You had a little extra time on your hands and looked online to see what’s new in the real estate market. Many of us like to window shop online and it’s certainly a great way to peruse what’s out there whether we are actively looking or just curious. When checking everything out you may come across an interesting property on a real estate website or perhaps Facebook that has piqued your interest. But on some of these sites, you cannot retrieve all the information you want until you sign up.

 

Facebook is a common tool used by many realtors. It helps us connect with prospective clients and helps to connect your property for sale with prospective buyers, but it has its drawbacks because we do not have the opportunity to ask you how we may help or how we can refine your search.

 

Another drawback is if you click on many Facebook ads and sign up to each one, you are now potentially connecting to many different realtors and possibly receive more calls and emails than you would like. Most of us do not want to drive you crazy with phone calls and emails. As your advocate; we really do want to help you make informed decisions without overwhelming you.

 

This is not an attack on Facebook. It can be a powerful tool to sell your home and an excellent opportunity to increase exposure of your listing to a larger group of people in a specified area.

 

My suggestion; find a good realtor you are comfortable with and talk to them. A short conversation to discuss your needs/wants is invaluable. Once you are done, your realtor can generate a customized search where refined listing results go directly to you on a schedule that works for you. The results can be re-customized at any time if your needs change.

 

If you prefer to look at properties on your own, without being emailed and phoned every time you click on an ad, I invite you to my website. The benefit of an account is the ability to create and share multiple searches and favourites using varied criteria, plus, access to sold history. You can look at your leisure and when you’re ready for the next step, I’m only a phone call away.

                                             

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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How your Credit Score is Calculated

How your Credit Score can be improved


Part 3


Now that you understand how your credit score is calculated, and ways to improve it, you want to ensure your credit stays intact.


It is important to review your credit report once per year, consider this general housekeeping.


Start by requesting your credit report and review it for inaccuracies. If you find any errors dispute them, and have it rectified.


Checking your credit report will not affect your credit score as it is considered a "soft hit". You may find a credit card listed as delinquent, when in fact you paid off the balance and closed the account. You may even find a bill listed that isn’t yours.


Both Equifax and TransUnion will allow you one free credit check per year (by mail). If you do it strategically (alternating every six months) you will be able to detect issues sooner.


Equifax Credit File Disclosure (credit report)

You can order your report two ways;

1) Order by Phone 1.800.465.7166 (may be a cost).

2) Request the report using their form (free).

Two pieces of ID are required and your report will be mailed to you.

https://assets.equifax.com/legacy/ecm/canada/EFXCreditReportRequestForm.pdf


TransUnion Consumer Disclosure (credit report)

You can order your report two ways;

1) Order by Phone 1.800.663.9980 (may be a cost).

2) Request the report using their form (free).

Two pieces of ID are required and your report will be mailed to you.

https://www.transunion.ca/resources/transunion-ca/doc/personal/Consumer_Disclosure_Request_Form_en.pdf


If you need help re-establishing your credit, contact Credit Canada for a free and confidential session and move forward with your financial goals. 1-800-267-2272 https://www.creditcanada.com/contact-us

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Last week we covered How your Credit Score is Calculated, this week we will cover How your credit score can be improved.

 

There are several ways you can improve your credit score.

 

The number one way to increase your score is to always pay your bills on time. But if you can’t pay the full amount, make sure you are always paying the minimum amount due. Making a full payment a few days late is actually worse and deemed a missed payment.

 

Lower your credit usage so your credit utilization is decreased. Call your credit card companies and request a higher limit. As long as you don’t use the extra credit card room (don’t over spend). Increasing your credit utilization will raise your score.

 

If you cannot obtain a regular credit card, you may want to apply for a Secured Credit Card, (this is different than a prepaid credit card). Basically, you send the bank money that is kept as collateral and returned when you pay off your card and close the account. You receive a credit limit based on your collateral (e.g. if your credit card has a limit of $2,000, you will be required to put $2,000 into a designated account). You use the card like a regular credit card and your payment history is reported to the credit bureau as you use it. It’s a good idea to stay below your credit limit and make regular payments to help repair your credit rating.  

 

You can also raise your score by becoming an authorized user on someone else’s account. If you know someone with a really good score they can add you to their credit card as an authorized user which will impact you positively, they don’t even have to give you a credit card to use.

 

Close extra cards. Many of us may sign up for bonus miles with various cards, but having more cards can hinder your credit limit, you really only need 1 or 2 credit cards.

 

If you write cheques, be sure that your account has enough funds. Cheques that are returned due to insufficient funds may be reported to the credit bureau.

 

If you are having a hard time financially, contact the credit bureau (Equifax or TransUnion) and ask for a note to be put on your file explaining your financial difficulties e.g. Job loss, sickness or debt incurred by your partner or spouse.

 

No matter how bad your credit is, you can improve your score by 100 – 200 points if you start to make changes now.

 

Next week find out how to obtain a copy of your Credit Report

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When you apply for a vehicle loan or mortgage, your lender will look at your credit score to determine your risk compared to other consumers. If you know you have an excellent credit score, consider taking advantage of your excellent score, you may be able to negotiate a better interest rate.


Your credit score is a calculation from your credit report which is based on; payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, credit diversity and number of hard inquiries. Credit Scores ranges from 300 – 900, with 300 being poor and 900 excellent.


Let’s take a look at each factor that makes up your credit report:


Payment History

Extremely important and accounts for approximately 35% of your score. Any missed or late payments may drop your score. If you are having trouble paying your bill, contact your lender right away. Even if you have to dispute a charge, it is wise to pay the bill now and resolve it later to keep your credit rating up.


Credit Utilization

Credit utilization is approximately 30% of your credit score. This is the average credit you use each month compared to the amount of credit you have available. 

E.g. A credit card with a $5K limit and average borrowing amount of $1K is 20% usage. Add up all of your available credit (credit card limits, line of credit) and try to use less than 35% of your available credit each month. Maxing out your credit cards will bring down your score. The best approach is to ask for a credit increase (but don’t increase your spending).


Credit History

Your credit history makes up about 15% of your credit score. Consider keeping that old credit card or line of credit even if you don’t use it often. If you’ve thought about closing your old line of credit due to lack of use, think again, keeping it will help to retain your credit history and also your credit utilization (the amount of money you have at your disposal versus what you are using – the higher your disposal the better).


Credit Diversity

This accounts for approximately 10% of your credit score. It’s always best to have several types of credit such as a line of credit, car loan, and credit card. This variety may improve your credit score as it indicates to the credit bureau that you are a good borrower and can handle several payments.


Hard Inquiries

Hard inquires make up about 10% of your credit score. When a lender or bank checks your credit report it is considered a hard inquiry. This may occur when you apply for any new credit.  If you have a large number of hard inquiries (hits) to your report, creditors will wonder why you are applying to so many places at once, so it is best to limit the number of times you apply for credit. If you are shopping around for a new vehicle or mortgage, try to do all your inquires within a short time-span such as two weeks so it’s deemed as one hit to your credit score.  If, however you order your own credit check, it is considered a soft hit and will not affect your credit rating.


Credit Scores

800 - 900 Excellent

720 - 799 Very Good

650 - 719 Good

600 - 649 Fair

300 - 599 Poor


Join me Next Week when I discuss how you can improve your Credit Rating

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In a nutshell, if you are a homeowner and over the age of 55, you can access up to 55% of your homes equity and receive the funds in two basic scenarios; a one-time lump sum payment or monthly payouts.

 

Many people are using their reverse mortgage to enter into early retirement, pay off debt, increase their investment portfolio or help loved ones enter the housing market. If you have children, you may have a plan set out for what they will inherit. How rewarding would it be, to help them now, rather than later.

 

As with standard mortgages, there are some fees involved with obtaining a reverse mortgage. These include; an appraisal of your property, legal advice, closing costs and administration fees. And most importantly, a reverse mortgage also allows you to maintain ownership and title and control of your home, but keep in mind, the lender would be listed on title as a first mortgage.

 

The mortgage amount is only payable when you sell or move, and is based on the original principle balance plus accrued interest. Historically, your equity in your home will continue to grow, and is usually higher than the interest accrual.

 

Contact your financial institution to see if a reverse mortgage may be the right decision for you or your parents.

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Do you like fresh fruit and veggies? Imagine having them at your doorstep, even if your doorstep leads to a small deck or patio. You can grow quite a lot in a shallow space along the railings with the right planters.


One positive thing many have recognized in the last 7 months is healthy eating. Many of us that previously ate out several times per week have started to explore the art of cooking and finding happiness in the preparation and experience of new cuisine and building their cooking skills.


A large part of the attraction of cooking your own food is controlling the type and quality of the ingredients. For many, this may start with growing your own herbs and vegetables. Imagine being able to pick fresh herbs or tomatoes for that new dish you want to try, just steps from your door.   This makes cooking much more fun and exciting, new tastes will explode in your mouth, you’ll never want those canned tomatoes again, unless of course you’re canning tomatoes you have grown yourself!


When considering what to plant, first look at your outdoor space and type of sun exposure. Even the area outside your front door could get in on the action. If you have plenty of sun, you can even grow something in a decorative pot so it looks cute as well as being edible.


Most gardens require at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight, so you may need to rearrange your BBQ and patio furniture to allow access to those life-giving sunbeams.  If you don’t receive a lot of sun you may want to grow greens and herbs as they require less sunlight.


To make your endeavors sustainable, make sure you have the correct set up. Will it be convenient and easy to water your plants? Will you have to carry jugs of water from the kitchen sink, or can you rig up a soaker hose system. Another option is to purchase self-watering planters.


Soil is another key factor for raised garden beds or planting pots. It is best to purchase soil specifically designed for planters. This type holds and releases moisture as the plant requires it. Keep in mind that your planters should also have drain holes to prevent the soil from staying too wet and developing mold.


There are so many interesting and creative ways to grow your goodies in containers. Vertical planters work well at utilizing smaller spaces, even a simple ladder would hold several small pots and add color to your space, or hang a chain of planters from the underside of your balcony overhang.


Also, in order to get a jump on next season, plant your seeds indoors even as early as mid-January to give them a head start, it’ll give you something to nuture during the rainy days ahead, and something to look forward to as new shoots sprout from the dirt below.


Have fun and let me know what interesting fruits and veggies you’ve managed to grow, I’d love to see your garden!

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Are you planning a move, do you know where you want to live?


There are so many interesting neighbourhoods in the Greater Vancouver area that it’s almost impossible to know them all. Inside those neighbourhoods, it’s very possible to find those “hidden pockets”, but you may need to do some footwork.


If you are limiting your search to a specific area or city, what are your reasons? Is it close to work, family, transit or perhaps it has to do with familiarity?


Consider taking trips out to various areas and take the time to walk and explore. How do you feel walking down the street, is it well lit in the evening, are the people you encounter friendly, does it give you a good vibe? How is the noise and traffic? Can you visualize yourself living there?


It’s also good to visit the areas at different times and days of the week including the weekend. Does it have enough parking for your family and friends when they visit, and how is the transit? Do you need to be in a specific school catchment or be able to walk to the grocery, bank, and other amenities?


Discovering different areas can be fun and enlightening, you might find an area you haven't considered. Something that offers you more for the way you want to live and spend your time.


You may be pleasantly surprised by this worthwhile adventure, as it certainly is a great way to broaden your knowledge and learn more about this wonderful area of the world.

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Deduct your mortgage interest! Yes, that’s correct


You may be aware that you can deduct the mortgage interest if you own a revenue property. But did you know there may be a way for you to deduct the interest on your principal property?


If you are in a position where you can buy your principle property with cash, then the following scenario may work for you.


The first step is to obtain mortgage approval. Depending on your personal life situation, whether you work fulltime, self-employed, or retired, will determine the amount of mortgage you will be approved for, and the interest rate they are willing to give you.


Once you find the property you wish to buy, you would use your personal money to purchase the property, then obtain a mortgage for the property you just purchased.


You could then use the mortgage money to invest.


Because mortgage rates are at an all-time low, you can borrow money using the mortgage for very little, then claim the interest expense as a deduction which further reduces the cost of borrowing, then invest the money to earn more money. It represents an opportunity to increase your rate of return over time.


This isn’t for everyone, but if this intrigues you, speak with your financial advisor to see how it may apply in your situation.

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If you asked a group of people where they think the hub of the house is located. The answer would most probably be the kitchen.  It is the hub of the home and a great deal happens right in that space. Everybody loves to hang out and chat in the kitchen, it’s the magnet that attracts friends and family and the location in your home where all the action is.


If you are renovating your kitchen, I would highly recommend adding an island to the design. Most everyone could use the extra prep space, and who wouldn’t love the storage that pot & pan drawers provide. If you have an electrician performing part of your reno have him/her install a couple of receptacles into the island, it’s inexpensive but very useful and much safer than running extension cords. Top that off with receptacles that also include USB chargers for your devices.


Also, turn your new island into an eating and breakfast bar by extending the countertop at least 12” past the cabinetry. This will create easy access seating so family members can help prepare dinner, have a quick meal, or perhaps finish their homework. It’s also a great place for that laptop to work from home or for quick access to that special recipe you have saved.


A kitchen island is a hot commodity and may very well help you sell your home in the future. But don’t worry about that, do it for yourself and for what it will add in fun and functionality.

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Are you throwing free money out the window?

No matter how small and insignificant it seems, free money should be grabbed!


Did you just get hired with a company offering a Group RRSP Plan? Or perhaps you took a job some time ago but didn’t join the company plan? If that is the case, it may be time to revisit HR.


Most companies offering a Group RRSP will allow you to put 3-5% of your earnings into a company plan where they match a portion or possibly all of your contribution. Many would consider this free money. Even a modest 25% match is an instant 25% return on your investment, that is hard to achieve elsewhere.


Many people believe they can’t afford to contribute to an RRSP and forego the deduction without really understanding the benefits. Every year that passes, more “free money” is left on the table.


Your RRSP contribution is deducted prior to taxes being paid, so technically you will pay less taxes each month. When these automatic RRSP deductions are moved at “source” you will not have the chance to spend the money, and really won’t notice the difference.


For example, if you have an income of $4K per month, contribute 3% to the company RRSP Fund, and your employer matches your 3%, you will have $2,880 in your Group RRSP at year end! Your monthly contribution of $120 is deducted prior to taxes, therefore you won’t notice the full $120 missing from your cheque.


Once your deductions are set up at source, it is amazing how quickly we adapt. Your new cheque amount will quickly become the “norm”, and you may forget you are actually saving for your future – now that is a bonus!


An additional benefit is first time home buyers can borrow up to $35,000 from their RRSP for a down payment tax free ($70K if both are first time homebuyers). Note that this is considered is a loan from your RRSP and must be repaid within 15 years.


Time passes very quickly and soon enough another year will have gone by. Make it a priority today to schedule time with HR to discuss your company RRSP plan. Have them set up your contribution so it changes as your income changes. You will be happily surprised a few years from now.

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Somehow September snuck up without us paying attention, perhaps it’s because many of us work out of our homes these days, and no longer need to venture outside. One day becomes the next, and then it’s the weekend again. Maybe you haven’t left your home for several days, this can easily lead to a humdrum existence.


Something as simple as packing a sandwich to go across the street to the park will brighten your day. It is truly amazing how rejuvenating it can be to sit and watch the waves and feel the breeze on your face.


With fall around the corner we should take time each day to enjoy the sunshine. Whether a short walk or coffee in the park, I’m sure you’ll agree it just makes life “that much better”.


Get creative, even when it rains you can still have a picnic in your car and watch the birds. The key is to just get outside.

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Are you waiting on the sidelines, listening to others tell you that house prices will continue to plummet, hoping you can snag a deal?


Many of us are, but please keep in mind that the pendulum will sway back and forth, making it very hard to predict what and when price changes will happen.


I have been looking at market data and properties for sale every day and have noticed an interesting trend. Even though there are properties showing price reductions, I am also seeing quite the opposite with some properties bumping back up. What might be the reasons for this? It may be something as simple as the property wasn’t priced correctly to start with and they have decided to make an adjustment, or, they were just testing the market to see where they might fit in but what if something else is going on?  


No matter what you hear or read, nobody has that crystal ball that will tell you when to “jump in”. In order to make an informed decision, my suggestion is to determine your “comfort zone”. If you found the perfect property last year, at what price would you have been happy to make an offer on that specific property?


In Greater Vancouver, the July sales were 9.4% above the 10 year sales average. This confirms that people are taking advantage of the very attractive interest rates which are still below 2% on a 5 year term! If interest rates rise even just a little bit while you are waiting for prices to drop, you will not realize the savings.


The only time you will be aware prices have reached the bottom, is when they’ve already started to climb back up and you have the numbers available to make a comparison.


Now is the time to get your ducks in a row. You don’t want to be scrambling around in the dark when you find the right place. You want to be prepared to take the next steps when the home of your dreams is on the market.


Let me do the footwork while you enjoy the experience. My job is to make it easy for you. Remember, a Buyer’s Agent doesn’t cost you a dime, but they are invaluable.

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What’s the value of regular exercise? Do you exercise regularly?

I’m not a personal trainer, nor do I play one on TV.


However, it doesn’t take much to know the benefits of exercise, especially today when many of us are spending hours sitting in front of our computers, then winding down our day sitting in front of the TV with a few snacks perhaps. If you are experiencing bouts of lethargy, stiff legs, a sore back, or feeling sleepy during the day, perhaps it’s time to get moving.


For those of us working from home, the weeks go by with Mondays quickly becoming Fridays rolling through the weekend, only to start all over again. Work, Eat, Sleep. Breaking up your day with a work out will not only make you feel better physically and mentally, you may also become more productive. Working out releases’ endorphins which make you happier and less stressed. To top it off, it is well known that people who exercise or are active, don’t get sick as often as those that are sedentary. As we are heading into flu season we could all use the benefits of working our way up to regular exercise.


If you don’t want to hit the gym, consider natural exercise. Basically doing something fun where you inadvertently end up exercising. Could be something as simple as grabbing a couple of badminton rackets and batting the birdie around. No need for a net.


When you are home hunting, consider how much value you place on having a gym in the building or room for your own equipment? Are you the type of person more likely to work out if you could roll out of bed, throw on your gym clothes and head downstairs? If you had to shower, get dressed and drive somewhere, how long will you keep up your routine?


Take your workout for a test drive, you might find it quite refreshing.

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You are ready to go home hunting …


To ensure an enjoyable and constructive experience, you need to be prepared. This requires some homework to really know your Needs vs your Wants.


Plan to set aside some quality time to brainstorm the expectations and features of your next home. Then make a list with two columns marked NEEDS and WANTS.


Now imagine walking through your new home room by room, envision each space, what does it contain, what do you Need, what do you Want?


Do you like to cook? How important is the size of the oven or whether the range is gas or electric? If the oven is too small Cornish hens may be on the menu at Thanksgiving, or you may not be able to use full size baking trays for that secret cookie recipe.


How much laundry do you have to wash each week? It’s easy to overlook the value of full size appliances if you want those king size sheets washed in one load.


Storage is a big one for condo owners, you may have seasonal items that have to be packed away, so a locker is important. If the condo doesn’t have a locker, would in-suite storage suffice? Consider everything you own and decide where things will go, the last thing you want to do is purchase a place that becomes overly cluttered because items don’t have a home.


Outdoor space is another factor to consider when making your list. Do you want a deck or a patio? Main level condos usually have a larger patio and potentially, a yard with great access for entertaining or kids and pets. How important is a property with a balcony? Do you like to BBQ? Do you wish to grow veggies or face a specific direction?


Is parking important or do you take the SkyTrain? You may want a property within a .5km radius of a station so it is an easy walk even on a Vancouver winter day. Do you want a private garage or is a parkade ok?


Hopefully this has provided some insight into what you should think about, and what is important to you. Other areas to consider may be your furniture and whether it will fit in certain rooms, closet space and fitness area. Remember, this is a work in progress, if you do the homework, you will know when you find the right home.


I’d love to help you walk through this process, please don’t hesitate to call

Shannon 604-828-9095

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You may have watched the UK TV series where the Brits are constantly trying to get on to the Property Ladder. It is very expensive in the United Kingdom to own property, the terminology may not be the same here, but we certainly have the same situation.


Many people are finding it harder and harder to achieve property ownership. Many of you may have rented your property with the intention of saving up for a down payment, years continue to go by, and you are still renting. How much money have you spent on rent while you watch the property prices increase? Every increase in property requires a larger down payment, it’s a vicious circle.


Maybe now is the time to think “outside the box” and consider an alternative method to owning property. Are you aware that you can purchase a property with your trusted, long-term roommate and be listed on Title as “Tenants in Common”? Tenants in Common basically means that each person owns a percentage of the property.


Calculate how much you spend per year on rent with your roommate, how long have you lived together, would it make sense to make an agreement to purchase a property together? The benefit is you will gain equity and not be throwing your hard-earned money towards paying off your landlords' mortgage each month.


When and if your circumstances change and the time comes to part ways, you can sell the property and take advantage of the equity you have built, or you may be in a situation where you can keep the property as rental income.


The big question is, if you have the down payment now, why aren’t you buying a home?


Here’s an example that I confirmed with a professional mortgage broker this morning:

  • $500K condo, Strata Fee $350, Taxes $1900
  • Minimum down payment (5%) $25K ($12,500 each)
  • Mortgage payment $2,079 ($1,039.50 each)
  • Strata Fee ($175.00 each), Taxes ($79.16 each)
  • Cost per month ($1,293.66 each) 
  • The above calculation is based on a Joint Income of $110,000/year, 5year fixed high ratio mortgage 1.95%

If your share of rent is currently $1,000.00/month, you are paying your landlord $60,000 in 5 years

How much can you sell your property for in 5 years? Definitely something to think about ….


As this idea is a little different than the standard approach, it is a good idea to have a discussion with your lawyer or mortgage broker for more detailed information. If you’d like contact names for either, please give me a call.


Let’s get the ball rolling, if you would like properties fitting your criteria sent directly to your inbox, please give me a call or email to discuss your needs & wants. I am always happy to help.

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Gone are those lazy Sunday afternoon drives, the kind where everyone hops in the car, heads to an expensive area or your dream location to look at houses. Perhaps a competition amongst the kids to see who can spot the first Open House sign, the car pulls over, everyone jumps out and the fun begins.


Things have been quite different since March, when as professionals we refrained from holding Open Houses. Streets were bare of signs for many months.


Recently, an influx of Open House signs started popping up all over the city as Sellers became more comfortable with people entering their sanctuary, plus the signage helps notify the neighbors that another property is available in their community.


Unlike days gone by, an Open House sign does not necessarily grant you free access to a property. Many Agents are holding Open House by appointment only. This is an excellent way to control the showings into a manageable timeslot.


Protocols are in place to ensure the safety of everyone. Most agents will request you wear gloves and masks and refrain from touching anything. Some sellers with infants have requested buyers to wear booties, this protects their crawling babies from picking up anything you may track into their home.


Don’t be surprised if you have to show ID And fill out a waiver prior to gaining entrance. These measures are for everyone’s safety in case contact tracing is required.


Open House signs aren’t the only way to notice if a home is for sale in your neighbourhood, or that beautifully treed road you just drove down. Download my app below, the next time you take a wrong turn which turns out to be an awesome area, open the app and check “current location” for all properties for sale, you’ll have everything at your fingertips.


Reach out when you’d like to view a property and I will schedule your private viewing.

It’s still a lot of fun, just a tad different.


Download My Mobile App here   

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Last week’s newsletter covered the benefits of Curb Appeal, and why it really is important.


You mastered it and grabbed the attention of the buyer the moment they drove up to your property. Their interest was piqued and they want to see more. They talked with their agent and have scheduled a viewing.


Now that you've enticed them, will the interior of your home stand out from the others, will it look bigger, brighter and more inviting than your competition? Will people be able to envision your home as their home?


A buyer will take approximately 5 minutes to walk through your home and decide if they like it enough to stay longer and look more closely. Have you done what you need to create a positive first impression and retain their interest?


A good or even great first impression starts right at the entrance they use to enter your home. What they see in those first moments from that vantage point, is very important and greatly affects how they may feel about the rest of your home. The icing on the cake is to use this same approach for every room as they move through your home. In other words, create a first impression for each room.


Does what they see add or take away from that positive first impression.

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Traditional Open Houses have become rather rare. Many Sellers today are requesting that potential Buyers follow a few extra steps prior to allowing access to their homes. This new approach will help eliminate unqualified buyers; people just looking for renovation ideas, killing time, not financially qualified and most importantly, potential health risks to the Sellers.

 

The days of spending the afternoon checking out all homes in an area are diminishing. Whether your home looked nice on the outside or not, people still stopped to take a quick peek inside.

 

A serious buyer willing to spend the time and energy, starts the process by reviewing the listing details, photos and floor plan online. Progressing to visiting the neighbourhood and the property itself. Bringing us to a very important detail; viewing the home from curbside. The well-known phrase, curb appeal, rises up to being ever more important.

 

The seller must grab the attention of the buyer the moment they drive up, they need to see your home as a contender. Does it entice or detract them from making an appointment to view your home? If they like what they see, they will request a viewing.

 

Take a step back from your home and truly look at it, does it look inviting and well-kept?

 

Many improvements can be done in a weekend and at very little cost. Trim the trees, edge the lawn, plant a few flowers and give everything a nice watering. A good pressure wash of the siding, steps and driveway will freshen everything up and remove algae. Cleanout those eavestroughs. Next, take a trip to your local hardware store for a new mailbox, house numbers and welcome mat. These inexpensive items will renew your homes exterior. If you want to go one step further, a fresh coat of paint on the front door will look awesome, and a bold color will make your home stand out.

 

Now people won’t just drive by, they will stop!

This is just the beginning, now it’s time to move inside (part 2 next week)

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One very important decision you need to make when purchasing your new home is the type of mortgage you want; Fixed or Variable


A Fixed mortgage rate may be slightly higher than a Variable rate, but it can offer peace of mind to those who like to stick to a budget and not worry about changing interest rates. A Fixed mortgage is just what the name implies, the mortgage payment you have at the beginning of your mortgage term will remain the same throughout your term, even if interest rates change. The potential downside is the penalty you may incur if you need to break your mortgage early.


With a Variable mortgage, your loan is adjusted each time the prime rate fluctuates. If the prime rate decreases, more of your payment will go towards the principle which will pay your mortgage off quicker. Same in reverse, if the interest rate rises, less will go towards your principal. If there is a chance you may need to break your mortgage early, having a variable mortgage may provide the flexibility you require.


Be sure to speak with your bank or broker to have them explain the pros & cons of each type in order to find the best fit for you. If you are looking for a broker, please reach out and I can steer you in the right direction.

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The program was designed by the government of Canada to help first time home buyers purchase their first home.


In a nutshell, the Government will lend you 5% or 10% of the purchase price of your home (10% applies to new construction). When you sell your home, or after 25 years, you are required to pay the same percentage back (either 5% or 10%), based on the value of the home at that time.


Example:

            You receive a 5% incentive ($20,000) on a $400,000 purchase price

            If your home increases to $500,000, you will need to pay back 5%, ($25,000)

            If your home decreases to $350,000, you will need to pay back 5%, ($17,500)


The Benefits:

            Gives you more buying power

            Allows you to buy now rather than later 

            Lowers monthly expenses due to a smaller mortgage 

            Makes home ownership more affordable


Many families have found the program a viable entry into home ownership. Take the time to review the incentive and see if it may be worth pursuing.


Link to Government of Canada First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

https://www.placetocallhome.ca/fthbi/first-time-homebuyer-incentive

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