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Wouldn't it be nice if you had all the time in the world to find your next dream home? You could leisurely browse the current listings, select homes you'd like to see, schedule visits on dates that are most convenient for you, and make an offer on a property only after you've had plenty of time to consider all the alternatives.


Sure, that sometimes happens, but it's not typical. Often, people shopping for a home are on a timeline. Sometimes a very tight timeline.


So how do you find your next dream home when you don't have all the time in the world?


First, you need to develop a clear picture of the home you're looking to buy. How many bedrooms? What size of property? What type of structure (two story, back split, etc.)? Then, you need to list your preferences. These might include "large kitchen" or "main floor office".


Once you've completed that exercise, you'll have a more detailed profile of the type of property you want. That will make it easier to decide which of the listings on the market you want to see.


You should also narrow down the area in which you'd like to live. If you have three or four targeted areas, and only consider listings in those areas, your home search will be much faster.


What if you don't know the neighbourhoods well? Visit a few. Drive around. Explore. Get as much neighbourhood data as possible, such as demographics, recreational activities, parks, shopping, schools, etc. Then choose the neighbourhoods that fit your lifestyle.


Finally, the best way to find a new home on a tight schedule is to work with the right real estate agent — someone who, like me, is experienced in the local market.


Call me anytime.

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If you're working with a landscaping contractor, you want to develop a good working relationship with that professional, so you can avoid delays, stress and other issues. After all, the last thing you want is a tree planted in the wrong spot because of a misunderstanding!

The same holds true when working with a real estate agent. Whether you're buying, selling, or both, you want the process to go smoothly and successfully. Creating an ideal working relationship with your agent is an important step toward making that happen.

How do you do that?

First, ask your agent to go over the process with you. If you're selling your home, you want to understand the steps the agent is going to take. That way, there will be fewer surprises. In particular, you’ll want to discuss how viewings will be handled. You'll need to come to an agreement as to when your home will be available for viewings, how short-notice viewings will be handled, and whether or not "lockbox access" will be needed.

Don't be afraid to ask questions, even if you're worried about seeming to be naive. (You won't!) You don't want to have unanswered questions or concerns between you and your agent.

Also, know that misunderstandings and mistakes can happen in any relationship with a professional. So if an issue comes up, discuss it right away. Don't let it fester.

Finally, remember that your agent should be a professional like me, with expertise in buying and selling in this market. When I make a recommendation regarding pricing, prepping your home, viewings, etc. remember that I am working in your best interest. I want to sell your property, quickly and for a good price, just as much as you do!

Looking for an agent you can trust? Contact me today!


 

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Open House Questions Some Buyers Forget to Ask

 

An Open House is an event. And, like many events, it’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement and energy. In fact, when you visit an Open House, you might even end up rubbing elbows with other buyers who are there at the same time. It can feel like a party!

 

In an environment like that, it’s not unusual to forget to ask important questions about the property. Here are some of the most common:

 

  • How old is the roof?
  • How old is the furnace, air conditioner and other HVAC equipment?
  • How does the price compare to similar properties in the neighbourhood? (You don’t want to make an offer that’s too high.)
  • What are the characteristics of the neighbourhood? (Amenities, safety, traffic, access to public transit, property turnover, etc.)
  • What doesn’t come with the home? (Ask specifically about kitchen appliances, gas-connected BBQs, chandeliers, window coverings.)
  • Are there any potential impediments to the sale? (Tenants, outstanding liens, etc.)
  • Are there any outstanding maintenance issues, or repairs that need to be done? (For example, cracked ceramics on the foyer floor.)
  • Are there any issues that impact the full use of the property? (Ask specifically about shared driveways or walkways, public “right of way” through the property, water drainage rights from neighbouring homes, etc.)

 

Yes, an Open House can feel like a frenzy, and if it’s a home you love, you might feel pressured to make an offer. But, it’s important to take the time to ask the right questions and consider your decision carefully. You don’t want to find out, too late, that there were questions you should have asked.

 

Want more tips on finding the home of your dreams? Call today.

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Is selling your property the furthest thing from your mind? Well, here are some reasons for listing your property that you might not have considered.


1. Your property may be worth more than you think. (It’s difficult to determine market value on your own. I can calculate it for you. Give me a call.)

2. You might qualify for a better home than you anticipate.

3. Perhaps you are tired of your current property and want a change.

4. There may be homes on the market in a neighbourhood in which you’ve always wanted to live.

5. Your current property may no longer meet your needs.

6. Your neighbourhood may have changed in ways you don’t like.

7. You might be ready to downsize or upsize and you no longer want to put that off.

8. You may want to sell in the fall, so you can have a fresh start in a new home in the new year.

9. Depending on the type of home you’re considering, you could end up with lower mortgage payments or no mortgage at all.


10.You might want to move to a home that’s more conveniently located near work, family and hobbies. Of course, you may have your own reasons for listing this month. Why not discuss them with a real estate expert? Me. I can answer your questions and explain the options available to you.

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Imagine finding the perfect home, only to discover there is serious interest from at least a dozen other buyers. It’s like scrambling for the last piece of cake at a buffet!

 

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help get the home you want, even in a highly competitive market. Here are just a few ideas:

 

  • Only view a few ideal properties at a time. If you see too many, and thus spread yourself too thin, you risk homes slipping through your fingers.

 

  • Be realistic about price. Focus on finding a great home that you can afford, rather than trying to find a bargain.

 

  • Consider homes that need some work. They get less interest than perfectly staged properties, yet can turn out to be a dream home.

 

  • Be prepared to make an offer with as few conditions as possible. An offer conditional on passing inspection is usually fine, but in a competitive situation, offers with other conditions will likely be turned down flat.

 

  • Make your decisions quickly. If there are likely to be other interested buyers, you want to get your offer in early.

 

  • Make the right offer. To win the deal, you want your offer to be as enticing as possible to the seller — especially when it comes to price.

 

Yes, it can be tough finding an ideal home in a hot market, but I can help. Give me a call and I’ll show you how. 

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Imagine finding a home you love, making an offer, and then finding out there are other competing offers on the table. Ouch.

 

If you’re looking for a property in a competitive market, it is likely that there will be multiple offers. Even just one can create the risk that you’ll lose the home. So how do you make sure your offer is enticing enough to win over the seller? Here are some ideas:

 

  • Don’t make a low-ball offer. If you do, it might be dismissed and you probably won’t get another chance to bid — especially if the other competing offers are near the listing price.

 

  • Have a pre-arranged mortgage and include that with your offer. This reassures the seller there won’t be any money issues. (Most lenders will provide you with a pre-arranged mortgage certificate for this purpose.)

 

  • Go in with a price high enough that the seller will be interested, but not so high as to be leaving money on the table. This is tricky and requires a savvy knowledge of the current market.

 

  • Have a REALTOR® present the offer on your behalf. A REALTOR® will know how to do so professionally, and in a manner that gives you the best chance of getting the home.

 

In a competitive situation, working with a REALTOR® who is an expert on the local market — and a skilled negotiator — is crucial.

 

Looking for a REALTOR® like that? Call today.

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When considering which of two or more competing offers to accept for your home, there is no doubt price plays a huge role. After all, if Offer #1 is $10,000 higher than Offer #2, that’s an enticing difference that puts thousands of extra dollars in your pocket.

 

However, price isn’t the only thing you should think about when comparing multiple offers. There are other factors you need to consider as well.

 

For example, what conditions are in the offer? If Offer #1 is conditional upon the buyer selling his current property for a specific amount, then what if that doesn’t happen? You could end up with an offer that dies and be forced to list your home all over again.

 

In that circumstance, accepting the lower offer may be your best move.

 

There’s also financing to consider. Most buyers will attach a certificate from their mortgage lender to show that they can afford the home and will likely secure financing with little difficulty. If you get an offer where the ability of the buyer to get financing is in doubt, that’s a red flag.

 

The closing date is another important factor. Offer #1 might propose a closing date that’s perfect for you, while Offer #2 is four weeks later. If you’ve already purchased another home, you might require a month of bridge financing if you accept Offer #2. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but the costs and additional hassle are factors you should consider.

 

As you can see, assessing competing offers isn’t as easy as it looks. Fortunately, as your REALTOR®, I will guide you toward making the right decision.

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Comedian George Carlin’s most memorable routine was, “A place for my stuff.” In it, he talked about dealing with the increasing quantity of items we accumulate throughout life.

 

George was funny. The problem is not. Here are some low-cost ideas for quickly creating storage space for your stuff.

 

  • Attach a cloth pouch or thin plastic basket to the inside of cupboard doors. This is a great way to store Tupperware lids, cosmetics, etc.

 

  • Install hooks inside the foyer closet for loose items such as hats and scarfs.

 

  • Use egg cartons to make effective storage inserts in drawers.

 

  • Fashion stores often put purchases in stiff, high-quality boxes. Placed on their sides, these make effective storage compartments. (Especially shoeboxes.)

 

  • Consider using suitcases for out-of-season clothing. In addition to storage, they also provide protection.

 

  • Never throw out an old wine rack. There are numerous ways these can be used for storage. (Example: for tools.)

 

By thinking creatively, you can probably come up with many other simple ideas for creating more storage. The reward is a home that looks neater and more spacious.

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Surprising Ways Buyers Find Homes

 

Do you ever wonder how most people find the homes they eventually buy? You might imagine them driving by a “For Sale” sign or seeing a home for sale in the newspaper and then calling to enquire.

 

Of course, many buyers find out about listed properties that way. But, according to research by the National Association of Realtors, there are many other — sometimes surprising — ways buyers find their next dream home.

 

For example:

 

  • 88% of buyers find a home with the help of a real estate agent.

 

  • 90% of buyers search online as part of the home buying process. (Such as viewing a property’s profile on the agent’s website.)

 

  • 69% of buyers searching for a home using Google, use a specific local term, such as “Whitby-south homes for sale”.

 

  • 29-46% of buyers attend an Open House as part of their home hunting activities.

 

Overall, the research shows that buyers are using a multitude of ways — combining online and offline methods — to find homes. 

 

What does all this mean to you? If means that if you’re preparing your home for sale, you need to ensure your marketing plan takes into account all the ways buyers are finding properties — so you can be sure that they will find yours.

 

Looking for a REALTOR® who knows how to market your home for maximum exposure? Call today.

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When you make an offer on a home, it’s a smart idea to have a professional home inspector check it out from top to bottom. This inspection will ensure that the property doesn’t have any unexpected “issues”. After all, you don’t want to buy a home only to discover that the roof needs to be replaced, immediately, for thousands of dollars.

 

That being said, you might question whether you really need to invest the few hundred dollars it costs for a professional home inspection. “The home we want to buy looks like it’s in very good shape,” you might be thinking. “I can’t see anything wrong with it.”

 

However, a professional home inspector can see things you can’t. When you view a property that’s on the market, you might be able to notice obvious issues, like a crack in the foundation or a dripping faucet. If you’re experienced with home maintenance, you might even notice roofing tiles that look like they’re overdue for replacement.

 

But you won’t pick up all the issues a home inspector can.

 

A home inspector will, for example, use a special device to check for moisture build-up in the washrooms – which can be an indication of mould. He or she will also inspect wiring to make sure everything is safe and compliant with the building code.

 

That’s not all.

 

Like a determined detective, a home inspector will investigate the property’s structure, electrical and plumbing systems, insulation, and other components — and then report the findings to you.

 

In the end, a professional home inspection gives you peace-of-mind and protects your investment. So getting one is highly recommended — even for recently built homes.

 

A good REALTOR® can recommend a trusted home inspector for you.

 

Looking for more ideas on making smart decisions when buying a home? Call today.

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When would you talk to a car salesperson? Probably only once you’re ready to buy a new car. You would do some initial research (perhaps on the internet), get an idea of what you want, and then go to the dealership to meet a salesperson, test drive the car and make the purchase.

 

Although that approach may work when you’re buying a car, it’s not the best approach when it comes to real estate.

 

You see, successfully buying or selling a home requires a lot of planning and legwork. You want the process to go smoothly, the right decisions to be made, and the best possible deal to be negotiated.  

 

After all, this is the purchase and/or sale of your home!

 

So, the best time to talk to a REALTOR® is as early in the process as possible.

 

In fact, even if you’re just thinking of buying or selling — and simply want to explore the possibility of making a move sometime this year — you should have a conversation with a good REALTOR®.

 

A REALTOR® will answer your questions, provide you with the information and insights you need, help you avoid costly mistakes, and make sure you’re heading in the right direction.

 

When you are ready to buy or sell, having worked with a REALTOR® early in the process will help ensure you get what you want.

 

So talk to a good REALTOR® when:

 

  • You have a question about the local market.
  • You want to know what your home might sell for today.
  • You’re interested in checking out homes currently available on the market.
  • You’re in the midst of deciding whether or not to make a move.
  • You’ve decided to buy or sell.

 

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When you put your home up for sale, you want it to look its best to potential buyers. That’s why you clean, tidy and de-clutter every room.

 

Some sellers, however, miss the backyard. You need to pay just as much attention to that space as you do to the interior of your home. The backyard is as important a living space as the family room. To some buyers, even more.

 

Buyers want to see an attractive backyard space, with the grass cut and the hedges trimmed. The more neat and tidy you can make it, the better. Be sure to sweep walkways and wipe down patio furniture.

 

Also, watch out for the following things that buyers do not want to see:

 

  • Bags of garage and other waste.
  • Doggie do-do. (Be sure to stoop and scoop!)
  • Rakes and other tools piled in the corner.
  • Cluttered and disorganized storage sheds, pool huts and other backyard structures.
  • Weeds in the flower beds.
  • Items stored underneath the deck.
  • Hoses not stowed neatly.
  • Electrical outlets and water faucets that don’t work.

 

These are not difficult issues to fix. Doing so will positively impact the impression the buyer gets of your backyard.

 

Do you have a backyard that shows particularly well in the summer? Here’s a tip: Take pictures. Those photos will help buyers be able to appreciate how it looks should you list your home in the winter.

 

Want more tips on making your home show well so that it sells fast? Call today.

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If you take care to price your home correctly — that is, at a price that is in line with what similar properties in the area have sold for recently — then you have a good chance of selling it at or near your asking price.

 

That doesn’t mean you won’t get a low-ball offer. You might. So what do you do when that happens?

 

First, understand that the buyer may not necessarily be trying to steal away your home at a bargain-basement price. He might simply be mistaken about its true market value. Of course, he might also be coming in at a low price in the hopes he’ll get lucky.

 

You will never actually know the buyer’s motives. So it would be a mistake to get angry or dismiss the offer out-of-hand. That low-ball offer might end up being the beginning of a negotiation that results in you selling your home at a good price.

 

Your first step is to work with your REALTOR® to determine:

 

  • How serious the buyer is.
  • How qualified the buyer is. (For example, does he have a pre-approved mortgage?)
  • How amenable the buyer is to a counter-offer that reflects the true market value of your home.
  • What that counter-offer should be.

 

This isn’t an easy process. It takes knowledge and experience to get it right. That’s why working with a good REALTOR® is essential.

 

Looking for a REALTOR® who is an expert at this stuff? Call today.

 

 

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There are many reasons why the air quality in your home may not be at its best. A faulty furnace or an aged carpet are just two potential culprits. Until you get those issues addressed, how do you make your indoor air healthier — today?

 

Here are some ideas:

 

  • Check the furnace filter. This is one of the most overlooked maintenance items in the home. Any furnace repair person can tell you stories about filters they’ve seen caked in dust. Make sure those aren’t yours. Air passes through those filters before circulating throughout your home. Replacing a filter takes less than five minutes.

 

  • Clean the drains. Drains are a surprisingly common source of odour in the home. Most people only clean them when they’re clogged, but they should be flushed thoroughly with a good-quality cleaner at least once a season.

 

  • Turn on the bathroom fan. Not only do bathroom fans remove odour, they also reduce moisture build-up. About 50% of air pollutants originate from some type of moisture; mould being the worst. Professionals recommend you keep the bathroom fan on for at least 30 minutes after a shower.

 

  • Clean your doormat. Even if your doormat doesn’t smell, it can be a source of air pollutants. When people wipe their shoes, they transfer pesticides and other outside ground pollutants from their shoes to your mat.

 

Of course, you can always open a window. That’s the most popular way to freshen the air, and it works.

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There are many reasons why you may need to sell your home quickly: a sudden job relocation; a change in family situation; or perhaps an opportunity to purchase a new home that you just can’t pass up.

 

Whatever the reason, this strategy will help when you need to sell fast. It’s called the “3 Up” strategy.

 

  • Fix it up.
  • Clean it up.
  • Spruce it up.

 

First, you need to fix it up. That simply means getting things repaired around your property, such as a broken floor tile in the kitchen or a sticking patio door that’s difficult to open and close. Maintenance issues like these distract buyers from the appealing qualities of your home. Fortunately, repairs can usually be done quickly.

 

Second, clean it up. Obviously, when your home is clean and tidy it’s going to look its best. You also want to eliminate as much clutter as possible. You don’t need to make every room look like a magazine cover — but that’s a good attitude to have when prepping your home for a quick sale!

 

Finally, spruce it up. That means making any quick improvements that are going to make your home even more appealing. It might mean replacing the kitchen counters or giving the main rooms a fresh coat of paint.

 

Of course, the number one strategy for getting that SOLD sign on your front yard is to select a great REALTOR®.

 

Looking for a great REALTOR®? Call today.

 

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When you purchase a home, you’re hoping it will continually go up in value — just like a good investment.

 

However, there’s something else that you want to see go up in value as well: the neighbourhood. In fact, the neighbourhood plays a key role in what the home will be worth in years to come. If the neighbourhood goes down in terms of desirability, so will the market value of the home.

 

That’s why, when shopping for a new home, it’s important to get a feel for the value of the neighbourhood, and whether or not it’s on the upswing.

 

How do you do that? One way is to simply take a walk. Look at the properties. Are they well maintained? Is the landscaping groomed and attractive? Those are signs of “pride of ownership” — a clear indication that owners value their homes and the neighbourhood.

 

Another way is to do some research. Has crime gone up in the neighbourhood? Are there improvements planned, such as new parks? Is the neighbourhood attracting the kind of people you want as neighbours? How does the neighbourhood school rank?

 

Some of this information may be difficult to get on your own. A good REALTOR® can help you. Call today.

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When you’re thinking of selling your home and buying another, you face the inevitable question: Should I list my property first or buy my new home first?

 

Let’s take a look at both options.

 

If you attempt to buy a property before listing your home, you run into a couple of challenges.

 

First, sellers may not take you seriously as a potential buyer. After all, you haven’t put your own home up for sale. As far as they’re concerned, you might merely be testing the market.

 

Second, your property might not sell as quickly as you thought it would. If there is an early closing date on the home you purchased, you might end up owning, and paying a mortgage on both properties, at least until your home sells.

 

If, on the other hand, you list your property before buying a new home, sellers will know you’re serious. That puts you in a competitive position in the event of multiple offers.

 

Also, if your home sells quickly, you’ll have the peace-of-mind of knowing exactly how much of a new home you can afford. You’ll be able to shop with confidence.

 

Of course, like the first option, there is a chance that the closing dates won’t match and you’ll end up owning two properties for a period of time. However, solutions such as bridge financing are available to help.

 

So, there is no perfect answer. A lot depends on the state of the local market.

 

Looking for a good REALTOR® who can help you decide which is the best move for you? Call today.

 

 

 

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Usually when you list your home, you would prefer to sell it quickly. It’s like being the first one served at a crowded ice cream parlour. It’s satisfying.

 

However, sometimes there’s more to it than that. There may be a truly urgent reason why you need to find a buyer for your property as soon as possible, such as a sudden job relocation.

 

If that’s the case, it’s important to explain your situation to your REALTOR®, who will be able to put together an action plan for selling your home quickly and for the best price possible.

 

During that conversation, ask what you can do to help the process along. For example, you may be able to:

 

  • Spread the word to your friends and other connections on Facebook.
  • Canvass your neighbours and tell them about your listing.
  • Stage your home so that it’s more attractive to prospective buyers.

 

When it comes to price, be prepared to be flexible. That doesn’t mean you must settle for a price far below your home’s market value. However, you do need to be prepared to accept a good offer rather than try to hold out for a great one.

 

Also be open to as many viewings and open houses as possible. Having many prospective buyers come through your home within a short period of time may be a little inconvenient, but the payoff might be an offer!

 

Finally, work with your REALTOR®. A good REALTOR® will know the local market well and have many ideas for selling your property fast.

 

Looking for a good REALTOR® like that? Call today.

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Do you have a renovation project in mind – and wonder how much value it will add to your home? Remodeling Magazine recently did a study of renovation projects, comparing costs to added value. Here are some of the results:

Replacing a main entry door has a return on investment of over 95%. After all, the entrance to a home is one of the first things a prospective buyer notices.

 

Adding a new deck also adds a lot of value. Depending on the materials used, you can expect to get back three-quarters of the money invested.

 

Another high-payback project is the garage door. This once again demonstrates the importance of a home’s “curb appeal.”

 

If you’re tackling a big project, such as a basement renovation, you’ll be glad to know that, according to the study, a project like this adds a lot of value.

 

Finally, minor improvements to bathrooms and kitchens – such as adding new countertops or cupboards, can also be good investments that mostly pay back when you sell your home.

 

Of course, these figures are averages and can vary widely depending on location, type of property, and other factors.

 

Need help determining how a particular home improvement might impact the selling price? Call today.

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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.