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Summer time home checklist

Wed, 05 Aug by Pauline Relkey

Half of 2020 is in the past and with this Covid thing, we are hoping that the second half goes way better than the first half.

We’re in the midst of summer. Hopefully with many more weeks of summer to come, we hope that the summer rays keep streaming down on us.  

This is an interesting fact – There’s some evidence that people typically drive safer in problematic conditions, such as rain, snow, and fog, while more car crashes occur on bright sunny days with clear conditions. Following this logic on the road and applying it to the home, it’s important to not overlook or underestimate some of the challenges that present themselves in summer. Unlike many summer drivers, you don’t want to let your guard down on a seemingly innocent time.

Be aware of insects. We all know that mosquitoes are a common summertime nuisance, however some areas across the country will experience the return of cicadas and other types of bugs. For your home, make sure all entry points are secured so you don’t have any unwanted visitors from the great outdoors – and it will help you with your home efficiency!

Check that your HVAC and furnace are working properly, and all the filters are up to date. Pleasant room temperatures are often not on people’s minds and can be taken for granted in the summer unless a problem occurs. And a reminder for those with a deck or patio: make sure the structure is stable and well maintained. It’ll be getting a lot of use now!

Here are your top to-dos for summer:

● Take care of any insect problems you may have.

● Seal up your home.

● Check outdoor faucets for leaks. We don’t need that water bill any higher!

● Have your roof inspected.

● Inspect and possibly change out HVAC filters.

● Clean and repair deck or patio as needed.

● Check water softener; add salt if needed.

● Test garage door auto-reverse feature. Need to keep the little ones safe.

● Clean kitchen garburator. Just don’t stick your hand in it while it’s running!

● Clean range hood filters.

● Inspect your fire extinguisher(s). Are they expired?

Have any other suggestions or questions? Call, text or email me — I’m always happy to help homeowners in our community.

CMHC’s latest survey

Mon, 20 Jan by Pauline Relkey

The 2019 findings are in.

Canadians across the country were asked about their thoughts, attitudes and behaviours about and the process of buying a home in the annual Mortgage Consumer Survey and this is what they said.

Affordability continues to be the most important factor when it comes to buying a home.

One of the biggest stories of 2019 was the dramatic decrease in the number of home buyers who spent the maximum amount they could afford. The cost of becoming a homeowner is at the top of Canadians’ “must-haves”:

Price/affordability (80%)
Number of rooms (73%)
Proximity to public transit (67%)

The majority of Canadians are aware of the mortgage qualification rules (“stress test”). In fact, 65% of buyers said they believe the new mortgage qualification “stress test” will keep more Canadians from taking on a mortgage they can’t afford.

Despite debt levels, consumer optimism is on the rise.
Nearly one third of home buyers don’t expect interest rates to rise in the next year – up from just 20% in 2018. More than 8 out of 10 home buyers also feel confident that buying a home is a sound long-term investment.

The majority of home buyers have a positive attitude towards the idea of buying a home. Close to 9 out of 10 buyers were “happy” or “excited” about buying a home. However, more than one third also said that buying a home made them feel “stressed.”

Most home buyers are satisfied with their experience with their lender or mortgage broker.

The top reason for selecting a lender or broker is the interest rate offered. Despite high satisfaction levels, only less than half of home buyers received a follow-up call from their mortgage professional.  Hmmm a lesson to be learned. Always stay in touch with clients!

Things that Sellers shouldn’t reveal during home showings

Thu, 15 Sep by Pauline Relkey

I believe that sellers should be out of their property when it is being shown, but if for some reason you HAVE to be home when a showing occurs and if you want to improve the odds of selling your home quickly, there are some details you may want to keep to yourself. You don’t want to reveal information that could put you in a compromising situation when offer time rolls around.

Here are some things you shouldn’t divulge if you want to ensure a smooth sale that works to your advantage:

1. Motivation for selling
Revealing too much information as to why you’re selling your home may give buyers the impression that you’re desperate to leave your property behind (hate my neighbours, noisy dog next door, divorce, road noise, etc). When asked why you’re selling, keep your response short and sweet (downsizing, change of plans, etc). A lack of urgency on your part will hopefully eliminate the possibility of a buyer low balling you with an offer simply because they think you’re eager to sell quickly.

2. Things you planned but never did
Always wanted to renovate the kitchen or bathroom, but never got around to it? That’s not the type of information you want to share with home buyers. This might give the impression that the home isn’t move-in ready and that there are many issues with the home that could require costly renovations. Instead, highlight what you have done to the property for upgrades and maintenance and what you love about the home, the street and the area. A good Realtor will ask you these questions when listing your property.

3. The number of showings you’ve had
Sometimes potential buyers will ask you how many people have visited your home. This is their way of determining how much interest there is for your home. While it may be tempting to provide them with a high number, don’t. Since the amount of people who have visited your home doesn’t directly influence whether or not a potential buyer will make an offer, you’re better off remaining vague and saying you’ve had “a few visits.”

4. Number of interested buyers
Revealing that there are a slew of interested buyers (calls and emails and showings) may deter someone from making an offer simply because they feel the competition is too much. On the other hand, saying that there has been no interest in your property could create doubt and cause a potential buyer to believe that there is something wrong with the home. You are not obligated to discuss how many buyers have shown interest in your property.

5. Verbal negotiations
As a seller you could be liable for verbally negotiating and sharing information.  Should a potential buyer ask you if you are willing to negotiate, be very cautious with your response. Only communicate your intentions (and follow through) in writing with the guidance of a real estate agent, in order to protect your interests. Isn’t this one of the many reasons you have hired a Realtor to help you with the sale?

6. Trepidation about selling
Even if it’s your first time selling a property and a month has passed without an offer, don’t let your nerves get the best of you. Stay focused on the fact that you are receiving inquiries and visits which is a good thing. Keep your head up, project confidence and the right buyer will come knocking.img_5203

Preparing Your Home for the Home Inspection

Wed, 06 Apr by Pauline Relkey

PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR THE HOME INSPECTION home inspection

A home inspection is a common request for most home buyers. The inspection is a visual inspection only. The inspector will not open walls or move your contents in the home. A proper inspection will leave the home in the exact condition it was in prior to the inspection.

Every attempt should be made to ensure the inspector and buyer have full access to the home. By restricting the inspection, you are allowing the imagination of the buyer to conjure up any number of problems for the unknown area of the home whereas the true condition of the home is almost always less dramatic than what is imagined. Also a request by the buyer, after the initial inspection, to access the restricted area will often cause delays in removing the home inspection condition on the offer and additional expense to the buyer for the inspector to return to the home.

• Ensure the attic access is accessible If located in a closet, remove the contents and shelves in the closet. If the access is sealed shut, cut the seal, as the inspector will not damage any part of your home.

• Any crawlspace access should be made accessible.

• Clear away contents in front of the electrical panel, furnace and water heater.

• Ensure the sump pit is accessible.

• If the appliances are included in the sale of the home, ensure the washer is empty as the inspector will not test this unit and risk damaging your clothes.

• If the home is vacant, ensure the water is turned on and the furnace/water are also operable. A home inspector will not operate water shut off valves or light pilot lights.

• Light the fireplace pilot light and test the unit. If the fireplace has not been operated in some time, disclose this to the buyer or hire a qualified contractor to service and start the fireplace.

• When the buyer is meeting with the inspector in the home, don’t be there. You want the buyer and inspector to be comfortable discussing all aspects of the home. Any questions that may arise during the inspection can be handled by the realtors after the inspection.

• When in doubt, ask your realtor. They are there to assist you in all areas of the sale of your home.

Thanks to Ryan Spriggs, owner and operator of Spriggs Inspection Inc. for providing this important information.

Real estate agent held at gunpoint during showing

Mon, 27 Apr by Pauline Relkey

Police: Man handcuffed and threatened agent before letting her go

A female real estate agent who was kidnapped and held at gunpoint by a man while showing a model home in Sacramento County, California was released frightened but unharmed.

The man pulled out a gun while touring the home, handcuffed and threatened the agent and then let her go before driving off, Chris Trim, public information officer at the Elk Grove Police Department, told Inman.

The woman then flagged down a security guard driving through the area and was taken to a nearby store, where she contacted police Thursday afternoon, The Sacramento Bee reported.

“Obviously, it was a traumatic experience, but physically she’s fine,” Trim said about the woman.

On Thursday, investigators were at the home, which is being treated as a crime scene, The Sacramento Bee said.

The agent was showing a model home in a new development called “Fireside at Madeira,” which is being built by KB Homes, according to FOX40 News.

KB Homes did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but told FOX40 News in a statement that “the safety and well-being of our homeowners and employees is extremely important” to the company, and that “we applaud the onsite security for acting quickly and we will continue to work with law enforcement to aid in their investigation.”

Trulia’s listing page on the development rates all the nearby schools as at least “above-average,” and hands the area a crime grade of “lowest.”

Trim recommends that real estate agents follow the department’s holiday shopping guidelines.

Among them: Make sure people know where you’re shopping and don’t shop by yourself.

“That same logic would carry over to” showing homes to a stranger, he said.

“You know just kind of common-sense things,” he added. “I would think that agents and broker companies would have at least two employees working to make sure there was some type of emergency protocol in place if there was a situation where they were confronted.”

But that might not always be the case.

News of the incident comes in the wake of the kidnapping and slaying of Beverly Carter, who was also apparently abducted while showing a home by herself.

Her death has sparked calls for real estate agents to adopt stricter safety precautions and even inspired some to enroll in self-defense classes.

kidnapped

So remember people, if I want to see your drivers license, humor me.

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