What to do before a showing

Your home is staged, listed and live! Now what? The next step is to make sure your home looks as good as it did the day the photos were done. Here are 10 great tips to keep it that way:

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  1. Wipe down cupboards and counters in kitchen and bathroom with vinegar to help deodorize, clean and disinfect.
  2. Sweep, vacuum and mop up spills and crumbs regularly.
  3. Make sure all trash bins are emptied. No one wants to smell yesterday’s dinner.
  4. Keep toilet lids closed at all times.
  5. Make sure the temperature is comfortable. Not too cold, not to hot.
  6. Turn on all the lights.
  7. Open all the blinds and curtains to allow natural light in.
  8. Put away stray toys, clothing, and shoes.
  9. Keep the front foyer clear.
  10. Clean up any pet waste in your yard.

The most important tip? Make sure you’re gone before the potential Buyers arrive!

These guidelines will help you get the most money for your home, and keep things on the up and up!

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 🙂

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.

Before a showing- A quick to-do list

Good news! You’ve got a showing request (or many!) What now?  When preparing your house for a viewing, you’re going to want to make sure it’s clean and tidy. After all, you want to make the best impression possible on potential buyers. But in the minutes before the buyers are due to arrive, there are a few final touches you need to do in your house to ensure it looks its best:

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  • Put away coats, hats and shoes. Focus around the foyer. You want a sharp first impression.
  • Round up any clutter like slippers, errant toys or books and put them in a basket and away in a closet.
  • Wipe off counter tops and get mirrors sparkling
  • Turn on all lights and lamps. Don’t forget darker areas like nooks and corners. A house that is bright looks more roomy and highlights architectural features
  • Make sure the toilet lids are down. Even when a washroom is sparkling clean, a raised toilet seat gives the impression – however incorrectly – that things are less than hygienic.
  • Open all curtains and blinds. This makes rooms look bigger and brighter, even at night.

It only takes a few minutes to do these few final touches, and your home will show better as a result!

 

Prepping for spring market

Spring market is the busiest selling season when it comes to real estate! With all the buzz about the market favouring sellers, does that mean that you should just sit back and wait for your home to sell?

You can. But we suggest continuing to put your best foot forward. When selling your home, it really does make a difference if you commit to refreshing, cleaning and staging your home.

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Top 5 classic quick tips:

  1. Get your home spotless – this includes inside closets, baseboards, cupboards, around the stove, under the sofa, and definitely every inch of your bathrooms. People love a clean home when they see one!
  2. Stow away your valuables– That antique jewelry your Aunt Edith gave you when you turned 16 can find a new temporary home. Better to keep it out of sight for security and peace of mind.
  3. Clear up clutter – Extra furniture, old clothes and toys, fridge magnets and an abundance of decor can be packed up to make way for more space on tables, floors and counter tops, allowing buyers to focus on your home. Bonus points if you donate your extra stuff to a local charity.
  4. Depersonalize – Family photos should be packed up carefully and removed from walls, and tables. For example, a family photo gallery in the foyer brings the buyers attention to the pictures and the sellers, and not to the house. If your goal is to sell the house, best to remove all distractions from the eyes and minds of the buyers.
  5. Call in a professional – Sometimes, it best to call in a professional stager. In some cases, staging can increase the selling price of your home by up to 17%. Looking for a referral? Ask you Real Estate Agent who will gladly assist!

What’s in store for 2017?

As construction of the light rail transit system (LRT) continues, Kitchener-Waterloo is expected to continue to thrive economically. In combination with the continued increase of Go-Train frequency between Kitchener and the GTA, along with the healthy tech sector growth, the region will continue to attract buyers looking to find more value for their money arriving from Toronto and area, as well as commuters, and those employed or looking to become involved in K-W’s technology parks and increased business growth.

The RE/MAX 2017 average residential sale price expectation for Kitchener-Waterloo is an eight per cent increase in home prices, increasing to $413,313 for the average residential sales price, up from $382, 687 in 2016. Spring 2017 should also bring increased inventory levels, along with some new developments coming to market. However, 2017 is expected to stay a seller’s market with an expected 8 per cent increase in home prices.

For sellers, these numbers provide even more incentive to ensure you present your home in the best light, to make the most out of the sale of one of your biggest assets. This includes making repairs, maintaining home systems including HVAC, and water lines, as well as keeping your curb appeal in tip-top shape.

If you’re thinking about selling your home and want to maximize your profits, ask us how! We’ll provide you with a free home evaluation and get you started on understanding the value of your home in our current market.

Real Estate Report on Kitchener-Waterloo 2016

The Kitchener-Waterloo Housing Market saw significant growth in 2016.  The average residential sale price rose approximately 10 per cent to $382,697 up from $348,220 in 2015. Many residential listings received multiple offers, with pre-emptive or bully offers being a common occurrence.

Housing Market Kitchener-Waterloo

Attracting Out-of-Towners – Greater Toronto Area buyers continue to drive demand in Kitchener-Waterloo as they seek out affordable housing options along the GO Train line. Waterloo’s economy and consumer confidence were boosted in 2016 due to substantial growth in its tech sector as the low Canadian dollar encouraged increased investment from American tech companies.

Outlying Towns Heating Up- New Hamburg and Baden, located on the outskirts of Kitchener, are becoming increasingly popular with move-up buyers and retirees. For young families, the areas offer good schools and nice properties at affordable prices, while retirees are attracted to the adult retirement villages, which feature bungalow-style homes, amenities and activities.

First-Time Buyers- First-time buyers are a key driver of the Kitchener-Waterloo market. Young couples looking to enter the market typically prefer low maintenance condo properties that provide easy access to the downtown core.

Condo market – Condo sales were up in 2016 between January and October to 1,358, compared to 1,029 properties sold during the same period in 2015. Due to a surplus of condo inventory near Wilfred Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, it’s expected that some of the housing initially intended for student rentals may eventually shift to wider availability residential rental units.

Source:  REMAX 2017 HousingMarketOutlookReport

 

 

Move-Up and Luxury Home Buyers- Kitchener-Waterloo Real Estate Trends 2016

Kitchener-Waterloo was characterized by strong real estate market throughout 2016 with house prices increasing by an average of 10% over home prices in 2015. A series of broken sales records combined with low inventory has had a rippling effect on everyone.

Move-up buyers in particular have enjoyed the maximization of their equity. Owners who have sold their homes in 2016 are benefiting from the substantial activity at the lower end of the market, which has allowed them to move into larger, new homes, often in the luxury $1 million+ range. While there has been some multiple-offer activity in the luxury home market, competition is remarkably less than that found below $500,000.

Luxury Home

However, there are only a few weeks left in 2016 for buyers of luxury homes to enjoy the original land transfer rates. New mortgage policy has updated or “modernized” land transfer rates to reflect the prices of luxury homes, with purchases of homes over $2 million seeing a .5% rate increase to help accommodate the doubling of the First-Time Home Buyer land transfer rebate announced in November 2016.

“Modernized” Ontario Land Transfer Tax Rates
Home Purchase Price      
       Tax Rate
Up to $55,000                                 0.5%
$55,000 to $250,000                      1.0%
$250,000 to $400,000                    1.5%
$400,000 to $2-million                    2.0%
$2-million and over                         2.5%

 

$100 Million Project Planned for West Galt

With plenty of focus on development in Waterloo and Kitchener for the past few decades, now it’s Cambridge’s turn to step into the technology and expansion lime-light.

The growth of multiple condominium lofts and apartments in Galt will be joined by the Gaslight District by HIP Developments. Planned as a complete community with a cobbled square, it will be centred within Grand Avenue, Fraser Street, Glebe Street and St. Andrews Street, next to the Grand River in West Galt.

The expansive project will span 2 years, with the projected result being a European look and feel housing 400 residential units, a tech hub based around Conestoga College’s tech programs such as advanced manufacturing and cyber-security, as well as restaurants, and retail.

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This 100 million dollar investment will include selective demolition of portions of the Southworks Factory Outlet which currently is home to nearly 50 shops.

HIP’s other projects in the region have included 181 King in Waterloo, Trio on Belmont in Kitchener and the River Bank Lofts in Hespeler.

Video: http://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=997676&binId=1.1147261&playlistPageNum=1

 

First-time Home Buyers to get Double the Land Transfer Tax Rebate

Yesterday afternoon Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced an increase to the land transfer tax (LTT) rebate for first-time buyers. The rebate is being doubled from $2,000 to $4,000. The announcement came as part of Ontario’s Fall Economic Statement and is specifically aimed to help first-time buyers enter the housing market. Buyers can start claiming the rebate effective January 1, 2017.

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Although home prices continue to rise, every little bit helps to allow buyers a chance to get into the market and begin to build equity and wealth. With the new change, first-time home buyers who are permanent residents will not pay land transfer tax on the first $368,000. In many cases in Kitchener-Waterloo and area, the rebate will translate to these buyers not paying land transfer tax on the purchase of their first home at all.