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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 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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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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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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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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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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Why Home Staging Works

10 Reasons to Professionally Stage Your Property

 

Professionally Staged Properties:

  • Look better than other homes on the market

  • Spent 73% less time on the market

  • Typically sell for more money

  • Look better in print and internet ads

  • Receive more foot traffic

  • End up on a Buyer's "Must See" list

  • Are viewed by Buyers as "well maintained"

  • Are "Move-in Ready"

  • Have less reasons for Buyers to ask for concessions

  • Professionally staged listings "stand out" in prospective Buyers' minds

 

Provided by the Real Estate Staging Association

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Contributors

Jennifer Roth
15
February 5, 2015
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Stephanie Catcher
16
December 31, 2014
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Gary Brown
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September 7, 2014
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Tia Lougas
7
August 18, 2014
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Liana Carvalho
9
July 22, 2014
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Steve Catcher
6
June 9, 2014
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Richard Ventura
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May 27, 2014
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Mark Carruthers
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April 3, 2014
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John Arnott
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April 2, 2014
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2015

February
10 Things Your Home St ...

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 ...
How to Score Free Land ...
June
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?
Keep your Floors Clean ...
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
How to choose a furnac ...
Your Couch is a Beast!
March
How to renovate and st ...
8 Reasons Why You Shou ...
Using Your RRSPs To Bu ...
Location, Location, Lo ...
Home renovations & Hom ...
Aim Higher. Be Differ ...
Your Photos are Distra ...
Fixed vs. Variable Rat ...
Why Home Staging Works
Why should you have li ...
Heating With Wood
GOALS 2014
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February
How to Compromise and ...
(VIDEO) Barbara Corcor ...
2013 RRSP Deadline is ...
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Save Money by Staging ...
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Home Inspectors - Buye ...
Be Our Guest
Using a Mortgage Broke ...
Let's do the Time Warp ...
January
Going away for the Hol ...
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Home Staging Myths
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