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How to Keep Tabs on Your Home Maintenance Expenses

The prospect of living in your own home may seem like a good reason to get really excited. Then again, your dream home would still experience a process of wear and tear.

Indeed, your journey as a first-time homeowner doesn’t end with a done deal. You still have taxes to pay, a mortgage to shoulder, and potential maintenance issues that will leave you bone dry if you haven’t prepared well for it.

That said, it pays to know how much you’ll be spending on maintenance and repair costs.

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What is Neighborhood Targeting and Why Does it Matter?

Buying a house may seem like a simple activity, but in reality, a lot of thought is put into the process.

Homeowners know this all too well. They have an ideal home in mind, but they still have to stick to whatever resources they have on hand. This makes it even harder for them to search for the right homes for the best price.

Still, there’s a simple trick to get around this problem, and it involves keeping tabs on an area you want to move into. Enter neighborhood targeting.

What is neighborhood targeting?
When you shop around for a home, you don’t select one out of impulse. It actually takes a great deal of vetting before you find a piece of property you’d love.

That said, you would bide your time, waiting until an ideal property shows up in the listings. It’s only a matter of keeping a constant eye on the market. This practice is known as neighborhood targeting and it’s effective for when you need to look for a property in the community you love.

With neighborhood targeting, you increase your chances of purchasing a home that matches your preferences in terms of the amenities you want as well your ideal cost.

Think of it as something similar to hunting ducks. It takes patience and careful timing. Sometimes, you have to wait for an extensive period of time. It takes a long while, but it’s nothing compared to the satisfaction of seeing your targets reveal themselves!

Targeting done right
For sure, you don’t have time to be able to monitor a neighborhood until the right homes come along.

In this case, you will need someone to take a watchful eye, like a duck hunter waiting among the groves.

Want to live in a neighborhood you want but you can’t find time to wait for the right home to settle in? Contact me, and I’ll have my eyes and ears open for you.

5 Ways to Prep Your Home for a Sale this Year

Home staging is an essential part of selling a home. It involves making improvements and handling repairs that will impress potential buyers and set a higher selling price.
Sure enough, home staging has to be done right so you will be able to secure a good price for your home.Let’s take a look at some of the most important ways to consider in prepping your home for the market.

1. Varnish old wooden furniture
If you have any hardwood fixtures in the living room, you might as well give them a new lease on life by varnishing. Go for a polyurethane varnish which can add an extra layer of protection to dilapidated wood and give your furniture a nice glossy finish.

2. Add some plants and flowers
Another way to give life to your interiors is through potter plants and flowers. Sure enough, you can’t really leave out succulents since they are ideal for indoor conditions. Aside from succulents, you can also opt for potted trees such as the Pygmy date palm and pachira money tree.

3. Reduce all that clutter
If you’re inviting people over for an open house, you might want to tidy up the place a bit. People are more likely to buy your home if they can visualize themselves living in it. Your personal items will only serve as distractions, so it’s best that you store them away.

4. Add new accessories
Give your rooms a touch of sophistication by replacing the curtains and buying new throw pillows for your couches. You might also get a new coffee table and add a few more shelves, just in case a buyer is an avid fan of reading.

5. Make your front door inviting
Before potential buyers set foot inside the house, they need to go through the entrance first. With this in mind, your front door should never fail to impress, so it helps if you give it a fresh coat of paint and an ornate door knocker.

For more tips on how you can set your home up for sale, give us a call today to schedule a FREE consultation.

This 2019, Make a Change for the Better With These Resolution

The New Year basically heralds a new beginning for many homeowners. Sure enough, they will spend much of the first days of 2019 shopping around for new furniture and upgrading the faded paint job from last year.

At any rate, giving your home a fresh new look has to be one of the most important traditions to follow. The “new me, new look” concept doesn’t get old.

Still, when it comes right down to renovating your home, you will have to drop a few things beforehand and adopt a new perspective.

If you’re keen on making New Year’s resolutions for yourself, why not make a different list for your home?

Here are a few suggestions for resolutions you might want to accomplish for 2019.

1. Limit your spending
Who doesn’t like going to a New Year Sale? You’ll find great deals on sofas and carpeting, so you might as well splurge all your money on new decorations. What’s wrong with that, in the first place? Well, you still have home maintenance costs to shoulder, so it’s best not to spend too much just to give your living room a refreshing and yet expensive makeover. For 2019, you might as well avoid going beyond your spending threshold.

2. Keep comfort a priority
Do you think the leather chair you bought at half the price is worth it? To really know for sure, why don’t you sit on it. If it doesn’t make you relax, then consider it a bad investment. That being said, you should be focusing more on functionality rather than aesthetics when you’re shopping around for new furniture and fixtures. It’s important to remember that comfort trumps everything else when you’re renovating your home.

3. Keep your energy costs down
A wise homeowner is always keen when it comes right down to home expenses. For sure, energy costs won’t go any lower, so it’s important that you focus more on adopting energy-saving initiatives that should help you slash your energy bills. It may take a while before you’ll see any significant changes to your monthly bill, but it helps if you make the move right away.

4. Make your interior look natural
If you have gotten used to bland interior design motifs, then be ready to make a shift towards a better perspective. The year 2019 is going to be the year you’ll give your home the treatment it deserves through plants and other natural elements. For this, make sure you choose the right plants that will definitely give life to areas such as the dining room and the living room. As a good start, you can grow potted aloe vera plants and other succulent plants. Sure enough, you won’t have to spend too much time and effort taking care of these plants.

What are your resolutions for 2019? Lets chat about them in the comments below.

5 Ways to Secure Your Home for the Holidays

The Holiday spirit is in the air. You can almost feel it – literally! One thing’s for sure, we get more than just snowfall as the temperature continues to dip. As homeowners, we also know how cumbersome it is to prepare for the long winter season.

It’s not always an easy feat to maintain and improve your home during this period. Then again, you have to protect your property from the freeze and avoid costly damages.

Use these tips to secure your home throughout the season.
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Relocating? Find the Right Moving Company With These Tips

There will come a time when you will have to move to another community. After closing the purchase of a premier home in a nice neighborhood, you will have to go through the difficult task of transferring your possessions and items.

On that note, you will need to find the right moving company for a safer transfer. But how do you know for sure if a mover is the right one for your needs?

Consider these tips weeks before the scheduled move:

1. Find insured and licensed companies

The best way to know if a mover is a legitimate company is to know if it’s licensed or not. This gives you the assurance that the company abides by industry standards in packing and transporting important cargo.

In the case of damaged and lost items, an insured moving company is liable for these issues. So, before hiring a mover of your choice, make sure to ask about the valuation coverage or the liability options that are available to you.

2. Look at the reviews

Social media is a convenient way to assess the quality of a mover without having to sign a contract. For this, simply pay attention to what other people say about a moving company. Through reviews, you will have a good view of what to expect from a mover if you decide to hire it.

3. Get suggestions from people you know

Aside from reviews that other people write, you can ask family members and friends for a list of movers you can hire. Sure enough, the people you already know may have hired quality movers before, so you may want to get recommendations from them. Aside from friends and family, you can also ask other people like realtors, contractors, and even lawyers for a list of possible movers to contact.

4. Understand the contract

Just like any other service, a moving company will prepare a contract to set everything up, from the packaging your items to agreeing to a final price for the service. Still, you will need to take an extra look at the contract before signing. This is to make sure you won’t be paying more than the costs that were previously negotiated with the mover.

After all, you will need to secure your finances at the end of the transfer, so it’s best to know if there are any hidden charges that could leave your wallet dry if you’re not too careful.

5. Learn about inclusions

Aside from the vehicles and the personnel needed for the big move, a moving company may provide additional packing materials such as boxes, bubble wrap, and tape. Other inclusions are vault storage facilities, assembly and disassembly of heavy appliances of fixtures, as well as crating services for larger equipment. Remember to ask the moving company if these additional services will cost you extra.

Moving Day doesn’t have to be difficult and tedious. You only need a great moving company to help you out with the utmost professionalism and commitment to quality service.

Want more real estate and moving tips? check other articles in our blog.

‘Tis the Season: 5 Reasons Why Winter is a Great Time to Buy or Sell a Home

It’s a common misconception that you shouldn’t try to buy or sell a home during the fall and winter months.

This is generally considered the “off season” in real estate. Many sellers mistakenly believe that the cold weather will keep buyers away and that no one is looking over the holidays. Unfortunately, many real estate professionals perpetuate this myth by advising their clients to “wait until the spring” to list their home.

The truth is, homes are bought and sold year round. And while the market is typically quieter during the fall and winter, savvy buyers and sellers know how to use this slow down to their advantage. In fact, depending on your circumstances, now may be the ideal time for you to purchase or list a home.

If you’re in the market to buy or sell, there’s no need to wait for the spring. Read on to discover the top five reasons that it can pay to buy or sell a home during the offseason!

Tip #1 LESS COMPETITION

What’s the number one reason to buy or sell a home during the off season? Less competition!

This can be particularly beneficial if you’re a seller. Come spring, a huge wave of new listings will hit the market. But if you list now, you will have fewer comparable homes with which to compete.

In the spring and summer months, it can be difficult for your property to stand out in a crowded market. You may end up with a surplus of homes for sale in your neighborhood. Indeed, it’s not uncommon to see multiple listings on a single street during the peak selling season.

Inventory in the fall and winter months, however, can be significantly lower. That means your home will not only receive more attention from buyers, but you may also gain the upper hand in your negotiations. In fact, research found that homes listed in the winter are nine percent more likely to sell, and sellers net more above asking price in the winter than any other time of year.1

Buyers also have a lot to love about the real estate off season. While some buyers need to move during the winter, many bargain hunters search this time of year in hopes of scoring a great deal.

Smart buyers will continue to scan the market during the fall and winter for hidden gems that pop up during the off season. There are always highly motivated sellers who need to sell quickly. And with less competition to bid against you, you’re in a better position to negotiate a great price. If you’ve been looking for a good deal on a home or investment property, now may be the best time to look!

So while a “slow market” may scare off some buyers and sellers, it can actually be the perfect time of year for you to list or purchase a home. While the rest of the market is hibernating until spring, take advantage of this opportunity to get a jump start on your competition!

Tip #2 EVERYONE’S MORE MOTIVATED

During the spring and summer, you’re likely to encounter “lookie-loo” buyers who are just testing the waters and unrealistic sellers who are holding out for a better offer. But the serious buyers and sellers stay active during the cold weather and holiday season, often because they need to move quickly. In fact, research shows that homes listed in the winter sell faster than any other time of year.1

January and February are peak job hiring months, which brings a surge of buyers who need to relocate quickly to start a new job.2 And of course life changes like retirement, marriage, divorce, and new babies come year round. While families often find it more convenient to move during the summer when school is out, the reality is that many don’t have the option to wait. According to the National Association of Realtors, 55 percent of all buyers purchased their home at the time they did because “it was just the right time,” not because of seasonal factors.3

If you prefer to deal with serious, highly-motivated buyers and sellers who want to act fast and don’t want to waste your time, then the off season may be the perfect real estate season for you.

Tip #3 GREATER PERSONAL ATTENTION

Another key benefit to buying and selling in the offseason is the increased personal attention you’ll receive.

While we strive to provide unparalleled client service throughout the year, we simply have more time available for each individual client during slower periods. Similarly, we find the other real estate professionals in our network—including title agents, inspectors, appraisers, insurance agents, and loan officers—are able to respond faster and provide more time and attention during the off season than they are during the busy spring and summer months. The result is a quicker and more streamlined closing process for all involved.

Tip #4 COST SAVINGS

Clients who move during the off season often report significant cost savings. Moving costs may be discounted by 15 percent or more during the winter months, and moving companies can typically offer more flexibility in their scheduling.4

Home renovations and repairs can also be less expensive in the off season. Whether you’re fixing up your property prior to listing it or remodeling your new home before moving in, contractors and service providers who are hungry for business are often willing to work for a discount this time of year. If you wait until the spring and summer, you may be forced to pay a premium.

Home stagers and decorators are also more likely to negotiate their fees during the winter. And you can often score great deals on new furniture and decor during the holiday sales.

Whether you’re buying or selling, count cost savings as another compelling reason to consider an off season move.

Tip #5 EASIER TO MAINTAIN CURB APPEAL

Finally, listing your home during the fall and winter offers one key—but often overlooked—advantage: less lawn maintenance!

Good curb appeal is crucial when selling your home. According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors, 44 percent of home buyers drove by a property after viewing it online but did NOT go inside for a walk through. That means if your curb appeal is lacking, buyers may never make it through the door.

If you list your home during the peak of the selling season, we will generally advise you to implement a frequent schedule of mowing, edging, watering, weeding, and trimming shrubs and hedges. You’ll probably want to plant flowers, as well, to brighten your exterior. After all, a lush landscape is a key element in attracting spring and summer buyers.

If you list in the off season, however, your lawn maintenance list is significantly reduced. While we do recommend that our sellers keep their exterior clean, tidy, and free of leaves, snow, and ice, you will probably spend much less time on outdoor maintenance during the winter than you would if you listed your home in the summer.

ARE YOU READY TO MAKE YOUR MOVE?

Now that you know all the great reasons to buy or sell a home in the off season, it’s time to decide whether you’re ready to make your move.

Every client’s circumstances are unique. Whether you need to move quickly or you simply want to take advantages of all benefits this season has to offer, it’s a great time to enter the market.

Give us a call today to schedule a FREE consultation … and you could be ringing in the New Year in your new home!

Avoid Costly Home Maintenance with these Important Tips

New homebuyers often make the mistake of getting too excited. When they’re out shopping for a home, they tend to focus more on face value than on issues that lie below the surface.

That’s understandable for any newbie, but this could be an issue that could cost a lot of time and money in the long run.

A cautious buyer is a wise buyer. So, don’t let stylish exteriors and impressive landscaping mislead you. It (literally) pays to go in-depth when choosing a home for the first time.

Use these tips to avoid costly home maintenance issues right after you move in.
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Basic Home Security Tips You’re Probably Unaware Of

Your home is an investment and, as such, you will have to keep it safe and well-guarded.

Homeowners like yourself already know how to keep your home safe from possible burglaries. However, millions of home invasion cases across Canada are recorded each year.

Even if you think you already know a lot about home security, it’s still the little things that make all the difference.

That being said, here are a few small and yet critical home security tips you should know.

Secure your entry points at all times
Keep your doors and windows locked even during the day. Home invasions can still happen even in the afternoons. So, keeping your entry points unlocked isn’t a good idea, considering that 40% of burglars invade homes without forcing their way in.

Bring your key with you
If you think it’s a good idea to hide your key beneath the doormat or inside the doghouse, then you’re not making your home any safer. Burglars will try to look everywhere for hidden keys, so it’s better to bring the key with you when you go outside.

Upgrade your lighting
The lack of adequate lighting can provide burglars with a strategic advantage. To be sure, test your exterior lamps during nighttime and see if it causes any blindspots where thieves can use for cover. In that case, you may want to install extra lighting around your property.

Install protective measures
Having an alarm system is a great deterrent against burglars. Investing in a CCTV system can also provide your home with added protection.

Never flaunt your valuables
Burglars are likely to force their way into a home that has expensive items. So, showing off your expensive jewelry around town is like helping burglars find their next target!

Get more information from security experts
Local authorities offer seminars that homeowners can attend. Police and community watch organizations, in particular, often go around the community to teach about the importance of home security. You can use this opportunity to ask for more home security tips.

With these easy tips, you can keep yourself from any home invasion scenario. Just remember to be extra vigilant and cautious. A well-informed homeowner, after all, makes for a secure home.