If you’re thinking about buying your next home or your first home, a wish list can be very helpful to me as your realtor. When I search for properties for buyers, I am able to drill down a little further and get more specific with a home than a consumer is able to view on realtor.ca, so by sending me your wish list, I can make sure that properties that have what you are looking for are sent to you immediately.
In Kitchener Waterloo, on any given day there are over 1200 homes listed for sale, by sending me your wish list, I’m able to narrow that amount of listings down to a manageable amount and show you the homes most fitting to your needs and block out any of the white noise from properties that just don’t fit.
When making your wish list I do suggest that your items are categorized into items that you NEED to have and items that you WANT to have and items that would be NICE to have. This will allow me to meet all your needs immediately, such as number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, price, and location.
Once I’ve met your needs on a home, I then look for wants, such as finished basements, size of garage, white cabinets in the kitchen, I know that when you are looking for your 2nd, 3rd or even final home, the wants are very specific, since you’ve lived with items you have hated in the past. Please don’t be shy when providing me with those wants, this is your home and I’ve been tasked to find it and don’t worry, I will!
Once we’ve found a home that has all your needs and your wants (if it fits the budget) then we can look at the nice to haves, I often look at the nice to haves as items that add value to the home that you are purchasing, but they are also items that if you needed to add them later, you could. This could be something like a hot tub, a certain type of flooring, maybe even a finished basement (depending on your handy skills). The nice to have items I often don’t search for in the search criteria, but would be sure to point them out when choosing between more than one home.
I do caution first time buyers not to go too overboard on your needs and wants, remember to keep your budget in mind so that we can find a realistic home. If you happen to have a lot of needs and wants, by all means include them so I can look for the dream house, but all choose your top 3 in each category, these are items that you could not live without! I also like to remind first time buyers that in some cases, the place they are renting or even their parents’ home may be nicer than their budget allows, but not to worry about size all the time, believe me, when you own your own home, no matter how small it is, you will make it yours and feel so happy to have your first home.
When I look back now to when we were looking for our first home, I cringe to think of the things we would have settled on, but I know we would have still been blissfully happy…for a few years. If your plan for your first home is more than a few years, please let me know that, I can assist with getting a home with better resale value down the road and one that will allow you to enjoy it now and your returns later when you sell.
No matter which stage in the home buying process you are, send me your wish list and share all your dreams with me, my job is to make those dreams a reality. I look forward to seeing your wish list and helping you in the future.
Multiple offers are the things dreams are made of for sellers, but a nightmare for the buyer. Today I wanted to provide some tips for buyers who end up in a multiple offer situation.
1. Don’t wait: If you’ve found the one, don’t wait to offer on it. Every day that you wait, other buyers are looking at the property and the more people that see it, the more likely you are to end up in multiple offers
2. Be Ready: Have your mortgage pre approval, once you have your mortgage pre approval you’ll know what you can afford and you’ll be confident when you put in an offer. If you have a questionable pre approval it is advised to not get into a multiple offer situation
3. Have your Professionals Ready: If you do in fact end up offering on a multiple offer situation, you may be asked to tighten up your time frame to complete home inspections and final mortgage approvals and even lawyer tasks. It is best to know who you will be using for these services and to make sure that you have them ready when you are.
4. Let you agent know your position: Having open and honest communication with your real estate agent is best and you need to let them know how you feel about multiple offers. If you are willing to compete for the perfect house or if you are willing to walk away and keep looking. If your agent doesn’t know your true feelings for the house or your motivation, they won’t be able to properly assist. Remember, with a signed buyer’s commitment, your real estate agent is working for you and you are free to tell them how much you love or hate a house and don’t be afraid to hide your true feelings, chances are your agent doesn’t own that house and won’t be offended.
5. Plan a Strategy: I can’t give up all my multiple offer strategy tips here, but those of you who have worked with me in multiple offers are aware of what can be done. One tip that I will provide to everyone is don’t compromise on the big items, if your agent is asking you to remove your conditions of financing (if your financing is unsure) or to remove a home inspection, those aren’t items you should be compromising on. Maybe not asking for that wall mounted TV or appliances you know the owners want to keep are good items to remove from the offer, but not items that can affect your ability to purchase the house, the added stress isn’t worth it.
6. Remember it’s your Best Shot: Make sure when you are choosing what price you are going to offer in a multiple offer situation that what you are offering is your one and only chance. This price is the price you have to live with, make sure it’s a number you can afford, a number that doesn’t make you second guess how much you spent on the house and a number that isn’t just below the other offer and when you found out you lost the house over $1000 you don’t want to kick yourself over and over again.
7. Feel Good about your decision: Remember that if you don’t get the house you wanted there is always going to be another that you love even more. If you did get the house in the multiple offer, Congratulations don’t worry if you paid a little more than you wanted, the house was the one and you’ll be there long enough to make a return on your investment.
Multiple offers can be exciting and nerve racking at the same time, make sure you are prepared if the situation arises and remember if you work with a good agent and the home is meant to be yours, it will be!
Are you looking for the perfect home to fit your couch, a Persian rug or maybe a dining room table? Does this make sense to anyone, why are people buying homes for objects and not for those people who are living in the home? Too many times I’ve seen families turn down the perfect home in the perfect neighbourhood because it won’t fit their bedroom set or their mirrored dresser.
Don’t let your things rule your life, the people who live in that home now obviously have a bed and it seems to fit, so sell your larger than normal bed and buy one that fits in that perfect house, or trade with a family member if the item is important to the family. I understand keeping a family heirloom, but if your home budget doesn’t allow you to buy a home with a living room that is 20x20 then maybe Grandma’s rug should go to a family member who has space for it and then you can find a home that is right for you and your family, not a rug that you feel obligated to keep.
Reality is budget is a large deciding factor in what kind of home you end up in and if you are forced to choose the home with the largest dining room to fit a table you never eat at, you may be giving up on other items that you need such as an extra bathroom, a large yard or even a home in a condition that you can move into right away.
The best suggestion I have to avoid being caught in buying a home for your items is to make a list of why you are moving from your current home, these are items that are driving you out of your current place and into a new one. Once you know what is driving you out of your current home, what is on your list of need to have and nice to have, knowing the difference between need and want can be very difficult but make the process easier. If you are buying the home with another person, I strongly suggest making this list together, you may find out that your spouse hates that large couch you inherited and buying a home with space for it makes no sense if it’s uncomfortable anyways.
Remember when you are looking for a home why you are moving, I’m sure your bedroom set didn’t wake up one morning and decide to move because it didn’t like your current neighbour, if you have to part with some items to move to where you want to be, I’m sure your happiness in the new home will outweigh the cost to replace an item that is too large for your new home.
Packing, Cleaning, Freshening and Staging. There is a lot of work involved in getting your home ready for sale. I often have clients tell me after they’ve gone through the list of work to be done for their home that they are so much happier in the home they are looking to sell. Instead of rushing around last minute to do all the work to give your home to someone else, do those items ahead of time and for yourself to enjoy!
Everyone knows what needs to be done to their home and any homeowner can name a list as long as their arm of things in their home that bother them. If those small items bother you, it will bother the buyer of your home as well. So do those small jobs now, you’ll be surprised how much better you feel about your home and how quick it was to do it. Doing these small jobs as you go along also save you some time when you are actually ready to list your property, you can focus more on the staging and less on the little jobs that you know should have been done months or even years earlier.
Some examples of small jobs include: painting scuffed baseboards, caulking countertops and tubs, painting the ceiling, cleaning eavesthrophs both inside and out, straightening kitchen cupboards, replacing taps, laundry hoses, updating lighting, replacing or cleaning older and stained carpet , updating bathroom and kitchen flooring, and anything else that you notice on a daily basis that needs updating or repair.
Take the time to show your home the love it deserves and the love that you had for it originally by maintaining it well now so when you are ready to list your property you can focus on the cleanup and staging and less on the small jobs, and you’ll be able to enjoy your home more when the list isn’t getting longer and longer until it becomes a burden. Complete those items for you and your family to enjoy now instead of working hard in the month before you sell your home to let someone else enjoy all your work.
Are you going to Open Houses in Kitchener/Waterloo?
Attending open houses can be fun, you can see your neighbours homes, get decorating ideas, go into large homes and dream of the possibilities; but are you doing it right? When you attend an open house the agent working that open house is there to sell that home or to connect to potential clients. Are you leading that agent on? Are you pretending to be an interested buyer? Are you not interested in the home and walk around giving negative comments?
While as a realtor we are happy to have people come through the open house, there is some etiquette that we would expect. If you are a neighbour and simply coming through to “check” out the house just let the realtor know. I often find that neighbours can be the best source of finding buyers for a home, they let all their friends know how great the neighbourhood is and they see the signs go up first, but if the realtor hosting the open house thinks you are an interested buyer they may be wasting valuable time speaking with you at an open house when they could be answering questions for a truly interested buyer. The same rules apply if you are a person who frequents open houses as something to do on the weekend or is looking for decorating ideas. A simple “I’m just looking for decorating ideas” or “I’m a neighbour, not looking to buy myself” can go a long way in an open house and will most likely guarantee you won’t be hounded for information either.
If you are a buyer who is interested in buying but the house is not what you had expected, simply leave. Remember the agent doesn’t own the house and while constructive feedback is appreciated, often the agent is aware of the condition of the home and if there are obvious defects, they are aware of that too. When you walk through an open house with lots of negative opinions and there are other people in the house, remember that this may be the home of their dreams or their budget may differ from yours and this home is all they are able to afford and they will make it work. If you walk around and provide negative comments around every corner you may be jeopardizing the sale of the home. The agent will not be offended if you simply walk in, say it’s not the right home for you and leave.
I look forward to seeing you at any open house I hold and hope if you attend other agents open houses that you keep these tips in mind, happy hunting!
With Spring finally here, more and more buyers are looking at homes and are wearing sandals. While you may wear summer shoes in your home, buyers feel it’s rude to leave their shoes on in your home, so they take them off and are left with bare feet.
I urge everyone who has their home for sale in the summer to do the barefoot test. Take a walk around your home like you are a potential buyer in your bare feet and make sure that nothing sticks to your feet, that your feet don’t stick to anything and that your home in general feels clean.
Areas that I commonly find to be a concern are front entrances, make sure that if you do wear your shoes in the house that you aren’t leaving sand and dirt particles at your front door, a barefoot visitor will grab these on their feet as their first and last impressions. Basements, all buyers go into the basement, even if you don’t go there a lot, so make sure even your furnace or utility room is clean. Another basement area that can feel very dirty to bare feet is a kitty litter area, I’ve often walked into a basement and ended up with kitty litter on my feet from little fluffy walking it around the basement. I would suggest a small carpet outside of your kitty litter box for fluffy to wipe his paws on before he treks it all over the basement.
Buyers will also step outside of your home, into the garage or onto the deck, so make sure those areas are swept up as well. All areas of your home, inside and out need your attention, not only in the summer, but all year round.
Another item that can set off barefoot buyers is sticky kitchen floors, if you have children I’m sure a spilled drink it common, but in a buyers mind, a sticky floor is dirty and a dirty floor can mean a dirty home which causes them to wonder what else has been left unattended.
Before your home is ready for sale, make sure all areas of your home are bare foot tested and ready for those summer buyers.