Posts in Kijiji Real Estate

Coming Out Ahead When Selling Property

Getting Started

Whether you are upgrading, downgrading, or moving laterally when you embark on selling property, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that you come out ahead in the sale. Though it may seem simple enough at the outset, selling property is a complex process that may require several difficult decisions along the way. By keeping a few things in mind, you can increase your chances of making a great sale.

Prepare to Invest in Selling Your House

It may seem contradictory – after all, you’re looking to make money, not spend it – but investing money in a home you are planning to sell can help you come out ahead in the long run.

Cleaning up scuff marks, making minor repairs, and even upgrading some items or areas before potential buyers come to view the property will help make the best impression, and it can also increase your selling price or leverage. Likewise, outfitting areas such as the kitchen and bathroom with higher-end appliances can boost a home’s appeal.

Be judicious in how much you invest, however. Keep in mind that buyers will want to make the home their own, so now is not the time for major renovations, such as a kitchen redesign or tearing down a wall to make space.

Curb appeal is a major determining factor for buyers, so pay as much attention to the exterior of the property, especially the front, you do to the interior. Some simple landscaping and a little paint can do wonders to entice potential buyers.

Research Comparable Home Sales

If you want to come out ahead as a seller, you need in-depth knowledge of the real estate market, both overall and in your particular neighbourhood. An important and highly informative step in gaining that knowledge is looking at comparable homes for sale.

To determine whether a home is truly comparable to your own, consider the size of the home, its condition and amenities, and its location. Ideally, you should seek out recently sold homes within the same neighbourhood, since they would provide the most accurate comparisons, but if that isn’t possible seek out neighbourhoods that are similar in terms of the quality of the schools and general demographics. For each property you compare, take note of both the listing price and the price they ultimately sold at.

Come Out Ahead When Selling Property

Be Prepared to Negotiate to Sell the Property

In an ideal world, your home would sell immediately for the exact price you have chosen; however, the market usually doesn’t work that easily. Selling a home is a lengthy procedure, and negotiation is part of that process.

It can take time to work with potential buyers to come up with a deal that satisfies everyone involved. Be prepared to make certain concessions – for example, repairing certain things before the new owner moves in as a part of the sale – but also be firm about what you will not concede on.

When negotiating price and other factors in selling your home, it is very important to keep an objective perspective and not take things personally. This is a business transaction, and regardless of how much the home means to you, its actual value may not be as high as you initially expect. Conducting a thorough home inspection – done by a professional home inspector, if possible – prior to putting your house on the market can keep you from overpricing or underpricing it as it goes up for sale.

Conclusion

With proper preparation, research, and dedication to the selling process, you can come out well ahead when selling your property. And lastly, be patient. Sometimes getting the best deal requires a little time to find the right buyer.

Come Out Ahead When Buying Property

Getting Started Buying Property

Buying a new home can be a daunting prospect. All potential homebuyers want to ensure they come out ahead with their purchase, naturally. After all, buying a home is about far more than finding a place to live, it’s also a major investment – one that could potentially impact your life for many years to come.

Come Out Ahead Buying Property

How Much House Do You Need When You Buy Property?

One of the first and most important steps to ensure you come out ahead when you purchase a home is to know exactly how much house you reasonably can afford. You may find a home that is a great value for what it offers, but it won’t be a great value to you if it’s more than you need and costs more than you can sensibly pay.

Consider a number of factors when deciding how much house you actually need. Start with determining the number of rooms you will need, both for existing family members and any potential future family members.

Next, consider what amenities are ‘needs’ versus ‘wants’. That spacious garage or swimming pool may be enticing, but if it doesn’t realistically offer your family anything of value, consider it a luxury.

Make a list of “must haves,” such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and central HVAC. Then make a list of “would like to haves,” such as a patio, a contemporary kitchen, or updated bathrooms. Last, round off your list with what you consider luxuries – things that you opt for only if they don’t push you over your house-buying budget.

Assess the Neighbourhood of the Property

The house you are interested in may offer you a great value today, but will it offer that same value tomorrow? Because you are looking at your home purchase as an investment, you want to ensure that the home will appreciate in value over time. Finding a home in a great neighbourhood can be an important step in ensuring that long-term value.

The quality of the schools is one of the most important determining factors in maintaining high home values within a specific neighbourhood. Whether you have children of school age or not, be sure to seek out homes in areas with commendable, well-regarded schools.

Other value-maintaining factors to look for include whether or not new businesses are being built in and around the area and the general demographics (such as median income) of an area.

Inspect the Details of the House and Property

Inspecting the home you are interested in is critical to coming out ahead financially. A house that looks like a great deal on the outside can turn out to be a dud if you find major issues such as electrical system damage or unexpected plumbing leaks after you move in.

A thorough home inspection by a professional inspector is crucial before you agree to any home purchase, regardless of the deal that is offered.

Conclusion

Coming out ahead financially when purchasing property is all about two things – determining what you need and the true value of the home compared to its cost. However, you also should consider that ultimately the most important factor in your home-buying decision is whether the home is something you will love owning or living in for years. Getting to know the property and the neighbourhood, and refusing to settle – even for something that looks like a great deal on the surface – can help ensure that you end up with a new home that you and your family will really love.

How to write a great real estate ad

So you have decided that you want to post your house for sale by owner. Without the support of a real estate agent, getting the exposure that your house deserves can be difficult, so the importance of writing a great real estate ad is even higher when you won’t have a professional and their network supporting your marketing efforts. Remember, you are trying to market your house, so try and maintain a critical distance from it and understand what potential buyers are looking for. You might think the sauna or your custom dog washing station is an amazing feature, but the reality is, most buyers are not going to consider that a top selling point. Read the house listings for homes that generated a lot of interest in your area and try to emulate the parts of them that apply to your home, and follow our tips to create an ad that will generate attention.
house for sale by owner

Highlight unique features (provided they are desirable to most). A walk in pantry, wine cellar, en-suite bathrooms, and other stand out features that most people will want should be highlighted in any house for sale ad.
Entice. Remember, you want people to come see your home, so provide just enough information that they will want to see more. Focus on attributes that have a wide appeal, such as finished basements, high ceilings, bay windows, fireplaces, etc. Don’t focus too much on “upgrades” that may not appeal to everyone, such as pools, second kitchens, saunas, panic rooms, etc. Mention desirable brand names if applicable (if you shelled out for Bosch or Viking appliances on your new kitchen, mention it).
Mention upgrades. If you have kept your home in good condition, make it clear. A well maintained and recently upgraded home is very desirable. Buyers are especially interested in recently replaced roofs, windows, and heaters.
Consider your language carefully. Use lots of descriptive words to really illustrate the character of your home through words. Do not use any negative words – think “cozy” over “cramped”, “character” over “old”, and so forth. While you don’t want to bore the reader by writing too much, make sure you have a solid description that will answer some of the major questions that readers will be asking, and get them to imagine themselves in the space you are illustrating through your words.
Don’t profile the buyer. Anyone with the money could be buying your property, so don’t assume based on your neighbourhood or price what that person will look like. You might have fond memories of raising your family in your home, but that doesn’t mean the prospective buyer cares that has a room “perfect for a nursery”, or that the basement apartment is “ideal for the in-laws”. Focusing too much on what you think your buyer should look like might alienate other potential bidders on your home.
Be findable. Remember, many potential buyers are searching by area, so do your best to appeal to both search engines by listing the postal code, well known nearby landmarks or prominent intersections, the name and any nicknames for the neighbourhood.
State your price. If not there, people will assume high, and serious shoppers may think you are out of their price range.

Posting your ad on Kijiji? Get more views by sharing your ad to social networks, and purchasing ad upgrades such as the top ad feature. Learn about how to create an effective Kijiji ad.

Cost of Renting in Canada and the Vacancy Rates by the Number of Bedrooms

Canadian apartment finder, RentSeeker.ca, released its annual Canadian Rental Housing Market Pricing and Vacancy Data infographic, providing a unique snapshot of the Canadian rental housing market.

The 2015 annual report covers pricing and vacancy rates of apartment rentals in major cities across Canada and includes Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary, Kingston, Hamilton, Edmonton, Victoria, London, Guelph, Kitchener, Windsor, Sarnia, and a number of other cities in Canada.

According to the RentSeeker report, Toronto and Vancouver had the highest prices for one bedroom apartments with Calgary and Edmonton following with the next highest prices. Toronto also had the highest prices on two and three bedroom apartments with rental rates for a three bedroom apartment reflecting upwards of $2,300 on average.

Gatineau and Windsor reflected the lower-end pricing for apartment rentals with one bedroom, in Gatineau averaging $630 and in Windsor $664. Two and three bedrooms in Windsor averaged $798 for a two bedroom and $912 for three bedroom apartments.

Vacancy rates for all cities were relatively low, especially compared to some cities in the neighboring U.S. The lowest vacancy rates were in Vancouver with a vacancy rate of only 0.5% for one bedroom apartments. Toronto and Calgary also had lower vacancy rates with Calgary at 1.3% and Toronto at 1.6% for one bedroom apartments. Windsor and Montreal had higher vacancy rates with Montreal averaging 4.2% and Windsor averaging 4.1% for one bedrooms. The highest vacancy rates were in Gatineau, which averaged a 6.4% vacancy rate.

Canadian Housing Market and Vacancy Rate

Canadian Vacancy Rate

View the full report here.

5 Tips for the First Time Home Buyer

With mortgage rates possibly headed even lower and property values skyrocketing in some parts of the country, many are considering if now the time to take the plunge into home ownership is now.

1st Time Home Buyers

Think with your head, not your heart. Buying a home is emotional, we get it – but, ideally, you should treat it like you would any other investment to get the most out of the transaction. It is easy to get wrapped up in the excitement and be so afraid of losing out that you are willing to overlook certain things, or skip certain steps such as the home inspection (don’t let anyone pressure you into buying without a home inspection clause, and don’t use the inspector recommended by the selling agent).

Crunch the numbers (independently). So you are pre-approved for a mortgage? Great – that is a good way to show sellers you are serious, and to get an idea of what the bank will give you. Don’t make the mistake of trusting what the bank says you can afford. Remember, selling mortgages is big business for them, and they are trying to sell you on using their products. They will likely pre-approve you for an amount higher than what you can actually afford, as they don’t take into account your daycare costs, the price of your daily commute, what it will cost to make home repairs, and all those other day to day living expenses. Make sure the amount of mortgage you are signing on for is something you can realistically carry, and do some additional calculations for in case interest rates go up. You don’t want to be forced to sell if interest rates rise. Don’t forget to consider different payment schedules and amortization periods. A shorter amortization period or accelerated biweekly payments rather than monthly could save you thousands of dollars in the long run. See how much you could save by using the federal government’s home buyers plan (up to $25000 for an individual, or $50000 for a couple can be borrowed from RRSPs). Does it make sense to use for you?

Remember the invisible costs. Closing costs, land transfer taxes, moving, home repair and renovation costs, and real estate lawyer fees all need to be factored in to the total cost of owning a home. Make sure you have plenty of room in your budget.

Buy at the right time for you and your family, not for interest rates. It is tempting to rush to take advantage of a great rate, but if you end up buying before you can afford it, you might not be as happy in your house as you are imagining yourself to be. Being house poor is no fun, so make sure you have a good down payment and you are comfortable taking on the extra commute, payments, or responsibility of making all the fixes yourself at this point in your life. Do you know your credit score? If it is low, you would save money by improving your credit worthiness before buying a home, and rushing might not make sense.

Don’t furnish your home on credit. Once you move into a big house, after spending all your extra cash on closing fees and moving, it can be tempting to furnish your house with a “buy now, pay later” arrangement. Don’t do it – wait until you have the money for the furniture you want, and save money by buying used furniture on your local Kijiji.