Thursday, December 18, 2014
Home Improvements That Can Offer Great Return on Investment Part I
Renovating your home can be a fantastic way to add value and appeal. While home owners generally love their properties just the way they are, nothing rejuvenates a home like a good face lift.
It is important to know that not every project will be worth your while. Studies show that home buyers prefer practical additions or changes that make the house more functional. Here are some of the most popular ones.
Front Door Replacement
Your front door says a lot about your house. While many home owners may stick to a side entrance, prospective buyers will want to gauge the home by its entry way.
Make a good first impression with a brand new door. Steel doors have become favored since they are incredibly durable, secure and they almost never warp. Wood can offer a sort of “old world” charm. Paneled versions are flexible during extreme weather changes. Either choice is great depending on your needs.
If you just replaced your door, give it a fresh coat of paint in an eye-catching color. You can also replace the hardware with something that compliments your siding and porch materials.
Adding a Wood Deck
Decks increase the versatility of back yards in so many ways. They provide a natural setting for your family to relax and enjoy the outdoors. They also let you bring the outdoors in by allowing furniture, grills or even extra storage for lawn tools.
Remember that simple is always better when trying to get the most for your money. Adding an enormous deck with a pricey brick fireplace, for instance, will most likely not benefit you as much as a 300 or 400 sq. ft. deck with benches leading off a back door.
Simple Kitchen Remodel
A simple approach to freshen up a dated kitchen is almost always better than getting carried away.
- Replace, refinish or repaint cabinet faces.
- Buy new hardware for handles and pulls.
- Consider getting a new faucet, or maybe even a new sink.
- Add a tile backsplash to create an appealing accent.
- Counters can offer a good payoff, but resist the urge to splurge for materials like granite, unless you have a house or a neighborhood where such amenities are expected.
You can also replace any old appliances with Energy Star versions. Opt for a model or retailer that offers a warranty of 12 months or more, and hold on to the paperwork to show to people viewing your home. You could even go so far as to compare your energy bills before and after the new appliances.
There are many more ideas that are likely to add value in an economical way. We will cover these in part II.
For general ways to increase your Red Deer real estate property’s appeal, you could always consult one of our expert selling agents. Take a look at our selling page to learn more about how we help our clients.
Friday, December 12, 2014
What You May Not Know About Home Inspections Part II
A home inspection has become a major aspect of most residential Red Deer real estate sales. Knowing more about how home inspections work and what to look for in a qualified home inspector can help you guide your purchase decisions.
Timing is Everything
The majority of home inspections are done after a buyer presents an offer. In essence, the home inspection has become one of the factors that helps close a sale.
Buyers can opt for a home inspection at any point as long as the seller is willing. A home inspection before an offer can prevent any awkward deal-halting surprises. By knowing about problems in advance, you have more leeway to give the seller time to determine how they will address the issues.
A home inspector may simply produce a list of problems with the house without any further description. To most people, these lists may be largely useless because they present all issues as disconnected or of equal importance.
Have your inspector thoroughly describe all the problems or areas of concern they saw during the inspection. You will want them to give you an assessment of how “bad” something is to help you separate minor issues from major ones. You will want to know how many issues are connected to each other, or if ignoring one will cause the others to become worse.
The absolute best service an inspector can provide is a personal walkthrough through the home, pointing out everything they noticed. Since this step will add more time to the already time-consuming home inspection process, you may have to settle for photos.
Regardless, request that the inspector does a write up describing the components they were worried about in paragraph form. This documentation will help you understand the information they provide.
Inspectors Should Be Insured or Bonded
There are two main areas of financial risk when hiring a contractor. Insurance solves both of them.
The first issue could be that the inspector does not have worker’s compensation insurance. In the event that they injure themselves during the inspection, they could sue the home owner or place a lien on their house, halting the sale.
The second problem could arise if the inspector makes an inaccurate assessment that leads to major problems down the road. Errors and omissions insurance policies cover the inspector in case they make such a mistake. In the event of a negative outcome resulting from their neglect, the insurance company will often offer you a settlement rather than you having to force litigation.
Between these two posts, you should have a much better idea of how to hire a home inspector and what to expect from them. With this information in hand, you can make a home purchase decision confidently and without hesitation.
To learn even more about the home buying process, take a look at our buying page.
Monday, December 1, 2014
What You May Not Know About Home Inspections Part I
Because they aid cautious investment, home inspections have become part and parcel of the standard real estate transaction. Whereas before only around a quarter of home sales included an inspection, now nearly 100 percent do.
Despite this surge in popularity, many home owners and home buyers are unfamiliar with the exact nature of home inspections. To help demystify this growing component of the real estate business, here are some facts that can help guide your home inspection decisions.
Not Getting a Home Inspection is Risky
Neglecting to get a home inspection is akin to gambling. Most laws expect the home buyer to exercise “due diligence,” which means finding out as much about the Red Deer real estate property as possible before you finalize your purchase. Should you discover an issue with the home several months or even years after a sale, getting your money back is practically impossible.
A home inspection can help prevent these sorts of problems early on. You can tell the home owner to fix the issue or lower their price as a contingency of the sale.
The reason many home buyers neglect to have an inspection is because they feel pressured to make a hasty offer. In a situation where several buyers are interested, contingencies can halt a bid dead in its tracks.
Some overzealous buyers will opt to skip the inspection to cozy up to the seller and get their bid accepted. Often, a lower offer will edge out the competition. This decision can easily come back to haunt you.
Home Inspectors Must Be Qualified
There are several organizations responsible for regulating home inspections. Per British Columbia law, an inspector must have some sort of certification or membership with one of these boards in order to practice business.
Always ask to see an inspector’s credentials and what organization they are affiliated with. You can also ask for references to learn even more about someone’s past work experience.
Not All Inspectors Will Give You the Same Information
While every inspector is required to undergo at least 150 hours of official training before becoming a home inspector, the law does not specify which type of training is required. Additionally, every home inspector may have a different background and area of expertise.
Because of these two facts, one home inspector’s area of emphasis may be completely different than another’s. Even though both will have a “laundry list” of important criteria to evaluate, one inspector may be more adept at spotting issues with a foundation, for instance, while another may be better at estimating roof longevity.
Take the time to read up on the location type of house you are buying to determine which areas are your prime concern. Ask for a home inspector that has the know-how to effectively evaluate these areas in as much depth as possible.
There are even more strategies to help you find a home inspector that works for your needs. We will cover these in part II.
For general advice on buying a home, take a look at our buying page.
Friday, November 28, 2014
Basement Renovation Mistakes to Avoid — Part II: Preventing Mold
A basement can be put to good use if you do not commit common mistakes when renovating. Our last post offered advice for avoiding typical design pitfalls for basement renovations. Aside from design, another serious issue to consider is how well your basement will be able to handle moisture levels.
Basements are below grade, meaning that they are sunk partially or completely into the ground. Being below grade can create temperature differences and condensation, which without precautions can create enough moisture for mold to grow.
On top of this, since basements are the lowest point in the house, any spills or leaks are guaranteed to travel down there. Make sure that you are prepared for a sudden increase in water levels by having a drain or backup sump pump as part of your design.
Not Using Moisture-Resistant Materials
Try to implement only non-organic materials for walls and flooring. Avoid fiberglass, non-engineered wood or wall-to-wall carpeting. Instead, opt for waterproof wall paneling as well as insulation, paints and finishing materials that are designed to resist moisture.
Placing Finished Floors Directly on Top of Concrete
Cool air can travel through most finished floor materials and create a temperature difference and eventual condensation. To avoid this effect, find a subfloor product that is impervious to moisture. This precaution will not only prevent moisture, but it will insulate the floor and keep your feet warmer all year round.
Ceramic or porcelain tile should be placed on top of this, or even vinyl. These materials are inorganic and will not get ruined even if you somehow have a large water spill that travels to the basement.
Using Stud Bays
Even with a solid vapour barrier, having hollow walls can inevitably create temperature differences and condensation. The only permanent solution that avoids moisture would be foam-style insulation. This seals all of the gaps and will not allow moisture to pass through.
Installing Fiberglass Insulation on the Ceiling
Using fiberglass for basements is generally discouraged. Many home owners do not know how to solve the dilemma of what to use for ceiling insulation. Plastic vapour barriers are usually not an option because the floor’s rim joists will interrupt the seal. A handy solution is to use spray foam insulation, which will fill gaps and keep a solid barrier against cool air or moisture.
With these precautions in mind, you should be able to finish your basement in a way that keeps a consistent temperature and prevents moisture buildup. For more advice on using smart renovating techniques, our team would love to advise you on the best ways to add value to your Red Deer real estate property. Take a look at our selling page to find out more.
Friday, November 21, 2014
Basement Renovation Mistakes to Avoid — Part I: Flawed by Design
A basement renovation can add a great deal of value and functionality to your home when done properly. Home owners should avoid common mistakes that make a basement less usable or less appealing to others in order to make your home more desirable during resale. Here are the types of design oversights to avoid.
Always consider how light will travel in your basement. Aside from bi-level designs with half-size windows that let in natural light, you will have to supply artificial lighting for any basement rooms you build.
Make sure that there are both overhead and ambient lights to fill out the spaces while providing nice, warm accents. As long as you can see clearly, the space will be more likely to be used.
Cramped or Odd Floor Plans
Have a professional look over your designs or help design your basement’s floor plan for you. You want to make sure that the spaces will be large enough to move around in and that everything will be conveniently placed for your use.
Avoid overly complicated or overly compartmentalized designs. Try to emulate common elements seen in main floor layouts, such as an open area leading off to smaller rooms.
An unfinished basement allows the opportunity for fine-tuned creative expression; try not to go too overboard. You will want a cohesive style that ties in elements found upstairs.
In other words, entering the basement should not feel like you just walked into an entirely different house. Feel free to make the style fresh and unique, but rein in the temptation to go overly thematic.
Tailored to One User
Avoid creating rooms that are too specific. While adding a creative studio or home gym, you probably should not build permanent structures into the rooms that are hard to remove. A gym that uses free-standing equipment is fine, but one with a chest dip bar bolted to the floor cannot be easily repurposed.
Likewise, a studio that can be used for painting or making music would be great since this space can be reused as an office or something similar. A full-fledged dark room would be a hard sell for a buyer without an interest in traditional photography.
Create rooms with a universal appeal, like bedrooms and home offices. Alternatively, make sure that more specific spaces like a media room can be easily retooled to suit a buyer’s needs if necessary.
With these criteria in mind, your basement renovation design will add the maximum amount of resale value and appeal to your home. Part II of this post will discuss construction practices that deter moisture.
For more advice on renovations that will make your Red Deer real estate property attractive to buyers, take a look at our selling page.
Friday, November 14, 2014
Basement Renovation Ideas That Add Value Part II
An unfinished basement literally provides the opportunity for a whole other level of comfort and functionality for your home. Basement renovation projects can make a home you are buying tailored to your tastes. They can add value and appeal to a home that you are selling.
Our last post suggested some ideas for making the most out of your basement. Here are several more options to consider.
Gym equipment tends to be bulky and take up a lot of floor space. Even if you tend to stick to free weights and body weight exercises like yoga, having enough space to move around in is important.
A basement provides an ideal location for a personal workout room. You can have all of your necessities in one area and will not feel limited or self-conscious about free movement. Dedicated workout rooms also help eliminate distractions; when you are in that room, you have a goal to accomplish.
Similar to a home gym or a home office, having a dedicated space to unleash your creative personal or professional projects can increase productivity. If you are a musician, you can implement sound-proofing measures and have all of your recording equipment arranged in an ideal and uncluttered way.
If you are an artist, you can have all of your art supplies organized. A creative space can give you plenty of room to set tools and unfinished work aside so you can focus on the task at hand. Even if you happen to do most of your work on the computer, a space specifically for your graphical tablet can make a world of difference for your ability to get projects finished.
Writers can surround themselves with inspiration and remove distracting influences. You may be able to have multiple options for working, such as a standing desk and a comfortable chair and table.
If your washer and dryer hookups are already upstairs, you may wonder why it would be worth it to relocate them. The answer is that most laundry rooms in homes are truly laundry “nooks,” which do not allow enough room to wash, fold and organize clothes.
A laundry room in the basement can be built to accommodate all of your personal needs. You can have a table for folding, shelving for detergent and other supplies, even an industrial sink for items that require hand washing. With some built-in shelves or storage, your laundry room can also double as an out-of-the-way linen closet.
These ideas will all help you get as much mileage as possible out of your basement’s square footage. For more advice on renovations that can add value to hook in prospective home buyers, you should enlist the help of an expert Red Deer real estate agent.
We would love to assist you in any way possible. To see our available services, take a look at our selling page.
Friday, November 7, 2014
Basement Renovation Ideas That Add Value Part I
If you are buying a home with an unfinished basement or own a home and want to add value, creating a downstairs paradise can be a worthy investment. Most basements have open floor space and a lack of permanent fixtures that could dictate a floor plan.
Because of these benefits, your only limit is your imagination. Here are some ideas to get your creativity kick started.
Basement bedrooms are excellent for guests or teens who desire a little bit more privacy. Having them custom-built also means that you have the opportunity to include space maximizing features like built-in storage or loft beds.
A game room means more than just a pool table or table tennis. Most game rooms are set up to be spacious and have plenty of comfortable seating. These arrangements make them perfect for inviting over a handful of guests and giving them a relaxing setting in which to socialize.
Because electronics have become so much more than just a TV and a VCR, home owners are starting to move them out of their living rooms to keep equipment from taking over the main spaces of the house.
With a media room, you can relegate all of the bulky but engaging electronics to a spot in the basement. These rooms can be optimized for the perfect speaker set up. You can add shelving for all of the movies and games you own.
If you have children between the ages of three and twelve, you are well aware of how much of a mess they can make while playing. Moving their play space to an open room in the basement with ample storage allows them to be spontaneous and creative.
Their friends will have incentive to come over and engage in lots of valuable socializing and play time. You also avoid running the risk of them scuffing up furniture or leaving clutter all around the house before guests show up.
Whether you work from home or frequently bring your work home with you, a home office can be indispensable. They allow you a private space to stay organized and focused, increasing overall productivity.
A basement office does not have to be large. Enough room for a computer, a desk, a small table and some filing equipment should suffice.
We will have even more ideas that can add value and functionality to your home in part II. If you have questions about what renovations work best or how to increase your home’s appeal to buyers, you can seek out a qualified Red Deer real estate agent. Start by taking a look at our selling page.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
How to Stage Your Backyard for a Great Sell
Although it is often the interior of your home that steals the spotlight when it comes to staging your home to sell, the exterior of your home also makes a lasting first impression on potential buyers. A well-organized and beautiful backyard may help seal the deal. These simple staging techniques will help you showcase your backyard and emphasize its features:
1. Put away the clutter
Anything that does not usually belong naturally to your backyard should be stored away. Items such as children’s toys, garden tools, large furniture and lawnmowers tend to detract from its overall appearance and should be removed. If you have decorations that have long been worn out, consider replacing them or removing them altogether.
2. Spruce up the landscaping
If you have overgrown bushes and tree branches in your yard, make sure to trim them. Weeds and grass should be checked regularly to make sure they are healthy and not overgrown. Keep an eye out for details and make sure to check around patios and fences to see if they could use a quick fix-up as well.
3. Update the structures and foundation
There are many structures in your backyard, such as the fences, patios, furniture and planting beds. Make sure to clean and repair them if necessary. To wash away the years of grime and dirt, you may wish to consider purchasing or renting a power washer.
4. Create functional areas
Arrange your yard to create different areas for different purposes. For example, divide your backyard into sections for "dining", “quiet seating/relaxing”, “playing” and “planting”. A good quality outdoor table and chairs helps buyers imagine family dinners al fresco. For the quiet seating/relaxing area, you may wish to install a bench, refecting pond and/or chaise lounges under a tree to help buyers imagine how they could enjoy the area.
5. Leave room to breathe
Remember to exercise restraint. You may not have room to do everything, so focus on one or two elements and work with a few key pieces of patio furniture. Create ample walking space around the areas. Plant colorful flowers nearby and use decorative items to highlight different sections. This will help to make your backyard inviting and attractive to potential buyers.
Finally, remember to appeal to the widest range of buyers by keeping your background elements as neutral as possible. We hope you will find these tips helpful in staging your lovely home for sale. If you are listing your home or looking to purchase real-estate sale in Red Deer, give us a call and put our expertise to work for you.
Friday, October 17, 2014
Three Easy Tips to Improve the First Impression of Your Home
First impression is the key to everything, including selling your home. If you are planning to sell your house or have been going at it for a while now, we recommend that you take a look at these quick tips to improve the first impression of your house and get the “selling energy” going to speed up your sale.
Tip 1: Improve the exterior of your house
Call a friend who has not seen your house for a while and, together, go outside to take a good, hard look at your house, home, condo or duplex from a distance. Write down the first impressions he or she has about your house gained from the first few minutes. Be receptive to their thoughts and opinions and use them to motivate you to improve the presentation of your house. Be mindful of the overall quality of flow and energy of your house, especially the main entrance: Make sure it looks and feels fresh and inviting.
Tip 2: “Green” up your home
Invest in improving the landscaping to increase the value of your property as well as to attract better-quality energy to your home. If you live in condos or a duplex, you can invest in lush, green plants or fresh-cut flowers to freshen up your main entrance. Make sure you have good lighting and tasteful art, as well as strategically-placed mirrors and fresh wall paint to create a sense of spaciousness and elegance that will entice the prospective buyers to fall for your home upon first sight.
Tip 3: Make “less is more” your new motto
Walk around your home and see if you can get rid of any items that may make your home look too personalized. If you have too many items around your house that give off sentimental feelings, this will make it difficult for potential buyers to feel like they belong to your home. You can best showcase your home by using furniture and decorations, but try to avoid leaving the impression of too much “personal touches”.
First impression is the key to a quick and easy sale, but the hard work that goes on in the background is also important. We wish to be part of your success when it comes to selling your real estate and would be glad to take on the grunt work for you. For more information on what we can do for you to sell your home in the Red Deer area, please take a look at our selling information.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
6 things a home seller should never do: Part II of II
Selling your home can be emotionally challenging and time-consuming. Strangers will invade your home to sneak peeks into your closets and cabinets, and will criticize the home that you have so lovingly cherished for years. Then, to make matters worse, they may offer you less money than you think your home is worth.
With no experience in dealing with such a complex transaction, it's easy for first-time home-sellers to make mistakes. Continuing from our Sept 15th post, read on to find out what these pitfalls are to avoid them altogether.
4. Getting emotionally involved
Try to approach the transaction from a purely financial perspective to distance yourself from the emotional aspects of selling your property. Yes, you would no doubt have created many memories in your home, but also try to remember that most buyers will be emotionally invested in their purchases too.
If you become too sentimental when selling your property, you will be less likely to put in the extra effort of staging and remodeling to get top dollar for your home. Making these changes will not only help the sales price, but will also help you distance yourself emotionally from your property once your home looks less familiar.
5. Not hiring an agent
Although real-estate agents will often command a commission, if you have not sold a home before, it would be ill-advised to go about it without guidance.
A good agent will help you set a competitive selling price and will increase your odds of a quick sale. You can also avoid some of the common emotional pitfalls by hiring an agent to interact directly with potential buyers so that you will not have to deal with them. The experience and expertise they offer will be worth the price you pay.
6. Assuming you must hire an agent
This may sound contradictory to our preceding advice, but there is also the common notion that every sale needs to have an agent in order for it to succeed. There are cases in which people do sell their properties themselves, but this is less frequent and you do need to do your own research very carefully.
If you have the expertise in this area and would be able to handle the time-consuming, stressful, and emotional act of negotiating the sale with the buyer’s agent, then by all means go for it.
It is best to prepare yourself well for less-than-ideal scenarios in the tricky real-estate transactions. If you are ever in need of assistance of buying or selling, please make sure to check us out to find out how we can help you navigate the Red Deer real estate market.
Monday, September 22, 2014
Reasons to have Presale Inspection of your Home
It is very common for the buyer to arrange for property inspections. However, if you are the seller, you might want to consider having your home inspected before you put it on the market. There are many reasons to do so, all of which are in your favor. Below are the top three reasons to have inspections done before you list your home.
Reason 1: A strong sign that you are transparent, upfront and honest
When you have a presale inspection completed and the written report available to potential buyers, this will instil confidence in them as the ones looking to purchase your home. Seeing the inspector’s report will help filter out the buyers who do not wish to undertake small fixes throughout the house (if there are any) and convince them to make an offer on your property.
Reason 2: Boosts your price and marketability
A presale inspection will let you find and fix issues in desperate need of home improvement, which will help boost your price as well as marketability of your property. For example, if you know that your carpet has gotten mouldy underneath and needs to be replaced, you can have it done before listing or factor the need for replacements into the price. The latter option will help you avoid potential buyers who wish to negotiate down the price even more after the initial negotiation.
Reason 3: Gives you the advantage in negotiations
If you have a presale inspection done, you will gain the upper hand during potential negotiations. The truth is, any serious buyer will eventually find out about any flaws your house may have anyway, so if you actually are honest and upfront in the very beginning, you can negotiate from a place of strength.
There are many good reasons to do a presale inspection of your property before you put it up on your market. Doing so will make any issues with the house transparent to the buyer before his or her offer. Although doing so seems counterintuitive, it is actually in your favor to have your inspection reports done before putting your home up for sale. If you are putting your home up for sale and are wondering about the real-estate markets here in Red Deer, please feel free to browse our reports.
Monday, September 15, 2014
6 things a home seller should never do: Part I of II
Selling a home can be a stressful endeavour. You want your house to get traffic and to sell at a good price, so you do everything you can to make it happen. However, sometimes you may not even realize that your efforts are actually working against you. To help you avoid some of the common mistakes that keen sellers do, we have compiled a list for you to take note of in your next selling:
1. Don't market your home at a higher value than its worth
There is no doubt that you value your home very much and see it as a special and unique piece of property. You put in your heart and soul into taking care of it and have invested in a lot of money to fixing it up. Although your efforts were not in vain, unfortunately it does not make your home any more unique than others on the market. Unless your home truly has some remarkable features, you may fall into the trap of believing your home is worth more than its actual value and start fixating on asking prices that may be too high. If you do so, your home will sit on the market for a long time, which will make potential buyers wonder why you still have not sold your home. In this case, you will end up getting forced to substantially decrease your selling price and sell for less money than you might have gotten if you had taken care to appropriately price your home in the first place.
2. Never Leave your house "as is" during showings
It is important to clean your house before a showing. No potential buyer will appreciate seeing piles of garbage or toys on the floor, no matter how lovely your home is. They will want to see a home that is clean and well-maintained, not a home that is not taken care of and waiting for a good owner to make it presentable. If they do not like what they see, your potential buyers will soon move on to the next home.
3. Don't linger during open house
Many real-estate agents will advise against owners to be present when potential buyers arrive. Even if you are amiable and charming, you can unknowingly alienate buyers or make them feel uncomfortable. You will want your potential buyers to feel at home, so seeing you there will make them feel like they are just guests and difficult for them to picture their life in their new homes.
Check back for the next three top "don'ts" for home sellers, We hope you will make use of our recommendations to make your selling a great success. If you are looking at real estates in Red Deer, we would be happy to help you buy or sell in this area. Learn more about us and feel confident that you are in good hands.
Monday, September 8, 2014
Six Questions to Ask your Real-Estate Agent: Part II of II
When searching for a home, it helps to have a list of questions ready for your real estate agent. More questions will arise that will be specific to the houses you are browsing, but here is part II of our six essential questions you should ask agents every time when you see a new listing:
Question 4: Building permits and inspection reports for previous work
You will likely need building permits from your local building authority to conduct renovations. These permits, as well as the inspection reports made during the work stages, are important records that should have been kept by the previous owner to be made available to prospective buyers. If you have hard evidence for the work that was done and approved by building authorities, it would provide an extra layer of security for you.
Question 5: Previous business operations (if any)
With the prevavance of home-based businesses in today's economy, you will want to know if any businesses have operated from the property which may have involved structural alterations which could lead to problems. Ask your agent to disclose whether or not the house was previously used for business of any kind. Your agent might be able to spot telltale signs of structural damage as well.
Question 6: Risk of flooding and earthquakes
Sometimes a house with an attractive price may have a dicey geographic location that puts it at risk for certain natural calamities, such as floods and earthquakes. Is the area at risk for flooding? Verify if the property has ever flooded in the past. Find out if the location is on a fault line and whether or not there is a history of earthquake activity in the area. Always make sure to ask if the house is at any risk for natural disasters before making the final purchase arrangements.
Your real-estate agent should be able to provide you with answers to all these questions. For questions specific to our listings in Red Deer, please don't hesitate to ask. We will be more than happy to help.
Friday, August 29, 2014
Six Questions to Ask your Real-Estate Agent: Part I
Many questions will come up once you start your search for a new home. While many of these questions will be specific to your needs and wants, as well as to the houses are you looking at, there are a few questions you need to ask every time you see a new listing.
Question 1: The age of the house
KNowing the age of a house will give you an indication about its condition. It goes without saying that the older the house, the more likely it is that it will need repairs and renovations. Never assume that new(er) homes will be free of problems either. If they were built within a short time, chances are that the problems just aren't visible yet.
Question 2: The time it was owned by the vendor
Brief ownership (i.e. less than a year) may indicate hidden problems or that the house was flipped - purchased only to be fixed up and put on the market for profits. If the previous owner did a good job at renovating the house to justify its increased value then great, but make sure they didn't focus solely on cosmetic changes to cover up mechanical and structural issues.
Question 3: Renovation and sales history
You’ll want your agent to give you a list of the recent sales activity of the house to see the number of previous ownerships. If the house has changed hands often, it might suggest major problems.
On the other hand, having a list of the recent sales can help you assess whether or not the selling price is fair. You’ll be able to see how much the previous owner paid for the house and find out what changes or improvements have been made to justify its current asking price.
You can't ask too many questions from your agent when buying a new home, so feel free. If you have any questions about the Red Deer real estate listings, ask away and we'll be happy to answer all your queries.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Housewarming Party Checklist Part II
Having a new home is a special occasion that calls for celebrations with friends and family. If you are a first-time homeowner, it is all the more reason to show off your Red Deer real estate and throw a housewarming party. Below is the continuation of our checklist for you to follow that will help you throw the most successful housewarming party of your life:
Step 6: Safeguard your valuables
Resist the urge to display your most exotic and expensive decorative pieces in your new home, especially if they are made of delicate materials such as glass and crystal. There will be many people over in your house, and you will not be able to keep an eye on all the guests at all times to make sure your decorative items will not be damaged. This is especially important if your guests are bringing children.
Step 7: Decorate/prepare the house
Before the arrival of your guests, spray some air fresheners, refresh the washroom supplies, light up the candles and replenish the tissue boxes. Also, remember to dress yourself up for a special evening. Just because you have spent all day preparing for the party does not mean you need to look like a tired housewife or houseman when you greet your guests!
Step 8: Start the party
Once a few guests have arrived, you can start the party by putting on the music, inviting them in and making small talk. Make sure you greet each guest as they arrive and make sure they are comfortable. If you wish, you can show them around the house personally and offer them food and drinks.
Step 9: Socialize and mingle
Walk around and introduce your guests to each other so that they will know each other. Mingle with all the guests and let
them enjoy each other’s company. Remember to be mindful to your guests’ taste of music and change it if need be.
Step 10: End the night with grace
Accept compliments about your new home and endeavor with grace and end your night saying goodbye and thanks to each guest. The day after the party, you should follow up with thank-you emails to your guests to thank them for any gifts they have brought along.
We hope that this simple guide will help you throw a successful housewarming party. If you are interested in relocating to Red Deer and want to find out more about what our real-estate agents can do for you, please contact us today.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Housewarming Party Checklist Part I of II
Buying a house is worthy of a celebration and filling your home with love, laughter, friends and family is a great way to start. Once you're moved in and settled, how about showing off your new home by hosting a housewarming party?
If you are a first-time homeowner, all the more reason to throw a welcoming bash. Don't worry, we've got a great checklist for you to follow that will help you plan your party and make your night a success.
Step 1: Make a guest list
Invite everyone who has helped you in your move (unless they are too far away), including your Real Estate Agent in Red Deer. Ask them to bring along clients who live in the area and to introduce you. Invite your neighbors and people you meet within the local community and you'll be making new friends in no time.
Once you have an idea of the number of people you will need to plan for, make sure you have plenty of appetizers and drinks (including non-alcoholic options) for them, as well as for the people they invite along. Decide whether or not your party will be "kids allowed" and plan accordingly. You'll want to set-up a "kid zone" in the backyard, complete with food and games, and hire a reliable babysitter to keep watch over them while the adults mingle. Ask neignbours with kids if they can recommend a mature, level-headed and responsible sitter.
Step 2: Decide on a date/time
Send out your invites and ask people to reserve that date on their calendar. Remember to mention your new address and include an RSVP to get a good count of the number of guests you can expect. Make sure to make the RSVP deadline at least a week before the actual party.
Step 3: Plan the food
Once you have an approximate headcount, start planning the menu. Appetizers and finger foods are your best bets as people will be mingling and walking around. Put all the food on trays on the dining room table, along with plates and napkins, so people can help themselves buffet-style. Keep an eye on the table and replenish often, and every once in a while, grab a tray and circulate with it. It's a great icebreaker to start a conversation.
Plan a separate kids menu if you are having a family-oriented party and make sure to bring food out to the babysitter regularly. That way, the sitter doesn't have to stop watching the children in order to get more supplies.
Step 4: Buy the drinks
Stock up on the essentials, such as a selection of wines, beers, a few hard liquor options and mixers, as well as juices and milk for the kids. If anyone in your circle of friends or family can bartend, inform them about the range of drinks you have and ask for specific preferences on the selections. If not, decide between you and your partner who will be in charge of food and who will be responsible for serving drinks. Always include a pot of coffee in your beverage plan.
Step 5: Make the food
Order the food or start prepping whatever you can well in advance. If you are planning to make use of catering services, make sure to give the caterers plenty of time to prepare and always call the day before to check on/confirm the order. Remember to choose light items that will be easy to hold and eat. Also, ask your caterers about the ingredients in their dishes and be ready to answer questions your guests may have in regard to food allergies.
We hope that you will find yourself well on your way to throwing a great housewarming party! If you have yet to move and are looking for Red Deer real estate, please feel free to browse our listings.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
How to choose the right school for your child
When you move to a new neighborhood, the first thing on your family’s priority list is usually choosing and enrolling your child in school as soon as possible. How do you know which one to choose if there are multiple options to consider within your local community? Here are four factors to consider when choosing the “best fit” school for your child.
1. What your child will learn
Many schools offer different curriculum and extracurricular activities. Ask your child which subjects and after-school activities she would like and would suit her talents/abilities best and take this into consideration when selecting a new school for her.
2. How your child will learn
Your child’s learning style, academic motivation, physical and/or mental health challenges, conduct, learning disorders, individual strengths and depth of self-understanding will all affect how much he/she can absorb in a new environment.
These aspects will also affect how teachers and peers will interact and influence your child. Gather information about how that particular school will teach and interact with your child, both in and outside of the classroom. Ask the school directly, and inquire with neighbours and ask other parents you meet as you get groceries and run errands.
3. Social interaction for your child
What kind of culture exists within the new school? Is there a sense of community? Are there clubs that mirror your child’s interests? Does the school have any problems with bullying, drugs, or anything else you need to be aware of?
Peers hold considerable influence over your kids, so it’s important to carefully consider what kind of population you will be placing your child in to avoid potential problems.
4. Your child’s unique qualities and needs
Your child is like no other and possesses unique characteristics, yet also shares many qualities in common with other children. Consider your child’s capabilities, personality, talents, wants and needs.
Reflect back to how he/she performed in the last school and evaluate whether or not the environment at each school will meet your child’s needs. As a parent, you know your kids better than anyone and the type of environment in which they will thrive.
We’re happy to be able to fill you in on the schools in the area. If you are considering purchasing a home in Red Deer, here is a little bit about us and how we can help you and your family find your “best fit” home.
Monday, August 11, 2014
How to Determine Which System is Right for You
After you have selected a home security company, the next step would be to determine which alarm system is right for you. There are many things to consider when it comes to choosing the right home security system. Here we provide you with some questions to ask to help you in this process.
Question 1: Are you a homeowner or a renter?
If you are a homeowner, you will have no restrictions, except for considerations in needs and budget, in what kind of security system you want. You may want to look into landline systems with a cell uplink backup that offers extra protection and foresee all eventualities.
If you are a renter, then you may want to opt for a wireless system that you can install yourself and can easily remove once you relocate.
Question 2: Do you plan to move in near future?
If you are a nomad, you may want to keep a closer eye on the contract and ownership of the alarm equipment. For example, if you are moving within the next three years, companies that require long-term contract would not work for your lifestyle. There are many other companies that offer flexible programs that will allow you to transfer services and equipment with no charge, but may require you to be a permanent customer.
Question 3: Do you want mobile access?
This is for those who want complete control over their own homes. Most security systems allow you to control your system with a key fob or other devices, but some offer extra features such as being able to control lighting and thermostat settings via mobile access. If you are interested in a high-tech home automation system, you would want to see the list of actions included in the security system of your choosing.
Question 4: Do you want or need security cameras?
If you are wary of intruders and/or would like to keep an eye on your own family members, security cameras are a great way to accomplish this goal. We do not encourage people to stalk their own family and invade individual rights to privacy, but, if warranted, security cameras would be something to look into.
We hope you have found these questions helpful in selecting a home alarm system. However, before you choose a security system, you need first a home! Please take the time to view our latest listings for Red Deer real estate properties.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
How to Choose a Home Security Company
After you become a proud homeowner, one of the things on your priority list is to select a home security company to protect your home. Below we provide you with five things to look for when choosing a home security companyto help you make the right choice.
Considerations for Choosing a Home Security Company
Security companies that have been around for decades and have established themselves as a household name would be a safe choice for new homeowners. You can go around your new neighborhood and check out the signs and stickers people have put up to see the kind of alarm companies that are the most popular in your community.
Offers a warranty/certain guarantees:
You will always want to choose a company that offers warranty on their services, installation, and products. As well, you will want to have a company that stands behind their services and would be able to provide guarantees.
Offers free relocation:
If you move in the future, you will want to see if your home security company will offer free relocation of your house alarms for free. You will continue to pay for remote monitoring, of course, but the installer will come to remove all of the components from your current house to your new house and reinstall the system for no additional charges.
Offers 24-hour monitoring:
If you live in a rural area or have neighbors who do not respond to loud alarm noise, having remote monitoring would be a good idea. This means that a call center will be alerted upon the triggering of the alarm, which will then call your home. If no one picks up or the one who answers is unable to provide the correct password, local authorities will be notified.
Offers extra protection:
It is standard to have fire and carbon monoxide monitoring, and since you’re already installing a home security system, you might want to see if your company will offer them with no charge. Although you can install yourself, it is better to have them linked to one security system to offer online protection.
Every security company has its pros and cons. You should always choose one that fits your specific needs and one that you have found through Better Business Bureau. When it comes to choosing a Red Deer real estate, we can help you find a home that suits your needs and wants. Please contact us to learn more about any of our current listings.
Monday, July 28, 2014
Avoid These 4 Mistakes When Choosing a Neighborhood
As a home buyer, you want to make sure that the home you are buying is something you won't regret. This is why there are plenty of home buyers who spend several months just looking at available homes. Not to mention, they spend plenty of time carefully thinking whether or not the home will be good for them in the long-run. Apart from finding a home that fits into their budget and lifestyle, the neighborhood is something that also needs to be considered.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of home buyers who do not pay enough attention to the neighborhood of the property they are interested in. Especially if they are attracted to the home right away. If you are planning to buy a new home, try not to make the following common mistakes:
Thinking short term
When you're buying Red Deer real estate, you will have many considerations to make. Purchasing a home is a big investment and most families tend to stay in their homes for many years. Anticipate the changes you and your family will experience and consider these changes when choosing your ideal neighborhood. The nighborhood should be safe, friendly, and include points of interest for you and your family. For example if you had small children, living close to a school would be convenient for the whole family.
Assuming without verifying
Another common mistake people make when they buy a property is that they tend to believe the things they have heard about the neighborhood are real. If you have heard something about a high crime rate in a neighborhood, it is best to verify facts. Make sure you research local newspapers and online so you know how factual the rumor is.
Underestimating the commute
For buyers that do not own a car, it can be difficult to choose a home that is not easily accessible. This is why you should always check how feasible it is to access the property using public transit. Are you okay with walking home? Or do you prefer having a car to drive to and from work? Will the area be congested with traffic during the time you need to leave for work? These are just some of the things you need to assess before you decide on a certain property. You can also test out the commute and traffic in the area by driving to the property during rush hour. Before you decide to purchase the property, you can try the actual commute that you will have to take. This will help you distinguish whether or not the commute will be worth it.
Failing to check out potential neighbors
Finally, the most common mistake that buyers make is failing to check out their potential neighbors. After living in the house for a few days, the buyers start to realize that their neighbor likes to entertain a lot. They later regret deciding to purchase the home because pf the noise and interuptions. Don't let this happen to you. Make sure to check out your potential neighbors before you purchase. You can do this by visiting the area randomly a few times on your free time. This way, you can see what the neighborhood is truly like.
As a home buyer, you will want to invest in a home that will not make you regret anything. Call us today so we can help you find a home in the perfect neighborhood for you.