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Email: jpappy@uniserve.com

Curb appeal is the first thing buyers will notice when driving up to your home so you want to make sure it looks its best.


There are countless ways to improve the curb appeal of your home without spending thousands of dollars and I’ve put together a few ideas below to help you out: 

Create a Front Porch Seating Area

Nothing says comfort and home like seeing a rocking chair or swing on the front porch.


Buyers want to envision themselves living in your home and by adding a seat on the front porch, buyers will be able to picture themselves sitting here while enjoying their morning coffee.


Cost estimate: $0 - $500 

New House Numbers

New house numbers are an excellent and affordable way to boost curb appeal because it’s something buyers will look for when trying to find the listing.


Installing stylish house numbers also shows that you pay attention to detail, which can only boost their confidence.


Estimated cost: $20 – $75

Paint or Stain the Front Door

Bringing some attention to your front door will appeal to the majority of buyers.


Traditionally doors have been painted darker colours, try experimenting with a brighter colour to draw attention and appear more inviting.


Estimated cost: $50 – $100

Update the Exterior Lighting

Updating the exterior lighting with modern fixtures will improve not only the look of your home but the safety.


Buyers want to feel safe and secure when envisioning themselves in their new home.


Estimated cost: $150 - $500

Power Wash Driveway and Walkways

Removing the built-up dirt and grime that collects with time is a great way to improve your curb appeal.


Buyers will notice how well kept your home is and appreciate that you’ve taken such great care of it.

This also appeals to buyers as they will know there’s less work for them in the future.


Estimated cost: $50 – $350

Repaint or Restain the Porch

Similar to repainting or restaining your front door, this will improve the look of the front of your home greatly and appeal to all buyers.


Choose your colours carefully to ensure they bring out the best in your home and appeal to the masses.

A fresh coat of paint will also hide any imperfections in the wood.


Estimated cost:$50 – $200

Upgrade the Hardware

Replacing cheap door knockers or door handles is another fun way to make a great first impression.


Since the hardware is the focal point of most doors, cheap hardware can make even the nicest door look ugly.


Estimated cost:$75 – $250

Have the Roof Cleaned

Since we don’t spend much time up there, it’s easy to forget about, but having your roof professionally cleaned to remove moss and any other debris will improve the look of your home greatly!


This is a job for the professionals though, we don’t recommend cleaning your roof without the proper safety gear and procedures in place.


Estimated cost: $200 - $500


Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression!


Making sure your home’s curb appeal looks great will increase the value of your home, appeal to the masses, and improve your chances of getting an offer quickly! 

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We are always honest with you about your transaction, but there are a few things that some agents hold back from their clients. 


Let’s cut right to the chase and talk about them…


Selling Your Home Requires Cash


Selling your home will have some out-of-pocket expenses, it’s not just money in the bank.


As a seller, you may find yourself paying costs such as; curb appeal improvements, minor updates/painting, professional cleaning, closing fees, and of course, moving expenses. 


Buying a Home also Requires Cash


Your mortgage will not cover everything, unfortunately.


On top of a hefty deposit, you’ll be required to pay costs such as; closing fees, inspection, appraisal, insurance, utilities, moving expenses, and more.


A savvy buyer will have an additional small percentage (1-2%) of their home’s purchase price in cash savings to cover these expenses. 


Every Home Needs Staging


Unless you are a professional home stager by trade, your home requires some form of staging.


There’s a very big difference between having your home decorated to live in and decorated to sell.


Commonly used furnishing and décor strategies that are designed to maximize space and flow serve to give potential buyers a better window into what it would be like to have their stuff in the home.

Do Not Change your Spending/Financial Habits after Mortgage Approval

Once you’ve been approved for a mortgage be aware that it is approved based on your current financial situation.


The worst thing a buyer can do between approval and purchase is changing their financial situation. Moving the needle (in the wrong direction) on the debt-to-income ratio by doing major credit card shopping, getting a small personal loan, or even buying a vehicle can completely tank your mortgage funding.

Home Ownership Isn’t for Everyone

Being a homeowner is a lot of responsibility, and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.


As a homeowner, you’ll no longer have a landlord to call for upkeep, regular maintenance, improvements, or when something in the home breaks…this will all fall on your shoulders.


You’ll also need to prepare yourself for the additional bills that you may not be aware of, such as; property taxes, insurance, garbage, water, internet, cable, electricity, and more.


The fact of the matter is that some buyers simply aren’t aware of what is included with homeownership and the costs associated. 

Read Every Single Word of Any Contract You Sign

Always read any contract you are signing!


If there is anything you’re unsure about, ask your agent to explain it to you thoroughly.


As an Agent, it is our fiduciary duty to put your best interests front and center, and that includes ensuring you know what you have a clear understanding of what you’re signing. 


Having the right agent on your side will make the home buying or selling process much easier and less worrisome.


They will discuss all the positives and negatives that you may come across throughout the transaction and how they plan to overcome them.


At JP Real Estate, we pride ourselves on being upfront, honest, and transparent with all our clients. We are here to make your transaction as seamless as possible and be of value to you throughout all stages of the process. 


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Your home is your castle, your safe haven, and the place where you and your family should always feel safe and secure. 


Increasing your home security will give you, your family, and your neighbours a greater sense of safety and comfort.


While installing a moat and a drawbridge may not be possible, there are still many easy and affordable ways to improve the security of your home.


Here are a few security tips to improve the safety of your home: 

Exterior Lighting

Adequate exterior lighting will deter the majority of burglars and thieves.


A well-lit home, with extra lighting focusing around doors, windows, garages, and dark areas are high-risk for criminals as they can be easily spotted.


Motion-activated lighting throughout the property is another great way to keep crime at bay and alert yourself and neighbours that something devious may be happening on your property. 

Window Locks

All windows, on every floor of your home, should have locking mechanisms in place.


If they do not, there’s no need to replace the windows, you can simply place a heavy-duty rod between the sliding window and frame to prevent it from opening.


It’s also suggested to keep screens in your windows. While they may not offer much protection, they are another barrier between your home and its exterior. 

Security Doors

Surprisingly, front doors are often quite fragile and can be easily breached.


Replacing your doors with a heavy-duty security door will offer much more security as they are stronger, thicker, and even their frames are generally made with steel or a similar product of equal strength.


Security doors also feature multiple locking bolts that securely lock the door to the steel frame, making them nearly impossible to break open. 

Alarm System and Security Cameras

Alarm systems and cameras are an excellent deterrent for and potential burgers, however, they can be expensive.


Not only will cameras catch video and photos of any criminal activity and help with identifying the suspects, they can also catch any suspicious activity in the area, including ‘porch pirates’, vandals, and much more.


Alarm systems, when triggered, will either let out an ear-piercing sound drawing an abundance of attention to your home or immediately put a call out to your security company which will send a guard to your home to inspect the premises.


Either way, it will be more than enough to scare off any would-be burglars. 

Home Automation

Home automation can make it look like someone is home, even when you’re not.


It can be scheduled to turn lights on and off in various rooms throughout the time, turn the tv or speakers on too, and even regulate your heat so windows don’t freeze giving anyone the idea that you might not be there. 


While all these suggestions can help protect your home, you should also be aware of the smaller things; have someone collect your mail or newspapers when you’re away, automated sprinklers to turn on in the evenings to water your gardens and lawns, or even asking a neighbour to park in your driveway occasionally to give the appearance of someone at the home.


We can never be too safe when it comes to our homes and our families, our most precious things. 

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Planning to sell your home soon?


Every seller wants their home to sell as fast as possible for the highest value, however, many sellers make one big mistake when they are planning to sell. 


The most common mistake sellers make is renovating their home with their needs in mind, not those of potential buyers.


Often sellers put money in places that are important to them but aren’t necessarily important to a buyer, which can equate to wasted dollars and a lack of interested buyers. 


While a brightly coloured kitchen, an oversized garden fountain, or removing a bedroom to expand your master ensuite may be on your dream home list, they likely won’t appeal to the majority of buyers.


When preparing your home to sell, try to think of a blank canvas and remove your personal styles and preference from the equation.


Your home may be perfect for you, chances are, a new owner has some plans to make a few changes when they move in.


While adding in some personal touches probably won’t deter your home from being purchased, it could extend the amount of time it spends listed on the market.


Additionally, you also don’t want to waste money, time, and energy by adding design elements that will probably be changed.


Preparing your home for sale in advance will ensure it sells for the highest value and by keeping your updates as neutral as possible, it will be sure to appeal to the masses. 


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Are you thinking about making an offer on a home?


The real estate market is more competitive than ever as buyers prioritize space and privacy, turning single-family homes into extremely hot commodities. 


While compromises and quick decisions are an inevitable part of the home buying process, it can be very easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all and make some unfavorable decisions. 



The pressure to act quickly can easily cloud your better judgment and you could make some decisions that you may later regret.


Working with a trusted agent who has your best interests in mind is one of the best ways to ensure you are making sound, confident, and educated decisions about your home purchase.


However, there are a few other things you can do to help yourself and your agent through the process, such as:

Mortgage Pre-Approval 

Being aware of how much you can spend will ensure you’re not searching for homes that are beyond your budget.


Once you’ve found the right home, you can now make an offer that is within your budget, and possibly even leave a little wiggle room for a bidding war or counter offer.


Furthermore, making an offer without a mortgage approval clause will prove to sellers that you’re a serious buyer and your offer will be much more attractive. 

Recalibrate Your Offer to Match Your Location

As a home buyer, there’s nothing more deflating than being outbid over and over again.


If you’re interested in a specific area, do some research and find out how much homes in the area are being listed and sold for.


For example, if homes are continuously selling for 10% over asking price in your desired area, you may want to look for a home that is listed at 10-15% below your maximum budget. This will allow you to write a strong offer, within your budget, and beat out the competition. 

Consider Waiving Contingencies

When making an offer, it is important to come in as strong as possible and an offer with little to no contingencies will always be more attractive to a seller.


While there is some risk with waiving contingencies, it can also be what wins you the home.


If you are not comfortable waiving contingencies altogether, an offer with shorter contingency periods can also help you win the bid.


You may need to have easy access to your property inspector or appraiser to make this happen, but if you’ve spoken to them in advance and advised that you’ll need their services in a short time period, you can make this work.


The days of 3-4 week contingency periods are a thing of the past, try to keep them down to a few days and your offer will be taken much more seriously. 


Being as prepared as possible when making your offer will give you the best chance of winning the bid and owning your ideal home! 


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In a red-hot real estate market, the opportunity to have an inspection completed prior to purchasing a home is extremely rare.


When sellers are receiving multiple offers, over asking price, the chance of them accepting an offer that is subject to a home inspection is slim to none.


Home inspectors in Ontario are pushing for legislation to regulate the industry in an attempt to protect homeowners


In today's frenzied market, buyers have a better chance of getting a house without any conditions, including getting an inspection, adding to the pressure of the market, and the rush to make a purchase is forcing people to make poor decisions.


Buying a home is one of the most expensive purchases many of us will make throughout our lives, and we need to take care of our investments, our finances, and our families.


Inspectors are finding more and more new home buyers, having a post-purchase inspection completed where they find numerous unexpected, potentially hazardous, and expensive issues brought to their attention.


If you’ve put all your savings into your new home, it could be very problematic to find out that you now need to invest more money into it.


Whether you’re buying your first home or your tenth investment property, speak with your agent about the risks of not having a home inspection done and how they can assist with this process.


A skilled agent will have plenty of great suggestions for you!


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In a quick and unexpected twist, the Federal Government suddenly announced that the new mortgage stress test rules will now apply to all borrowers, not only those with more than 20% down payment.


Effective June 1, 2021, the new calculation of the minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages will be set at either the mortgage contract rate plus 2% or 5.25% — whichever is greater.


The hard reality of this is that the majority of lenders are offering 5-year variable-rate mortgages as low as 1.5% with some are even offering rates as low as 0.99%, dependent on conditions. 


While you will not be required to pay stress test rates, you do need to prove that you can afford to pay this amount should there be a sharp increase in rates. 


These new stress test rules are expected to reduce buying power by approximately 4-5% across the country.


What does this mean for our current real estate market? The government has predicted this will help to cool down our currently red hot market, however, only time will tell.


We do know that given the extremely rapid rise in prices, these new rules will likely disqualify many home buyers, as they simply won’t be able to meet these requirements. 


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If the last year has taught us anything it's that creating a home where you truly love to spend time is more than worth the effort. 


After more than a year of social distancing, closed business, and far too much time indoors, the promise of summer has people excited to host warm-weather gatherings and enjoy their outdoor space.


The top home improvements over the last year have actually been outside of the home, improving and expanding outdoor living space. 


This is the ideal time to turn your home into the ultimate summer sanctuary to share with family and friends or prepare for sale. 


Here are the top 4 outdoor home improvements projects: 


Landscaping

Having your lawn and yard professionally landscaped and designed will improve its functionality, ease of care, and enjoyment of use.


Lawn maintenance, flower beds, hedges, and greenery—landscaping is the first thing anyone notices (including you) when they arrive. 


Fence and Gate installation

Installing a new fence and gate in your yard will improve not only the look of your property but also the privacy and security of your home.


Wood fences are lockable gates are highly popular and will substantially increase the value of your home, especially if new or kept in excellent condition.


They’re also a great way to keep small children and pets within the safety of your home. 


Exterior painting


There’s likely no need to repaint your entire home, however, touching up the trim around doors, windows, and repainting any areas in need will have your home looking fresh and updated immediately.


These touchups can be done by yourself or a professional very easily and affordably and will increase the value of your home much more than expected! 


Deck and porch remodel


Whether it’s building an entirely new deck or simply updating and staining your current one, the aesthetic appeal will be greatly improved. 


Having a clean, comfortable area to set out your patio furniture and enjoy a wonderful barbeque dinner will be will improve your outdoor living space and be much more attractive to potential buyers. 


Whatever your plans might this summer, improving your outdoor living space will make a large impact on your home and yard. Not only will it improve the value of your home, but it will also improve its livability and your enjoyment while spending time in your yard. 


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A seller’s dream is an all-cash, unconditional offer, however, the majority of us are not in a position to make this offer.


In a recent study conducted across North America where over 400 agents were questioned, the top tips were compiled and some of them may surprise you!


Increased Deposit


Many agents have seen success in closing deals for buyers who are willing to offer a larger down payment.


With a larger down payment, the buyers will feel secure knowing that you are serious and will be doing everything possible to ensure the deal closes in a timely fashion. 


Unconditional Offers


Making an unconditional offer on a home can be risky but it’s guaranteed to be preferred by a seller over an offer with numerous conditions.


The first step to making an unconditional offer is to get pre-approved by your mortgage lender. This will not only help you with your home search but will also ensure that any offers you do make are within your budget.


Additionally, in a seller’s market, many sellers don’t want to wait for appraisals, inspections, and other conditions to be met as they are essentially holding up the sale of their home if the buyer chooses not to complete the purchase. 


Escalation Clause

Fairly unseen in our local market until recently, the escalation clause is used in an attempt to win a bidding war.


An escalation clause increases the buyer’s offer by a certain dollar amount to ensure they aren’t outbid. In order to prevent things from getting out of hand, those who implement an escalation clause typically include a price cap to avoid spending beyond their means.


Leaseback Agreement


Your seller may also be having a hard time finding a new home and could be hoping to stay a little longer than expected. Offering them a Leaseback Agreement could be a huge benefit for them and be exactly what helps you to win the bid. 


Personal Touches

Sending the sellers a handwritten note or offering to help them move with your might be very appreciated. 


While we can’t promise personal touches will win you the bit, it definitely doesn’t hurt.

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The warm days are upon us and we can finally enjoy our outdoor space and the fresh air! 


Having a checklist to prepare your home and yard for the warm summer months will ensure you make the most of these long sunny days and enjoy as much time outside as possible.


Here are a few tips to help you get ready for the next few months:

 

Prepare Garden and Plant Beds


Spring is the best time to weed your gardens and start planting new flowers, plants, vegetables, and shrubs to bloom and grow through the summer months.


This is also a great time to tackle any plants that may not have survived the winter or that need a clean-up before the weather warms up.


Lawn Care

This is the ideal time to start caring for your lawn, raking, mowing, weeding, and aerating it will pay off in a few weeks when you have a lush green lawn to enjoy your afternoons in.

 

Wash Your Windows & Screens

It’s time to take the screens off windows and clean them thoroughly, as well as the windows.


A lot of gunk and dirt can build up over the winter months. This annual task will give you a great view of your yard and all the hard work you’ve put in!


Pay attention while you’re cleaning your windows and look for signs of dry rot and water damage from the winter months. Also, re-caulk or replace damaged weather stripping to help control the temperature in your home.


Flip your shed

It’s time to put away the winter tools and bring out the summer ones!


Goodbye to your snowblower, shovels, and salt – it’s time to bring forward your summer sports gear, lawnmower, fertilizer, hose, sprinkler, and garden tools. Have them upfront, organized, and easily accessible, so you won’t be rummaging through the remnants of winter to access your outdoor summer needs.


Yard and Patio Furniture

It’s time to dust off the patio furniture, wash their covers, and find a great spot in the yard to place them.


It’s also the perfect time to have your propane or gas firepit serviced to be sure it’s in great working correctly.


If you plan to put your patio furniture out early, purchasing a cover or a tarp to keep them dry on rainy days will ensure longevity and prevent water damage.


Power Washing

Power washing the deck, the exterior of your home, walkways, and driveway will not only bring them back to life but it will make them appear near new again. And it’s cheaper than a coat of paint or repaving/rebuilding them!


You can also power wash your patio furniture if it’s durable and will hold up to the strength of the spray, this will save you a few hours when compared to cleaning them by hand.


Spring is here and summer is right around the corner, and we want you to enjoy your outdoor space as much as possible.



If you’re planning to sell your home this summer, these tips will also help to make your home look its best for potential buyers.

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The home purchasing process is complicated and overwhelming, even the most prepared buyers can overlook something that may affect their new home or lifestyle later.


Below you’ll find a list of the top things buyers wish they hadn’t overlooked when purchasing their new home:

Future Development

If you purchase a new home in a developing area, you can expect to hear construction nose for years to come. This also applies if you live near a highway or in an older neighbourhood that’s on the verge of regentrification.


Always review the Official Community Plan for your area, this will give you a good idea of what’s expected over the next 10+ years.

Skipping the Final Walk-through

While most purchasers will leave their homes in excellent condition for the buyers, there are a few that may not. This is extremely important if you’re purchasing a home that was being rented and disgruntled tenants are being forced to move out sooner than they had hoped.


Your final walk-through is a great way to see the home near empty, ensure no last-minute damage was done, and start planning any updates you’d like to complete prior to move-in.

Commute

If you’ve viewed the home on a quiet Sunday afternoon, you may find yourself extremely surprised on Monday morning stuck in traffic while trying to get to work.


Be sure to research the route and be aware of any regular problems which may cause holdups or traffic jams that may take away from your valuable time with your time. 


Size

Nearly 20% of buyers have regrets about the size of the home they purchased.

Generation X and Millennials often regret not buying a larger home. As their families grow, they wish they had more space, bedrooms, and a larger yard.


Whereas the older generations tend to wish they had purchased something smaller. Their children have left home and they don’t require the extra space any longer, nor do they want or require the huge yards that take up so much time and effort. 


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Real Estate investing is much more than simply buying a home and renting it to a tenant. There are countless factors that need to be taken into account that may affect your finances and investment in the short and long term. 


While each investment is different, there are a few simple guidelines that you can follow to ensure you are making a sound investment that will be profitable to you in the future. 


Comparable Sales


The best way to find the market value of a property is to compare the recent sales of comparable properties in the neighbourhood. 


Comparables can tell you what properties were selling for one year ago and what they are selling for now, giving you a clear understanding of how much prices have risen and what you can expect when you plan to sell. 


Associated Costs


You need to be aware of all costs associated with owning the property, this included operating expenses, loan payments, vacancy costs, taxes, immediate and future repair costs, etc. 


Knowing the financials inside and out will help you decide if this is a worthy investment and how much you can expect to pay if/when the property is not fully tenanted. 


Find Your Speciality


Do you enjoy flipping houses, fixer-uppers, small apartments, or single-tenant units? Focus on one type of specialty until you've mastered this and are ready to take on another investment type. If it's your first investment property, you may want to look at a single-tenant unit where rents will cover the mortgage and all associated costs, however, if you've got extra time and love doing renovations then a fixer-upper might be your niche. 


Tenants


Where are your tenants coming from and how do you get the best ones? If you're not planning to hire a property manager, this is information that you need to know. You also need to be aware of allowances for background and credit checks. Researching where tenants are coming from and what type of tenants are looking to rent homes will ensure you a smooth tenancy application process. 


Taxes


Educate yourself on the current tax laws surrounding investment properties and how they may affect you. Also try to stay abreast of any upcoming changes, as these may affect your finances and tax returns.


Insurance


Research insurance coverages ahead of time to guarantee you get the best coverage and at an excellent rate. Don't be afraid to shop around and ask for quotes from numerous providers. You want to ensure your investment is covered for all possible situations that may arise. 


Utilities


Contact your local utility companies to obtain estimates of utility costs. You will also need to decide if utilities will be included in the rent or if your tenants will be responsible for these costs themselves. 


Property Inspection


Having a property inspection done will give you peace of mind that money can't buy. it will give you an idea of any problems the home is having now and it can also predict issues that may arise in the near future. For example, if the roof hasn't been replaced in 25 years, the inspector will make note of this and advise you that it may need to be replaced in the foreseeable future. 


Whether you're a long-time investor with numerous properties or looking to purchase your first investment property, there's plenty of information to be aware of and lots of research to be done. 


What are you waiting for? Let's start building your investment portfolio today! 

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Thinking about doing some home renovations to increase the value of your home? We’ve researched the most profitable home renovations that will provide you the best return on your dollar invested. 


Several renovations will actually pay for themselves when it comes to resale value. They might seem like intangibles, but painting, updating fixtures, and putting in a garden can all add up when it comes to a home’s final sale price.


Bigger ticket items can also deliver payback to homeowners, but it’s important to stick to a budget to try to recover these costs when selling.


Below are a few quick fixes that will increase your home's value: 


Painting


This low-cost improvement will significantly add to the appeal of your home.


Research shows that painting the kitchen and kitchen cabinets will provide the highest return on investment.


A cost of approximately $500-$1,000 can easily be turned into a profit of $5,000 - $10,000 while instantly brightening your home and updating the interior.  


Landscaping

Landscaping is considered one of the best investments you can make.


By spending $500 to $2000 on landscaping, the value of your home can increase an estimated $5,000 to $15,000.


Not only will your updated yard appeal to the masses, but it will also be a wonderful place for you to enjoy prior to selling. 


Updating Bathroom Fixtures

A simple change of hardware in the bathroom can improve its look from old and dated to new and modern.


Replacing the taps, towel racks, showerheads, etc. can cost around $500 to $750 but will add about $5,000 in value to your home. 


A few of the larger fixes you may want to budget for and carefully think over are:

Hardwood Flooring

New floors have a massive impact on how your home is perceived, instantly upping the wow factor.


Installing new floors is a large project and will be expensive, however, the return on investment is usually 100-150% depending on the type of flooring you choose.


While hardwood floors will be at the top of the ROI, a beautiful laminate that’s been professionally installed will also provide you with an excellent profit.

Basement updates

Updating the basement is much more than just painting and making it look nice, it often includes a good subflooring product to lift the floor off the concrete, creating an air pocket that will both insulate and protect the floor from moisture and mold issues, additional insulation, updated electrical and internet connections.


This may be one of the more expensive updates, however, the expanded living space will be extremely appealing to all buyers and prove to be a worthy investment at the time of resale. 


When updating your home, be sure to research the latest trends and always try to choose bright neutral colors to attract the most buyers.


We also suggest preparing a budget and sticking to it, this will ensure you the most profit on your investment at the time of resale. 




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Buying a home is a very exciting experience, we start thinking of how we will decorate, entertaining friends and family, and all the memories to be made.


With all this excitement, it’s easy to have our judgment clouded and miss some important things that we otherwise wouldn’t have. 


Every seller knows the flaws of their home and we can only hope and trust that they are being completely honest with us about the condition of their home, however, that’s not always the case.


And rather than find yourself in a lengthy legal battle with the sellers, it’s best to keep an eye out for any red flags before you make an offer.


A few things buyers should be on the lookout for when purchasing a home are:  


The Trim Doesn’t Match Up


If the trim doesn’t match up this can be a sign that due care wasn’t taken when updating the home.


This may also mean that renovations were done without a permit or that the owner didn’t hire a licensed professional to complete them.


If a homeowner is cutting corners with visible parts of the home, you need to think about areas you can’t easily see such as electrical, insulation, plumbing, and much more. 


All curtains are closed

When selling a home you want to open the windows and coverings to allow as much light in as possible to showcase each room. Bright natural light also makes rooms appear larger.


If you see a home where the sellers have kept all window coverings closed, you need to open them and see what’s behind.


The seller could be hiding mold or mildew around the windows, leaky windows that are allowing water to seep into the home or between the panes, or simply a poor view.


Sold “As Is”

A home that is being sold ‘as is’ often means there’s work to be done that the seller does not want to complete before selling.


This may or may not be a bad thing. If they simply don’t want to repaint the walls or redo the floors and you were already planning to do that then it’s no problem.


However, if it’s something major such as structural damage or a leaking roof you may find yourself in over your head with repairs and renovations.


In cases of purchasing a home “as is” always have a property inspection done to properly assess the condition of the home. 


It has “great bones”

Unless you’re looking for a project and planning to do major renovations, avoid any home that is listed with the term “great bones”.


This often means the structure and foundation are in good condition but the home requires extensive updates.


These can range from simple updates such as repainting or updating the hardware to full renovations with electrical and plumbing upgrades. 


It may seem near impossible to be on the lookout for everything when purchasing a home and for that reason, you need to hire an agent you trust who has your best interests in mind at all times.


A trustworthy agent will notice the above-mentioned possible flaws as well as any others and bring them to your attention immediately. 

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To say technology is not a huge part of our lives would be a great understatement. We use technology in our workplace, our homes, and our daily lives.


Keeping your home up-to-date with the latest technology will greatly improve your home's value and make it much more appealing to buyers. 


There are plenty of different innovative ways to bring your home into the future, some of which are very affordable and simple to install.


These top innovations will bring your home into the future without breaking the bank: 


Control4 System


While this one is on the pricier side, it literally does it all!


A Control4 System manages your heating, security, lighting, televisions, sound systems, and much more, all with the click of a button! Additionally, you can sync this system to your phone, so you will have control of everything in your home, even when you’re away! 


Frame TV

The new Samsung Frame TV is perfect for disguising your television as artwork.


You have the option of choosing from thousands of artists, including portraits from Van Gogh to artists featured by Saatchi Art


Portraits can be changed easily depending on the season, your décor, or even your mood. 


Sophisticated Lighting

Smart light switches are a great place to start. They have advanced control options on the switches themselves but can also be controlled from your phone.


They can be scheduled to go on and off at specific times and you can even turn them off remotely from your phone if you realize you may have left the kitchen light on while you’re out shopping!


We suggest swapping the older trims on recessed ceiling lights to smaller gimbal LED lights. These new lights create a beautiful gallery feel throughout the home, highlighting details in a softer way.


There are also options to change the colour of the lighting with some brands, which is perfect for movie nights or creating a relaxing ambiance. 


Bifold Doors and Windows

Your yard is an extension of your home and should be utilized as such, especially with the warmer months upon us.


What was once a wall is now a door or window that leads into your extended living space will give the feeling of more space, as well provide exceptional natural light into your home. 


Filtration Systems

Installing systems that will improve your health are a benefit to everyone in your home and any potential future buyers.


Air purifiers are extremely popular, especially for those who struggle with allergens, pet dander, or dust.


They will come in especially handy in the late summer months when there tends to be more forest fires in the area and the air becomes extremely smokey.


Water filtration systems are also very popular and a great way to ensure lead has been removed from your drinking water.


Yes, we know that here on the island we have some of the best drinking water in the world, but a little extra care never hurts! 


Whether you're hoping to sell your home in the near future or planning to stay in it for years to come, these innovations will improve your quality of life in various ways. Now we just need to figure out a self-cleaning option! 

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Every purchaser has their own specific must-haves when they begin searching for a home such as location, size, number of bedrooms, etc. all of which will vary with each buyer and their needs.


On the opposite side, all buyers will also a list of deal-breakers, maybe they don’t want a home that requires renovations or a lot of yard maintenance. 


However, there are a few things that the majority of buyers do agree on and would like to see in their new homes.


Below are the top 3 most enticing features that buyers want to see when they are purchasing a new home: 


Hardwood Floors


Hardwood floors look phenomenal in nearly any home!


The days of wall-to-wall carpeting are gone, buyers want flooring that looks great and is easy to clean. Wood flooring is simple to maintain and doesn’t collect dust or bacteria, meaning the home offers more breathable air and cleanliness. 


Granite Countertops


Granite countertops are a win in any home!


Not only do they look absolutely fantastic, but they are also easy to clean, durable, and resistant to dirt and bacteria. Granite countertops are an earth-friendly material that is perfectly flat and easy to repair, making them the ideal countertop for any home.


While they may be the most expensive countertops they will outlast all other fixtures and appliances in your home, making them more of an investment than an expense. 


Stainless Steel Appliances


Stainless steel appliances are extremely popular with buyers in all styles of homes.


These appliances are not only long-lasting and durable, but they are also extremely easy to clean and resistant to germs and bacteria.


Stainless steel appliances will match with any décor and are extremely easy to coordinate with. You can easily find smaller stainless steel appliances such as coffee makers, kettles, and toaster ovens to match your large ones.


Additionally, you can now find stainless steel appliances in a variety of shades from the ‘original’ light steel shade all the way to a dark, near-black shade. 


If you’re planning to sell your home in the future and want to ensure it appeals to the majority of buyers, you may want to make a few of these updates. Not only will they increase the value of your home, but they will also make it much more enjoyable for you prior to listing it for sale. 

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Prices are high, inventory is low, and there are multiple offers for over asking price for nearly every home that sells. We are, without a doubt, in a seller’s market.


This is a challenging market to be in for any buyer, whether you’re a long-term investor or a first-time home buyer, the complications are the same. 


The Canadian real estate market is hot, in particular, the Vancouver Island and Greater Victoria area.


If you’re looking to purchase a home in this area you need to be prepared well in advance.


Here are a few tips on how to buy a home in a seller’s market: 


Pre-Approval


Pre-approval is a must-have when purchasing a home in a seller’s market.


Knowing the amount which you can afford to spend on a home will allow you to make offers accordingly and stay within your budget.


Also, many sellers will turn down an offer that doesn’t include pre-approval. They see this as a risk that the deal may not close as scheduled and they would prefer to have a ‘done-deal' regardless of the amount offered. 


Be Prepared for Bidding Wars

A seller may receive numerous offers which in turn, gives them the negotiating power. In this case, be prepared with your counteroffer if you really like a home and don’t want to miss your opportunity.


Searching for homes below your max budget will ensure you have room to increase your offer and give you more opportunities to get the home of your dreams in the case of a bidding war.  

Make Strong Offers from the start

Putting in a strong offer from the start will give you a better chance than you’ll have in a bidding war.

Wasting your time with low-ball offers in this market will only work against you.


Come in strong from the start and remember, unconditional offers are a seller’s preference. If you’re able to make a strong offer with no conditions, your chances will increase substantially. 


Write an offer letter


A handwritten letter submitted with your offer may not win you your dream home. However, if it comes down to 2 or 3 offers that are close in price, your chances will increase greatly with the added personal touch.


Tell the seller why you like the home so much, what your plans for the home are, and how you envision you and your family making memories here.


If you’re a first-time buyer, advise the seller of the struggles you’ve faced in your attempts to buy a home in such a hot market, also let them know why you’ve fallen in love with their home.


While all sellers do want the best price for their home, not all of them are so focused on the almighty dollar. Many sellers want to know the home is going to be taken care of and enjoyed by the new owners.


A letter doesn’t guarantee you anything, but it definitely won’t hurt your offer! 


Expand Your Search Area


Expanding your search will give you access to different styles of homes, neighbourhoods, and opportunities.

Looking into new builds on the outskirts of the city or other property types is another way to expand your home search in a hot market.


If you’ve been looking for a detached home, but everything in your area is receiving dozens of offers, a large townhouse might be something you’d be open to considering.


Your dream home may just be sitting an extra 10-minute drive away!


Work with a Trusted Real Estate Agent


A trusted agent can help you in difficult situations. They have the experience, knowledge, and know-how to handle a Seller’s Market and will advise you accordingly when it’s time to back away from a home or to increase your offer.


Working with an agent you trust also means you won’t be touring homes that aren’t in your budget or to your liking. They may also be able to present properties to you that are not yet listed or new neighbourhoods that are in the planning stages and not publicly marketed. 

Buying a home in a seller’s market can be extremely challenging, however, these tips should help to ensure your offer gets noticed and that have the best opportunity to close the deal. 
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You’ve likely been told that making a few extra mortgage payments each month is beneficial as you’ll pay your mortgage off faster and save thousands in interest.


However, instead of making extra principal payments, a savvier choice could be to put that money to use elsewhere — it all depends on your unique financial situation.


Yes, having a mortgage does mean you’re in debt, but it is often considered “good debt” because it’s backed by a tangible asset with real, growing value.


This means, if sell your house tomorrow you will immediately pay off your mortgage, however, this is not the case with other types of debt, such as credit card, student loan, or car debt.


Here are the top 5 reasons why you shouldn’t make extra mortgage payments: 


High-Interest Debt


Rather than paying down your mortgage which has an extremely low-interest rate, use the funds to pay down your high-interest rate debt.


While the amounts may be smaller, the interest rates are surely higher than your mortgage rates and due to compounding, high-interest debt just snowballs into a bigger and bigger number the longer you wait to pay it off.


Retirement Savings


If you haven’t started saving for retirement yet, or you’re not maxing out your annual retirement contributions, you may want to prioritize that over making extra mortgage payments.


Saving for retirement also includes compounding interest, however, unlike debt, savings compounding will assist in growing your money.


Your money will grow by leaps and bounds in these retirement accounts while, at the same time, your house will be appreciating in value, a financial win-win situation! 


Annual Tax Bill

If you’re not making monthly payments towards your taxes, you may want to save these funds for your annual tax bill.


Property values are increasing every year and with that comes tax increases. You want to be prepared to pay any higher tax bills each year. 


Emergency Fund


If you’re like most people, your savings fund was depleted when you purchased this home.


Rather than make an extra mortgage payment, build up that savings account again. If your furnace breaks in the middle of winter or your roof starts leaking in the fall, you’ll be extremely grateful that you have these extra funds to cover the costs.


Moving Soon


Moving is expensive, even if you’re making a large profit on the sale of your home.


You’ll need to pay, in advance, for inspections, repairs, maintenance, and much more before listing your home.

Having a nest egg of savings to cover these costs or to make your next down payment will be a lifesaver when the time comes. 


Paying your mortgage off as fast as possible is something we all strive for, although, ensuring you’ve taken care of all other financial aspects in your life first may make more financial sense in terms of interest rates, savings, emergencies, and such. 






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Real Estate commissions can be a little unclear and confusing and we want to clear that up.


Many buyers and sellers are unsure what they are actually paying for, so we’ve put together this list to review the main costs, covered by the realtor, to explain what your funds are going towards.


Brokerage fees


The majority of brokerages charge a 50% fee on all commissions.


This covers administrative costs, some marketing, advertising, and some signage.


As each brokerage is different, so will be the fees and services included, but for the most part, you can expect that your agent is paying the brokerage 50% of the commissions they’ve earned.

Photos and videos

Professional photos, video tours, and drone videos are at the sole cost of the agent. This often also includes costs associated with staging your home.


Hiring a professional photographer will ensure your home shows its best and is marketed first-rate, gaining the interest of as many buyers as possible.

MLS, Real Estate Board, Licensing, etc.

Realtors using the MLS system are required to pay an annual fee. MLS is the most well-known home searching website and your agent will need access to this to ensure a quick sale.


Realtors are also required to pay licensing and insurance fees, which are renewed every 2 years.


Additionally, agents need to pay annual dues to their local real estate board and are required to complete numerous educational courses, at their own cost, each year to ensure their license remains in good standing.


Advertising


Any additional advertising by your agent will be at their costs. If your agent offers to advertise on their social media pages, they are likely paying a social media manager or using plenty of their free time to ensure your listing is shared as widely as possible.


Signage


While some brokerages offer signage, not all of them do. And if your agent wants personalized signage, this will come at their cost.


A simple sign can cost upwards of $150, this would not include any additional text, logos, or photos. 


Additional costs


Many realtors will create flyers or brochures to hand out at open houses or around the neighbourhood, the time spent to create these, printing, and distribution are all at the sole cost of your agent. 



While it may seem that agents are making extremely large commissions, they are also extremely high expenses, and we haven’t even touched on paying taxes, employment insurance, etc.


There are countless costs that your agent will need to pay on a per listing, monthly or annual basis that you may not be aware of. It’s always best to have a conversation with your agent about the costs in advance so that you’re aware of everything upfront. 

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Saving money for a down payment on a home can be one of the most difficult things to do. It takes an immense amount of discipline and often includes making numerous sacrifices.


If you are already paying a mortgage on another home or paying rent, the process can be even harder. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to save, some that you may find quite surprising, and others where you may need to make some lifestyle changes.


Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a long-term investor, these tips can help you to save for a down payment. 


Subscriptions


Automatic payments can be easily overlooked or forgotten about.


Sit down and go through all your recent credit card and bank statements to get an in-depth look at where your money is going.


Cancel monthly subscriptions that you do not use or need and change your monthly plans to more affordable options, if possible.


A few dollars of savings on each canceled account can add up quickly and you’ll be surprised with how much you can save each month.


Affordability


Knowing how much you can borrow to purchase a home will help you determine how much you need for a down payment.


Seek a financial advisor, lender, or mortgage broker to review all your finances and assist you with the pre-approval process.


This process will also give you an idea of how much you can expect to pay each month when you do purchase a home, inclusive of mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, and any condo/homeowner fees.


Start a Down Payment Fund


Set up a TFSA or RRSP account with your bank where the funds will be saved and you can easily make monthly contributions.


Resist Temptation


Set a timeline to save your down payment and stick to it.


It may be very tempting to see the funds growing in your bank account and you feel the urge to treat yourself to something, but this will only set you back and extend your deadline.


Stay focused on your end goal and know that buying a home will be the ultimate gift to yourself.


Less luxuries


With saving always comes the sacrifice of a few less luxuries.


Instead of going out for dinner every weekend, start cooking at home, this can save hundreds of dollars each month. 


Pack a lunch to take to work and you can save about $15 per day. Make your own coffee and skip the daily trip to Starbuck and you can save upwards of $150 per month.


Be aware of the small luxuries that you’re spending money on and try to find ways to work around them. You don’t want to give up all the things you love in life, you simply need to find a new and affordable way to enjoy them! 

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MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.