If you want to increase the value of your home, adding a nice deck can help.  Purchasing the right materials for the project is a very important factor in this process.  If you want to get the most for your money, take a look at the below checklist of questions before selecting the kind of wood you use to build your new deck.

 

     
 
  • Consider the extreme climates of where you are.  Will the wood stand up to that?
  • Will the wood potentially fade in the sunlight?
  • What kind of fire rating does the wood have?
  • What type of maintenance and treatment will be required for the deck?
  • Is the wood mold-resistant?
  • Will the wood remain resistant to cracking, splintering, and infestation?

Another consideration is the architectural style of your home.  For example, does your home have a Victorian or traditional appearance?  If so, although pine or cedar woods are beautiful, they may not be the right fit for your residence.

 

     
 

Materials for the Deck:

Pressure-Treated Pine

Once pine is pressure-treated, chemicals are applied to help prevent infestation and reduce deterioration. Pressure-treated pine has the benefit of being less costly than cedar or redwood.  However, it has the tendency to discolor or split over time.  Due to this it is best to have pine cleaned and sealed to keep the wood’s original look and integrity.

Cedar

Cedar needs to have a sealed coating to prevent the outdoor elements from affecting the wood.  Cedar is soft and is unsusceptible to infestation.  It can, however, become spotted after a heavy rain or snow.  This condition may continue for about three years or until the wood becomes acclimated to the environment it is in.

Ipe Wood

Ipe wood is a very durable decking material.  The common woods used for decking materials like redwood, cedar, and pine are all softwoods.  Ipe wood is harvested in Central and South America and is ideal for outdoor building.  This wood is good for the extremes in many climates.  Ipe Wood is walnut-colored and naturally resists insect attacks and does not give way to the cracks, splinters, or molds that are brought on by the northern elements.  This wood is also sun and fire resistant.

Redwood

Redwood has a very similar look to cedar but contains a reddish hue.  Like cedar, it needs to be treated to prevent water damage and the resulting effects.  Redwood is also susceptible to cupping or cracking.

Keeping Building Cost Down

Keep in mind that the average per-square-foot cost for a deck is currently estimated around $5.00.  Ensure that the installation process is done properly and at a fair cost by verifying the builder of your deck is both licensed and bonded.

 

As an alternative, you may want to consider securing a roofing contractor who has an excellent background in installing wood decks.

How to Save on Installation Costs

Cost estimates include pricing on the deck foundation, frame, fastenings, and UV surface finishing.

If you’re looking to save money on the project, speak with several vendors and secure bids.  Have each contractor provide the details of the project and make comparisons. If you schedule to have the work done during a slow period of a contractor you can save even further on the job.

 

     
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There is no doubting the fact that taking the time to renovate your home can increase it's appeal to a potential buyer, and the bathroom is one room that is particularly important. Upgrading an existing bathroom or putting in an extra “comfort station” is one of the surest ways make your home more “livable” and increase property value at the same time.

 

You could start small, perhaps by putting in a “his and hers” electrical plug in your existing bathroom. This very simple addition, especially in a property with only one bathroom, can make quite a significant difference. If there is only one bathroom, is it possible to add an additional one? If you opt to build on your home’s main floor, make privacy a priority. Make sure your new bathroom doesn’t share the same wall as the kitchen or the living room.

 

One of the biggest selling points of a bathroom is the amount of space available for storage, so if do have the opportunity to do so this is something you want to consider upgrading. As most people can attest to, if you have your own drawer for your personal belongings you are generally happier. Another item to consider if the amount of counter space, generally the more the better as long as it isn't over the top. If you are able to add storage space and a bigger counter in the bathroom you will be able to get more money for your real estate listing.

 

Are you in love with the idea of having an indulgent “mini-spa” master bathroom within steps of your bedroom? Perhaps “his and hers” sinks, a deep soaker tub or a glass stall shower with multiple jets is in your future. Create your fantasy world with marble counter tops, recessed lighting, plenty of windows and high end fixtures. An enclosed toilet provides added privacy.

 

Keep in mind that such a decadent bathroom will certainly provide you with an enhanced living experience, but it won’t necessarily increase your home’s value more than a typical bathroom upgrade or addition. There are a few exceptions to every rule and bathrooms are not immune to this. Having the floors fitted with heating system, or fitting the room with a fireplace is a luxury that definitely adds value. You always want to follow the golden renovation rule, keep the quality of each room in your property relatively the same as all of the others.

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If you are the buyer of a new home, chances are you will be the one responsible for the closing costs. These fees are a normal part of the real estate transaction. In some cases, such as when the owner wants a quick sale, your Realtor® may be able to negotiate with that seller about sharing some of these costs. Some of the items that you should budget for are included below.

Credit Report

Credit reports are normally requested when you apply for your mortgage pre-approval. Depending on when the report is requested, the fee could be added on to the application for that mortgage or considered part of the closing costs for the home sale itself.

Title Search

The title search protects you by finding out if there are any liens or prior claims against the home. Normally costing about $15, it is well worth the cost. Once the search is complete you can then buy title insurance to protect your purchase from future claims. Cost for title insurance is usually about one percent of your home’s value.

Property Appraisal

Buyers are responsible for getting the property appraisal, which normally costs about $300. If you are getting mortgage insurance through CMHC then it is a requirement. A property appraisal lets you know the true value of that property and if it is worth what the seller is asking. The fees are taken care of sometime during the home purchasing process.

Land Title Recording and Documentation Fees

A Land Title is a legal document that must be filed anytime a property changes hands. The fees cover this necessary step and do vary depending on the jurisdiction and their required procedures.

Property Taxes, Condo Fees

The date you take possession of the property determines the amount of property tax you will owe that first year. The exact amount is pro-rated, with the buyer and seller responsible for their respective shares. It’s the same story for condo fees. Another item frequently overlooked are yearly insurance premiums, which are treated the same as the condo fees.

 

Consider budgeting about 1.5 percent of your new property’s transaction costs to take care of these miscellaneous costs. That gives you a comfortable monetary cushion to fall back on.

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What's the secret to getting the most out of selling your Edmonton home? It's simply increasing your property's appeal to potential buyers. By taking a few extra steps, you can add plenty of value to your home on the market.

1. Paint the Interior of Your Home

You'd be hard pressed not to find a buyer who doesn't appreciate a fresh coat of paint. Not only will it enhance your property's value on the market, but it will also help brighten up your rooms and hallways by giving them a clean, solid appearance. Try to stick to lighter, softer shades rather than going for bold or bright colours. This will help make rooms appear more spacious and comfortable.

2. Paint the Exterior of Your Home

There are few things more damaging to a home's curb appeal than peeling paint. A fresh coat of paint on the outside will make a big difference in giving the home a much newer feel. This of course all depends on the weather and time of the year, but if the weather permits, do it. Again, be more conservative and pick out light, neutral colours and stay away from bright, gaudy colours that others may not like. You'll save buyers the trouble of having to paint over it!

3. Clean up Your Clutter

First impressions are always important, especially for homes. You don't want to put potential buyers off by making your home seem chaotic. Unwanted clutter around and inside your home should be tidied up, as well as any trash lying around. Spend a few hours cleaning, raking your yard, and picking up odds-and-ends to add plenty more value to your home.

4. Minimize Your Décor

Too much decoration and even furniture can be distracting from the real features of your home during home showings. Having too much going on will make a room look and feel smaller than it actually is. Store away all the things you don't need in a safe place. By making your home more spacious and comfortable, you'll highlight the actual features of the home itself.

5. Open Your Blinds and Draperies

Once your home is ready to show, try to let as much natural light in as possible. This will brighten up a home in a way artificial light cannot and will give off a better overall feel.

6. Don't Play Music During a Showing

You'd be surprised how many people make this mistake. Resist your urge to play music in the background while potential buyers come by. This can be off-putting to some buyers and will hurt your chances.

7. Clean Your Carpets/Hardwood Floors

It's always a good idea to have your carpets cleaned or have your hardwood floors polished or waxed before the first showing. Having clean surfaces for your buyers to walk on is a noticeable thing.

8. Use/Buy New Linens and Towels for Bathrooms

This will help give an updated and clean look to a room that's generally considered the most "unkempt" in most households.

9. Consider Redoing Your Wallpaper

Like your choices for paint, try to stick to neutral themes rather than daring or peculiar designs for wallpapering. Dark colours tend to make rooms look smaller, so try to avoid prints that do so or ones that make the room look too busy. Keep it simple!

10. Hire Staging Professionals

Hiring professionals to stage your home like a well-composed showroom will definitely add to your home's appeal. Real estate firms sometimes have staging teams so you can ask your real estate agent if they can refer you.

Bonus: Price Your Home Correctly From the Start

Buyers often wrongly assume that if a home has been on the market too long, there must be something wrong with the property. Most activity on a property tends to happen during the first two or three weeks of listing it. After that, activity will begin to taper off and showings will eventually drop off. This can be avoided by properly pricing your home from the get-go and attracting a lot of buyersand a lot of showings. This will end in a quicker sale, instead of having a listing go stale and become something that potential buyers avoid.

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Staging a home can be an important aspect of selling your home. The idea is to create a good flow so the home feels lived in but clean, without feeling like someone else’s place. Home staging means giving attention to all areas and not having unnecessary clutter while preparing it for sale. Each home has its own flow, so take that into account before staging.

Make the First Impression Last

The very first thing potential buyers see when they drive up to your home is the curb appeal. Is the landscaping in order? Does the outer walls of the house need repainting? Is the grass neatly cut and hedges properly manicured? What about the doorknobs? Have they been polished recently? A few simple steps can go a long way towards a great first impression.

Get Rid of Unwanted Belongings

You may admire the drawings your children made years ago in grade school, but others might not share your enthusiasm for their work. In fact, personal belongings may make it harder for potential buyers to see the place as 'theirs'. The same applies to having an unending supply of toys invading every corner of the house. You don’t need to get rid of your possessions, just box them up and throw them in the garage if they won't take up too much room or lease a storage locker. An uncluttered house appears more spacious, and allows the buyer to visualize their belongings in the house.

Clean Everything and Everywhere

After you’ve gotten rid of all the needless items give the whole house a decent cleaning. If you don’t feel you have the time or desire, it can be well worth it to hire a cleaning service. Make sure the carpets are cleaned, and without stains. Pay extra attention to the kitchen and bathroom, these can either make or break the deal.

Use Warm Neutral Colors

When potential buyers enter a home you want them to envision themselves in that home. Family photos and other personal touches discourage such thinking. Put some art on the walls, a decorative vase or two on tables and leave it at that. The same goes with the color of your walls. Some people like to use two or more colors per room, while others prefer to use colors to suit their persona like pink and blue. That is fine in your case while living in the home; however that can be very distracting to a prospective buyer. It's recommended that you repaint your home using warm earth tones or neutral colors.

Make the Home Family Friendly

Choose a focal point for each room and rearrange your furniture so that it enhances that area. Rearranging the sofa and chairs to face a fireplace makes a lot of sense as fireplaces are natural focal points in any home. Families that can see three bedrooms may be more apt to purchase your home, so if you have a bedroom that you once used as an office, change it back for the sole purpose of selling.

Focus Properly on the Interior Fixtures

Update your light fixtures with functional, neutral fixtures. You may really love that chandelier you found with all the gold flake and crystals, but it may turn off a potential buyer. The correct window treatments can also lend a hand in selling your home faster. Decorative side panel drapes with sheers can work well across large windows. The same can be said for high quality blinds. If you have hardwood floors that need retouching you might want to sand and refine them. Old carpets should also be replaced with newer ones—something neutral—or at least deep cleaned. Make sure the tile, laminate or linoleum in the bathrooms and kitchens are clean and in good condition. Any scratches or chips in linoleum and laminate should be replaced.

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If you’re looking to buy a piece of Edmonton real estate in the near future, you’re probably planning out strategies you can use to get the best possible price on your ideal home. Buying a starter or move-up home can include lots of different costs, which is why negotiating for the lowest possible selling price is always in your best interest. A lower selling price will give you more room in your budget for repairs or renovations, closing costs, and furnishings. But if you’re planning to low ball a seller, you’ll want to take some steps to make your offer more appealing. Low balling puts you at a disadvantage in a bidding war and could even offend the seller – but with these smart low balling strategies, you’ll have a much better chance of getting your home at your preferred price.

Offer to Handle Repairs and Closing Costs

When buying a home, the buyer and seller usually negotiate who is going to pay for repairs and closing costs. Most buyers who make higher offers will try to convince the seller to pay these expenses. That means if you’re planning to make a low ball offer, you can make your offer more attractive by volunteering to foot the bill. Arrange for an information-only home inspection so you know what needs to be repaired, and then, if the repairs are within your budget, offer to cover the costs. Usually, the seller will cover closing costs – like brokerage fees. But if you’re low-balling, you can offer to pay these costs to better compete with other buyers.

Include an Escalation Clause

If you make a low ball offer on a hot ticket property, it’s a virtual certainty that you’ll be outbid. And although a straight low ball offer won’t win you any points with the seller and will certainly cause you to lose a bidding war, you can put up a fair fight for the home by including an escalation clause with your offer. Essentially, an escalation clause is a clause in a real estate offer that increases the amount of your offer in the event that you get outbid. For instance, if you offer $300,000 for a home and you have a $2,500 escalation clause, you’ll pay up to $2,500 more than the highest competing offer, up to a maximum value that you decide. So if another party offers $350,000, your $300,000 offer will automatically increase to $352,500.

Know the Home’s Fair Market Value

In real estate, knowledge is power. Some overzealous sellers will try to get more for their property than it is actually worth – not out of greed, but out of sentimentality. And if that’s the case, then low-balling can work quite well if you’re armed with hard facts and statistics. For this to work, you’ll need to dig up home sales statistics over the past year for the neighbourhood where your potential new home is located. You’ll also want to get an independent appraisal to determine how much the home is objectively worth. If the seller is asking for more than fair market value, you can back up your low ball offer with sales statistics and make a strong case that they’ll have a very difficult time getting what they want for the home. Making a low ball offer isn’t easy, but it can be successful if you use the right strategies. With an Edmonton real estate agent on your side, you’ll have an expert negotiator who can help you get your new home for below asking price. And when you successfully low ball a property, you’ll have plenty of extra money left over to make it your own.

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Some people who are planning on selling their home are fortunate enough to be in a situation where they can wait for the market to fluctuate to their advantage. Unfortunately many people do not have the luxury to wait and need to sell their home as soon as possible. So what is the best way to get a good deal when selling a home in a buyer's market? Well it's going to require hard work and determination.

Invest in Making Sure the Home is Ready

Selling a home in a buyer's market may take an investment in the beginning, but the important thing is making sure the money is being spent in the right places and the right way. While major renovations may seem like they will put a home at the front of the pack, it's not always the case. A smarter use of the money is to focus on any smaller repair that may deter a buyer who won't want to make the investment themselves. The problem with costly renovations is that in some cases they tend not to be neutral and can put off more people than they bring in, whereas a fresh coat of paint or new fixtures are a fraction of the cost but put a nice shine on the home for everybody.

Take Steps to Beat the Competition

When the competition is fierce, every home needs to stand out from the very beginning. A buyer's market is no place to make a mistake, only to try and repair it after the house has already been listed for months. Staging companies specialize in bringing in new and modern furniture on a temporary basis so that the house or condo is at its best when being shown. Renting a storage unit for clutter, miscellaneous items or older furniture is a small investment that can pay off in the long run and amazing photos with the home while it's clean and filled with modern décor can help lure in buyers who exclusively look online.

Work with a Professional in Advance of Listing the Home

The problem with having a home sit on the open market for any length of time is that the longer it sits there the lower potential buyers will offer. Homes that are not sold within a certain amount of time tell the buyer that the seller may be starting to get desperate and will accept a lowball offer. So how can this be combated in a market with too many available houses? A qualified and experienced REALTOR® can help a seller by putting out feelers and showing the home to any client they believe may be interested before listing it. This provides the seller with the advantage of having their home shown privately to interested parties for a limited time before it goes live. Selling a home when there's a lot of supply and not much demand can be a grind, but it's not impossible to get a great value as long as you are willing to put in the work needed. Make sure everything is completed in advance and the money is being spent in the right places and the offers are sure to come rolling in.

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Sometimes you just never know what will trigger a potential home buyer’s response to a home. They may walk in the front door and see a decadent but borderline light fixture and the first bit of negativity will start to appear. Or they may not even get in the front door if the neighbor’s dog noisily charges the fence. Even worse, there is no fence and the only thing holding the lunging, barking critter is a length of chain. Suddenly the car seems a much safer place. Is there a way to adequately deal with such happenings? Sometimes yes. At other’s the situation may be out of your control.

Iffy Neighbors

As a realtor you can make sure the property for sale is beautifully staged, that the outside has a fresh coat of paint and that the bushes and lawns are well manicured. But you have no control over the neighbors. They might have the equivalent of an auto graveyard in their backyard or a dog as big as a moose with an attitude to match. Maybe both. Perhaps that same neighbor likes to sit on his front porch and watch your every move. Sounds like a bad movie, doesn’t it? In this situation your hands are tied. A potential homeowner will either embrace the noise and eccentricity, or not.

Did You Hear the Rumor?

Rumors travel like wildfire. Some may have a basis in fact, others may be pure speculation. What happens if potential home buyers hear rumors of rezoning or of a governmental buyout due to a land appropriation deal? The best thing for you to do is to bone up on the facts about an area and advise your clients before the rumor mill gets them. Start with putting up to date info in the MLS listings. You may even attract a different type of buyer that is open to a change or two. Who knows, they may have secret dreams of turning that single family home into something with a rental suite.

My Dining Room Table Won’t Fit

Most people don’t buy a house to fit their dining room table. Usually it’s the other way around. But once in a while you run into folks who just can’t part with a piece of furniture. It might be a family heirloom or something that Uncle Joe made from scratch and just can’t be replaced. Finding out about this seemingly quirky deal breaker before you show properties is the best way to go. Get the dimensions of the object and try to only show properties that have rooms big enough to fit. Sometimes you can convince a home buyer to put their prized possession in another room, but don’t count on it.

This is Not What I Wanted

Many home buyers have a certain architectural preference when it comes to homes. Some are purists that want the layout of the inside of the property to match the exterior. Others want the vintage look of an Old Victorian or Queen Anne but want a modern kitchen and open floor plan. That sort of layout just didn’t exist a century ago. If in your pre-look interview you’re getting mixed messages about vintage looks and modern architectural concepts you might have a bit of trouble finding the perfect property. Try and find that Victorian home with the open concept but if it’s not possible, have a heart to heart with your clients. You may have to do some educating on architectural styles and remodeling possibilities but you might just turn them around.

Too Many Offers Can Discourage Clients

In a hot buying market chances are homes will get multiple offers. Some prospective buyers don’t even want to look at a property that they essentially have to bid on. They walk in, want the place, put down the cash and that’s it. You really can’t do much about how many offers a property gets. But, you can find out from the listing agent just how hot a particular property is and what the offer acceptance date is. With a potential end date in mind you might be able to convince a client to bid on that property. That date takes away a bit of the uncertainty that revolves around a multiple bidding scenario.

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When you upgrade from a condo to a house, you can give yourself that long-awaited pat on the back. You've made it! You now get to experience the dream of owning your own house. This is a momentous occasion in your life, and that's why you should approach it with care and joy. Simply put, it's a lot different living in a house than in a condo. You've got more space and a lot more room to put stuff. Here is the shopping list that you never thought you'd need when moving from a condo to a house.

Get Yourself a Box of Tools

In a new house versus a mere condo, you can expect a lot of things to need more fixing. This is to be expected when you consider that you have more space and more items inside your house. That's why shopping for a comprehensive set of tools is so necessary. Though you certainly don't require an entire toolbox filled up with the most sophisticated tools, it's a great idea to have a big toolbox for any small home improvement, DIY issues that pop up in your house, particularly if your house is an older one. Tools to include are screwdrivers, nails, hammers, and wrenches.

Buy More Cleaning Products

When you upgrade from a condo to a house, you'll be surprised at the additional amount of cleaning you'll have to do. This is due to the excess space you'll suddenly be surrounded with. More space means more areas to clean, of course, and that's why you need to stock up on more cleaning products and supplies. It's a good idea to have more than just glass cleaner on hand. Basics such as dish soap, a mop, a broom, some rubber gloves, and a good bucket are definitely required in your new house!

Try Out Some Fashion Essentials

Moving into a new house means more closet space as well. Thus, you'll have to contend with the need to incorporate more fashion essentials into your new digs. Buy a handheld steamer to get wrinkles out of all your suits in just a second, and don't forget to purchase a full-length mirror so that you can see yourself in your well-pressed attire. Finally, because you have the space now, buy a bulletin board and place it somewhere you’ll see it every day (like your bedroom). On the bulletin board, you can tack tear sheets of inspiring things you find or notes of things to keep in mind. This is the shopping list you'll have to tackle since you've now moved to your first house from a condo. Remember, the big point is that you'll have a lot more space now. Accordingly, you've got to stock up more on items that you may already be using, but you'll also have the space for other items that you didn't have in your tiny condo!

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Home renovation is a big decision to make to improve on your home's look. Making sure you can afford it, and it's in the best interest for you is the best way to go. Avoid stress and extra costs. Learn how to improve on your home's look with these plain ideas.

Will You Need Permits?

Sometimes you can get around from having permits, but most big jobs will need permits. Check your city's rules or go to websites for information—follow the law and you shouldn't have any problems. If you have to get one, do it in a timely fashion to speed up the process for the work.

Think Realistically

Don't go into major debt to do this renovation. If you can't afford to do it, then don't. Wait until you can, after you have saved some money or take out a home equity loan to fund it. Never spend money you need to live on, just to make renovations that aren't needed. For instance, you need to remove mold build-up in the bathroom or you want a new kitchen remodel just for looks.

Get all the information you need to make this journey a possibility. Talk to real estate or home renovation experts who are willing to help you. Ask questions and don't go into it not knowing what to expect.

Make Sure Your Contractor is Vetted

There are sites online to visit to see reviews on contractors now-a-days; you can also check the better business bureau. Ask to see previous work and also if they have references you can call. It's best to use a company you can verify and if they have been in business for years. Many people have bad stories to tell from hiring companies that didn't do the job. Avoid the headache and time-consuming court proceedings.

Will You Have To Leave For The Renovation?

Depending on the work being done, you will have to see if you can stay in your home while the work is carried out. If dust/dirt is flying everywhere, or the noise is unbearable, those are all factors to take into account. If the contractor tells you it is OK for you to stay then you can. Just use your common-sense and if you feel that something could be dangerous to your health, make sure you take the necessary precautions.

Make a List

Keep in mind that making a list of your renovation's time-line will keep you on track. You and the contractor can go over what is expected and focus on getting the job done. You should also ensure that you get an estimate from the contractor and know exactly what the charges will be.

Are You Set To Go Through With It?

You've researched, found a good contractor, made a list, and weighed all of your responsibilities, so are you really ready to go forward? If you are, then by all means do it. If you are still unsure, you should think on it a little while longer before starting. Always go with what's on your mind, if you have doubts then weigh them out before doing anything.

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You’ve decided to put your home on the market. It happens. People get job offers in out of the way places, want to upsize or downsize or maybe just want a change of pace. Some people flip houses for a living and are old hands at the selling game. No matter the reason there are some things to consider before listing that property. That way you’ll know if the offer you are posing is fair and wise.

Why Are You Selling?

If you are in a hurry to sell your property, perhaps because you have your eye on another one, then you are more apt to set a lower price point for your home. Someone who has all the time in the world can afford to list for a higher price. If your property is damaged or a real “fixer-upper” then your price point will most likely be lower than similar homes in the area. It is important to understand the how, when, where and why you are letting go of your home and how quickly you need the sale.

Getting Your Home Ready for Sale

Giving your home some TLC is the best way for a faster sale at a better price. This doesn’t necessarily mean a complete renovation of bathrooms or kitchens, but a coat of paint, a bit of landscaping and fixing up obvious problems really does help. Even a leaky tap can close the door on a sale, or cause the buyer to come up with a much lower offer. Get your home professionally cleaned and staged for the sale. Your real estate agent can help with this if need be. You want the pictures of your home, whether they are in the local paper or shown on the internet, to show a property that is desirable and worthy of the asking price. Who knows, you may get multiple offers and an even better price.

Find a Real Estate Professional

Selling a home requires a big time and money commitment. Having a real estate agent help with that sale cuts down on the worry factor and will usually result in a faster sale. Agents already have connections in the business and can use their knowledge to market your home to interested parties far and wide. That doesn’t mean you can’t send out your own feelers, especially in this age of technology. If you’re a first time seller, it’s best to leave all the legal and sales stuff to the professionals. If you’re an old hat, well, whether you go solo or not is up to you. Just make sure you have the time and resources available to devote to that sale.

Set a Realistic Price

Everyone wants to get the most money possible out of their home sale. That’s only natural. But, you must be realistic. Setting a fair price will attract more buyers. If your price is too high chances are you won’t even get noticed. This is just as true in the high end market. Buyers may be able to afford just about anything, but they are still looking for a fair, honest price. Your real estate agent will advise you on pricing, another benefit of having one of these professionals working with you.

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1. HOWS YOUR CREDIT?

Buying a home is a process and too often people start with step 4 only to become frustrated when they discover that their credit score isn't where they thought it was which means their interest rates will be higher. This has a huge effect on the amount they will be qualified for. Your credit score is the benchmark for determining what the best interest rate that a Lender can offer you will be. Lenders take a risk when lending so it makes sense they will want to know what your repayment habits are on the credit you currently have. A good credit score, indicates good repayment practices which gives the lenders confidence that you will repay the loan. The reward for you is a lower interest rate.

2. HOW MUCH HOUSE CAN YOU AFFORD?

Now that you've determined your credit score, it's time to sit down with your spouse or significant other and your calculator and determine what your budget is. Add in all the extras that seem to drain money unnoticed, like eating out occasionally, going to a movie, summer vacations, kids sporting expenses, the veterinary expenses if you have pets, auto expenses, etc. etc. Try to note everything that you're spending money on currently. Don't assume that if you're paying $1200 a month in rent you can now pay $1200 a month on a mortgage. There are additional expenses with home ownership that renters don't pay. Things like maintenance of the home itself and the property. You'll need tools, lawn mowers, perhaps a snow blower, rakes, shovels. Eventually the roof will need replacing. You'll be responsible for appliance repair and heating costs, city utilities and many other expenses. Be sure to factor these in. The rule of thumb is to keep your housing costs to 30%  of your income, with 25% being closer to the ideal. Too often, buyers end up house poor, which puts undue strain on relationships. After you've calculated all the expenses and any "entertainment" expenses you can reduce or live without, you're ready to call a lender or mortgage broker.

3. PREAPPROVAL

Before you even start to look at homes seriously, talk to a lender or mortgage broker and apply for a mortgage. Being preapproved will tell you exactly how much you can borrow and what your interestrate is. The lender will give you a Preapproval letter, which you can attach to any offers you make on homes you decide to make an offer on. Preapproval also ensures your interest rate will be held for sometimes as long as 90 days. However, if interest rates drop, you will still get the lower rate. 

4. LOOK FOR HOMES

This is where the fun begins. And it really is a lot more fun when you're confident you're looking at homes within your price range and are secure knowing what your payments will likely be. Make a list of must haves and would like to haves before you go out looking. Also, bear in mind that you may not find a house that has everything you'd ever want, especially if this is your first home. Be prepared to compromise on the things that aren't essential. Remember, if this is your first home, you will likely trade up in the future, or maybe you can add the things you would like to have later. It's best to start with what you must have and what you can afford. Don't be tempted to stretch your budget further to get the luxury things you may not really need.

Hire your own realtor that only represents you as a seller. There is a misconception that the Listing Agent (the name on the sign on the house) can get you a better offer. In reality he can't. There is no property that will sell below market, regardless of who writes the offer. No seller is going to accept an offer that is too low. Having your own Buyers Agent representing you means YOUR best interests are at the forefront and all negotiations will be made from that perspective. A buyers agent has a responsibility to point out to you any defects he might know of or community development projects that might effect the future value of the home you are considering. He can also tell you if it is a forced sale or a distressed sale which can make a difference in what you can offer and the seller will accept. If you and the seller are using the same agent, his responsibility is to the Transaction only. He can not disclose to you anything about the property and he cannot disclose to you anything about the seller.

5. MAKE YOUR OFFER

You've been looking at homes that are within your price range, but you don't have to offer the asking price. In fact, most offers come in below asking, and sellers are aware of that and may have priced their home accordingly. They too have a number in mind that they will accept. Make a reasonable offer on the home you want. Take into account any repairs that need to be done, or things that need to be updated or changed. It is acceptable to subtract the cost of these and make your offer accordingly. Bear in mind that if things like the carpet are worn, the seller may agree to reducing the price to compensate for it's replacement, but if it's just a color you don't care for, they likely won't. Price is not the only thing you can negotiate on. You might as the seller to pay for inspection costs, appliances, or assist with some of the closing costs. Don't get so excited to buy a house that you overpay!

6. HOME INSPECTION

This is probably the best investment and insurance you can purchase and most often the one that buyers decline. A home inspector will go through the property with a fine tooth comb and expose any defects or problems that are not visible to you. He'll determine if there are leaks anywhere, cracks in the foundation, a roof that needs repair, insect damage, mold, and myriad of other things most buyers don't even see. It's better to know there is a crack in the foundation that will cost thousands of dollars to repair before you buy the property than to find out after the closing. If you decline an inspection, and something comes up after you've purchased, you have no recourse. Never, ever refuse an inspection! The few dollars up front will save you thousands later.

7. FINALIZE THE TRANSACTION:

There is a lot of finishing up in the process of closing the transaction. Once the seller has agreed to your offer, your consideration money will be held in non interest bearing escrow account. Any contingencies (conditions) to the sale must be satisfied and signed off on as satisfactory by both parties before they can be removed and the transaction can move to closing. In the meantime you'll be working with  your lender or mortgage broker, providing them with, what will seem like, an endless stream of documentation so they can get your mortgage approved and ready to be funded on the day of closing. Select a convenient day of closing. It doesn't have to be on the first of them month, it can be on any day that is convenient for you to move.

A good Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Attorney will guide you through the process and make sure nothing is overlooked. They'll explain to you each step and what you need to do next.

8. MOVE IN AFTER EVERYTHING IS SETTLED:

It can take a day or two, sometimes more for everything to settle. There can be a hold up from the lender with the funds being deposited. Documents from the sale of the property, the transfer of the deed and the recording of the deed and the note need to be completed in county court. All these things will happen behind the scenes, and unless there is a problem the closing will take place on the day you expect. By now you've hired a mover, packed up your things and are anxiously waiting to move in. Enjoy your new home! You've joined the ranks of proud home owners and have made the wisest decision you'll ever make.

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Realtors® are not created equal. It would be nice if that were the case, particularly if you are considering getting into the investment market. You could just walk into or call an agency and get the ball rolling. But that’s not necessarily a wise move. Your investment realtor should go through an interview process to make sure you’ve found the perfect match. Some of the things you should be looking for are below.

Investment Specialization

Finding a real estate agent that specializes in the investment market is important. If the agent you are interviewing handles residential as well as commercial sales, chances are you should look elsewhere. The rules and procedures for investment sales are different and usually more complex than for residential sales. A cookie-cutter approach doesn’t really work. Help yourself in the interview process by decided what type of investment property you are interested in beforehand. That way you’ll have a better idea of what to ask, and what type of special skills your agent should have.

Self Investment Experience

A real estate agent that invests in the market as part of their personal portfolio has a better idea of the process. Asking your prospective agent if they have investment property is a wise move. If they are successful in their portfolio holdings, you can be confident that they are business-savvy and know how to find profitable investment properties.

Local Area of Expertise

If you already have a locale and/or target market in mind for your investment, ask your agent where they specialize. For example, if you are wanting property in Victoria, someone with knowledge of that city will know whether downtown is a good option for rental properties or if you should think about going into the suburbs. The same is true for most metro areas in Canada. Having an agent that knows a metro area intimately can help you find and make the best investments possible.

Solo Operator or Team Player

Some agents prefer to pretty much go it alone. Others have a team that assist them on every transaction. Find an agent that has a reliable stable of accountants, brokers, property managers and leasing assistants that they can call upon. You will eventually need most or all of these services, so why not have them available from the start?

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While landlords do see their fair, perhaps unfair, share of problems with tenants, in some cases the reverse is also the case. This is particularly true in the condo market notes Geordie Dent, the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Association’s executive director. FMTA has put together a list of the most common problems tenants have with their landlords.

Rents Raised Far Too High

Condos that went up after 1991 are not covered by rent control. In those cases landlords sometimes increase rents so much and so frequently that the units end up far more expensive than others in the surrounding area.  A few areas are seeing these new buildings charge more than 40 percent more than surrounding structures. That may lead to good tenants going elsewhere and the landlord with a largely vacant building. That’s not a good scenario for either party.

Repair Issues

In a condo strata situation, tenants are expected to go to landlords with their repair issues. The landlord in turn goes to the condo board. In an increasing number of cases, tenants have been directed to the board itself. This causes a host of problems, but one of the worst is the board asking that tenant to pay for repairs they are not responsible for. There are usually laws against this practice. The landlord may also end up paying fees if this is the case.

Simple Communications

Landlords sometimes mislead or fail to inform tenants about condo rules and regulations set up by the condo board. These can cover a number of issues, including use of certain facilities, the ability to rent a moving elevator and a limit on how many guests are allowed. If a tenant doesn’t know the rules, how can they comply? Another issue sometimes seen is that landlords pass on certain deposits and/or fees to the tenants that the landlords are responsible for, which is illegal.

The Issue of Pets

Many landlords choose to avoid the pet issue by issuing a no pet clause in the lease. Condo boards usually allow some provisions for pets, which the landlord can take advantage of by paying a deposit to allow at least some types of pets in the unit. Refusing to pay this deposit limits the number of people willing to rent that unit. A vacant unit means zero money in the bank. Pet owners are more than willing to pay a cleaning deposit or other reasonable fees in order to keep their four legged, or perhaps feathered, friends.

Dealing with Emergencies

A landlord shows his true value when dealing with an emergency. In a condo situation, flooding is the most common problem. Usually this scenario means water coming into a unit from the condo directly above. The law states that landlords are required to do these repairs but often those repairs are slow, or don’t even happen at all. Delaying repairs can lead to additional damage as well as mould, which can be a health hazard. Basically if you don’t have the funds to deal with such situations, you shouldn’t be in the landlord business anyway. And, it is a business, treat it as such.

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Owning your own home is a dream for the most part, and when it becomes a reality, you have to follow rules in order for it to be successful. Success means, paying your loan off, managing your bills and loan together and not having to foreclose or file bankruptcy from miss-managing your finances. Follow the rules to having a successful mortgage pay-off and become a home owner without having to live in constant worry.

Basic Mortgage Information

A mortgage is basically a loan that you receive from a lending institution to finance the purchase of your new home. You will get an interest rate along with a certain amount of payments over a period of time. Most people have to get a loan because they don't have hundreds of thousands of dollars lying under their beds, or at the bank for that matter. Although there are some people who have saved or is in the process of saving that amount of money, a large percentage of people can't.

 

Before applying for a mortgage, make sure you meet the right criteria to be approved. Some banks would like you to have a certain credit score, and also have an assured way to pay the loan back. For instance, if you just got laid off from your job and don't know when you will return to work, it may not be a good idea to apply for a loan. Even if you have the very good credit score, there are other factors that can play a part.

Know Your PITH and the Costs of Your New Mortgage

Your Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Heating or PITH is what your monthly payment (interest & principal), your taxes, and an estimate of your heating amount costs are totaled to determine PITH. In addition, less than 32% is where you need to be with your gross monthly income in order to be able to afford your housing costs.

 

You're good on PITH; now check your debts such as student loans, credit cards, car loan payments, etc. You should make sure that your debts are less than 40% of your monthly gross income. Here you'll calculate your debts against your income.

Mortgage Pay-Off

Now that you're approved, make sure that you’re in a position to pay off this loan. Try to get the lowest interest rate you can qualify for and pick a time-period that you know will be the best for you. For example, if you want to take 10 or 15 years to re-pay your loan, and you know you can, do it; or if you want to take your time with 30 years to pay back with the option of paying more to the principal, then go this way. Get the best amortization period for you.

What about Interest Rate?

Figure out the best interest rate for you that you will qualify for. You can get a fixed or variable rate, and in today's market the rates vary from 4% to 7%—less or more depending on where you get it from. Getting a fixed interest price is where the interest rate will stay and with variability, it's able to change.

 

If you have unanswered questions about getting a new mortgage, make sure you speak with a financial advisor or broker to help you answer any of your questions. This will be one of the biggest decisions you make in your life and knowing all the facts will help get you there.

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Renovating your home is not as easy as some television shows make it out to be, but overall it can be a very rewarding experience that can add money into your pocket if done correctly.

Smart Kitchen Renovations That Will Add Value To Your Home

Historically, kitchens have always been a family gathering space.  Today, it seems many people do not get to spend as much time as they would like with family and friends and when that time comes, people want to spend it in a space filled with lovely food fragrances.  Before you make any major renovations on your kitchen, you will want to consider what you like and dislike but do not overlook studying current trends in today's modern kitchens.  You might find something that appeals to you and can increase the value of your property.

 

Just a short time ago, granite countertops were considered high end as were stainless steel appliances.  Now they are considered standard equipment for a home and many people who enjoy cooking consider them a must-have for a home.  To be considered high-end in this day and age, an upgrade to brushed copper for those appliances is the norm and colored glass accents are also very much in style.  Open floor plans are also wildly popular these days, and if your kitchen is far from the front door, that is another big plus for you.  

The Right Design

Having a design that has a pantry that separates your kitchen from your garage is also highly desirable.  It makes shopping so much easier when you do not have to lug groceries from your car all of the way to the kitchen.  Gas stoves these days are also much more favored than an electric stove although the cost of installation may set you back a few dollars.  Hood fans are also great to have as they not only rid the kitchen of odors— they can also be decorative and add a touch of class.

 

Kitchen islands are also wildly popular and if they are wired and large enough to also be used as a buffet table, which is even better.  You should also be aware that ambient lighting and accent lights are in style, while ceiling kitchen lamps are out.  Colored lights are also popular with home buyers as are dimmer switches. Oversized cabinets and plenty of drawers with extra space are also excellent selling points.  

 

All of these improvements will add to your home's value and make it more marketable to a wider segment of the population.  If you are a lover of fine wine, a wine rack might be an addition you love but it will not add any to the value of your property.  Appliances that are not placed where they can be used without bumping into other kitchen fixtures are also of no help.  If you have an island with a sink that is not the primary kitchen sink, you might consider making it a wet bar— as long as you keep it clear of dishes and dirt.

Add Value to a Home Through Bathroom Renovation

Renovations can help to increase the value of your home.  One of the most important renovations you can make is to add a bathroom.  It increases the value and makes a home much more livable.  You may want to start slow by adding an electrical plug to an existing bathroom.  This small renovation can actually make a big difference.  If your home has only one bathroom, research whether it is possible to add another.  If you plan on adding a bathroom to the main floor of your home, make sure that privacy is a priority by not having it share a wall with your living room or the kitchen.

 

The selling point of an additional bathroom among others things is the amount of space for storage.  Everyone is more comfortable when they have their own drawer for personal items and enough counter space to get groomed before work in the morning.  If you add storage space and a bigger counter you are almost certain to get more money for your property.

Decorate According to Taste

Adding a "mini-spa" may be something to think about when considering a master bathroom close to your bedroom.  His and hers sinks are also a good addition as is a glass shower with multiple jets and a deep soaker bathtub.  Marble counter tops are also very desirable as are recessed lights, windows, and high end fixtures.  An enclosed toilet area that adds privacy also adds considerable value to a home.

 

You should bear in mind that a bathroom with lots of bells and whistles may provide you with a touch of luxury living, but it will not necessarily increase the value of your home any more than a typical bathroom addition or upgrade.  There are of course a few exceptions to that rule and adding amenities such as a heated floor or a fireplace are luxuries that do add real value.  Just follow the simple rule of thumb that the quality of each room of your home should be relative to each other.

 

You must also realize that the overall real estate market fluctuates and has an effect on the value of your home.  If the overall market is slow, it means your home may very well not sell as soon as you wish.  Or it may go for a lower price than what you are asking.  On the other hand, a real estate market that is red hot means you may get multiple bids on your property and may be able to get more than your asking price.

The Location

The biggest factor in how fast your home sells and how much you get for it— boils down the location.  It is not just location, but the shape of the lot your home sits on and the orientation.  If for example, you have a pie-shaped lot, and the tip of the pie is located in the back yard, that means there is less private space and less space between your home and your neighbors.  It also means that largest piece of the pie lies in your front yard.  If you live in an area that receives a significant amount of snowfall and you are required by a homeowner's association to keep sidewalks clear in front of your home, which means a lot of work.  That may not appeal to many older buyers who have plenty of cash to invest in a new home.  A pie where the majority of it is on your backyard is much more desirable.

Orientation

Orientation is also another factor that determines value.  Homes that have backyards that face to the south, southwest, or west are in general more valuable than others because they catch more of the sun.  If your property is next to some open green space that could either work for or against you?  It can mean that you can offer more privacy to potential buyers and that in turn means in general a more valuable lot.  It can also mean that a specific type of fence will need to be erected between your lot and the open space, making it into a footpath that can draw more traffic.  

 

If you have a corner lot, your potential buyers will need to consider the neighborhood and any rules that exist before they make a commitment to purchase your property.  If your property is in a part of the country that receives a large annual amount of snowfall and the homeowner is required to keep sidewalks clear, that is not desirable as it requires a lot of work.

 

Heavy street traffic in front of the home is also something that will make a buyer think twice.  Other things buyers will take into consideration are if the property is close to power lines or it is located on a sloping hill.  There also may be a homeowner's association that has very strict covenant regulations and that is another consideration.

Do Not Forget the Electrical System When Upgrading

Many homeowners make the mistake of only doing renovations on things that can be easily seen.  You can spend a large amount of time in choosing the right fixtures, looking at fabric swatches, and deciding on whether to paint a home when one of the most overlooked items in home renovation are electrical outlets.  You should know where the outlets are in your home and put some thought into whether they are convenient and if more of them are really needed.  If you are in the middle of restoring a home— that is the time you need to look into your electrical system.

Start With the Master Bedroom

The master bedroom outlets are a good place to start.  The best possible case is to have an outlet on each side of the bed.  The worst case scenario is to have two people in the bedroom being forced to share one outlet that is located behind the middle of the headboard of the bed.  This makes reaching it difficult and can make life not so grand for those having to reach for it.  Installing outlets on each side of a bed can make life easier for all.

The kitchen is another area that should be looked at when doing a renovation.  Kitchens with islands are increasing in popularity as they add a good deal of work space and can also double as a place to eat. Having a kitchen island that is wired gives you another place to plug in appliances and warm up trays for a delicious buffet.

The Heating System

Another area that is often overlooked is heating registers.  In order to efficiently heat a home, there should be a minimum of one in each room and larger rooms may very well require an extra one in order to distribute heat more efficiently.  If you have a large room with vaulted ceilings, they need to have a ceiling fan to distribute heat.  A remote control for a heating and cooling system is yet another big plus for you.

 

Since wireless internet came around, it is no longer necessary to go overboard and wire an entire house in order to get service.  One thing you may want to consider is putting cat-5 cable in the main living room in order to handle some of the more advanced entertainment systems that are on the market today.  If you have a home office, you may also want to wire it in a similar fashion.

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So you finally did it! You worked hard, saved your money for that down payment. You saved, pinched where necessary, did all you were supposed to do in order to get the house you were meant to have. It should all be downhill from here, right? Contrary to what we would like to believe, that is not always the case. However, if you house hunt carefully, then it really can be just as easy as signing the dotted lines, from here on out.

 

By paying attention to the little things, possible masked problem areas, you might be able to ensure that you really are buying your dream home and not just someone else’s nightmare. Be on the lookout for these five things while house hunting:

Fresh Paint Patches

While many owners who are selling their home may attempt to liven up the place with fresh coats of paint to make the place look more attractive, there are others who may be painting the home in an attempt to hide problem areas. For instance, spots on the ceiling that are discolored could be the results of water damage or foundation problems may be spotted easily by looking cautiously at cracks around the windows. Keep these things in mind if you notice that only small patches are painted and while asking questions.

Skewed Roof

Buying a new roof shortly after you bought your home can be a financial headache unless you are prepared for it. Look closely at the roof and check for missing shingles or tiles that are broken. Don’t be afraid to talk to specialists as they can help you determine what, if anything needs to be replaced. The difference of a few shingles or a whole roof can be a matter of thousands of dollars.

Look for Mud Tubes on Walls, Joists or Ceilings

One of the biggest nightmares a new owner can imagine is finding out they have termites, spiders, ants or other bug issues. Mud tubes are a sure fire sign that there are termites because they build them to travel through. If you have a suspicion of termites, call a pest control expert to ensure this is a problem that will be taken care of correctly.

Rugs or Furniture That Has Been Placed in Odd Positions

Flooring issues are occasionally concealed just simply by placing rugs or furniture pieces in awkward places. Be sure to look more closely at anything that looks odd, out of place or just arranged in a strange manner. Go ahead and look under those rugs, pull out that piece of furniture. Take that picture off the wall and look behind it! Being conscientious in the present can save you thousands in the future.

Water Marks

Many basements can have an unfinished look so this makes it very easy to gloss over details. Don’t fool yourself into thinking a few leaks in the basement isn’t a big deal, not only do you run the risk of letting your things get ruined but it can cause mold!

 

Don’t let pretty window dressing ambush your vision of a perfect home. It is obtainable if you use caution when house hunting.

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So you want to invest in real estate but are not sure where to start?

 

First thing you need to ask yourself is, what kind of investing do I want to do? Do I want to cash-flow, hold and build wealth, flip or a combination? If your asking yourself, which is the right one? You're not alone. The right one is the one that works with the amount of money and time you have to devote. Let’s take a look at all the different ways to invest in residential homes.

 

Cash Flow – This is all about making money on a monthly basis. So your rents exceed your expenses monthly. This can be tricky to find properties that cash flow well. A good agent or 2,  can help you find that investment. Your best bet is to buy low, of course but also think if you can rent the garage or maybe it has a mother in law suite. Maybe you can buy near the universities and rent per room. There are many options to this.

 

Buy and Hold – This strategy is exactly as it sounds. If you’re looking for this then you want to buy in a nice established neighborhood or even better an up and coming neighborhood. We can help you decide where that is. This is the easiest strategy. It takes little time and effort. You buy real estate and get a management company to look after it. In 20 years you sell and make 100’s of times more money then you put in. Your ROI is very high here.

 

Flip or Rehab – This is the most time intensive and experience needed form of investing. Here you need to make your money when you buy. Buy low. Figure out how much it would cost to do the basics in renovations. Then sell for market value, do not get greedy here. Sell for fair market value and move onto the next. A 3 month flip is a great time-line. This takes a lot of organization. It takes money. And you need to stick to your budget and time-line. This can be very rewarding if you do it right.

 

Now that you have chosen your investment style. The next is to act on it. How do you fund it? That is a question we asked and get asked a lot. There are many ways to buy residential real estate in. There are still assumables out there. Some sellers will do a vendor buy back. In essence the seller loans you the down payment. If it is your second home you can do as little as 5% down. If it is your 3rd or 4th then you might have to give as much as 20%. If you structure the deal right and make the seller happy, they will usually do whatever to get the deal done.

 

To end off. Investing in real estate is an amazing way to make money. Most of the millionaires in the world made or keep their wealth in real estate. There are options for everyone. Think about it. Where else can you get hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans with as little as 5% down? Nowhere. If you count leverage into the equation then investing in property is a no brainer.

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Once you have found the ideal home your realtor® will help you draft an offer, based on current market information. Then, that document, called an Offer to Purchase, will be presented to the seller, or the realtor® representative of the seller. There may be multiple offers on a property. If that happens, your realtor® can help you through the procedure.

Firm to Offer Purchase

This type of offer usually favours the seller. This means that the buyer is willing to purchase the home without putting any restrictions on the sale. Another words, the buyer likes the home as is and is not requesting any changes.

Conditional Offer to Purchase

This is an offer where the buyer is willing to buy the home if certain conditions are met. These could range from having the sale accepted once the home passes an inspection, to the sale of the home being contingent on financing or the sale of the buyer’s current home. The home is not considered sold until all of the requested conditions are honoured.

Acceptance of Offer

Once a seller is presented with an Offer to Purchase, that seller has the option to accept, reject, or submit his own counter offer. The counter offer may contain a number of items including a different price or closing date. Sometimes buyer and seller negotiate back and forth several times until both have agreed to the terms.

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You drive up to a property and like the architecture and the fact that it has a wrap around porch and more than a dash of character. Yep that front door handle is a blast from the past and the landscaping needs a bit of TLC but most of it’s not bad. Walk in the front door and your senses are assaulted by a mish mash of velveteen flocked wallpaper and shag carpet. Should you turn and run or put on a pair of sunglasses and continue your tour? Some things in a home, like a sagging porch or obvious water leaks might and probably should send you packing. But garish colors and homes seemingly stuck in time warps deserve a second look.

The Vintage Home

Enter a vintage Victorian or Craftsman home and you’ll notice that these styles have character. The homes are usually well built, which is why some are still standing after more than a century. Sure, you’ll have to go through the electrical and the plumbing to make sure it’s workable. You may have to take down layers of wall paper and replace the chandelier that looks like it came from Dracula’s castle. But think what you’ll have when you’re done. You home will be as far away from a cookie-cutter property as you can get.

What Have They Done to the Walls?

Many owners repaint their walls with more neutral shades before putting a property on the market. Then again you have people who won’t or can’t do the work and sell their home “as-is.”  You may find a boldly colored mural in the children’s room or a bathroom awash in hot pink. Paint is cosmetic, it can be changed. Look beyond the outrageous colors and focus on the size and space of the room. The same goes for wallpaper. Some people love the stuff and you’ll find it nearly everywhere. Victorian homes are known for this, it was the rage at the time. Just like paint, wallpaper can be stripped and the walls redone to your liking. Oh, and those popcorn ceilings? They can be removed.

Grandma’s Kitchen, Grandpa’s Bathroom

Ok, the stove is older than you are and the cabinets are a blast from the 1970s. Similarly the appliances are that avocado green that was the rage when tie-dye was a fashion statement. The bathroom is in a similar time warp with a worn tub and a shower with yellow tiles and a matching smiley face shower curtain. Both color schemes may make you cringe, maybe even giggle. But if the spaces are large and you have enough cash to renovate you may just have a bargain in the making. You may even get a deal on the home because of the need for renovation.

Eau de Carpet

Carpet is hard to keep clean. Old carpet can develop an unmistakable aroma that permeates the entire home. On those “as is” properties, particularly those that have been vacant for a while, you may notice an odd smell when you step through the door. Unless the odor is coming from mold, remember that removing old funky carpets and giving the place a good clean will get rid of that “eau de carpet.”

 

All of these items are really bargaining chips, items you can use when negotiating the price of the home. Most owners are reasonable and know that repairs cost money. Who knows, you may just get that dream home for a really good price.

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Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.