Buying and selling your home might seem like daunting propositions. But if you’re thinking about doing either, this is a good time to make that move. Mortgage rates are still low and prices are going up, slowly but seemingly steadily. This should create a spirit of motivation for those on either side of that check book. But sometimes you need more than motivation. Here are some tips that will make your path as a buyer or seller much easier to navigate.
Notes to Buyers
Location, Location, Location
Remember that word. Make it your mantra. You can always make improvements to a house with good bones but you can't pick up that house and move it to a more desirable street or neighbourhood. Well, perhaps you could but it would be terribly expensive. Buying in a good neighbourhood, even if the home is not as showy as one on a less desirable street will help you get a higher price when you do end up selling. And for you investors out there, if you are considering buying a condo property getting one that’s near public transit or a university is your best bet.
What About a Condo?
First time buyers especially are encouraged to consider the condo market. At the moment condo units are more plentiful than single family homes and a realtor will most likely be able to negotiate a favorable deal. Investors should also consider condos, as the rental market is currently doing quite well.
Manage Your Credit Rating
Get in contact with one of the credit rating services and check on your credit rating. The two major ones are Equifax Credit Information Services Canada, 1 800 465 7166 and Trans Union Canada at 1 800 663 9980. Doing this early on will give you a chance to correct any discrepancies.
Get Mortgage Pre-Approval
By getting pre-approved for a mortgage you will one, let prospective buyers know you are serious, and two, have a pre-determined budget set for your new home. It makes no sense to view a home, fall in love with it and then discover you can’t afford it. Save yourself the heartache and headache.
Try the Suburbs
The further you head out of major cities the more likely you’ll get more house for your money. Most of the time moving out of the city also means more backyard space, which is nice if you have a family or are planning to start one soon. Downtown living has its advantages but you usually end up with less personal space.
And For You Sellers
Beautify Your Home
Pretend your home is going to the prom and you want to make a good impression. When a potential buyer pulls up in front of your home chances are the interest level increases if the front yard is nicely kept, the paint is fresh and everything is clean and polished. The same goes for the inside of your property. If the carpets or floors are a disaster, get them professionally cleaned or replaced. A coat of neutral colored paint on the walls does wonders.
Do Some Upgrading
Upgrades do help sell a property particularly if they’re in a kitchen or bathroom. Replacing an old countertop with a top end granite slab will do wonders for the eye-appeal. Take a good look at the cabinets and see if they can be improved with new hardware or a coat of paint. Likewise, give your floors the once-over. If you already have hardwood floors have them professionally refinished. If not, consider installing hardwood in a couple of rooms. It helps with that first impression.
Price Your Home Correctly
Don’t put yourself out of the market by putting too high of a price tag on your home. At the same time, don’t sell yourself short with a lowball figure. At one time overpricing a home was considered the norm, with the thought that buyers would negotiate down from that figure. With the advent of computer marketing buyers may not even give your property a second look because it’s out of their price range.
Don’t Base Decisions on a Closing Date
Many people buy a new property before their original home is sold. Knowing that there is a closing date deadline some sellers may feel forced to take less than a fair offer in order to meet that deadline. Ask your lender about bridge financing which gives you an extra 30 days of breathing room as long as you have a firm sale in the making.
Find Qualified Real Estate Professionals
For most people a home is the largest investment ever made. Be sure you are dealing with a qualified real estate professional for this most important and potentially challenging purchasing experience. You need someone that has a proven track record, knows the areas you are interested in and that really listens to you. Good communication is of the utmost importance.