Selling May 2, 2022

How to Set up for the Best Listing Photos (And Why it Matters!)

In the digital age, 80% of buyers first start their house search online. Having great photos that accentuate your home’s best features is the best way to get buyers’ attention and give them the best impression of your home for sale. But taking good photos can feel intimidating if it’s not something you’re familiar or comfortable with. As part of my professional marketing plan, though, I enlist the help of a professional real estate photographer who can help you take the best photos of your property and put it in a good light. That being said, here are some things you can do to get your home photo-ready.

 

Tidy, Tidy, Tidy

The number one tip to a good photo is a decluttered space that shows off the room. After all, buyers want to see the area around your possessions, which can be difficult with too much clutter. If you have furniture in the rooms, make sure that minimal objects are placed in or around it. Keep the space as neutral as possible, and the furniture helps show what the room can be used for, rather than the main feature.

 

Find the Best Lighting

Lighting really matters when taking a good photo. Look at the lighting sources in your room and have it prepared when the photographer shows up. Windows and natural light can be great to give your room a soft and natural feel. 

If it is a cloudy or overcast day, consider what artificial light your room has. What are the overheads like? Do they effectively light the room? If not, do you have lamps or floor lighting that could enhance the space? You could also consider turning on lighting features like fireplaces to add to the ambiance of the photo. 

 

Think About Composition

Have you already moved out your furniture, or is it still in the space? Either option can work, but you may have different considerations depending on your answer. If you have moved furniture already, this can be great for helping buyers get a complete picture of what the room looks like. However, it may be difficult to judge the size of the room without anything in it, so home staging may be something we want to consider. Even if you have moved, appliances in the kitchen and bathroom should be clean and tidy. 

If you still have furniture, think about the way it is positioned in the room, and see if there are smaller pieces you can move to give a better view of the size of the space. Also, consider objects such as coffee tables or shelving and how you’ve displayed objects on them. These types of furniture shouldn’t be empty. Instead, a couple of tasteful decor items can help to make the home feel welcoming. Be sure to limit these items or create groups of threes for visual appeal. 

 

Consider the Colours

While it is always good advice to keep your space filled with neutral colours, adding a couple of accents can be nice to enhance your space. If you have some items that add a burst of colour, think about where you want them and how that might help create a more eye-catching photo. If you’re unsure, sticking with neutrals and basics is always the safe bet. 

 

As always, listing photography can be tricky. And while these tips may help enhance your photos, the biggest thing you can do is keep your space clean and let the professionals do the rest! If you have any questions or concerns, I am here to offer my professional real estate advice to help put your house in the best light and answer any questions you may have.

BuyingMarket UpdateSeasonal InterestSelling April 1, 2022

What is the Best Time to Move?

You’ve seen it. It’s everywhere! Inventory remains at an all-time low in Saskatoon, and with interest rates also staying attractively low, demand remains high. With eager buyers jumping at the opportunity to buy a home, prices are rising, piquing many homeowners’ interest in selling. 

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer hoping to take advantage of the fantastic interest rates or a seller hoping to get more for your home, you’ve likely asked, “Is it a good time to move?” There are a lot of factors to take into account when considering the best time to move. If you’re currently deciding when to move, here are some of the factors to consider:

 

Why Are You Moving?

Depending on why you are moving or considering a move, your timeframe for when to move could change considerably.

#1 – You Are Relocating for Work. If you are moving to Saskatoon for a new job or position, you are likely working with a set deadline. This means you will have strict guidelines both in searching for a home and planning a move when it comes to dates. If you are simply moving within the city to lessen your commute or make it more convenient, you will have considerably more flexibility.

#2 – Looking for a Better Neighbourhood. Another reason why many families choose to move is to find the perfect neighbourhood. While this doesn’t give you any time constraints to work within, it’s important to note that it can take some time if you are particular about the neighbourhoods you are searching in. You may need to wait for the perfect property to come on the market.

#3 – Moving to a Bigger Home. Growing families often find themselves searching for more space, which may mean moving to a bigger home. While a great reason to be making your move, it shouldn’t interfere with any timing you may be planning for.

#4 – Downsizing to a Smaller Home. When the kids have all flown the nest, and you no longer need the 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom house, it might be time to downsize. Again, similar to moving to a bigger home, this shouldn’t interfere with planning the timing of your move.

#5 – Taking Advantage of Interest Rates. If you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage with an attractive interest rate you don’t want to miss out on, you will need to expedite your home search to fit your locked-in rate’s deadline. These typically stay in effect for 60-90 days, which will be about when you should plan to buy a new home. However, if you’d prefer to push off the move beyond that time, you can always talk to your REALTOR® about moving the possession date to a time that works better for you.

#6 – Making the Most of Market Trends. If you have a home to sell and Saskatoon is in a seller’s market, you may want to take advantage of that to get more value for your home. Especially in a high-demand market, this could mean a quicker move, so talk to your REALTOR® about how quickly you might expect to sell. That way, you can get a better idea for planning your move.

 

The Best Time of Year to Move

Knowing how the reason you are moving influences the timing of your move, you can start to plan the “when” of it all. Each season has pros and cons for moving, so here’s what to consider when deciding the best time of year to move for you and your family.

Spring is traditionally when the real estate market in Saskatoon begins to get busiest. The weather starts to warm, people start coming out of the homes they’ve been trapped in all winter and are eager for a change of scenery. Some pros to moving in spring are that you’ll be settled into your new home in time to relax for the summer holidays, and the weather tends to be much more temperate—not too cold and not too hot. However, it can also be a hectic time for kids in school, particularly those in high school facing exam season. Moving companies are also getting busier, so you may need to be more flexible with dates to make it work.

Summer, particularly early summer, tends to be the busiest moving season as homebuyers who bought in spring come up to their possession dates. Moving in summer can be a great thing—the kids are out of school, it may be easier to take vacation time, and the weather is usually warm and sunny. However, moving companies are in their highest-demand season, which means you may have a harder time picking dates and can even expect to pay a little more than slower seasons.

Fall is when the Saskatoon real estate market tends to slow down as kids return to school and the vacation replies start to disappear. This cooler market may make moving in fall the ideal choice for you, with less demand for moving companies and typically easier conditions for buying a house. Plus, you will be nice and settled in just in time to show off to friends and family over the holidays! However, it can also be a little more complicated if you have kids in school, especially if you might be moving to a new school district.

Winter is usually the slowest season in real estate, with colder weather keeping people indoors. This can make moving in winter more attractive, with market conditions at their least stressful and moving companies at their most available (sometimes even offering discounted rates!). However, you will need to battle the elements on moving day, something most of us avoid during winter in Saskatchewan, and you may be in the process of moving over the holidays, which can already be stressful enough.

 

So, when it really comes down to it, there is no true “best time to move,” only the best time for you and your family. No matter when you decide to make your move, though, there are a few tried and true ways to make it as easy as possible. Your experienced REALTOR® will be able to walk you through all of the best tips and tricks for a stress-free move. And if you still need help deciding when to do it, they can help with that, too!

August 2021FinancialHome DecorSelling August 2, 2021

4 Tips For Budgeting a Home Renovation

Renovations, especially when preparing your home for sale, can make or break how quickly your property will stay on the market. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of choosing new finishes for home projects or be blindsided by unforeseen hiccups that can dramatically increase costs. Deciding on how much to spend on home improvement projects can be tricky—lucky for you, I have compiled some tips that will help you stay on track and minimize any unwanted surprises!

Set Your Spending Limit

According to Zillow, you should spend no more for each room than the percentage of what that room values in the overall house value. For example, the kitchen generally makes up to 15% of the overall property value. If your home is worth $200,000, you will want to cap remodelling expenses at $30,000.

Another good guideline is not spending more than 10-15% of your home’s value on a single room. Any more than that will not proportionally add to the value of the home. HomeAdvisor states the average cost to renovate a kitchen at $4,000 – $60,000, a bathroom at $2,500 – $25,000, and a basement at $11,000 – $30,000. Keep in mind that older homes will often cost more to renovate if wiring and plumbing aren’t up to code.

You will also need to determine how you are financing your project! Your renovation budget will need to fit within the limit of available funds, whether it is by cash, loan or credit.

Prepare for Hidden Costs

This tip is possibly the most important of them all, so listen closely. Once you have concluded how much you can afford to spend, set aside 10-20% of your available funds for any unexpected expenses that may arise. You might have heard of the phrase, “things happen,” and it definitely applies to home renovations. Things go wrong or cost more than what was initially predicted, and by setting aside these funds at the beginning, you know that you will still have enough cash to cover no matter what happens.

Prioritize & Make a Plan

So long as there is no expertise required, consider doing some tasks yourself to help reduce labour costs. Things like pulling up tile, removing old cabinets, ordering your own fixtures and finishes, shopping for used or refurbished items, and doing your own painting are all easy to do yourself.

 

You’ve used all these tips and added value to your home, so now what? You don’t want to risk pricing too high in risk of not selling. Contact your favourite local REALTOR® for a free home evaluation!

Home DecorJuly 2021Selling July 2, 2021

Top Home Decor Design Trends for 2021

Home design trends are constantly changing, but with the state of the world over the past year and a half, we can identify some common themes emerging. We see many rethinking the functionality of their homes and the concentration on building a safe, calm, and joyful space to centre us in throughout the various recent and tumultuous events. Here are some key trends that you can easily incorporate into your living space or make it more appealing to potential buyers if you are planning to sell your home!

Say Goodbye to Exclusively Formal Rooms

Have a formal dining room or living room you only use once every 6 months? The focus is now on livable luxury and versatility in design. This means rethinking our less-used spaces and embracing furniture concepts that play double duty—we’ve seen many formal dining rooms turn into home offices and school rooms. However, this is also your sign to turn that space into something totally your own that sparks joy. Always wanted a craft room? Maybe a library to live out your Beauty & the Beast dreams? Go for it!

Embrace Natural Materials

This is the return of nature and earthy inspiration to really become one with that zen mindset. Pieces like cream coloured ceramics, marble coffee tables, wicker baskets, rattan headboards, and unfinished wooden furniture help create a comforting and organic look and feel. Earthy tones and warm, soothing colour palettes like wine reds, sagey greens, and golden yellows have also increased popularity.

Become a Plant Parent

Speaking of natural, 2020 was back to basics. Hands up if it was your mission to successfully make a loaf of delicious sourdough bread and adopt a few plant babies! Yeah, I see you, Saskatoon. We’re definitely seeing this continuing the trend through 2021.

Incorporating plants into your décor honestly does wonders to help refresh the air and brighten your mood. Easy-to-care-for plants and textured pots work like magic to bring some life to a space, and edible gardens are perfect for a sunny kitchen window sill.

Maximize Natural Sunlight

Be aware of the lack of Vitamin D from being cooped up indoors—sunlight is scientifically essential to our happiness. Yes, really! And studies have shown that it can actually have a direct effect on a homebuyer’s first impression of the home, especially when staging to sell.

With the goal of calm and centred living space, gone are heavy window dressings. Instead, try a semi-opaque cotton curtain with some tassel trim for a subtle texture.

Solid Statement Walls? Forget About It

Wallpaper is not just for your grandmother anymore. It has officially made a comeback! Add some personality to your space with a statement wall, or use it to line your cabinets or shelving. Want a less permanent option in case you are renting and planning to buy a home? Peel and stick wallpaper is an exceptional way to play with your space without the commitment.

More is More

Granny Chic has a nice ring to it, right? The year 2021 has marked the rise of the “grandmillennial” trend, described as a revival of the homey design elements that you may find at your grandparent’s house. This includes velvets, floral wallpaper, brass, delicate china, antique paintings, and other vintage touches. And don’t be afraid to mix patterns, either.

This style can evoke a sense of tradition, comfort, and nostalgia. Combining old-world elements (antique paintings) and the new world comforts (modern lighting fixtures) can also create a perfect timeless mix.

 

No matter what your home ownership goals may be this fall, whether it’s buying a new house or selling your existing one, keep these top design trends in mind for either. From dolling up your new digs or staging for selling success, these simple changes can keep your home looking modern, chic, and effortless!

Home DecorJune 2020Selling June 18, 2020

7 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal for Sale

Curb appeal is one of the most important selling factors for a home. It’s the very first impression potential buyers ever have, and it can even be the make-or-break factor that decides whether they even step inside the door at all. That’s why, if you’re planning on selling your home, it should be one of the first places you focus your home-staging efforts to ensure a quick and seamless sale!

Give It a Good Clean

Dirt and grime on the exterior of a home very rarely accumulate in just one day, so it’s easy not to notice the subtle build-up over time. To us, it may not necessarily feel unclean because we saw it just yesterday and it looked just the same! But to a potential buyer, that slightly “off” tinge can stick out like a sore thumb.

Take a pressure washer to the outside of the home to blast away dirt, grime, and cobwebs. And if you’ve got a paved driveway, don’t forget to give that a spray, too—you’ll be amazed at just how much of a difference a bit of water can make! Don’t forget about the windows and gutters, as well.

Give It a Fresh Coat of Paint

Whether the colour is looking out-of-place for current style trends or the weather has just taken its toll, a fresh coat of paint can always be a good ideal for boosting your home’s curb appeal for sale! To refresh the existing colour, simple scrape off a small bit of the paint and bring it to your local paint store to have it properly matched. Or, to give the house a completely new appearance, find a nice, neutral shade and complimentary colours for the trim and doors that can give it the facelift it needs! No matter which you decide to do, though, don’t forget to prep the surface to ensure long-lasting performance.

Consider Installing Vinyl Siding

While it may add a bit of work to your plate up-front to install, vinyl siding can not only boost curb appeal, but it may even help to boost your home’s value, too! Very durable and incredibly low-maintenance, potential buyers will love how much time they will save when the only upkeep they’ll need to do is a quick spray with a power washer every so often! Plus, if you’re really set on having colour, you can even buy it in a wide variety of hues that will never need a refresh of paint ever again!

Check the Roof

If you’ve had the roof repaired or replaced in the last couple of years, there’s a good chance you might not have to do much more than a quick cleaning job to clear away dirt and lost artifacts that always seem to make their way up there. However, if it has been a while, you may want to bring in a roofing professional to give the proper maintenance that it might need. Not only can this add to curb appeal, but potential home buyers will also be much happier to hear they won’t have to worry about potential costly repairs in the near future should bad weather hit.

Love on Your Landscape

Especially in summer, nothing sticks out more than an un-mown lawn with leaves, sticks, and debris flung across it. It gives the home the appearance that care hasn’t been taken in maintaining the exterior, and almost immediately the mind anticipates that the interior will be much the same.

To ensure your landscape is in tip-top shape to offer the most curb appeal possible, be sure to regularly mow your lawn when in season, and prune overgrown shrubs and trees. If you have a garden, spend some time weeding and mulching to add a polished look, and maybe pop in a few annuals for some colour. If you don’t have any garden space, you can still add some colour with a few potted plants by the door, too!

Other Small Ways to Boost Your Curb Appeal

Consider replacing house numbers. Old house numbers that are weathered and falling off not only make it harder for potential buyers to find your home, but it can take away from all the hard work you’ve done to spruce up your exterior!

Update old hardware. All potential buyers see when they notice a falling apart mailbox or a loose doorbell is more time and money they would have to spend if they were to buy your house.

Check exterior bulbs. It’s easy to forget about the bulbs we never look at once we’re in the house, but if you ever have an evening viewing, it’s hard for buyer’s to miss!

 

If you want your home to make the best first impression with potential buyers, a little time spent in boosting your curb appeal can make a world of difference. And it doesn’t have to be a terribly costly affair either! Even by doing just a couple of these property pampering projects, you can really amp up the WOW factor to get possible new homeowners excited to get inside and see what it’s all about!

August 2018Selling August 15, 2018

While Your Home is Listed

Things to Know While Your House is For Sale

 

Now that your home is for sale, what do you do in the meantime? Here’s a list of a few points to remember and take note of so you’re not feeling helpless throughout the process.

Be Flexible

Be as flexible as possible with showing times. Make it easy for buyers to come and view your home so you don’t miss out on a potential sale. I realize that there are circumstances when this doesn’t allow but being as flexible as you can without too much of an inconvenience to your schedule will have it’s benefits.

Open Houses

I leave the decision of whether or not to do an open house up to my sellers. I’ve found that in some instances, an open house was useful and resulted in a success. However, more times than not, an open house hasn’t resulted in anything other than the neighbours coming over to visit. I leave that decision entirely up to you.

Be Reachable

I will need to contact you for showings and any offers we get and I will need to be able to get ahold of you on short notice. If you are going away, I’ll also need to know that.

Keep Clean

Try to keep your house as clean as possible during times of showings and open houses. We want to eliminate the objections a potential buyer might have and if your house shows great, then it’ll be that more attractive to buyers.

Updates

Throughout the time when your house is for sale, I will send you weekly updates in regards to the number of viewings your home has had on certain websites as well as any new comparable houses for sale and ones that have just sold. This will help keep you informed about the market in your area and help you make an informed decision about price reductions. I will also follow up with agents when a showing has occurred and what the feedback has been so you know what, if any, improvements can be made on your part.

 

These few things will help you reach your goal of selling your home for the most money and in the least amount of time.

July 2018Selling July 11, 2018

Preparing Your Home for Sale

Things You Should Consider

So you’re ready to put your house up for sale. What should you do to make it more sale-able, attract more buyers, and more importantly get more money in your pocket? Here’s a list of things to consider before putting your house on the market.

Renovations

I don’t recommend doing any major renovations just to sell your home but if you are willing to do the work (or can get it done inexpensively) then consider smaller renovations like adding a backsplash, fresh paint on the walls, and landscaping to add more curb appeal. These will go a long way for potential buyers.

Clean

The power of a clean house is strong, I highly recommend giving the inside a thorough cleaning before allowing potential buyers through your door. Steam clean the carpets, wash floors, and dust. Don’t forget about the exterior. Sweep, rake, or shovel as needed, clean up yard debris, and make the exterior an attractive place that buyers want to be.

Pack

You’re moving anyways so you might as well start packing. De-clutter your home, room by room, and pack away things you don’t think you’ll need before you move. You can take down personal items like pictures if you wish but as long as it’s a reasonable amount then buyers won’t have a difficult time envisioning themselves in your home. Remove as much as you can from the kitchen counters and on the fridge doors. I recommend packing until your house feels empty but isn’t literally. That’s when you know when to stop.

Gathering Items

Before I list your home I will require a few items to make the transaction as seamless as possible. I’ll need contact information of your financial institution to send documents to once the sale is complete, a spare set of keys for the lockbox, your surveyor’s certificate for the property, and any other pertinent information required for your home.

 

These tips will ensure your house will be as presentable as possible and increase it’s sale-ability when it counts the most.

FinancialJune 2018Selling June 13, 2018

What Are the Costs of Selling?

You already understand the importance of hiring a REALTOR®, but what are the fees that you will incur? As a seller you don’t pay for any inspections requested by the buyer or a land titles transfer fee but there are a few costs that you will encounter.

Commissions

This is the big one. As a seller you pay both the buying and selling agent’s commissions. When you purchase a home, you won’t have this cost.  This will come out of your proceeds at the end from the lawyer. Commissions are typically a percentage of the sale price of the home and most often you will see a percentage that looks like 6/4/2. This means that the commission is 6% of the 1st $100,000, 4% of the 2nd $100,000, and 2% of any remaining balance. I also can offer a flat fee commission. I find that helps with those who are sticking to a strict budget and need to know the amount they will be paying upfront.  Remember, I only get paid if your house sells.

Legal

There are also legal fees associated with the sale of your home. Although it’s less than if you were purchasing, they will cost you usually between $700-$800 + GST + PST

Penalties

There may be a payout penalty on your mortgage if you are planning on selling and paying out the mortgage before your term is up.  The penalty is usually 3 months of interest or the interest differential with your rate and what the current rate- whichever is higher.  If your mortgage has a portability clause and you are planning on buying something after you sell, that is a great way to avoid the penalty altogether.

Miscellaneous

If you are planning on hiring cleaners to do a deep clean pre-sale, hiring a carpet cleaner, or hiring someone to do repairs, these will all have to be accounted for in the budget.

 

These costs and fees may seem like a lot of money but they are designed to ensure that you will achieve the most money once your house does sell and some are unavoidable. It’s better to know up front what these costs will be and will make budgeting for the new house that much easier.