What attracts more showings, increases online views and helps homes sell faster and for more money? Good quality pictures of your home! Getting a professional exterior and interior photo shoot is a must when selling your home.
Most prospective home buyers these days search on the internet, and it’s the pictures they see that draw them in. Listings that include professional photos receive many more online views and get more showings. But not just any photos will do. Listings with poor quality photos, for example those with low lighting, will work against you. Having no photos at all in a listing usually causes people to skip over it completely.
Hiring a professional for the job is the best choice. A good real estate photographer has the right equipment, such as wide angle lenses to get the right angles of the room and make it look as spacious as possible without distorting it. Professionals know that proper lighting is crucial when photographing a home. Everyone wants to see a bright home, not a dark and dingy looking space. Lighting the photos correctly brings out the best in your home.
You will want to stage your home and clean it well before the photo shoot. Remove all clutter from surfaces in each room. You don’t need photographs of every room in the home, but you’ll definitely want to include the kitchen, living room, master bedroom and master ensuite.
Taking the time to invest in good quality photos of your home will most certainly pay off!
If you’re thinking of selling your home in 2018, it’s never too soon to start preparing. Now is the time to get your finances in order and begin working on those minor projects around the house that will help you realize top dollar when it comes time to list.
When trying to zero in on where your money will best be spent, consider what most buyers are looking for. Some improvements may cost a few thousand dollars but are almost guaranteed to increase the value of your home, thus providing a high return on your investment. These include projects like replacing old, worn-out carpet, updating a dingy bathroom or finishing your basement.
Repainting is one household update that will provide a 200% return on your investment. Nothing makes a home looks updated, clean and ready for new owners like a fresh coat of paint! Stick to a neutral palette to appeal to the masses and be sure to repair walls first and paint high traffic areas like the front entry, kitchen and great room. Since we all know that kitchens sell homes, it’s wise to do what you can to make yours more appealing to buyers, especially in an older home. You might be amazed at how easy it is to refinish or repaint cabinetry. There are some fantastic products on the market today that make this project a cinch – visit your local hardware store and ask an expert.
Switching up your door hardware is another way to add dramatic impact without spending a fortune. Another area to focus on when it comes to wowing potential buyers this spring is your home’s curb appeal.
Before the snow starts falling, take a good look at your home’s exterior, including siding, roof, windows, garage doors, outdoor lighting, porch, walkway, driveway and your fence and deck. If repair or maintenance is needed on some of these items it’s best to wait until the winter weather is over, but it’s a good idea to know where your attention may be needed so you can start saving and planning!
As a consumer, you take your time when making a major purchase, researching products, asking for opinions and weighing the pros and cons of the many different options available. When it comes to making life’s biggest purchase – a new home – you’ve likely done the same. You’ve visited the neighbourhoods you’re interested in and have an idea of the average market price. You may have toured a few open houses and have your mind set on the ideal floor plan and style of home you prefer.
It’s true - there’s a lot to think about and even more to understand when buying a home and what you see when you walk from room to room is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s for this reason that finding a seasoned professional to guide you every step of the way is a smart decision for house hunters. Even if you’ve owned a home before and feel confident in your ability to find “the right house”, a real estate salesperson has the breadth of knowledge and a special skill set that comes only with experience – they are dealing with the sale and acquisition of homes on a daily basis.
Here are just a few of the things that a realtor will be looking for during your hunt for a new home:
Wiring – Homes built up until the 1940’s were likely outfitted with knob and tube wiring. In the 60’s, aluminum wire became a popular choice. Both are considered a fire hazard and today many insurance companies will refuse to insure a home with one of these types of electrical wiring or will charge a higher premium. Your realtor will be able to tell if a home has knob and tube or aluminum wiring. Replacing the electrical wiring in an entire house can cost anywhere from $7,000 - $15,000.
HVAC system – A salesperson will be able to tell you the exact age of the furnace and air conditioner and may be able to tell you if these systems have been properly maintained.
Plumbing – Sump pumps, septic tanks, wells and sewer systems….your realtor will be able to explain each of these features in detail.
If you’re thinking of selling your home in the next six months, year or even two years, it’s never too soon to start thinking re-sale value. Improvements to your home will almost always add value so it’s in your best interest to choose upgrades that are of good quality and have universal appeal – converting a spare bedroom to a luxurious master suite will attract a select few potential buyers but may actually be viewed negatively by the majority of buyers. Here’s a look at some household features that many buyers are looking for in 2017.
Smart Home Technology – More and more buyers are looking for a home that boasts smart home features and technology. Included are items in three general categories: features for practical and functional use (i.e. kitchen appliances with LED touchscreen displays, NEST thermostats and remote-controlled shades), features for lifestyle and entertainment (i.e. built-in sound systems and automated lighting systems) and items for safety and security (i.e. smart locks, Wi-Fi video doorbells and security cameras).
Hardwood Flooring – It’s estimated that 80% of buyers have hardwood floors included in their list of must-haves when house-hunting. Durable, long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing, hardwood is one of the most expensive flooring options available but also one of the best investments from a resale value standpoint.
Updated Kitchen and Bathrooms – We all know that kitchens and bathrooms sell a home, so if you have reno dollars to spend, it’s wise to shell out the cash to upgrade the heart of the home and bathrooms. Updated cabinets, quartz or granite countertops and newer appliances are all something that potential buyers will be looking for when house-hunting. When it comes to bathrooms, more and more buyers are seeking a little luxury.Freestanding tubs, high-tech toilets, unique tile shapes and heated floors will appeal to discerning buyers.
Outdoor Living Space – With such a short hot and sunny season here in Canada, many homeowners want to take advantage of the summer weather while it’s here, making fancy outdoor kitchens and living spaces a hot commodity.
A bidding war certainly isn’t a new concept. Ask any realtor, real estate investor or homeowner with a few moves under their belt and they will likely have a few stories for you. But the multiple offer situations that we have seen during the past year or so in some cities across southwestern Ontario are something different altogether. With desirable homes across the GTA receiving anywhere from 10 or 30 offers within hours of listing, for a couple hundred thousand over asking price, it’s a whole new ballgame out there for realtors, sellers and buyers.When in doubt, your sales representative is your best source for guidance and advice through the process, but here are a few basic tips:
Should you always go with the highest bidder? Not necessarily. That offer, thousands over your asking price, may be conditional on financing, a home inspection and the buyer selling their home. While the money is attractive, you have to question whether you should effectively take your house off the market while waiting for the buyer to firm up. Those conditions make it much less appealing than the competing prospect that came in with no conditions, albeit at a lower price.
So what is a seller to do?
That depends on you and what’s most important. If it’s money, you have your answer. If you need a firm closing date, then you need to go with the offer that lines up with yours. Perhaps you’re more comfortable with the buyer who put down a deposit of $20,000 compared to the one who wrote a cheque for $5,000. An offer to purchase with more money is definitely attractive, but if their terms don’t meet yours, a lower-priced offer with fewer strings may be best.
When more than one offer comes in, you generally have one of three options: accept one of the offers because you like the terms, counter one of the offers and change those terms that are not acceptable or you can ask the bidders – whether there are two or 17 – to improve their offers. But be warned this final tactic can leave you high and dry.
With the help of your realtor, consider what is important to you, the pros and cons of each scenario and try to determine what will work best for you.
When it comes to buying or selling a home, there are a few important documents that will come into play during the process. Some of these forms include pre-written clauses that your realtor will discuss and explain to you. Due to the nature of these contracts, be sure to read them thoroughly and always, always ask for clarification if needed.
Seller Representation Agreement (Listing Agreement): The listing agreement serves a number of functions. It establishes the relationship between the brokerage (and real estate representative) and the seller, it outlines specifics about the property for sale and it explains the services that will be performed and remuneration agreed upon. A Data Input Form will also be completed, describing the property in more depth i.e. legal description, age, room dimensions, zoning, etc.
Seller Property Information Statement (SPIS): Completing this form is optional for sellers. This form expands on information already provided about the property for sale, including items like restrictive covenants, known easements, details about past renovations, moisture issues, etc. If a SPIS has been provided by the seller, the salesperson should inform potential buyers of its existence. It is important to note that the SPIS is not a warranty or guarantee for buyers and should not replace a home inspection.
Buyer Representation Agreement: This agreement is an authority granted by a buyer to a real estate brokerage to act on his or her behalf during the purchase of a property. It outlines and explains the responsibilities of both parties and the commission arrangement. While a realtor in Ontario is required to complete the agreement and submit it to the buyer before any offer is made, the buyer is under no obligation to sign it.
Agreement of Purchase and Sale: An agreement of purchase and sale is like a conversation in writing that expresses the buyer's wish to purchase a property and the proposed terms of sale. It only becomes legally binding when everything is mutually agreed upon and signed by both parties. Commonly referred to as an offer, this document summarizes the terms that the buyer is seeking. Items always covered in the agreement of purchase and sale will be deposit amount and sale price, conditions, chattels and fixtures, completion (closing) date, etc.
While the exact forms may vary from city to city across the province, the fundamental concept behind each is the same.