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Is Furniture Holding you Back?

Are you looking for the perfect home to fit your couch, a Persian rug or maybe a dining room table?  Does this make sense to anyone, why are people buying homes for objects and not for those people who are living in the home?  Too many times I’ve seen families turn down the perfect home in the perfect neighbourhood because it won’t fit their bedroom set or their mirrored dresser. 


Don’t let your things rule your life, the people who live in that home now obviously have a bed and it seems to fit, so sell your larger than normal bed and buy one that fits in that perfect house, or trade with a family member if the item is important to the family.  I understand keeping a family heirloom, but if your home budget doesn’t allow you to buy a home with a living room that is 20x20 then maybe Grandma’s rug should go to a family member who has space for it and then you can find a home that is right for you and your family, not a rug that you feel obligated to keep.


Reality is budget is a large deciding factor in what kind of home you end up in and if you are forced to choose the home with the largest dining room to fit a table you never eat at, you may be giving up on other items that you need such as an extra bathroom, a large yard or even a home in a condition that you can move into right away.


The best suggestion I have to avoid being caught in buying a home for your items is to make a list of why you are moving from your current home, these are items that are driving you out of your current place and into a new one.  Once you know what is driving you out of your current home, what is on your list of need to have and nice to have, knowing the difference between need and want can be very difficult but make the process easier.  If you are buying the home with another person, I strongly suggest making this list together, you may find out that your spouse hates that large couch you inherited and buying a home with space for it makes no sense if it’s uncomfortable anyways.


Remember when you are looking for a home why you are moving, I’m sure your bedroom set didn’t wake up one morning and decide to move because it didn’t like your current neighbour, if you have to part with some items to move to where you want to be, I’m sure your happiness in the new home will outweigh the cost to replace an item that is too large for your new home.

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Is your Furniture Holding you Back?

Are you looking for the perfect home to fit your couch, a Persian rug or maybe a dining room table?  Does this make sense to anyone, why are people buying homes for objects and not for those people who are living in the home?  Too many times I’ve seen families turn down the perfect home in the perfect neighbourhood because it won’t fit their bedroom set or their mirrored dresser. 


Don’t let your things rule your life, the people who live in that home now obviously have a bed and it seems to fit, so sell your larger than normal bed and buy one that fits in that perfect house, or trade with a family member if the item is important to the family.  I understand keeping a family heirloom, but if your home budget doesn’t allow you to buy a home with a living room that is 20x20 then maybe Grandma’s rug should go to a family member who has space for it and then you can find a home that is right for you and your family, not a rug that you feel obligated to keep.


Reality is budget is a large deciding factor in what kind of home you end up in and if you are forced to choose the home with the largest dining room to fit a table you never eat at, you may be giving up on other items that you need such as an extra bathroom, a large yard or even a home in a condition that you can move into right away.


The best suggestion I have to avoid being caught in buying a home for your items is to make a list of why you are moving from your current home, these are items that are driving you out of your current place and into a new one.  Once you know what is driving you out of your current home, what is on your list of need to have and nice to have, knowing the difference between need and want can be very difficult but make the process easier.  If you are buying the home with another person, I strongly suggest making this list together, you may find out that your spouse hates that large couch you inherited and buying a home with space for it makes no sense if it’s uncomfortable anyways.


Remember when you are looking for a home why you are moving, I’m sure your bedroom set didn’t wake up one morning and decide to move because it didn’t like your current neighbour, if you have to part with some items to move to where you want to be, I’m sure your happiness in the new home will outweigh the cost to replace an item that is too large for your new home.

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Multiple Offers - Seller's Perspective

When you list your home, I know that all sellers dream of having multiple offers, how much better can selling your home get, it sells quickly and you get to choose the best offer of the bunch!  If multiple offers are what you are looking for, here are some tips on how to create multiple offers and some things to watch out for if they come up.
Price your Home Right:  Price is what drives buyers into your home, if they don’t perceive it to be priced right they won’t be willing to look at it quickly.  If a buyer or that buyer’s agent believes that the home is priced below market value, they will be willing to drop everything and look at your home right away, only when you get multiple buyers in your property quickly can you get multiple offers.


Have a great Product: 

Price might bring them in the door, but the quality of your home is what will get them to buy.  Make sure that your home is fully ready for sale before you list it, if items are incomplete or it’s not cleaned, decluttered and staged then your home won’t stand out and make those buyers feel that they had better buy this one before someone else does.


List close to an Open House: 

If you list your home and have an open house planned for a few days later, buyers will feel the pressure to look at the home before the open house and to possibly offer before that open house as well, remember a buyer feels that the less eyes on a property the better the chances they will not have to end up in multiple offers


Make sure your Agent works for multiple offers: 

If you are looking for multiple offers, make sure that your agent is calling all agents who have been through the home that have showed interest or haven’t left any feedback at all.  Your agent should be making sure that they are exploring all options for more offers if that is what you are looking for.  Also, keep in mind

that some buyer’s will shy away from multiple offers, so you do risk losing those buyers if you are too aggressive.


Once you receive the Offers: 

once you have been advised there are multiple offers coming in, you will meet with your agent and all of the offers to choose which one works best for you.  Remember that the buyers have put their best foot forward, so you won’t often be able to send them back for more money.  While price is obviously a very important factor when you look at the offers, other factors to consider can be close date, conditions like financing, inspection and even sale of the buyer’s home.  Make sure that you choose the offer that works best for you and if you have to ask the buyer to make a few tweaks hopefully it can be done.  Be cautious of accepting an offer that has no conditions, in a few cases, buyers can get caught up in offering on a house before they have their financing pre-approved and could end up backing out of the offer, at which point, you would have to go back to the other buyers and hope that they are still interested in buying your home.  Not only can choosing the wrong offer cost you valuable time on the market, but it can also cost you more money if the other buyers are not interested, of have chosen to lower their original offer.

 

Whether you end up with multiple offers or just one offer, remember the end result is the same, your home will sell for market value and you’ll be moving onto your next adventure!

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Multiple Offer - Buyer's Perspective

Multiple offers are the things dreams are made of for sellers, but a nightmare for the buyer.  Today I wanted to provide some tips for buyers who end up in a multiple offer situation. 

1.  Don’t wait:  If you’ve found the one, don’t wait to offer on it.  Every day that you wait, other buyers are looking at the property and the more people that see it, the more likely you are to end up in multiple offers


2. Be Ready:  Have your mortgage pre approval, once you have your mortgage pre approval you’ll know what you can afford and you’ll be confident when you put in an offer.  If you have a questionable pre approval it is advised to not get into a multiple offer situation


3. Have your Professionals Ready:  If you do in fact end up offering on a multiple offer situation, you may be asked to tighten up your time frame to complete home inspections and final mortgage approvals and even lawyer tasks.  It is best to know who you will be using for these services and to make sure that you have them ready when you are.


4. Let you agent know your position: Having open and honest communication with your real estate agent is best and you need to let them know how you feel about multiple offers.  If you are willing to compete for the perfect house or if you are willing to walk away and keep looking.  If your agent doesn’t know your true feelings for the house or your motivation, they won’t be able to properly assist.  Remember, with a signed buyer’s commitment, your real estate agent is working for you and you are free to tell them how much you love or hate a house and don’t be afraid to hide your true feelings, chances are your agent doesn’t own that house and won’t be offended.


5. Plan a Strategy:  I can’t give up all my multiple offer strategy tips here, but those of you who have worked with me in multiple offers are aware of what can be done.  One tip that I will provide to everyone is don’t compromise on the big items, if your agent is asking you to remove your conditions of financing (if your financing is unsure) or to remove a home inspection, those aren’t items you should be compromising on.  Maybe not asking for that wall mounted TV or appliances you know the owners want to keep are good items to remove from the offer, but not items that can affect your ability to purchase the house, the added stress isn’t worth it.


6. Remember it’s your Best Shot:  Make sure when you are choosing what price you are going to offer in a multiple offer situation that what you are offering is your one and only chance.  This price is the price you have to live with, make sure it’s a number you can afford, a number that doesn’t make you second guess how much you spent on the house and a number that isn’t just below the other offer and when you found out you lost the house over $1000 you don’t want to kick yourself over and over again.


7. Feel Good about your decision:  Remember that if you don’t get the house you wanted there is always going to be another that you love even more.  If you did get the house in the multiple offer, Congratulations don’t worry if you paid a little more than you wanted, the house was the one and you’ll be there long enough to make a return on your investment.


Multiple offers can be exciting and nerve racking at the same time, make sure you are prepared if the situation arises and remember if you work with a good agent and the home is meant to be yours, it will be!

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Are you Attending Open Houses?

Attending open houses can be fun, you can see your neighbours homes, get decorating ideas, go into large homes and dream of the possibilities; but are you doing it right?  When you attend an open house the agent working that open house is there to sell that home or to connect to potential clients.  Are you leading that agent on?  Are you pretending to be an interested buyer?  Are you not interested in the home and walk around giving negative comments? 


While as a realtor we are happy to have people come through the open house, there is some etiquette that we would expect.  If you are a neighbour and simply coming through to “check” out the house just let the realtor know.  I often find that neighbours can be the best source of finding buyers for a home, they let all their friends know how great the neighbourhood is and they see the signs go up first, but if the realtor hosting the open house thinks you are an interested buyer they may be wasting valuable time speaking with you at an open house when they could be answering questions for a truly interested buyer.   The same rules apply if you are a person who frequents open houses as something to do on the weekend or is looking for decorating ideas.  A simple “I’m just looking for decorating ideas” or “I’m a neighbour, not looking to buy myself” can go a long way in an open house and will most likely guarantee you won’t be hounded for information either.


If you are a buyer who is interested in buying but the house is not what you had expected, simply leave.  Remember the agent doesn’t own the house and while constructive feedback is appreciated, often the agent is aware of the condition of the home and if there are obvious defects, they are aware of that too.  When you walk through an open house with lots of negative opinions and there are other people in the house, remember that this may be the home of their dreams or their budget may differ from yours and this home is all they are able to afford and they will make it work.  If you walk around and provide negative comments around every corner you may be jeopardizing the sale of the home.  The agent will not be offended if you simply walk in, say it’s not the right home for you and leave. 


I look forward to seeing you at any open house I hold and hope if you attend other agents open houses that you keep these tips in mind, happy hunting!

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Keep your Floors Clean for Bare Feet

With summer upon us, more and more buyers are looking at homes and are wearing sandals.  While you may wear summer shoes in your home, buyers feel it’s rude to leave their shoes on in your home, so they take them off and are left with bare feet.


I urge everyone who has their home for sale in the summer to do the barefoot test.  Take a walk around your home like you are a potential buyer in your bare feet and make sure that nothing sticks to your feet, that your feet don’t stick to anything and that your home in general feels clean. 


Areas that I commonly find to be a concern are front entrances, make sure that if you do wear your shoes in the house that you aren’t leaving sand and dirt particles at your front door, a barefoot visitor will grab these on their feet as their first and last impressions.  Basements, all buyers go into the basement, even if you don’t go there a lot, so make sure even your furnace or utility room is clean.  Another basement area that can feel very dirty to bare feet is a kitty litter area, I’ve often walked into a basement and ended up with kitty litter on my feet from little fluffy walking it around the basement.  I would suggest a small carpet outside of your kitty litter box for fluffy to wipe his paws on before he treks it all over the basement.


Buyers will also step outside of your home, into the garage or onto the deck, so make sure those areas are swept up as well.  All areas of your home, inside and out need your attention, not only in the summer, but all year round.
Another item that can set off barefoot buyers is sticky kitchen floors, if you have children I’m sure a spilled drink it common, but in a buyers mind, a sticky floor is dirty and a dirty floor can mean a dirty home which causes them to wonder what else has been left unattended.


Before your home is ready for sale, make sure all areas of your home are bare foot tested and ready for those summer buyers.

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Thinking Bungalow

Looking ahead to your twilight years?  Is your next move going to be to a bungalow?  If you are looking to purchase a bungalow, it would be better to buy one sooner rather than later.  With the aging baby boom population a bungalow style home is going to be more and more in demand.  The increased demand from those boomers to buy homes that they can both maintain and stay in as they age will start to increase the price of bungalow homes. 


In 2008 the average price of a detached bungalow was $267,430, while the average price of a 2 storey detached in Kitchener/Waterloo was $296,553, in 2013 the average price of a bungalow was $310,648 and the average price of the 2 storey detached was $321,117, the bungalow saw an increase of 16.16% over 5 years while the 2 storey detached homes only saw an increase of 8.28%.  Bungalow prices are increasing almost twice as fast as 2 storeys.  I don’t believe that we will see a decrease in the prices of 2 storey detached homes, as we still have move up buyers who are increasing their family size and need these larger homes.  Another statistic that is showing the popularity of bungalows is the number of days on the market, the average days a bungalow was on the market in Kitchener/waterloo in 2013 was 35 and the average days a 2 storey was on the market was 38, while this isn’t a large difference now, I believe with decreased inventory we will see fewer days on the market for a bungalow compared to a 2 storey home. 


With the increased demand from the boomers to stay on their own and not into a retirement home, they will be looking for homes that allow them to physically stay longer than a 2 storey home would.  A smaller bungalow with less yard maintenance is going to be desired and I believe that we will be seeing these prices increase at a faster rate as those boomers start to get closer and closer to downsizing.


If you currently own a bungalow and love it, stay in it.  If you own a bungalow and are looking to sell it and believe that it might be ideal for a senior, waiting a little longer for those prices to increase may be wise, as the trends are showing increasing demand for bungalows and the population of boomers who are moving closer and closer to retirement  is also increasing.  According to the 2011 census, in Canada 3 of every 10 Canadians is in the boomer generation.  Those boomers have saved for retirement and are looking for a way to enjoy their retirement in their own comfortable environment, a bungalow will allow them just that.


Bungalows are going to be in high demand and if you are looking at that option, I would highly suggest looking at that option now before the prices of bungalows inflate higher and become harder and harder to find.

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Send Me Your Wish List

If you’re thinking about buying your next home or your first home, a wish list can be very helpful to me as your realtor.  When I search for properties for buyers, I am able to drill down a little further and get more specific with a home than a consumer is able to view on realtor.ca, so by sending me your wish list, I can make sure that properties that have what you are looking for are sent to you immediately. 
In Kitchener Waterloo, on any given day there are over 1200 homes listed for sale, by sending me your wish list, I’m able to narrow that amount of listings down to a manageable amount and show you the homes most fitting to your needs and block out any of the white noise from properties that just don’t fit.
When making your wish list I do suggest that your items are categorized into items that you NEED to have and items that you WANT to have and items that would be NICE to have.  This will allow me to meet all your needs immediately, such as number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, price, and location. 
Once I’ve met your needs on a home, I then look for wants, such as finished basements, size of garage, white cabinets in the kitchen, I know that when you are looking for your 2nd, 3rd or even final home, the wants are very specific, since you’ve lived with items you have hated in the past.  Please don’t be shy when providing me with those wants, this is your home and I’ve been tasked to find it and don’t worry, I will! 
Once we’ve found a home that has all your needs and your wants (if it fits the budget) then we can look at the nice to haves, I often look at the nice to haves as items that add value to the home that you are purchasing, but they are also items that if you needed to add them later, you could.  This could be something like a hot tub, a certain type of flooring, maybe even a finished basement (depending on your handy skills).  The nice to have items I often don’t search for in the search criteria, but would be sure to point them out when choosing between more than one home. 
I do caution first time buyers not to go too overboard on your needs and wants, remember to keep your budget in mind so that we can find a realistic home.  If you happen to have a lot of needs and wants, by all means include them so I can look for the dream house, but all choose your top 3 in each category, these are items that you could not live without!  I also like to remind first time buyers that in some cases, the place they are renting or even their parents’ home may be nicer than their budget allows, but not to worry about size all the time, believe me, when you own your own home, no matter how small it is, you will make it yours and feel so happy to have your first home. 
When I look back now to when we were looking for our first home, I cringe to think of the things we would have settled on, but I know we would have still been blissfully happy…for a few years.  If your plan for your first home is more than a few years, please let me know that, I can assist with getting a home with better resale value down the road and one that will allow you to enjoy it now and your returns later when you sell.

No matter which stage in the home buying process you are, send me your wish list and share all your dreams with me, my job is to make those dreams a reality.  I look forward to seeing your wish list and helping you in the future.

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Your Couch is a Beast!

Is your couch so large that it's affecting the sale of your home?  We all know that we want the largest, softest, most comfy couch when we veg out and watch TV.  Cuddled up with our blankets, popcorn bowls, books, remotes, dogs and kids, the need for a large couch space is apparent, but is your beast of a couch slowing your home sale?

 

Often I find clients trying to fit their furniture in the home for sale and if the furniture in their potential new home is much larger than what they have, they will find it hard to think that their furniture will fit.  Less truly is more, letting people know that there is room for a full couch and a loveseat is great, but they don't need to see your mammoth couch and 2 more matching lazy boys too! 

 

Here are some tips on picking the right couch for the space that you have:

 

If you have high ceilings, choose a couch with a tall back or oversized back cushions to help soften the rooms starkness

 

If you have a small living space, try an apartment sized sofa, or a loveseat paired with 2 chairs to give a conversational space, odds are that people won't notice it's not a full sized couch if it's laid out right

 

If your space is open and you have it broken into 2 room spaces - consider a sectional couch if the space is large, it will help your mind break up the space into 2 different rooms and make it feel more spacious, there is nothing worse than an open concept home with too much furniture

 

If you have a lot of furniture, consider removing it for selling your home, take out that bulky couch and matching chair, they take up too much space and probably look worn anyways - that's why they are so great for relaxing, but that worn in look doesn't sell homes.

 

If you need to rent furniture to make your space work , the small cost for the month that you may need to rent will pay off.  The better your home looks, the quicker it sells and the quicker you can go back to regular life and well, packing!

 

 

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Your Photos are Distracting

We’ve all heard that your home needs to be devoid of personal photos when your home is for sale, but do you know why?  There are lots of reasons why your personal photos can affect the sale of your property.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen buyers more interested in the family photos on the wall then in the space of your home. I often hear comments such as “oh I think I know them” or “Look at that Mullet! Come here honey and look!”  Not only are they distracting themselves, but their spouse as well and now neither of them is looking at the home.  I can tell you that I’ve been guilty of the exact same thing with funny family photos, but when I ask a client later what they thought of a certain home; they almost always forget what the features were of the homes with the photos.

Your photos may not only be distracting but can give away your motivation for moving, possibly you were just married and there is only one person on title of the home. As a real estate agent/Investigator, I’m able to determine that most likely this home is not the preferred home of the recently married spouse and that he/she is motivated to sell this house to get into a home that belongs to both of them to start their newly married life.  Some family photos can show how many kids you have and how old they are, from that I can tell if a family needs to move since they no longer fit in the home.  Even if they have done a great job de-cluttering to make the home look spacious, the number of people in a home can tell me they are motivated to move for extra space.

A handful of times I have found art to be just as distracting.  In those times, it has been extreme.  For example I was in a home where to artist was the owner and every square inch of the walls was covered in her art and self-portraits, while the art was well done, it was too much and we ended up counting the number of art pieces in the home which totaled over 70 on the walls. 

Another distraction can be the family calendar, some families write very detailed items on their calendars, often very personal details.  I would suggest that all personal items be put away, photos, calendars, artwork and anything else that may distract the buyers or give any insight as to your motivation to move.

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Contributors

Jennifer Roth
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February 5, 2015
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Stephanie Catcher
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December 31, 2014
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Gary Brown
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September 7, 2014
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Tia Lougas
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Liana Carvalho
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Steve Catcher
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Mark Carruthers
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April 3, 2014
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2014

December
Is Furniture Holding y ...
October
Is your Furniture Hold ...
September
Here's Something That ...
August
Front Door Fix-Up
Why Neutral Is Best Wh ...
July
When Should You Stage?
Last will and testamen ...
Multiple Offers - Sell ...
Steps to financial ind ...
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Multiple Offer - Buyer ...
Home Staging in 3 Step ...
Wild Things
What is the difference ...
May
Heritage in a Home
Renewing Your Mortgage ...
Are you Attending Open ...
What Is Home Staging?
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Cleaning Tips For Sell ...
April
Thinking Bungalow
Leadership Advice: How ...
When Should You Call a ...
Understanding market v ...
Curb Appeal
Send Me Your Wish List
Outside your Home Fact ...
Home Staging Curb Appe ...
Keep on top of your ch ...
Laddering investments
Home Based Business
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Your Couch is a Beast!
March
How to renovate and st ...
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Using Your RRSPs To Bu ...
Location, Location, Lo ...
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Aim Higher. Be Differ ...
Your Photos are Distra ...
Fixed vs. Variable Rat ...
Why Home Staging Works
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Heating With Wood
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