Articles related to buying or selling your home


Moving Tips For Seniors

 Tuesday, July 3, 2018     Marion Goard     House and Home Buying and Selling

Featured Photo

Moving can be such a stressful time for people and for seniors the job can affect them both physically and mentally. However sometimes it cannot be avoided, so here are some key things for seniors to keep in mind to help the move go as smoothly and efficiently as possible. 

Helping hands

The most important thing is to ask for help! No one can do a move alone and the more helping hands the better. For seniors, lifting and bending can be challenging at times, so call in your family for help! Figure out how much of the move you’ll be able to manage on your own and what you will need help with. Hiring professional movers is something to consider if it’s in the budget. Don’t wait until the last minute to scramble help together, give people as much notice as you can to plan for the big day. You might need people to help you pack ahead of time too. 

Make a plan

Many seniors may have lived in their home for many years, saying good-bye can be emotionally difficult, so it’s best to give yourself plenty of time and make a plan. Break your move down into smaller tasks so it feels less overwhelming and more manageable. Give yourself lots of time… doing a small amount each day will help accomplish the tasks at hand, and will not be too emotionally overwhelming. Plan out which areas to do first and work from there. Make a timeline of required tasks from your moving date backwards, to make sure everything gets done leading up to your move.

Purge

As you work away around the house packing and organizing use this opportunity to declutter. It may be difficult to let go of some things but it will definitely help with the move and remember that it’s the memories that you carry with you that are most important. You could also consider giving these items to friends or family. Set up a sorting system for garbage, donating/giving away and what you’re keeping.

Make your move an easier one by following these tips for a successful moving day.


Tips to keep your home ready for showings

 Monday, June 25, 2018     Marion Goard     Buying and Selling

Featured Photo

Selling your home can be a stressful time for the whole family and keeping your home show-ready is certainly a challenge for most people. Here are a few tips that can help you keep on top of having it picture perfect for potential buyers. 

Designate a junk area. 

This is especially important if you have children because they accumulate a lot of junk! Find a place in the house where you can tuck away a couple of large bins to temporarily store the things that you need to tidy up in a hurry for a last minute showing. When doing a quick cleanup, put in bulky toys, messy papers and other items that collect around the house. 

Before you start having showings, go through the home and declutter. 

This will help keep the house looking great, and with less stuff, there’s less to clean too! Remove the nonfunctional things and items you don’t need for the time being, and tuck them away in storage. If you have children, try to keep only a minimum amount of toys around while you’re selling your home. 

Your house will also stay show-ready by having little extra touches around ready to impress at any time. So even if the house is not ‘perfect’ it’ll make the house seem clean, presentable and inviting. For instance, have a bowl of fresh fruit in the kitchen and vases with fresh cut flowers around the home.

Keep on top of the cleaning and organizing daily so it doesn’t become too overwhelming when you receive short notice of viewings. 


Real Estate Relocation Guide: 7 Steps to a Seamless Move

 Thursday, June 14, 2018     Marion Goard     House and Home Buying and Selling

Featured Photo

Whatever your reasons are for relocating to a new area, the process can feel overwhelming.

Whether you’re moving across across town or across the country, you’ll be changing more than your address. Besides a new house, you may also be searching for new jobs, schools, doctors, restaurants, stores, service providers and more. 

Of course you’ll need to pack, make moving arrangements, and possibly sell your old home. With so much to do, you may be wondering: Where do I start?

In this guide, I outline seven steps to help you get prepared, get organized, and get settled in your new community. My hope is to alleviate the hassle of relocating—so you can focus on the exciting adventure ahead!

  1. Gather Information

If you’re unfamiliar with your new area, start by doing some research. Look for data on average housing prices, demographics, school rankings and crime statistics. Search for maps that illustrate local geography, landmarks, public transportation routes and major interstates. If you’re moving across the country, research climate and seasonal weather patterns.

Check out local newspapers and blogs for information on political issues and developments that could impact your new community. You may also want to search for online forums and Facebook Groups relevant to your new area. These can be a great place to find information, ask questions and just observe local attitudes and outlooks.

If you’re relocating for a job, find out if your new employer offers any relocation assistance. Many large corporations have a designated human resources professional to assist employees with relocation efforts, while others may contract this service out to a third party. Some employers will also cover all or a portion of your relocation and moving costs.

By gathering this information up front, you’ll be better prepared to make informed decisions down the road.

Let me know if you’d like assistance with your information gathering process. I have a wealth of knowledge about this area, and have a number of reports and statistics on file. I would be happy to share information and answer any questions you may have.

  1. Identify Your Ideal Neighborhoods

Once you’ve sufficiently researched your new area, you can start to identify your ideal neighborhoods.

The first step is to prioritize your “needs” and “wants.” Consider factors such as budget; commute time; quality of schools; crime rate; walkability; access to public transportation; proximity to restaurants, shopping, and place of worship; and neighborhood vibe.

If possible, visit the area in person to get a feel for the community. If you’re comfortable, strike up conversations with local residents and ask about their experiences living in the area.

Still not sure which neighborhood is the best fit for you and your family? Contact a local real estate agent for expert assistance. It’s usually the most efficient and effective way to narrow down your options.

  1. Find Your New Home (and Sell Your Old One)

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of preferred neighborhoods, it’s time to start looking for a home. If you haven’t already contacted a real estate agent, now is the time. They can search for current property listings that meet your needs, typically at no cost to you.

If you already own a home, you’ll also need to start the process of selling it or renting it out. A real estate agent can help you evaluate your options based on current market conditions. He or she can also give you an idea of how much equity you have in your current home so you know how much you can afford to spend on your new one. 

Your agent can also advise you on how to time your sale and purchase. While some buyers are able to qualify for and cover the costs of two concurrent mortgages, many are not. There are a number of options available, and a skilled agent can help you determine the best course given your circumstances.

  1. Prepare for Your Departure

Allow yourself plenty of time to pack up your belongings. Before you start, gather supplies, including boxes, tape, tissue paper and bubble wrap. Begin with non-essentials—such as off-season clothes or holiday decorations—and sort items into four categories: take, trash, sell and donate/give away.

To make the unpacking process easier, be sure to label the top and sides of boxes with helpful information, including contents, room, and any special instructions. Keep a master inventory list so you can refer back to it if something goes missing.

If you will be using a moving company, start researching and pricing your options. To ensure an accurate estimate of your final cost, it’s best to have them conduct an in-person walkthrough. Make sure you’re working with a reputable company, and avoid paying a large deposit before your belongings are delivered.

Lastly, if you will be leaving friends or family behind, schedule final get-togethers before your departure. The last days before moving can be incredibly hectic, so make sure you block off some time in advance for proper goodbyes.

  1. Prepare for Your Arrival

To make your transition go smoothly, prepare for your arrival well before moving day. Depending on how long your belongings will take to arrive, you may need to arrange for temporary hotel accommodations. If you plan to move in directly, pack an “essentials box” with everything you’ll need for the first couple of nights in your new home, such as toiletries, toilet paper, towels, linens, pajamas, cell phone chargers, snacks, pet food and a change of clothes. This will keep you from searching through boxes after an exhausting day of moving.

Arrange in advance for your utilities to be turned on, especially essentials like water, electricity and gas. (And while you’re at it, schedule a shut-off date for your current utilities.) Update your address on all accounts and subscriptions and arrange to have your mail forwarded through the postal service. If you have children, register them for their new school or daycare and arrange for the transfer of any necessary records. 

You may want to have the house professionally cleaned before moving in. If there are no window treatments, you may need to install some (or at least put up temporary privacy film), especially in bedrooms and bathrooms. And if appliances are missing, consider purchasing them ahead of time and arranging for delivery and installation shortly after you arrive. Just be sure to check measurements and installation instructions carefully so you aren’t stuck with an appliance that doesn’t fit or that requires costly modifications to your new home.

  1. Get Settled In Your New Home

While staring at an endless pile of boxes can feel daunting, you should take advantage of this opportunity to make a fresh start. By creating a plan ahead of time, you can ensure your new house is thoughtfully laid out and well organized.

If you followed the suggestion to pack an “essentials box” (see Step 5), you should have easy access to everything you’ll need to get you through the first couple of nights in your new home. This will allow you some breathing room to unpack your remaining items in a deliberate manner, instead of rushing through the process.

If you have young children, consider unpacking their rooms first. Seeing their familiar items can help them establish a sense of comfort and normalcy during a confusing time. Then move on to any items you use on a daily basis.

Pets can also get overwhelmed by a new, unfamiliar space. Let them adjust to a single room first, which should include their favorite toys, treats, food and water bowl, and a litter box for cats. Once they seem comfortable, you can gradually introduce them to other rooms in the home.

Although you may be eager to get everything unpacked, it’s important to take occasional breaks. Have some fun, relax and explore your new hometown!

  1. Get Involved In Your New Community

Studies show that moving can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. People who have recently moved tend to be isolated socially, more stressed, and less likely to participate in exercise and hobbies. However, there are ways to combat these negative effects.

First, get out and explore. In a 2016 study, recent movers were shown to spend less time on physical activities and more time on their computers, which has been proven to lead to feelings of depression and loneliness. Instead, get out of your house and investigate your new area. And if you travel by foot, you’ll gain the advantages of fresh air and exercise.

Combat feelings of isolation by making an effort to meet people in your new community. Find a local interest group, take a class, join a place of worship or volunteer for a cause. Make an effort to introduce yourself to your new neighbors, invite them over for coffee or dinner, and offer assistance when they need it.

Once you’ve developed friendships and a support system within your new neighborhood, it will truly start to feel like home.

LET’S GET MOVING

While moving is never easy, these seven steps offer an action plan to get you started on your new adventure. To avoid getting overwhelmed, focus on one step at a time. And don’t hesitate to ask for help!

In a 2015 study, 61 percent of participants ranked moving at the top of their stress list, above divorce and starting a new job. It is possible though, with a little preparation—and the right team of professionals to assist you—to have a positive relocation experience.

I specialize in assisting home buyers and sellers with a seamless and “less-stress” relocation. Along with my referral network of movers, handymen, housekeepers, decorators, contractors and other service providers, I can help take the hassle and headache out of your upcoming move. Give me a call or message me to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation!


A fresh coat of paint is a great selling tool

 Tuesday, May 22, 2018     Marion Goard     House and Home Buying and Selling

Featured Photo

Painting is one of the most affordable and easiest ways to make a difference in your home when it comes time to sell. Adding a fresh coat of paint can make the house more appealing and it looks great in photos and videos on listings. But you’ll want to make sure you choose the right colours. 

A general rule is to go neutral. You want to have the house feeling natural, fresh and look newer as well. Choosing a light shade is important to brighten it up and make it look more spacious. Keeping it neutral helps potential buyers to better envision themselves in the space. 

Some of the most popular shades to choose are beige, cream, soft white or “greige” - a light grey and beige tone. You can also add in other neutral tones such as warm browns, including oatmeal and taupe, and pale blues, which look especially good in bedrooms and bathrooms. 

Choose areas of the home to paint that give off first impressions and are high-traffic, like your entranceway and main hallway, kitchen and family room. You’ll also want to include any rooms in the home that stand out as needing an update. In the kitchen, this might include an update to the cupboards and trim as well. This fresh new colour can make all of the difference to update the look of the kitchen. 

Consider also the exterior of the home and front door. Darker shades on the door look great such as navy blue or a dark grey. 

So grab a paintbrush as you prepare your home to sell, as it’s one of the most efficient ways to update your home.


The new mortgage rules in Canada - What you need to know

 Monday, May 14, 2018     Marion Goard     Financial Health Real Estate Market Buying and Selling

Featured Photo

At the beginning of this year, new tighter mortgage rules were put out by The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI). This has made it more difficult for some homebuyers to get mortgages this year. 

The new rules have stricter qualifying criteria as the requirement for a mortgage stress test is now extended to all homebuyers. Even borrowers with a down payment of twenty per cent or more now face a stress test, as has been the case since January 2017 for applicants with smaller down payments who require mortgage insurance. This is aimed at limiting the amount of debt that Canadians and financial institutions take on.

So what is the stress test? It means that financial institutions would use either the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada or the customer's mortgage interest rate plus 2 per cent - whichever is higher. This is to ensure that borrowers’ housing expenses compared to their income remain below a certain threshold even if rates rise. Financial institutions look at the size of the loan compared to the price of the house as well as credit scores.

For some first-time homebuyers these stricter mortgage lending rules mean you might need to rent for longer before you can buy a home. Or you might need to consider getting a co-signer to qualify under these stricter rules. This may cause others to have to settle for a less expensive home than they would have qualified for in the past, and some people may choose to wait and save up for a larger down payment.

Are you a first-time homebuyer? Get in touch to discuss how I can help you on your journey to home ownership! Call me at (905)330-5201 or by email at mariongoard@kw.com