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Selling an "Ugly" Home

            Let’s say that you inherited an old house in a distant location and want to put it on the market. You may not have the time, resources or energy to make it perfect and just want a quick sale.

            Or, maybe you had renters at your property who did substantial damage and you don’t have the money to make necessary renovations.  

            Fear not. Just because the house needs work doesn’t mean you can’t sell it.            Many homebuyers today are shopping for deals and want to see the potential in your home. In that case, leave brochures for new cabinets in the kitchen, color palates around the bedrooms and even create computerized images of what updates could look like.

            In addition, secure bids from licensed contractors on necessary fixes and provide them to your potential buyers. People may overestimate the cost of a new roof, shower stall or drywall repair and fresh paint. Estimates will bring the home into clearer perspective.

            Work with your real estate agent to make the home as presentable as possible for the least amount of money. Make a room or two inviting so you have the photos that will attract buyers to what you can call “a fixer upper.”

            Of course, nothing is going to attract people more than a low price. Obviously, you will need to discount the sales price to gain an advantage over comparables in better condition.  

            A down-and-out house doesn’t mean you’re stuck. With small repairs, research and practical pricing, you can turn that “Ugly Betty” into a sale.

The Psychology of Color on your Home

Agents frequently suggest that homeowners paint before placing their homes on the market. Don’t be offended!

Agents understand “color psychology,” which focuses on color’s effect on human behavior and emotion. Since people’s reaction to color is immediate, color has a tremendous influence on the choices they make every day.

            “Color choices are very personal and when selling your home, it’s critical to appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers,” said Allegra Dioguardi, president of Styled and Sold Home Staging in New York. “With so many people beginning their search for a home on the Internet today, your home and listing photos must stand out from your competition. Color is one very simple way to do this.”

            Added Eric Brown, one of the authors of House Selling for Dummies: “Painting your house’s exterior before you put it on the market will give the biggest bang for your fix-up buck, as long as you are using colors that conform to the neighborhood’s decorating norm.”

            Colors affect human beings in many ways, and by using the principles of color psychology, you can make your home stand out from the competition, sell more quickly, and at a higher price. In short, the stimulus and effect of colors normally cross cultures. Blues will feel cool, reds and oranges feel warm. Deeper shades of color imply intimacy and serenity.

Your home’s exterior color is the first thing most potential homebuyers see when they drive up or inspect the property on the Web. The correct color may be the most powerful and cost effective design tool at your disposal.

What is “correct” these days? Brown’s research shows that homes painted in pale yellows with cream or beige accents have sold fastest during the past few years.

In general, lighter colors are favored for exterior as they make the property seem larger. Conversely, painting your sideboards with a darker color will make the house seem smaller, though dark colors can draw more attention to home’s details.

            For those painting an older home, you may want to consider historical accuracy, as this could be a big selling point as well.

            When choosing interior colors for the home, consider the purpose of each room. Kitchen and dining areas painted in “food colors” such as coffee browns, celery greens and scrambled-egg yellows will make the rooms feel more natural.

            Hallways are a great place to bring in the exterior colors for overall harmony.

According to Jeanette Fisher’s book Joy to the Home: Secrets of Interior Design Psychology, since, deeper shades of color imply intimacy and serenity, she recommends painting master bedrooms a medium shade of green or blue for warm selling seasons, and rouge red for cooler weather. Other bedrooms can be painted in creamy tones of green, blue, or a pale shell pink.

            For your bedroom and bathroom, cool colors can form a relaxing atmosphere with paint. Consider shades of blue, green or even lavender.

            Of course, common sense should help you with any color choices. You need to match other things in your home and keep a comfortable environment as well.

Costs for First-Time Home Buyers

Buying a new home can be a huge, complex undertaking, especially when it’s your first time. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced real estate agent guiding you along the way.

            In a survey conducted earlier this year by Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services (PRERS),  a Prudential Financial, Inc. [NYSE:PRU] company, 75% of respondents highlighted the importance of real estate agents in the process of buying or selling their home, with only 24% saying agents are helpful but not imperative.

            “Americans continue to see real estate agents as having a very important role in helping them price, buy and sell their homes,” said James Mallozzi, PRERS’ chairman and chief executive officer. “Although the data underscores the value real estate agents provide, it also shows that the industry needs to continue to work hard to meet clients’ unique needs.”

            First-time buyers need to look at their financial situation and crunch the numbers to see if this is the right time to buy. Chances are the numbers they see today will be the best they will see for some time, which is why so many are considering homeownership.  

            Still, understanding the money that goes into a home purchase is important. The biggest mistake new buyers make is underestimating the costs of buying a house and maintaining it over time.

            Homebuying requires more than a down payment as closing costs and future expenses will figure prominently. Many experts agree that homeowners should have 1%-3% of their homes’ purchase price in savings for improvements and surprise expenses. Mortgage experts also say it’s wise to have at least six mortgage payments in the bank after a closing.

            While those numbers may not be feasible for everyone, if you are spending above your means on a new home, you may find yourself in financial trouble fast.

            Inspections are important for the first-time buyer, as they list repairs that will be needed for the home. A buyer should put together a short-term and long-term plan based on the inspection so they know how much money they will need in the months and years ahead.

            As renters, people are accustomed to paying rent and basic utilities. As homeowners, you’ll also pay for water, sewer and trash collection. Then there are property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and homeowner’s association dues, plus yard care, snow removal and other expenses unique to your location.

            To be sure, buying a home is one of the largest investments you’ll make and when done wisely, it can be one of the best decisions of your life. Your real estate agent will help each step of the way, first helping you establish a realistic price point for your home purchase and a clear understanding of your monthly expenses.

 (ps. and in Ontario there is a Land Transfer Tax that must be paid and in Toronto there is an additional Land Transfer Tax that must be paid.  There is a formula based on price paid on the property and is roughly between 1.25-1.75% of the purchase price!! In Toronto therefore the LTT can be up to 3.5% of the purchase price !!!) 

Home staging should include the Male Perspective
          Professional home stagers consult with homeowners on ways to sell their homes quickly and for the most money possible, but often lost in the design process is the fact that men are involved in buying decisions as well.

When having your home staged, it’s important to remember to appeal to both sexes and do some things that will pique a man’s interest just as much as a woman’s.

Professional stagers take into account buyer demographics, buying psychology, and utilize design elements in planning out the rooms and space and the use of lighting and its effect on the space. Don’t be afraid to let them know if the home is leaning too far on the woman’s side.

Women tend to look for cozier settings or rooms that facilitate intimate conversations, while males gravitate toward rooms with gadgets, televisions and electronics.

Open spaces and higher ceilings are also a draw for men as psychologically they have a larger sense of personal space. Professional stagers with men in mind try to create rooms where a man can feel as if he can walk through the house easily without stepping around all sorts of furniture.

When it comes to men, the garage and yard tend to be high up on the priority list, so it’s important to get these areas as perfect as possible.

Garages that have painted walls, clean floors and enough storage for various male-oriented hobbies will impress. Shelf space is almost always looked at as a good thing here and a place to hang tools or a workbench would make a fine addition to attract male buyers. And remember, an empty garage looks much bigger than one with a car parked in it.

With the yard, showcasing a well-maintained lawn will help sell the male. Thick, healthy grass, minimal bushes to trim and easy to clean garden beds will meet the landscaping criterion the male buyer looks for.

Appealing to both sexes when staging and selling a home requires an emotional investment that will pay off in the end for all parties, just don’t forget that men need a connection, too.


Is it worth the cost?

            A stressful part of putting your home on the market is trying to figure out what to fix and upgrade to get the very best price. An experienced agent will recommend projects to consider and ones to avoid. After all, just because you put money into a renovation project doesn’t mean you will recoup the money in a sale.

            You may also want to consult Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report for a breakdown of typical returns on renovation projects large and small. The  24th annual edition published in 2011 contains input from some of the country’s top remodeling professionals and ranked 35 remodeling projects for highest returns. 

            In many cases, smaller-scale renovation projects recoup more of their initial cost than larger, pricier ones, according to the report. For example, a minor $20,000 kitchen upgrade returns 72.8% of renovation costs, but a more expensive $58,000 kitchen remodel only retains 68.7% of its value on resale.

            Surprisingly, the report noted that exterior upgrades recoup more of their costs than interior renovations -- a trend that’s been building for the past five years. What’s the hottest exterior upgrade according to this year’s report? Replacing the front door with a steel entry door, which typically returns more than 100% of its cost.

            The report also lists garage doors as a wise investment, returning up to 83% of their original cost when the home sells.  Other prudent outdoor renovations include siding and window replacement, returning 80% and 72.4 %, respectively.

            Interior improvements retaining the most value include attic renovations and basement remodels, recouping 72.2% and 70%.

            “Just like an addition to the home, an unfinished space—such as the attic or basement—will instantly add value and livability to your home, as it increases the square footage and changes the way your family lives in it,” said Will Tomlinson, owner of North Carolina-based greyHouse Inc. Renovation and Remodeling. “You will be transforming a space that likely gets very little use into a fully functional area for your family to enjoy.”

            The report also notes that non-essential features have less resale value. Sunroom additions recoup only 48.6% of renovation costs; home office remodels, 45.8%; and backup power generators, 48.5%.

            Of course, homeowners’ needs and budgets dictate their choice of home-improvement projects. Still, it helps to know projects’ cost vs. return ratio when making the final decisions.

Buy or Sell First?
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When it comes to home buying, the ideal situation would be to find a new home, just as you receive an offer on your existing home. You would then be able to close concurrently and move into your new home a few days prior to closing on your previous home. This does happen more often than not, but anyone looking to buy a new home needs to consider all the possible scenarios. 

Should you buy or sell first? There are many schools of thought on this subject.  Ultimately, it depends on you and your situation. For instance, can you afford to pay two mortgages in the event your previous home does not sell by the time you move? Would you consider a bridge loan (a short-term, high interest loan that let you borrow against the value of your old home to covers the bills until you secure the new, larger loan)? Are you willing to move twice to find the home of your dreams if you sell first and can't find the dream home fast enough? 

This is where the advice of a real estate sales professional is invaluable. Real estate sales professionals know the current market conditions. They are trained and experienced in working with home buyers and sellers to determine an ideal time to buy and sell.

It is generally less stressful to sell your home first, because you won't have to worry about owning two homes at one time. The market will dictate how long it will take your home to sell, as will your location and the time of year. As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to put your home of the market as far in advance as possible when purchasing a new one. But, since interest rates are low and confidence is returning to the market, there’s a good change your home will sell faster if priced properly. (Again, your real estate professional’s advice is critically important here.) In that case, you may want to purchase a new home first.

What if your present home sells before you find a new one, putting pressure on you to find the right house for you more quickly? You may then decide to make an interim move or request to rent back your home for a specified amount of time as you continue to look for your new home. Those may be worthwhile options if you have your heart set on a specific location or type of home or if you are purchasing a home that is under construction.

If you buy a home before selling your present home, you may end up with two mortgages. Under those circumstances, you may be able to apply for a bridge loan to assist you in making two mortgage payments until you sell your first home. Your real estate sales professional can assist you in finding a lender. 

So should you buy or sell first? This is a challenging question regardless of real estate cycles, yet your own circumstances and a knowledgeable real estate professional will help you make the right decision.

Video Commentary by Jason Mercer

TREB Market Watch-December 2011 video and commentary by Jason Mercer Senior Manager, Market Analysis.

 

click on the link:

http://www.youtube.com/TREBChannel

 

Toronto Real Estate Board Market Watch- Second-Best Year on Record for Sales

January 5, 2012 -- Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 4,718 transactions through the TorontoMLS® system in December 2011. The December result capped off the second-best year on record under the current Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) boundaries. Total sales for 2011 amounted to 89,347 – up four per cent in comparison to 2010.

“Low borrowing costs kept Buyers confident in their ability to comfortably cover their mortgage payments along with other major housing costs,” said TREB President Richard Silver. “If Buyers had not been constrained by a shortage of listings over the past 12 months, we would have been flirting with a new sales record in the Greater Toronto Area,” added Silver.

The average selling price in December was $451,436 – up four per cent compared to December 2010. For all of 2011, the average selling price was $465,412, an increase of eight per cent in comparison to the average of $431,276 in 2010.

“Months of inventory remained below the pre-recession norm in 2011. Very tight market conditions meant substantial competition between Buyers and strong upward pressure on selling prices,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

“TREB’s baseline forecast for 2012 is for an average price of $485,000, representing a more moderate four per cent annual rate of price growth. This baseline view is subject to a heightened degree of risk given the uncertain global economic outlook,” continued Mercer.

 Click here for the full report:

 http://communications3.torontomls.net/statistics/mwatch/2011/12/mw1112.pdf

Lovely Large Family Home with Large Mature Garden backing onto Green Space!

2717 Ashridge Pl
Oakville, ON L6J 7K3


maps.google.ca
 
This Area is referred to as Clear View aka Sherwood Heights, Oakville ON 
Jason Mercer Sr. Manager of Market Analysis at TREB Year to date Oct 2011

Check out comments by Jason regarding year to date GTA statistics and analysis. 

http://www.youtube.com/TREBChannel

Sellers market continues!!

Nothing much has changed over the summer and into fall. Middle class dwellings continue to show tight inventory conditions in the areas studied namely Oakville Milton and Clarkson/Lorne Park areas. The lower the price range the tighter the conditions which doesn't surprise me given the low interest rate environment. A few people have mentioned to me that they see lots of "For Sale" signs on Lakeshore in Oakville and this is borne out on our chart. Luxury properties (1mm+) continue to underperform the rest of the categories as much higher inventory levels exist. Anyone purchasing a property here should be able to negotiate better terms given the more choices available. But if you want to buy a starter home under 400k, you had better act quickly if it is a new listing.

The table shows months of inventory on offer compared with previous months sales figures. 0-3 months inventory implies a tight sellers market, 3-6 months is considered more neutral, and 6months+ is considered a buyers' market. Feel free to call me to discuss further with no obligation George 905 823 0020

 

Price Range

Oakville

Milton

Clarkson/Lorne Park

200-399k

1.45

1.29

0.88

400-499k

1.79

1.29

2.40

500-749k

2.08

3.05

4.89

750-999k

3.12

No sales

4.17

1000-1999k

5.50

No sales

7.00

2000-2999k

54.0

No sales

11.0

3000k+

No sales

No sales

No sales

Stoney Creek steps to Lake Ontario!
Lovely Custom Build By Dicarnoble Homes. Approx. 2300 Sq.Ft. Of Living Space In Up And Coming Stoney Creek Neighbourhood Just Steps From Lake Ontario. Great Sized Lot For The Growing Family. Lots Of Upgrades Including Granite Kitchen Countertops, Ceramic Backsplash, And Large Master Bedroom Retreat. Shows Very Well.

Extras: Italian Ceramic Tile, Imported Granite, Maple Flooring, Vaulted Ceilings, 6" Basebords, Internetand Alarm Wiring Throughout, Tv Cable Outlets In All Bedrooms, Oversized Double Garage

This home is available for LEASE as well at $2300 per month. Please call for details.

485 Glover Rd
Stoney Creek, ON L8E 0C1

CUBAN Back-Split Family Home with a Nanny Suite!

HUGE IRREGULAR OVERSIZED LOT(.54 ACRE).THIS DESIRABLE PROPERTY FEATURES UPGRADED KITCHEN BACKSPLASH & NEW CUPBOARDS,MAIN N FLR NANNY SUITE W/ SEP FURNACE & AIR,W/O BSMT,ABOVE GRADE WINDOWS, HARDWOOD, VAULTED CEILINGS. STEPS TO HOPEDALE MALL, AND CORONATION PARK. CLOSE TO BUSES, GO AND HIGHWAYS  House for large family with walkout from basment. Backsplit with lovely vaulted ceilings, sliders to back deck, 2 fireplaces, separate main floor nanny suite with 2nd kitchen, bedroom, laundry & separate furnace & air. The nanny suite is wheelchair accessible and could be used for extended family or home office. Beautiful 1/2 acre southwest exposure, mature treed lot.

Jason Mercer Sr. Manager of Market Analysis at TREB

http://www.youtube.com/TREBChannel

Click on the link above for an update on what has happened in the first two months of this year with GTA real estate. 

Market Watch Youtube-The Toronto Real Estate Market according to Jason Mercer
http://www.youtube.com/TREBChannel#p/u/0/IFTn3DolhA4