- 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.