Home staging gets a better price for your home

Home staging attracts more buyers who make higher offers

Home staging attracts more buyers who make higher offers

In today’s highly competitive housing market, home staging gets a better price for your home or condominium. As part of my services, I offer a complimentary home staging consultation to my clients. It focuses on improving your property and transforming it into an attractive product for sale. Even beautifully decorated homes need to be turned into a merchandised product that enhances the home’s best features. The goal of staging is to sell quickly for a high return by appealing to a greater number of prospective buyers which in turn will lead to more offers or even multiple offers.

You only have one chance to impress potential buyers. Buyers’ first impressions are formed as soon as they step inside your home. Staging highlights the full potential of your property by incorporating design techniques to create a lasting first impression. You want to give homeowners a reason to buy your home. Compare the first picture to the second picture, the staged home. Doesn’t the staged home look warmer and more attractive.

Staging prepares your home to attract the widest market, while making it appealing to the greatest number of prospective buyers. Staging creates excitement and interest from the beginning, and sets your home apart from the competition. Properties that have been staged will have a distinct marketing advantage over non-staged homes. Staging your home can maximize the selling price and minimize the number of days on the market. Staged homes provide beautiful photos. Consumers are savvy and most of them start their search on the Internet. Photos give them their first impression.

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How to Find a Good Real Estate Agent

Buying/selling a property is one of the biggest financial transactions you can make - how to find a good real estate agent to represent your interests

Buying/selling a property is one of the biggest financial transactions you can make – how to find a good real estate agent to represent your interests

You’re considering selling or buying a house and you have to choose a real estate agent to handle the largest financial transaction you will ever make. You’re caught in a dilemma because you have a friend in the business and you just don’t know if she’s the best person for the job. How do you decide and how will you tell her if you choose not to use her without damaging your relationship? You’ve been putting this off because you just don’t want to deal with this. So what do you do?

First and foremost interview real estate agents that are active in your area and find out what they offer. Then interview your friend, as you would any other agent, and hire the most qualified person for the job. This of course is easier said than done so let’s discuss the pros and cons of going against your better judgement (which is always a bad idea) if you’re leaning towards hiring your friend just to keep your relationship intact.

Surely there are some advantages to dealing with a friend. There’s an immediate comfort level and you can contact them at all times which is a privilege not all realtors grant their clients. A true friend will have your best interest in mind and you can be certain they will go the extra mile to do their best for you. They may also reduce their commission amounting to a significant dollar saving.

These are presumed advantages as long as they are accompanied by a strong moral fibre and your friend acts accordingly in their professional lives. Remember, even if she’s a lovely person socially, she may be very different in a business context. So it’s critical you entrust this large financial transaction to someone whose business ethics you are sure of.

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Ontario HST on New, Used and Rental Homes

What factors determine how much HST you have to pay when selling a home

What factors determine how much HST you have to pay when selling a home

When you buy a newly constructed home, condominium or town home, the entire purchase price including land is taxable. If the property is to be rented to tenants, the full 13% HST is charged on the purchase price. However, if the home is going to be your primary place of residence, it may qualify for a partial HST rebate, depending upon the sale price.

For homes costing $400,000 or less, you will qualify for a tax rebate of 6%.

You do not have to pay HST on the purchase price of a used residential home. In other words, the purchase is ‘exempt’ from HST.
The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency defines ‘used residential property’ to include a previously occupied house, condominium, apartment, summer cottage, vacation property or non-commercial hobby farm, that has been occupied as a residence before you bought it.

Used property can also mean a recently built house that is substantially complete and has been sold at least once before you buy it. For example, if a new house is purchased and resold before being occupied, the new home’s resale price will normally be exempt from HST.
An owner-occupied home is considered a residential property when it’s used primarily as your residence. So, if you are self-employed and purchase a resale home that includes a room used as an office, the entire home still qualifies for the HST exemption.

However, if your owner-occupied home is not used mainly for residential purposes (ie. A retail store with a small apartment upstairs), only the residential portion is exempt from HST on resale. The non-residential portion of the purchase price is taxable.
If you are planning to purchase a resale home, the seller can make a declaration on the deed stating that the property qualifies as ‘used’ for HST purposes.

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How to Find a Reputable Builder

Factors to consider to find the best builder to create your dream custom built home

Factors to consider to find the best builder to create your dream custom built home

If a resale home isn’t what you are looking for and you don’t feel like buying a new home, then here are a few things to think about before having a home built.

When you want to find a reputable builder, first decide on the region, area or neighbourhood where you want to live. Then visit local show homes to find builders offering the size, price range and quality you are looking for. Or identify custom built homes you like and find out who produced them. Don’t be afraid to knock on someone’s door and ask “Who built your home?” – most people will be flattered.
If you want custom building or special features, choose a builder who stresses those aspects. Your best bet is a builder who produces what you want on a regular basis. Look for a proven track record in the style, size and quality you are interested in. Ask the builder for recent references you can contact to ask about his skill and ability to meet deadlines.

Don’t get hung up on a simple formula of cost per square foot. Shop for specifications. Quality should be the factor you pay most attention to – details such as windows, cabinets, flooring, woodwork and other things. Also determine exactly what the purchase price includes. Model homes you view may contain extras that aren’t included in the standard purchase price. It is often a good idea to choose a home and a builder before buying a lot. The size or shape of a lot can restrict the kind of home that can be built on it. Usually a builder can provide a lot to suit the size and model of house you have chosen. On the other hand, if you consider the size, shape or look of your lot to be as important as your house, it is worth spending time and effort shopping for the right piece of land.

Builders usually have a catalogue of home designs for you to choose from. If you want modifications, most builders will be willing to oblige, but be prepared to pay more for design and material changes. An option is to have an architect custom-design a home for you if you are willing to pay extra for both the design and for any out-of-the ordinary construction. There are magazines and newspapers offering mail-order home plans, but be careful to choose plans suitable for Manitoba’s climate, local zoning, lot sizes and construction code.

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Use a RRSP to Increase Your Down Payment

How to use a RRSP to increase your down payment

How to use a RRSP to increase your down payment

Saving for a Down Payment for your home in Mississauga is difficult especialy for First Time Home Buyers – and as a Realtor its my job to help find all the government programs available to squeeze every dollar I can for my clients.

One way to increase your down payment on a home is to put your RRSP’s to work. By taking the available cash saved so far for your house’s downpayment and purchasing an RRSP, the Government will provide a sizable tax credit on your next tax return. But timing is everything! When buying an RRSP in September through to February, you don’t have to wait long for your TAX CREDIT. When you file in March or April the credit will come fairly quickly. However if you miss the February deadline – you will have to wait until the next fiscal tax year to receive the credit on your next return.

Taking an RRSP loan out is also a good way to help build a downpayment for your new home.

How to Survive in a Seller’s Market

Tips to save your time and recognize opportunities in a seller's market

Tips to save your time and recognize opportunities in a seller’s market

It’s tough being a buyer in today’s real estate market. There are few houses for sale and to make matters worse, assuming the property is well priced, you may have multiple offers and bully offers to contend with. Every day buyers and their agents have to be on alert and ready to act or someone else may snatch the property even before you get a chance to see it.

With so much demand and so little supply putting upward pressure on prices, how to survive in a seller’s market? Do you throw your hands up in the air and give up or do you try to take control? Is this even possible?

The good news is that it is possible more often than you think. There are mistakes buyers make which make the process of buying a house more expensive and more painful in a seller’s market brought on by buyers themselves. What are some of these mistakes or missed opportunities and what can a buyer do?

1. First, don’t pass up a house just because no other buyer submitted an offer on offer night and convince yourself there is something wrong with the house. Buyers do this all the time to their detriment. Maybe it’s priced at market value and not under priced to attract an onslaught of buyers. But buyers are so conditioned to compete for a house that when no other buyer wants it they think there is something wrong with the house.

How many times have you heard of a house priced at $999,000, for example, with no buyer coming forth on offer night then the property is reduced to $899,000 and it gets a multiple offer and sells for $1,050,000 just a few days later? A buyer could potentially have bought this house for $999,000 but nobody else wanted it so buyers convinced themselves that something was wrong with the house and they passed. This was a missed opportunity and it happens regularly.

2. Secondly, don’t drag your feet when there is no set offer date. Considering current demand every passing day during the first week the house is on the market puts you at greater risk of competing with someone else if the house is priced to reflect market value. So act quickly. Unfortunately many buyers drag their feet only to find themselves in competition because they waited one day too long to make an offer. This also drives up prices.

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Top Reasons Why Your Mortgage Financing was Denied

Don't try to find the lender with the cheapest rate - find one whose client criteria matches your situation and needs

Don’t try to find the lender with the cheapest rate – find one whose client criteria matches your situation and needs

You found the investment opportunity you have been looking for. Your offer has now been accepted and you are eager to waive the financing condition. You have submitted a financing application through your lending advisor or directly to the lender and are anxiously waiting to hear back.

Declined! Not the answer you were hoping to hear.

Here are the top common reasons for why your mortgage financing was denied. It is important to recognize that not all lenders are equal. Lenders differ in terms of:

1. The geographic focus of where they lend. Some lenders are not willing to lend in cities or towns where property value fluctuates or the local economic fundamentals are weak (i.e. lack of job growth, infrastructure expansion).

2. The property types they lend against. Some lenders for example shy away from lending towards student/rooming houses or rental properties altogether.

3. The number of rental properties one can own. Some lenders will finance a maximum of two rental properties per individual/entity. Others are willing to go with five, while some may not have a limit.

4. The criteria they use to evaluate the strength of a particular application. Each lender has its own qualification ratios for evaluating applications. Some lenders accept higher investor debt load relative to overall income levels than others and some will consider the strength of the property over the applicant’s.

5. Product offering. Lenders differ in the client segments they focus on. For example, some have good products for self-employed or clients with challenged credit, while others don’t. They also differ in terms of the extent of support documentation required from the client to close the deal.

6. How they factor in rental income. Lenders differ in how they look at rental income and how much of it will be factored in the evaluation of your application. It would be nice to factor 100% of the rental income on your application. The reality is that lenders factor in only a percentage (typically between 50% – 80%). Some would consider it extra income, while others look at rental as a way to offset rental expenses.

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Who Inherits the House? Why You Need to Make a Will

Don't want to subject your heirs to a stressful and costly court process after your death? Make a will.

Don’t want to subject your heirs to a stressful and costly court process after your death? Make a will.

Home ownership and estate planning – the two go together. For most people their home is their largest asset. But many homeowners have not adequately protected this asset by taking the time to prepare a will.

Preparing a will is one of those things they will “get to” sometime. The only problem is that “sometime” may be too late. You may be at the wrong place at the wrong time or have some unexpected health event that leaves you mentally incapacitated and therefore unable to prepare a will. Under new legislation anyone 16 years of age or older can make a will.

So why should you have a will, regardless of age?

1. If you do not have a will, government legislation determines how your estate is distributed. In many instances this is not how you would like to see your assets distributed. One of the worst examples is for families with children. If one spouse dies without a will, the legislation provides that a portion of the estate is shared with the children and if those children are minors the surviving spouse must now deal with the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee. Now I know there are a lot of nice people who work there, but why would anyone want to put their spouse in such a position?

2. Without a will, your family will need to get a court order appointing an administrator to distribute the estate based on the legislation. So not only will this result in your estate not necessarily been distributed as you would have wished, there are additional expenses and your family would likely need to hire a lawyer.

3. You may also want to structure your will and estate plan to reduce the amount of tax payable on your death.

4. And in most wills where there are minor children beneficiaries you may want to set up a trust so the children are not getting their inheritance in a lump sum at age 19 – which what would happen without a will. Often you want to appoint a trustee to manage the funds until your children are older than 19 – we often see trusts for children with release dates at 25 and 30.

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Purchasing a Home with your spouse

Reach agreement on preferences and financial details before you start looking for your dream home with your significant other

Reach agreement on preferences and financial details before you start looking for your dream home with your significant other

Compromise is key to a successful relationship. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy, especially when it comes to buying a home with your spouse or partner. How do you strike a balance between each person’s needs and wants?

To begin with, start with a plan. Have an honest conversation about what each person wants and needs: Detached or townhome? New build or old? What neighborhood? How much of a down payment? Work through these questions and put together a list of what you must have, and what your deal breakers are.

Look through home magazines together and watch real estate shows. Knowing each other’s taste will help during the search. But keep the focus on the way your home should function rather than room color. Changing these are easy; adding a bathroom is more difficult and costly.

Nail down the financial details before the search begins. Order your credit reports and check for inaccuracies. In some cases, you may not want to repair a negative. According to a recent Forbes article, check with a mortgage professional to find out whether you’ll do more harm than good paying off a debt.

Lenders will scrutinize both your scores. If one is significantly lower, it may affect your ability to get a mortgage. Don’t wait for the search process to begin before you start work to repair your credit.

The real test of compromise will start when the house hunt begins. Even if you stick to the must-have list, there will undoubtedly be homes that one partner loves; the other, not so much.

If you and your partner come to a standstill over a home, discuss why. Could some inexpensive changes make a difference?

Lastly, don’t let pressure to buy override your opinions or your partner’s. As this is the biggest purchase you’ll make, you both should be totally comfortable with it, whatever it takes.

When Is the Right Time to Sell Your Home in Mississauga?

Questions to ask yourself to decide if it's the right time to list your property

Questions to ask yourself to decide if it’s the right time to list your property

Many people want to move these days, but aren’t sure if it’s the right time to sell a Mississauga home. Is it the right time for you and your family?

There are definitely a few factors that determine when it is the right time to sell your home. First, it’s important to understand that it can be a tough market out there these days. Mortgage companies have tightened their purse strings and many buyers are having to wait to look for a new home. That can undoubtedly impact how easily you are able to sell your home. Does that mean no one is buying?

Absolutely not! Good real estate agents are in contact with people who want to buy a home every day. The buyers are out there — and it’s more important than ever before to know how to attract them. With that out of the way, you need to decide if the time is right based on your own circumstances.

Consider what your reasons for wanting to move are. If it’s because you or a spouse has found a new job, that’s certainly a compelling reason. Turning down a job is something not many people are willing to do! The time might definitely be right if that’s the case with you. If you want to move because you’re ready for a larger or smaller home, the time may also be right for you.

Along with thinking about how much you might receive for your home, you should also think about what you might be able to buy a home for. There are some truly great deals in some areas right now, and you can definitely come out ahead in this deal!

If you want to sell a Mississauga home, you should contact me today. You need someone who will stand by your side every single step of the way. It’s all about knowing how to market and stage your home effectively to get the absolute best price for it. If you’ve decided it’s the right time for you, don’t delay, because you don’t want that perfect buyer to slip through your fingers!