Ideas For Making A Home Staging More Successful

If you’re thinking of selling your home, it’s a worthwhile undertaking to carry out a little home staging before prospective buyers begin to tour your dwelling. Whether doing it yourself, or hiring a professional home stager, home staging is all about making your property look the best it possibly can – with the goal of selling for the most money in the shortest amount of time. Here are a few things that can be done to get the best results from your home staging effort.

Exterior: When a prospective buyer arrives, their first sight is your home’s exterior. Make certain that first impression is a good one. It’s an old expression, that people shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but the reality is that they do. A cluttered or unkept exterior is a real turn off for many. Don’t lose the sale before it even begins – clean up by enhancing your property’s curb appeal. Some suggestions include:

• Power-wash the home’s siding.

• Clear the gutters of accumulated material.

• Mow the lawn and remove leaves or dead branches.

• Make sure the windows and doorway are washed.

• Replace house numbers if obscured or missing.

Interior: The interior of the home must be pristine for a home staging effort to produce the results you’d like. Obviously, the top to bottom cleaning of a home is usually the first important step when organizing a home staging. It is recommended by many that it’s worth the cost to hire a professional cleaning company to give your home the sprucing up it needs. After that, pretend for a moment that you are a new visitor to your property. Step outside, open the door and walk in. First, consider scents and sounds. Oil squeaky doors, fix the rattle of the furnace cover, remove pet litterboxes that may create an odor, etc. Next take in the visual appearance of your home including clutter, personal belongings, family photos and the like. A prospective buyer wants to imagine their possessions in your house, something they cannot do if the home is stuffed with your items. Decluttering, including removing excessive furniture, is yet another way to make the most of your home staging effort.


Home Improvement Ideas That Won’t Break The Bank

Whether to enhance a home’s potential for sale, or simply to allow for greater use and enjoyment, home improvement is a big part of owning a property. While some major undertakings such as redoing a kitchen or bathroom can be very expensive, not every home improvement project has to cost an arm and a leg – and here are a few.

Storage: Who doesn’t want to get the most out of their living space? One way to do that is to add to the available storage. Most rooms have underused areas, such as corners or a vacant wall. With the right materials (and sufficient imagination) these blank spots can be transformed into shelving, cupboards and other storage areas.

Millwork: The addition of millwork, decorative wooden elements added to corners or along wall edges, adds character and an elegant richness to any room. Millwork may also include decorative products, such as mantels and door casings. As a bonus millwork products are easily installed using either nails, screws or even glues – a simple home improvement idea that can quickly transform the appearance of a room.

Restoring a Floor: Few things add warmth and a feeling of home to a property like wood – especially a wooden floor. But if your home is of an older generation its wooden floors may have become dull or even distressed in appearance after years of hard use. Fortunately, wood is the sort of material that can be brought back to its former glory with a little effort and elbow grease. By using a product that is specifically designed for wooden floors hardwood flooring can be restored to much of its original luster. Once enhanced, a yearly polishing is recommended to keep the gleam you’ve worked so hard to achieve.


What Are The Primary Benefits Of Owning A Condo?

A condominium is one of the best ways to enter the real estate marketplace. Condominiums represent a large component of the real estate inventory in virtually every province offering many appealing choices for prospective buyers. Here are few of the reasons condominiums are so popular among Canadian buyers.

Price: Condos tend to be more economical to purchase than houses. Of course, there are exceptions, as luxury condominiums in urban centers or other specific locations can fetch record high prices. But overall, this form of residential property is an excellent way for anyone, especially first-time buyers to begin their home ownership journey. The lower cost means a lower down payment is needed, and the property taxes on a condo will also be lower than for a detached property – another economic advantage.

Security: Having peace of mind is another of the advantages of owning a condo. Many projects have secure entrances, locked and secure parking facilities and ample outdoor lighting. Having a secure home makes leaving for vacation or business trips worry-free as well, as you know your property will be monitored and safe in your absence.

Maintenance: Some people love to do it themselves; others do not. If wanting a lifestyle that does not require a great deal of hands-on work and the freedom to not worry about maintenance, then owning a condominium might be the perfect thing for you. When you are part of a condo community routine chores like mowing the lawn, looking after the landscaping, shovelling snow off the walkways, painting the exterior and other tasks are handled by the development’s owners.

Social Benefits: The key word in the phrase ‘condominium community’ is community. The opportunity to socialize with that community is a big part of the condominium lifestyle. Depending on the complex some condo projects have swimming pools, weight rooms, a clubhouse, saunas and other features. Many also have active resident’s committees who organize seasonal events, barbecues and other activities. If a social lifestyle appeals, then having access to a built-in social network in your own development is yet another reason for purchasing a condominium.


Simple Things Can Enhance A Home’s Selling Price

You’ve made the decision to sell your home. Finding a way to sell your home as quickly as possible and ideally for the most money is what all home sellers aim to do. Here are a few steps you, as a homeowner, can take to help satisfy both of those requirements. When it comes to first impressions, appearances really do matter. Spruce up the exterior of your home to create the best curb appeal. Small steps, such as clearing any debris, tools or toys from the yard and maintaining a shovelled sidewalk or driveway can go a long way to making that first impression great.

Other simple fixes that can enhance the selling price of a home include updating older style lighting fixtures, replacing the front door, upgrading hardware on fences and gates and repairing downspouts and gutters that may be worse for the wear. Some real estate sales professionals suggest a fresh coat of exterior paint could see the sale price of a property climb by five percent or even more. A costlier upgrade, but one that could ultimately pay off in the end, would be to continue the painting effort inside the home.

Replacing the property’s appliances with modern, energy-efficient models is a popular option. Contemporary home buyers are aware that energy consumption is a huge part of the cost of operating a household and will understand the value modern appliances add to a home. Those green kitchen appliances from the 1980s may still work, but nothing will dazzle a prospective buyer more than their glistening, new energy-efficient replacements.

It all comes down to selling your home, in the shortest time and for the largest amount possible. The time and money invested in enhancing a property today will prove a worthwhile investment later when the sale completes to your benefit.


Secondary Dwellings Function As Revenue Generators
Having a second, small, home on a property is becoming an increasingly common sight in Canada. These structures can be referred to as a carriage house, a coach house, a laneway house or merely a tiny house. They typically serve as a means of adding more living space to a property, and increasingly as a revenue generator or mortgage helper for the homeowner.

Functioning much like an in-law suite, the secondary property movement was initially encouraged in Canada’s larger cities to provide more living space in communities where rental accommodation was in short supply. Today tiny houses can be found everywhere, from rural settings to major urban cores. There are any number of reasons for constructing a property of this type, from providing a sense of independence and privacy for elderly parents or growing teenagers, to running a business.

Mainly however these structures serve as a means of generating rental income. A fully self-contained structure, these small secondary homes will have their own plumbing, heating, telephone, internet, cable, etc. – just like in a traditional house. While it is possible to purchase and transport homes of this type that are ready-made or otherwise prefabricated, many opt to have their unit constructed. A custom-built home will be able to match the design wishes of its owner, especially for size, exterior finish and other factors.

Many builders have moved into this expanding marketplace, in many cases as a means of keeping their crews working during lulls in regular home construction. Always check with your local governing body for zoning regulations before you reach out to builders or acquire a ready-made structure.

Architectural Variety: A Look At Common Home Styles

Just as with people, houses come in a variety of styles, with each distinctive version appealing to a different segment of the buying public. But what are some of the more common types of housing design? Different styles of homes are popular in different areas of the country, but the following are some of the most frequently produced examples.

Cape Cod style homes typically feature a steep roof and have an exterior covered by shingles. Houses of this type will have a symmetrical façade and usually feature a large chimney in the middle of the house. Cape Cod style houses can be constructed with more than one floor, but a true home of this type is limited to a single storey. Inspired by the homes constructed along the East Coast of North America, Cape Cod houses are clean and simple in design without excessive ornamentation.

Colonial style houses can come in a wide variety of forms and are designed to reflect the diversity of home styles produced in Europe. A Colonial style home can be reminiscent of housing styles favoured in Britain but could just as easily bear a resemblance to those found in France or even Spain. Houses of this type do have a few common attributes such as a squarish form with a sense of symmetry and balance throughout. A Colonial home will be a two-storey structure with a portico or partially covered front door. Window shutters and large chimneys are also common features of this type of property.

Spanish style homes are not as common in Canada but do exist, especially on the country’s West Coast. A typical Spanish house will be constructed using thick, stucco-clad walls with curved (barrel style) tiles on the roof. Originally designed to keep out the heat, they are usually quite energy efficient and are built using a low-pitched roof and with a minimal number of windows. Usually coloured white or terra cotta, Spanish style homes are noted for their dark wooden doors and windows.

Georgian style homes have a British origin and feature odd-looking bricked-up windows (a holdover from a window tax that had been imposed on British homeowners). Georgian houses are multi-storey (up to four) and feature tall sash windows with multiple small panes, instead of large single windowpanes – adding a vintage look to the structure. Homes of this type are symmetrical in design and can include classically inspired elements such as columns or porticos.


Handy Tips For When You’re Shopping For A Contractor

Your home is your castle, but sometimes the castle might need a little work. Perhaps it’s no longer big enough for a growing family, or you need to add a suite for an elderly family member, or an expanded rec room is needed for your busy social life. Whatever the reason, when it comes time to take on a major home renovation project it is better and ultimately safer to leave that work to the professionals. Here are a few points to ponder when shopping for a builder.

• Know what you want before you start. Determine exactly what you need to do and let the prospective contractor know in as much detail as possible. You are the client so be very specific and don’t allow extra work to be forced on you by an over-zealous builder. If you don’t know how to turn your ideas into a tangible reality, contact a design consultant beforehand to work out the details.

• Shop around to get multiple estimates. Major reno jobs can be expensive, so if you’re not working from a bottomless budget, do your due diligence beforehand. It’s often a good idea to get cost estimates from three different contractors before beginning the project. If the projected costs are similar to all three, then that is probably the true cost. If there is a wide variation in the estimates that could be a sign that something isn’t right.

• Speaking of doing research beforehand, it’s also a good idea to do some background checks on the shortlist of contractors you settle on. Check their credentials, find out their full company name and address and ensure they are licensed to operate in your area. If possible, talk to other people who have employed them to see if their work is up to your expectations. Homework now could head off major problems down the road.

These are just a few suggestions; you’re bound to come up with some of your own. The key takeaway is before you embark on any major project requiring the services of outside providers always plan as much as possible. The effort is bound to save you both time and money.


What To Do With Pets When Showing A Home

Any animal lover will tell you that pets are as much a part of the family as children or relatives. But not everyone shares that same enthusiasm for domestic animals and that could prove costly when it comes time to sell your home. Here are a few ideas for heading-off issues when showing a pet-friendly home to prospective buyers.

If a showing of your property is planned and you are uncertain how well having your pet around the place will be received, then, if possible, find someone who can pet-sit for you. Temporarily removing the pet from the property – even next door – could make all the difference when showing your property.

It’s also important to remove evidence of the pet as well as the pet itself. Seeing a dog bowl or scattered pet toys could be a major turn-off for some purchasers. This also includes vacuuming up pet hair from furniture and around the house before any showing. Obviously, for the temporary removal of a pet from the premises to work effectively you must know in advance when a home showing is going to occur, to provide enough time to take care of the details. Make a showing schedule and stick to it for maximum effectiveness.

Another aspect of owning a pet that might play a negative role when showing a property is odour. You as the pet lover may have become so used to the smell of a litterbox or damp dog that it doesn’t even register. That won’t be the case for someone who isn’t regularly exposed to animals. If possible, open the windows to give the home a thorough airing prior to a showing.


FSBO: Downside Of Trying To Sell Your Home Yourself

If you’ve spent any time at all exploring the intricate world of real estate sales then you’ve no doubt heard the phrase FSBO. An acronym for the term “For Sale By Owner” - a FSBO simply means a home being sold by the person currently owning it, without the aid of a real estate sales professional.

But why would someone engage in what is likely the largest sale of their lifetime without the support and knowledge of professionals? Often the key motivator is money, namely saving themselves from paying a sales commission. But does any perceived cost-saving benefit the seller in the long run? Much of that depends on the skill of the seller and the health of the local real estate market.

There’s an old financial expression that goes “Penny Wise, Pound Foolish” which could be applied in this case. While a sales commission will be saved by serving as your own salesperson, a non-professional is not going to know what the true market value of their home is. The result is the home may sell below, sometimes markedly below, what a professional may have gotten for it.

A homeowner may think they know what their property is worth, but without access to current information that figure is at best an educated guess. A home that has been undervalued will deprive the seller of a better return, while an overpriced home will languish on the market.

Determining the market value of a property is quite literally a science, and a REALTOR® will not only have their personal experience and local knowledge to draw from when pricing a home to sell, they will also have access to the information powerhouse that is the MLS® System and its depth of resources and data.

Created by and operated for REALTORS®, the MLS® System can provide sales professionals with not merely information about current properties on the market, but historical data that can be crucial when setting a realistic selling price. A FSBO home may very well sell, but only a home sold by a REALTOR® will sell for true market value.


Typical Questions To Ask Whenever Buying A Home

Whether for the first time or the tenth, buying a home is a complex and often confusing undertaking. It involves a huge, long-term investment. It commits the purchaser to an acquisition with a value that might rise or fall dramatically depending on the local marketplace, and it requires significant legal entanglements. So before signing on the proverbial dotted line make certain the property you settle on is the right one for you today and tomorrow.

The best way to stave off potential problems is to ask questions of your REALTOR® and any other professionals involved with the purchase beforehand. By doing your homework in advance the process should be much simpler, and the longterm results much more satisfying for the buyer. While there is no right or wrong list of questions to ask, here are some of the most common:

• Finances are crucial, so one of the first is: Can I afford it? Is this home priced within my available budget?

• If a preowned home, a good question to ask is: How long has this property been on the market? If there’s a problem with the home, the neighbourhood or the land, it’s important to learn that beforehand.

• A home is more than a building. Good questions to ask are: What comes with the property? Are the appliances new? Is the furnace in good working order?

• Concerns about the structure itself are also questions that need to be answered before completion. Are there any potential problems? How old is the roof? Has there ever been any flood damage?

• Learning about the neighbourhood is also critical. Things to consider: Distance to schools, medical facilities, shopping centers, recreation and other amenities. Is public transportation available? Is the area walkable or is a vehicle required? This is by no means a comprehensive list. By asking these questions (and adding those of your own) prior to closing the deal should help to make the process easier, and more beneficial.


Find The Home To Fit Your Plans Today & Tomorrow

Finding the ‘right’ property for you and your loved ones isn’t something you can do without a lot of thought. Today, while you’re still saving for your down-payment, look at your present situation and think about where you want to be in the future. Try to envision the type of life you want to be living in five or ten years. Let that vision guide you while you’re considering the type of home you ultimately will want to buy.

Are you the sort of person who must be part of the action? Then a stand-alone house in a distant subdivision might not be the best option. For you a city center condominium or townhome might be the perfect fit. If you’re the sort who enjoys being a hands-on owner or have dreams of gardening or tending lush flower beds, then a high-rise tower isn’t for you. In your case a home with a yard would be the perfect match. Perhaps your long-range plans include running a business or you might even have a desire to operate a hobby farm – for you a home with acreage would be ideal.

You get the idea. Each situation will be as distinctive and individual as the people involved. Here are a few things to consider when planning your dream home. If you’re a young couple perhaps the thought of a family isn’t in the cards right now, but what about tomorrow? If planning on (or already have) a growing family know that any home selected today might not satisfy your needs over the long haul.

A retirement age couple in contrast might require a home with a floor plan that reflects their current situation. If stairs are a problem a single-story home would be the answer. Perhaps the bathrooms must be configured to account for reduced mobility or other restrictions. A home is a longterm commitment so it’s essential to plan for the changes you will encounter in your life. Planning today will help ensure a happier tomorrow.

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Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.
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