Archive for Maurer Team

HOME SELLING TIPS: The *Best* Home Staging Advice

 

HOME SELLING TIPS: How to Get the Most Money for YOUR Home!

HOME SELLING TIPS: How to Get the Most Money for YOUR Home!

In this video, our partners at the design team of Rooms in Bloom Home Staging and Design show you their GREATEST home staging tips. When I list your home to sell I pay these delightful designers (Alana and Heather) to help you get your home pimped to the max. We get the most money for our listings when they have the “magic wand” from Rooms in Bloom waved over them first!

When we prepare your home to sell right the first time, we get the maximum exposure AND the maximum dollar for your home. Find out the most effective home staging tips by watching the video below:

 

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,500 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for more great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

How to Create House Appeal in the Fall

selling my home in Waterloo

Making Your Home Look Appealing in the Fall Months

Spring may be the season for cleaning, but Fall is the perfect time for working on your exterior house appeal. It makes sense to put off some tasks during July and August since it’s likely you are on vacation or it’s simply too hot to work outside comfortably. The invigorating energy of Fall can get you back on track in many different ways!

Tackling The Bigger Exterior Projects

There’s still time before winter sets in to tackle some large projects. If you can spare a sunny day, consider patching and sealing your asphalt or concrete driveway. Daytime temperatures are still warm enough to allow sealants to cure properly, and getting a good surface on before winter snow and ice arrives will not only keep your property looking nice, but it will also prevent costly and more time- consuming repairs later on.

The same applies to any roofing issues you may have noticed earlier but have not yet addressed. If it’s an irritant in September, it will be a catastrophe in January. Leaks, loose shingles, and even nesting birds in your eaves can expose your home to serious damage. If your roof is getting a little older or if you’ve spotted something that doesn’t look quite right, call a professional to take a look around and advise you on necessary repairs. While you’re checking the roof, take a look at your gutters as well – even before the leaves start falling, they may be clogged or have sections that need to be replaced.

The next thing you want to do is to check all trees on your property for dead or damaged limbs. If your property is especially large or predominantly forested, check trees within a wide radius of your house as well as those near vehicles, fences, or property lines. If entire trees or limbs more than ten feet from the ground need to be removed, you will want to call a professional.

Fall Fun

If what I described above sounds like dreary work, take heart – there are FUN Fall projects to do around your Kitchener-Waterloo home’s exterior as well. Fall is a season of vivid colors – bright blue skies, yellow leaves, apples ripening to shades of red, pumpkins in their distinctive orange. Do you feel that your home looks a bit dingy in comparison? Have no fear, we can help boost your house appeal!

If you have any siding on your house, dust and heavy pollen that was in the air can mean your paint or siding may not be looking its best. While you may not want to take on a full-scale house-painting project, you can make a big difference in your home’s exterior appearance with a few simple fixes. Pressure washing will reveal your home’s true colors from under the obscuring layer of summer grime. Painting the trim and any larger but easily accessible areas of your porch will make the entire front of the house pop – an astonishing change for relatively little effort and cost. Still sound too arduous? Pick a vibrant new colour for your front door and take an afternoon to spruce it up with a couple of coats of paint. Then stand back and …….. enjoy!

The Benefits of Gardening in the Fall

Fall is also the perfect time of year for gardening. As growth slows in your garden and landscaping, you may lose the hectic variety of summer plants but what remains is richer, deeper, and more textured. Now is the perfect opportunity to rip out annuals that are past their prime. The removal of exhausted foliage and drooping blooms will perk up the outside appearance of your home. Now you have room to revel in colourful fall landscaping. This time of year shrubs and trees do well when if they are planted now; the reduced demands from leaf, flower, and fruit allow their root systems to become established before the next flush of growth. Hardy ornamental versions of common winter crops such as kale, mustard, and even cabbage now come in a stunning array of colors and patterns. Don’t forget, while you’re doing all that digging to plant bulbs such as daffodils, crocus, tulips, and hyacinth.

Once your garden is all tucked in for the season, you can move on to the all-important decision: which decorations will enhance your front steps? Think ….. “abundance!” There is nothing skimpy about the season of harvest. Fall is the perfect time for arrangements overflowing with vines, grasses, late-blooming flowers, interesting sculptural seed pods, and nearly anything else you can imagine. Consider large, luxurious pots with ornate details echo the plants’ lush textures. Paired with wreaths in shades of burgundy, sienna, mustard, and gold, they can put summer to shame.

If you’re crafty and/or creative, half of the fun will come in making some of these items from scratch. If not, prepare to enjoy hours of browsing at your local home and garden center – options abound! And, of course, two huge potted mums (I saw some BIG ones at Home Depot yesterday for only $11.99) and an array of well-placed pumpkins are a classic combination for good reason. Their simple cheerfulness expresses the true, irrepressible spirit of fall.

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

The Pros and Cons of Renting out Part of Your Home

PROS and CONS

Know the PROS and CONS Before Taking the Plunge

On the surface it seems like a fabulous idea: Carve out a portion of your home, rent it out and use the rental income to pay your mortgage. You get to live basically “rent free” while at the same time reaping the tax benefits of writing off some of the costs associated with accommodating a rental apartment in your home.

With the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s recent announcement of relaxing the rules for how homeowners looking to rent out apartments in their principal residences can borrow money, getting some rental income seems like a sure bet.

In reality, however, it is not. From difficult tenants and unanticipated costs to insurance claims to the simple and sometimes inevitable experience of not being able to find a stable, long-term renter, there are many things that homeowners need to consider before taking on the role of landlord.

The Pros

Second source of income
The most obvious gain is the extra money that you will be receiving each month. This money can help you pay your mortgage, property taxes or other bills, which is a sweet deal if you are renting out a part of your home you rarely use anyway.

Renovations increase value
Aside from the monthly payoff that you receive from your new tenants, the renovations that you make may also be a future investment. At the time, you may renovate to make areas of your home accessible to tenants, for example finishing your basement, but such renovations will also increase your home’s resale value.

The Cons

Investing and responsibility
First of all, it is an investment before it is a benefit. In order to rent out part of your home you need to ensure that it is in prime condition. This means that renovations will most likely have to be made. It also means that every problem that your tenant has becomes your problem. There is no putting off a repair; you are now a landlord and have inherited a responsibility to your tenant(s).

Impact on resale value
There is also re-sale valuation to consider. While you may have no intention to sell your home now, you still need to consider what it will be valued at with a rental suite later. While many potential buyers will appreciate having a turnkey rental apartment that they too can reap the economic benefits from, some may not want the same kind of setup, reducing the prospect of a sale.

Reliability
It seems like the great idea to be able to rent your home, but you are now depending on someone else to pay you. Not all tenants are reliable, and it can be difficult to trust a stranger to hold up their end of the bargain. A quick glance through the Landlord and Tenant Act can provide a good snapshot of some of the issues landlords face.

The Pitfalls

Regulations
While it differs by province and city, renting out part of your home automatically puts you under numerous provincial and municipal regulations, many of which if not followed can result in hefty fines. When a landlord can enter the area rented differs across the country, as one example, as does the types of property that fall under provincial or territorial tenancy legislation — a detached home versus a duplex or condominium, for instance. Both landlords and tenants should inform themselves of the laws applicable to their location.

Repairs
Repairs can be extremely expensive and seem to occur a lot more often when housing tenants. You can potentially avoid recurring repairs by calling professionals the first time around, but try to budget for repairs when renting out your home.

Six key things any homeowner considering renting out a portion of their residence needs to consider:


1) Know the laws and follow them
: Before renting your home, look into the provincial and municipal laws to ensure to take the appropriate steps. Always draft a contract that acknowledges the regulations set by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation that are applicable to your location.

2) Have a backup fund:
 Do not depend on rental money as a primary source of income. Always have some extra money in the piggy bank for possible repairs or tenant issues and, of course, to cover your own bills.

3) Mortgage flexibility:
 A flexible mortgage is recommended when renting out part of your home. It can give you wiggle room on the requirements for monthly payments should something go wrong. This allows homeowners to avoid penalties that occur in a fixed mortgage rate when a monthly payment is missed. Flexible mortgages also give homeowners the opportunity to pay off their mortgage sooner as you can accelerate payments.

4) Have rules in place:
 Renting out part of your home should be seen more as a business deal then a simple rental agreement. Always have written and signed documentation to cover all your bases. This ensures liability on both your end and the renters.

5) Check-in
: Make a habit of checking in with your tenants on a regular basis to ensure both your happiness and theirs. You can have monthly visits to ensure that your property stays in good shape and they are properly accommodated.

6) Hire professionals: A real estate lawyer should be at the top of your list, as well as a mortgage expert and other professionals who can help navigate the legalities and other circumstances of being a landlord.

Overall, renting your home can be a viable source of income if you do it properly. Following the rules and maintaining your property are extremely important and necessary. Renting property comes with responsibility and patience, and should not be done as a get-rich-quick scheme.

This article was written and published with permission on this website by: Samantha Brooks, Founder and CEO of Mortgages of Canada with 14 years of experience specializing in mortgages, debt consolidation, and refinancing. You can find Samantha on Twitter as @Mortgagesof Can. For mortgage questions or advice, you can visit Samantha at www.mortgagesofcanada.ca

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

What Does a Real Estate Agent on The Mark Maurer Team do for YOU?

 

Four and a half year old Masen, son of Jaymes and Natalie jumps for joy!

 

You might think that the profession of selling real estate is all about showing homes and taking a commission. Showing homes is certainly part of the job but any GREAT agent earns their commission. There are dozens of tasks involved in the purchase or sale of a home and each must be accomplished with precision and skill. Many people are ill-informed about the role of a real estate agent, even if they’ve bought or sold a home before. It’s not all pretty houses and pleasant conversations! Here are a few of the important tasks the stellar Maurer Team real estate agents will accomplish exceedingly well on your behalf.

Before a Listing

Listing your home isn’t the start of a sale; the work starts well before that. A few things that our real estate agents will complete before your home even hits the market.

  • Assess your property. Our Realtors will assess your property’s value. This involves a thorough examination of your home along with a great deal of research and attention to details. They will take into consideration all the tangible features of your home including elements such as finishes and square footage. They will also try to evaluate the less quantitative elements including location, curb appeal, and the value of the neighbourhood placed on it by residents living in it.
  • Establish a market value and price. Realtors on The Mark Maurer Team have to research recent comparable sales from the past 18 months on the listing services and also in the public records. He’ll have to research the average number of days on the market for properties similar in type, price, and location. Current and past listings will need to be researched. They will also prepare a comparable market analysis to establish a competitive market value.
  • Verify all of your property’s details. Our agents will need to obtain a copy of your property survey to verify the property lines and dimensions of the lot. They will verify the legal description of the home; it’s previous ownership and title, the land’s deed restrictions and coding, and the school system information. All of the utilities (e.g. sewer, gas, hydro) will be checked.
  • Prepare your property. Our real estate agents will help you get your home ready to sell by advising you on staging, decluttering, depersonalization, and curb appeal modifications.

We also have a professional photographer take high-quality photos and record videos and virtual tours that highlight the best features of your home. Beware of real estate agents who say they can take their own photos! Photos are very important to the marketing of your home as they are used across multiple marketing methods to attract potential buyers.

During a Listing

So much will have been accomplished by the time your home is listed that you might think there isn’t much left to be accomplished. However, that’s just when things can start getting interesting.

  • Marketing your home. In order to submit your home to be featured on the MLS system, thorough preparation is required. Our agents will need to prepare an MLS profile sheet since they are responsible for the accuracy of the listing data. They must enter the data into the system, proofread it for accuracy, include your property’s placement for the mapping feature and upload the many quality photos and your virtual tour. They have to create and distribute flyers as well as create Internet ads and postings on the various social media platforms.
  • Making appointments. In many cases, agents on The Mark Maurer Team will first show your home to other agents. They will install a lockbox and set up appointments with agents who they feel could have the perfect buyer in mind. Then they will start making showing appointments with potential buyers on their contacts lists too.
  • Follow up. All of those showing appointments will require follow-up calls to help keep buyers interested and your property in the forefront of other agents’ minds. We have a system in place that keeps us on our toes to ensure that phone calls are made to each and every agent who has shown your home.
  • Maintenance. If you’re no longer residing in your home, our agents will help you to manage its upkeep. They will make sure the lawn stays mowed or the leaves are raked. They will also maintain all the methods of marketing like refilling brochure and flyer boxes.
  • Verify financing. Our agents always check to see if buyers are pre-qualified for financing. This is very important and if not in place, will stall your sale and waste time.
  • Negotiation. Real estate agents on The Mark Maurer Team will be your advocates in negotiations, whether you are buying or selling a home. They will do all in their power to make sure the price you get or pay is a good value. They will receive or send offers and advise you on the strength of the offer regardless of whether you are buying or selling. They will review the contracts and details of any offer or contract.

After the Listing

Some of the most difficult tasks still lay ahead for our Realtors, even after an offer is extended and accepted. There are many details to cover but here are just a few.

  • The Plethora of paperwork. Any sale of property generates reams of paperwork and our agents must wade through it all. They make sure everything is signed and delivered to all the appropriate people or agencies involved, on time. An agent on The Mark Maurer Team will explain each item to you so you understand what you’re signing.
  • Order inspections and appraisals. Our agents order all thorough home inspections through a reputable company we have been using for the past 20 years. They will schedule an official appraisal and provide the documentation within 24 hours that was obtained through research about the home to the appraiser.
  • Follow ups. Our Realtors follow up with all parties throughout this process, keeping everyone in the loop and well-informed.

The Closing

The closing process is fairly detailed, legally-speaking. It would take more space than we have here to list all of our agent’s duties. Here’s just a small number of notable jobs for your agent from The Mark Maurer Team.

  • Solve title problems. If there are clouds on the title, it’s our job to blow them away. In some cases, we may need to obtain a death certificate or legal signature from a previous owner.
  • Request closing figures. It’s our agent’s job to make sure you have the exact amount(s) for your certified cheques at the time of closing.
  • Forms, forms and more forms. Our Realtors review, proofread and process a huge number of forms to complete the sale of your home. These forms also have to be filed with the right agencies and deliver to the buyer and seller and the lender with all the signatures in the proper places.

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by downloading my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Living in Waterloo, Ontario: The Great Outdoors and So Much More

Living in Waterloo, Ontario

Sunrise over Laurel Creek Reservoir in Waterloo, Ontario. Photo credit: Fred Widall

Life in a smaller city can be just as sophisticated and entertaining as a metropolitan area. You just have to choose the right small city. Waterloo, Ontario has the amenities of a bigger city but none of the hassle. The Tri-Cities area of Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge has quite a bit to offer!

Waterloo, Ontario is studded with parks, bordered by the beautiful Grand River and anchored by the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. Living in Waterloo gives its residents the advantages of an active lifestyle and an interesting, diverse community. It has the cultural flair of a much larger area with an energetic city center fueled by students and educators. This is complemented by plenty of quiet neighborhoods and an interesting history. In case you need more convincing, the climate is considered moderate compared to the rest of the country (sweet!).

Residents of Waterloo get to experience the beauty of all four seasons. Our climate is officially called “humid continental of the warm summer subtype.” This basically means we get a distinct difference between each season. Winters are cold but not as severe as some parts of the country (Waterloo averages 140 frost-free days a year) and summers are gloriously warm.

Waterloo’s Wonderful History

The pleasant environs are just one of the factors that originally drew settlers to the lands we now call Waterloo. The land was given to the people of the Six Nations as a gift and a reward for their assistance to the British during the American Revolution. Almost immediately (and somewhat controversially), the Six Nations people began to sell off parcels of the gifted lands. A man by the name of Richard Beasley purchased many of the plots through a Crown Grant while the Six Nations held the mortgage.

Settlers from Pennsylvania, USA slowly began to purchase land from Beasley in the first year. The following year, a deluge of 26 families combined their resources and bought the remainder of Beasley’s “inventory.” With these land sales he was able to completely clear his mortgage!

The families that flocked to Waterloo were almost entirely Mennonite farmers. The rich soil and moist climate was and still is, perfect for farming. They hoped to be able to practice their religion without fear of persecution in their new home. The area later became a popular destination for German immigrants (immigrants continue to arrive in this welcoming haven even today). They named their new home Waterloo after the battle that ended the Napoleonic Wars in Europe.

At that time, , the central core of Waterloo was comprised of two lots owned by a man named Abraham Erb. His grist mill and saw mill were the hotspots of Waterloo. These days, the city’s center is on the street named after him. The intersection of Erb and King Streets houses the Waterloo Town Square shopping center that is widely considered the heart of Uptown Waterloo.

“Uptown Waterloo” is the term typically used by residents to describe this revitalized section of the city (locals refer to the city center of nearby Kitchener as “downtown Kitchener”). In 2006, a shopping mall was torn down and street-facing storefront businesses sprouted up to take its place, creating a more interesting and engaging city-center feeling.

The Great Outdoors Living in Waterloo

One of the ways we can engage in life in Waterloo is by getting active outdoors in the nice climate. The township is dotted with parks making it easy to spend time outside. There are five major parks located within city limits or within a short drive of the city center.

  • RIM Park. With 200 hectares, RIM Park has no shortage of green space. It is home to the heritage Martin Farm House and an 18-hole golf course as well as a variety of indoor and outdoor sporting facilities.
  • Laurel Creek Conservation Area. Another 300 hectares is devoted to this green space northwest of the city. Swimming, bird watching, hiking and windsurfing top the list of favorite summer activities in this open space. It features a beach and picnic areas for more relaxing endeavors. In the winter, cross-country skiing and show-shoeing make for seasonal fun.
  • Waterloo Park. At 45 hectares, it may seem small in comparison to the big guys above but it’s still a huge green space in the town. It houses a bandshell for outdoor concerts, a waterpark called Lions’ Lagoon, historical displays for educational opportunities and animal displays. During the holiday season, the Wonders of Winter light display draws locals and tourists alike to its twinkling glory.
  • Betchel Park. Occupying 44 hectares, Betchel Park features fun for your four-legged friends. An off-leash dog park neighbors two well-lit baseball diamonds, wetlands, a hardwood forest with a groomed trail, and a city-operated cemetery.
  • Lexington Park. If ball games are your thing, Lexington Park holds a soccer pitch and baseball diamond on the site of a former municipal airport.
  • The Grand River. If these parks aren’t enough to get you outside, the Grand River is one of the world’s best-managed waterways. And it runs right through Waterloo!

Outdoor activities aren’t the only fun to be had in Waterloo. Residents can enjoy good food, plenty of festivals and fairs, plus some quieter endeavors too. The city has plenty of options for housing in neighborhoods from lively urban to subdued suburban. With a wide variety of ages and architectural styles, the homes are varied and affordable.

Living in this smaller city sure doesn’t seem small. The roads are uncongested and easy to navigate due to the expressways; it feels as big and wide as the many parks that surround it. Life in Waterloo promises the great outdoors and so much more!

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Living in Kitchener-Waterloo: Best Places for Foodies

buying a home in Waterloo Ontario

Restaurant Recommendations in Waterloo

 

Think the big city is the only place to get a really good meal? Don’t be fooled by the urban centers’ reputation. A smaller city can be just as gourmet as any metropolitan area. Kitchener-Waterloo has some fantastic spots that will satisfy even the most discerning foodie’s sensibilities. If you want to find out about Kitchener-Waterloo restaurants, this is a good place to find out!

Festivals

If you love an innovative food truck or fun food festival, Waterloo is a great place to eat on the street. There are numerous fairs featuring food of many ethnicities and origins. Each one offers an opportunity to try a new treat. The Annual Waterloo Food Festival is one of the best you can find anywhere.

The Waterloo Food Festival hosts outdoor events like the Evening Food Fair, the Outdoor Cocktail event and the Waterloo Family Fete, among others. There are also opportunities to have a seat at some of the trendiest eateries and enjoy the fair in air-conditioned comfort. You can try something new at a tasting or experience a masterclass and learn a new cooking technique. Don’t forget the competitions and live entertainment! This four-day event is a foodie’s gastronomic dream-come-true.

The Waterloo town calendar is packed with festivals, street fairs and cultural events. Just about any of these events will have a host of tempting delicacies for the discriminating food-lover. Culture Fest, Art Fest and the Big Music Festival are just a few of the annual opportunities to try a new food truck or sample a street cart. In 2015, the region even hosted the second Food Truck Fare in support of the Independent Living Centre of Waterloo Region.

UpTown Waterloo

UpTown Waterloo is the urban heart of the city. It is home to over 400 businesses including some incredible restaurants. This thriving city-center is a popular lunch and dinner-time destination and for lots of good reasons. Here are just a few to tempt your taste buds.

Beertown – Waterloo Town Square

Part old-school pub, part modern beer emporium and all great food – that’s Beertown in the Waterloo Town Square. The concept for Beertown is one of the powerful Charcoal Groups’ newest and it’s getting rave reviews from all types of customers. It features a “chef-driven” menu focused on all-natural ingredients and creative combinations.

This pub is constantly looking for ways to make beer more inventive and your dining experience more exciting. The menu ranges from traditional poutine to pork belly tacos, Beertown pad thai and a raw salad. There’s something for just about any taste here.

Nick & Nat’s Uptown 21

If you want the full foodie experience, try getting a seat at the chef’s table at Nick & Nat’s Uptown 21. This local spot emphasizes local fare. They’ve been listed in the prestigious “Where to Eat in Canada” guide for 5 consecutive years. This husband and wife team keeps the menu interesting by changing it up depending on what’s freshest right now. You could see a house cured pancetta on the menu or perhaps a hand-stretched mozzarella. For a treat on a budget, take a look at their 3 and 4 course prix fixe options.

King Street Trio Uptown

The ultimate in casual-but-cool, this eatery with an attitude lives in a 100-year-old historic building. You get the charm of a tin ceiling with the modern edge of an open-concept kitchen. Try the cozy dining room or the more intimate semi-private, 14 seat dining area. Fresh food and great value dominate the menu and the service is strong. They will even accommodate allergies issues and dietary preferences.

The Bauer Kitchen

Part of the powerhouse Charcoal Group, The Bauer Kitchen is a SoHo-inspired, up-market bistro. A trendy décor mix of industrial and reclaimed elements gives home to a strong menu of hearty dishes. Any restaurant that puts grilled salmon on the kids’ menu is really thinking about modern foodies and foodies-in-training!

For a decadent indulgence that touches on several current food trends, try the confit duck wings or the roasted bone marrow. A terrific array of burgers and sandwiches are available for lunch and dinner has some heavy-hitting dishes like short rib gnocchi and some lighter notes like an arugula salad with shaved beets, pickled peppers and Granny Smith apples.

Hillcrest House

If you’re craving something a little different, an experience instead of a mere meal, head over to the historic Hillcrest House Bed & Breakfast. Resting on a quiet street in the heart of Waterloo, close to all the attractions, this little gem hides a juicy little secret. It’s called “Trust the Fat Guy at Hillcrest House”.

It’s a ton of fun and you’ll learn a few things you can try at home too. This experience is an incredible opportunity to delve into the mind of Chef Stef, ask questions and take a few recipes home as a bonus. He’ll prepare several dishes right in front of you. The event runs about 3 hours and price will vary depending on your choice of menu items. (If you’d like to stay the night, you’ll get a discount on your room!).

There’s no shortage of foodie havens in Waterloo. Bring your appetite and try a few of our favorite spots. You’re sure to find something to impress your taste buds in the vibrant, exciting community of Waterloo. Have a favourite restaurant you want added to this list? Email me at mark@maurerteam.com!

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

The Realities of Selling Your Own Home

 

how do I sell my own home in Kitchener?

You Can Indeed Sell Your Own Home.  If You’re Prepared for It.

 

FSBO is a real estate industry abbreviation for the term “For Sale By Owner.” For some of you homeowners, there is a temptation to try to sell your own home when the time comes to move. It’s a tough job and homeowners seem to manage it with varying degrees of success. However, a much larger number of homeowners fail miserably and end up paying a high price for it. Between listing fees and a home lingering on the market for too long, it probably won’t be worth what little you save in commissions. It may seem like a good idea yet there are some realities about selling your own home that you should make yourself aware of.

This is not to say that a homeowner can’t successfully sell their home; it absolutely can be done and done well. As a homeowner, it’s wise if you have a realistic perspective on the process. It’s not easy. It’s not convenient. It may not be as cost-effective as it seems. There’s a reason that real estate agents work long hours 7 days a week and if they’re awake, they’re on call!

It’s not easy.

Selling your own home is not a simple, straightforward deal like selling a car. It’s a complex matter, legally. If you want to sell your own home, you’ll need to learn a lot and do it quickly. You can easily be taken in by clauses, terms and phrases that you either don’t fully understand or don’t completely appreciate. You could end up in a truly compromised position if you don’t have a grasp of the contracts involved in a home sale.

You will also be at a serious disadvantage if you don’t fully understand home values and the current housing market in your area. Your listing price shouldn’t be a number you feel is warranted or what you think you need to get into a new home. It must be priced by what the market will bear at the time. This is one area where FSBO transactions often go awry. If you don’t have access to the hard data about recent sales for comparables in your neighbourhood, you might not be able to calculate a sellable price for your home.

A seller also needs a thick skin about his home and its price. You’ll hear a lot of negative feedback about your home, its price, the neighborhood, your maintenance skills, your decorating skills and just about anything else in between. Because we are emotionally attached to our homes, this can be hard to hear once, much less week after week. Additionally, buyers can be really uncomfortable viewing your home or negotiating with you if they know you are also the owner. If you aren’t a stellar negotiator with a hide for criticism as thick as an alligator’s, the FSBO process may not be for you.

It’s not convenient.

Real estate agents put in a great deal of time to sell your home. It really is a full-time-plus-time job. If you know a successful agent, ask them when they last had a full day off. Consider these time-consuming tasks:

  • Marketing the home. Your agent will take pictures, post the listing on the MLS system and their website, share posts about the property on social media, write up descriptions of the home, create brochures and flyers, go through their contacts and make some calls to generate interest and see if they can find an interested buyer – and that’s just a start. Marketing any home takes time. And remember, you can’t even access the MLS System to list your home unless you are a licensed real estate professional. MLS is where most homebuyers first start their home search. FSBO companies will list your home on the Toronto real estate board. Toronto! Not Kitchener-Waterloo. Therefore the local kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge realtors (which buyers are working with for free) don’t send their clients any FSBO listings as they are not on our board.
    What this means for you is that you are missing 80% of your most qualified buyers.
  • Screening potential buyers. As the seller represented by a Realtor, you will only meet the potential buyers that your agent has screened and pre-qualified. You won’t be dealing with all the folks who aren’t legitimate prospects. You’ll have to do all the prescreening if you sell on your own (there’s lots of tire-kickers out there).
  • Showing the home. If you have a job that allows you to take off at the drop of a hat to show your home to a potential buyer who only has an hour to spare, then you might be okay. Many other people in traditional job settings will have difficulty making time to show the home to potential buyers at a moment’s notice.
  • Fielding the calls. Your agent’s real estate office fields an awful lot of phone calls on a daily basis. They hear so many questions in a day that they often leave with sore ears! Can you manage your life, your job and a seemingly endless stream of phone calls, emails, texts and/or social media messages about your home? <Groan>

It’s not as cost-effective as it first appears.

Some might say they do it for the challenge, others for the experience, but in truth most FSBO sellers just want to save some money. They believe that if they do the work, they will save a bundle in real estate commissions. While it’s true that you won’t have to pay a commission, there are costs involved that are probably much higher than you realize.

Companies dedicated to “helping” homeowners sell their homes on their own have fees. They will charge you up front for their services and you have no guarantee or even expectation of a sale. Agents only charge if they are able to sell your home.

Marketing costs are also out-of-pocket if you sell your own home. Just about every website will charge you and so will the listing services. (The MLS, the service most used by real estate agents and home buyers, won’t even list for you unless you are a licensed agent.) Every classified ad, every printed flyer, every marketing tool will be paid for by you at the time of placement, not after the sale.

Selling your home on your own also costs you time. You’ll be spending time away from your job, away from your family, away from your life. Can you afford the loss?

You can sell your own home but it will take a great deal of effort on your part. Hiring a qualified agent with the skills to get your home sold quickly takes away a great deal of stress. If you choose the FSBO route, be aware of the perils and have a plan to outsmart them. Or you could simply hire a good real estate agent and let him or her do the hard work of selling your home. Yes, you’ll pay a commission but it will be worth every penny and your Realtor will earn every cent. If you’re wondering if an individual Realtor or a Real Estate Team is best for you, click here.

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

The New Era of Condo Living in Kitchener-Waterloo

buying a home in Waterloo, buying a home in Kitchener, buying a condo in Kitchener-Waterloo

Benefits of Condo Living

The Growing Condo Population in Waterloo Region

Condos have a lot to offer for many different categories of buyer. From first-time buyers to downsizers and from singles to families, there are good reasons to think about condo living. They offer an ease of living that everyone can appreciate.

The Kitchener-Waterloo area has a huge student and post-grad population and this group is often attracted to condo living. The lower price point of a condo over a single-family home is typically a strong selling point. The communal atmosphere and added luxuries some condos offer (such as pools, fitness facilities and rooftop decks) are also very attractive to those just transitioning from dorm and apartment life to homeownership. It’s a good way to make the move from university to adult life.

Twenty-somethings love living in the areas where condos are most populous, too. Living near nightlife as well as work makes commuting so much easier. Our thriving tech sector is providing a healthy pool of buyers that’s only going to grow in the next several years so a condo could also be an excellent investment.

The millennials may love condos and we are finding that adults with a little more life experience are also becoming condo buyers. Empty nesters and retirees are buying condos now too. The ease of letting someone else do the gardening or paint the shared hallways can make a condo life much easier than a single-family home. A few less square feet means that much less to clean and maintain so many of these folks are making the switch to condos later in life.

Benefits of Condo Living

Condo life offers more than just the square footage within your walls. Here are just a few of the benefits of condo living that you might not have considered.

  • Security. Many buildings have security features you won’t get in a single-family home or apartment. Features like car-only access and paid security staff on-site 24-7 in addition to nearby neighbors to make you feel more secure. Condos have a lower rate of break-ins when compared to other form of housing.
  • Location. Condos are often located in the trendiest areas close to the best shopping and restaurants. This is definitely the case in Kitchener-Waterloo! Any of our condos are just a short stroll from some of the hottest hotspots in town.
  • Maintenance. It would be more accurate to say “lack of maintenance” because if you buy a condo, most of the hardest work will be handled for you! Landscaping, roofing and the upkeep of common areas will be performed by professionals and covered by your monthly fees.
  • While condo pricing has a wide range based on location, size, and amenities, the price per square foot is typically lower than a single-family home. This makes homeownership a little more reachable for more buyers.
  •  Amenities. A great condo has features outside your own walls. Many have 24-hour fitness facilities, pools, beautiful common areas for large-scale entertaining, secure parking and perhaps even concierge services.
  • Community. Perhaps one of the best features of condo life in the sense of community that you often find in these buildings. The shared spaces give you a feeling of being part of a larger family of residents that is often missing in our modern lives.

This affordable, innovative approach to creating a community could be the best move you’ve ever made. If you haven’t considered a condo yet, perhaps it’s time you called your Realtor. Take a look at how you could be living if you choose a Kitchener-Waterloo condo property.

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

 

Tips for Single Female Home Buyers

 

buying a home in Kitchener-Waterloo

Dreaming of Owning Your Own Home?

There was a time when homebuyers were a predictable bunch as far as demographics were concerned. Most were married; many had children. All of the agents on my team could often tell just by our buyers’ ages and the ages of their children what kind of home they would purchase. Single buyers used to be rare and single female buyers were practically nonexistent. That time is over!

Single women aren’t waiting for husbands and children to dictate their home ownership goals anymore. They are becoming homeowners in greater numbers than ever before. Today, more than 25% of Canada’s home buyers are single.

Why should a single person buy a home?

Buying a home will give you the space and privacy you want along with a sense of personal pride in your home that you just don’t get when you’re renting. You have more control over your space too. You can paint, decorate and alter the space in whatever way you see fit (as long as it conforms to local codes, of course). It’s also a sound investment that even your parents will approve J

It only makes sense to buy in today’s market. If you’re currently renting you already know that rent isn’t cheap in Kitchener-Waterloo. If you’re paying between $1000 and $1500 each month in rent, you could feasibly be carrying a mortgage of around $250,000 instead of supporting your landlord’s real estate investment. Having a mortgage builds equity; it’s an investment in your own future.

Interest rates are still affordably low and there are more options than ever for single buyers. Single-family homes of the right size, despite the moniker, are a classic choice. Houses with rental potential are particularly popular since becoming a landlord is smart way to get part (or all) of your mortgage covered. Condos in Waterloo Region are also a good way to break into the real estate market without as many maintenance woes. You can resell a condo when you want a change or retain it as an investment/rental property.

As a single buyer, you’ve never had so many choices. Banks are much more open to lending to single buyers now than in the past so it’s a great time to make home ownership a priority. If you are single and looking to buy, you need to be as educated as possible about the process and I’m going to help you with that.

Take a look at our Buying Guide to begin your home ownership education. Here’s one very important thing you should know right away: as the buyer, having a real estate agent represent you costs you nothing. The seller is the one who pays the real estate fees. Begin realizing your dream of owning your own home by choosing a Realtor who will represent you, ensuring all your needs are met, and protect you as you purchase. 

Tips for Single Female Home Buyers

If you are single and a considering buying a home, there are a few things you should consider a little more closely than if you were buying in tandem with another person. Since you will be the individual solely responsible for the home, you need to be even more careful about these key points.

  • Know what you can afford. Again, you will be the only one making the mortgage payments. It’s even more critical that you know exactly how much home you can afford. As the only person responsible for the mortgage payments every month, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Don’t count on your lender to dictate to you how much you can afford. Calculate the costs of your lifestyle and decide for yourself how much you are willing to commit to your mortgage payment.
  • Understand the whole cost of ownership. In considering how much you can afford, don’t forget the details. Home ownership is more than the mortgage payment. You will also have taxes, insurance and maintenance costs to consider. Your Realtor will be able to help you consider and calculate these costs.
  • Set up an emergency fund. Home repairs can occur suddenly and some of them are costly. It’s a good idea to put money aside in an emergency fund for these unexpected emergencies.
  • Protect your investment. Insurance coverage is no joking matter when you are a homeowner. You will definitely want to consult your insurance agent to inquire about how home ownership will change your coverage needs. Click here to read an article we published about what insurance covers if you have water damage. What coverage should you have on the structure itself? Do you need liability insurance on your home? Outside of coverage for your new home you will want to find out – who will pay my mortgage if I become injured or disabled? Make an appointment with your insurance agent or broker before your home purchase and be sure all of your questions are answered so that you protect your income and your home.
  • Avoid costly mistakes. Don’t rush into your home buying decision and don’t compromise your budget. Mistakes in the process of purchasing a home can be financially devastating; take your time and get expert real estate advice throughout the process.

This is an excellent time to be a single homeowner. Read over our Buying Guide and give us a call to start making your home ownership dreams come true.

For home selling tips you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Buyer’s Remorse: The Biggest Regrets of Home Buyers

 

The Mark Maurer Team

Tips on Avoiding Buyer’s Remorse in Your Home Purchase

Buying a home can be a bit of scary business. It’s a big decision and a serious investment. Both personally and financially, a lot is riding on the choices home buyers can make in the process of purchasing a home. A good Realtor can help you avoid a great many of the most common pitfalls but it’s up to you to make the final call on so many things. You don’t want to look back in a year or so and feel that you’ve made a huge mistake.

That awful feeling that sits in your gut like a gas station burrito after making an ill-chosen purchase has a name (and it’s not indigestion). It’s called “buyer’s remorse.” It’s defined as the feeling of regret after making a purchase. It’s an emotional reaction to buying something regardless or despite of, the price. This type of regret is most often experienced after making a major purchase. Buyers’ remorse can stem from guilt over the perceived extravagance, a feeling of being overly-influenced by the seller or a suspicion that the choice made was the wrong one.

Buyers’ remorse is a terrible, sickening feeling. A little touch of that feeling is natural, even expected. You talk yourself into decision and then spend a little time second-guessing and convincing yourself that you were right. It’s only human to have a little tension in a transaction the size of a home. However, when that little bit of tension turns into a case of the cold sweats, you know you’ve made the wrong choice. Informing yourself about the common home buying regrets can help you to avoid them yourself! Here are a few of the most common reasons homebuyers regret their purchase.

Overreacting

Some buyers overreact to their dissatisfaction with their current space and go to the extreme in the opposite direction on their next purchase. Buyers leaving a small home that’s feeling rather crowded want the biggest possible home and find they’ve over-bought and can’t manage the upkeep. Or when looking to downsize, a buyer might go TOO small and find that they can’t accommodate guests as they would like.

Stay away from this trap by planning and choosing logically, not emotionally. Plan for your future in the home, not what you’ve experienced the past. Considering buying all the home you can afford and not skimping or scrimping on space so you love it for longer. You’ll be able to grow into the home and enjoy it for longer. The longer you stay, the more money you’ll save in the long run (it costs a lot to move!).

Settling for a strange layout

After you have been looking for a while, you start thinking you need to be less choosy. You give up on finding the layout you really want and begin to accept the fact that you’ll have to make some concessions (sounds reasonable enough right?). You convince yourself that an awkward or poorly planned layout isn’t really that bad and you’ll get used to it. The previous owners did after all.

If a home feels awkward when you tour it the first time, it will still feel weird after ten years. Don’t talk yourself out of getting what you really want and need.

Falling for a trend

You’re thinking that you want your home to be contemporary and up-to-date. You want your friends to be just a little bit jealous! You love a certain look from a magazine. All these things are fine but don’t let them dictate your home purchase.

Today’s trend is tomorrow’s dated look. Just think – saloon doors to the kitchen, wood paneling and Pepto-pink bathrooms were once major design trends (hard to imagine, isn’t it?!). Stick to contemporary-yet-classic in the things you can’t easily change like structure, tile and flooring. Let your taste for current trends be reflected in things that you can switch out without too much trouble and expense like wall colors and lighting fixtures.

Missing what’s missing

When you fall in love with a house, it’s easy to skim over the little details. You focus on the “Wow!” features and get distracted from your mission. Maybe it’s the house’s pretty exterior that sets you off-track and you forget it’s not in the right neighborhood for you. Perhaps a massive, natural stone shower just takes your breath away and you don’t realize there’s not a bathtub anywhere in the home to bathe your newborn child.

Doing it alone

Many buyers (and sellers) think that they can save money and shorten the home buying process by doing it all themselves. A good Realtor is your advocate, your best friend and best weapon in this process. If you’ve chosen a trustworthy Realtor then you won’t have to worry about being rushed or cajoled into a quick purchase or sale.

To avoid this pitfall, choose your Realtor wisely. Ask for referrals, talk to your friends and compare their experiences. Listen to your gut. If you don’t feel comfortable with a Realtor’s attitude or advice, find a new Realtor. You shouldn’t have to sit on either side of the closing table without a knowledgeable guide and friend beside you.

Talk to your Realtor about what you want and need in a home. When they tell you the home isn’t hitting all your “must-haves”, listen to them. Remind yourself of your needs often and don’t rush into a choice just because you’ve been dazzled by one particular feature.

Familiarize yourself with the common mistakes that homebuyers make so you won’t have that sick-to-your-stomach feeling when you receive the keys. Talk to your real estate agent in Kitchener-Waterloo and learn from their expertise. This way, you won’t be saddled with a bad case of buyer’s remorse.