notice that a few other FOR SALE signs have unexpectedly popped up in the neighbourhood. Oh no! Now there are competing listings. Does that mean you should put your plan to sell your property on hold? Not necessarily. Just because comparable homes are for sale in the area doesn't mean it's not a good time to make your move. In fact, even if there is a sharp increase in local listings, active buyers might still outnumber properties available. In that scenario, you'd likely get several interested buyers. And, even in the case of a buyer's market, now might still be the ideal time to sell. Don't forget, your home might have desirable features that some buyers are eagerly looking for, giving your home the advantage over others on the market. In addition, a large part of a successful sale is in how a property is marketed and promoted. With effective marketing, your home is more likely to be noticed by the right type of buyers... buyers who are actively looking for a property like yours. So, waiting for the perfect moment to sell your home rarely makes sense. In most cases, the best time to list is now. That being said, it is helpful to find out exactly what to expect should you list your property in today's market. To find that out, call today.
Get your Spring Cleaning Done in Half the Time Spring cleaning can seem like a great idea until you actually get started. Then it often turns out to be more work than expected! The good news is, there are proven techniques to make the job easier so you can get it done faster. • Before you begin the project, make sure you have everything you need: hammer, boxes, tape, garbage bags, etc. Think of the supplies you’ll need on hand and the tools that will make tasks easier. You don’t want to have to waste time on frequent trips to the store. • Consider renting a small moving trolley (AKA hand truck.) That will make it much easier to move heavy objects, such as furniture, as you’re cleaning. Most local home improvement centres rent these. • Plan how you’re going to dispose of waste and unwanted stuff. Find out where you can donate clothes, toys, furniture, and other items. Note the location of your local garbage disposal site and its hours of operation. • Divide tasks into “Heavy work” and “Light work” and then do the heavy work first, such as moving furniture, reorganizing rooms, etc. Only after completing the heavy work should you dive into the “light work”, such as packing boxes and sweeping. • Consider getting help. There are many services available that will assist with cleaning, painting, junk removal, repairs, and more. You can even hire a student to assist you for a weekend. Spring cleaning can be a big project, but these tips can help make it a lot easier. And, keep in mind that if you’re thinking of selling this year, getting the spring cleaning done will be a big plus
Selling Later in the Year? Start the Process Now Imagine you want to take the “trip of a lifetime” this fall. Would you leave it until the summer to start planning, booking dates, and generally getting ready? Probably not. A trip like that is a big deal. You’d want to start making arrangements now, so by the time you’re ready to go to the airport, everything will be set for you and your family to have a great time. The same is true when selling your home. If you intend on listing your property in the spring or summer, now is the time to start making plans. Starting the process early in the year gives you four significant advantages: 1. Ample time to prepare your home. Starting now gives you time to declutter your property, get needed repairs done, and otherwise make your home ready to be seen by buyers. 2. Less stress. Unless you enjoy scrambling to get things done within a tight timeline, you want to give yourself as much time as possible to prepare for your home sale without the stress of a tight timeline. Starting early gives you that. 3. Listing date flexibility. Starting now means you’ll likely get your property prepared for the sale early in the year. Sure, your plan might be to list in the summer. But, if the market changes or some other opportunity presents itself, you’ll be able to list sooner. Your home will be ready. 4. More time to find your next home. If you’ll also be looking for a new home, starting the process now will give you more time to explore neighbourhoods, get financing arranged, and determine the ideal type of home for you. As you can see, it pays to start the process now, even if you won’t be selling until spring or summer.
Getting the “Inside Scoop” on a Listing Throughout the history of journalism, reporters would pride themselves on getting the “inside scoop” on a story. In fact, that’s where that expression came from. So imagine you’re shopping for a new home and click on a listing online. Up comes all the property information. But, chances are, there is more to the story of that property than is presented in that listing. For example, you might want to know more about: • The empty field behind the home. • The addition that was added to the house. (Was it professionally done?) • What the neighbourhood is really like. • The age of the roof shingles. (Will they need to be replaced soon?) • Noise levels on weekends. • Upcoming new development that might change the character of the area. Most property information listed on MLS and elsewhere is incomplete. There’s almost always more to the story of a listing than you can find online. And, even after viewing a listed property, you may still have lingering questions or concerns. So, you’ll want to get the “inside scoop” and find out more. But how? To get the inside scoop on a listing, call me. I can get the additional information you need on a property so that you can make a more informed decision.
Pulling Together the Records you Need when Selling Imagine you’re viewing a home for sale. You venture to the basement, check out the furnace room, and notice the water heater. Is it owned or rented? As a potential buyer, you’d want to know. Now imagine a property you’re viewing has a brand-new gas fireplace. Nice! Is it under warranty? Is that warranty transferrable to you if you buy the home? Again, you’d want to know. So, when you’re selling, it’s important to pull together all the necessary records you will need in order to answer these types of buyer questions. After all, if a particular warranty transfers to the new owner, that’s a selling point. Take the time to find receipts, warranty certificates, and other documents related to: • Renovations (such as a bathroom makeover) • Major repairs or replacements (such as a new air conditioner) • Service prepayments (such as a lawncare service paid annually) • Purchases of major appliances and other items Keep in mind that you may have purchased extended warranties or maintenance agreements at the time of purchase. Those may transfer to the new owner. Also note that some guarantees or service agreements transfer automatically while others require the new owner to initiate that transfer. These documents could potentially add a few more benefits to buying your home. So, it’s worth the time it takes to dig them out!
5 Ways to Add Fun to the Selling Process When you think about selling your property, do you dwell on the possible work and stress involved? You're not alone. Many homeowners share the same concerns. But it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, there are plenty of ways to add some fun, anticipation, and even a sense of adventure to the selling process. Here are just a few ideas: 1. Plan fun things to do when your home is being shown. That can include walks, sports activities, or trying something you and your family have never done before. 2. Declutter for your own benefit. Instead of thinking about decluttering as a chore required for the sale, focus instead on how much more comfortable your home will be after decluttering. Studies consistently show that less clutter reduces stress and increases a sense of wellbeing. 3. Get everyone in your home anticipating the move in a positive way. Put pictures of your next home, including neighbourhood shots, on the fridge door. Sit together on the computer and explore your new neighbourhood's features and amenities. 4. Celebrate milestones in the selling process. For example, when you're finished preparing your property for sale, go out to celebrate. Make a checklist of milestones and how you'll celebrate each one. 5. Get the help you need. A big part of the stress of selling is the anticipated work involved. Remember, you don't have to do it all yourself. Much of what needs to be done can be handled by contractors and other professionals. There are many other ways to make selling your home a positive and turbulentfree experience. Give me a call if you'd like more ideas and suggestions.
Front Walkway Improvements that Boost Curb Appeal Your front walkway is one of the first sections of real estate a buyer will set foot on when coming to see your home. So, it makes sense to make that pathway to your front door as appealing as possible. The obvious way is to make it as clean and clear as you can. Ensure there are no obstacles in the way, such as overhanging branches, kid's toys, or potted plants. What you want is a clear, unobstructed and pleasant walk to your main entranceway. If your walkway needs deeper cleaning, consider a powerwash. There are special detergents available that are designed specifically for stone, asphalt or cement walkways and other outdoor surfaces. A deep cleaning isn't a major project. In most cases, the job can be done within an hour. Yet, the result can be stunning. If you're selling in the spring or summer, another way to make your walkway look better is to add flowers or other plants along the sides. Don't overdo it. You only need a few flowers or a couple of shrubs to make a big difference. The great thing about adding a few flowers or shrubs is the impact they can have on your entire frontage making it more attractive, and adding to your home's overall curb appeal. Making your walkway look better may seem minor, but keep in mind that when buyers make their way to your front door, they're forming their first and often most important impression of your property. The walkway plays a small but important role in making it a good one. Want more ideas for making your home show better, so it sells quicker and for a higher price? Call me.
Start the Home Selling Process this Month If you’re thinking about selling in the spring, don’t wait until the new year to start planning. In fact, you’ll save yourself a lot of work and get ahead of the game if you start planning now. What’s that old saying? The early bird gets the worm! In this case, by starting the process this month, you’ll be in excellent shape when you’re ready to list in the spring. Here are just a few examples of what you can do in December to get the process started: • Walk your property and note any maintenance issues that need attention. • Decide which items to stow or sell to declutter your home. • Determine what improvements you’ll need to make in order for your home to look great to buyers (i.e. painting.) • Find out approximately how much your property will likely sell for in the spring market. • Clarify the kind of new home you’d like to move into, including ideal neighbourhoods. • Look into your financing options, so you’ll know the price range you’ll be shopping within. • Connect with any professionals you may need, such as contractors, a mover, and a real estate lawyer. • Take advantage of any December shopping deals for products you may need, such as home improvement project materials, packing supplies, etc. As you can see, the more prepared you are this month, the more stress-free and successful the home selling process will be for you in the spring. And one more tip: contact me to get the conversation started about selling your home in the new year. It’s coming fast!
Cleaning Tips for Instantly Improving Curb Appeal As you may know, curb appeal refers to how your property looks from the street, where potential buyers first see it. Your home’s curb appeal can have a big impact on the sale of your property. In fact, it's not uncommon for a buyer to drive by a listing, rather than stop, because they don't like what they see. So, how can you improve your home's curb appeal quickly? One way is to do some outside cleaning. Start with the main entryway. Wash down the front door and sweep (or power wash) the front steps. It only takes a few minutes but you'd be surprised by the impact it can have. Sweep or power wash your walkway too and you’ll improve the overall look of your home — sometimes dramatically. Clean your front windows to brighten the look of your home’s facade. It doesn't have to be an arduous chore. In fact, there are washing products available that attach to your garden hose. You don't even need a ladder! Ask your local home improvement retailer for recommendations. If you have hedges and scrubs, give them a trim. To keep your trimming level, use a wide board, or even a piece of cardboard, then cut to the desired height. Pull off any dead leaves or branches. Of course, also mow the lawn! Finally, inspect your property from the street. Can you see anything else you can do to quickly improve the look? Do you notice anything that is unsightly or distracting, such as garbage bins that could be relocated? One final tip: When a viewing is scheduled, remove your vehicles from the driveway. Buyers like to see an empty driveway because it helps them imagine themselves living there. It also gives them a convenient place to park!
How to Get Front-of-the-Line Access to Desirable Homes for Sale As you've probably noticed, credit card companies regularly offer bonuses to get you to apply for their cards. For example, one such card company offers opportunities to buy tickets to concerts and other events ahead of everyone else. It's their "front of the line" service. When you’re searching for a new home, wouldn't it be great if you could get to the front of the line on desirable properties – before other buyers get the chance? Well, in a way, you can. The first thing you need to do is create a profile for the specific type of home you're looking to buy. That profile will need to include the basics, such as type of home (e.g. detached), size and rooms (e.g. 2000-2,500 sq. ft., 3 bedrooms, 2 baths), and your target neighbourhoods. You'll also want to add any additional features you're looking for, such as a finished basement or in-ground pool. Next, you want to work with a real estate agent like me who understands the local market and can arrange for you to receive immediate alerts for newly listed homes that meet your criteria. It's not uncommon for homes to become available for sale before the listing information gets published on the MLS. In fact, in some circumstances, it could take a couple of days before such listings become available online. So, if you get an alert soon after a listing comes on the market, you get a head-start on seeing that home and making an offer. And, you don't need to apply for a special credit card to make that happen! Just give me a call. I can help you find the right home for you.
Cutting Down the Time it Takes to Prepare your Home For Sale If you're thinking of listing your property, one thing that might be holding you back is concern about preparing your home for sale. You may be wondering how much work there will be. Is it going to take a couple of months? A couple of weeks? A few days? That, of course, depends on the state of your property. However, regardless of how close your home is to “show time” ready, there is plenty you can do to reduce how long that preparation takes. Consider these ideas: • Sell stuff online. The less cluttered your home seems to buyers, the better it will show. So, make a list of items you want to sell, and then list them on one of the many local online market websites. Price items fairly and, chances are, you'll get rid of everything in a day or two. • Have a repair day. Go through your home and make a list of everything that needs to be fixed. Then, schedule repair people to all come on the same day. Voila! In one day, all needed repairs (or, at least, most of them) are done. • Get staging advice. Instead of guessing at what changes you need to make around your home to make it look its best, get expert staging advice. You’ll find out exactly what the experts suggest you do, and you'll save a lot of time and money. (By the way, I can provide you with that advice too.) • Ask before making big improvements. Are you planning to convert a wood burning fireplace into a gas unit to help sell your home? Before doing any big improvements or renovations like that, talk to me. You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on an unnecessary project. • Hire help. You don't have to do everything on your own. Get the help you need. For example, hire a painter, a cleaner, and/or a junk removal service. Those will significantly shorten the time it takes to prepare your home for sale and save you a lot of work. Also, the costs of those professionals may be off-set by the increase in the sale price of your home. Bottomline: Preparing your home doesn't need to be overwhelming and timeconsuming. Contact me for more ideas to help get your home ready for sale,quickly.
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Your bathroom can have a surprising impact on a buyer's impression of your home. Here's how to stage this room effectively
Is it Time to Re-Shingle Your Roof? No matter what you think of snakes, you must agree that they have a unique way of dealing with worn-out skin. When the time comes, they simply shed it — like an old jacket — revealing a fresh new skin underneath. Your home's roof doesn't have that advantage! So, when the shingles wear out or become damaged, you need to have them replaced. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to determine whether your shingles need replacement right away, or whether you can hold off for another year. Assuming your home has the most common type of shingles — asphalt — here's what to look for: • Corners upturned on some shingles. • Missing shingles. • Shingles lifting during high winds and not settling back into place (flat) within a day or two. • Heavy accumulation of shingle debris (particles) in the gutters. • Shingle bits and pieces found on the ground around your home. • Spots on your roof that still look wet a day or two after a rainfall. (This could be a sign of water infiltration into the felt or even the roof deck.) If you have any of these signs, be sure to have a roofing contractor take a closer look. Before investing in a new roof, be sure to check with the retailer or contractor who supplied the original materials. Your shingles might still be under warranty. Bottomline: Don't delay. You don't want to wait until you hear drip drip drip before taking action!
Dealing with Stress when Selling Your Home Let's face it. Planning events, even exciting ones like an overseas vacation, can be stressful. So, it's not surprising that some homeowners — even those thrilled about moving — can slip into "worry mode" when putting their property up for sale. Unfortunately, this anxiety can make the process of selling an unpleasant experience. Who wants that? So here are some things you can do to reduce selling stress and enjoy the adventure. • Understand the selling process. The more you know about the steps involved in selling your home, the less mysterious — and, therefore, less stressful — it will be. • Give yourself the time you need. Feeling rushed and stressed comes from trying to do too much in too little time. Even if you're selling quickly, it's important to block off sufficient time in your calendar for the things you need to do. • Take care of yourself. As television psychologist Dr. Phil often points out, you can't give what you don't have. When it comes to selling your home, that means you need to eat well and stay healthy, so you have the energy you need throughout the process. • Make your home attractive to buyers. That not only means tidying up and doing a little home staging, it also means setting the right listing price. Nothing eliminates the stress of selling more than having flocks of qualified buyers interested in your home. • Get the help you need. You don't have to do everything on your own. That's why working with me is so advantageous. I take care of the many details for my clients so that they can enjoy the journey. Sure, there are going to be a few stressful moments. However, the process of listing and selling your property, while looking for your next dream home, can be an exciting experience. Let me help you. Call today.
The Latest Options in Outdoor Lighting Outdoor lighting has come a long way from the days of patio lanterns and strings of lightbulbs. These days, there's an exhaustive array of options available to illuminate your outdoor space, and make it more appealing and comfortable, particularly in the evenings. Here are just a few ideas: • Solar garden lights. These lights are on stakes that can be easily inserted throughout the garden. Powered by the sun, they generate enough energy to cast a soft, pleasant glow along walkways or in flower beds in the evenings. • Deck post lights. These are easy to install because they're designed to sit on top of a standard 4x4 wood deck post. Most are solar powered. • Street-style lamps. As the name implies, these look similar to oldfashioned street lamps. Installation is a little more complex, but still DIY-friendly. They're eye-catching and have a dramatic impact on the look of your outdoor space. • Portable lantern lights. These are outdoor lights that are portable and often made to look like a decorative fixture for a coffee table or side table. They can be placed anywhere. • LED walkway lights. These are small lights that fit neatly and almost invisibly under stairs and around walkways. Walkway lights not only look good but also improve safety. Most are battery powered. • Planter lights. This is one of the most interesting options. Each one is both a flower pot and a light in one! The pot itself is translucent which allows the light inside to shine through. Design experts say you should treat your outdoor space as you would any room in your home. Lighting it up for evening comfort and enjoyment is a good place to start.
If you have buyers coming to see your home, here are some ways to quickly improve your home's curb appeal in just about an hour
One Hour Ideas for Boosting Curb Appeal You've heard of the term "curb appeal". It refers to the initial impression buyers get when they first see your property from the street. If the impression is a good one, it sets the right tone for the rest of the home viewing. How do you boost curb appeal? Here are some proven ideas that you can get done in an hour or so: • Wash both the inside and outside of the front windows. You'll be amazed at the difference that can make. • Sweep the walkway leading up to the front entrance. Add a new welcome mat. Also, wash down the front door. • If possible, remove cars from the driveway. Let buyers imagine their own cars parked there! • Mow the lawn. Lightly trim the hedges. Weed flower beds. • Remove anything from inside window sills that may look unsightly from the outside. Try putting a couple of flowering plants there instead. • Place any trash bins out-of-sight. For example, put them in the garage or neatly at the side of the house. • If the entrance door hardware is old and worn, change it. New hardware can make a bigger difference than you might think. • Make sure the outdoor lights are working, especially if you're showing your home in the evening. • Add some flowering plants to flower beds, or buy a couple of portable potted plants and place them strategically. • Clean your mailbox. If it’s rusted, replace it. • If you have a power washer, give the walkway and driveway a quick blast. Just be sure it will be dry before the buyers arrive. These one-hour improvements may seem minor, but anything that helps buyers form a more positive first impression of your home is worth the effort.
Want to find out how to set the ideal list price for your home? This article walks you through the process
Setting Your List Price Requires Calculation and Savvy When you're having a garage sale, one of the toughest tasks is pricing your items. If you put a price tag on your old golf clubs that’s too high, no one will buy them. If you make the price too low, they might sell quickly, but you’ll spend the rest of the day wondering if you could have gotten more! It's similar to selling your home — except with your home, the stakes are much higher. You want to price your property to sell, but you don’t want to leave any money on the table. How do you accomplish that? Setting the right list price for your home requires a combination of skilled calculation and industry savvy. Let's start with the "calculation" part... When you work with me, I'll review recently sold properties that are similar to yours in type, size, features and location. Then, using that data, we’ll calculate a range that represents your property's "current market value." For example, consider a spacious 15-year-old bungalow in a nice neighbourhood. If similar homes in the area have sold for $475,000- $550,000 in the last six months, then it's obvious that your home should sell in that range too. A list price above or below that range would be in the danger zone. But skilled calculation is only half the task. Setting your list price also requires expertise in the local market, combined with good old-fashioned gut instinct. That instinct comes from being on the front lines of many property transactions. That's why working with a good real estate salesperson is so important, when you’re deciding on the list price for your home. Want to discuss selling your home? Call me.