Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Importance of Staging - Part 1

Let's talk a little about Staging!

When you list your home for sale, it becomes a product rather than your personal retreat. You want potential homebuyers to be able to envision themselves living in the home. This can be difficult if your family's personality is still evident. Before going on market, your agent will recommend decluttering and depersonalizing. And...you may want to bring in a professional stager to help as well. This will help guide you through showing your home in its most marketable light.

Staging can set the right emotional tone for buyers. It can also help highlight the most attractive features of the home. Staging can also make you money. 77% of listing agents said a staged home increases the dollar value. Which means...yes, buyers are willing to pay more for a well-staged environment. 
Staging can also shorten the length of time your home is on the market. Agents report that their staged homes go under contract faster than those without.

A professional stager will sometimes begin with an in-home consultation. This is where they will walk through your home with you. They will review the property, and provide a report with their advice for the home. The report will include advice on decluttering, storing items, and reorganizing furniture. It may also include changing out paint colors in different rooms. The stager may also give tips for improving curb appeal. The living room, kitchen, master bedroom and dining room are the most common rooms to be staged.

Your home may need some repairs and touch-ups. You can do that yourself or hire a helping hand. 
If its little things your home needs, your stager could handle that. You stager could bring in supplementary furniture and decor items. They could also manage painting. OR...you can hire other contractors to come to your home. Like the saying goes, many hands make light work. This will get your home ready to go on the market quicker. The cost of services will depend on how much work your home will need. But if staged properly, your market value may increase...so it's a win/win for you as a seller.

Thanks for reading and come back in a few days when I have a Q & A about staging.

Until then - Keep it "Real"


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Everlasting First Impression - Curb Appeal

Today's post talks about Curb Appeal. Did you know buying a home is the biggest investment most people make in their lifetime? So, it only makes sense to keep your house looking great and functioning well...right? Seeing a beautiful, well kept home from the street increases its property value. Even for homeowners not planning to move. The increase in property value of one home can also extend to the rest of the neighbourhood. Keeping your property well-kept improves your street-wide value. Not only that, but your neighbor relationships too (which is a good thing).

Most buyers form their first impression of your home before they even get out of the car. Curb appeal is the view of your home from the street. This gives potential buyers the first chance to fall in love with your home. So make your home the talk of the neighbourhood...for the right reasons!
The exterior of your home should be impeccable. Clean it, clear it of clutter, with no visible repairs needed. So...fix that broken step. Cut down those overgrown bushes. Put away those scattered toys in the yard. That clutter can spoil the home's appearance and the potential buyer's first impression.
Here's a simple cleanup and spruce up checklist. Tips to make sure your home leaves a lasting first impression:
  • Clear driveways and walkways of snow, weeds, and debris. Repair or replace cracked steps or pavers. Whenever possible, driveways should be clear of vehicles.
  • Keep your lawn mowed, edged, and watered. Prune dead branches and plants. Weed flower beds and replace leggy, thin landscaping with fresh plants and flowers.
  • Replace loose or damaged roof shingles. Clean the gutters. Paint and caulk window trim and doors.
  • Make the front door area shine. Consider repainting your front door and placing a new welcome mat. Polish the door hardware and make sure all front facing windows are clean.
  • Pressure wash siding, brick, windows, and porches.
  • Replace light fixtures. If possible, pick new fixtures with the same mounting system to save time and hassle.
  • Install new house numbers that match the finish of your light fixtures.
  • Consider upgrading your mailbox. It's an inexpensive fix and the first thing that buyers will see when they pull up to your home.
  • Install flower boxes or pots of blooming flowers for a pop of color.
  • Hang a seasonal wreath from your front door.

Curb appeal is the first step in creating interest in a home for sale. In today's world of internet and photography, pictures of property have a major impact. It is well worth the time and money spent to have your home looking its best when a potential buyer drives up to the curb.
 Thanks for reading. Until next time...Keep It "REAL"

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Why Do You Need A Real Estate Professional and What Does One Cost?

Many people believe hiring a real estate professional is a waste of time. They believe they can sell their home on their own without any help from an agent. And, sometimes...that's true! Not all homes that sell, is through a real estate agent. BUT, there is no substitute for an experienced professional. Taking on all the responsibility yourself could be costlier than an agent's commission.

Here, think about this for a second. According to 2017 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, only 8% of home sales were for sale by owner. Of those, 40% knew their buyer in person. Not only that, but for sale by owner homes had an average sale price of $190,000 in 2017. Real estate agents who assisted in home sales average list price was $250,000. That's $60,000 lost because the home owner didn't want to hire an agent. The average commission on a $250,000 home is $12,500. That will pay both the buying agent AND the selling agents commission. Food for thought eh?!

Beyond the price advantage, homes listed by real estate professionals get more exposure. Their sellers also get more support! Take a look at the following list. Real estate professionals are:

  • Trained, licensed professionals
  • Experienced in your neighborhood & your market
  • Able to give you oversight from brokers & licensing officials
  • Able to help you reach your goals in the best way
  • Able to present your home and deal with buyers
  • Able to market properties
  • Able to overcome typical issues that occur in real estate transactions and closings
  • Able to look out for your best interests
  • Understand personal safety and security for your belongings during showings
  • Able to make transactions go smoothly with knowing lawyers, bankers and mortgage specialists
  • Able to get access to the most accurate and up to date comprehensive data through MLS
  • Able to negotiate
  • Able to make real estate transactions successful
  • Kept up to date with continuing education on housing issues
You can never go wrong with a real estate professional in your corner. You will have a partner by your side to advocate for you and help you through the entire home selling/buying process.

Well...this brings me to my next point. What is the cost of hiring an agent?

In most cases, it costs you NOTHING! Let me flip the tables for a minute. As YOUR agent, I am here to educate you. I will take you through the buying process, market conditions and neighborhoods. I spend many hours researching properties to find the one that meets your needs. I will also be by your side to check off every bullet in the list above. In most cases, this and more will be in the sellers cost. There are possible situations when some fees may apply. Those situations will NEVER take place without your prior understanding and consent.

Here we are again at the end of another blog post. I hope this clarifies the reasons why it is good to have a real estate professional in your corner.

Thanks for reading and until next time...Keep it "REAL"!


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Accepted Offer...Now What?

We have shopped around and found a home you fell in love with. We wrote an offer on it and the offer is now accepted. So...what happens now?

Well, once the Seller agrees to your offer, you are then "Under Contract". But, we still have a lot to do to ensure a successful closing. These steps will have strict deadline dates. You must complete them properly and on time. If not, it could cause you to lose your deposit and the sale. We will outline and discuss some of the steps to expect.

During the next 7-10 days, you will have several conditions to meet to consider the home "SOLD". Your Real Estate Professional will assist you in meeting the following conditions:
  • Financing - The mortgage company will receive a copy of the offer. They will review it and confirm with a letter stating if they will provide financing for the home.
  • PDS (Property Disclosure Statement) - The owner fills out this form. It outlines the conditions of the home. You will have time to review and sign it. Each party requires a signed copy.
  • Plot Plan - The Seller will provide this if one is available.
  • Home Inspection - Home inspections identify any structural, electrical and/or mechanical problems. A home inspection is highly recommended as it can identify property defects.
  • Insurance - Contact your insurance company to confirm they will insure your home. They will provide a letter of confirmation to your real estate professional.
  • Heating & Electric Costs - The Seller will provide statements of heating and electrical costs for your review.
  • Deposit Cheque - You have the option of writing a certified cheque, money order, E-transfer or a personal cheque. You will make the cheque out to the listing realty company "In Trust".
  • Water Test & Septic Sewer System - These tests are done if you are on a drilled or a dug well and septic system.

Once you meet the conditions, the deal has become "FIRM". Congratulations! You just purchased a home now you can plan your move. This would include such things as:
  • Calling Water, Fuel, Phone, Power and Cable companies
  • Health Care - Doctors, Dentists, Optometrist etc.
  • Financial Services - Banks, Accountant, Credit Cards, Insurance, Lawyer etc.
  • Government Offices - Federal & Provincial Revenue Agencies, Driver's License, Health Card, Library etc.

You may also want to book a moving truck, if necessary, and begin packing.

There you have it, what happens when you have an accepted offer. There are many steps in the home buying process. But no need to worry, your real estate professional will be with you every step of the way.

Thanks for checking in! Until next time...Keep it "REAL"!


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Writing An Offer

Now that you have found the right home, what's next?

You write the offer!

To get you the home you want for the best price, having an experienced RealtorⓇ is extremely important.

Your Real Estate Professional will help you with the following items:

  1. Review the homes that have sold in the area.
  2. Identify the condition of the home. Most homes are priced at market value with the condition of the home taken into account.
  3. Decide on a price.
  4. Determine the deposit amount.
  5. Chose a date (usually 7-10 business days) to have conditions met. It includes the financing, insurance, inspection and other conditions in the agreement.
  6. Identify what fixtures and chattels to include in the purchase price.
  7. Decide on a closing day. The day you will move in to your new home.

So...what happens when more than one buyer submits an offer on the same home? This is what we call a "competing offer" situation. Simply put, it is when more than one buyer puts an offer on a home. The seller will have the chance to review and select the offer that best suits their needs, if this happens. Usually, they select the highest offer. Other conditions, such as closing date, could be taken into consideration as well. If this happens, you and your agent will talk about a strategy.

There you have it, the process of writing an offer. There are many important, strategic factors to consider besides the price. Your agent will assist you every step of the way.

Thanks for reading. Until next time...Keep It "REAL"!


Monday, January 21, 2019

What Home Is The Right Home?

How will you know when you see the house of your dreams? A common reply is always, "I'll know it when I see it!" However, if you logically analyze your needs ahead of time, you'll be better equipped to make an educated decision when you have an emotional response to a house that you see. This blog post will help you determine and prioritize  which characteristics are most important to you in a home. Surely you have heard the common real estate theory that there are three things to consider when buying a house: "Location, location, location!" While there are other important factors to consider when choosing a home, answering the following questions will remind you how important location is in your decision.

Geography - Ask yourself these questions when choosing your neighbourhood.

  • Will you be looking in urban, suburban, semi-rural or rural areas?
  • How will you be commuting to work?
  • Do you have a preference with regard to natural features like woods, hills and lowland?
  • How long will your commute be? Do you need to be near public transportation?
  • Do you have a preference to be near water such as rivers, lakes, streams, ponds or the ocean?
Surrounding Areas - Keep in mind what you'd like to have near you, such as:
  • Shopping Malls
  • Supermarkets
  • Department Stores
  • Drug Stores
Neighbourhood Focus - This is the general appearance of the properties in the neighbourhood and if what you're looking for fits. You will look at things like...
  • Are the homes well maintained?
  • What are the main types/styles of homes and how far apart are they?
  • Do the homes appear "newer" or "older"?
  • Are there many visible property enhancements such as swimming pools, fences, decks and patios or extensive landscaping?
  • Are vehicles primarily parked in garages and driveways, or are they parked on the street?
  • Are there emergency stations such as fire and police close by?
Schools - For family with young children, schools are to be considered.
  • Are there both public and private schools? Are there bilingual schools?
  • Are they equipped to handle special needs if needed?
  • How do children primarily get to school?
  • What is the teacher per student ratio?
  • Are there after-school activities offered?
  • What type of sports programs and clubs are offered?
  • What is the percentage of children that graduate?
Work Issues - Buying a home closer to your work site can sometimes help with the decision making.
  • How long will your commute be?
  • How many methods can you use to get there, such as walking, driving, car pool, taxi or bus route?
Recreation and Entertainment - It is nice to not only move into a great neighbourhood but also become a part of it...as a whole family.
  • What forms of entertainment are offered?
  • What types of indoor and outdoor sports facilities are available?
  • Are there public parks, country clubs, and/or sports teams close by?
Community Involvement - Making your new community your own.
  • Do the neighbours socialize regularly?
  • Do they hold block parties or picnics?
  • Is there a Home Owner's Association?
  • How active are they in the community?
Selecting Your Home

When choosing the house itself, which features and amenities will be included? I suggest having all members of the family make a list of their preferences and which features are most important to them. You can then compare notes and come to a consensus about which items are "must haves" and which are negotiable. Once you've gone through the process of deciding on your home's features and amenities and sized up the neighbourhood characteristics that are most important to you, there is one more task to undertake: Prioritize! Then you'll have a definite picture in your mind of what you're looking for, and you'll be able to make logical choices when the time comes to decide if "this" is the home for you. Here is a sample list:

House Style             Gourmet Kitchen          Walk-In Closets           Fenced Yard
No. of Levels           Formal Dining Room   Fireplace                       Large Yard
No. of Bedrooms    Breakfast Nook              Finished Basement    Storage
No. of Bathrooms  En-suite Bathroom        Garage                          Age of Home

There you have it...the first step in finding what home is the right home for you and your family. It is easy to say you're moving, it's finding the right home that takes a little time and consideration to make sure it is the right fit for you and your family.

Until next time...Keep It "Real"!


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Hello, My name is...

Hello, My name is Mary-Lou Tallon. 
I am a Realtor with 10 years experience in the Real Estate market. I have received "Rookie of the Year" for Atlantic Canada and continue to achieve high sales awards each year.
Your real estate relationship is important to me. I understand the importance of family, negotiation, keeping up to date and time needed to complete a sale.
I use the newest tools and technology to market properties to ensure they stand out. I know the value of customer relations, communication, trust and competency. My hard work and positive attitude has helped build a solid reputation in my community, with clients, associates, family and friends.
Whether you're buying or selling, I know it is ALL about YOU and YOUR real estate needs. My goal is to ensure your Real Estate transaction is a positive, pleasurable and satisfying experience.
Through my blog, I will take you through the steps of the home buying process, the selling process and everything in between. I will also offer tips and checklists to help with your Real Estate process. 
My commitment to you is to make myself available before, during and after you buy or sell your home. Keeping it "REAL" is what I do; I will be honest, open and upfront. Buying or Selling? YOU are my top priority!

Thanks for reading...until next time!