You’ve saved money. You’ve done your research and you’re just about ready to visit properties in the hopes of buying your very first home this year. You’d better make sure that these visits are effective. Here are a few tips.
We assume that you’ve defined your needs and priorities before visiting your first homes. Don’t make the mistake of defining them as you go along. If so, you’ll waste precious time.
Don’t wait to visit the property before getting the basic information, such as the age of the house, the electricity costs, the taxes, etc. Browse the websites of cities and power companies. They can usually give you this information. The real estate broker’s listings also hold a lot of information. If the house is not listed, a phone call or an email to the homeowner should suffice. If you’re afraid to sound too pushy, tell yourself that the homeowner is probably glad to proceed in that way. He or she will also be saving time.
According to a BMO 2015 home-buying report, the average Canadian expects to pay off their mortgage by age 59 — but 31 per cent think they’ll still have a mortgage by their 65th birthday. Looking to ditch your debt quicker — without over-extending your budget? It may save you hundreds (if not thousands) in the long run.
The biggest benefit is saving money on interest charges. The longer it takes to pay down your mortgage, the more you’ll pay in interest. The BMO report found that, on average, Canadians believe they’ll pay approximately $60,000 in interest on their mortgage (and this number hits $100,000 for B.C. residents).
First-time homebuyer tip: Curious how mortgage payments work? It’s all about the amount of money you’re borrowing and the length of the loan. Based on these factors, your lender will calculate your payment schedule. Some of your payment will go toward interest (the amount paid on the amount you borrowed), and some will go toward your principal (the amount initially borrowed under the mortgage). You may pay more toward interest than principal in the first few years of your loan, and more toward principal in the later years. Calculate your potential payment schedule with our nifty mortgage calculator.
Most people renovate their homes for more space or more comfort. Some also remodel their homes in order to sell their property more quickly while getting the desired price for it.
But you shouldn’t start renovating carelessly. Follow these guidelines.
It would be irresponsible to carry out overwhelming work in order to sell your home quickly. Disaster will probably strike. Some upgrades, worth a few hundreds or thousands of dollars, should do the trick.
Check every nook and cranny in your home to find any defects. Neglecting this step might give the future buyer the wrong impression. Imagine if he or she arrives with a building inspector? Omitting to inspect your home is not the best way to go, even if you end up selling your property for the desired price. If the future homeowner ends up dragging you into court for latent defects, not only will you see your profit melt away, but your quality of life will diminish.
Start by facing your home and put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Is the frontage appealing? Is the front door impeccable? A neglected exterior usually implies a careless homeowner in the minds of future buyers.
Go outside and walk around your property and think of the things that would bother a buyer and try to address the problem. For example, you live in a noisy neighbourhood because of the traffic. Find out how much building a green wall or a solid wall would cost to reduce the noise.
“There is never a single fixed price. Every property has both a floor and ceiling price,” says Patrick Juanéda, President of the Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards (FCIQ). On one hand, the seller wants to close the deal and obtain the amount closest to the ceiling price. While on the other, the buyer wants to pay something closer to the floor price. Irreconcilable differences? Not at all. Finding common ground is entirely possible, and that’s what successful negotiating is all about.
The power of negotiation
“The price is always negotiable,” says Mr. Juanéda. Expect the average reduction percentage to be from 2 to 3%.”
The real estate expert does stress however that each situation is unique: “If a house is listed at a “good price” (near the floor price) and it’s located in an active market (single family homes around $300,000, for example) overbidding can’t be ruled out. Do you really want to miss out to save a few thousand dollars?”
On the other hand, you have more room to manoeuver with a property that has been on the market for over six months and seen little activity.
Recognizing various scenarios forms the basis of any negotiation. A qualified real estate agent has the experience and instinct to guide the buyer. Without one, you’d have to study the local house listings and visit a lot of properties to develop a flair for negotiation. Continue reading →
You’re on a tight budget and changing your home decor is not a possibility right now. Did you think about molding? It’s cheap, easy to install and it can transform the entire appearance of a room. Here are a few tips.
There is a variety of decorative moldings out there, not to mention various types of wood. Take the time to research: ask vendors, search the Internet or look through books at your local library.
To install baseboard molding, take the time to find all the studs behind the wall and mark them as you please. That’s where you’ll nail the baseboard and the moldings will fit snugly together.
Do you have to remove old molding? With a flat tool, pry the molding away from the wall by sliding the tool between the stud and the molding.
Identify the areas where the floor is uneven before you install the moldings to avoid unpleasant surprises along the way.