Sell It

Be prepared & Know Your Costs

  • Mortgage prepayment penalties (verify with your lender if there is a provision of your contract that states if you pay off the loan entirely, you will pay a penalty. Penalties are usually expressed as a percent of the outstanding balance at the time of prepayment, or a specified number of months of interest.)
  • Lawyer or Notary Fees and Expenses (attending to execution documents, cost of clearing title, including discharge fees charged by encumbrance holders)
  • Real Estate Commission
  • Goods and Services Tax
  • Service contracts (eg. Security systems, septic removal, propane tank rental & internet etc.)
  • Moving expenses
  • Storage fees

Moving on

  • Once your property sells what are your plans for you and your family? For your kids? Schools, parks after school activities, work, commuting, transportation, distance, your pets; groomers, kennels, dog walks? Your neighbourhood, noise, air pollution, bylaws/zoning, churches? You want to make sure you are prepared and ready.
  • Purchasing another property? Know your required down payment; closing costs, utilities, hookup fees/rental fees.
  • Consult your financial institution; mortgage approval, percentage of down payment required, approval amount, appraisal, inspections & insurance.
  • Hire a professional Realtor; find out about the real estate market, neighbourhoods, zoning, bylaws, schools, hospitals and available amenities.
  • Renting? Hire a professional property manager and ask about current rental rates and availability. Inquire about any age or pet restrictions, available parking, storage, security deposit/pet security, rental terms and conditions, utilities, inclusion/exclusion (ex., hydro, gas, water, sewer, maintenance).

Are you ready to sell?

Prepping and staging a house. Every seller wants their home to sell fast and bring top dollar. Does that sound good to you? Well, it's not luck that makes that happen. It's careful planning and knowing how to spruce up your home and keeping excellent communication with your Realtor. Here is how to prep a house and turn it into a desirable and marketable home

Disassociate Yourself With Your Home.

  • Say to yourself, "This is not my home; it is a house -- a product to be sold much like a box of cereal on the grocery store shelf.
  • Make the mental decision to "let go" of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours.
  • Picture yourself handing over the keys and envelopes containing appliance warranties to the new owners!
  • Say goodbye to every room.
  • Don't look backwards -- look toward the future.

De-Clutter!

People collect an amazing quantity of stuff. Consider this: if you haven't used it in over a year, you probably don't need it.

  • If you don't need it, why not donate it or throw it away?
  • Pack up those knickknacks
  • Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.

Rearrange Bedroom Closets and Kitchen & Bathroom Cabinets.

Buyers love to look and confirm there is enough room and will open closets and cabinet doors. Think of the message it sends if items fall out! Now imagine what a buyer believes about you if she sees everything organized. It says you probably take good care of the rest of the house as well.

De-Personalize.

Pack up those family heirlooms. Buyers can't see past personal artifacts, and you don't want the buyers to be distracted by so many personal items. Don’t have your place crowed and overwhelming with your personal things. You want buyers to imagine their personal items, and they can't do that if yours are there! You want buyers to say, "I can see myself living here.

Rent a Storage Unit.

Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room's purpose and plenty of room to move around. You don't want buyers not purchasing your property because they think the property is too small.

Remove/Replace Favorite Items.

If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If the chandelier in the dining room was a gift, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, they will not want it. Once you tell a buyer they can't have an item, it could blow your deal. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary.

Make Minor Repairs.

  • Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
  • Patch holes in walls.
  • Fix leaky faucets.
  • Fix doors that don't close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
  • Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to theme painted walls. Don't give buyers any reason to remember your home as "the house with the outrageous colors."
  • Replace burned-out light bulbs.

Make the House Shine

  • Wash windows inside and out.
  • Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior.
  • Clean out cobwebs.
  • Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
  • Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
  • Vacuum daily.
  • Wax floors.
  • Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
  • Bleach dingy grout.
  • Replace worn rugs.
  • Hang up fresh towels.
  • Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. You do not want any odours..

Scrutinize

  • Go outside and open your front door. Stand there. Do you want to go inside? Does the house welcome you?
  • Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer.
  • Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense.
  • Make sure window coverings hang level.
  • Tune in to the room's statement and its emotional pull. Does it have an impact on you, what kind of feeling do you get

Check Curb Appeal.

If a buyer won't get out of her agent's car because she doesn't like the exterior of your home, you'll never get her inside.

  • Keep the sidewalks cleared.
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Paint faded window trim.
  • Plant flowers or group flower pots together.
  • Trim your bushes.
  • Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number.

Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Agent

The Benefits of Working With an Agent

With so much information readily available online, clients sometimes ask me, "Why should we hire a real estate agent?" They wonder, and rightfully so, if they couldn't buy or sell a home through the Internet or through regular marketing and advertising channels without representation, without a real estate agent. Some do OK, many don't. So if you've wondered the same thing, here are 10 reasons why you might want to consider hiring a professional real estate agent.

Ask your Realtor if they are a Full-Service Real Estate Agent. Full-Service Real Estate Agents offer more bang for your buck.

You don't need to know everything about buying and selling real estate if you hire a real estate professional who does. The trick is to find the right person. For the most part, they all cost roughly the same. Why not hire a person with education and experience? We're all looking for more precious time in our lives, and hiring pros gives us that time.
Agents take the hassle out of your property showings and visits. If you're a seller, your agent will filter all those phone calls that lead to nowhere from lookie loos and try to get a serious buyers to write an offer.
Agents possess intimate knowledge and they know where to find the industry buzz about your neighborhood. They can identify comparable sales and hand these facts to you, in addition to pointing you in the direction where you can find more data on schools and demographics. For example, you may know that a home down the street was on the market for $350,000, but an agent will know it had upgrades or not and sold at $285,000 after 60 days on the market.
Contrary to what some people believe, agents do not select prices for sellers or buyers. However, an agent will provide the clients with information to make the right choices for themselves. Selling agents will ask buyers to weigh all the data supplied to them and to choose a price. Then based on market supply, demand and the conditions, the agent will devise a negotiation strategy.
Real estate agents can disclose market conditions, which will govern your selling or buying process. Many factors determine how you will proceed. Data such as the average per square foot cost of similar homes, median and average sales prices, average days on market and ratios of list-to-sold prices, among other criteria, will have a huge bearing on what you ultimately decide to do.
Real estate agents network with other professionals, many of whom provide services that you will need to buy or sell. Due to legal liability, many agents will hesitate to recommend a certain individual or company over another, but they do know which vendors have a reputation for efficiency, competency and competitive pricing. Agents can, however, give you a list of references with whom they have worked and provide background information to help you make a wise selection.
Top producing agents negotiate well because, unlike most buyers and sellers, they can remove themselves from the emotional aspects of the transaction and because they are skilled. It's part of their job description. Good agents are not messengers, delivering buyer's offers to sellers and vice versa. They are professionals who are trained to present their client's case in the best light and agree to hold client information confidential from competing interests.
Today's contract of purchase and sale agreements run 10 pages or more. Your real estate agent will handle the transaction from start to finish. Most real estate files average thicknesses from one to three inches of paper. One tiny mistake or omission could land you in court or cost you thousands.

Even the smoothest transactions that closes without complications can come to create a bit of a work load later on.

Here are some helpful tips for the period immediately after the closing. What's a new homeowner to do?

With that in mind, we offer you the following checklist:

1. Follow-up on your utility transfer.

You may have already started this process prior to closing. If not, that's okay too. Just be sure to follow up on electricity, gas, water, propane tank rental, security system contracts and other paid utilities in your area to ensure proper transfer. It will save you a lot of headache later on, and possibly even a "lights-out" scenario.

2. Complete a change of address form.

If you haven't done so already, visit the local post office. Do this early on, and you'll minimize the amount of mail that gets sent to and forwarded from your old address.

3. Update your address with financial companies.

When it comes to credit card statements and other financial documents, it's best to go a step beyond the change of address form. Contact your credit card company directly to change your address on record. You don't want financial documents being sent to a home you're no longer in.

4. Get a new driver's license.

Visit your Motor Vehicle Branch to find out the process for exchanging your driver's license. There's normally a grace period where you're allowed to drive with the old license, but after a while you'll run the risk of getting a ticket.

5. Obtain Insurance on your vehicle.

Visit your local insurance company and insure the appropriate insurance coverage is in place on your vehicles.

6. Ease into your mortgage payment.

If this is your first home, or if you've upgraded from a less expensive home, it's a good idea to ease into your mortgage payments. Give yourself a couple of months to adjust before making big purchases like furniture or home entertainment systems.

7. Keep copies of all paperwork related to the closing.

Although it might be tempting to shred the paperwork or put it in storage, you’ll want to have it in a safe place in case you need to reference and obtain any information.

8 .Keep proof of all expenses

There may be certain expense that you may be able to deduct, talk to your accountant. You will want to keep track of all your expenses such as travel, legal, appraisals & real estate.

9. Meet the neighbors.

If your neighbors don't come and introduce themselves, go say hello. Remember, these are the people who will keep an eye on your home when you're away.

10. Embrace your experience.

Lastly, take a deep breath of satisfaction. You're a new homeowner!

The basis for an agent's success and continued career in real estate is referrals. Few agents would survive if their livelihood was dependent on consistently drumming up new business. This emphasis gives agents strong incentives to make sure clients are happy and satisfied. It also means that an agent who stays in the business will be there for you when you need to hire an agent again. Many will periodically mail market updates to you to keep you informed and to stay in touch.
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