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Curb Appeal

As Spring finally comes to us (We Hope) and the Spring home sales heat up we find a whole new set of criteria to help attract the elusive Buyer to your home. Never disregard the importance of first opinion both in the inside and on the outside of the home for sale. A few tips to consider and things you can do to help attract Buyers are listed below.


UNUSED THINGS:    Put the snow shovels away in the shed, the snow blower and your snowmobiles.


LAWN:   Rake it to get rid of the winter residue of branches and road dirt.
Fertilize it because like paint inside the home, a few dollars spent outside to make your lawn nice and green goes a long way.  Keep it cut, more than you’re usual once a week or so.


GARDENS:  Clean out the garbage and put on some new mulch. Plant some nice bright annuals.


SHRUBS:  Trim them up nice, Remove their dead wood and remember they look great for many years, but they do get big and sometimes ugly so remove them if their time has past.


TREES:  Keep them trimmed up and out of the way.  If it’s fall rake the leaves to show your nice lawn.


FRONT DOOR:  Clean the windows, and paint the door and the door frame. Sweep the porch and walkways. Remember while the Buyers  are waiting for their Realtor to unlock the lockbox and open the door, they have nothing to do but stand there and look around at what’s close to them so get rid of those cobwebs!.


DRIVEWAY:  Power wash it and give it a coat of sealer. If your car sinks into permanent indentations when you come home consider having it repaved.


SHINGLES:  Is it time to replace them? A prospective buyer will want to knock off twice as much from the price of your home as the work is really worth. Better to bite the bullet and do it now while you are in control. Other wise get a reasonable quote and leave it out to prove the real worth of the job.


PAINT:  Garage doors, Front doors and Window frames. A house with flaking and peeling paint indicates a home that’s not well maintained and starts the Buyer looking for other issues while looking at your home.


WINDOWS:  An important factor when looking to buy a home, but expensive. If they need replaced and you aren’t going to do it then al least paint them up nicely and keep them clean.


WALKWAYS:  Keep them clean, weed free and level. You don’t need a prospective Buyer to trip on your uneven walkway or loose step and sue you and then buy your house with the proceeds.


Remember its all about FIRST IMPRESSIONS. The outside of a well looked after home will attract Buyers eyes from the street. Welcome them and say, my owner loves me and takes care of me.

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Outside your Home Factors to Consider

In continuation of my last Blog on location, another factor to take into consideration when buying a home is the importance of outside or area influences. Again these factors may be considered as pluses or minuses depending on the buyer’s needs and lifestyle.


PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES:  Transportation access is important to many, but generally it is not considered favourable to the have your home under a flight path, or backing onto the busy rail line or highway. Many people say you get used to them over time and really don’t hear anything, but not everyone will believe that when it’s time to sell.


PARKS & SCHOOLS:  It always seems nice to have them near by, but watch out for the sports fields that often come with them as they may attract a lot of organized sports activities very near to your own backyard haven causing unwanted noise, garbage & possible parking issues on your street, especially during weekends and evenings.


COMMUNITY CENTRES/HALLS: They have a whole range of problems as above plus the added indoor functions such as noisy weddings, community dances etc.


INDUSTRY :  Sometimes a warehouse is a nice quiet neighbour but make sure you check it out during working hours for unexpected noises from trucks , forklifts or dust collectors to name a few.


OPEN SPACE:    A Great neighbour, but ask your Realtor what that nice peaceful piece of vacant land behind your potential home is zoned for. You may end up with something you do not want as a neighbour.  This does not always work as zoning does change over time.


RAVINES & STREAMS:   Seemingly a wonderful thing to back onto,   but remember these are also wild animal habitats so be cautions as some of those cute little critters sometimes like to share your space too. They are still the most desirable locations to have.


WATER RETENTION PONDS:  These also look very nice and are becoming far more popular in newer subdivisions. Just remember what they are. A location for street run off to gather & slowly seep away in a more controlled manner. If you really like the sounds & smells of nature it could be great, but sometimes that big bullfrog can be very annoying and an almost dry pond may not always smell like the wildflowers that grow around them.


WATER TOWERS:  Very peaceful neighbours just watch where the shadows fall.


BODIES OF WATER:   Lakes, Rivers & Streams are wonderful but they do put limitations on the usage of your property as one of the many conservation authorities will have some kind of control over what you are allowed to do on your own land. They also pose hazards for small children but are great fun for the older family and very beautiful in most cases.


WINDMILLS:  A new concern mostly in the country. Check to see if any may be planned near where you want to live, as many people feel there are health issues if you get too close to these stately turning towers.


GRAVEL PITS:   A necessary evil in our society as we all want what’s made with the product, but no one wants it in their backyard as there are definite noise, dust & traffic issues for many years.


SOME OF THESE THINGS MAY NOT BOTHER YOU AT ALL BUT BE AWARE AND LET YOUR REALTOR GUIDE YOU WITH ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS YOU MAY HAVE.

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Location, Location, Location!

Everyone talks about the important factors to consider when buying a home. The truth is everyone’s factors are as different as everyone’s lifestyles are different. Over the next several weeks, I will give you my opinion on these factors starting with the most talked about. LOCATION  LOCATION  LOCATION!!!!
Things to consider and why (in no particular order)
• PROXIMITY to public transportation:      
Not everyone in your family has a car. More important in a large city than in a smaller community

• BUSY STREETS:     

Difficulty getting in and out of your driveway, child safety, noise and air Pollution. 


• SCHOOLS:        

Public, Catholic, Private, Day care, Walking distance, Curriculum, Play areas, Sports Fields.  Don’t assume that because there is a school nearby that your children will go there, check it out!


• WALKING:         

  Is there anywhere to walk your Dog, can you walk to stores, trails and Parks, indoor walking facilities such as arena tracks and malls.


• AMMENITIES:       

Are there any close by (Tim’s, Restaurants, Banks, Macs  Groceries etc) Or do you have to drive a long way to get to anything


• WORK:                

Is it a long drive, or short drive, easy highway access or on a bus route. Is there a Go train, Go bus or a car pool lot. Are there jobs available in the area?


• TYPE OF AREA:   

Check out the Neighbourhood. Is it Family oriented , are there more seniors or is it being taken over by rentals or business  establishments.


• PARKING:           

Is there anywhere for visitors to park, some areas have large homes with wide driveways but no street parking, some condo townhouses have very little extra parking for your guests.


• DESIREABILITY:    

 Is it a nice well looked after street or area of town.


• PUBLIC PARKS:      

Are there any close by for your children’s enjoyment or for dog walking, don’t forget that some people may not want to be too close to a busy park.


• SUNSHINE:           

Is it important to you to be on the sunny side of the street for your plants and gardens, artistry or your cats window sill sleeping enjoyment.


• SNOW:                

A lot of people like to live on the edge of town but beware, wide open spaces tend to be windy which may bring lots of snow with it, so the last homes on the streets facing north/west may need really good snow blowers.


• RESALE:         

YOU may love the home and where it is but eventually you will want to sell, so keep that in mind when buying.

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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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Signs that your Home is Kept Clean

Everyone knows that when they list their home for sale that they have to de-clutter and keep their home cleaner than usual.  Vacuum twice as often, fluff the pillows, make sure your bedroom is bright and beautiful.  But does your home show that you are always that clean or that you just rushed around and make it extra clean on the surface for the sale.  Some telltale signs that I look for when showing a home can give a lot of insight as to what goes on in the home usually and how clean the owners truly are.  The following is a list of what I check for when a buyer is concerned with a clean home.

Tubs – I always check the tub, it’s one of the hardest areas to get clean if you don’t keep it clean on a regular basis, a sparkling tub says that the home owner is clean or just replaced the tub.  Discolouration, peeling or damaged caulk are all signs that your tub is not a first priority.

The Furnace – I know it’s a weird spot to check, but a clean furnace can say a lot about the home owner.  Most people let dust pile up on their furnace, this amount of dust can make the furnace look older than it really is, so take a duster to your furnace and give it some new life.  Don’t forget to change that furnace filter too.

Windows – I don’t only look to see if the glass has been cleaned both inside and out, but the tracks.  A home that has been neglected will often have tracks full of black dirt or dust, a toothbrush and some patience can take care of this issue and make your windows look newer and the buyer is less likely to mention they need to be replaced.

Dishwashers – Appliances that are built in stay with the home, so I check them.  A person who keeps their home in tip top shape will not only wipe the outside of these appliances, but they will also make sure the inside is clean too.  I check the outside edges and if visible I look in the trap.  This cleaning is another quick tip to make your home look like it’s in tip top shape.  Even if the appliance is not staying, check ovens and washing machines, they can also be areas that show home neglect.

Trim, crown molding and ceilings – buyers are look for your home to clean from top to bottom, that means dusting or washing your trim, crown moldings and ceilings.  If you have to repaint some areas that are bit grungier, you should, this quick job will give your home the shine it needs.  You'll also be surprised how much cleaner a fresh coat of ceiling paint can make your home look, give it a try one weekend, you'll be happy you did.

If you really want your home to show well, make sure to touch on these spots that I often find are missed in a quick cleanup.  Most home owners are so focused on removing items that they aren’t seeing what’s right in front of them.  If you have to hire a professional cleaner to make these items shine, it’s well worth the money and they can make sure all these spots are clean quickly and your home will be ready to be placed on the market.

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Home Searching for Pets Too!

The loss of our little Grand Puppy Brutus this past weekend led me to change this weeks topic.
We always hear about the important factors which lead to the final decision of buying a certain home Location, Price, Condition.True enough these are quite often the major considerations, but not always. Here are some more that I have run into over the years:

-We need a sunny spot for Fluffy

-The deck’s too high Lilly can’t handle the steps

-The yard must be fenced for Butch to play safely in

-There are too many windows facing the street, Lassie will look out and bark all day

-We need a long hallway to throw toys down for Peppy to chase

-There are too many stairs for Delores our Pig

-We can’t have hardwood as Snoopy has long nails

-We can’t have dark carpet as Princess has white fur

-The kitchen is to close to the bedroom and Charlie my Parakeet will wake me too early

-The fence is not tall enough Jiggs will jump over it

-The back yard is too close to the river,  Maggie will fall in while chasing the squirrels

It just goes to show that location, price and condition aren’t everything and we as Realtors, with a heart have many more features to look for and consider.
May our little Brutus find just the right spot to sleep and play in his new home.  We will miss him

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Home Inspectors - Buyers Beware

I am a firm believer in Home Inspections, the Buyers Right to have a Home inspection and the value of a Good Knowledgeable Home Inspector. It is the Buyers right to choose their own Home Inspector.

 

However most home buyers do not know that currently in Ontario, anyone can call themselves a home inspector. This could pose a problem for Buyers who might base their decision to buy or sell a home on information they receive from an unregulated, unlicensed home inspector.

 

Home inspectors play an important role in the home buying and selling process. Professionals with this much influence should be licensed and have proper training to ensure consumers receive a consistent and standardized service.

The Ontario Real Estate Association is working with the Ministry of Consumer Services to improve consumer protection in the real estate marketplace by encouraging efforts to regulate the home inspection industry. In August 2013, a volunteer panel of experts reviewed home inspector qualifications in Ontario. The panel, comprised of members from home inspection associations, consumer advocates and real estate industry representatives, developed a report with 35 recommendations for the home inspection industry.

 

One of the main recommendations was to establish parameters for licensing the industry. Regulating the industry will help ensure homebuyers and sellers receive reliable, informative and professional advice when making one of the largest decisions of their lives.

 

It will take time for the Ministry to review the recommendations of the panel and decide if and how to bring forward legislation to establish qualifications for Home inspectors.

 

In the meantime, please ask your Trusted Realtor to suggest a few Home Inspectors that they have worked with in the past, and have been satisfied with their level of service and knowledge as well as their ability to communicate well any issues that may arise during the inspection of the home to the Buyers.

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