Monthly Archives: June 2015

On the Safe Side

RealtorSafetyTipsAs we embark on a fantastic season in the housing market, we need to make sure that we aren’t so overwhelmed by the abundance of business on our hands that we forget some basic safety precautions. After all, real estate is a still a risky business. Your safety is of the utmost importance as you show homes during this lovely season. So take heed of these few tips and take care out there.

  • When showing a home, try to stay by an exit. If needed, you should always have access to a way out. Make sure your car is not blocked in and has a quick way out of there. While giving a tour, a rule of thumb should be to always lead from BEHIND. You can keep an eye out for yourself while letting the buyer have the freedom to view things & inquire as needed. Giving them the space will make them feel more relaxed and not pressured as they take a look around.
  • One of the more obvious tools we have in our constant possession is a cell phone. Carrying it with you everywhere is sort of a given. But do you ever bother to check if the home you’re showing or where you plan to hold an Open House has proper cell service? It may seem like a waste of time to drive by and check, but it won’t feel that way when it comes in handy. And just for peace of mind, make it a point to check in with someone every time you go to show a property. Having someone keeping tabs on you is a precaution that is never a bad thing, especially if something were to happen.
  • Then there’s always the tried-and-true saying “safety in numbers.” If possible, make it a point to bring someone with you. There is less chance of something happening if you have a backup. It could be a colleague, a trusted friend, or your real estate assistant. Better yet, bring a lender with you. It would be a great addition to your selling strategy if a buyer can ask questions about interest rates and available programs while they view the property. You’re killing two birds with one stone!
  • If you feel that carrying additional protection, like pepper spray, is necessary, make sure you have the proper training to use said item. It will do no one any good if something were to happen and you couldn’t protect yourself.

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Weekends Were Made for the Honey Do Lists

honey-do-listWhile most of us view weekends as a time for more work than play, there is always a list of things you’d like to do around the house looming in the back of your mind. Now I’m not saying put yourself through full-blown room makeovers. No, I’m talking about little projects you can do without a whole lot of life upheaval…things you can do to make your place more functional or maybe just a bit more aesthetically pleasing. This week’s blog post is all about giving you just a few little ideas for DIY projects you can do during these warm summer weekends.

First things first: let’s take a minute to look after our summertime best friend, the air conditioning system. Nothing is worse than having an air conditioner that breaks right in the midst of a heatwave. So before you start using the A/C a lot, some routine maintenance is called for. Give a good cleaning to the vents & parts that have residual build-up so it is able to run in tip-top condition. Having to hire someone to fix a broken unit when some simple maintenance could have prevented the dent in your pocketbook? Even the bees can’t compare to that sting. And while we are on the subject, let’s use less energy to cool down your home by weather stripping the doors and windows. Over time, caulking and weather stripping wears down. This makes it easy for the temperature to become inconsistent, which makes your A/C system run harder to keep you cool. Bonus to this little fix-it tip? It prevents pests, mildew & rot from making your home theirs as well.

As we transition from the interior to the exterior, this is a perfect time to suggest a new coat of paint. We all know weather, and life, can do a number on paint. So why not give your home a little bit of color? It’s a quick project that can be broken down into little projects done on your weekends. Keeping your colors neutral is best, both inside and out, when considering resale value. But if you feel spicy, why not add a burst of color to an accent wall? Visiting your local paint store will help you pick out the perfect colors. Just remember: you should never have more than five colors going on collectively. A great investment during the summer months is a power washer. Giving the exterior of your home “a bath” will remove all of the debris built up over the winter months. If you have a deck, it’s a good idea to give a quick rinse to it as well. You may need to re-apply a sealer, but a good washing will make a big difference. It will look great and get you all ready for a great summer BBQ.

And there you have it. Just a couple of quick little home improvement projects you can do during these lovely summer months. So while you are filling up your social calendar with fantastic summertime events, make sure you take a day or two to give your house a little bit of TLC. Your home will thank you for it.

The following was created as a great addition to your real estate newsletter. Please feel free to share these home improvement tips with your current & prospective clients. Don’t have a newsletter? We can help you with that! We offer a fully customized newsletter to get your name out into your community. Contact us today!

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Do You Smell Something?

stinkfaceDespite its general lack of popularity, the nose is one of our most powerful body parts. Our sense of smell helps us eat, evokes memories, it even saves us from harm. Scents are distinct and help us identify things around us. We’ve all walked into a familiar place after a long time and thought, “Ahh! That’s what I’m talking about!” as we inhale deeply. Our nose helps us to connect to things on a personal level. Unfortunately, the more we immerse ourselves in these scents, the less powerful the scent is. This is most evident when it comes to our homes.

As a realtor, one of the more difficult topics to bring up to a home seller is scent. Some homeowners cook with very pungent spices, some smoke indoors. In some instances, a family pet maybe the culprit. Regardless of the case, a home that has a less than welcoming scent is going to be a major issue. Buyers are trying to picture themselves in this home. After their eyes, the nose is a huge decision-maker. Unpleasant smells will immediately throw off their willingness to buy. In fact, it may not only slow down a sale, it may also result in lower listing price. In fact, a study in 2013 sponsored by Pfizer Canada proved that it can impact the resale value up to 29%. That’s a huge difference! So what do you do?

Treat the problem. Covering it up is merely a temporary fix that can actually set off alarms in the buyers mind as to what exactly is being masked. And the odor will only be back next time you show the house. No, a deep cleaning is your best bet. Carpets, drapes, air vents, upholstery, etc. should all be given a good scrubbing. If it’s a cooking issue, give your client some subtle suggestions. Take out the trash after cooking, use the fan over the stove, avoid making certain foods when a showing is around the corner, clean out the fridge often. All of these little tips will make a difference.

On showing days, freshen the house with clean, simple scents. Long gone are the days of filling the house with the scent of chocolate chip cookies or potpourri. Research has proven that scents like lemon, green tea, basil, cedar, & pine were the most pleasing. Why? Because complex scents like baked goods distract buyers. They focus more on identifying the scent than what they came to do, which is buy a home. So make those scents crisp & clean on those open house days. Make it easy for those potential buyers to picture themselves in their new home.

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stinky

To Dig or Not To Dig

 

backyard home improvments
Outdoor space

Summer is upon us and with that come lots of fun outdoor events. BBQs, pool or garden parties, hanging out around the fire pit…all of these are staples in the summertime. And they all take place in the same area of a home. They all center around the backyard.

While most home buyers are first drawn by a home’s curb appeal, careful planning needs to be given to the backyard landscape. There are so many really great developments being made to today’s backyards. From elaborate pool settings to lavishly grown gardens, it can be difficult to decide what to do with the back end of a property. Here are just a few things to consider when tackling this project:

Having a list of wants is a great place to start. Are you going to focus on a garden? Then you’ll want to consider which flowers, shrubs & trees work well with your environment. Do you have an aquatic family? Then safety precautions, like fencing, will also need to be considered. Having a list of everything you’d like to have will also help you not only budget out the space, but also upkeep time and cost. Make sure you check out zoning requirements too. It would be awful to plan your dream yard only to find out that your community doesn’t allow it.

Once you have your plan in place, it’s time to get to work. But before you jump in head first and something goes terribly wrong, consider a professional to handle this portion of the work. They have added knowledge about what will work well and what won’t. They will know which plants are favored by local wildlife. They know how to build the pool or water fixture properly. Their knowledge will not only make your yard beautiful, but it will save you money in the long run.

And finally, the budget. While we may want everything but the kitchen sink in our little outdoor sanctuary, being a bit more realistic is definitely in order. A professional will generally say spending 10 – 20% of a home’s value is ideal, but will fluctuate based on what you already have established and what you’d like to change. Checking the latest Cost vs. Value report will give you a better idea regarding resale expectations. After all, this will be a focus upon selling the home. Make the most of it.

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