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Making your Home more Secure

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. 


The Biggest Mistakes that Seller’s Make

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. 


3 Things Your Agent Wants You to do Before Making an Offer

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! 


Skipping Home Inspections - Is it a risk you're willing to take?

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!


New Mortgage Stress Test now applies to ALL borrowers

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. 

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.