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Top 3 Ways to Get More For Your Home Without Breaking the Bank

When you are thinking of selling your home you always want to get the most for it that you possibly can. However, not everyone has the budget to renovate the entire house to get it ready for someone to pay maximum dollars possible. So for the more budget conscious, what are some ways that can get you more for your house without actually spending a lot of money?
#1 – Painting
This is one of the best ways to get more for your home without breaking the bank, especially if you do the painting yourself. The lime green paint covering your entire kitchen? That has got to go. All the colours on the wall should be painted neutral. You are trying to appeal to as many buyers as possible so keep the look neutral in the house.
As easy as it is to paint some people can’t look past bad colours in their head. I’ve seen it time and time again in this business, especially in the kitchen. The home has a terrible paint colour, it sits on the market, then it goes off the market for a few weeks and is repainted. Then it comes back on and sells quickly and for often the same price or more than it was asking five mortgage payments ago. All because of a few cans of paint.
Paint is also a great way to freshen up an outdated kitchen without having to do a complete remodel. A lot of older looking kitchens can look more modern just by painting it. Obviously it won’t get you as much as a renovated kitchen but a little paint can go a long way.
#2 – Cleaning
You would think that when someone is selling their home that this would be a no brainer. Most people tidy but not as many as you think give it a truly deep clean. Nothing should be left untouched. From the baseboards, to the walls, to the bathtub… Everything should be clean enough to eat off by the time you’re done.
Part of the cleaning job is to keep it clean the entire time its on the market as well. Keep it looking clean and smelling clean too. Keep some air freshener around so that when you are leaving the house before buyers arrive you can spray it. Just don’t go overboard with any air fresheners or people may think you’re trying to hide something!
#3 – Landscaping
First Impressions when selling your home are very important! I’ve had clients who have pulled up to a house, looked at the outside and then left without going in. Just because someone was able to get a good angle to make it look nice in the picture, it still has to live up to it when they see it in person.
So put some sweat into it and start cleaning up your lawn. Get rid of the weeds, mow the lawn, trim the bushes, plant some flowers, and make sure it has some curb appeal. Same goes for the backyard too, make it look like a nice and relaxing environment.
If you take the time to do the little things to get your home ready to sell then you will find that you will get more for it and it will sell quicker than if you didn’t.
Dream Home Alert: 109 Willis Drive Aurora

Have you ever walked into a house, taken one look, and thought “Yep, this is what I want in my life”? (I also say that about Lemon Meringue Pie from the Hurst Bakery in Aurora) Well this home is just like that. It’s like the Lemon Meringue from Hurst. That’s right, I just compared a houseto apie. A delicious pie. 109 Willis Drive in Aurora is the type of home that makes you not want to look at other homes. It’s beautiful. It’s got everything you want in a house.
It’s a Bungaloft for starters. Which is great because nobody likes to go up the stairs after a big meal. It sits on a huge lot, its just slightly smaller than 150’x200’. Got to a new neighbourhood these days and they are cramming detached homes together so close the width between the homes would generously be called “shoulder width”, unless you’re the size of a linebacker, then you might have to turn sideways and shuffle between your house and your neighbours. Ok back to 109 Willis Drive. It’s a great house because its got an amazing lot and a ridiculous backyard.
If you thought I was gushing about the Lemon Meringue then you should see me when I talk about this backyard. You basically don’t even need a cottage with a backyard like this. It’s almost like you’re in Muskoka without having to drive all the way up there. It’s got a pool with a waterfall and a ton of privacy. Couldn’t you picture yourself lounging out back, eating some BBQ, drinking some beer(s), and forgetting about all the things in your life that may be stressing you out.
So I guess I could talk about the inside of the home, eh? It’s got hardwood, crown mouldings, nice 8” baseboards, pot lots, and so much more. It’s hard to even describe everything without this post being way too long. You should seriously just come and see it for yourself. I’d highly recommend it.
109 Willis Drive, For Sale in Aurora, has 4+1 Bedrooms (aka one in the basement) and 5 bathrooms. Plenty of space and completely ready for you to move in. You don’t have to do a thing, except you know, sell your current house, move into this one, and pop the cork on the champagne for making the best decision you’ve ever made in your life.
Let us know if you want to see this home, or learn more about it.
One of the Biggest Potential Mistakes People Make When Buying and Selling Homes

Buying and Selling homes can be a very emotional and trying time. One that can go wrong in many ways if you do not know what you are doing. There is one big thing people do, without realizing the risk they are taking, all the time when buying and selling a home. Most of the time its not an issue, but a lot of the home buying process is about mitigating risk in the event something does go wrong.
The mistake that people often make is having the deal close on the home they buy and the deal close of the home they are selling close on the same day. This is very common but its not a good idea. You can get a lot of headaches and cause a lot of problems if a few little things go wrong. It’s always better to space them out a couple days.
People primarily do it on the same day because they want to move out of one house and directly into the other and not be left homeless. The risk though is that sometimes a deal doesn’t close, or close on time, and leaves both deals at risk.
For example, if you’re buying a house and you need the money from your current house’s sale to buy it then you are dependent on the people who buy your home being able to close the deal on buying your house to be buy your next house. Well what if they can’t close? Or what if they are in the same situation as you but the people buying their house don’t close? All it can take is one person in a long line of deals to throw off three, four, five, or even more deals in one day because one person was not able to close the deal.
If that happens, guess what, now you are unable to close on the property or you have to get creative and that can get expensive. Its also not about just having the money available because someone wasn’t able to close the deal, what if there is a delay and it just doesn’t close that day and now you are stuck without anywhere to go? What if the people haven’t moved out of the home you are buying when you get there? It does happen, even though as soon as you get the keys if they are still there its considered trespassing.
So many things can happen and cause you a lot of headaches. So what should you do instead? Have the home your buying close a few days or even a week before the deal closes on the home you’re selling. That way you can make sure there aren’t any issues with having somewhere to go and you can start to move in some little things ahead of time and save moving day for the big stuff.
What if you need the money from the sale of your house to buy this home? Talk to your lender about getting a bridge loan. With interests rates so low today its not expensive to have the bank lend you the money. Most will be willing assuming you have a firm deal on the home you’re selling.
You’re still running the risk that the people buying you’re home don’t come through. There’s a solution for that too. For as little as $99 you can buy home closing insurance that will protect you in case the deal doesn’t close and cover costs up to $25,000.
The majority of the time, having both deals happen on the same day will not be a major issue but if it does, you’ll be glad to have thought ahead and protected yourself.
Have you ever encountered problems with closing two deals on the same day? Let us know in the comments below!
DO I HAVE TO TELL PEOPLE THAT SOMEONE DIED IN MY HOUSE WHEN I SELL?

Introducing a brand new series on our blog; Ask Us Anything. Submit a question and we will answer it in a future blog post.

Our first instalment comes a question that thankfully isn’t asked too often but still comes up from time to time.

Question: Do I have to tell people who want to buy my house that someone died in it?

This is trickier than just a simple yes or no. As the seller of the home, you do NOT have to disclose if someone died in the house. However, your agent DOES. From the perspective of a homeowner they do not have to disclose to potential buyers about deaths. All Real Estate Agents, governed by the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) are required to disclose all material facts that could adversely affect a buyer’s decision to purchase the property or not.

So if someone has died in your home, your agent will have to disclose to any potential buyers. This should be done in writing before any offers are made. Usually a notice is put in the remarks of the listing for buyer representatives to contact the listing agent (the agent representing the home for sale) prior to any offers being submitted. At this point they will disclose the death and then the buyers can make the informed decision to move forward with an offer or not.

The tricky part is the grey area of the seller not having to disclose but the agent being required to. What’s tricky is that an agent also has to follow all lawful instructions of the seller. So if there has been a death and the seller tells their agent not to disclose then there is a conflict of interest. The sellers are bound by their agency relationship with their seller not to disclose the death but are required by RECO to disclose any material fact related to the sale of the home. In this situation the only thing an agent can really do is end the relationship. By not disclosing they can face fines, get sued, and possible lose their license. By disclosing against the wishes of their seller they can get sued by the seller as well. It’s a no-win situation.

It’s always better to disclose because eventually the buyers will always find out. Whether they can find someone on google or it isn’t until after they move in and start talking with the neighbours. Someone will always talk and eventually they will find out. Disclosing ahead of time saves a lot of headaches down the road.

Does a death in a house affect the value? It can, sometimes depending on the type of death (eg. Murder, Suicide, or Natural), but there is always a buyer out there who doesn’t care and it will not affect their decision to buy.

If you have a question you’d like answered then let us know in the comments below.

3 TIPS FOR HOSTING THE PERFECT OPEN HOUSE

That for sale sign has gone up on your home, and its time to start hosting some Open Houses to attract buyers to your home. Despite some differing opinions on the matter, open houses remain a very effective way to expose your property to potential buyers, and a lot of deals are happening as a result of successful open houses. Showcasing your home to potential home buyers however, is both emotional and a little nerve wrecking at the same time because strangers will now walk through the space you call your home and will try to envision it as their own.

So how can we make sure that your home for sale is set up so that it appeals to as many buyers as possible:

1) Maximize the Space – This may be a very obvious one, but it’s more important than we may think. When potential buyers are visiting your home, they base their opinions largely on first impressions. Luckily for us, these can be controlled for the most part. Sift through your belongings, and take a minimalistic approach when it comes to showcasing them. Storing items such as your extra towels, toiletries, books, shoes and anything else lying around should be temporarily hidden away inside storage boxes or inside cabinets.

2) De-Personalize – Your wedding portrait, kid’s graduation pictures, posters of your favourite boy band and your dogs paw prints all are better to be replaced or removed until the sale has been completed.. When a space is too personal, buyers often feel like they are in someone else’s space as opposed to being in their next home. Also, you don’t want to distract any visitors with any items that are too personal. If you want to see how to de-personalize go find a new neighbourhood and walk through a model home to see how they set them up.

3) Curb Appeal – This is a big bonus when it comes to selling your home. If visitors are impressed with how well you’ve kept up the front of your property, they will walk in much happier! Just make sure all the garbage bins and any obstructions from the entrance are also removed to allow easy access into the home. If it’s wintertime, ensure that your driveways are shovelled so that they can have easy access to your home.

Bonus tip: If your property is vacant, you may seriously want to consider investing in some staging. Many people lack the imagination and are unable to envision an empty space as a cozy home for their family. Research shows, that a larger portion of the impression your home makes is based on decor than it is on layout and size of a room. A good stager will be able to guide you on the best design for your home in order to make sure people can see the potential it has to offer.

TOP 3 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN SIGNING A BRA

When you are thinking of buying a home one of the first things many Real Estate Agents will ask you to do is sign a Buyer Representation Agreement so that they can represent you. If you’ve been watching the news in the past few years you may have noticed some negative publicity about Buyer Representation agreements “BRA’s”. A few people considering buying a home have not known what they signed and been caught in a situation owing thousands of dollars.

Make no mistake, a buyer representation agreement is a legally binding contract that can have serious repercussions if you do not know what you are signing. While we do explain it to everyone that we work with we think everyone should be aware of a few key aspects no matter who you hire to represent you when buying a house.

When you sign a Buyer Representation Agreement it means that you cannot use another agent to purchase a home thats described in the agreement. If you do you will be liable to pay the commission to the agent you have signed an agreement with.

Consideration 1: Length

When you are signing a Buyer Representation Agreement you need to know how long it is valid for. A BRA could be for one day or could go one for years. For most residential property purchases you will usually find that most people sign for six months to a year. That means that during that period you are required to work with that agent for the purchase of a property.

If the length of the BRA is longer than six months you will have to separately initial a specific spot on the agreement. If you’re buying a commercial property it may be a few years long but most residential are a year or less.

It’s also very important to note the length of the Holdover Clause. The Holdover Clause, which usually ranges from 60-120 days, means that any property you saw during the length of the BRA you are still required to use them for that length of time. So if you see a property during the BRA and then it expires, you are still required to use the agent during the length of the holdover clause.

Consideration 2: Area

It’s also every important when signing a BRA to pay attention to the area that its valid for. There is no requirement for how specific you can be with the area its valid for. It can be as specific as a single property, listed by street boundaries, or list entire cities. Some have tried listing the an entire Province in the BRA but some judges have ruled that is too vague. It’s important to make it more specific though.

When you sign a BRA, if a home is located in the area listed, during the length of time listed in the agreement, you will be required to use the agent you signed with to purchase the property.

You can sign multiple BRA’s during the same time period as long as they are for different locations. If you are unsure if you want to work with someone at the beginning you may want to consider making it for a specific property at the beginning and then making a larger commitment once you see how you work with them.

Consideration 3: Commission

While sellers almost always pay the commission it is still important to know when you may be required to pay it or cover a shortfall. In the remuneration section of the BRA it is usually either filled out with a specific number, for example: 2.5% + HST, or it will be filled in saying “as per MLS” which means that they will be paid whatever is listed on MLS by the listing brokerage.

So when would you be required to pay commission? If the number listed in your agreement is 2.5% but the listing brokerage is only offering 2% then legally you’d be required to cover the 0.5% shortfall. Sometimes you can negotiate the extra 0.5% during the negotiation of the price of the home but it is possible you’d have to cover that. So make sure that you know this when putting in an offer because that will obviously affect what price you are able to offer.

It’s important to read any contract carefully before you sign it. It’s more than just the length, area, and commission included in the contract so be sure to read it and ask questions so you understand fully.

If you have any questions leave them in the comments below!

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO SELL YOUR HOUSE?

A question we often get asked by home owners is “When is the best time to sell our house?” This is a question that many Real Estate Agents try to answer time and time again. They analyze pricing charts, historical data, and so much more. They will tell you what month to list and sometimes even the day. However, they are over complicating the situation. There is actually a much easier answer to “When is the best time to sell our house?”.

The absolute best time to sell your house is whenever works the best for you. Here in the GTA we have seen an unprecedented rise in prices the past 15 years and they keep rising month over month. Will that eventually change? Without a doubt. When will that be? No one knows, many will guess, many will proclaim the end is near, but no one knows. Will that change be a huge drop in prices or will it just be prices plateauing and staying where they are for several years? If anyone knew the future they could make millions. No one knows for sure so you have to do whats best for you and your family.

Do you want to sell your home and move into a new one during the summer months so you don’t disrupt the school year? Or do you want to sell and buy before the summer so you can still enjoy a nice summer at the cottage? You have to look at your own personal situation and figure out when the best time to sell your home is. That’s really as simple as it is. Once you decide that you want to be in a house by a certain date then we can start looking at listing your home for sale at a specific time but its still what works best for you.

What if you have no specific timeline as to when you need to sell but want to get the most money possible by selling your home? Then its best to list sooner rather than later. No one knows what changes are coming in the future so if you are just looking to get the highest possible price its better to list now since we know what prices are. Most experts predict that the prices of homes for sale will rise for the foreseeable future but ultimately they are just educated guesses. If you want to ensure you get the most then list now to ensure you get it. Sure you may be leaving money on the table if the market rises and you could be kicking yourself for selling too soon. Look at the other side though, what if you try to wait a year and the market crashes and now you’ve lost even more? A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

So when you are trying to decide the best time to sell your home in Aurora, Newmarket, or any other part of the Greater Toronto Area, you need to sell its most convenient for you. Make the home sale fit your lifestyle so that it offers the least disruption possible since a move is a lot of work and can cause so much disruption already.

If you’d like some help trying to determine when the best time for you and your family to sell your home is then feel free to leave a comment, pick up the phone and call us, or send us e-mail and we can help you if you aren’t sure.

ESCAPE THE CITY AND LIVE THE DREAM IN NAPANEE
Escape the city and live the dream in Napanee with this great opportunity at 2159 County Road 9. You can live, work, and play for a great price. It doesn’t get much better than this. Have you ever wanted to work while overlooking the water? Then, when you’re done working, walk down to the dock with a glass of wine and watch the sunset? This is the perfect home for just that.

For starters, you can live in a Century Home by the road that has four bedrooms and one bathroom. This year round home can serve you and your family well. It’s a beautiful home with lots of character that you can customize to your taste if you want. You can also leave it as is and move in and enjoy!

What’s the worst part about owning a cottage? The commute! No one likes being stuck in traffic for hours and hours to spend a weekend at the cottage. With the summer cottage by the lake on this property you can just walk out of your main house and walk over to your cottage. No traffic and a quiet relaxing stay at the cottage is yours! It’s 800 square feet and you can have your summer getaway without actually having to get away.

Another great feature of 2159 County Road 9 is that you also don’t have to drive to a shop to work at. There’s a 1,000 square foot workshop on site for you to do just that. If you’re already living and playing at a gorgeous location, why not do your work there too? It’s a great option for taking up a new hobby too!

This property is 105 feet by 236.5 feet and has everything you need on site. You can live work and play all right here. Sit on the 40’ dock or even just walk right into the lake with the convenient walk-in lakefront. You won’t find too many options like this one. It’s a great spot that is waiting for a new owner to enjoy it as much as the previous ones.

All of this at 2159 County Road 9 is available for only $259,000 so come check it out for yourself and see if its the right fit for you and your family. If you want to see more pictures, request more information, or book a showing then click here and go to the listing page on our site.

Why you get asked to sign in at Open Houses

Why you get asked to sign in at Open Houses

When you are thinking of buying a home it is common practice to have to sign in at Open Houses. This is for a couple reasons that I want to talk about. It’s important to know the different reasons.
Security
This is one of the most important reasons for requiring visitors to sign in at open houses. While it doesn’t happen often it still does from time to time where people use an Open House as an opportunity to steal homeowner belongings. Some agents go as far as to require ID to come through an Open House and others just ask for names and contact information which could be fake but its a start.
A real estate agent hosting an open house can also be left in a vulnerable position. In an empty home, often alone, all little steps to improve safety and security can be and are justified.
Selling the Home
This is the main goal of an open house. To sell the home that is for sale. If you want to come into somebody’s private home and take a look around you should be prepared to leave your contact information. It’s a small price to pay for going through someones home. It’s not a right to go through an open house. People have taken the time and effort to get their home ready for sale, they kept it clean, and then they packed up their whole family and left for the open house.
By gathering your contact information the real estate agent is able to keep you up to date on the status of the home or any others that may come on the market that are similar. If you don’t want them to follow up with you then check the box asking not to be followed up with.
When you go through an open house, some will ask for formal ID, others will just ask you to sign in. Some may be on paper or on the iPad but whether its for security or to help sell the home, you will most often have to give your contact information. Now look at it from the other side, if you were the one selling your home, wouldn’t you want to know who was coming through
3 TIPS FOR HOSTING THE PERFECT OPEN HOUSE

That for sale sign has gone up on your home, and its time to start hosting some Open Houses to attract buyers to your home. Despite some differing opinions on the matter, open houses remain a very effective way to expose your property to potential buyers, and a lot of deals are happening as a result of successful open houses. Showcasing your home to potential home buyers however, is both emotional and a little nerve wrecking at the same time because strangers will now walk through the space you call your home and will try to envision it as their own.

So how can we make sure that your home for sale is set up so that it appeals to as many buyers as possible:

1) Maximize the Space – This may be a very obvious one, but it’s more important than we may think. When potential buyers are visiting your home, they base their opinions largely on first impressions. Luckily for us, these can be controlled for the most part. Sift through your belongings, and take a minimalistic approach when it comes to showcasing them. Storing items such as your extra towels, toiletries, books, shoes and anything else lying around should be temporarily hidden away inside storage boxes or inside cabinets.

2) De-Personalize – Your wedding portrait, kid’s graduation pictures, posters of your favourite boy band and your dogs paw prints all are better to be replaced or removed until the sale has been completed.. When a space is too personal, buyers often feel like they are in someone else’s space as opposed to being in their next home. Also, you don’t want to distract any visitors with any items that are too personal. If you want to see how to de-personalize go find a new neighbourhood and walk through a model home to see how they set them up.

3) Curb Appeal – This is a big bonus when it comes to selling your home. If visitors are impressed with how well you’ve kept up the front of your property, they will walk in much happier! Just make sure all the garbage bins and any obstructions from the entrance are also removed to allow easy access into the home. If it’s wintertime, ensure that your driveways are shovelled so that they can have easy access to your home.

Bonus tip: If your property is vacant, you may seriously want to consider investing in some staging. Many people lack the imagination and are unable to envision an empty space as a cozy home for their family. Research shows, that a larger portion of the impression your home makes is based on decor than it is on layout and size of a room. A good stager will be able to guide you on the best design for your home in order to make sure people can see the potential it has to offer.