- General Cleaning – Time to deep clean! Wash walls, floors, light-fixtures, underneath appliances, above cabinets, windows, window coverings, and carpet. Removing any dust, mites, and allergens will make for a healthier spring.
- Investigate Thoroughly – Houses change over the years so you will want to investigate every corner and crevasse to ensure there is no mould growth, dampness, or openings that might be an access point for any insects or rodents.
- Observe Plumbing – You will want to take a look at all of the plumbing in your house from bathrooms to the kitchen and mechanical room alike. Make sure there is no sweating, bulging, or leaks on any of the pipes. If you find something irregular – call the plumber.
- Touch-Up Caulking – If the caulking is in rough shape, you may want to skip the touch-ups and completely strip and re-caulk to ensure your doors and windows look their best for spring.
- Air-Filter Replacement – Replace those dirty air filters or if you have a re-usable filter, take it out for a good vacuum and wash.
- Dehumidify – Depending on your mechanical space, you may be able to manually lower the humidity in the house. If you are in an older house, buy a quality dehumidifier for those higher temperatures.
- Complete A Safety Inspection – Check all of the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are functioning properly. Also be sure to include a fire distinguisher in the kitchen.
- Check The Exterior – Once the snow begins to dissipate, you can take a closer look at your house. From the roof down to the foundation, look for any damage that may have happened over the winter.
- Clean The Gutters – One of the most common reasons for water damage is clogged gutters. You should also make sure you have all of the correct downspouts.
- Inspect Your Grading – When the snow melts, it needs a runoff so it doesn’t pool around the foundation, this can eventually compromise its integrity. Build it up and aim for at least a 6” slope.
- Remove Storm Windows – If you use storm windows in the winter, now is the time to take them down and put the screens back on. You should also use this time to clean the windows.
- Check On Lawn Tools – Make sure blades are sharp, fuel tanks are filled, and lawn products are ready so you can tackle the landscape as soon as those higher temperatures start to roll in.
- Inspect For Pests – Nobody wants rodents or excessive insects in their house or manifesting on their lot. If you see any droppings or signs of pests, call pest control.
- Service The Air Conditioner – A/C maintenance can improve energy-efficiency, lengthen unit lifespan, and ensure functionality when it is scorching hot outside. Call the professionals now because HVAC companies get increasingly busy as spring progresses. Get them to check heating and ventilation while they are at it.
1. Arrange for someone to shovel the walkway or mow the lawn – this will give the impression that the home is being kept.
2. Inform your post office that you will be away for an extended period of time – nothing screams “nobody is home” louder than an overflowing mailbox.
3. Set timers – exterior lighting, TV’s, music players, and anything else that can be automatically turned on without your presence is a great deterrent to anybody who might be watching your house.
4. Do not leave a copy of the key anywhere outside – these can very easily be found by burglars who know all of the “typical” hiding spots.
5. Do not close all of the curtains – especially if you normally leave them open, you will want to close a few and leave some open with clear view of light or TV on.
6. Alert your alarm company – so they can be sure to send the police immediately upon any alerts, and if you do not have an alarm you can call around to a few companies to see if they have any specials going on like free installation prior to your departure.
7. Lower your thermostat or air condition – in order to prevent an unnecessarily high bill upon your return, but if it is very cold outside you will want to take necessary precautions that the pipes do not freeze.
8. Have someone check in on the house – in case emergency access is needed or even just to water the plants, it is ideal to leave a trusted friend or family member with a copy of the key.
9. Turn your phone GPS off – as various apps publically identify your location automatically and may leave your empty house vulnerable to people you do not personally know.
10. Minimize social media – because broadcasting that you are in miles away from your home defeats the purpose of many of the aforementioned precautionary measures you may have taken.
- Consult A Reputable Mortgage Broker – Your current situation will be evaluated (free of charge) and you will be given instructions on how to get approved for a mortgage.
- Monitor Your Credit Score – You can log onto a credit score website like Equifax to evaluate your score without penalty, then increase your score by working out a payment plan for any outstanding payments or keeping up with minimum payments on current credit cards.
- Do Not Take Out Any New Credit – Forget about financing a new vehicle or getting another credit card, these will work against your debt ratio and credit score.
- Consider Options For Your Down Payment – There are many options for a down payment like a borrowed down payment, gifted down payment, RRSP contribution, vendor assisted down payment, grant program assistance, as well as good old fashion saving.
- Consolidate Your Debt – You mortgage broker may recommend consolidating your debt to better organize your finances and lower payments.
- Save For Additional Costs – The down payment is not the only upfront cost to purchasing your home, you will want to have extra money available for the lawyer fee, title transfer, home insurance, and any other unexpected costs that may come up.
- Consult A Reputable REALTOR® – It is important to have counsel on how to prepare for purchasing, and what to expect, once your finances are in order and you are ready to start looking at homes.
- Contact Your REALTOR® To Connect You Directly To The MLS® System – Instead of sifting through hundreds of listings, you can get all of the listings within your criteria automatically emailed to you. It is the ideal way to keep an eye on the market, becoming familiar with what to expect in in the different price ranges and value per neighborhood.
- Avoid Depending On Local Search Engines – The vast majority of local search engines do not carry all of the properties listed for sale. In order for a website to have access to all of the listings on MLS® they require authorization from the local real estate board.
(Note: www.tanyalarose.com is equipped with a complete IDX search engine for user access to all listings)
- Opt For National Search Engines – However you must be aware they do not reflect listing history. What appears to be a new listing may have been previously listed a number of times. Other details such as previous sales, amount of price changes, etc. are not accessible on these search engines either.
- Follow The Various Multi-Media Streams Of Your Favorite REALTOR® – An active agent will advertise all of their newest listings as soon as they hit the market, or sometimes even before they hit the market. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, for example, are a great place to cherry-pick.
- Ask Your REALTOR® To Find A Specific Listing For You – Many great properties get sold before they ever make it to MLS® so be sure to have an industry insider looking for exclusive listings and back pocket listings on your behalf.
Home staging is often referred to as the lipstick of a home, it is not entirely a necessity but it can add 10X the appeal in terms of visual triggers. Especially considering the proven value it brings in selling a home by attracting more showings, minimizing the amount of time the home spends on the market, and maximizing the final sale price. Using professional staging as a marketing tool can be especially beneficial in down markets when a $2,000 staging package can save you $10,000 in price reductions. However, this attractive visual trigger can quickly become a deterrent. Much like lipstick stained teeth, certain things are never acceptable because you only get one chance for a first impression. Of course there are always exceptions, but these are the rules in avoiding disastrous home staging.
- The “Lived In” Look – No such thing exists in effective staging. The way you place the furniture to live in your home is much different than the way you place the furniture to sell your home.
- Severally Out Dated – Staging can be completed in many varying styles. However, if your home was built in 1960 and it has never had any interior upgrading, you are better off to allocate your staging dollars into getting rid of those shag carpet walls (Yes, they do exist!).
- Much Too Small – It’s not the size of the staging, but the size of the home that can be a deal breaker. If your home is less than approximately 800 square feet, you are better off to leave it vacant so that it is represented in its most spacious looking state.
- Lacking Cohesiveness – It is almost never necessary to stage every room in a home. You want potential buyers to draw inspiration from the rooms that are staged and still be able to view vacant rooms in order to visualize their own furniture. However, each staged room must be consistency in staging density, colours, and style. A flow during the walk-through must be evident, one way to achieve this is through the use of strategically chosen and placed accessories.
- The Cheaper Route – If you or the staging company you hired has a comforter laying over a set of cardboard boxes in the shape of a bed, save your money and leave it vacant. Bad staging is worse than no staging!
Contact award-winning REALTOR®, and the owner of www.upstaginginteriordesigns.com, Tanya LaRose for more information on how to effectively stage your home for a successful sale.
- Be Prepared – Attractive buyer’s hold the most power in any real estate transaction. These ideal buyer’s are pre-approved for a mortgage and have no other home to sell or have an accepted offer on their current home. By preparing accordingly, it increases your chances of getting the property you want on the terms you want.
- Be Watchful – Even in a down market, nice homes that are priced well do not last long. Your real estate agent can connect you to the MLS® system so that you will automatically receive new listings within a desired criteria. Receiving this information in real time will give you an upper hand over other competing buyer’s not utilizing an agent or this service. Combine this with a readily available real estate agent and you will secure your new home in no time!
- Be Informed – Before deciding on an amount to offer, you will want to know what other similar properties in the area have sold for so you are not overpaying. Real estate agents have such statistics at their fingertips, so be sure you discuss fair market value with your agent before submitting an offer.
- Be Strategic – Once you have found the property you would like to further pursue, find out how long it has been on the market and how many times it has been listed without selling in the last couple of years. This information is easily accessible to your real estate agent and is vital in negotiations.
- Be Creative – There is more than one way to increase monetary value in your real estate purchase than through price alone. If you are buying a house and the seller will not budge on price, your real estate agent can negotiate other inclusions such as a replacing old windows, re-shingling a roof, or improving another feature unique to the house. The implications of this negotiating technique can be tricky, so you will need to work closely with your real estate agent on this one.
For more information on how to successfully maneuver in a buyer’s market, contact Tanya LaRose with RE/MAX Saskatoon at 306-380-7325.
- Pricing Too High – You know it is too high, your REALTOR® told you it was too high, but you practice “the law of attraction” so you are convinced it will sell $25,000 above market value. Start out at the right price so you can avoid chasing the market which typically results in a lower selling price, especially in a smaller market.
- Shortcuts For Necessary Home Repairs – You may think you have a chance at fooling a potential first-time home buyer but shoddy repairs will not fool an expert home inspector. Hire a professional for repairs to ensure you are not giving the buyer viable reasons to request a price reduction.
- Refusing To Be Inconvenienced – Did you just work a 12 hour night shift? Do you have 6 children to clean up after? Are you extremely hungover? Regardless of the reason, it is important to ensure your home is clean and tidy prior to every showing. Additionally, please vacate the home for every showing!
- Disregarding Deadlines – Did you end up listing your family home in October when your REALTOR® advised you to list it 3 months prior to September to appeal to new families coming to the neighborhood for school? The entire process of selling a home is full of deadlines that can make or break a sale so be ready to cater to such timelines.
- Lacking/Incorrect Staging – Leaving your worn out sectional in the living room or a table set from the 70’s in the kitchen will only hurt the sale of your home. Cheap furniture will bring a cheap offer.
- Improper Lighting – If you leave the blinds drawn and have yet to replace 4 burnt out light bulbs, this may be effecting your home appeal. Most people want to live in a well-lit home.
- Too Personal – Do you keep hundreds of family photos or have a life-sized nude sculpture on display? You need to remove anything too personal or offensive and present a neutral palette to potential buyers.
- Bad Photography – Are the pictures advertising your home dark lit with a dog running through the house and the toilet seat up? The photos should be taken with minimal distractions, showcasing the homes best features, using correct angles, and retouched in editing.
- Stubbornness – Did you refuse an offer that was $2000 lower than your bottom line and the buyer walked away? Did you just buy that brand new freezer that the buyers are requesting to include in the purchase? Maintain flexibility when you enter into negotiations and remember the bigger picture which is getting rid of the first home so you can enjoy a new location!
- Sentimentalism – Selling your home can be one of the most emotionally charged tasks you will ever experience. Your home is full of precious memories that you will never get back but when you decide to sell your home you must also decide to let go of any emotional attachment you may have to the house.
- The Wrong Representation – Putting a sign on the front lawn does not sell a house. Make sure you talk to your REALTOR® about their sale strategies, social media presence, possible promotions, and how often they will be available to you.
- Minimal Online Presence – Nowadays the internet is the first place over 90% of buyer’s go to search for a home. A good REALTOR® will have a strong social media presence on multiple platforms, utilize Search Engine Optimization, and pay for ads.
- For Sale By Owner – Unless you want to wear a hat for the next month you probably should not cut your own hair just because you have your own scissors. The same goes for real estate, hire a professional for optimal results. You might be paying $15,000 in commissions but you may also be selling for $30,000 more than you would have without the expertise of a REALTOR®.
Home staging is an age old selling technique that is finally reaching mainstream media. Studies show that staged homes sell in a shorter period of time and for a higher amount than homes that are not staged. Both vacant and fully-furnished home can benefit from professional staging. It is important to know that staging does not cast a wide net hoping to attract random buyers. The following are areas that an effective consultation with a staging professional will result in:
- The staging must assess the style of the home to correctly coordinate it with appropriate furniture and accessories that will appeal the most to the target buyer.
- The staging will present a lifestyle to the target buyer that aligns with their needs, wants, and aspirations which results in more pliability during negotiations.
- The staging will present your home in the same way multi-million dollar companies sell their products, without lack, in an attractive manner ready to be marketed by your real estate agent through photography and showings.
- The staging will provide a warm and welcoming environment during in-person showings that will results in potential buyers falling in love with the home.
- The staging will include elimination of buyer deterrents such as dirtiness, clutter, repairs, updates needed, and smells (among other things) while replacing them with attractive items such as luxurious soaps, scented candles, and fresh flowers.
- You will hurt an agent’s feelings if you tell them you are already working to another agent. – When other agent’s approach you, the biggest courtesy you can show is by immediately making it clear that you already have representation. Additionally, you will sabotage your results if you attempt to work with several agents – nobody wins.
- Your agent gets a kick back from mortgage lenders, home inspectors, and other professionals they refer you to. – It is actually against the law for a REALTOR® to make any secret profit or receive remunerations from anyone other than their client without their client’s fully informed consent. The remuneration is prohibited from two sources: the other party to the transaction and a third party.
- If you pay less on commission, you will make more on your house. – Discount brokerages push this message but the truth is that the commission paid goes into the quality of advertising and expertise that is proven to bring higher offers. Like anything else, you get what you pay for.
- You will get a better deal if you buy directly from the seller’s agent. – Untrue. The seller’s agent is under fiduciary duties to protect the best interest of the seller. Although there is the option to agree to dual agency, you will most likely get a better deal if you have your own buying representation to negotiate on your behalf. Plus, you aren't responsible for the buying agent fees!
- Real estate agents say anything to make a sale – It is against the law for REALTORS® to make false statements or misrepresentations. By failing to disclose all material facts, the real estate agent is subject to punishment ranging from substantial fines to the loss of their license. Although there are bad apples in every bunch, any reputable agent will not risk this.