Archive for questions about selling your home

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 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.

Disclosure: What Do Home Sellers Need to Disclose?

This advice from Ontario’s Top Real Estate Lawyer Mark Weisleder about disclosure in home sales is so valuable, we wanted to share it with you. The topic in this YouTube video is what home sellers and Real Estate salespeople need to disclose when selling properties. You can watch the YouTube video here and/or read below the 4 key lessons Mark instructs us to remember:

Home Sellers: What do you need to disclose?

Home Sellers: What do you need to disclose?

Patent or visible defects do not need to be disclosed

If you can see a defect during a typical home inspection, it does not need to be disclosed by a seller. This can include a crack in a window, mirror or kitchen counter, a stain under the bed or damage to a wall behind a picture. The lesson is to be more diligent when inspecting a property before signing any agreement in the first place. Do not be shy about lifting small appliances from the kitchen counter or area rugs and try to make sure all windows actually open properly.

Latent or hidden defects need to be disclosed by the seller

Latent defects are defects that a home inspector could not see during a typical home inspection. If a seller knows about a material latent defect and does not disclose it, a buyer can sue the seller even after closing. Examples include water damages that have not been properly repaired, whether from the roof or basement, smoke damages from a fire, mold behind the walls, underground fuel tanks or foundation problems. If a buyer can demonstrate after closing that the seller must have known about the issue, they can be successful in taking legal action after closing. Buyers should be advised to conduct an insurance search against any property to see if a prior insurance claim was made by a previous owner.

Psychological stigmas do not have to be disclosed

Although the law is evolving, sellers do not have to disclose whether there has been a murder or suicide on the property or adjoining property or whether a pedophile lives on the same street. As this will likely matter to most buyers, google the property address to see if anything comes up, visit websites such as housecreep.com to see if there were any stigmas reported on the property and consider putting a clause right in the offer whereby the seller represents and warrants that to the best of their knowledge, there has been no murder or suicide on the property. Sellers must respond truthfully to this statement.

Be wary of sellers who ask you not to disclose

In my experience, sellers who request that you not disclose something that you believe should be disclosed are the same sellers who will try and blame you for anything that goes wrong or try and avoid paying commission if they can. In the circumstances, try and obtain written instructions from the seller’s lawyer for any matter that they do not wish to be disclosed and then also consult with your own real estate lawyer if you have any further questions. If you have specific questions for Mark Weisleder, he can be contacted at mark@realestatelawyers.ca or by calling 1.888.876.5529. We have over 20 years of experience in our office – give us a call at 310-SOLD so that you don’t run into legal challenges in your real estate transaction.

 

Closing the Sale of Your Home

Before you close the sale of your Kitchener-Waterloo home

Before you close the sale of your Kitchener-Waterloo home 

You’re selling your home. You’ve spent time cleaning, packing, painting, tidying and landscaping in preparation for potential buyers. You’ve vacated your home for showings. You’ve taken all of your real estate agent’s advice, priced it to sell and gotten your home completely ready. All your hard work is finally paying off and you’ve got a buyer! The offer has been made and accepted but your work is not yet done.

As a seller, you still have a number of tasks to accomplish before the sale of your home is complete. There are details involved in a home sale and you can’t afford to miss a single one. Your real estate agent will be there to guide you through the process so you should be covered. However, it never hurts to be informed about the process. Here are a few of the things you need to know, which will help you to be super prepared!

Your real estate agent can help with closing details

After the price is agreed upon and a contract signed, consult with your agent about the next steps. A contract isn’t always a sure sale. There could be contingencies in the contract for the buyer such as approval of financing Ask your agent what will happen next and what your involvement needs to be, if any. He or she will be able to brief you on the upcoming events that will hopefully lead to a secure closing.

Ask your agent to send the agreement of purchase and sale to your real estate lawyer as soon as possible. If you don’t already have a lawyer, your Realtor will be able to recommend one.

Consult a real estate lawyer

A home sale is a legal contract, entailed with all the accompanying legalities and paperwork. Talk to him or her about what you need to do between acceptance of the offer and the closing. Ask your lawyer if your agent has sent the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and any other necessary paperwork to your lawyer’s office. Provide him or her with the name and date of birth of the buyer. Be sure to apprise your lawyer if the property you are selling (or buying) is now or will be, a rental property. He or she should know if it has a well or septic system, too. Make sure every line item requiring a signature or initial has them in place well before the closing date.

You will have to bring a cheque with you to the closing for the fees. Your attorney’s office can usually give you an estimate of the total costs a couple of weeks out from closing and a final figure a few days beforehand. You may be leaving keys with your lawyer so be sure to ask what you should be prepared to provide both before closing and after.

Call your insurance agent

Your insurance agent should be next on your list of professional people to visit or call. Your policy needs are certainly changing and you will need to make some adjustments. One thing you may need to purchase before closing is a short-term fire insurance policy. Coverage for 2 weeks prior to closing is sometimes recommended and you’ll need to get a copy to your lawyer’s office as well.

Notify your insurance agent that a change is coming but don’t cancel your policy until the sale is actually completed. You never know what could happen (fire, flood, natural disaster) – between the moment you cancel and the actual closing.

Contact your local utilities and various service providers

Once you have a confirmed closing date, you can start contacting your local utilities and service providers to close your accounts, settle any payments and terminate services. This includes gas, hydro, water, cable or satellite TV, Internet, and land line if you have one (do people still have those?). Don’t forget the lawn service/landscaper if you have one and newspaper delivery. A Change of Address and arrange for mail forwarding at Canada Post online here. To make it easy on yourself, make a list and check each item off so you aren’t paying for services past the date you leave the home.

Put together a small package for the buyer

The new owner will probably change all the locks and security codes but collect all the keys and bring the garage door openers. Leave all of them with your lawyer at the time of closing.

At the home, leave a packet for the new owner. Leave behind instruction manuals and warranty info for any appliances still in the home. If you have a security system, change the code to something simple and leave it for the new owners. They can change it later to something personal and they won’t know the special codes you will likely use in your next home!

Close up the home

Whenever you vacate the property, whether it is weeks before closing or minutes, be sure to close it up properly. Close the blinds or pull the curtains, turn off the lights and lock the doors. If the property will be vacant for any period of time before the new owners move in, leave a light on to give the illusion that someone is still living there. This should at least reduce the chances of a break-in.

Talk to your agent about all the little details that must be managed between offer and closing. Be sure to check every box on your list!

If you don’t have a real estate lawyer, we highly recommend and work with the lawyers at Victor Hussein Professional Corporation. Victor and his team can be reached by visiting http://www.vhlaw.ca or by calling 519.744.8585.