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Creating a Pantry, when You Don’t Have One!

A pantry is the ideal nook for storing extra food and other items ordinarily crammed into the kitchen. It’s also a nice design feature, as it harkens back to the days of country kitchens with spacious pantries.

You might be thinking, “That’s nice, but our home doesn’t have a pantry.”

That’s okay. These days, there are many ways to create a pantry in your home – even if it doesn’t have one! Here are just a few suggestions:

• Add shelves to the laundry room. If you have the space, this is the ideal place to create a mini-pantry.

• Purchase a portable pantry. There are many available on the market. Some are even disguised as cabinets you’d expect to see in living and dining rooms.

• Purchase a movable pantry. These units are on wheels and can slide in and out of the kitchen with ease. Some are short enough to slide conveniently under a kitchen table.

• Make use of an unused closet. These are rare in most homes, but if you have a closet that isn’t being used, it can easily be converted into a pantry.

As you can see, there are plenty of options available. You don’t necessarily need to build an extra room!

When it Comes to Offers, it’s Not Always about Price

When considering which of two or more competing offers to accept for your home, there is no doubt price plays a huge role. After all, if Offer #1 is $10,000 higher than Offer #2, that’s an enticing difference that puts thousands of extra dollars in your pocket.

However, price isn’t the only thing you should think about when comparing multiple offers. There are other factors you need to consider as well.

For example, what conditions are in the offer? If Offer #1 is conditional upon the seller selling his current property for a specific amount, then what if that doesn’t happen? You could end up with an offer that dies and be forced to list your home all over again.

In that circumstance, accepting the lower offer may be your best move.

There’s also financing to consider. Most sellers will attach a certificate from their mortgage lender to show that they can afford the home and will likely secure financing with little difficulty. If you get an offer where the ability of the seller to get financing is in doubt, that’s a red flag.

The closing date is another important factor. Offer #1 might propose a closing date that’s perfect for you, while Offer #2 is four weeks later. If you’ve already purchased another home, you might require a month of bridge financing if you accept Offer #2. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but the costs and additional hassle are factors you should consider.

As you can see, assessing competing offers isn’t as easy as it looks. Fortunately, as your REALTOR®, I will guide you toward making the right decision.

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Finding an Honest Home Improvement Contractor

You can’t call yourself a dentist unless you have specific hard-earned credentials. Just about anyone, however, can hang a shingle and call himself a home improvement contractor. That’s why choosing a reputable one is so difficult. Here are some tips:

• Find out if he or she is truly in business full-time. A part-time or occasional contractor may not have the experience necessary to do a great job.

• Ask about licenses and other credentials. Some contractors have accreditations from professional and trade associations.

• Review his or her project portfolio. A reputable contractor will have photos and other evidence of work completed for similar clients.

• Check online for reviews. If there are more than five poor reviews within the past three years — that’s a red flag.

• Ask for references. Then, call at least one.

Finally, the best contractors are those that get recommended by people you trust.

Looking for a contractor recommendation? Call today.

How Much Time Should You Spend Viewing Homes?

Figuring out how much time you should spend viewing properties for sale is a little like asking, “How long should I spend trying on shoes?”

The answer seems obvious: As long as it takes to make a decision!

Buying a home is significantly more complex than purchasing shoes – and the stakes are higher too! You need to make sure you have all the information necessary to confidently make the best decision.

There are basically three stages to viewing a property:

1. Macro

2. Micro

3. Professional

When you view a home on a macro basis, you’re looking at it from an overall perspective. For example, you may do a general walk-through to get a first impression and determine if the property has the basic features you need, such as the number of bedrooms and the size of the backyard.

Macro viewing is often the fastest stage in the viewing process and can sometimes take just a few minutes.

If you like what you see, then it’s onto the micro stage. At this stage you take a closer look at the details of the property. You might, for example, spend extra time in the master bedroom imagining how your furniture would look and fit.

The micro stage takes longer simply because the home is now on your shortlist. You’re interested and are considering making an offer.

Finally, the professional stage involves getting a qualified home inspector to go over the property with a fine tooth comb. That typically occurs after you’ve made an offer.

As your REALTOR®, I will guide you through a viewing so you’ll know what to look for and can make a smart, informed decision. Call today.

Finding the List Price “Tipping Points”

Tipping point imageSetting the right list price for a home is a mystery for many sellers. How do you begin to determine what buyers are likely to pay for your property? After all, no two homes are exactly alike.

Yet, setting the right price is crucial. You need to avoid the two price “tipping points” that, if crossed, can cause you a lot of problems.

The first tipping point is a price that’s low enough for buyers to begin thinking something is wrong. They wonder, “Why is your price so low? What are you not telling us about your property?”

But that’s not even the worst problem with this tipping point. If you do get offers at that low price, you’ll have a bigger issue – leaving thousands of dollars on the table.

The other tipping point is setting your price so high it discourages buyers from giving your listing a second look. When your price is that high, you’ll get few enquiries and even fewer people coming to see your property.

Of course, you can lower your price later, if necessary. But experience shows that reduced prices make potential buyers skeptical. Most sellers who price high in the hopes of getting a windfall actually end up selling for much less than they would have if they had priced their properties correctly in the first place.

So what’s the right price to list your property? The answer is somewhere in-between those two tipping points.

Call today for help determining the right price for your property.

Can New Kitchen Appliances Increase the Value of Your Home?

Next to a major kitchen renovation, replacing appliances is the most expensive way to upgrade the space. So if you’re purchasing a new refrigerator, stove or dishwasher in order to make your home more attractive to buyers, you want to make wise purchasing decisions.

The most important consideration is how the appliances will look in the kitchen. Ideally, they should match in colour and style. They should also be the right size for the space. The last thing you want is a fridge that’s so large it dominates the room, or a stove that’s a completely different style and looks out-of-place.

Appearance is important, but so are the features. Buyers viewing your home will scrutinize the appliances. They’ll notice if the fridge has a cold water and ice dispenser. They’ll ask if the dishwasher has noise-reduction features. Double ovens and quick-heating burners (which are now available on electric stoves) will also get a buyer’s attention.

Power consumption is also a big issue these days. Increasingly, buyers are interested in the energy efficient features of a home — appliances included. So, as your REALTOR® I would point out appliances with energy-saving features, such as a dishwasher with a slow-run cycle that saves power.

Kitchen appliances may seem minor compared to the overall appeal of your property, but they do make a difference. Purchase wisely!

Not-So-Obvious Reasons to Meet with a REALTOR®

When is the best time to meet with a REALTOR® like me? Chances are, you would say, “When I’m thinking of buying or selling a home.” You’d be right, of course!

However, there are many other good reasons to meet with me. Here are just a few:

• You want a professional opinion as to the current value of your property, so you know what it would likely sell for in today’s market.

• You notice a home listed for sale in a desirable neighbourhood, and you’re interested in learning more — even if you’re unsure you want to make a move.

• You’re thinking of moving within the next couple of years, and you want to find a REALTOR® like me, that you can get to know and trust.

• You want some recommendations for preparing your home for sale and especially determining what repairs and other work needs to be done.

• You want an honest assessment as to the state of the local market, and the best time for you to buy or sell.

• You have real estate-related questions and you want to talk to an expert who knows the local market well and can provide you with answers.

As you can see, there’s a lot of value you can get from talking to me as your REALTOR®. Call today.