June 29, 2017
JUNE 2017 MARKET UPDATE
The sun is out, the clouds are gone and summer is finally upon us—a much-needed reprieve after the winter!
There are lots of events and activities around the city to look forward to this month, from Canada Day celebrations to street festivals. Check out our guide for the hottest, most upbeat summertime events that you can’t miss.
And, of course, don’t forget to celebrate the fathers, grandfathers, uncles and mentors in your life on June 18 — we have advice on where to go on Father’s Day too! Also in this month’s newsletter, check out our update on recent developments in the local real estate market and the latest market reports.
As fun as the summer season is, don’t let your usual good habits melt away with the warmer weather. We talked to our city’s police department and have some tips for keeping your property safe and secure this summer.
As always, I am at your disposal to help. If you, your friends or family are looking to buy or sell real estate please keep me in mind. Your referral is the best compliment I can receive.
Canada Day (July 1)
Celebrations are happening across the city to celebrate our country’s 150th birthday. Check out the events at Confederation Park, Fort Calgary and Prince’s Island Park.
As You Like It (June 20- August 27)
The summer tradition of Shakespeare in the park is coming back to Prince’s Island Park and the light-hearted, comic As You Like It will play several times a week through the summer.
Spruce Meadows North American Tournament (July 5 – 9)
The best jumpers and horses come from all around North America to compete at Spruce Meadows so grab your fancy hats and come spectate.
Security is important all year round but during the summer months especially, property crimes and break-and-entries tend to spike. Warmer weather means people are more likely to leave their windows open, their patios unlocked and their houses unattended.
We talked to our city’s police department about why property crime increases and what people can do to keep their homes safe and secure during summer. This is what they told us:
Always lock up
It’s easy to pop out quickly for a walk around the block or a quick trip down the road to the shop, but always lock the door, windows and patios behind you no matter how soon you’ll be back. A third of burglars enter a home through an unlocked door. Even if you are out in the back gardening, lock you front door — you’d be surprised at how quickly and quietly a thief can slip in.
Out of sight, out of mind
Most property crimes are opportunistic – the thief sees a chance to steal something and takes it. If it’s hidden away, there is less temptation and opportunity. So if you buy a nice new item, wait till pick-up day to put its packaging outside in the recycling. You don’t want to advertise to thieves what valuables you have in your home. Don’t leave visible items in your car; thieves have been known to smash a car window to steal something as small as a gym bag or a pile of papers.
Report suspicious activity
The police want citizens to call and report suspicious activity, even if doesn’t seem like a crime is being committed yet. If you see someone milling around and you have a bad feeling, report it. It’s not a waste of time or resources, the police officer we spoke to told us, and it might prevent a theft.
Before you leave your home, do a quick walk around and final check. Put yourself in the mind-set of a thief – if you wanted to break and enter, how would you do it? That curtain fluttering in the breeze? Close the window. That ladder leaning against the wall? Put it away. Prevention is the best way to keep your property safe and thief-proof.
Keep a list of details about your most valuable items if worst-case scenario should happen. If something is stolen, you will have more chances of getting it back if you can provide details and a picture of the item. The majority of stolen goods the police recover are never returned to their rightful owner because they can’t be tracked down. With bicycles, for example, you can imprint a serial number on the frame and log it with the police; that way, if your bike is stolen and someone tries to sell it, you will be notified.
June 7, 2017
Top 7 Home Staging Tips
If you’re preparing to sell your home, you’ve probably heard the term “staging” thrown around. Staging your home involves creating a space that potential buyers want to make their own. Your home will essentially “speak” to them. With appropriate staging, you are much more likely to sell your home in a short period of time and for the price you want. Here are 7 home staging tips to help you create the perfect environment that will call out to potential buyers, and make them want to make your home theirs.
Eliminate the Clutter
We all have stuff that we’ve collected over the years. They might be knickknacks that you have displayed in a curio cabinet or it could be a few extra pieces of furniture. You could have a cabinet on which random things collect. You might love all of your unique items, but they tell visitors that the house is already occupied. They need to be able to envision themselves there. Excess clutter also gives buyers the impression that your house doesn’t have enough space. Remove anything you can live without and don’t bring anything new in unless you get rid of a couple of other items.
Along with clearing up clutter, take a look at your floors. Finish any unfinished hardwood flooring. Any missing floorboards should be replaced. If you have carpets, have them steam cleaned. Not only will this give your carpets a fresh look, it can help to eliminate pet odors.
Rearrange the Furniture
You’d be surprised at how much bigger you can make a room look with a bit of strategic furniture rearranging. Don’t shove your furniture up against the walls. Instead, float pieces away from the wall and organize them into groupings. This can be especially effective in the living room where you can organize furniture in a group optimized for conversations. Just make sure that traffic flow is obvious.
You can also move some pieces from their traditional locations and give them a new purpose. An armchair from the living room can make a great addition to a large master bedroom. An often ignored small table can be placed in front of a window and decorated to be rebranded as a writing table.
Transform Extra Rooms
If you have a room that just seems to be a catchall for random junk, now is the time to get creative. Turn the “junk” room into a room with a purpose. Depending upon its size, you can turn it into a reading nook, an office or even a spare bedroom. You don’t have to go out and buy expensive furniture to do this. You can use some of the extra furniture and pillows you have around your house.
Lighting can go a long way in making your house look warm and inviting to prospective buyers. The problem is that most homes are not lit properly. This can be fixed quite easily by increasing the wattage of the bulbs in your current fixtures. You should also aim for a mixture of overhead (or general), task and accent lighting in each room.
Make Some Updates
Now, you don’t need to go crazy with major updates. A few small updates here and there, though, can make a huge difference. Paint is one way you can do this. Neutral colors in the living room can instantly update outdated finishes. You are not limited to whites or off-whites. Tans and even softer blue/green colors in a larger area can completely transform a space. Try a darker tone in a bedroom or dining room for a more intimate feel. If you aren’t comfortable doing the entire room, aim for an accent wall to bring attention to a cool feature like a fireplace or built in bookcase. Painting smaller rooms, such a small kitchen and a small dining room, the same color can help to make the area look bigger.
Along with fresh paint, take a look at your cabinets and cupboards. Do they give away the age of your home? You don’t have to install brand-new cabinets and cupboards just to generate more offers. You can simply replace the doors and the hardware with something more modern.
A little bit of accessorizing can make your home feel cozy and appealing. There are a variety of ways to do this. For one, you can get creative with wall hangings. Rather than hang them in a straight line at the same height, stagger them. Accessories on tables are preferable in odd numbers. Group similar items together, but make sure they vary in height and width. Decorate tables with fresh flowers from your yard. You can also transform your bedroom simply by adding rich linens and soft colors.
Don’t Forget the Outside
So many people focus on staging the interior of their home that they forget about the outside. Declutter and clean up the yard. Small porches can be enhanced with a welcome mat and a few potted plants. A larger porch can be more appealing with a couple of pieces of furniture and some lights. A back porch, deck or balcony can be dressed up in a similar manner. A few cozy rocking chairs or a porch swing, a dining table and chairs, and a hammock in the back yard can give off the impression that your home is a quiet, cozy place to be.
Staging your home gives your potential buyers a glimpse into the possibilities that the house has. They are afforded the ability to really imagine the home as their own. With everything appropriately staged, your home is likely to sell quicker and for the price you want.
We offer Home Staging solutions - Contact us to find out how we can help sell your home beautifully.
June 7, 2017
Top 8 Tips for Homebuyers
Buying a house is one of the single biggest financial decisions you will ever make. While it’s nice to daydream about your perfect home and scour the internet for available houses in your desired area, there’s a lot that goes into the process. Here are 8 tips for homebuyers to help you navigate the process.
Make Sure You are Prepared
Buying a home isn’t something you can just jump into. There is a certain amount of prep work that goes into the process. You need to have money saved up for a down payment. You may need to raise your credit score. The minimum you should be aiming for is a 680. Your lender will require a significant amount of documentation, such as pay stubs, a letter from your employer and bank statements. All in all, if you are not ready now, you should give yourself at least 12 months to prepare. Please give me a call if you need help finding out how ready you are.
Determine How Much You Can Actually Afford
Based on your information, a lender may preapprove you for a certain amount. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to go out and buy a house as close to that amount as possible. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration. This includes your income, your current debts, your regular spending habits, homeowner’s insurance, taxes and more.
Figure Out What You Need and What You Want
Before you even start shopping around, create a list of things that you absolutely have to have, along with those that you can be more flexible about. For instance, maybe you have to have a garage or a basement, but you can live with carpeted floors instead of hardwood. It’s always possible to make some changes at a later date.
Think Long Term
Don’t think about what you need for your life right now. Think about what your life in the future. Do you plan on keeping the same job? Do you want to have kids? A house is a big investment. Make sure that you can see yourself still in that home with these changes in 5 to 7 years.
Don’t Get Deterred by Necessary Fixes
Some things, like the color of the walls in a bedroom, can be easily fixed with a new coat of paint or some wallpaper. But other projects, such as cabinetry or redoing the bathroom, have a much bigger price tag attached, especially when you add in the cost of labor. Don’t let that deter you from buying a house. Instead, factor the costs into the purchase price and see if it’s still within your price range.
Purchase Price is Just a Part of the Picture
The cost of the house is just one part of the picture. There are several other costs that get tacked on. You have homeowner’s insurance, property taxes and maybe even HOA fees to consider. Along with these, you also have to think about the cost of maintenance and repairs. Make sure you compare. Just because a house is less expensive doesn’t mean that it will automatically cost you less every month. A cheaper house may have higher property taxes that makes it more expensive each month that a more expensive house with lower property taxes.
Down Payments and Closing Costs
You will need to factor in down payments and closing costs. There have been several recent changes. For homes costing $500,000 or less, you can expect to have to put down a minimum of 5%. Closing costs vary. They can include such things as legal fees, home inspections and more. Make sure you budget appropriately for these items.
You Don’t Have to Buy a House Right Now
Being a homeowner is part of the American Dream. But that doesn’t mean you have to buy a house right now. Buying a house is a huge decision, and it’s not for everyone. There are so many things to keep in mind. Maybe you want the freedom to explore around a bit before you settle into an area. Be honest with yourself and what you really want before you make such a major financial investment.
If you are interested in buying or selling your home please contact me so we can evaluate your readiness together.
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