When is the right time to talk to a realtor? Now.

For-Sale-Exclusive-photo-signSo you’re thinking that this might be the year you make a move.  Or, it could be next year. You’re not sure, but the thought is in your mind.  Even though you’re not quite ready to get down to the business of buying or selling, right now is the right time to talk to a realtor.

Finding the right person to work with for your real estate transaction is important.  A good realtor will be with you not just through the actual process of buying or selling a home, but for the years leading up to the transaction and the years that follow.  A good real estate professional will remain as part of your circle of people you can turn to at anytime when you have questions or need a referral for something that needs to be done at your home.

If you’re considering buying a home, even if you’re not really ready to buy, let’s start the conversation.  We can discuss what you’re looking for (upsize, downsize, new neighbourhood) and talk about any questions or concerns you have.  It’s never too early to take a look at what it’s going to cost to get the home you want and let’s face it, you may have to think about doing a little saving in order to get that home, so the sooner you start the talk about it, the sooner you can be on the road to making it a reality.

brush painting the white wall
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

If you’re thinking about selling your home, again, the sooner you start the conversation the better.  Even if you’re not really thinking about selling for a year or so, it’s a good idea to meet with your realtor for a walk through the house and a discussion about any repairs or upgrades that could significantly affect how much you will be able to get from the sale.  Leaving it to the last minute can be stressful, so let’s talk about it now.

I’m always happy to chat with you if you have any questions, so please feel free to contact me anytime.

www.sharoncaddy.com

SPECIALISTS LOGO - WHITE BACKROUND MEDIUM

 

Happy New Year!

Thank you 2018 …. Hello 2019!

It’s New Year’s Eve and I wanted to take a moment to say Thank You to everyone who made 2018 such a memorable year for me.

For-Sale-Exclusive-photo-signTo my clients who listed their homes with me in 2018 and to those who have chosen to list with me in 2019, I thank you for putting your confidence in me to get your home sold. I dedicate myself to the sales process and really enjoy the challenge of finding the buyer who will buy your home and make it their castle.

To my current buyer clients and those who will choose to work with me in 2019 and beyond, I look forward to helping you find a home that is a perfect fit. It’s like they say, a Realtor isn’t a sales person, we are Matchmakers. We introduce you to homes until you fall in love. Then we become Wedding Planners!

Remember, if you’re thinking about buying a home or selling your home (or both) it’s never too soon to contact a Realtor. I enjoy helping my clients in the time before, during and after a real estate transaction. If you want to talk about your real estate plans I’m always happy to hear from you.For Sale Sold collage

Here’s wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year and I look forward to hearing from you in 2019.

Sharon

Sharon Caddy – Sales Representative – Re/Max Realty Specialists Inc.

www.sharoncaddy.com

 

Looking for a Rental? Look to a Realtor.

for-rent-signI read a post on social media this morning that I found really upsetting.  A couple of young people looking for an apartment in Toronto answered an ad on Craigslist.  They went and looked at the apartment.  The “landlord” who showed them the place showed something that was supposedly “proof of ownership” and played the part well.  The young people liked the place, filled out some sort of rental agreement form and handed over first and last month’s rent to the tune of $4000.

It was a scam.  They’re now out $4000 and they don’t have a place to live. They should have used a Realtor.

Many people don’t realize that Realtors not only deal with buying and selling homes, we handle leases also.  Even my own daughter who recently moved into a condo in Toronto didn’t know this.  She was surprised when I told her that I could help her find a place to live.

One of the first things I hear from people when I initially mention that they should consider using a real estate agent when looking for a rental is – I don’t want to pay real estate fees.  Here’s what you need to know:

The renter doesn’t pay the real estate fees.  The landlord does.  So, there’s no cost for you as a renter to seek the services of a real estate professional.

A real estate agent can help you by accessing the many for lease listings on the MLS.  Your rental application will be handled properly with everything fully and legally documented.  Your agent can also negotiate your lease with the landlord’s agent.  If you would like to try and get a better price or ask for something specific, your real estate agent can do that.

What do you need to know before making an offer on a property through a real estate agent?  Because it is a proper, legal and legitimate method there are some things you need to prepare.  Virtually every listing landlord will require most or all of the following:

  • Rental Application
  • Full credit report with score from Equifax or Transunion
  • An employment letter
  • Two recent paystubs
  • A copy of your government issued photo ID

Once your offer is accepted you will have 24 hours to provide a certified cheque or bank draft for your deposit (usually first and last month’s rent) and sometimes an additional security or key deposit.  Any additional deposit amount will be noted in the listing. Your deposit is held in trust by the real estate brokerage until your closing date so your money is safe and secure.

After your offer is accepted your landlord will require that you complete the Ontario Standard Form of Lease.  Since April of 2018 this form is mandatory for all leases.  Prior to April 2018 there were a variety of lease forms used which at times led to uncertainties and misunderstandings.  The new mandatory form spells out in plain, simple terms the rights and responsibilities for both landlords and tenants.  You can learn more about the Standard Form of Lease at the link http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page18704.aspx

remax rent pic

If you’re looking for a rental, do yourself a favour and call a realtor.  Call me!  You’ll be glad you did.  Also, if you think that sometime in the future you might like to stop renting and become a homeowner, I can talk to you about how you can work toward that goal.

I guess my main message here is if you or someone you know is looking for a rental, beware of shopping for a rental home on message boards and social media.  You want to make sure that you know who you are dealing with. Go with the services of a real estate professional.

Contact me anytime – www.sharoncaddy.com – 905-272-3434

The Advantages of Selling Your Home in the Winter

When we think about selling or buying a home we often think of Spring.  Sure, spring is one of the busiest times of the year for real estate, but it certainly isn’t the only time of year for selling your home.  There are some definite advantages to selling your home during the winter months.

advent architecture blur business
Photo by Torsten Dettlaff on Pexels.com

Did you know that January is one of the biggest months of the year for relocations? There are many possible reasons for this, not the least of which is the fact that hiring and transfers that are decided before the holidays often take effect at the start of the new year.  Whatever the reason, a relocating buyer is a motivated buyer.

Not everyone who chooses to move in the winter is being relocated for work.  January is a time when many people think of change.  New Year’s resolutions range from losing weight and quitting smoking to finally taking the leap to upsize or downsize a home. People who make moving a New Year’s resolution are usually motivated and serious about seeing their plan through to successful completion.

apartment candles chair coffee table
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Many homes really shine in the winter.  Winter décor, a cozy fireplace and candlelight can really make a home feel inviting.  Experiment with light bulbs in the house to best showcase each room.  Basically, you want to bring light into the home, especially since your home will largely be shown during dark hours.  Turn on all the lights and even consider adding extra lamps in rooms which seem a little dim.

As for the outside, curb appeal is important and can be far simpler than tending to landscaping in the summer. Keep the driveway and walkways shovelled and salted for easy and safe access.  If you want to add some extra sparkle, some tasteful twinkle lights or festive planters can make your home even more inviting.  If your home is especially beautiful during the summer with a pool or gardens and you have photos, show them!

In the winter we traditionally see fewer homes on the market, so your home will get greater exposure.  Since there is less inventory that means less competition, so you may be able to sell for a slightly higher price. In addition, while there are fewer active buyers in the winter, those who are house shopping are motivated and aware of the lower inventory and therefore likely to make a buying decision more quickly than at other times of the year.

adult beverage breakfast celebration
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When you think winter you automatically think of cold and snow and blustery weather, but for most buyers a lot of their real estate shopping happens online where the weather isn’t an issue.  More potential buyers will be sitting at home with a hot beverage browsing online and with fewer homes to look at they’ll be spending a little more time looking at yours!

Finally, when you’re ready to move you’ll find that booking a moving company may be much easier in the winter months.  During the summer you may have a difficult time even finding a mover who is available on your desired moving day unless you give plenty of notice or perhaps pay a premium price.

If you’re considering listing your home, don’t wait.  Any season is the right season when you’re ready to sell.  Call me now and let’s talk about it.  You could be settling in to your new home before you know it!

Sharon Caddy — Re/Max Realty Specialists  http://www.sharoncaddy.com  print Sharon Caddy49000

Ready to buy a house? Here’s why you need a Realtor.

So you’ve been saving money for a down-payment and now you’re ready to buy your new home.  You’re ready …. but are you really ready?

Today, home buyers have access to a lot of information.  You can log on to realtor.ca, remax.ca or any host of websites to have a look at homes that are currently on the market.  You can even see which of those homes may be having open houses on the weekend and check them out.  So why do you need a realtor?

person giving keys on man
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

When working with Buyers, before we ever head out to look at houses I like to sit down for a brief buyer counselling session.  I know, that sounds so formal, but it makes a difference.  In the buyer counselling session we talk about the following things:

  1. Mortgage pre-qualification:  Have you spoken with your bank to get pre-qualified? It’s an important step as this will determine your budget and will give me an idea of the price range to use for my search. Let’s face it, there’s no point in having you fall in love with a home that doesn’t match your budget.
  2. Deposit money:  When you make the decision to buy a house you will have to submit a deposit within 24 hours of the offer being accepted.  I make sure that my buyers are prepared and that the necessary funds are accessible.
  3. Wants and Needs:  How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?  What are the things that matter to you?  What things are essential, what are luxuries and what are the deal-breakers?
  4. Neighbourhood(s):  Where do you want to live?  There may be just one neighbourhood you’re considaering or you may want to look at a few.

Earlier I mentioned that today, buyers are able to access information through sources like realtor.ca and remax.ca.  That is true, but did you know that there are some properties that you don’t see on realtor.ca?  Some homes are listed exclusively, which means they don’t even get uploaded to the MLS system.  Still others are sold so quickly they don’t even make it to realtor.ca!  The good news is, your realtor has the ability to find properties that you might not find yourself.

I still meet people who say that they would rather shop for a home on their own rather than working with a realtor, their reason being, “I don’t want to pay real estate fees”.  Well, the truth is, the buyer doesn’t pay the real estate fees, the seller does, so there’s really no cost for a buyer to use the services of a real estate professional.  Shopping for a home with a realtor is a far more streamlined, efficient process.  You tell me what you’re looking for and I take you to look at homes that match your search criteria.  I’ll even do the driving!  We can go and see several homes at a time that is convenient for you rather than spending hours every weekend searching for open houses.

If you or someone you know is thinking about buying a home, contact me.  I love helping buyers find their new home!

If you do refer your friends or family to me, be sure that you (or they) let me know that you sent them to me and I will fill you in on my Referral Rewards Program.

Contact me:  www.sharoncaddy.com

 

If your hairstyle or your home decor is stuck in the 80’s, maybe it’s time to change

Let me tell you about one of the more uncomfortable Realtor/Client conversations that has to take place from time to time.

Picture this:

I receive a call from someone who wants to sell their home.  The house was built in the 60’s or 70’s and the person on the phone has lived there for many years.  I know the neighbourhood.  It’s lovely.  Large mature trees, well tended yards.  It’s the perfect place for a young family.  I proceed to visit the client to discuss listing the home.  I knock on the door, am invited in … and ….

old rec roomIt’s 1985!  Or 1975.  Old wallpaper, old kitchen cabinets, old lighting, old carpet, wood paneling, lots of knick knacks …. the works. It’s clean but cluttered and kind of reminiscent of home decor from my childhood.  Very Brady Bunch.

This is where the uncomfortable conversation kicks in.  I gently tell the client that their home is dated and unfortunately, dated is costly.

old living roomIt’s funny how we adapt our personal style.  We change our hair and our fashion but when it comes to our home we often get comfortable.  Too comfortable perhaps. Actually, there’s nothing wrong with any style you enjoy living with, but if you’re planning to sell your home, a more modern looking home will sell more quickly and for far more money than a home that is really dated.  When a buyer moves in to your home it may very well end up looking dated again, but when they’re shopping they’re looking for the modern picture they see in the decorating magazines.  It’s easy to feel insulted at the thought that people will be turning up their noses at the home you’ve lived in and loved for years, but shopping for a home is like dating.  You’re more likely to want to date the person who takes good care of themself.

The thing is, personal fashion is easy to change.  New clothes, new hairstyle.  It’s not terribly expensive and we can make changes easily, day by day.  Updating a home is a much bigger job but it can be done on a budget.  If you’re thinking of selling your home sometime in the not-too-distant future and you fear it may fall into the dated category, here’s an exercise I have people do.

Starting this weekend, look for open houses in neighbourhoods that are approximately the same age as your neighbourhood.  The reason I suggest this is that you’ll see what people have done with the architecture of the era.  Make a plan to go and see a few houses.  Target homes that are the same size or type as yours (bungalow, backsplit, 2-storey).  Go in to the open house with and open mind.  Go as a shopper.  Take a feature sheet and take a really close and critical look.  When you return to your car, flip over the feature sheet and make some notes.  Make two columns, one for what you liked, what updates they made, one for what you didn’t like. What would prevent you from buying the house — or, if you liked the house anyway, how much would you take off the asking price to make up for the negatives. Do this for a few houses, then head back to your home.

Now, before you go into your home, think about the homes you saw, what you liked, what you didn’t like.  Review your notes then go into your home with the same mindset you had on your open house journey.  Be the shopper.  You may see things from a new perspective. You may suddenly feel overwhelmed by the amount of work and the cost of the work you suddenly want to do to your home.  Relax, there are many updates you can do that don’t cost a lot of money.

Paint

Paint is the quickest and most inexpensive thing you can do to update your home.  If you’re painting with the thought of selling your home, choose neutral, light colours.  I faux finishknow that the really strong accent wall colours can be very beautiful, but keep in mind that you want your home to appeal to a wide variety of people.  Oh, and just say no to sponge painting and faux finishes. (Ugh, I remember sponge painting a wall once — and loving it! Hey, it was the 80’s!)  Remember, styles change.  If you love sponge painted walls it could come back, but for now, let it go!

Wallpaper

Wallpaper has made a comeback in recent years, but old, faded, peeling, yellowed wallpaper is never a good thing.  I know that when I see wallpaper all I can think of is wallpaper 2how much work it is to remove the wallpaper.  In the grand scheme of things outdated wallpaper is not really a huge deal, but it can cost you thousands when a buyer is making an offer.

Furniture

The furniture in a house can really date the setting.  The good news is that you don’t really have to discard your furniture.  If you really like it and it’s your personal style, no problem, but be prepared for your Realtor to suggest having a home stager swap out the furniture during the selling process.

Lighting

Old, outdated light fixtures are unappealing on two levels.  First, from an aesthetic cleaning lightperspective they can really stand out as being old and worn, which leads a buyer to ask themselves, “what else in the house is old and not in good repair”.  Second, a new light fixture that gives off lots of light makes a room appear bigger and brighter.  There are some older fixtures that are truly beautiful.  Just make sure they are clean and dust-free.  Let them shine!

Flooring

This is a more expensive fix, but if you have time you can wait for sales at home reno stores.  While hardwood, ceramic tile and high-end carpet are desirable, there are amazing, high quality laminates, vinyls and tiles that can give a similar look at a fraction of the price.   Clean carpet is fine but if the carpet is old, worn, stained, or even a very strong colour, expect a buyer to ask for a significant reduction in price to offset what they consider to be a costly expense.

Kitchens and Bathrooms

It’s true what they say, kitchens and bathrooms sell houses.  A kitchen renovation or bathroom update can be very expensive and time consuming exercises, but there are some more budget-friendly ways to do an update which will help in the selling process.  Check out professional cabinet painters.  I’ve done full cabinet renovations in two kitchens using refinishers.  Check out the photos.  I kept the original cabinets and had them professionally refinished. They even refinished the old table and chairs I was going to sell in a yard sale.  The results were amazing! For bathrooms look for sales at big box retailers or even consider shopping for fixtures at resale outlets like the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

The other thing I want to mention is that there are some fixes that are more worth doing than others.  Rather than just throwing money at your house, ask your Realtor.  We are happy to come and take a look at your home and give you advice as to where your money is best spent.  Even if you’re not planning to move for a while, give me a call.  I can come by and help you make a plan.  Reach out anytime by phone, email or social media.  The best place to find all of my contact information is at www.sharoncaddy.com

Also, CLICK HERE to subscribe to my monthly newsletter for a chance to win a monthly gift card prize!

 

The Art of the Open House

Open house picIt’s a weekend ritual for many.  Going to Open Houses.  It’s fun, right?  Looking around other people’s homes, getting decorating ideas, seeing if your home needs to be brought up to date.

People go to open houses for many reasons.  For realtors, like me, we do open houses as part of the service we offer to our listing clients. It’s one of the many methods of marketing a home and getting the public’s attention.

For buyers, it’s a chance to take a look at a bunch of properties without having to make appointments and for sellers, it’s a chance to see what else is on the market.  But for buyers and sellers there are some other things to think about when you’re attending an open house.

For Buyers:

Every weekend, buyers head out in search of open houses.  Some plan ahead, doing a search on realtor.ca to see what’s been advertised and map out a route.  Others just jump into the car and drive to a neighbourhood they’re interested in and follow the signs.

It’s an adventure of sorts if you’re just following the signs.  Sometimes you can stumble into the home of your dreams.  Of course, just driving from sign to sign can take you into homes that are outside of your budget.  That can be disappointing.

If you are a buyer, or thinking about shopping for a home sometime in the future (near or far) here are a few tips:

  1. Enter real information on the sign-in sheet.  I know it seems weird sometimes signing in at an open house.  At least once each weekend I get asked the question “why do you want my personal information?”   The answer is simple.  Signing in is partly for security.  The agent on duty is hosting the open house for the client, and welcoming strangers into the client’s home.  It’s important to have a registry of who is coming into the home.  In some places you’re not just asked to sign in, rather anyone coming into the open house has to show photo ID.  The practice of having to show ID is gradually becoming more commonplace. The registry is also a way for the agent on duty to be able to contact you if you choose.  There is a space on the sheet where you can choose not to be contacted, but if you’d like information (price updates, information about new listings that come on the market) this is how we can reach you.  Furthermore, if you decide after the fact that you’d prefer not to be contacted by the agent you can make your wishes known at any time.
  2. Ask questions! The agent on duty has hopefully studied up on the property and the neighbourhood.  If we’ve done our homework we’re also familiar with other similar homes in the neighbourhood and can answer your questions comparing the properties and can arrange showings for you at those other properties if you so choose. Sometimes you’re in an open house but are really wondering about the house across the street, which is not having an open house. I can make a call and organize a showing for you sometimes the same day, right after my open house.  We are also there to help with other questions you may have.  Most agents have a lot of information to share and a lot of contacts.  If you’re in the open house and just LOVE the kitchen cabinets or the flooring or some other feature, chances are the agent has contacts who can help you if you’re looking for something similar.  We also know people in the mortgage industry, movers, stagers, lawyers and just about any other move-related industry.  A realtor is more than just someone who helps you buy and sell a house, we are there to help you with whatever home related questions you have.
  3. Tell us if you’re already working with a realtor. This is a big one.  I’ve been at open houses where guests have ducked around the question, but trust me, it’s ok. We respect your existing relationship with a realtor and don’t want to interfere.
  4. If you’re looking to buy a home and don’t have a realtor yet, use your visits to open houses to interview us. It’s important to work with someone you really like, feel comfortable with and you feel is working in your best interests.COUPLE OUTSIDE HOUSE

For Sellers:

If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market, open houses can be a great resource for finding a realtor you might like to work with.  When you arrive at the open house, watch for behaviours and attributes that you want your realtor to possess.

Here are some things to watch for if you’re looking for an agent to list your home:

  1. Are you visiting the open house because you saw it advertised? Did you see it on realtor.ca, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or perhaps in the local paper?  If you’re thinking of listing your home, it’s important to use an agent who is going to really work to sell your home and part of that job is advertising.
  2. On your way to the open house did you see directional signs? Was it easy to find your way to the open house?
  3. Did the agent greet you when you arrived and seem genuinely interested in your attendance at the open house or were they distracted by their phone, computer or television? Seriously, I’ve gone to open houses where the agent on duty is watching TV!
  4. How does the open house appear? Are there feature sheets readily available?  Is the sign-in sheet clear and convenient for access?  Are there other added features that the agent has taken the time to organize (notes about special features, financing information, contests, special treats for guests)?
  5. Does the agent have good knowledge of the property and neighbourhood?
  6. Do they answer your questions confidently?
  7. If you are looking to sell, selecting an agent to list your home is a very important consideration. Treat your visit to the open house like a job interview and put the agent on duty to the test!

If you see that I’m doing an open house in your area stop by and say hello.  I’m always interested in meeting new people, whether you’re looking to buy or sell your home, or not!

For more information please visit my website and while you’re there sign up for my monthly newsletter for a chance to win a $100 gift card.WEBSITE SCREEN SHOT

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The Small Stuff

When we hear those three words – the small stuff – we often think of that old saying, “don’t sweat the small stuff”. Well, when you’re looking to sell your home, there’s some small stuff that’s really worth your attention.

Let me describe an open house I recently visited.

The house was vacant, which while not an ideal situation for selling a house it’s not horrible either, provided that the space feels good. This one did not.  The house had been a rental so it was a simple home, serviceable and without any upgrades. Again, upgrades can make a house more appealing, but a plain home doesn’t have to be hard to sell if it’s priced right. The problem with this home was – THE SMALL STUFF.

I came up with the list of “small stuff” for this blog while walking around this particular open house.

When a client meets with a realtor to put their house on the market, staging is always a topic of discussion. Staging helps with how the home appears to potential buyers and can definitely make a difference in the selling price.  Houses that look good tend to sell for more money.  There is a cost to staging though and sometimes by choice or by financial circumstance, staging may not be an option.  While professional staging may not be in the plan, preparation and attention to detail definitely matters and it’s something that you can for the most part handle yourself.

Let’s take a walk through the small stuff that caught my attention on my walk through this open house, looking through the eyes of a potential buyer.

Curb Appeal:

weedsBefore a buyer even walks up to the front door they will form a strong impression about the condition of the home from what they see from the curb.  This home was in desperate need of the lawn being cut with tall grass and weeds growing around the For Sale sign. The small garden around the front porch contained a couple of evergreen trees that had obviously been neglected for years and a wide variety of weeds where perhaps flowers once bloomed. Lonely, empty, rusted plant hangers were mounted on posts that badly needed a coat of paint. The front door and garage door both looked tired with cracked and faded paint and the windows were all dirty. Before ever setting foot inside the house I had already formed an opinion. This house hasn’t been cared for in who knows how long and if it appears this neglected on the outside what must the inside look like? Many wouldn’t even bother going inside, but I did.

Cleanliness:

cleaning-suppliesIf a house that’s for sale is nothing else it should be clean. Sparkling clean. There’s nothing less appealing than the idea of moving into someone else’s dirt. This house was vacant, so there wasn’t any furniture to show off dust and there certainly wasn’t any clutter but it was dirty. Every light fixture had a visible layer of dust and dirt. The blades of the ceiling fans were likewise coated with dirt. The bathrooms and the kitchen also needed a really good wipe-down and the blinds on all of the windows were filthy.  Not only did it look dirty but you could smell that it wasn’t clean.  There was even a cutting board sitting on the counter. I moved the cutting board aside and saw that underneath there was some kind of residual from an old sticker or something stuck to the counter. I scraped at the edge with a credit card and it easily scraped off.  If the seller would have taken a few minutes the spot could have easily been cleaned, but instead they opted for the lazy solution of just sticking a cutting board over it.  Not cool.  Over the years when I’ve been a buyer I have walked away from several homes thinking to myself, “if this is how it looks when they’re showing it I don’t want to see the condition it will be in on closing day.”  If you’re going to be listing your home or an investment property, clean it!  Either do it yourself or hire professionals to give it a deep cleaning so that it looks and smells clean and ready for a new owner.

Light switch and outlet covers, door handles and other hardware

painted outletThis point goes hand-in-hand with the idea of cleaning. The listing for the home I was looking at described the house as being freshly painted, and it was. Unfortunately, whoever did the painting obviously did it in a hurry and carelessly, with paint getting on most of the light switch and outlet covers and even some of the door handles.  Perhaps the painters just figured those were being replaced anyway seeing as they were all old and worn looking.  Replacing things like light and outlet covers is a very inexpensive fix.  If cost is an issue you can actually buy large economy boxes of switch-plate covers where the cost adds up to just cents per outlet.  As for the actual outlet, use tape when painting and if you do get some paint on the outlet, wipe it away while the paint is still wet.  If you’ve hired someone to do your painting and they’ve done a messy, careless paint job, you need to take that up with them.  You’re paying for the job to be done right!  If you need to hire a painter and don’t know who will do a good job, ask a friend, or ask your realtor.  We always have a list of good, reliable people we can recommend.

Door handles, cupboard handles and drawer pulls can be a more expensive item but even they can be replaced economically if you do it a little at a time.  Watch for sales or visit the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  Updating these things is worth your time.  If a buyer walks in and the outlet covers and door handles are clean, new and in good repair, chances are they won’t really be noticed, and that’s ok.  If a buyer walks in and sees dirty, painted over outlet covers and outdated, banged-up or missing handles and hardware they WILL notice and it does matter.

Paint:

I mentioned paint in the previous section because this was the one thing the seller did right (with the exception of the paint getting on the outlet covers and door handles).  A fresh coat of paint is always a good idea.  This seller also made a wise choice with paint colour, using a trendy pale grey.  Paint is a relatively inexpensive improvement, especially if you’re able to do the painting yourself.  However, if you’re not good at painting then budget your money and leave it to the pros.  Clean, fresh, neutral paint colours are best when trying to attract buyers’ interest.  You may love neon green and it may actually look pretty cool with your furnishings, but strong, eclectic colours don’t appeal to everyone and for many buyers they just see that strong, eclectic colour as something they need to fix.  In addition, painting in lighter neutral colours (pale grey, whites, light taupe) can make a space feel larger.

When you’re thinking about paint don’t forget about the exterior of the home too.  This house would have definitely benefitted from a quick coat of fresh paint on the front door, garage door and trim.  If you know you’re going to be putting your house on the market, start thinking about the paint sooner than later. It’s a huge job if you leave it to the last minute.

Lighting:

lighting1The last item I’m going to address on my list of small stuff is lighting.  I’m always amazed when I go to look at a house and see that the house was built 10, 15, 20, even 30 years ago and still has the original lighting that was obviously installed by the builder.  In each home I’ve ever owned I have immediately done two things immediately upon taking possession. 1- make sure the paint is freshly done, and 2- upgrade the lighting.  Everything looks better with good lighting.  Your paint, your art, your furniture, even yourself – good light makes all the difference.  Granted, light fixtures can be expensive but they don’t have to be.  If spending thousands at the lighting store is not in your budget, be creative.  Visit the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, or check out Kijiji, or neighbourhood yard sales.  You’d be amazed at the things you can find there.  For example I once bought a long, dining room crystal chandelier for $100.  It was worth at least $3000.

One more thing – even if you’re not going to replace any light fixtures here are two very important tips.  1- Make sure the fixtures are clean.  2- Replace burned out lightbulbs. Sometimes the light fixture is just fine, it’s just missing bulbs!

When you’re planning to list your home or investment property to sell, take some time and look around and try to see through the eyes of a buyer. Sometimes a little attention to the small stuff will make a big difference in how quickly your home sells and for home much money.

If you’re looking to buy a home or thinking of putting your home on the market and would like a free market evaluation, give me a call, send me a message or just link to my social media through my website www.sharoncaddy.com

Working with a Real Estate Professional

Are you working with anyone?  It’s a question you hear almost every time you step in to an open house.  If you’ve never purchased a home before you may not even realize that finding a realtor is a very important part of the process.

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Part of the reason I got into real estate has to do with the fact that I have been a real estate client in the past – several times.  From my first home purchase in 1997 (where more education and guidance would have been helpful) I have worked with a handful of real estate salespeople and have a real grounding in what I liked and didn’t like as a client.

The good news is that for the most part I have been represented by excellent real estate professionals, though my early experiences were not the best.  Selecting someone to work with is so important when you’re looking to buy or sell a home.  It’s kind of like a dating relationship in the sense that you want this person to really understand you, to call when they say they’re going to and to be there when you need them.  You need trust.  You need to make a connection.

I look back and recall my first experience as a home buyer in 1997.  We had just moved to the GTA from London, Ontario and thought it would be a good time to quit renting and get into the real estate market.  With help from family we had just enough for a small down-payment.  We had looked at a few places online (and it was early internet with a slow, dial-up connection), and we called one of the people whose name showed up on a listing.  I spoke to the man on the phone and he arranged to take us to see a few places. 

I remember being so excited to go looking at homes.  I also recall how sad and deflated I felt when every home he took us to see was such a giant disappointment.  This was not at all what I had expected.  When he dropped us off at home I was left feeling like we were just not ready to buy a house since everything we saw didn’t suit us.

A day later there was a knock at my door.  It was the real estate guy dropping of a handful of other listings to take a look at.  Sure, they looked much better, but they were also $50,000-$60,000 more than the homes we looked at the day before.  We were first time buyers.  The much higher prices were scary.  We didn’t bother booking another appointment with him.

He missed an opportunity.  We ended up going out for a drive a week later, spotted a lovely townhouse complex and called the number on a For Sale sign.  We bought the house.

What did the first sales representative do – or not do – that lost him our business?

Why is selecting someone to work with so important?

Taking a look at our first contact with the first sales representative, he asked us questions, but not the right questions.

What are the right questions? Well, there are many, but the following would have been very helpful to the situation at the time:

  • Are you first time home buyers?
  • Do you need to move by a certain time?
  • Have you sought pre-approval for a mortgage?
  • Do you understand the steps involved in the buying process?
  • What are your wants and needs when it comes to finding a home?

And these are just the first questions.  There are so many more, but these questions would have been a step in the right direction.  When he took us out the first time we hadn’t sought a pre-approval for financing.  I had taken a guess at what we could afford.  As it turns out we were approved and able to buy a home for about $40,000 more than the amount I had guessed originally.

Once we found a home to buy we were working with another realtor (the fellow we called from the For Sale sign).  He was very nice and guided us through the showing and signing the offer, but also fell a little short in my opinion.  When the Agreement of Purchase and Sale was signed and we had a deal we really had no further contact with him.  What I learned with later home purchases was that your realtor should really be in contact with you well beyond the negotiation of the sale.  When the time came to close the deal we were completely unaware of the existence of closing costs.  We had no idea about things like Land Transfer Tax and other adjustments.  It was overwhelming.

Whether you’re a first time home buyer or you’re a homeowner looking to move, selecting a real estate sales representative is a key step in the process.  It is my job to make sure you know exactly what’s going on during the buying or selling process.  It is my job to advocate for you and make sure that your real estate experience is a good one. 

Buying and selling homes can be stressful.  Finding a real estate professional you can trust can make all the difference.

If you’re looking to buy, sell or perhaps invest in real estate, let’s talk.

 print Sharon Caddy49000

www.sharoncaddy.com

Sharon Caddy, Sales Representative, Re/Max Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage

905-272-3434

Quieting the noise of the Nay-Sayers

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Eight years ago I took up yoga. There were a variety of reasons that led me to seek out this practice that has become a mainstay of my physical and mental wellness and which has led me into a circle … a community of like-minded, positive friends.

Eight years ago, after a period of increasing discomfort in my hip from Osteoarthritis I had a total hip replacement (THR). This amazing, life-changing surgery gave me back my mobility, range of motion and more importantly took away the pain which limited my ability to do so many things. Of course, it wasn’t quite that easy. The recovery from THR surgery takes time and requires work. It was at this time that I (very cautiously) took my first yoga class — and I never looked back. Yoga was extremely therapeutic in a physical sense, but more than that, it provided a mental benefit that I had not initially been seeking, but ultimately needed.

At the time of the surgery I was raising my two daughters as a single parent and working in an environment that was extremely stressful. Add to that the exhausting process of physical rehabilitation and it’s a mixture that would leave the strongest person feeling vulnerable. Yoga helped me to get through all of it by quieting the noise of life and allowing me to focus inward and take care of myself if only for an hour or two at a time.

As the years passed I continued in my yoga journey and decided in the fall of 2016 to take my love of yoga to the next level. I embarked on the path to become a yoga instructor. I was excited to sign up for the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training with Carol Baxter at Glow Yoga Studio in Whitby, Ontario. I knew that at age 53 I would likely be the oldest student in the class, but that didn’t matter. If I had learned anything in my yoga journey to date it was that no matter your Yoga classage, physical condition, gender or experience, yoga is for everyone and we should never measure our ability by what is happening on the mat next door.  The training was amazing and I would recommend it whether teaching yoga is your goal or not. The personal journey of discovery is really the best thing about the training.

Learning to focus, breathe and live with intention is more than something you do on your yoga mat. I’m experiencing that almost daily now as I am at the start of a new career adventure.

If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I have been attending courses at OREA College to become a Realtor. It’s something that I did not decide on a whim. The decision to return to school and forge a new career path is not to be taken lightly. It’s a commitment and one which I am truly excited about.

What I find interesting is the range of reactions I have experienced when sharing what I am now doing. Many people are happy for me, encouraging and positive. Unfortunately, I have found that while forging a new path brings out positivity in some, it also fires up the Nay-Sayers. You know the type. I’ve heard things like ….

Ugh … Why would you want to do that?

Do you really want to sell houses?

You have to go to school for that? Why? It’s not like it’s hard or anything …

Why would you want to leave TV and radio for that?

This is where my yoga training comes in handy. Focusing inward and staying positive and true to my intention prevents me from taking comments like these to heart. I already had a pretty thick skin from working in media for so many years. Believe me, when you put yourself out there on TV or radio there are people who love to criticize you. If you don’t learn early on to shut them out the media world can be a harsh and miserable place, especially these days with the 24/7 presence of social media. So, I had the thick skin, but it is the inner peace that yoga provides that prevents me from feeling anger or resentment toward people who say negative things. More important than not feeling anger, I don’t internalize their criticism. I don’t allow those statements to define me.  I don’t dislike those who say these things. They will learn the inaccuracy of their comments by witnessing my success.

If you, like me are making your way down a new career path, good for you! Be proud of your decision and remember, the voices of the Nay-Sayers are only as loud as you permit them to be. As long as you stay true to your decision to take on something new you will grow in the positivity of the new adventure you are experiencing. You have the power to keep the noise of the Nay-Sayers quiet and the voice of your inner-self loud and proud.

Your success will speak for itself.

Namaste