July 20, 2013
Preparing for the Move
Tips for the Moving Process
It’s official: you’ve signed the papers, dotted all the i’s and crossed the t’s—you own a new home! You’ve almost reached the end of your journey. However, now, faced with the daunting task of moving, it may seem as though the journey has just begun. Moving can be a time-consuming and stressful experience if you let yourself be overwhelmed by the job. Remember, though, having a successful move means taking care of the details, one by one. If you break the process down into steps and arrange your time accordingly, you can make it manageable. Use the following checklist to ensure you’re covering all the bases, and you will be well on your way to a successful move!
- Arrange to have your mail forwarded to your new address.
- Forward or cease all deliveries to your home, and forward or cancel newspaper and magazine subscriptions.
- Disconnect or take care of utility, cable and phone services and accounts.
- Arrange for utilities to be connected at your new house.
- Cancel pre-authorized bill payments.
- Begin going through closets and discarding any unnecessary items.
- Plan your packing. Start by purchasing or acquiring suitable containers. Most moving companies have specialized containers you can buy. Also, speak with others who have recently moved—they may be looking to get rid of boxes. You’ll need the following: small boxes for heavy items (books, tools, etc.); large boxes for bulky items (bedding, stuffed toys, etc.); medium boxes for bulky but less heavy items (towels, small appliances, etc.).
- Begin to collect other packing materials. Decide which items you’ll need from the following checklist:
- -White paper
- -Tissue paper
- -Paper towels
- -Non-printed paper
- -Packing tape or twine to seal boxes and containers
- -Labels and stickers (available from your moving company)
- -Felt marker to label boxes
- -Notebook and pen for listing contents
- Set goals and deadlines for yourself. Aim, for example, to pack one room per week.
- Attach a list of contents to each box. Separate and label boxes to be placed in storage.
- Consider holding a garage sale to rid yourself of excess belongings.
- Begin to use up the food in your pantry and freezer. Let the food you already have dictate your menus.
- Have rugs cleaned that are to be moved, then roll and wrap them.
- Make special arrangements for the moving of plants or pets.
- Collect all personal items from local services (dry cleaning, storage, photos).
- Service all appliances you are taking with you. Note that all gas appliances must be emptied, as it is illegal for movers to carry flammable substances.
- Take inventory of all the boxes, and contents of the boxes, you have packed.
- Have your car serviced and tuned up.
- Return library books.
- Clean out your locker at any club you are leaving.
- Determine how to transfer your children to a new school.
- Return items you’ve borrowed to friends, and collect any you’ve lent.
- Mail or e-mail change of address notices to family members, friends, and office contacts.
- If needed, transfer medical and dental records, and fill prescriptions.
- Change the address on your driver’s license.
- Change the billing address for credit cards.
- Change the address for banking statements.
- Leave a record of security codes for new tenants.
Insurance and Legal Matters
- Visit your lawyer and ensure all documents are signed.
- Notify your insurance company well in advance of the move and ask them to review your policy.
- Transfer insurance to your new home, or acquire new insurance.
- Review your moving company’s insurance policy. If it doesn’t cover as much as you’d like it to, obtain your own.
- If you are currently renting a house or apartment, give written notice to the landlord.
- Have all keys to your old home delivered to your lawyer or realtor.
June 23, 2013
What NOT to do when buying your first home:
8 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Home
You’ve been saving for awhile, weighing your options, looking around casually. Now you’ve finally decided to do it—you’re ready to buy a house. The process of buying a new home can be incredibly exciting, yet stressful, all at once. Where do you start?
It is essential you do your homework before you begin. Learn from the experiences of others, do some research. Of course, with so many details involved, slip-ups are inevitable. But be careful: learning from your mistakes may prove costly. Use the following list of pitfalls as a guide to help you avoid the most common mistakes.
- Searching for houses without getting pre-approved by a lender: Do not mistake pre-approval by a lender with pre-qualification. Pre-qualification, the first step toward being pre-approved, will point you in the right direction, giving you an idea of the price range of houses you can comfortably afford. Pre-approval, however, means you become a cash buyer, making negotiations with the seller much easier.
- Allowing “first impressions” to overly influence your decision: The first impression of a home has been cited as the single most influential factor guiding many purchasers’ choice to buy. Make a conscious decision beforehand to examine a home as objectively as you can. Don’t let the current owners’ style or lifestyle sway your judgment. Beneath the bad décor or messy rooms, these homes may actually suit your needs and offer you a structurally sound base with which to work. Likewise, don’t jump at a home simply because the walls are painted your favourite colour! Make sure you thoroughly the investigate the structure beneath the paint before you come to any serious decisions.
- Failing to have the home inspected before you buy: Buying a home is a major financial decision that is often made after having spent very little time on the property itself. A home inspection performed by a competent company will help you enter the negotiation process with eyes wide open, offering you added reassurance that the choice you’re making is a sound one, or alerting you to underlying problems that could cost you significant money in both the short and long-run. Your Realtor can suggest reputable home inspection companies for you to consider and will ensure the appropriate clause is entered into your contract.
- Not knowing and understanding your rights and obligations as listed in the Offer to Purchase: Make it a priority to know your rights and obligations inside and out. A lack of understanding about your obligations may, at the very least, cause friction between yourself and the people with whom you are about to enter the contract. Wrong assumptions, poorly written/ incomprehensible/ missing clauses, or a lack of awareness of how the clauses apply to the purchase, could also contribute to increased costs. These problems may even lead to a void contract. So, take the time to go through the contract with a fine-tooth comb, making use of the resources and knowledge offered by your Realtor and lawyer. With their assistance, ensure you thoroughly understand every component of the contract, and are able to fulfill your contractual obligations.
- Making an offer based on the asking price, not the market value: Ask your Realtor for a current Comparative Market Analysis. This will provide you with the information necessary to gauge the market value of a home, and will help you avoid over-paying. What have other similar homes sold for in the area and how long were they on the market? What is the difference between their asking and selling prices? Is the home you’re looking at under-priced, over-priced, or fair value? The seller receives a Comparative Market Analysis before deciding upon an asking price, so make sure you have all the same information at your fingertips.
- Failing to familiarize yourself with the neighbourhood before buying: Check out the neighbourhood you’re considering, and ask around. What amenities does the area have to offer? Are there schools, churches, parks, or grocery stores within reach? Consider visiting schools in the area if you have children. How will you be affected by a new commute to work? Are there infrastructure projects in development? All of these factors will influence the way you experience your new home, so ensure you’re well-acquainted with the surrounding area before purchasing.
- Not looking for home insurance until you are about to move: If you wait until the last minute, you’ll be rushed to find an insurance policy that’s the ideal fit for you. Make sure you give yourself enough time to shop around in order to get the best deal.
- Not recognizing different styles and strategies of negotiation: Many buyers think that the way to negotiate their way to a fair price is by offering low. However, in reality this strategy may actually result in the seller becoming more inflexible, polarizing negotiations. Employ the knowledge and skills of an experienced realtor. S/he will know what strategies of negotiation will prove most effective for your particular situation.
June 17, 2013
Moving to a New Neighbourhood? 7 Things To Think Of
7 Things to Look for in a New Neighbourhood
Whether seeking solace, activity, schools, churches, or green space, every homebuyer looks for a different combination of attributes in a new community. Choosing a neighbourhood that suits your needs and wants is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in the home-buying process; your choice of environment will affect the way you experience your new home. This is a very personal decision, influenced by countless unique factors colouring your own lives, but you should always keep the following in mind:
- If you’re considering buying a home in a community that is unfamiliar to you, get to know its lay-out, offerings, and ambiance. Take some time to walk or drive through the neighbourhood, both during the day and at night, familiarizing yourself with the sights, sounds, and smells.
- What amenities does the neighbourhood have to offer? Is public transportation readily accessible? Are there schools, churches, parks, or grocery stores within reach? Consider visiting schools in the area if you have children.
- What is the nature of the job market in the area? Keep in mind that if area employers are producing more jobs, you can expect property values to increase, especially if the jobs offered fall within a higher salary bracket.
- Speak with the neighbours. Ask questions. They can offer you a wealth of information, from an inside perspective.
- How will you be affected by a new commute to work? Drive the route between the new neighbourhood and your office during the appropriate times to gauge the volume of traffic you could expect to encounter, and the amount of time you’d need to put aside for daily travel.
- Contact local land-use and zoning officials to determine existing development plans or potential for development in the area. A strong agenda for neighbourhood planning and local zoning will increase the value and draw of a neighbourhood. Keep in mind that any large, tree-covered area may be a target for future development in popular communities.
- Determine whether financial resources have been put in place to support infrastructure projects in the area. These construction projects might include building, replacing, or improving anything from schools to roads, and are usually part of a city or town’s long-term plan. While disruptive, construction could also be a benefit to your experience of a community, influencing the long-term value of the area.
January 24, 2012
Why do you need a REALTOR®?
What should you expect when you enlist the help of a REALTOR® to sell your home?
REALTORS® help you get the most money for your home and they remove the stress and confusion from the process of selling.
Your REALTOR® becomes your home's newest trusted friend
When you sign a "Listing Agreement" with your REALTOR® , this is their promise that he or she will use all their professionalism to get the most money for your home.
REALTORS® S know how to attract the most potential buyers.
Your REALTOR® is an expert home promoter, connected to a network of agents and their buyers.
Only REALTORS® can place your home on a Board's MLS System
REALTORS® will help increase your homes "SALE- ABILITY"
Home owners have an emotional attachment to their homes, and therefore can't view it objectively. Your REALTOR® will help you present your home in the best light, so buyers will fall in love with it more easily.
REALTORS® are masters of reading the market and pricing your home for maximum return.
To keep the deal on tract REALTORS® are indispensable when it comes to bargaining with buyers.
Trying to negotiate yourself is like riding an emotional roller coaster ride. It can be extremely scary, stressful, and with unexpected turns in the events.
For more information on my 21 points "SALE-ABILITY" Checklist please call or email.