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.
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.
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.
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.
You’ve made the decision to sell your property. Here are some tips for making your sales process more successful.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Conserving water's not just the environmentally responsible thing to do; it's the best thing to do for the home as well.
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.
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!
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.