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How to “Spring’ Into the Spring Real Estate Market

How to “Spring’ Into the Spring Real Estate Market

How to ‘Spring’ Into the Spring Real Estate Market

Hooray! We made it! Spring is (finally) almost here! Time to say goodbye to Old Man Winter and hello to a fresh new season. It’s also time to say hello to the spring real estate market. 

Although winter can be a great time to sell or purchase a new home, historically, spring is one of the busiest times in real estate. If you are looking to get in on the spring real estate action, here are 4 easy ways to be on top of your real estate game: 

  • Spring clean and organize 

Now that spring is on its way, it’s time to refresh and reorganize. A good spring clean will not only help to lift your spirits, it will also ensure that your home or condo is in tip-top shape if you are intending to sell this season. 

If the task of spring cleaning your home seems daunting, you can try breaking it down into smaller chunks. Focus on cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom one day and organizing and putting away any winter items you no longer need. 

For creative organization tips and tricks, check out our Pinterest. It is a great source for helpful cleaning, organizing and storage solution ideas. 

When thinking about spring cleaning, remember to include the outside of your home too! Cleaning decks, patios and patio furniture and getting your gardens ready will help to increase curb appeal and help to get your home ready to wow potential buyers. 

  • Make a list 

If you’re looking for a new home this spring, it’s essential to have a clear idea of what you are looking for. Sit down as a family and brainstorm features you would like to see in your new home. Include things like the number of bathrooms and bedrooms, location, yard size, and any specific features like granite countertops or minimal stairs for example. 

When thinking of your dream home, it can be easy to get a bit carried away. Remember to keep your budget in mind when creating your list. You may even want to create two lists; one list of things you need to have and another list of things that can be considered nice to have – but not mandatory. 

  • Research the market 

Once you have a solid grasp of the features you are looking for in your new home, you’ll want to do a little market research. There have been some changes recently in real estate that you should know about in order to prepare for the spring market, depending on your location. For example, home sales in some areas across the Province have slowed down a little due, in part, to rising interest rates and new mortgage stress test regulations. This means that we might be transitioning from a Sellers’ market to a Buyers’ market (good news for buyers, not so much for sellers).  However, if the low inventory of product available continues, prices may remain the same or even rise, especially if interest rates stay static due to the volatile economic situation. In other words, it is unknown what kind of market will present itself in the spring, so preparation for either a Sellers’ or Buyers’ market is key to your success whether you are considering selling or buying.  Additionally, as a Buyer, if you get pre-approved for a mortgage before your spring house-hunting begins, you’ll know exactly what amount of a mortgage you’re approved for so that there are no surprises, and you’ll be in a better position to compete for that new home if there is a lot of interest or even a bidding war. 

  • Find a real estate agent that ‘gets you’

Finally, once you’ve done a little research, it’s time to look for a Realtor® that truly ‘gets you’. Your Realtor® will help you understand current market conditions and will know the details about your local market. They’ll also ensure that your best interests are protected, meaning that your home sells for the right price, and/or you purchase a home that is within budget and a great match for you and your family. 

If you’re selling your home or condo in Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Grey Highlands, Blue Mountain or the Georgian Triangle area, talk to us at Clairwood Real Estate. We pride ourselves on ‘getting our clients’ and putting your interests first. Connect with us today at 705-445-7085 to find out how our top team of Realtors® can help!

Selling your house? What is it really worth?

Selling your house? What is it really worth?

What is your home really worth?

Has the time come for you to buy a new home and sell your current one? If you answered “yes,” then you’re about to embark on a journey filled with many questions and answers. Generally people choose to sell their home when they set out to make a new purchase. If this is true in your case, the biggest (and maybe the first) question of the day is: What is my home really worth right now?

A great way to establish the list price of your home is to get a Current Market Analysis (CMA). A CMA usually includes a range of comparable properties that are within your neighbourhood. If you happen to have a particularly unique property, a broader area may need to be explored in order to find those comparable properties. 

In any case, a CMA for your home should incorporate properties currently on the market (aka. your competition), pending sales (these are great for determining what the market is actually paying), recent sales, and expired or withdrawn listings.

Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and imagine your reaction (as a buyer) to these two statements:

  1.  The seller says their house is worth $500,000
  2. The house is priced at $500,000 based on an appraisal

Some buyers would consider #2 to be the most informative. However most buyers don’t put much weight in what anyone else thinks the house is worth. Buyers will care about what they think the house is worth. So if you have a worn out, smelly carpet, or questionable looking wallpaper that puts off the buyer, it doesn’t matter what the appraisal is. This is why some people say that the market value is ultimately determined by the number of dollars that a buyer is willing to pay for the home, in a range acceptable to the seller.

Obviously, the buyer’s opinion of your home will directly affect how much they’re willing to pay. You want your house to look like it’s worth every penny of the sum you want. A good way to put your home’s best foot(print) forward is to renovate or “stage” the home to look its best. If you have the time and money to renovate, it’s a great idea to focus on bathrooms and kitchens, because those are the renovations that impress viewers the most to bring in top dollar. However not everyone wants, or needs, to renovate their home in order to excite potential buyers. Sometimes a little staging is all your home needs. Let’s touch on a few simple ways to stage your home for a glamorous first impression:

  1.  Depersonalize – a potential homebuyer needs to picture him or herself living in the rooms of your house. Quirky wall paint or pictures of your kids everywhere can hinder the illusion, so try to remove your family photos, and maybe paint that orange wall a more neutral shade. 
  2.  Make sure it’s all in top condition – Cracked plaster, torn screens, and burnt out pot lights are all no-nos. You may be used to seeing these small things by now, but they add up to a bad first impression. It’s best to repair anything that needs it, prior to putting your listing on the market.
  3.  Scale of the house vs. furnishings – You might love your giant sofa, but if it makes the room look tiny, it probably should be moved. Try to arrange small groupings of furniture (ideally more than one in large rooms) with plenty of space around them. 

At the end of the day, the answer to the question of your home’s worth has a few layers. After a little research, and some renovation or staging work to nudge those buyers into a “spending” frame of mind, you’ll find that your home’s worth might be exactly, or even more than, what you thought it was. If you’re looking for more information on or selling your home in the winter – or any time of year, we are here to help you at Clairwood Real Estate. Call on our experienced Realtors® at 705-445-7085 and we can help you get started on finding your dream home in Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Grey Highlands, Blue Mountain or the Georgian Triangle Area.

Mastering the art of staging

Mastering the art of staging

Selling your home isn’t just about presenting bricks and mortar; it’s about forging an emotional connection with prospective buyers.

This is where the art of staging takes centre stage. According to Zoocasa, staging is a strategic process that revolves around arranging and decorating your home to accentuate its finest attributes, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere, and boosting its market desirability.

In today’s competitive real estate market, effective staging can work wonders in expediting the selling process. In this article, we will offer you invaluable insights into the art of staging, ensuring that your home captures the hearts of potential buyers, ultimately leading to a quicker and more successful sale.

1. Declutter and Simplify

Effective staging kicks off with decluttering your space. Bid adieu to personal items, excess furniture, and knick-knacks. A clean and clutter-free environment aids buyers in envisioning themselves in the space, while simultaneously making rooms appear more spacious and inviting.

2. Neutralize the Colour Palette

While your bold paint choices may reflect your personal style, opting for neutral colours can broaden your home’s appeal. Consider a fresh coat of paint in hues of white, beige, or light grey. A neutral colour palette enables buyers to concentrate on the architectural charms of the home rather than bold paint selections.

3. Focus on Curb Appeal

The exterior of your home serves as the initial impression for potential buyers. Ensure your lawn is impeccably maintained, the pathway is clear, and the front door extends a warm welcome. A new doormat and potted plants can work wonders in enhancing the entrance’s allure.

4. Enhance Natural Light

Natural light can create an open and airy ambience. Pull back curtains, open blinds, and guarantee your windows are spotless to allow the radiance of sunlight to flood in. Strategically positioned mirrors can brighten darker rooms by reflecting light.

5. Furniture Arrangement and Functionality

Arrange your furniture to create a sense of flow and purpose in every room. Emphasize the functionality of each space; for instance, position a desk in a corner to illustrate how a room could function as a home office. Eliminate any furniture that obstructs pathways or contributes to a cramped feel.

6. Accessorize with Intention

Utilize accessories to elevate each room’s aesthetics, but refrain from overwhelming the space. Opt for items that harmonize with the home’s style and inject a touch of character, such as tasteful décor pieces, artwork, or throw pillows.

7. Create Inviting Bedrooms

In the realm of bedrooms, the focus should be on fostering a tranquil and welcoming atmosphere. Make the bed the centrepiece with crisp linens and decorative pillows. Keep nightstands free from personal items and maintain décor that is simple yet elegant.

8. Spotlight Key Features

If your home boasts unique architectural features or selling points like a fireplace, built-in shelving, or a scenic view, be sure to accentuate these aspects. Arrange furniture and décor to draw attention to these home highlights.

9. Incorporate Greenery

The presence of plants and flowers can infuse vitality and vibrancy into a space. Consider placing potted plants or fresh flower arrangements in key areas, such as the living room, dining room, and kitchen.

10. Maintain a Cozy Ambience

Foster a warm and inviting ambience by introducing soft throws, cushions, and area rugs. These elements can aid potential buyers in envisioning themselves relaxing and relishing the space.

By embracing these staging techniques, you can transform your home into a welcoming and captivating space that resonates with buyers.

Remember, staging is all about presenting your home in the best possible light, allowing potential buyers to picture a future there. Armed with these tips and tricks, you’re well-prepared to master the art of staging and lay the foundation for a swift and triumphant home sale.

From: www.village-life.ca

Crunching the Numbers: Closing Costs & What You Need to Know

Crunching the Numbers: Closing Costs & What You Need to Know

Looking for a new home, recreational property or condo? It’s a great time of year to do so, with serious sellers out there. While you’re on the hunt for that perfect property, don’t forget to look ahead to the closing, which, well…you guessed it – includes closing costs. When buying real estate (especially for the first time) it’s important to keep in mind that there are additional expenses involved when closing that deal that need to be budgeted for in advance. Here are the top closing costs to be aware of so that you don’t encounter any unexpected bills you weren’t prepared for: 

Land Transfer Taxes

Anyone who buys property in Ontario (or when it’s a gift) must pay land transfer taxes to the Province on closing day, and the amounts can be substantial. The tax is calculated as a percentage of what you paid for the property. For example, if you buy a home worth $625,000 in the Collingwood area, you will pay approximately $8,975 in land transfer taxes, and if you are buying in the Toronto area, that may be double. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, we have good news: you may be eligible for a refund on all or most of those taxes, so be sure to talk to your REALTOR® or lender about your options. 

REALTOR® Fees

If you are purchasing a home (and not selling one) we have more good news: You don’t have to pay sales commissions or fees to your REALTOR. How it works is that from the total amount you paid for the home, the seller is on the hook to pay the real estate fees, which are usually 3% – 5% of the purchase price. This gets split between the listing and buying agents. If you are selling a property, you will need to pay the commission, so be sure to negotiate your fees in advance with your REALTOR® when you sign your   agreement. 

Insurance 

For those who don’t have a 20% down payment saved up, you will have pay for mortgage insurance to help cover any risks should you default on your mortgage without having built up equity in the home. There is also content and liability insurance required, and, for some people, they purchase title insurance when concerned about liens or related issues with the home. Be sure to factor these insurance expenses in with your total budget each month after purchasing the home. 

Legal Fees 

Finally, if you’re buying a home, condo or even a vacant lot, it’s advisable to consider using the services of a real estate lawyer. It’s a lawyer’s job to carefully inspect your purchase agreement, insurance forms, inspection reports, and all other documents to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. They also work to ensure the closing is executed carefully and that all closing costs are paid out. 

Moving into a new home is an exciting adventure, and there’s a lot to know. At Clairwood Real Estate, we are here to help you along each step of the way, and we want everything to run as smoothly as possible – with no surprises. Be sure to give us a call at 705-445-7085. Our experienced REALTORS® are here to make the process of buying or selling your Grey Highlands, Meaford, Wasaga Beach, Collingwood, Clearview or Blue Mountain home easy and enjoyable.

Finding The Perfect Investment Property

Finding The Perfect Investment Property

When it comes to investing, there really is an abundance of available options. For many, buying an investment property is a more stable route to go, as real estate values are almost always on the rise. Not only is an investment property a pretty solid choice to help augment your income or aid in your retirement planning, it’s also a great way to diversify your investment portfolio. Ultimately, the right choice is a personal one, and depends on quite a few individual factors, including your personal financial goals and needs.

Once you’ve completed all the necessary research, reviewed all your options and decided that purchasing an investment property is, in fact, right for you, it’s time to start your search for the perfect property. These four tips will help you find it: 

Demand for rental properties 

Before you begin to view individual properties, it’s important to know the best area in which to begin your search. Naturally, the area you choose should have a strong demand for rental properties.

When considering rental property demand, it’s important to also think about the types of tenants you’d like to attract. Although long-term tenants may be on your radar, you may also want to entertain the idea of using your property as a vacation property rental. With close proximity to ski hills, Wasaga Beach, and other outdoor recreation opportunities, Collingwood and the Blue Mountains present the unique opportunity to rent seasonally or short-term, which may prove to be more lucrative in the long run, or may fit your needs better. Be sure to connect with your REALTOR® to learn about the local rental by-laws.

Cheaper isn’t always best 

When it comes to investment properties, cheaper isn’t always best. Although it’s important to find an investment property that you can comfortably afford, it’s best to spend a little more than rock bottom. This will not only ensure that you’ll make more in rental income, it will also likely mean you will need to spend less money on property renovations, constant repairs, and upgrades. 

Aim for cash positive properties 

If it’s your first time purchasing an investment property, remember to try to keep it cash positive. Cash positive means that the rental income you’ll be bringing in is more than your mortgage payments, property taxes and any monthly utility or maintenance costs that may be involved. It may seem obvious to want to have this arrangement, but with investment properties, often the owner has put so much of their own money into the property up-front, that they don’t always see an actual income for the first while. 

Use an experienced REALTOR® 

Finding the perfect real estate investment property can be tricky. In order to ensure you have access to all possible options and have the information you need, it’s always advisable to work with an experienced REALTOR®. A REALTOR® not only understands the market and local area, they also have access to listings that you may not be privy to. Additionally, an experienced REALTOR® can also provide you with helpful tips and background information that will make finding your dream investment property a reality. 

If you’re thinking about purchasing an investment property in Collingwood, Blue Mountain, Wasaga Beach or the Southern Georgian Bay area, the knowledgeable REALTORS® at Clairwood Real Estate are the ones to talk to. We can discuss past and present market trends, as well as suitable locations.  We also have access to a database of potential properties for you to look at, and will be able to narrow down the choices in your area based on your specifications. Call us today at 705-445-7085.

5 Questions to Ask a Condo Board Before Buying

5 Questions to Ask a Condo Board Before Buying

Doing your due diligence before buying a condo is of the utmost importance. Potential questions include: 

  • What are the service terms for board members?
  • Does the condo board have a reserve fund and how much money is in it? 
  • Does the condo have any upcoming major repairs? 
  • Are water, electricity or heating included?
  • Is maintenance of common areas (garbage pickup, snow removal, etc.) covered by condo fees? 

They’re all questions you’ll want answers to before you decide to put in an offer. 

Whether you live in a big city full of condos like Toronto, Ontario, or a smaller town like Canmore, Alberta, condos are often seen as a first step in homeownership for young adults. They’re also popular among seniors looking for low-maintenance spaces, and those who want the perks of amenities with hassle-free living.

So, what should you be asking before purchasing a condo?

1. Can I see the status certificate?

Jesse Melo, a REALTOR® in Hamilton, and salesperson with the Golfi Team – ReMax Escarpment, says in his current real estate climate, there has been a slight uptick in people looking for condos because the listing price can be more affordable. He says reviewing the status certificate before finalizing the purchase of a condo is a must. 

It offers a financial and structural snapshot of the building and the corporation. The certificate can tell you if the building has a healthy reserve fund for maintenance and repairs, as well as essential information regarding whether the current owners owe on condo fees or how much the condo fees have risen year over year. Early in the purchasing process, be sure to get your hands on this essential document and have it reviewed by your REALTOR® and a lawyer.

2. Have there been any special assessments on the building?

A special assessment is when a condo corporation cannot pay for a major unexpected repair or expense from the existing reserve fund. Each unit is then expected to pay an extra charge on top of monthly maintenance fees in order to complete the repair or cover the costs.

“When reviewing the condo status certificate, it’s important to make sure the corporation’s reserve fund is at a stable and healthy level,” Melo says. “This could indicate whether the likelihood of a special assessment in the future is low.”

Be on the lookout for any past special assessments and ask the board of directors or property management about any long-term future repairs or maintenance. Be sure to check on the status of snow maintenance, paving, landscaping, plumbing, wiring, pest control, and insurance. Before making a purchase, you want to make sure your condo is in sound structural and financial shape.

3. What is your policy on pets?

Melo says pets are a big topic for condo boards. Condos can have bylaws and policies that govern what kind, the number, and size of pets you can have in your home. Some condos even have bylaws requiring your pet to be approved by the board of directors. If you have a pet, either prior to putting in or before finalizing an offer, it might be worth submitting a pet application to the condo board for approval. Also, keep in mind your furry pal may not be allowed in common areas around your building like the lawn or courtyard, so take a look for close-by public parks if these aren’t options. Lastly, always get your pet approval in writing in case bylaws change down the road. 

4. What amenities are available?

Go and check out the amenities during your condo showing! Visit the gym, sauna, outdoor area, party room, and pool if your building is equipped with any or all of these. Taking a look around will help you determine if management has been staying on top of maintenance. 

“The more amenities a building has, the higher the reserve fund should be,” Melo suggests. This is so they can cover the cost of maintaining them all. Moreover, “the more amenities your condo has, the higher your condo fees could be, so you really have to look at what you will be paying for and consider if it is worth it”.

Ask about scheduled maintenance, too. For example, ask how frequently the pool is closed for cleaning or seasonally. You should also ask about who can use the amenities (are guests able to use the gym?). It’s all well and good for your condo building to have a pool, but if it’s only available a few months out of the year, it may not be as great a benefit as you think.

5. Can you tell me about the board of directors? 

A condo board of directors is responsible for the building’s physical and financial well-being. They make all of the major decisions and uphold the condo’s by-laws and rules. A board is usually elected by owners, and can be made up of owners and, in some cases, tenants. Ask your board for a copy of the condo bylaws, as well as if there are any grandfather clauses in place. It also wouldn’t hurt to speak with the chair or sit in on a board meeting (if possible) to get a feel for the condo corporation’s culture.

Owning a condo is different from owning a single-family or townhome, as there are a lot more hands involved with the daily maintenance and running of the building. However, they can be a great investment, are typically closer to city centres, and can offer great amenities. 

When searching for a condo, working with a REALTOR® has many benefits as they can provide you with market information, help you navigate all of your questions and ensure you’re well-informed to find a condo that’s the right fit for you and your future.

(from realtor.ca)