Increase resale value with new countertops

Want a quick way to boost what your home is worth? According to a recent survey conducted by Houzz, countertops are the top upgraded feature in most homes and the material most likely to be splurged on.

There are several materials to consider when replacing your countertop. Here, The Home Depot shares insights that will help you decide which style is the best for your lifestyle. Consider these tips not only when you are looking to sell your house, but also when you are searching for a new one.

Quartz. Over the past few years, quartz has become the product of choice for many consumers. When preparing to sell your house, consider quartz as a durable material that buyers will pay extra for. There are a variety of colours to choose from, but if you’re selling you’ll want to stick to neutral tones like whites and greys.

When buying a house, ask what material the countertops are made from. One of the main benefits of quartz is that it is resistant to chips and cracks. It’s also easy to clean because of its non-porous surface.

Natural stone. Another popular option to consider is natural stone. When selling your house, you may not want to spend a great deal on refreshing and some natural stone costs less than quartz while still offering a beautiful look that will last forever.

The material resists staining and cracking under high temperatures and requires little-to-no maintenance, making it an ideal option for those who love to cook and entertain. You won’t need to worry if guests spill their glass of Shiraz or put a hot serving plate on your counter by accident.

4 important tips for selling your home

4 important tips for selling your homeSpring is a popular time for listing homes.. Use these tips from the Real Estate Council of Ontario to get started.

  1. Research potential agents. You’ll want to find a registered real estate salesperson who is right for you. Shop around before you make a decision. You could ask friends, family or coworkers for recommendations. Once you’ve made a shortlist of salespeople, talk to at least three of them. Sit down with them and ask about their real estate experience, references, services they provide, and how much they charge.
  2. Look them up on the RECO website. Before you sign an agreement, read it and understand it thoroughly, and be sure to check out RECO’s online search tool. It will tell you if your salesperson is registered and if they have any disciplinary action against them.
  3. Decide on a selling approach. Many sellers are happy when their salesperson lists the home on the MLS, places a sign on the front lawn and shows it to interested buyers. Other sellers want more bells and whistles such as open houses, home staging, digital marketing or even advertising in high-end magazines. It’s important that you and your salesperson are on the same page when it comes to marketing and selling your home. Keep in mind that the fees may vary, depending on services provided. Be sure to confirm if extra services like home staging are included in your agreement or if there will be additional charges.
  4. Keep your home safe during open houses. An open house is an invitation for visitors to enter your home. Protect yourself by removing valuables and personal information, ensuring that guests are asked to show ID and making sure they’re accompanied at all times. If you don’t think holding an open house is right for you, tell your salesperson.

Find more information about your rights and responsibilities when buying or selling a home at www.reco.on.ca

 

4 tips to prep your house for the real estate market

4 tips to prep your house for the real estate marketWhether you’re selling or renting, it’s important that your home looks fresh and makes a good first impression with potential buyers or renters. Here are some tips to add value with little effort.

Paint outdoor trim. The elements can wear down painted surfaces over time making them look tired, but a fresh coat of paint can go a long way toward making your home stand out. Remember, the buyer’s first impression is extremely important. Try painting your outdoor trim and window shutters black to add drama to your exterior.

Preparation is equally as important outdoors as it is in, so use a quality painter’s tape like Painter’s Mate Green to protect windows and ensure a flawless finish. It can be used on many different surfaces and delivers excellent results, without the premium price point.

Swap out hardware. Upgrade the hardware around your home — including door knobs, drawer pulls and faucets — for an easy, stylish update. Enhance your kitchen cabinets with brushed nickel knobs to complement the moulding of the cabinetry to give the space a vintage look. A great choice for modern and contemporary kitchens is elongated stainless steel drawer pulls that enhance clean lines.

Refresh trim and baseboards. Clean up your baseboards and trim with a coat of paint to add new life into your home. A classic white works well as a no-fail option. White works well with both neutral and coloured walls for basic trim as well as more elaborate moulding styles.

Painting your baseboards is one of the top projects you can do and guarantees maximum results with only minimal effort. Begin by masking off the lower edge of the wall right above the baseboard to ensure a faster and cleaner paint job.

Neutral colours in common areas. Instead of giving in to the urge to replace everything in your home, consider some quick paint projects for your living room or kitchen to show off what you already have. A fresh coat of light-coloured paint helps the buyer envision themselves in your home, versus bold colours that may not fit their personal style.

Find more painting projects and tips online at paintersmategreen.com.

Moving on up: Should you buy or sell first?

Moving on up: Should you buy or sell first?In Canada’s evolving real estate markets, both buying and selling a home are very personal decisions. Add buying and selling at the same time, and the process becomes even trickier. The path up the property ladder is different for everyone and which to do first depends on your unique circumstances.

“Buying and selling a home at the same time is no small endeavour and involves extensive research and a clear understanding of all the steps involved,” explains Nicole Wells, vice-president of home equity finance at RBC.

Here are some things to consider before making a move:

Should I sell first? The upside of selling first is that you will know how much money you have to work with, and it’s also easier to get new financing when you need it. However, if there are delays or challenges finding the right new home for you, you may incur additional rent and storage costs in the interim.

Should I buy first? In this case, you will have time to plan your move and get your current home ready to sell. However, closing dates on both the purchase and sale may not line up and if your home doesn’t sell for a while, you’ll be stuck with two mortgages at once and a higher debt-to-income ratio.

Add a contract contingency. Whether you’re buying or selling, try to add a contingency to your contract that lines up the closing dates to bridge the in-between period. This isn’t always possible, as it depends on the market and whether the buyer/seller is willing to agree to an extended or reduced period of time.

Know the markets. Research prices in the areas where you’re buying and selling. Does the market favour buyers or sellers? This is the best way to decide which move to make first. As a rule of thumb, you want to sell first in a buyers’ market and do the contrary in one that favours sellers.

Consider rental revenue. Research the rental market in your area and calculate the cost versus profit ratio of renting out your home to tenants, rather than selling it. It could be financially advantageous, and real estate could be a great way to diversify your investment portfolio.

Find more information online at rbc.com/home.

www.newscanada.com

Must-have guide for selling your home

Must-have guide for selling your homeWhen you put your home on the market, you want to be offered top dollar and enjoy a smooth seamless sale from start to finish. For the best experience, use this guide full of expert tips from the Ontario Real Estate Association.

Start with an expert. Realtors are experts in your local housing market; they know the current market conditions, local data and details about other houses in your neighborhood. A Realtor will help you price your home competitively and, if you plan to renovate, they can advise whether the expected return on investment is worth your time, money and effort.

Prepare your home. Create an environment that allows potential buyers to imagine themselves living happily and comfortably in your home. This means removing personal mementoes and photographs, presenting a clean and organized space, and keeping the décor neutral. If you’re selling during the winter, snow can hide backyard imperfections and the cooler weather is a great opportunity to showcase how cozy your home can be — light the fireplace, stockpile fuzzy blankets and use lightly scented candles.

Close wisely. Work with your Realtor to make sure the buyer’s paperwork is in order and any clauses are reasonable. Choose a closing date that’s convenient for you — for example, consider a closing date during the spring when the weather is nicer or on a long weekend so you have more time to move.

Find more information about selling your home and using a Realtor by visiting www.orea.com.

Attention editors: This article is for distribution in Ontario only.

www.newscanada.com

What millennials want in a home

What millennials want in a homeWhen entering the residential market, it’s important to appeal to as many people as possible, especially young, first-time homebuyers. They’re one of Canada’s fastest-growing markets, but their tastes and priorities are quite different.

“The next generation of first-time homebuyers knows exactly what they want in their first major investment,” explains Christopher Alexander, regional director at Re/Max Integra. “Sellers need to be strategic before putting their home on the market to appeal to these needs.”

Here are the top three factors influencing millennials’ purchasing behaviour:

Location, location, location. It’s widely known that finding a home in the right neighbourhood can significantly increase ROI long-term, and millennials are taking extra note. But homes in communities where new schools and amenities are being built are attracting young buyers looking for “what’s next,” rather than what’s hot now. Up-and-coming neighbourhoods that are slated to receive investment from the city or are under redevelopment are prime for real estate investments as smart millennial buyers realize their value will only continue to rise. If the neighbourhood is walkable, that’s a bonus.

Smarter living. With exciting advancements in the ever-growing tech industry, preparing your home to appeal to a hyper-connected millennial market is easier than ever. From installing fridges that text you when you’re low on milk to wireless light switches, sellers who make even a small investment in a smarter home will instantly attract tech-savvy first-time buyers. Adding innovations such as a programmable thermostat will not only make your home appealing to the eco-conscious young buyer — the remotely adjustable tech can also help lower your utilities bills as you wait for your closing date.

Looking ahead. As a home is typically the first major investment most millennials make, it needs to be able to suit their growing list of needs. While young buyers may not have children now, many are already considering multi-bedroom homes and properties with backyards in anticipation of a soon-to-be expanding family. Investing in backyard landscaping and clearing out clutter to make space for a possible play area or nursery is a great way to appeal to young families looking for a home they can see themselves grow in.

www.newscanada.com

7 Secrets to Sell Your Home Successfully

7 secrets to sell your home successfully

Here are some tips from the Ontario Real Estate Association that will help your home stand out when you decide to sell.

Here are some tips from the Ontario Real Estate Association that will help your home stand out when you decide to sell.

1. Focus on first impressions. You only get one, so make sure everything potential buyers see first is in top shape. During winter, keep your driveway shovelled and hats and mittens neatly stored for a clutter-free entryway.

2. Empty your closets. A great trick is to create the illusion of extra storage space with half-empty closets, drawers and cabinets.

3. Upgrade strategically. Skip costly major overhauls — quick fixes are cheaper, easier and can often deliver a better return on your investment. Things like a fresh coat of paint, cleaning the carpets, and replacing door and cabinet handles in the kitchen are big-impact projects that can be accomplished in a weekend.

4. Edit personal touches. Buyers are more likely to make an offer if they can visualize themselves living in your home, so put away family photos and kitschy personal mementoes. Stick to simple artwork and accessories that make the space feel lived-in, but neutral.

5. Understand legal documents. When you list and sell your home, there are several real estate documents you need to complete the transaction, like the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and the Listing Agreement. Work with your Realtor to make sure you understand the important information in these agreements and that they contain the specific wording that suits your needs.

6. Make sure the price is right. You don’t want to leave money on the table but you also shouldn’t set the price unreasonably high, or you may scare away buyers and keep your house on the market longer than necessary. Your Realtor can help you determine what’s right for your local market.

7. Light it up. A home that looks bright, airy and spacious is more welcoming and feels larger. Get the look by opening the curtains before viewings, choosing pared-down window treatments in light colours, and adding a few strategic lamps, which you can borrow from a friend until you sell.

Find more information at www.orea.com.

www.newscanada.com

Buying or Selling a home? Now is a good time for both.

Buying or selling a home? Now is a good time for bothThe second busiest season for buying and selling homes is upon us, but what is it about autumn that causes an upswing in real estate activity?

According to Patricia Verge, president of the Ontario Real Estate Association, a variety of factors may be responsible for the increase in sales. “Much like spring, fall offers a great climate in which to show your home. Also, many buyers are back from summer holidays and getting back to business.”

Some of the benefits for buying a home in the fall include:

• More choices – There is a wider selection of homes available during this period so that you can visit a wide variety of open houses.

• Good weather – Mild temperatures make moving much easier. Assessing the quality of a home’s exterior is less complicated when it’s not raining or snowing.

• Tax breaks – If you purchase a home before the New Year, you can claim deductions on your 2015 taxes.

Some of the benefits for selling a home in the fall include:

• Climate – Mild temperatures and beautiful fall colours create the perfect setting for showing a home.

• More time – Come fall, people tend to settle back into routines, allowing a better dedication for the home selling process.

• Serious buyers – Most buyers want to be moved in and settled into their new home before the holidays and winter hit, so any interest you receive will generally lead to action.

Even with the increase in activity at this time of year, there really is no wrong time to list your home. According to Verge, “If you price your home appropriately and make every effort to present it in a superior way, chances are you will sell your property in a timely manner regardless of the season.”

More information is available at www.wedothehomework.ca.

www.newscanada.com