We are often asked if staging is really worth the expense. The answer to that question in a word is yes. In order to meet the demands of a dynamic market and those looking to gain top dollar for their home staging is a must. Let's take a moment to explain why as a seller you need this service.

 

   
 

People are very visual beings.The first place buyers will go to peruse homes is on the internet. This is true whether an agent or you are looking online; the internet is the first stop for everyone. With that in mind, keep to the adage — you never get a second chance to make a first impression when planning on selling your home.

 

As we all know, a picture is certainly worth a thousand words — so any pictures you put up on line or elsewhere should be of high quality. Staging can allow a photographer the opportunity to take great pictures. Preferably, a professional photographer is desired, simply because they have the correct equipment and possess the ability to do photo touch ups when needed.  If by chance you happen to be or know an avid photographer — the better it is for you.  

 

With the photographer chosen, the staging process can begin. As tempting as it may seem to save some money and do the staging on your own, it is not by any means recommended. The fact is, as a seller we probably do not have our fingers on the pulse of the trends with interior decorating and have no idea even where to begin. Finding a professional stager is as easy as going onto Google search and typing in Staging Sherwood Park — you will be rewarded with a slew of options in which to choose from— right there at your fingertips.

 

Now comes the million dollar question. Will hiring a professional stager be worth the effort and expense? Although, the statistics can fluctuate all over the map, consistent numbers have shown that a home that was professionally staged increases the final sale price by $5,000 - $10,000, or a 10 - 20 day reduction in the sale time. It simply makes sense to spend a few thousand dollars in order to gain many thousand in return. When you consider selling your home, it is a prudent move to really look into the impact a professional stager can make on your final selling price.

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Buyers, are you ready to save some money? If so, read on— this article is all about how to save you, the buyer, some cash.

 

The first place to begin is with a question. How does one know if a property is in good condition? One option is to make an offer and then call an inspector to come and assess the condition of the property. At face value this seems to be a great choice, however, there may in fact be a high chance that you will have to pay money out of pocket several times.

 

For instance, you located a property and decided to place an offer. When you place the offer it is strongly recommended that you attach a home inspection condition.  Let's play devil's advocate and say the inspection went poorly— the seller then fixes the problems, now you will need to contact the inspector again to ensure the repairs were made correctly. That is twice you have to pay for an inspector for one property.

 

The following are some things you can look at in order to determine if you even want to place on offer on a certain property.


As you walk from room to room, train your eye to look at the details.  Meaning; look at the trim look in the corners— does it fit together nicely, or is it off?   As you continue to survey the home your eyes will begin to pick up on things that may be a bit off.  Do not forget to check the electrical panel.  You need not be an electrician, simply open the panel and look; if the wires look good then all is well.

 

The next thing you will want to take note of, are any blatant code violations.  You do not need to know the codes verbatim to know when something is either dangerous or illegal.  Such as, missing hand rails on the stairs, electrical hazards such as sockets that are right next to a sink.

 

The tips provided will hopefully get the buyer to look past the wallpaper and the cute border in the kitchen, and take note of the less obvious signs that show the true condition of a house.

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When selling a home, you very much enter into a competition with other sellers— you goal is to be the pick of the litter so to speak.

 

   
 

To help you increase the chances of selling your home quickly and for maximum value, we are providing a few tips on the best places in your home to invest cash for renovations.

 

First, never underestimate the value of curb appeal. A good chunk of your budget should be used to enhance the front of your home. Remember you don't get a second chance to make a first impression. The effort you put forth here can certainly pay off when a buyer comes along — stand in front of your home and look at the lawn, siding, winders, door and driveway. Look at everything and decide what needs to be to give the property a new, fresh, clean and inviting look.

 

The next place you should consider when it comes to your renovation budget is the kitchen. The fact is kitchens give the most return on your money. Really go all out on the kitchen and you will be glad you did.  You don’t' have to think pot lights and granite — instead look into paint, add or re-do the back splash, change the counter tops, add new hardware, you will be surprised at what few quick changes can do. If possible upgrade the appliances. When working within with the kitchen, a good rule of thumb is functionality first, eye appeal second.

 

Finally, the bathrooms— if the budget allows the ensuite, your main bathroom will be your main focus. You will be amazed at the difference some new tile or laminate, a cheap new vanity and some new light can make. If you choose not to replace the tub or toilet, then you should consider re-glazing— it is an excellent alternative to buying new, and the finished product looks just like brand new, for the cost of a couple hundred dollars. It is certainly well worth the expense.

 

We are going to add another helpful tip to the seller, although, not what one would consider a home improvement in the traditional sense. The art of staging is in valuable when it comes to selling your home quickly. On average, you have about 15 seconds from the time a buyer walks in the door to get their attention. If you do not have the budget, then at the very least, hire a stager to consult with you for an hour. You can get ideas on how to stage your home to look fabulous.The best choice here is if you can hire a professional stager to stage the entire house, top to bottom. Staging is truly the icing on the cake.

 

The bottom line is, you will not maximize your profit, or even turn that profit over quickly if you have a product that does not measure up to the standards set by the market. By following the above advice you will find your home is sold quickly and for a price you can feel good about.

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A great deal of time was invested with buyers viewing real estate in Sherwood Park. The buyers were a mix of first time buyers, investors, empty nesters along with buyers who were in the market of real estate for other reasons. What was found, were three common mistakes that buyers all across the board seemed to make?

 

Once you are aware of these three common mistakes and have a plan in order to avoid them, most of the hassles and stress can be cut down to a bare minimum— giving you the luxury of enjoying the process of viewing real estate in the Strathcona County region.

 

Mistake #1: The idea of lasting forever. In theory staying in one home for life seems quaint— some may say that is the whole reason to buy a home instead of rent— no worries or desires to move. The fact is, life is unpredictable and you may find that you outgrow your beloved home, or you are given a great promotion, however have to relocate to accommodate the new position. 

 

The truth is, statistically speaking— most homeowners live in their home for a period of 5-7 years. Buyers fall on the lower end of that scale, and will tend to stay in a home for about 5 years. What is important to keep in mind here is when looking at a property, project out into the future for about 5 years.

 

Mistake #2: Going above and beyond to find the ideal home. We do not live in a perfect world so the odds of finding the perfect home are slim to none.  A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule. This means that 80% of the house is just what you want and the other 20% is all the stuff you are not crazy about.

 

I know this may seem a little cold to first time buyers, however even people who build their own homes and have the resources to add every creature comfort imaginable, still will say the house is not perfect— there is always something that could have been better. Remember there is no such thing as a perfect home, only perfect compromise. Once you are ready to find the middle ground in some areas, then you will surely find a home you truly love— imperfections and all.

 

Mistake #3: Can't make a decision. This sounds more dangerous than intended and simply refers to buyers who view a lot of properties and still never put an offer in. This usually occurs with first time buyers but can happen with even experienced buyers. The first reason this can happen is due to fear of having a very large mortgage. The second reason some don’t pull the trigger is the mentality of trying to find the perfect home.  

 

The average buyer will look at approximately 10-20 properties and decide to buy one. If on the other hand you have viewed over 20 homes and still feel apprehensive about making an offer, it’s time to do some soul searching and see if there is an underlying reason why you haven’t found a property you are willing to even make an offer on. It is okay to be a little nervous and perhaps a bit apprehensive, however, if you use the 80/20 rule the right home for you will happen.

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You’ve made the decision to sell your property. Here are some tips for making your sales process more successful.

Understand the Buyer’s Mentality

By the time most prospective buyers get to your home to view the property, they are most likely already focused on the most important things they are looking for in a house. Are you within their price range? Do they like the neighborhood? Does your home meet your space requirements? And more.

 

So why buy your home instead of any other one? Any real estate agent worth their salt can tell you that emotional responses are the most important factor. Once the basic requirements are filled, they will almost always choose to buy the house that just “felt like home.”

 

With this in mind, what can you do to make your home ring true with your visitors on an emotional level? Here are a few little tricks of the trade:

 

1. Have your home smell like home. Put fresh-cut flowers near your front door; have cookies baking in the oven; put on a freshly brewed pot of coffee in the background.

 

2. Have some soft music playing the background. Perhaps get your kidsplaying a game of soccer in the backyard —this can both keep them quiet and give the place a “lived-in” feel.

 

3. Go through your home and clean up any extra furniture, mess, and and clutter. Let in as much sunlight as your home allows, and, where necessary, turn on lights to brighten up your rooms.

 

4. Have plenty of family photographs in easy view, and put some colorful art on the walls. But be careful not to overdo it! You don’t want to go overboard and have them seem like clutter!

 

5. Make sure that your visitors feel comfortable. Light the fireplace or turn on a lamp to add warmth to your rooms.

These particular strategies work best at open houses, as this is the time when it’s most important to make a lasting impression. In the case of a single visitor or an individual couple, creativity is still important, but make sure that your full effort goes into the open house.

Pay Attention to the Details, and Never Run Out of Outlets

When planning or renovating the house of our dreams, a great deal of our attention is often focused on the cosmetic details — what color will the walls be? What carpeting and flooring styles will we use? What type of cabinetry will we have installed? This is all well and good — personal taste is important, after all — but when our heads are stuck in the decorating clouds, we often miss unassuming yet extremely important items. Electrical outlets, for instance, can often be forgotten. It’s important to remember to include enough of these little devices, and to make sure they are conveniently placed.

 

One place that outlets are often overlooked is in your master bedroom. You will want to make sure you have at least one outlet for each side of the bed. Home owners will sometimes wind up with only one outlet that must be shared or — far worse — none at all. The same goes for the master bathroom, where there should be both “his and hers” outlets. And remember to include ample counter space to hold your entire appliance cords — it’s not a good idea to have these dangling into the sink! In the kitchen, make sure your island, if you have one, is wired. Especially if this is where you do most of your food preparation, you’ll want to be able to easily plug in your toaster, food processor, or coffee pot without walking back and forth across the kitchen.

 

Another important item that is sometimes overlooked is having the proper quantity of heat registers. Each room should include at least one of these — more if the room is particularly large. If the room has a vaulted ceiling, it should also include a ceiling fan. If that fan happens to be located in your master bedroom, it might be nice to have a remote control for it. And as far as entertainment-oriented wiring goes, installing cat-5 cable into just a few rooms should suffice — wiring the whole house is unnecessary due to the miracle of wireless Internet.

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Once you have decided to sell your home, you are next probably wondering how long it will take to sell. It depends on a number of factors. If you have a good understanding of the sale process, you will have a better idea of what kind of timeline you are likely to face and how you might be able to speed things up.

Don't Be Afraid To Ask Questions

Buyers and sellers both benefit from not holding back and asking questions. If you just list your property and expect it to sell itself, chances are you will be waiting for quite some time. A professional agent will welcome any and all questions about your property and by having a look at sales statistics for other homes in your area, will be able to give you a good estimate of the timeframe for you to expect.

Surprising Factors Affecting The Short Sale Timeline

The real estate market as it is in your neighborhood is one of the main deciding factors in how long your home will stay on the market.  And this is a factor that you have almost no control over. But if you can concentrate your efforts on the things that you can control, you may be able to have an effect on how long it is on the market.

First, make certain that you are asking a fair and reasonable price that is in line with other similar homes in your area. If you are asking too much, you may very well be putting your home out of the reach of interested buyers. A price adjustment to increase buyer interest may be in order. If your terms of sale are reasonable, you increase the odds of a quick sale.

Your home's condition is another factor that affects how long it remains on the market. If a potential buyer passes your property, it should look well maintained and inviting. If that lures them inside for a look, will they find a neat home with fresh paint and an upgraded bathroom or kitchen? The curb appeal gets them inside; an interior that looks and smells fresh will hold their interest, one of the most important steps you can make towards a quick sale scenario.

Start Thinking Creatively

Use your creative half of your brain in order to help draw interest in your home. You may want to consider using seller financing if you are financially able. You should only finance for only part of the price and this allows a buyer to get a lower interest rate and will help to close a sale faster.

Be sure your home's best features are clearly on display and can be seen. If you have a kitchen that has undergone renovations make sure that you bring this to a potential buyer's attention. If your home has an oversize fireplace be sure and mention it in any ads you have. You may want to consider hiring a professional gardener to bring a new look to your front and back yards or a painter to touch up your home. Curb appeal gets buyers into your home and an interior that is well cared for will add to their interest. Spending just a little cash can have a large effect.

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Soon after, if not before, the purchase of your new home comes the time that you should find a way to get to know your neighbours. In order to build a good foundation with your community, the ideal solution is to start allowing the neighbours around you to become acquaintances. This could start preventing a number of future problems from rising and help your family to settle in easier. Understandably, not everyone is people friendly however—the reasons you should start mingling with your new community are endless. Here are a few reasons to consider the importance of community living:

Mountains Out of Mole Hills

It is very easy among people living closely together for the smallest issue to snowball into larger problems. Typically, most of these things could have been avoided at the beginning if people felt close enough to be able to work through it. That overgrown tree between the two properties, the dog that barks throughout the night—these are some examples of how easily little things are made into a bigger ones. Avoiding neighbourly disputes can be easy if you know your neighbours well enough to be able to discuss them calmly as friends instead of strangers.

Becoming a Solid Community Member

Getting to know your next door neighbours is easier done than becoming a part of the community. But after a few community events, building a network via the other neighbours, just making an effort to stop and chat—all of this can make you a solid fixture in the community. By becoming a solid community member, you will not only transition your family into the new home and neighbourhood, but will also provide you with a sense of belonging. The extra effort will pay off in the end.

Joining The Neighborhood Watch

During these not so safe times, a good neighbourhood community can pay off when problems are close at hand. For instance; a community that takes pride in themselves and one another pays off when all eyes watch out for each other. If someone’s home gets broken into, there are neighbours around who may be more aware than in other neighbourhoods. Acquaintances and friends will look out for one another’s property, in the event you are away, more than strangers. You may even find you are close enough to trust each other to trade keys during vacation times, to feed each other’s animals or help if someone is sick. Added security is always a relief and knowing that other people are looking out for you can help to keep your mind at peace when there are reasons to be away from home.

Becoming Aware of Problematic Neighbours

Becoming aware of possible problematic neighbours prior to your move is extremely important. Prior to move, drive around the neighbourhood a few times, taking a mental note of any suspicious activities, unruly behavior, overcrowded or noisy visitors, unsociable or disruptive behavior. Try to find out any problems the previous owner may have experienced while they were living there. Educating yourself about your new neighbours can help you know who, if any, neighbours would be considered as problematic. This can help you make decisions about who to associate, trust and even if you want to continue with purchase plans. All it takes is one bad apple to ruin a perfect batch of apples. This can save you a possible lifetime of headaches by being able to avoid those problematic neighbours.

Becoming a Friendly Neighbour

As you can see by getting to know your neighbours when you move into a new home, there are many worthwhile reasons to introduce yourself. Make the added effort and it is possible you can wind up with some good friends. A strong neighbourhood community can really make you feel worthwhile, give you the relief of added security and make you feel more comfortable during a stressful transition when moving into your home. By getting to know your neighbours and in return being a good neighbour yourself, you can see that it can be a rewarding effort for you and your family. It will pay off in the end by giving you more than just a house - it will also give you a home within your community.

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Price matters. Strategic pricing could mean the difference between potential buyers finding your home or missing it altogether. In general, people search in particular dollar increments depending on what they can afford to purchase. When looking for a house, buyers commonly search in multitudes of 25,000. For example, if a buyer is searching www.rew.ca to purchase a house up to $600,000 and you have listed your home at $609,000 with the intention to negotiate $9,000 off the asking price, you are far better off to list right at $600,000. At a maximum search price of $600,000, the potential buyer is not even considering your home as an option; they have missed it entirely.

 

Photos


When marketing a home, it is crucial to have quality photos in order to showcase it to its full potential. This cannot be compromised. Recent studies indicate that more than 90 per cent of home buyers start their search on line and listings with 6 pictures or more are twice as likely to be viewed in person. Further, listings with 20 photos rank far superior in the amount of physical showings they achieve. Make sure the photos that represent your home are stellar and accurately depict the space.

 

Social Media


The social instrument of communication can make a world of difference in marketing your home. Avenues such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter will expose your property to a greater number of purchasers. If you are not currently using social media to market your home you should consider it.

 

First Showing


It may be wise to hold off initial showing requests by directing all interested parties to a debut showing scheduled on a particular day or in a first-showing open house. The intention is to create excitement and to ensure that your home sells for a premium price with as many interested parties having an equal opportunity to purchase it. It may go for over asking when this strategy is applied.

 

Lockboxes


Don’t lose a potential buyer. This feature can make a considerable difference by improving accessibility. More and more we are receiving showing requests with very little notice. A buyer may have decided to write an offer on another home until they noticed your just-listed property. They need to see your home immediately in order to make a decision, and they can – if it has a lockbox. Lockboxes are padlock-shaped boxes that hang around the doorknob of a house that is on the market. The device holds the keys to a house to allow communal access for all real estate agents, while continuing to keep them safe. They are only accessible to the Realtors who have an assigned access card that has been issued by the Real Estate Board. All entries are tracked by a secure system and recorded for future reference.

 

To recap, set a strategic price, provide professional photos, market through social media, create showing excitement and use a lockbox when selling your home.

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Accumulating piles of useless stuff in our home is an easy thing to do over the years but if you are planning to move into a smaller space you will probably need some serious organizational skills to de-clutter and downsize your stuff to fit your new home. Here are some tips that can help you with the downsizing process so it isn’t so painful for your family.

Plan A Family Declutter Date

Getting the whole family involved in setting up a declutter date is the first step in getting you closer to actually doing it. Experts recommend setting a date makes this activity more real and by getting your whole family involved decreases the chances of procrastination.

Use Boxes That Are Large And Labeled

Prepare two large labeled boxes per room. One for the stuff you want to keep (such as “kitchen”, “bathroom”, etc.); the other for the stuff you don’t want to keep at all. This allows you to carry things out of the room efficiently and once you’ve moved you'll have things labeled already to unpack easier.

One Room At A Time

Depending upon the amount of junk you’ve accumulated or the sentimental attachment you have for your beloved stuff. The reasons you should declutter one room at a time are numerous. The rooms are smaller by comparison to the entire house—you can be organizing as you go along and there is less pressure to do one room than the entire house, just to name a few reasons. You can even treat yourself after each room, such as taking a break and eating that slice of pie you had your eye on, or watching that thirty minute show on television, or allowing yourself to read another chapter in that book you are having a hard time setting down.

Start with bedrooms, since these tend to have the most clutter, next move to dining rooms, living rooms and so forth. Plan it by maximum clutter rooms first, then go from there, hence making it all downhill with each milestone you complete.

Get the entire family to help and when you finish the entire house, have a family treat for ice cream or a movie. Turn you speakers loud, the music up and have fun with it.

Get The Help Of Everyone In The Family

Speaking of family, get the entire family to help. This can be a fun activity if you do it with the entire family but you also need the other family members so you don’t throw anything out that they find valuable. If the entire family pitches in, the task gets done in half the time.

After you get through the humdrum of the, “Mom do I have to” and all the other little whiny excuses children love to throw at you (and husbands too) then it can be enjoyable with the right incentives. Only you know what your family loves and how to fun-bribe them properly, but when it's over, the time you spend with your family, any time you spend, is valuable. This activity together not only allows you help from your family but teaches them important organization skills the undoubtedly will need to learn in the future.

Advertise A Yard Sale

After sorting all your stuff, hold a yard sale—this is a great family activity that can be together. This is a chance to show your family the importance of earning money with their unwanted things. This is something that may take a day or two of preparations so make sure you have given yourself plenty of time before your move.

You and your children can get together and make a list of places that may need donations. If you do not want to take time out for the yard sale, then donating the items you no longer need is another option. When children get a say so in where their things go, it can make a big difference in easing their mind when it comes to the anxiety they can occasionally have in separating from their things. Make a list of places such as goodwill, Salvation Army, food banks, churches, homeless shelters, sobriety homes, etc. and let your children decide where their things go to. This will give them the good feeling associated with helping others, teach them valuable lessons in giving, and get them excited about getting rid of their stuff instead of fighting you over it.

Last but not least—make sure you really don’t need the stuff you let go of. Reflect upon how often you use that item. If you are on the fence about it decide if you have used it within the past year. If not, chuck it!

Downsizing can be scary for we hold onto things not just because we need them or use them but also for sentimental reasons. Those are the things that are even harder to part with. Pictures your kids drew for you, letters, receipts, whatever they are, these are the items that are hard to let go of. You can always go get another rolling pin but you can’t get another picture from your daughter when she was eight. Pick out a few of your favorites and decide what your new place can hold. Whatever the reasons are for the clutter, to declutter can be a fun chore and it can give you a chance to reflect on memories associated with that item.

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For most of us, having access to water is as easy as turning on a faucet and filling up a cup. Most of us are also used to using water a lot in our daily lives. However, we often forget that clean water is a precious resource we can't afford to waste not just in our municipalities but in our homes as well.

  • Most water on the planet is undrinkable
  • Major draught has swept across the continent in the last decade that has been devastating to crops throughout the country.
  • Water is a utility that, when not conserved, causes higher expenses to individuals paying bills.

Conserving water's not just the environmentally responsible thing to do; it's the best thing to do for the home as well.

When Using The Bathroom:

1. Don't Flush Excess Water Down The Drain


While switching to a water-efficient toilet with two flush settings might be unrealistic for most homeowners, regular toilets waste several gallons of water a week.

 

2. Spread The Love


The shower is one of the biggest places we waste water. Who doesn't spend time waiting for it to hit that perfect temperature and stand there longer than necessary belting out our favorite tunes? Don't just let the water run, but save it in a pail to water your garden or when mopping the floors.

For those who really wish to save water, minimize your waste by only turning the showerhead on to rinse.

Keep The Kitchen Efficient:

3. Wash Your Dishes The Old-Fashioned Way


Think of your kitchen faucet like your showerhead: you're mainly wasting it if you keep it going while scrubbing dishes or wiping them down!

 

4. Feed Your Garden...


You save water and food when you bypass the garbage disposal and compost your leftovers instead. This will turn into delicious plant food in the future.

 

5. ...And Water It!


Whenever you use water to boil food in the kitchen, keep it in a separate container to water your flowers with.

 

6. Save Yourself Time And Money In The Washing Machine


Don't put in a few shirts and jeans in the wash at a time, but instead try to load the washing machine to a safe capacity. This will ease your electricity and water bill in one go, and will also make laundry go that much faster!

Reform A Greedy Garden:

7. Lose The Hose


The hose is a quick way to get a lot of water when you need it, but a watering can or narrow spout may actually help plants more. Water is not only conserved, but is easier to control and can target dry patches more efficiently.

 

8. Look For Easygoing Plants


Some plants require a lot of care and attention, especially when they've evolved naturally for a different environment than the one you live in. This means that you spend a lot of time and water trying to help these plants thrive. Look for plants that don't require a lot of maintenance to survive, such as species of grass and flowers that can easily adapt to the environment in your backyard.

 

9. Let It Rain


If you use a lot of tap water, consider placing a container outside to catch some rain when it falls. To keep the water from being contaminated or attracting unwanted pests, keep an airtight lid over it when it's not raining.

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Let's save you, the buyer, some money in this article. When you are looking at homes for sale and finally find one you like how do you know it is in good shape? You can put an offer on the home and then get an inspector in to look at it. This is a great idea but could cost you money multiple times.

 

Lets say you like a home and want to put in an offer. You would put in conditions. One would probably be a home inspection condition, this we strongly advise. Now what if the inspection goes badly and you don’t buy the property. Now you have to look again and pay the inspector another $300-$500 dollars to make sure the repairs were done. We will show you what to look for to give you an idea of what to expect. So you can prepare yourself or not even bother with an offer.

 

Look at the details. See if trim comes together nice, is the drywall done well, do the light sockets look correct. Once you start really looking around things will just look off. Look at the electrical panel. It is usually in the basement in a storage room or the furnace room. Just open it by the handle. If the wiring looks normal then that is a good sign.

Another thing to look for in the home you are thinking of buying is blatant code issues. What we mean is look for things that you know are illegal or just dangerous. An electrical socket right by a sink (electrical hazard). No hand railing on stairs. Plumbing under the sink that has tape, caulking or another material holding it together. You will know.

 

There are a tonne of properties for sale at all times. No two properties are created equal. Try to look past the pretty wallpaper or nice furniture. Take the three tips above and use them on each home. Then make a judgement call if you think it is worth even getting an inspector in. A lot of small details usually lead to larger, expensive issues. Then you can decide if you want to put in an offer. Not to mention you will be more prepared if the home inspector finds a lot wrong.  

 

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Canadian Home and Mortgage Corporation (CMHC) released the Updated Results of its House Price Analysis and Assessment Framework for Canada and 12 Markets last week. The report focused on housing market risk factors such as overheating, acceleration in house prices, overvaluation, and overbuilding. Their conclusion about the Edmonton market was that it presented a low risk in all these factors.

 

“While price growth has increased slightly since 2011, price increases remain in line with growth in the population of first-time home buyers and growth in personal disposable income. As is the case for Calgary, the economy is being impacted by lower oil prices and slower inflows of migrants that will likely contribute to an expected slowdown in the rate of price growth in 2015,” stated the report from CMHC.

 

“Quebec and cities like Regina and Winnipeg have all be tagged with a high risk of overvaluation. A moderate risk increase for overvaluation has been assigned to Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal. We are still confident that our market remains stable. We are seeing prices starting to level off. While still higher than last year, the average Edmonton single family home still remains one of the most affordable among major Canadian cities,” REALTORS® Association of Edmonton President Geneva Tetreault explains.

 

Residential sales in Edmonton’s Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) are beginning to pick up with 1,597 in April 2015. That is up 10% from 1,453 in March but still down 13% from April 2014. Reported sales are down in all categories except duplex/rowhouse – which are up again like last month, but this month over 24%. Single family sales were 1,001 - down 13% over last April (1,147 reported). Condos took the biggest hit down 20% over last year with 432 sold.

 

Despite a decline in all residential sales, the average sale price was $337,270 up 3% from April last year. Single family dwellings sold for an average of $438,641 (up 2% from last April), condos for $252,935 (up 0.2% y/y) and duplex/rowhouses were $356,022 (up 7.23% y/y).  

 

“Sales are definitely down this year, but the sales numbers are still higher than 2011. It is unlikely that anyone would call 2011 a bad year for housing sales. It’s just in comparison to last year, we are not quite as busy. Prices are stabilizing and inventory is robust. We will continue to see increases in sales as we move into the selling season,” Tetreault says. “Our REALTORS® are out there working hard, not just listing new properties, but selling properties to clients who have been waiting for more inventory. The increase in listings is allowing REALTORS® to find the property that is right for their buyers. A lot of buyers waited to see what would happen in the first quarter. We are starting to see their confidence come back as a result of the continued stability of our market.”

 

The end of month residential active inventory was 6,784 for the Edmonton CMA. April residential new listings were up 11% from last year at 3,298.  Average days on market were 44 compared to just 42 in April 2014.

 

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The kitchen has always been considered the gathering space in our homes. Today, our modern lifestyle may mean we spend less time in this room with family and friends. Yet when we do find time we enjoy being in a space filled with the fragrances of fresh baked bread or the savoury spices of dinner slow-roasting in the oven. Before renovating your kitchen, consider your likes and dislikes of course, but don’t forget to study trends in today’s modern kitchens. You may find something you like even more and at the same time up your chances of increasing your property value.

 

   

It wasn’t all that long ago that granite countertops were considered a luxury reserved for high-end properties. The same goes for the sleek, stylish stainless steel appliances, now considered standard equipment in many properties. Gourmet chefs today, even the self-appointed home variety, consider high-end kitchens must haves in any dream home. Too qualify in the ultra-luxury category today, it means upgrading to brushed copper for those appliances, sometimes sporting colored glass accents. Open floor plans are the rage, but if that kitchen is kept far away from the front door, that’s an even bigger plus.

Designs that incorporate a pantry that separates the kitchen from the garage are preferred. Imagine getting out of your car and not have to lug those groceries past that pantry door. Gas stoves are preferred over electric, despite the extra cost for the initial installation. Decorative hood fans not only rid the kitchen of cooking odors, but add a bit of class.

   

Kitchen islands are highly sought after, especially if they are conveniently wired and are large enough to double as an impromptu buffet table. Forget the old kitchen lamp in the ceiling, ambient and accent lighting features are in. Colored lights are even better, as are dimmer switches. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of mellow ambiance in your cooking space. Oversize cabinets and lots of drawer space are the rule, not the exception.

All of the improvements listed above will increase your home’s value and your enjoyment of that home. If you are a wine lover, a wine rack might be up your alley, but it won’t do much for property value. Appliances that can’t open without hitting something or someone won’t help either. Some people prefer their kitchen islands to have sinks, perhaps to make it into a wet bar. If this is not the primary sink in the kitchen it might work. But sinks invariably attract dishes. Set up some ground rules so both sinks don’t end up as dirty dish graveyards.

   
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Spring is the optimum time to sell a home. Regardless of whether it's a buyer's market or a seller's market, inventory almost always rises in the spring. Why? Because the largest number of buyers are actively searching for a new home during the months of April, May and June.

 

Tip: If your home has been languishing on the market since the holidays, take it off the market. Give it a chance to "cool down" for a few weeks before putting it back on the market. Nobody is going to look at your home in the spring if the days on the market show it's been on the market for several months. Buyers gravitate toward fresh, new listings!

 

Here are 15 things you can do to improve the odds that your home will stand out among the sea of new listings flooding the spring-time real estate market:

1) Clean All Your Windows and Mirrors

Shining things up with a sparkle is free, and it sells houses. Potential  buyers may not realize why your home seems so inviting but they will feel more drawn to it if the windows and mirrors are clean and reflect sunlight. Cleaning is the least costly and should be the first step for putting  your home on the market.

2) Trim Bushes, Rake Leaves and Clean Spring Debris

Clean out dead leaves and debris in your lawn gives the outside of your home a cared for feeling. Trim any overgrown vegetation so it doesn’t  block the windows or path to the entrance. Cutting  and removing wayward tree limbs lets the sun inside and showcases the exterior of your home.

3) Edge The Lawn Along Sidewalks and Driveways and Mow Diagonally

Diagonal mowing makes your yard appear larger. Clean edged driveways and sidewalks five the artful appearance and tells buyers you pay attention to even the smallest details. Diagonally mowed lawns make your yard appear larger.

4) Plant Daffodils and Tulips or Buy Potted Plants

Yellow, as well as being a bright sunny spring color, stimulates buying urges. Everyone is anxious to see the frist signs of spring after enduring a long winter.  Daffodils and tulips in bright vibrant yellows give the feeling of happiness and contentment. If you prefer, purchase potted plants and place them in groups of three by the front door.

5) Throw The Windows Open, Clean The Drapes and All Window Coverings

Wash, dry and press your window coverings and drapes, or send them to the dry cleaners. Wash your blinds with warm soapy water. An easy way is to toss them into a soapy bathtub for a quick wash. Dust away any accumulated spider webs and dust from the corners and ceilings. A spring time breeze coming through an open window invites the fresh spring season indoors. Add clean, bright linens for an added spring touch.

6) Have Fresh Cut Flowers, Peonies or Lilacs in Vases or Pots Around The House

If your yard isn’t overflowing with flowers, ask your neighbors if you can borrow flowers from their yards. Lilacs provide a beautiful aroma as well as color. The natural scents of flowers is far more appealing than artificial scents and triggers fewer allergie. Peony vases are designed to hold peonies upright, but be sure to wash the flowers first to avoid carrying any ants inside. wash the flowers first to avoid carrying ants inside. It’s the clever home staging expert that brings color and scents indoors, simply copy their methods.

7) Put a High Gloss Shine on Your Floors

If your  hardwood is dull, refinish it to a high gloss gleam if necessary. Ceramic tile may need the grout cleaned, or even painted. Kits for this are available at most hardware and home supply stores. Make your ceramic tile and linoleum shine as much as possible. Don’t forget to wash all area rugs and air them if necessary.

8) Use Pillows, Throws and Towels in Light Colors, Like Pinks, Blues, Lavenders and Yellows

It it means replacing towels and linens, throws and sofa pillows, it’s an inexpensive accent you can buy. They will light up any room, so choose soft spring colors. Layer towels in the bathroom racks and roll place rolled wash clothes in a basket on the bathroom counter or in fashionable pyramid.

9) Place a Clean Mat Outside For Cleaning Shoes and Place an Umbrella Stand at The Entrance

Spring weather can often surprise you, o matter where you live. It can be warm in the cool in the morning, warm in the afternoon and raining (or even snowing) later in the day.  An umbrella stand gives buyers a place to stash their umbrella and the mat will allow them to wipe their feet before coming into your home. It might be a good idea to lay down plastic runners across the  floor to protect the, but remember that might ruin the effect of the glittering polish job you just applied.

10) Put a Few Bright Helium Balloons On Your Open House Sign

You can buy helium balloons for about a dollar each at most party supply and dollar stores. They are so inexpensive there’s no reason to not tie a few to your open house sign. Balloons attract attention and build excitement. This will help get your home noticed by home shoppers.

11) Put Out Some Four Color Flyers and Financing Options

Never skimp on marketing materials. You want your buyers to select your flyers from among the dozens they pick up. Color and quality printing sets them apart from the bland  black and white and it sells much better.  Showing home buyers how easily they can afford  your home with financing options. The first thing buyers consider when buying a home are options for purchasing and monthly mortgage payments. It’s best to not make themd guess.

12) Always Use a Color Photo For Display Advertising

If you’re advertising in the newspaper or using online advertising, use color photographs in your ad. Remember, a picture is work 1,000 words, and online more pictures is better. Look for seasonal pictures of your home so buyers can see what it looks like in different seasons.

13) Send Out Four-Color Postcards With UV Coating

Obtain a free direct-mail list of your surrounding neighborhood. You can usually get these from local title companies. Pring oversized, four color postcards and add UV coating to add more oomph. And, of course, always mail it first class.

14) Chill a Sink Full of Bottled Water in the Sink on Ice For Guests

Having a dozen or two  chilled bottles of water in a sink full of ice for buyers. If you have room in your fridge for them, remove the label and print off some color labels of your house and address and attach  them to the bottles instead.  

15) Have Some Treats Wrapped in Plastic Wrap and Tied With Ribbons

Being thoughtful of your guests will make your home more memorable and help it stand out. Buyers get hungry and thirsty on a day of touring homes. Give them a bit of a snack.  It gives them a reason to linger in your kitchen, where families tend to gather, and marvel at  it’s elegance, ask you more questions and  develop a keener interest in your home

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For most people, buying a home is one of the most important investment decisions of their lives. The experience can be both exciting and stressful. In order to make the purchase as stress-free as possible, it is important to consider several factors during a final walkthrough or inspection before you decide whether or not to purchase the home. While your inspector will check many aspects of the home, there are lots of things you can check out for yourself, especially if you're going to be there for the inspection, which we highly recommend. When all of the ABCs are covered, you’ll feel considerably less stress, and this can provide most people with the confidence they need to remove their inspection condition.

Check for Plumbing Problems and Leaks

Make sure all of the plumbing and potential leaks are checked to see if there are any problems prior to moving into the residence. Make sure to flush all of the toilets, and then wait to see if they run; you should also check to see whether there is an empty tank or leak. Fill all of the sinks and see if they are draining properly. This includes the tubs. Make sure that the overflows in the tubs are working properly and the tub jets are operating in spas.

Inspect All of the Items That Were Purchased With the Home

It is important to check that the drapes and curtains are functioning properly. Also, you should test all appliances that come with the purchase. It is helpful to turn on things like the dishwasher and oven to make sure they are operating effectively. It is also helpful to make sure that the manuals for each of the appliances is handy just in case something goes wrong in the future. The lighting should be checked in all rooms to make sure that it’s working properly. Additionally, it is important that all of the remote control devices are working, such as the ceiling fans, garage doors, and alarms.

Test the Windows and Doors

Don't forget to ensure that the windows and doors are operating effectively. This includes checking a variety of functions to ensure full operability. First, check to see if the doors are opening and closing properly. Furthermore, there are latches that need to be checked to make sure the windows can be closed. The screens on the windows should also be checked to make sure there is nothing missing. All broken or cracked windows should be replaced before you move in. Finally, condensation in double-paned windows could indicate that the windows are not sealed properly.

 

Taking a checklist will do a lot to ensure that the home is fully functioning before you move in. A checklist can help provide the stress relief that will ensure confidence while signing the final documents. Otherwise, it can be frustrating moving into a place only to find that there are a slew of problems that need to be addressed. Taking a little bit of time now can protect you from grief in the future. Are you looking to learn more about your first home purchase? Contact us today to schedule a one on one buyer consultation.

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Making the leap from renting a home to actually buying your own property is a big step. If you think you are ready to take the plunge, it’s best to look at both sides of the rental/homeowner equation.

 

Renters most often sign a lease to live in a certain property for a fixed amount of time, typically a year. That lease may have some restrictions as far as having pets or altering that property in anyway. A monthly rent goes to your landlord, which is fixed for the length of your lease and may be increased upon renewal. That rent might include some utilities, like water and heat, but you may be responsible for others such as gas, electricity or cable TV.

 

It is more complicated to buy a home, and if you go that route you will have more responsibilities. But there are many additional benefits, both financially and in your every day life. First, you must have enough money for a down payment and be able to qualify for a mortgage. You’ll need a reliable real estate agent to help you in your search and a lender that is willing to give you the best mortgage deal possible.

 

As a homeowner, you are responsible for the utility bills, maintenance costs and property taxes. At the same time, your monthly mortgage payments build up equity into your home. Eventually, if you stay in that home long enough, your mortgage will be paid off and you won’t have a monthly “rent’ to worry about. Since property values usually increase over time, you might be able to sell your home at a profit, even if it isn’t paid off. You also may qualify for various tax deductions. There is a certain sense of freedom in owning your own home and a sense of financial accomplishment.

 

Talk to a real estate agent or lender to find out whether renting or owning is the best answer for you. If you aren’t quite ready, either professional can help you figure out a plan that will prepare you for homeownership in the future while taking care of your present needs.

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Bring in the New Year with a remodel in your home. Make a few simple changes to make your home seem anew. You can create a new look and a new year. Every year home design trends can change, but you can do something unique that you can start. Update or make fresh your décor, and make a statement.

Colour of the Year from Pantone

Pantone has the sass to spread beautiful colour for you. In 2014, Radiant Orchid was the colour of choice; it has a sassy pink purple-hue that was delightful. It could go in a number of rooms of your choice throughout your home—spread the lovely colour around with delight.

Florals are Always Great

Who doesn't love florals?—especially on sheets or throw pillows. Besides bringing in some real florals with plants or even roses to give your home a pleasant smell, adding florals to your decor always makes sense. People will admire your new floral designs and love the smell.

Blue & Blue

Blue is the new black. Blue is a great colour for bringing life to your home. If you're not using it to paint with, then just liven up your space with blue coloured objects such as: shades, dishes, towels and even your pillow cases. With different tones of blue to choose from, you can have fun with it.

Vintage

Vintage furniture or anything else in your home brings style. You may have an old trunk, coffee table, art work to hang on your walls or your grandmother's old chair she gave you. Spice up your home with vintage all around. You can also add it with your modern furniture for a smart-style look and you will love it.

Warm Metals

Warmer gold, bronzes and black are today's warm metals that make a great effect in your home. You can add bronze sconces in your kitchen for a big bang. Spice it up by adding new things and colours for a good change.

White Colour Paint

Painting with white colour gives a clean bright look. If you paint the exterior of your home white or a room in that colour, it will always be nice. White may be plain, basic or simple, but the simplest things can bring-out so much to achieve a nice crisp look. You can add some colour to the white by using wall art décor, or adding pictures with nice frames that will bring out the beauty of your wall. You have many variations you can use and many ideas to try.

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As a first time home buyer, it can be an overwhelming experience to begin looking at homes in any given city. This can especially be the case in Edmonton, with so many great neighbourhoods to choose from that are within a short commute to downtown. If you're a first time home buyer unsure of which area best suits you, here are three reasons why Sherwood Park might be the perfect destination for your first home.

Practicality: A Variety of Affordable Housing

In Sherwood Park, you can find virtually every kind of housing you're interested in purchasing, whether it's a condominium, a townhouse, or a detached home. Though the specific property prices vary depending on the particular locations within Sherwood Park, you might be surprised at the level of affordability this sought- after neighbourhood offers in its housing. With condominiums available for under $200,000 and detached homes for under $400,000, Sherwood Park might just be the most ideal first time homeowner's area of choice.

Convenience: Close Commute and Nearby Amenities

With just a twenty minute drive west to reach downtown Edmonton, residents of Sherwood Park are perfectly situated away from the hustle and bustle while still being within arm's reach whenever they choose to enjoy the downtown atmosphere. For those who work in downtown Edmonton, Sherwood Park is an ideal location to cut back on the daily commute. Eastgate Shopping Centre in the central area of Sherwood Park provides all the daily necessities, while grocery stores like Sobeys and Happy Mart make collecting fresh ingredients for dinner a convenient task.

Lifestyle: Recreational Activities for Everyone to Enjoy

Sherwood Park is an independent area that stands on its own - and offers many recreational amenities to enjoy on a daily basis. For golf lovers, Broadmoor Public Golf Course makes a perfect at-home green for some weekend putting, while other outdoor areas like Ball Lake Park, Strathcona Athletic Park, Sherwood Heights Park, and Greengrove Park offer ideal settings for nature, sports, and fitness lovers alike.

Future: A Great Community For Kids

With many safe and family-oriented neighbourhoods within its boundaries, Sherwood Park is a great place to raise kids, which is something that might be on your mind as a first time home buyer. Though this milestone may be set far off in your future, you still want to be sure to account for it in your home purchase. Sherwood Park, with its many well-acclaimed schools like Bev Facey Community High School and Salisbury Composite High, as well as many elementary schools, is a great place for your future children's education. Sherwood Park, with Glen Allan Recreation Complex, Millennium Place, and Sherwood Park Arena and Sports Centre will certainly keep them busy, too.

 

Whichever area you decide to purchase your first home in, you want to ensure that it offers the means of practicality and convenience while also catering to any changes in your family or lifestyle that may occur in the near future, like the addition of children. Plenty of areas in Edmonton will offer just that, and Sherwood Park is certainly one that should be considered.

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Once you have made the decision to sell, it is time to take a serious look at your property and find out exactly what it needs to make it more desirable. And this process need not start with a major and costly renovation. Start out by taking care of some of the smaller problems. That just may be all you need to do in order to get your home listed for a sale.  On the exterior, just make certain that your property looks good from all vantage points. Here are some other tips:

 

  • Look over the paint job and do touch ups if needed
  • Trim shrubs that have grown to cover the walkways or that block windows
  • Mow the lawn and pick weeds
  • Plant flowers
  • Scrub the driveway
  • Clean all rooms and consider renting a storage space for clutter
  • Replace old and outdated light fixtures
  • Have your drapes and carpets cleaned by a professional
  • De-clutter kitchen counters
  • Take all of the magnets off your refrigerator and clean out the inside
  • Empty out closets so they will look larger
  • Put away any family photos as a buyer will want to envision it as their own
  • Fix leaky faucets and toilets
  • Change out furnace filters so it will run more efficiently
  • Wash the outsides and insides of all windows
  • Clean all countertops, sinks, toilets and showers

Watch your house move with speed after following the decorating tips mentioned above. These normally come from professional interior decorators or home stagers— in addition, to prepare properly for an open house, you should do the following:

 

  • Turn on all lights
  • open curtains to let light in
  • Place fresh flowers in the entryway and throughout your home
  • Be sure no foul odors are present
  • Confine pets if you have them to one room or leave them outside

All of these tips are good for putting on your home's best face for an open house or to show a prospective buyer. You may just enjoy the new look yourself.

Showing Your Home To Potential Buyers

Most buyers will have an idea what it is your home has to offer before they ever visit in person.  A real estate agent will have already provided them with information about your neighborhood including what type and quality of schools are nearby, and if there are nice parks and retail stores available in the area.  So if you feel your home is in the right price range, is the correct size most buyers are seeking, and looks ideal on paper, how do you go about adding that extra appeal that seals a deal?

Make the Exterior Very Eye Catching

If the assumption is made that the curbs appeal, start with your entryway.  Take some freshly cut flowers and place them in view in your entryway.  You may also want to bake some cookies and make a pot of coffee so you can offer them to potential buyers.  Have some soft music playing in the background and stay with classical selections.  Keep any kids that you have busy outside playing so they will not be a distraction.

 

Before an appointment with a potential buyer, be sure that you clean up and remove anything that resembles clutter.  If your house is loaded in the furniture department, you may want to consider removing some of it to create a more open look and feel.  Do not display too many works of art and limit family photos.  You also do not want to have your fireplace mantle, tables, and walls looking like they are covered with photos and art.  Make sure to allow as much sunlight in as you possibly can by opening drapes and opening windows if the weather is fair.  If the time of year is right, light up the fireplace and use indoor lighting to create a friendly look and feel.  If you can honestly look around your home and say that is clearly says “welcome”— you're ready to show your home.

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Home values are determined by five main things. First is the location, is it desirable? Next is the home itself, the design and condition. After that it is the market conditions, whether homes are selling at the moment or not. Your pricing strategy will play a big part in the salability of your home, as will the marketing methods. But of all these, it is location that is the major factor, not only as far as the neighborhood, city and province, but in the shape and orientation of the lot itself.

 

The shape of a lot can determine the price. Pie lots, particularly those with the big end of the pie being the backyard, can command more cash. The lots are usually larger, there is more space between your home and your neighbors, and if you are in a snow-belt, there is less sidewalk to be shoveled during the winter. Reverse pie lots are not as desirable, since most of your acreage will be in the front of your home.

 

How your lot is oriented could affect price. The most desirable lots have backyards that face west, south or in between. The sun will be shining on your back yard longer. Lots that are adjacent to open green space are often more expensive. They offer more privacy and the illusion of being more secluded. But be sure you check out covenant laws before you make your choice. If the laws state you have to put up a chain link fence, and that open green space sees a lot of traffic, there goes your privacy.

 

Corner lots could be a plus or a minus. If that lot is on a busy street, that’s a minus. There is also more sidewalk to shovel and maintain. But if your city takes care of the sidewalk, and the street is quiet, that corner lot could be a big plus. Other items that can affect the value of your home are overly restrictive covenants, lots on shallow or deep slopes and the nearness of large power lines.

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