Happy Victoria Day!

The 24th of May weekend always feels like the start of summer.

Time to open the cottage…

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Time to plant the annuals in the garden…

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Time to get all the outdoor furniture out…

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Time to open the pool…

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Whatever your plans may be, all of us at Coldwell Banker Community Professionals hope you have a great long weekend, and enjoy the summer ahead.

If your plans happen to include buying or selling a home, give us a call.  We are always happy to help people make the right move.

You Asked, So Here are Some Answers…

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There are some questions about real estate we hear all the time, so I have polled some of the professionals in our office to get their answers, and have shared their responses below.  Should you have any questions not addressed here, we will gladly get you the answer.

 DO I REALLY NEED A HOME INSPECTION?

The answer is a resounding YES. 

Here are a few of the particular reasons why.

  • To review the home in more detail and ideally see aspects of the property that the naked eye can’t see.
  • Even pros miss things in homes, and it’s better to have someone that does it for a living looking with you to see the issues. 
  • Although things may look normal to the untrained eye, a professional home inspector has specialized equipment that may uncover such conditions as water and mould issues.
  • Missed problems can result in large cash outlays.

IS HOME STAGING WORTH THE COST?

Again, across the board agreement, YES.

  • In some cases staging can turn a plain Jane house into a modern looking up to date home which in turn will likely produce a higher selling price.
  • Especially in a vacant home, staging better displays room sizes and layout.  In homes with less ideal floor plans, it allows potential buyers to see what can be done and envision themselves living there.
  • Having the property “show” ready will attract more potential buyers and ideally sell faster.
  • You will net 5-10 times more than you pay for staging for a nice looking house.  Not everyone can see “the potential”, so just show it to them.

DO I NEED A REALTOR®?

Of course, our answer is YES.

  • We represent your interests while negotiating the fine details of the agreement and the transaction.
  • A REALTOR® will guide you through the process; assist with the paperwork, market the property, negotiate, and take the stress off the seller or buyer.
  • Your home is your largest investment.  Navigating your way through a real estate transaction can be very complicated, from arranging financing, qualifying buyers, knowing what should and should not be disclosed.  Also a REALTOR® will know what is taking place in the current market and will help the seller price it right or make sure the buyer doesn’t overpay.

SHOULD I TALK TO A MORTGAGE BROKER OR A BANK?

YES you should, and using a Mortgage Broker seems to be the recommended choice.

  • Every buyer and seller should talk to their banker or mortgage broker prior to entering into a purchase or sale.  The buyer should be pre-qualified for a mortgage and seller needs to verify if there are any penalties with regards to their mortgage.
  • You should know what you can afford to avoid wasting time and facing disappointment. 
  • Either can assist.  Mortgage brokers shop all the lenders for you and are able to have plans B, C, and D ready just in case.  They also tend to be more accessible.
  • Mortgage Brokers can sometimes get better rates than bank employee pricing, plus they have a variety of products to choose from.

CAN I BUY A HOME IF I HAVE BEEN BANKRUPT?

Depending upon where you are in the bankruptcy process, yes it is possible.

  • You must be discharged from you bankruptcy.
  • I would recommend building your credit back first so that you aren’t susceptible to ridiculous interest rates.

DOES NEIGHBOURHOOD MATTER FOR RESALE?

ABSOLUTELY!

  • Location, location, location.  It’s all about what the neighbourhood offers that attracts buyers.
  • The best house in the worst area may sell well, but the best or worst home in the more desirable area will definitely appeal to more future buyers.
  • Location, location, location, but that said, more areas are in transition and being developed and  I’m seeing it now as location, renovation, location.
  • Certain neighbourhoods are more desirable and for different reasons.  Being close to transportation and shopping may be important to some while schools, parks, and hiking trails may appeal to other buyers.

ARE CORNER LOTS BETTER?

This is strictly personal preference.

  • Keep in mind in the city there could be more traffic and more upkeep to the property, such as snow removal from two sides.
  • Less privacy, less usable yard at times, usually more grass to cut and snow to shovel…

HOW MANY HOMES SHOULD I LOOK AT BEFORE I PICK ONE?

There is no right answer.

  • You will know within 15 seconds of being in a home if it’s the right one.  There is a feeling you get.  Could be the first house, could be the 101st.  
  • On average it seems to be 10-12.
  • There is no magic number, you will just know.
  • It does happen on the rare occasion that a buyer will buy the first house they viewed, however buyers often don’t really know what they are looking for or what they like, until they start looking.

 

My thanks to our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals members, Natalie Hashka, Daniela Tofano, James Mink and Gary Herron for taking time to provide their input on the above questions.  If you have more questions, or would like information, give one of them a call.  They will be glad to help you make an informed decision. They can all be reached at 905-522-1110.

Are You As Confused As The Rest Of Us?

Yes it’s a great time to sell your house… No, don’t sell now, prices are going up!

It seems every time you read an article in the media, you get a different story regarding how the real estate market is performing. The most important thing to remember when you are reading these articles is that real estate is LOCAL. Most articles provide information based upon Canada wide data, which does not reflect what concerns home buyers and sellers have about their own situation.

Some parts of the country are experiencing a decrease in prices and activity in the real estate market, whereas other areas, such as the Hamilton/Burlington area are experiencing a strong market, with stable activity and prices.

Government intervention has influenced the local markets this year. Policy changes such as the foreign buyer’s tax, and changing the mortgage rules for individuals trying to qualify for mortgages has made home buying a challenge for many. Further changes have been proposed for mortgage qualification that may affect still more buyers.

If regulations remove buyers from the market, it will have a levelling affect on home prices, as buyers leave the market. Also, as interest rates rise, the number of qualified buyers looking for homes will also decrease.

As for prices going up, I think most are in agreement that prices are levelling off, and competition for home purchases is happening far less frequently than it did earlier this year.

If you are planning to move, now is a good time to place your home on the market. The Fall is traditionally a strong market, lasting through to late November. The most buyers will be in the market prior to any further government intervention, and prior to any further mortgage rate increases.

Be sure to consult with a real estate professional prior to placing your home for sale. They can provide you with valuable information to help you receive the most money for your home, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle.

Our professionals as Coldwell Banker Community Professionals are always ready, and very able to help you out. Call one today!

Is the Real Estate Market Changing?

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“GTA home sales plunge as much as 61 per cent”.

Headlines like the one above might lead you to believe the market has crashed and home values have plummeted. Nothing could be further from the truth.

2017 has seen a very overheated market during the first 5 months. The lack of homes for sale in the Hamilton and the surrounding GTA markets has pushed up prices and created a very competitive marketplace. The competition has led to multiple offers, generating sale prices well above the asking price for homes. This made it very challenging for homeowners and REALTORS® to determine the market value of homes.

As the market has eased in the last few weeks, buyers are finding they are not always in competition to buy a home, and have the luxury of being able to include conditions in their offers whether it be for financing, home inspection, or anything else. The market has also made it possible for REALTORS® to actually negotiate for their buyers and sellers.

The change in the market has also caused REALTORS® to have a closer look at how they are pricing and marketing homes. If you have been trying to buy a home, the one line that you hate to see in a listing is “no offers until…”, as you know you will likely be having to compete to buy the home. While there is still competition in the market, we are no longer seeing the huge numbers of offers, not the selling prices well above the asking price. In fact, we see some sellers who have opted to wait until a set date to view offers not receiving the competition they had hoped for. In some instances, these sellers are relisting their property at a higher price, and removing the time frame for offers.

As the market changes, both buyers and sellers will need to revise their approaches. The buyers are gaining the opportunity to take some time to make sure the home they are buying is the right fit for them, and to satisfy themselves regarding any conditions they need to meet.
On the other hand, the sellers are discovering that they may not obtain the unbelievably high price for their home that the neighbour did just a couple weeks ago. Also, it may take more than a week to list, market and sell their home.

As the market changes, it is important to have a professional REALTOR® in your corner, helping you make the right choice and negotiating the best possible price for you. If you are thinking about buying or selling, be sure to call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professional representatives. They will be able to help you in making the decisions that are right for you!

The Price is Right!

When you are ready to sell, determining what price to offer your home to buyers at can be much like playing The Price is Right with Bob Barker.

If you ask 4 people what your home is worth, you will get 4 different answers, no doubt one so low you will scoff at their judgement and one so high you only hope they are right.

In our current market, pricing your home right when you put it on the market is very important. The buyers who have been looking for a home, and likely have made many offers without success, have seen all the homes comparable to yours, and are very educated on price. When they see a home come on the market listed much above current market value, they tend to not even consider it. They believe either the seller is being unrealistic, or that they have time to wait for the price reduction.

It can be difficult as a home owner to look at the prices being paid for homes, and not think you should list yours at the price just attained by the house down the street. Well priced homes are currently attracting multiple offers, which tends to drive the final sale price up, sometimes to levels not previously achieved by similar homes. At times, if a property is the only home available, and has very desirable features, it will obtain an unrealistically high selling price, only because it is the only one available.

When a REALTOR® provides you with a Market Evaluation of your home, they take into consideration what has sold, what is currently available, and what has been rejected by the market. They have the expertise and knowledge to look at the sale prices of properties, and the events surrounding the sale to determine how they compare to your home. Combining this knowledge with information regarding other properties that are currently for sale (your competition) and also considering properties that have been on the market for a longer period of time (seemingly overpriced) they can provide you with a recommended range in which to offer your home for sale.

Many sellers are concerned that the suggested price range is too low. They see a similar house that sold for maybe $50,000 more that the price being recommended to them. The other home may have received 15 offers, driving the price higher. As a seller, you must price your home to attract the competitive offers in order to realize the highest sale price. Pricing at top dollar may very well discourage a number of the potential buyers of your home, and possibly make competition unlikely.

If you are considering selling your home, and would like an honest opinion and marketing plan, call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals representatives. They will provide you with a comprehensive evaluation, and help you make the right decision.

Can I Afford to Buy a House?

 
When is enough enough?

Today’s real estate market is all about competing offers. It seems most properties are being listed with a time period in which no offers will be considered. This is ideal for the seller, allowing everyone who might be interested in the property the opportunity to view the house, and decide if they want to make an offer. For all the buyers out there, it’s not quite so ideal, as it creates a situation where a buyer is almost assured of being in competition to buy a home.

When a buyer finds a home they want to buy, the first question they ask their REALTOR® is “How much should I offer to be sure I get this house?” Unfortunately there is no easy answer to that question.

In competition, houses quite often sell for more than their market value, which makes it a bit of a guessing game. Your REALTOR® can tell you what the property’s market value is, but they cannot anticipate how much someone will to pay to own a particular home.

When deciding how much to offer, a good test is to find the price point at which you as the buyer can say, “I would not be upset if someone else bought it at that price”. If the seller is asking $400,000 for example, and you as the buyer decide your top price for the home is $500,000, ask yourself, would you be upset if you learned someone bought it for $510,000? $505,000? If you can say to yourself, ”no I would not be upset”, you have reached your top price. If you say, I would have paid that much, you have not topped out on what you believe you would pay.

That said, listen to your REALTOR®. They will caution you not to offer so much that you put your financing availability at risk. Also, buying a house at any price is not the answer either. If in the example I mentioned above, you are able and willing to pay $500,000 for a home, be sure there is not another property on the market that you have not looked at because it is listed higher that you we thinking of buying.

As always, if you are thinking of buying or selling a home, be sure to speak to a REALTOR® first. Call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals reps. They are very knowledgeable, and will help you determine what is the best decision for YOU, right now.

Oh No! I Sold My Home!

ce4a9f30cb42bf341ab2aa815aed136a_real-estate-sold-sign-lindsay-house-sold-sign-clipart_1000-750Are you afraid to sell your home in case you can’t find one to buy?

This seems to be the impasse  many potential sellers are stuck at. The market right now has such a low inventory of homes to buy, many people are putting off selling, even though they have many reasons that now would be a good time to sell.

If you are in this position, you have a lot of things to consider.

By not moving, are you putting off plans that would be better for your family?
Financially, is now a good time to sell?
If you haven’t sold your home, can you buy your dream home if it came on the market tomorrow?
If you can’t find your dream home, are you willing to rent a property until you find the right one?
Are you tired of carrying the household costs on large home that is more than you need?
Can you afford to own two homes?

If you are being held back by one of these concerns, or another not mentioned, take some time and determine whether there is a answer should you sell your home and become “homeless”.

Are you fortunate enough to have a second home where you could live temporarily while waiting for the right home to come on the market?
Are you prepared to rent accommodation while looking for the right house?
You might be able to negotiate a long closing on your current home, to allow you time to find the right home.
Do you have family members with extra space for you to stay with if the need arises?
Is there another solution which would enable to you move now?

Not everyone is prepared to put their home on the market without knowing where they are going next, but maybe you are.

Being homeless is not as bad as you might think. I sold my home last summer, and am currently renting a home while I look for just the right property. Is it perfect?, no, but it provides the freedom to be in control when I do find the right property. As a buyer with no home to sell, and the ability to match most any closing date a seller might request, I am in a good negotiating position.

So, are you ready to put your home on the market? Be sure to call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals to discuss what your options are.