Windy days and home maintenance

Reports of winds up to 100 km/hour are reported in Waterloo Region today as wind warnings come into effect. High winds can cause potential damage to trees, building and power lines. We can’t stop wild winds and unpredictable weather, but we can do our best to prevent damage to our home and protect our families.

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Regular inspections of your attic including ensuring that rafters and sheathing are in good condition is vital. Check that the nails that hold the sheathing to the rafters have been properly installed and that the contractor didn’t miss hitting the truss.  It’s also a good idea to inspect for water damage and that your vents are operating correctly, since condensation of any type reduces the integrity of your roof.

What else? Check the exterior and survey your shingles; loose shingles are a way for water and pests to penetrate, so a visit from a contractor may be in order if you see loose, degraded, or malformed shingles. While you’re up on the ladder, have a look at your eves troughs and ensure that they are properly secured, keeping an eye out for stripped fasteners or damaged aluminum.

Maintenance of trees near your home is also key and while you may be able to do smaller jobs, it’s best to leave the big ones to a professional. Make it a habit to assess foliage on your property, and trim or even remove trees that are unhealthy, dead or too close to your dwelling.

Unpredictable weather including high winds are a great reason to keep your home maintained in good condition. Making sure eves troughs, shutters and doors are secured isn’t just for curb appeal, it’s for your safety as well.

Lastly, avoid chasing your belongings down the street and make sure those recycling bins and trash cans are put away on garbage day. Your neighbours will thank you 🙂

Spring cleaning and beyond

If you could earn $5000-$10,000 if you got your home sparkling clean, would you take the time to do it? You sure would! That is basically what happens when you decide to list your home.

When every corner is dusted, every wall washed, and every mirror shining, along with smart home staging, you’ll see a great return on investment on your home.

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This applies whether your home is worth $200,000 or 2 million. Why? People like things that are new or feel new. And while your home may not have just been built, you can give buyers the satisfaction of putting an offer in (over asking!) that they can feel confident in.

Let your home architecture and style shine! It pays!

Home Renovations — Building Value with Equity

In a healthy real estate market, with steadily increasing appreciation rates, purchasing a home can be a great investment! But buying property isn’t the only way to benefit — you might want to consider taking advantage of the equity you’ve built since purchasing your home.

But before you grab the cheque book and credit card, and start logging on to Houzz.ca and Instagram for inspiration, remember that your home’s equity and the return on investment from each project is not realized until you actually sell your home. So what to do? Renovate S.M.A.R.T.:

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Stay on track
When you have your budget lined up, stick to it! The middle of a kitchen reno is not the time to go over budget by falling in love with Italian sourced marble rather than domestic quartz. Remodelling projects inevitably have some bumps and delays, so staying on track, with some financial wiggle room for delays, will help you keep your sanity and keep your finances on track.

Make sensible choices
Your budget, no matter how big it is, is limited. Prioritize the bones of your home, including HVAC, roofing, structural issues, and the correction of problems such as mold or moisture problems before you decide to add a patio in the yard, or change the flooring in the main floor because you think it’s outdated. This will not only help you maintain your home better, it will also add buyer confidence when you decide to sell.

Always check your finances and see your REALTOR®
See your financial advisor or mortgage broker to find out what your options are for secured credit lines, home equity lines of credit, and more. Not only will they be able to help acquaint you to the products available to you, they will also help you come up with a budget that is compatible with your financial goals.

Alongside your financial planner, make sure you ask your REALTOR® for a valuation of your home’s value, which is changing all the time in this dynamic market. Your REALTOR® will also have their finger on the pulse when it comes to understanding the impact of renovations and remodelling decisions that will either help or hinder the sale of your home. Getting your real estate agent’s input on these decisions is a great way for your to balance your desires with saleability and market value.

Research, research, research.
Whether you choose to use a company that is well-known in the trade, or a smaller one-man-show, do your research. Get references, read online reviews, and even ask for their HST number, official business name or full name, WSIB number, and insurance number. This way, you can keep track of who you are paying and may also use this information to confirm that they are a registered business that is legitimately covered by insurance. You might also want to check that they have the intention to submit the HST that you are paying as part of your work order invoice by confirming the registration of their business with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Try small projects before large ones
A full kitchen gut isn’t always necessary and fresh paint, new knobs, and updated quality flooring can go a long way. What else can help you make an impact? Replace builder-grade and outdated lighting with new custom options. Increasing your curb appeal is also a great place to add value, such as adding perennials, or simply replacing old hardware on your entrance door.

If you’re intent on making an impact with your remodelling project, you’ll see a higher return on kitchens and bathrooms. You can also stretch your dollar more if you sway more toward classic finishes rather than more trendy colours, such as bright red or sunshine yellow when it comes to more permanent features such as tile or appliances.

Uncommon Tips for Making Your Home Show Better

Most people know the basics of preparing a home for a viewing or an open house: make sure everything is clean and tidy, mow the lawn, sweep the walkway, etc.

But there are a number of lesser known tips — tips you often don’t hear about — that can make your home even more attractive and desirable to potential buyers.

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In the kitchen, for example, it’s obvious that the stove, sink, and countertops should be spotless. But did you know that grinding a lemon will help eliminate any lingering smells? Want to go a step further? You should also arrange the contents of your cabinets and refrigerator to face forward.

In the bathrooms, make sure the toilet lids are closed. Hang matching towel sets.

Moving on to the bedrooms, check that nothing is lying around. Even a shirt draped neatly over a chair can appear messy to some people.

In the kids’ rooms, the toys should be “staged”, not just flung around. For example, set up a train set like an appealing store display. Don’t just have bits and pieces scattered on the floor.

If possible, move half the contents of all closets into storage. This makes a big difference in how spacious they’ll appear.

Turn on everything: all the lights (even the one above the stove), the fireplace, the lights in the basement.

Finally, here’s another uncommon tip. House plants look their best — brighter, more upright and alive — approximately four hours after you water them.

All these tips take just minutes to implement, but they can make a big difference in how your home shows. Studies prove that a well prepped home will often sell faster, and for a higher price, so it’s worth the effort.

February Market Update for Waterloo Region

There was a frenzy of home sales in February as 474 residential homes were sold in February through the Multiple Listing System (MLS® System) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR), an increase of 4.2 percent compared to February 2016.

A lack of listings to satisfy the strong consumer demand is fueling multiple offers often resulting in sale prices above the actual asking price, which pushed the total residential average sale price in February up 27.5% compared to the same month last year to $463,355.

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“The dream of homeownership is very much alive and well,” says, Craig. “It’s a challenging time to be selling or purchasing a home and sellers may be tempted into thinking they can simply stick a sign in the yard because it’s such a strong sellers’ market.” But Craig notes that in these market conditions it is even more important than ever to avail yourself of the professional knowledge of a local REALTOR® to guide you through these unique and evolving market conditions.

For more details on February’s K-W Market Update including statistics from Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich Townships, click here.

 

January Market Update- Waterloo Region

While demand remained strong in January, the number of active listings was down significantly: There were 367 active listings at the end of January, compared to 1,068 in 2016.

“The continued strong demand combined with a tight supply of listings means that many properties are not on the market for very long,” says James Craig, President of the KWAR. “This has created an extremely competitive buying environment.”

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The average days on market in January were significantly shorter than a year ago: 22 days, compared to 47 days, and six days quicker than in December. The average sales price of all residential properties sold in January was $421,104, a 0.5 percent decline compared to the
previous month, and a 19.1 percent increase compared to January 2016.

Reaching a new milestone in December, was the average price of a Detached home sold through the KWAR’s MLS®
System which for the first time surpassed the half million mark; a benchmark that was repeated again in January, with the
average detached home selling for $501,821, an increase of 22.7 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

President Craig points out that Waterloo region is in high demand. “Getting into the housing market at the moment is not easy, and buyers need all the help they can get. It is more important than ever that you avail yourself of the professional knowledge of a local REALTOR® to guide you through these unique market conditions”

For more details on February’s K-W Market Update including statistics from Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich Townships, click here.