Should You Move or Renovate? Three Things to Consider

Determining if you should buy a new home or fix up your current one isn’t easy. In fact, the decision can be steeped in so much drama they make reality TV shows about it!The words Buy, Fix and Sell on three arrow signs to illustrate buying a house, fixing it and selling the house to a new buyer, or flipping real estate

So if you’re considering whether to move or improve, here are three things to consider.

1. Will a renovation truly fix what you don’t like about your property?

If you’re tired of a small kitchen, for example, it might not be possible, given the layout, to make it any bigger. On the other hand, if you’re craving a spacious rec room with a cosy fireplace then a renovation could make that happen.

Of course, there are some things you may want that aren’t specific to your house, such as an easier commute or nearby park. Those are features you may only be able to get by moving.

2. How much will a renovation cost? How does that compare to the cost of moving to a new home?

It’s important to get accurate estimates of each so you can make a smart decision. This is where a good REALTOR® can help.

Keep in mind that renovations have a habit of costing more than you originally anticipate. As mentioned earlier, the final result should be a home you want to stay in for quite some time.

3. Beware of compromising versus settling.

Whichever decision you make — renovate or sell — you can expect to have to make at least some compromises. That’s normal.

For example, consider adding an extension to your house. That’s a major renovation. Is it the ideal way to get the extra room you want? Do the benefits of renovating outweigh the benefits of finding a new larger home designed to include the space you need? Yes, it’s a tough decision. If you’re in the midst of making it, call today, to get the facts you need to make the best choice for you.

Extending the Life of Cut Flowers

There are few things more beautiful than cut flowers in a vase. They instantly brighten any room. That is, of course, until they wilt and die. So how do you make cut flowers last as long as possible? Here are some ideas:

• Cut the bottom of the stems before you put the flowers in the vase. An angled cut is best as this will enable the flower to draw in more water.

• Add a fertilizer to the water. Most flower shops include a pouch with the order. Follow the directions carefully. Don’t use too much.images

• Make sure the vase is high enough to support the flowers. Too much strain on the stems will cause the flowers to die sooner.

• After a couple of days, re-snip the stems. This will add an additional day or two to the life of the flowers.

• Flowers last longer if you put them in the fridge (in water) overnight. That’s why florists store cut flowers in cool rooms.

Finally, watch the water level and top off as required. Older cut flowers will die quickly when starved of water — even for just a couple of hours.

Surprising Ways Buyers Find Homes

Do you ever wonder how most people find the homes they eventually buy? You might imagine them driving by a “For Sale” sign or seeing a home for sale in the newspaper and then calling to inquire. Of course, many buyers find out about listed properties that way. But, according to research by the National Association of Realtors, there are many other — sometimes surprising — ways buyers find their next dream home.

For example:

• 88% of buyers find a home with the help of a real estate agent.

• 90% of buyers search online as part of the home buying process. (Such as viewing a property’s profile on the agent’s website.)

• 69% of buyers searching for a home using Google, use a specific local term, such as “Whitby-south homes for sale”.

• 29-46% of buyers attend an Open House as part of their home hunting activities.

Overall, the research shows that buyers are using a multitude of ways — combining online and offline methods — to find homes. What does all this mean to you? If means that if you’re preparing your home for sale, you need to ensure your marketing plan takes into account all the ways buyers are finding properties — so you can be sure that they will find yours. Looking for a REALTOR® who knows how to market your home for maximum exposure? Call today.

The Latest in Kitchen Fire Prevention. What You Need to Know.

More fires start in the kitchen than in any other room. Those fires can be expensive; since even a minor incident, with no injuries, can result in significant damage. That’s why it’s important to keep up with the latest in fire prevention.

The most recent research tells us:

  • Never leave cooking food unattended. Doing so is the number one cause of kitchen fires.
  • Make sure cooking appliances, especially deep fryers, are safety certified by the appropriate government agency.
  • When using oil in a frying pan, always heat slowly at no more than a medium heat setting.
  • Always turn off stove burners and other cooking appliances immediately after cooking.
  • Never attempt to put out a grease fire with water. Use baking soda or a fire extinguisher.
  • Never remove or cover up a smoke detector due to nuisance alarms. The one alarm that isn’t a nuisance may save your life.

Finally, experts say that if you can’t put out a fire immediately, get everyone out of the home and call emergency services.

How the Wrong Pricing Strategy Can Cost You Thousands

As you’re probably aware, the list price you set for your property has an impact on how quickly it sells — and how much you earn on the sale.

What you may not realize is just how significant an impact it has. Consider the following examples.

Example 1:

You price your property well above its current market value. As a result, many buyers don’t bother to see it because it’s outside of their price range. Those who do see it are confused by the high price tag, (and may even be suspicious.) They may wonder, “What’s going on?”

In this scenario, the home will likely languish on the market for weeks or even months. You might even have to lower the price dramatically to re-ignite interest.

Example 2:

You price your property just a couple of percentage points lower than what is necessary to gain the interest of qualified buyers. That might not seem like much of a problem. How much can a couple of percentage points matter?

Those points matter a lot.

On a $400,000 property, pricing your home just 2% lower than necessary could cost you $8,000 on the sale. That’s a serious amount of money!

So, as you can see, pricing your home right is serious business. Fortunately, a good REALTOR® knows how to set the right price.

Looking for a good REALTOR®? Call today.

Keeping Houseplants Alive when You’re Away

When you’re out-of-town, there are plenty of kennels and other facilities that will mind your dog or cat. In fact, the pet-care business is booming! However, the same options aren’t available for your houseplants. So what do you do?

First, keep in mind that plants can go for several days or even a couple of weeks without water. This frequently happens in their natural habitats. So if you’re gone for just a few days, your flora will probably be fine.

Flowering plants tend to need the most water. Give them an extra dose just before you leave. Also, make sure they are in indirect, rather than direct sunlight. That will help them conserve water.

If yo’re going to be away for a week or more, consider one of the several products on the market that water plants automatically. Many of these allow you to adjust how much water each plant gets — and when.

You’ll find plenty of do-it-yourself instructions for making your own automatic waterer on the internet, from plastic cups with tiny holes in the bottom to upside-down bottles with wicks. These might work, but you’ll want to test them first.

Of course, your best option might be to have a friend or trusted neighbor take care of the plants for you. Just be sure to give them clear instructions.

Your houseplants will thank you.

What Home Inspectors See that You Can’t

When you make an offer on a home, it’s a smart idea to have a professional home inspector check it out from top to bottom. This inspection will ensure that the property doesn’t have any unexpected “issues”. After all, you don’t want to buy a home only to discover that the roof needs to be replaced, immediately, for thousands of dollars.

That being said, you might question whether you really need to invest the few hundred dollars it costs for a professional home inspection. “The home we want to buy looks like it’s in very good shape,” you might be thinking. “I can’t see anything wrong with it.”

However, a professional home inspector can see things you can’t. When you view a property that’s on the market, you might be able to notice obvious issues, like a crack in the foundation or a dripping faucet. If you’re experienced with home maintenance, you might even notice roofing tiles that look like they’re overdue for replacement.

But you won’t pick up all the issues a home inspector can.

Checklist

A home inspector will, for example, use a special device to check for moisture build-up in the washrooms – which can be an indication of mould. He or she will also inspect wiring to make sure everything is safe and compliant with the building code.

That’s not all.

Like a determined detective, a home inspector will investigate the property’s structure, electrical and plumbing systems, insulation, and other components — and then report the findings to you.

In the end, a professional home inspection gives you peace-of-mind and protects your investment. So getting one is highly recommended — even for recently built homes.

A good REALTOR® can recommend a trusted home inspector for you.

Looking for more ideas on making smart decisions when buying a home? Call today.