When looking for a place to call home, it’s easy to get sidetracked by thinking with your heart rather than your head. Although it takes less than seven seconds to make a first impression, a quick decision could lead to an unavoidable case of buyer’s remorse. In order to avoid this, we have listed a checklist for the top ten house hunting tips you need to know before you attend a viewing.
There are many things that can be changed, upgraded, or improved after you have purchased a home, but the location isn’t one of them. You need to think about the proximity to work, schools, and other attractions you frequently visit and also research any new developments or upcoming changes to the area in the future.
While air fresheners and open windows can clear out certain scents, it’s important to pay attention in order to sniff out other potential issues. For example, if you notice a damp smell, it could mean the home has poor ventilation or issues with mold.
Noticing a slanted floor is one of the major hints that there could be a large structural issue with the home. If you do notice something, you can ask your Agent to inquire with the owners or make note of it for the home inspection if you decide to go that far in the purchase process.
Natural lighting is something that is often overlooked in your house hunt, especially if you are viewing a home at night, or in the middle of winter. Think about how important natural lighting is to you and plan your viewing times around when the lighting will be optimal.
Shape & Size of Rooms
It is important to take a good look at the layout to make sure not only you but also your furniture can fit comfortably in the space.
Is there enough space for everyone in your household to park? Additionally, if there is parking available, will your vehicle fit?
If there is laundry in the home, you need to make sure it is in an accessible location. If there is no laundry, is it in a convenient location you can easily get to with or without a car?
Depending on how creative you can get with your storage, you will want to make sure that there is enough room to store your belongings without things becoming cluttered or unliveable.
It looks perfect, but are you missing something?
Professional staging can sometimes fool buyers into thinking a property is perfect while diverting their eyes away from potential issues. Don’t let the professional décor and scent of fresh baked cookies take your attention away from the things that matter.
Assess the kitchens and bathrooms
The kitchen and bathroom are two of the most costly rooms in a home. Make sure you pay special attention to these rooms to avoid getting stuck with unwanted repairs or updates after purchasing the home.
While a home inspection will help advise you of any potential issues, it is still a good idea to pay attention to these things in the initial stages of your home search. This will also help ensure you don’t waste money on unnecessary home inspections. Remember to keep a list of everything for each house you view so you don’t forget days, or weeks later!
Source: RE/MAX Blog
A lot of young professionals who are first-time homebuyers, getting into the housing market can be a challenge, whether it’s saving up enough money for a down payment, finding the right home or securing a mortgage in order to buy it.
Where do you even begin when applying for a mortgage? Let’s start with the basics.
Ensure You Have A Sufficient Down Payment
One of the biggest hurdles to buying a home is saving a sizable down payment. Since home valuations have surged considerably in recent years, it has become harder to gather enough upfront cash, especially in pricey markets such as Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal.
Unsure of the dollars and cents? Here is what you need to know, based on your home-buying budget:
- Less than $500,000: A five-per-cent of the purchase price in the minimum down payment
- $500,000 to $999,999: 5% of the first $500,000 and 10% of the purchase price above $500,000
- Over $1 million: 20% of the total purchase price
If your down payment is less than 20%, you will be required to purchase mortgage loan insurance, which can be paid up-front or added to your monthly mortgage payment.
What’s In Your Credit Report?
Take some time to check your credit score and if needed, improve it. Your credit score ranks your financial health on a scale between 300 and 900 and indicates the level of risk you pose to the lender. The higher your score, the lower the risk and the higher the chance you’ll secure a better mortgage rate or terms.
Budget What You Can Afford
Prioritize your finances, be it for your retirement or your child’s post-secondary education. Budgets are a necessary tool to accomplish long-term prosperity.
Work with a professional real estate agent who can point you to housing types and locations that are aligned to your budget. And if you still can’t afford it, you may choose to wait until you’re in a better financial position.
Speak with a Financial Advisor First
It would be wise to book an appointment with a financial advisor or speak with a mortgage broker before you go house hunting and apply for a mortgage. By doing so, you can receive professional advice from someone who can help you determine if you’re eligible for a mortgage.
Eliminate Outstanding Debt
It is estimated that the total household debt of Canadians is in excess of $2.5 trillion, with mortgage debt representing more than 68 per cent of this total figure.
It is crucial to first minimize or eliminate outstanding non-mortgage debt, from credit cards to car and student loans.
By decreasing your debts, you can then concentrate on either saving a bigger down payment or contributing more to your monthly mortgage costs.
Big banks and online financial institutions offer some of the lowest interest rates in decades, allowing many people to enjoy lower monthly payments. At the same time, there are other benefits, terms and conditions that some might not offer. It is imperative to shop around, do some research.
Finally, it is vital to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start shopping for a home.
This will give you confidence of having a mortgage ready to go before you start house shopping. You’ll have a good idea of how much you can spend, what is out of your price range, and what will be suitable for your household budget.
Source: RE/MAX Blog
Whether you’re planning to stay there or sell, the topic of money arises quickly upon deciding to upgrade your home. It’s well known that home renovations can be costly.
Here are 8 of the best ways to finance major home renovations:
1. Home Equity Line of Credit
When buying a home, most people apply for a mortgage. Your home equity is the portion of your home that you have already paid off.
As long as interest rates remain low, tapping into your home equity to take out a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) can be a great way to fund a renovation. With a HELOC, you can use as little or as much as you need, paying back only what you use, at a rate that is lower than those of credit cards or personal loans.
2. Refinance Your Mortgage
Refinancing your mortgage means adding to the amount of money you originally borrowed to purchase your home. This new mortgage amount is rolled into the current balance on your mortgage.
When you refinance your mortgage, you get a set amount of money at a set interest rate; therefore, it isn’t possible to spend more than you have, and the payments will remain consistent and affordable.
3. Unsecured Line of Credit
Anyone can apply for an unsecured personal loan or personal line of credit through a financial institution.
A line of credit starts out with a set amount of money you can charge against it, and as you pay it back, you can repay the gap funds. However, the downside of this option is the high interest rates compared to a mortgage because there is nothing securing it.
4. Take Out a Second Mortgage
Some people choose to take out a second mortgage to pay for home renovations. This option will provide you with the instant cash you need to complete your project, at a lower interest rate than a personal line of credit or credit card, however it can leave you with double the mortgage payments.
5. Credit Card
Not the best option available, due to the high interest rates involved, but using a credit card to finance major home renovations is always an option.
Typically, credit cards have an interest rate of 19.99% interest rate or higher – meaning that you will be paying a hefty fee on any residual charges you haven’t paid off come month end.
6. Loan from Family or Friends
While not available to everyone, another viable option is borrowing from family or friends. It’s common knowledge that borrowing money can complicate a relationship, but this option comes with the ability to specify repayment terms with the person you are borrowing from, and eliminates the need to use a bank or other financial institution.
7. Save and Pay as You Go
If you aren’t in a time crunch to get the renovations done, you can always save and pay as you go. This will inevitably slow down the remodel process, however, it is one of the only ways to ensure that you don’t get overburdened by interest fees on your renovation spend.
8. Use your Savings
The final way to pay for home remodels without borrowing funds from another entity is to simply use your savings. This is a good option for those who want to get the renovations done as quickly as possible, and don’t want to be stuck owing money once they are completed.
Take Your Time Before Committing
Now that we’ve reviewed 8 of the best ways to finance major home renovations, it is important to consider other factors such as purpose, time and your personal preference for financing. As you review your options, remember that there is no right choice, but there will be a best-fit option for your needs. A financial consultant can be a great resource in helping you choose your best route for financing.
Pandemic accelerated value of home ownership at luxury price points to new heights in major Canadian centres in 2021
“The currency of home ownership has clearly taken on a new dimension in 2021,” says Christopher Alexander, President, RE/MAX Canada. “Canadians are moving to secure their future. The pandemic fueled a run on real estate that has encompassed every segment of the market, and the value of housing has increased exponentially as a result–not only as a form of shelter but a desirable asset class that provides an attractive return on investment.”
RE/MAX Canada found that 18 of the 19 markets recorded percentage increases in the double and triple digits. Canada’s largest markets for luxury product – the Greater Toronto Area and Metro Vancouver – experienced increases of 112.8% and 75.8% respectively for homes over the $3-million price point, while transactions of homes priced over $10 million rose a substantial 156% and 167% respectively.
Canadian Luxury Real Estate Highlights
- Luxury home-buying activity is spilling into smaller centres where the dollar goes further. While the pandemic accelerated the trend, bigger bang for the buck is likely to continue to draw purchasers from larger centres, particularly in Ontario
- Home sales are pushing into higher price points across the country. The luxury segment over $3 million represents approximately four per cent of total sales in Metro Vancouver and 1.8% of sales in the GTA. Sales over $1 million in Halifax-Dartmouth represent 2.2%of total sales
- Records were broken for luxury sales over $3 million in the Greater Toronto Area in 2021
- Condominium sales over the $3 million price point in the GTA and Metro Vancouver have rebounded from 2020, setting a new record in the GTA and matching the existing record set in 2016 in Metro Vancouver
- An increase in young entrepreneurs has been noted in the GTA, with some utilizing crypto-currency gains to make their way into the housing market. Family wealth has also contributed to the increase in luxury home sales, with many parents freeing up the reins so the kids can enjoy the fruits of their labour
- Non-resident buyers are returning to Canada’s residential housing markets
- Sales of building lots have declined at the top end as buyers are reluctant to embark on construction
- Inventory is balanced over the $3 million price point in Metro Vancouver while just 200 such homes are currently listed for sale in Toronto proper
About the 2022 Luxury Market Report
The 2022 RE/MAX Canada Luxury Market Report analyzed 19 Canadian luxury real estate markets, using data and insights supplied by RE/MAX brokerages. RE/MAX brokers and agents were surveyed on market activity and local developments based on local real estate board data and market activity in 2020 and 2021.
Source: RE/MAX Canada Blog.
When you think about selling your property, do you dwell on the possible work and stress involved? You’re not alone. Many homeowners share the same concerns.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
In fact, there are plenty of ways to add some fun, anticipation, and even a sense of adventure to the selling process. Here are just a few ideas:
- Plan fun things to do when your home is being shown. That can include walks, sports activities, or trying something you and your family have never done before.
- Declutter for your own benefit. Instead of thinking about decluttering as a chore required for the sale, focus instead on how much more comfortable your home will be after decluttering. Studies consistently show that less clutter reduces stress and increases a sense of well-being.
- Get everyone in your home anticipating the move in a positive way. Put pictures of your next home, including neighbourhood shots, on the fridge door. Sit together on the computer and explore your new neighbourhood’s features and amenities.
- Celebrate milestones in the selling process. For example, when you’re finished preparing your property for sale, go out to celebrate. Make a checklist of milestones and how you’ll celebrate each one.
- Get the help you need. A big part of the stress of selling is the anticipated work involved. Remember, you don’t have to do it all yourself. Much of what needs to be done can be handled by contractors and other professionals.
There are many other ways to make selling your home a positive and turbulent-free experience. Give me a call if you’d like more ideas and and suggestions.
When you’re shopping for a new home, you probably want the property to be as “move in ready” as possible. That way, you can… well… just move in!
However, there are a lot of fantastic properties on the market that need some work. For example, you might see a home that has everything you need, but the kitchen is long overdue for a renovation. Or, you might view a property that requires a lot of repairs and painting — tasks that, at first glance, seem overwhelming.
You don’t want to just pass on a property that might be a great buy. On the other hand, you don’t want to purchase a home, only to end up with more renovations, repairs and expenses than you anticipated.
What’s the solution? Here’s an idea.
When you view a home that needs work, make a note of exactly what needs to be done. Stick to the important “must have” improvements and leave “nice to have” improvements for a later time. Chances are, you’ll identify just one or two projects — such as “paint all the walls” or “replace the countertops in the kitchen”.
Once you have that list, you’ll be in a better position to determine how long the work will likely take and the approximate cost. This will give you some needed perspective on whether or not to buy the home.
If a home you’re considering needs $15,000 in work that can probably be completed within two months, that might make the property worth buying. In fact, it probably would!
So, when you see an otherwise ideal home that needs some work, don’t let your imagination make that work into more than it is. Take notes and get estimates.
Feeling Cool about Selling in November or December? If you need to sell your home in the next month or two, you might be worried. After all, aren’t spring and summer the ideal seasons to list your property? If you list in November or December, you might have difficulties attracting buyers and getting the best price for your home. Right? Not necessarily. While it’s true that spring and summer are traditionally busy periods in the real estate market, properties do sell every month of the year. So, if you’re thinking of selling, you’ll need to know two things: • What comparable homes are selling for at this time of year. • How long homes are taking to sell, on average. However, we are also not having a typical year! Our single family home inventory has dropped 31.22% compared to last year. We have seen 970 single family homes sold this year so far compared to a total of 856 in 2019 and the average price of a single family home has increased 9.71%.
We are in a seller’s market and that means there are more buyers looking for homes than there are sellers. And properties will likely sell fairly quickly; perhaps even get multiple offers. So, if you or someone you know is on the fence about listing their home this time of year, it might be the right time.
The change in weather and colour of the leaves has prompted a few people to ask me if they should list their home in the winter or wait until spring. I have always had the opinion that winter is a great time to sell! And there are a few reasons for that.
First, there is less competition. With less to chose from you’re more likely to sell. A lot of Sellers wait until spring to list, would you rather be one of fifty houses on the market or one of ten? I think I would rather beat the crowd and sell in the winter!
Which brings me to my second point, the Buyers that are out there in the winter tend to be more serious about Buying. If they are out on dark winter days house hunting it is most likely they are doing it because they have to move not because they are thinking of moving in 6 months. Whatever the reason, job transfer, they sold, or their rental is no longer working for them, people still need homes in the winter!
My final point is price, you are more likely to get more money for your home in the winter months. If you are priced for the market the Buyers that are out there are serious and don’t have much to chose from and will see the value in your home.
So, if you are thinking about selling, there is no reason to wait until spring!