Seller’s Checklist: A Timeline to Prep Your Home for Sale

We’re still in a seller’s market, but that doesn’t mean your home is guaranteed to easily sell.1 If you want to maximize your sale price, it’s still important to prepare your home before putting it on the market.

Start by connecting with your real estate agent as soon as possible. Having the eyes and ears of an insightful real estate professional on your side can help you boost your home’s appeal to buyers. What’s more, beginning the preparation process early allows you to tackle repairs and upgrades that can increase your property’s value.

Use the checklist below to figure out what other tasks you should complete in the months leading up to listing your home. While everyone’s situation is unique, these guidelines will help you make sure you’re ready to sell when the time is right. Of course, you can always call us if you’re not sure where to start or what to tackle first. We can help customize a plan that works for you.

AS SOON AS YOU THINK OF SELLING

Some home sellers want to plan their future move far in advance, while others will be required to pack up on very short notice. Whatever your circumstances, these first steps will help assure you’ll be ahead of the listing game.

  • Contact Your Real Estate Agent

We go the extra mile when it comes to servicing our clients, and that includes a series of complimentary, pre-listing consultations to help you prepare your home for the market.

Some sellers make the mistake of waiting until they are ready to list their home to contact a real estate agent. But we’ve found that the earlier we’re brought into the process, the better the result. That often means a faster sale—and more money in your pocket after closing.

We know what buyers want in today’s market, and we can help devise a plan to maximize your property’s appeal. We can also connect you with our trusted network of contractors, vendors, and service professionals, so you’ll be sure to get the VIP treatment. This network of support can alleviate stress and help ensure you get everything done in the weeks or months leading up to listing.

  • Address Major Issues and Upgrades

In most cases, you won’t need to make any major renovations before you list. But if you’re selling an older home, or if you have any doubt about its condition, it’s best to get us involved as soon as possible so we can help you assess any necessary repairs.

In some instances, we may recommend a pre-listing inspection. Although it’s less common in a seller’s market, a pre-listing inspection can help you avoid potential surprises down the road. We can discuss the pros and cons during our initial meeting.

This is the time to address major structural, systems, or cosmetic issues that could hurt the sale of your home down the line. For example, problems with the frame, foundation, or roof are likely to be flagged on an inspection report. Issues with the HVAC system, electrical wiring, or plumbing may cause the home to be unsafe. And sometimes outdated or unpopular design features can limit a home’s sales potential.

Remember, when you’re dealing with major repairs or renovations, it’s best to give yourself as much time as possible. Given rampant labour and material shortages, starting right away can help you avoid costly delays.2 Contact us so we can guide you on the updates that are worth your time and investment.

1 MONTH (OR MORE) BEFORE YOU LIST

Once any large-scale renovations have been addressed, you can turn your attention to the more minor updates that still play a major role in how buyers perceive your home.

  • Make Minor Repairs

Look for any unaddressed maintenance or repair issues, such as water spots, pest activity, and rotten siding. This is the time to take care of those small annoyances like squeaky hinges, sticking doors, and leaky faucets, too.

Many of these issues can be handled by going the DIY route and using a few simple tools. Tackle the ones you can and be sure to call a professional for the ones you’re not comfortable doing yourself. We can refer you to local service providers who can help.

Remember that it’s easy to overlook these small issues because you live with them. When you work with us, you get a fresh set of eyes on your home—so you don’t miss any important repairs that could make a big difference to buyers.

  • Refresh Your Design

This is a great time to think about some simple design updates that can make a significant impression on buyers. For example, a fresh coat of paint is an easy and affordable way to spruce up your home. A recent survey of Canadian agents found that paint and landscaping were two upgrades that offered the highest return on investment.3

HGTV landscape designer Carson Arthur agrees. According to Arthur, landscaping is the best place to invest your money and has the potential to increase your home’s value by up to 7%.4 If weather permits, lay fresh sod where needed, plant colourful flowers, and add some new mulch to your beds.

Even just repositioning your furniture can make a huge difference to buyers. A survey published by the International Association of Staging Professionals found that staged homes often sell faster and for more than their list price.5 We can refer you to a local stager or offer our insights and suggestions if you prefer the DIY route.

  • Declutter and Depersonalize

Doing a little bit of decluttering every day is a lot easier than trying to take care of it all at once right before your home hits the market. A simple strategy is to do this one room at a time, working your way through each space whenever you have a bit of free time.

Start by donating or discarding items that you no longer want or need. Then pack up any seasonal items, family photos, and personal collections you can live without for the next few weeks. Bonus: This will give you a head start on packing for your move!

1 WEEK BEFORE YOU GO TO MARKET

With just one week before your home is available for sale, all major items should be crossed off your to-do list. Now it’s time to focus on the small details that will really make your home shine. Here are a few key areas to focus on during this last week.

  • Check-In With Your Agent

We’ll connect again to make sure we’re aligned on the listing price, marketing plan, and any remaining prep. We will be there every step of the way, ensuring you’re fully prepared to maximize the sale of your home.

  • Tidy Your Exterior

You’ve already done the major landscaping—now it’s time to tackle the last few details. Make sure your lawn is freshly mowed, hedges are trimmed, and flower beds are weeded.

In addition, now is the time to clean your home’s exterior if you haven’t already. Power wash your siding, empty the gutters, and wash all your windows and screens.

  • Deep Clean Your Interior

Your house should be deep cleaned before listing, including a thorough deodorizing of the home’s interior and steam cleaning for all carpets. Consider hiring a professional cleaning company to ensure the space smells and looks as fresh as possible.

In addition to cleaning, take some time to tidy up. Buyers will look inside your closets, pantries, and cabinets, so make sure they are neat and organized. Small appliances and toiletries should be cleared off the countertops.

DAY OF SHOWING

Now you’re all set to go and there are just a few small things you need to handle on the day of showings or open houses. Do a final walk-through and take care of these finishing touches to give potential buyers the best possible impression.

  • Pre-Showing Prep

Happy and comfortable buyers are more likely to submit offers! Make them feel at home by adjusting the thermostat to a comfortable temperature. Open any blinds and curtains throughout the house, and turn on all lights so buyers can see all the potential in your home.

Then tidy up by vacuuming and sweeping floors, emptying (or hiding) trash cans, and wiping down countertops. In the bathrooms, close toilet lids and hang clean hand towels.

Don’t forget to secure jewelry, sensitive documents, prescription medications, and any other items of value in a safe or store them off-site.

Finally, it’s best to have pets out of the house during showings. If possible, you should also remove evidence of pets (litter box, dog beds, etc.), which can be a turn-off for some buyers.

DON’T WAIT TO PREP YOUR HOME FOR SELLING

If you want to get top dollar for your home, don’t put it on the market before it’s ready. The right preparation can make all the difference when it comes to maximizing the offers you get. The upgrades and changes you need to make will depend upon your home’s condition, so don’t wait to speak with an agent.

Call our team if you’re thinking about selling your home, even if you’re not sure when. It’s never too early to seek the guidance of your real estate agent and start preparing your home to sell.

Sources:

  1. RBC –
    https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/a-turning-point-more-sellers-enter-canadas-housing-market-in-february/
  2. ConstructConnect –
    https://canada.constructconnect.com/canadata/forecaster/economic/2021/07/labour-shortages-high-material-costs-strong-demand-more-pressure-on-house-prices
  3. RE/MAX –
    https://blog.remax.ca/canadian-real-estate-renovation-trends/
  4. National Post –
    https://nationalpost.com/life/homes/curb-appeal-in-the-business-of-home-ownership-a-little-landscaping-can-go-a-long-way
  5. International Association of Staging Professionals –
    https://d3oaxt0bwkjnjn.cloudfront.net/documents/home-staging-industry-statistics-2020-min.pdf

Hedge Against Inflation With These 3 Real Estate Investment Types

The annual inflation rate in Canada is currently around 5.1%—the highest it’s been in 30 years.1 It doesn’t matter if you’re a cashier, lawyer, plumber, or retiree; if you spend Canadian dollars, inflation impacts you.

Economists expect the effects of inflation, like a higher cost of goods, to continue.2 Luckily, an investment in real estate can ease some of the financial strain.

Here’s what you need to know about inflation, how it impacts you, and how an investment in real estate can help.

WHAT IS INFLATION AND HOW DOES IT IMPACT ME?

Inflation is a decline in the value of money. When the rate of inflation rises, prices for goods and services go up. Therefore, a dollar buys you a little bit less with every passing day.

The consumer price index, or CPI, is a standard measure of inflation. Based on the latest CPI data, prices increased 5.1% from January 2021 to January 2022. In comparison, the CPI increased 1.0% from January 2020 to January 2021.3

How does inflation affect your life? Here are a few of the negative impacts:

  • Decreased Purchasing Power

We touched on this already, but as prices rise, your dollar won’t stretch as far as it used to. That means you’ll be able to purchase fewer goods and services with a limited budget.

  • Increased Borrowing Costs

In an effort to curb inflation, the Bank of Canada is expected to raise interest rates.4 Therefore, consumers are likely to pay more to borrow money for things like mortgages and credit cards.

  • Lower Standard of Living

Wage growth tends to lag behind price increases. Even as labour shortages persist in Canada—which would typically trigger pay raises—wages are not increasing at the same pace of inflation.5 As such, life is becoming less affordable for everyone. For example, inflation can force those on a fixed income, like retirees, to make lifestyle changes and prioritize essentials.

  • Eroded Savings

If you store all your savings in a bank account, inflation is even more damaging. As of February, the national average deposit interest rate for a savings account was around 0.067%, not nearly enough to keep up with inflation.6

One of the best ways to mitigate these effects is to find a place to invest your money other than the bank. Even though interest rates are expected to rise, they’re unlikely to get high enough to beat inflation. If you hoard cash, the value of your money will decrease every year and more rapidly in years with elevated inflation.

REAL ESTATE: A PROVEN HEDGE AGAINST INFLATION

So where is a good place to invest your money to protect (hedge) against the impacts of inflation? There are several investment vehicles that financial advisors traditionally recommend, including:

  • Stocks

Some people invest in stocks as their primary inflation hedge. However, the stock market can become volatile during inflationary times, as we’ve seen in recent months.7

  • Commodities

Commodities are tangible assets, like gold, oil, and livestock. The theory is that the price of commodities should climb alongside inflation. But studies show that this correlation doesn’t always occur.8

  • Inflation-Protected Bonds

Real Return Bonds (RRBs) are inflation-protected bonds issued by the Canadian government that are indexed to the inflation rate. Bonds are considered low risk, but returns have not been rising at the same rate of inflation, making them suboptimal investments.9

  • Real Estate
    Real estate prices across the board tend to rise along with inflation, which is why so much Canadian capital is flowing into real estate right now.10

We believe real estate is the best hedge against inflation. Owning real estate does more than protect your wealth—it can actually make you money. For example, home prices rose 20% from 2021 to 2022, nearly 15% ahead of the 5.1% inflation that occurred in the same timeframe.11

Plus, certain types of real estate investments can help you generate a stream of passive income. In the past year, property owners didn’t just avoid the erosion of purchasing power caused by inflation; they got ahead.

TYPES OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS

Though there are a myriad of ways to invest in real estate, there are three basic investment types that we recommend for beginner and intermediate investors. Remember that we can help you determine which options are best for your financial goals and budget.

  • Primary Residence

If you own your home, you’re already ahead. The advantages of homeownership become even more apparent in inflationary times. As inflation raises prices throughout the economy, the value of your home is likely to go up concurrently.

If you don’t already own your primary residence, homeownership is a worthwhile goal to pursue.

Though the task of saving enough for a down payment may seem daunting, there are several strategies that can make homeownership easier to achieve. If you’re not sure how to get started with the home buying process, contact us. Our team can help you find the strategy and property that fits your needs and budget.

Whether you already own a primary residence or are still renting, now is a good time to also start thinking about an investment property. The types of investment properties you’ll buy as a solo investor generally fall into two categories: long-term rentals and short-term rentals.

  • Long-Term (Traditional) Rentals

A long-term or traditional rental is a dwelling that’s leased out for an extended period. An example of this is a single-family home where a tenant signs a one-year lease and brings all their own furniture.

Long-term rentals are a form of housing. For most tenants, the rental serves as their primary residence, which means it’s a necessary expense. This unique quality of long-term rentals can help to provide stable returns in uncertain times, especially when we have high inflation.

To invest in a long-term rental, you’ll need to budget for maintenance, repairs, property taxes, and insurance. You’ll also need to have a plan for managing the property. But a well-chosen investment property should pay for itself through rental income, and you’ll benefit from appreciation as the property rises in value.

We can help you find an ideal long-term rental property to suit your budget and investment goals. Reach out to talk about your needs and our local market opportunities.

  • Short-Term (Vacation) Rentals

Short-term or vacation rentals function more like hotels in that they offer temporary accommodations. A short-term rental is defined as a residential dwelling that is rented for 30 days or less. The furniture and other amenities are provided by the property owner, and today many short-term rentals are listed on websites like Airbnb and Vrbo.

A short-term rental can potentially earn you a higher return than a long-term rental, but this comes at the cost of daily, hands-on management. With a short-term rental, you’re not just entering the real estate business; you’re entering the hospitality business, too.

Done right, short-term rentals can be both a hedge against inflation and a profitable source of income. As a bonus, when the home isn’t being rented you have an affordable vacation spot for yourself and your family!

Contact us today if you’re interested in exploring options in either the long-term or short-term rental market. Since mortgage rates are expected to rise, you’ll want to act fast to maximize your investment return.

WE’RE INVESTED IN HELPING YOU

Inflation is a fact of life in the Canadian economy. Luckily, you can prepare for inflation with a carefully managed investment portfolio that includes real estate. Owning a primary residence or investing in a short-term or long-term rental will help you both mitigate the effects of inflation and grow your net worth, which makes it a strategic move in our current financial environment.

If you’re ready to invest in real estate to build wealth and protect yourself from rising inflation, contact us. Our team can help you find a primary residence or investment property that meets your financial goals.

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.

Sources:

  1. Reuters –
    https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-annual-inflation-rate-hits-51-january-2022-02-16/
  2. MacLeans –
    https://www.macleans.ca/economy/inflation-worsening-2022-canada/
  3. Statistics Canada –
    https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/220216/dq220216a-eng.htm
  4. Bloomberg –
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-01-25/canada-set-to-raise-rates-in-inflation-fight-decision-guide
  5. The Globe & Mail –
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-the-stealth-pay-cut-wages-arent-keeping-up-with-inflation/
  6. Trading Economics –
    https://tradingeconomics.com/canada/deposit-interest-rate
  7. Reuters –
    https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/canada-stocks-tsx-down-after-hot-inflation-data-dismal-shopify-forecast
  8. Research Gate –
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/350016324_Gold_and_Inflation_in_Canada_A_Time-Varying_Perspective
  9. Maple Money –
    https://maplemoney.com/inflation-protection-are-real-return-bonds-or-tips-the-answer/
  10. Storeys –
    https://storeys.com/canadians-using-real-estate-outrun-inflation/
  11. WOWA – https://wowa.ca/reports/canada-housing-market
https://wowa.ca/reports/canada-housing-market

Our Top Five Most Romantic Places in the Parksville/Qualicum Beach Region

Our community is full of beautiful, romantic spots. As Valentines approaches, we thought we would share some of the more romantic places in our region to make new memories.

1. Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park. Located near the south entrance to the City of Parksville, Rathtrevor is a place to walk hand in hand and enjoy the tall trees and evening sunsets. It can be busy, but the beach is expansive, and you can always find a quiet place to sit and enjoy the incredible scenery. If you’re lucky you may even see a family of seals or even orcas!

Rathrevor at Sunset

2. Notch Hill. Located on Powder Point Rd in Nanoose Bay this hike is worth every bit of the energy it takes to get to the top. Although it is a fairly steep walk up Notch Hill, it is a short distance and there are so many scenic places to take a break. Halfway up you will venture into Garry Oak meadows, the perfect rest stop. At the top, take in the views and perhaps even pack up some treats and a blanket for your own romantic picnic. Or be a kid again and try out the recently added a swing at the top!

3. Spider Lake Provincial Park. Power boats are not allowed on Spider Lake, making it a quiet place to relax and enjoy each other’s company. If you are lucky enough to have a canoe or kayak you can explore many of the secluded bays and find a beach hideaway just to yourselves.

4. Englishman River Falls. There’s something about waterfalls that make them instantly romantic. Perhaps it’s the mesmerizing, wild, cascading water or the fresh smell and mist in the air. Englishman River Falls can be viewed from the bridge crossing the river. Feel alive and breathe in the refreshing air mixed with fir and cedar scents with your Valentine.

5. The Grotto Spa at Tigh-Na-Mara. If pampering is more your style the Tigh-Na-Mara Resort and Spa has it all! And it really is the most romantic place as that is where I got engaged!

One of our favourite things to do at the spa is to enjoy the mineral pool and then partake in the endless tapas experience. Dine comfortably in your robe and sandals as they present a collection of seventeen tapas plates, featuring both local and international influences.

Whatever you decide to do, enjoy your day and all that our beautiful region offers with your loved ones.

If you are looking to purchase a home in the Parksville/Qualicum region give us a call at 250-951-9115 or email meghanwalker@royallepage.ca. We are here to help!

A Return to ‘Normal’? The State of Real Estate in 2022

Last year was one for the real estate history books.

The pandemic helped usher in a buying frenzy that led to a record number of home sales and a historically-high rate of appreciation, as prices soared by a national average of 19.9% year over year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.1

There were signs in the second quarter that the red-hot housing market was beginning to simmer down. In June, the pace of sales slowed while the average sales price dipped 5.5% below the springtime peak.2

But just when the market seemed to be cooling, home prices and sales volume ticked up again in the fall, leading the Royal Bank of Canada to speculate: “Canada’s housing market run has more in the tank.”3

So what’s ahead for the Canadian real estate market in 2022? Here’s where industry experts predict the market is headed in the coming year.

MORTGAGE RATES WILL CREEP UP

The Bank of Canada has signalled that it plans to begin raising interest rates in the “middle quarters” of this year.4 What does that mean for mortgage rates?

Expect higher variable mortgage rates to come. In fact, according to industry trade blog Canadian Mortgage Trends, some lenders have already begun raising their variable rates in preparation. And according to the site, “Current market forecasts show the Bank of Canada on track for seven quarter-point (25 bps) rate hikes by the end of 2023, with Scotiabank expecting eight rate hikes.”5

Since September, fixed mortgage rates—which follow the 5-year Bank of Canada bond yield—have also been climbing.5 Fortunately, economists believe the housing sector is well-positioned to absorb these higher interest rates.

Derek Holt, Scotiabank vice president and head of capital markets economics, told Canadian Mortgage Professional magazine in November, “The large increase in cash balances that occurred over the pandemic combined with the record-high amount of home equity on Canadian balance sheets, to me, paints a picture of a household sector that can manage the rate shock we’re likely to get.”4

What does it mean for you? Low mortgage rates can reduce your monthly payment, make it easier to qualify for a mortgage, and make homeownership more affordable. Fortunately, there’s still time to take advantage of historically-low rates. We’d be happy to connect you with a trusted lending professional in our network.

VOLUME OF SALES WILL DECREASE

A record number of homes were sold in Canada last year. The Canadian Real Estate Association estimates that 656,300 home purchases took place, which is an 18.8% increase over 2020.6 So it’s no surprise that the pace of sales would eventually slow.

The association predicts that, nationally, the number of home sales will fall by 12.1% in 2022, which would still make 2022 the second-best year on record.1

It attributes this relative slowdown to affordability challenges and a lack of inventory but expects sales volume to remain high by historical standards. “Limited supply and higher prices are expected to tap the brakes on activity in 2022 compared to 2021, although increased churn in resale markets resulting from the COVID-related shake-up to so many people’s lives may continue to boost activity above what was normal before COVID-19.”6

What does it mean for you? The frenzied market we experienced last year required a drop-everything commitment from many of our clients, so a slower pace of sales should be a welcome relief. However, buyers should still be prepared to compete for the best properties. We can help you craft a compelling offer without compromising your best interests.

THE MARKET WILL BECOME MORE BALANCED

In 2021, we experienced one of the most competitive real estate markets ever. Fears about the virus, a shift to remote work, and economic stimulus triggered a huge uptick in demand. At the same time, many existing homeowners delayed their plans to sell, and supply and labour shortages hindered new construction.

This led to an extreme market imbalance that benefitted sellers and frustrated buyers. According to Abhilasha Singh, an economist at Moody’s Analytics, “almost all indicators of housing market activity shot through the roof.” But, she continued, “The housing market is now showing signs of returning to earth.”7

The Royal Bank of Canada expects to see demand soften gradually as rising prices and interest rates push the cost of homeownership out of reach for many would-be buyers.3 And while the supply of available homes continues to remain low, according to Singh, “the pace of building in Canada remains elevated compared with historical averages thanks to low interest rates.”7

What does it mean for you? If you struggled to buy a home last year, there may be some relief on the horizon. Softening demand could make it easier to finally secure the home of your dreams. If you’re a seller, it’s still a great time to cash out your big equity gains! And with less competition and a slower pace of sales, you’ll have an easier time finding your next home. Reach out for a free consultation so we can discuss your specific needs and goals.

HOME PRICES LIKELY TO KEEP CLIMBING, BUT AT A SLOWER PACE

Nationwide, home prices rose an average of 19.9% in 2021. But the rate of appreciation is expected to slow down in 2022. The Canadian Real Estate Association forecasts that the national average home price will increase by 5.6% to $718,000 in 2022.6

Singh of Moody’s Analytics agrees that price growth will slow this year and could “reach a near standstill in late 2022 but avoid any significant contractions.”7

However, some experts caution against a “wait and see” mentality for buyers. “Affordability is unlikely to improve [this] year as prices should march higher, even as interest rates creep upwards as well,” Rishi Sondhi, an economist at TD Economics, told Reuters. “We think rate hikes will weigh on, but not upend, demand, as the macro backdrop should remain supportive for sales.”8

What does it mean for you? If you’re a buyer who has been waiting on the sidelines for home prices to drop, you may be out of luck. Even if home prices dip slightly (and most economists expect them to rise) any savings are likely to be offset by higher mortgage rates. The good news is that decreased competition means more choice and less likelihood of a bidding war. We can help you get the most for your money in today’s market.

WE’RE HERE TO GUIDE YOU

While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big picture” outlook for the year, real estate is local. And as local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the local issues that are likely to drive home values in your particular neighbourhood.

If you’re considering buying or selling a home in 2022, contact us now to schedule a free consultation. We’ll work with you to develop an action plan to meet your real estate goals this year.

Sources:

  1. Toronto Sun –
    https://torontosun.com/life/homes/real-estate-market-on-track-to-break-records
  2. National Post –
    https://nationalpost.com/life/homes/the-great-real-estate-cool-down-has-come
  3. Royal Bank of Canada –
    https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/canadas-housing-market-run-has-more-in-the-tank/
  4. Canadian Mortgage Professional Magazine –
    https://www.mpamag.com/ca/mortgage-industry/industry-trends/how-likely-is-a-canada-housing-crash/315742
  5. Canadian Mortgage Trends –
    https://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/2021/11/fixed-rate-increases-costing-todays-homebuyers-over-10000-more-in-interest/
  6. Canadian Real Estate Association –
    https://www.crea.ca/housing-market-stats/quarterly-forecasts/
  7. Moody’s Analytics –
    https://www.moodysanalytics.com/-/media/article/2021/10-canada-housing-market-outlook.pdf
  8. Reuters –
    https://www.reuters.com/article/canada-property-poll-idCAKBN2IM06V

10 Ways to Give Back to Our Local Community This Holiday Season

This year has demonstrated, perhaps more than ever, the importance of our family, friends, neighbors, and community. It truly “takes a village” to keep a community functioning effectively.

With the holidays right around the corner, December offers the perfect opportunity to give back to the place we call home. You might want to focus your efforts near home, expand to our larger community, or even help support the people closest to you. Whether you’re passionate about a particular cause or just want to get more involved in general, let these 10 ways, both big and small, inspire you to do good.

GIVE BACK NEAR HOME

1. Attract local wildlife. By making your neighborhood more wildlife friendly, you’re helping to  create a balanced and healthy ecosystem. Plus, many of the animals you can attract help with pest control and pollination.1

Ideas:

  • Add a birdbath to your backyard or create a rain garden to attract wildlife (and filter out local pollutants).
  • Place bird feeders on your property to feed birds all year long.
  • Tie corncobs to tree branches to feed squirrels.
  • Hang birdhouses on your property to provide shelter.
  • Use native plants in your landscaping to provide food and shelter for birds, bees, butterflies, and other critters.

Take action: While you might not be able to “break ground” until spring, start researching native plants now to design a landscaping plan that provides food, shelter, and water for local wildlife.

2. Clean up our community. Besides beautifying the area, picking up trash keeps it out of our local waterways, which means a cleaner water supply for all of us.

Ideas:

  • Whether you make this a solo effort or join in an organized group event, pick up trash in your neighborhood, at a local park, or elsewhere in our community.
  • Depending on your community’s regulations, you can recycle many home items such as paper, glass, and aluminum.
  • And don’t forget to clean the exterior of your home, where water runoff (such as on your driveway and sidewalks) can carry debris into the local sewer system.2

Take action: Check with your local municipality to learn about environmental clean-up efforts in our community, as well as recycling and composting. 

HELP OUT LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS

4. Boost your civic engagement. Regardless of your politics, you can get more involved as a citizen to make a positive difference in our community.

Ideas:

  • Sign a petition to make a needed change in our community.
  • Attend local school board meetings, town halls, or city council meetings to understand (and have a voice in) local issues.4
  • Watch (and read) a variety of local news sources to get balanced reporting on what’s happening in our community.
  • If you don’t know your neighbors very well, introduce yourself.
  • Then make a commitment to check in on those who might need help, such as an elderly neighbor.
  • Get plugged into the resources and events in our town by visiting local museums, taking historical tours, borrowing materials from our local library, and attending community festivals.

Take action: Do you know who our local leaders are, such as our mayor or city councilwoman? Get to know their names, their policies, and their stand on issues that affect our community. Subscribe to their newsletter and follow them on social media.

5. Support local businesses. Our community has been impacted by the pandemic. Help keep money in our local economy by shopping local instead of relying on online shopping from national chains.

Ideas:

  • From handcrafted soaps and one-of-a-kind apparel to locally produced chocolate and small-batch wines, you’ll find plenty of unique gifts at the small businesses that dot our community.
  • Consider purchasing tickets to attend holiday concerts and shows.
  • Buy cookies and other baked goods from our local bakery.
  • Get takeout from our local restaurants.
  • Support local farmers.

Take action: Many of these businesses, though small, offer online shopping, with options for in-store pick-up, curbside delivery, and/or mail options.

6. Donate to local charities. Nonprofits could always use your financial support, so consider making a monetary donation to help them carry out their mission in our community. But if money is tight (or you want to support in other ways), think beyond just donating dollars.

Ideas:

  • Consider donating to a charity in someone else’s name as an altruistic gift on behalf of a friend or relative.
  • Give blood to our local blood bank.
  • Send school supplies to our neighborhood elementary school.
  • Pick out toys to give to a charity that caters to families.

Take action: Many collection efforts run by charitable organizations and businesses take place during the holidays. Look to see what’s already taking place in our community and choose one or more to give to this season.  

CARE FOR YOUR NEIGHBORS

7. Organize a holiday food drive.

Ideas:

  • If you personally know someone who needs help buying groceries, reach out and offer to help that one family.
  • If not, partner with a local food bank, soup kitchen, nonprofit or community organization that feeds people in need.
  • Round up a few friends, family, co-workers, or neighbors to collect food for a few weeks. Then deliver the bounty in time for the holidays.

Take action: Take advantage of your grocery store coupons and buy-one-get-one offers to inexpensively stock up on nonperishable goods.

8. Adopt a family or an individual. The holidays can be a struggle, especially financially, for some families. They might not be able to buy a Christmas tree or presents for their children. Maybe their holiday meal consists of boxed macaroni and cheese because they can’t afford a turkey and fresh vegetables. You can make a difference by “adopting” a particular family (or even just a child) to help make their holiday special.

Ideas:

  • If you know a needy family, help them directly.
  • If not, ask a community group for the name of a family or individual in need.
  • Some businesses even sponsor toy drives or “angel trees” where you can pick the name of a needy family off the tree and buy from their wish lists.

Take action: This works great as a family project. Get the kids in your life involved to help make holiday cards and pick out toys to give to the children in the adopted family.

9. Volunteer. Depending on your schedule and your preferences, you might be able to volunteer in-person or from home, whether it’s a one-time effort or ongoing project. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people in your community as you make a positive impact together for a shared cause.

Ideas:

  • Give your time to a cause or organization that really matters to you, such as your local school, animal rescue organization, mental health awareness group, or environmental nonprofit.
  • Tap into a skill you already have, like creating videos, and offer your services.
  • Or learn a new skill (like fundraising) to benefit your cause of choice.

Take action: Start with your local community to see where its needs are the greatest. Make a point to help this holiday season, perhaps extending your commitment throughout 2022.

10. Perform random acts of kindness. Don’t think you need to “go big or go home” in your give-back efforts. You can make a big difference one small act at a time.

Ideas:

  • Give a generous tip to a waitress.
  • Pay for the coffee of the car behind you in the drive-through.
  • Take care of a neighbor’s pet while they’re out of town.
  • Deliver a plate of homemade holiday cookies to our local fire or police station.
  • Smile at a stranger.
  • Rake leaves for an elderly neighbor.
  • Thank your child’s teacher for all their hard work this year.
  • Send an uplifting text to a friend.
  • Compliment someone.
  • Help a coworker with an unpleasant task.  

Take action: Need more ideas? Visit randomactsofkindness.org for hundreds of inspiring ways to make someone’s day a little brighter.

HOW WE CAN HELP YOU?

As real estate experts in our local community, we’re tuned into the unique needs of the place we all call home. Reach out to us today to discuss more ways to make a positive impact in our community—this holiday season and beyond. And we want to make sure you’re taken care of, too. If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home now or in the near future, let us help you!

Sources:

  1. Redfin –
    https://www.redfin.com/blog/attract-wildlife-to-your-backyard/#:~:text=Sow%20plants%20that%20provide%20essentials,these%20alternate%20natural%20food%20sources
  2. The Groundwater Foundation –
    https://www.groundwater.org/action/home/raingardens.html
  3. The Globe and Mail –
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/how-neighbours-and-online-maps-can-help-deter-break-ins/article34886427/
  4. Parade –
    https://parade.com/1083640/stephanieosmanski/what-is-civic-engagement/
  5. MentalFloss –
    https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/88663/15-ways-give-back-holiday-season
  6. Together We Rise –
    https://www.togetherwerise.org/blog/7-ways-give-back-community/

BC Housing Market at Historically Low Level of Supply

Vancouver, BC – November 10, 2021. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total 9,593 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in October 2021, a decrease of 13.7 per cent from October 2020. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $964,777, an 18.9 per cent increase from $811,307 recorded in October 2020. Total sales dollar volume was $9.3 billion, a 2.6 per cent decline from the same time last year.

“The story across the province continues to be the record low number of listings,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “Rising mortgage rates should start to temper sales activity next year, but even with a moderation in demand it will take quite some time for the inventory of homes to return to a healthy level.”

Total active residential listings were down nearly 40 per cent year-over-year in October, falling to an all-time record low for the province. Active listings have now fallen for five consecutive months on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume is up 69.7 per cent to $99.6 billion compared to the same period in 2020. Residential unit sales were up 42.8 per cent to 108,798 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 18.8 per cent to $915,833.

For the complete news release from BCREA, including detailed statistics, click here.

New Build or Existing Home: Which One Is Right for You?

Homebuyers today are facing a huge dilemma. There simply aren’t enough homes for sale.1

Nationwide, the number of newly listed homes dipped slightly in September, down 1.6% from August. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, that’s only about 2.1 months of inventory, which is far less than the five to six months that is generally needed to strike a healthy balance between supply and demand.2

Given the limited number of available properties, if you’re a buyer in today’s market, you may need to expand your search to include both new construction and resale homes. But it can feel a little like comparing apples to oranges.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors you should take into account when choosing between a new build or an existing home.

TIMEFRAME

How quickly do you want (or need) to move into your next home? Your timeframe can be a determining factor when it comes to choosing between a new build or resale.

New Build

If you opt for new construction, you may be surprised by how long you have to wait to get the keys to your new digs. Nationally, the average timeline has more than doubled over the past 20 years from 9 to 21 months.1 And according to a survey by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, nearly 60% of builders are reporting delays—averaging six weeks—due to supply-chain disruptions brought on by the pandemic.3

These supply shortages have led to soaring prices, causing some builders to cancel contracts or demand more money from unsuspecting homebuyers long after agreements were signed.4 Unfortunately, this scenario can throw a major wrench in your moving plans and delay your timeline even further.

To minimize these types of surprises, it’s crucial to have a real estate agent represent you in a new home purchase. We can help negotiate contract terms and advise you about the potential risks involved.

Existing Home

If you’re in a hurry to move into your next residence, then you may want to stick to shopping for an existing home.

You can typically move into a resale home on your closing date.5 While closing on an existing home can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, it’s almost always faster than the time it would take to build a new one.

If you need to move even sooner, it’s sometimes possible to close faster, especially if you’re a cash buyer. In fact, many sellers prefer a quick closing, so it can give you an advantage in a competitive market.

LOCATION

From commute to construction to walkability, there’s a lot to consider when choosing your next neighbourhood.

New Build

Canada is currently undergoing a major residential construction boom, and rural and smaller urban communities have been the first to benefit—primarily because the single-detached homes located in those areas take less time to build.6 That means, if you opt for a new single-family home, you could be facing a longer commute and ongoing construction for some time.

If you prefer a multifamily unit, there should be an increased supply coming on the market soon. Over the past year, condos and apartments have accounted for 55% of the housing starts. A growing number of these are located in master-planned communities that combine residential, retail, restaurants, and office space—enabling residents to live, work, and play in a single space.7

Existing Home

An existing home is more likely to be located in a neighbourhood with mature trees, established schools, and a deeply-rooted community. As a result, you may find the neighbourhood’s trajectory to be more predictable than an up-and-coming area.

But the amenities may be lacking and the infrastructure dated when compared to newer communities. And while some homebuyers love the charm and eclectic feel of an older neighbourhood, others prefer the sleek and cohesive look of a newer development.

MAINTENANCE

Are you a DIY enthusiast, or do you prefer a low-maintenance lifestyle? Set realistic expectations about how much time, effort, and money you want to devote to maintaining your next home.

New Build

When you build a home, everything is brand new. Therefore, in the first few years at least, you can expect less required maintenance and repairs. A 2019 survey found that millennials’ homebuying regrets often came down to maintenance issues, rather than other concerns.8 So if you would rather spend your weekends exploring your new neighbourhood than fixing a leaky faucet, you may be happier buying a turnkey build.

That doesn’t mean, though, that a new home will be entirely maintenance-free. In fact, depending on the builder, you could find yourself repairing more than you expected. Some home builders have reputations for shoddy construction and subpar materials, so it’s important to choose one with a solid reputation. We can help you identify the quality builders in our area.

Existing Home

No matter how good a deal you got when you purchased it, you could come to regret buying an older home if it later costs you heavily in unexpected maintenance and repairs. For example, according to the home service professional network HomeStars, the average price to replace an HVAC system is $4,995. And you can expect to pay a similar amount ($4,750) for a new asphalt shingle roof.9

Fortunately, there are ways to prepare for these large expenditures ahead of time. We always recommend that our buyers hire a certified home inspector, whether they buy a new or existing home. Once we have the inspector’s report, we can negotiate with the seller on your behalf for reasonable repairs or concessions.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

On a quest for greener living? If so, there are several factors to consider when deciding on your next home.

New Build

There’s a growing demand for energy-efficient housing, and many builders are rising to the challenge. Currently, more than one million homes in Canada have received an EnerGuide Rating, which measures a home’s energy performance against a benchmark.10 While all newly-constructed housing must meet the National Building Code requirements, there are a number of certifications that homes can earn if they receive an EnerGuide rating that exceeds these minimum standards.

Examples include the Net Zero label from the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, which is awarded to homes that are 80% more energy efficient than conventional homes and utilize a renewable energy system to fulfill their remaining energy needs. ENERGY STAR and R-2000 are other well-regarded certifications that can be earned by homes that meet certain performance standards. So if energy efficiency is a top priority, a new home with a low EnerGuide rating or recognized designation may be a good choice for you.10

Existing Home

Of course, a basic tenant of sustainable living is: reduce, reuse, recycle. And since a resale home already exists, it automatically comes with a lower carbon footprint. Research has also shown that remodelling or retrofitting an older home is often greener than building one from scratch.11

With some energy-conservation effort and strategic upgrades, environmentally-conscious consumers can feel good about buying an existing home, as well.

DESIGN

Double vanity? Kitchen island? Whirlpool tub? Must-have design features could drive your decision to build or buy resale.

New Build

With a new home, you can bet that everything will look shiny and perfect when you move in. Builders tend to put a lot of emphasis on visual details and follow the latest design trends. For example, newly-built homes are likely to include features that the majority of today’s buyers want, such as double bathroom sinks, kitchen islands, and walk-in pantries. They’re also less likely to include home theatre rooms or whirlpool tubs, both of which have lost mass appeal.12

However, some buyers complain of the cookie-cutter feel of new homes since they are often built with a similar aesthetic. That doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t incorporate your own style. We can help you negotiate custom features and upgrades to personalize the space and make it feel like your own.

Existing Home

In some of the most coveted neighbourhoods, an older home with classic styling and character can be highly sought after. But unless the previous homeowners have invested in tasteful updates, an existing home is also more likely to look dated.

While some buyers prefer the traditional look and character of an older home, others prefer something more modern.  If that’s the case, we can help you find a resale home that leaves enough room in your budget to renovate it to your liking.

WHICHEVER PATH YOU CHOOSE, WE CAN HELP

When it comes to choosing between a new build or an existing home, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. There are numerous factors to consider, and you may have to make some compromises along the way. But the homebuying process doesn’t have to feel overwhelming.

We’re here to help. And in many cases, our homebuyer guidance and expertise are available at no cost to you! That’s because the home seller or home builder may compensate us with a commission at closing.

Some new-construction homebuyers make the mistake of visiting a builder’s sales office or even purchasing a home without their own real estate representative. But keep in mind, the builder’s agent or “sales consultant” has their best interests in mind—not yours.

We are knowledgeable about both the new construction and resale home options in our area, and we can help you make an informed decision, negotiate a fair price, and avoid mistakes that can cost you time and money. So give us a call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation—and let’s start searching for your next home!

Sources:

  1. RBC –
    https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/home-builders-are-tackling-canadas-housing-supply-shortage/
  2. Canadian Real Estate Association –
    https://creastats.crea.ca/en-CA/
  3. Financial Post –
    https://financialpost.com/real-estate/homebuilders-have-been-busy-during-the-pandemic-but-canada-still-needs-more-housing
  4. Better Dwelling –
    https://betterdwelling.com/canadian-home-builders-are-asking-buyers-for-more-money-to-finish-building/#_
  5. Legal Line –
    https://www.legalline.ca/legal-answers/when-can-you-move-into-your-newly-purchased-home/
  6. Financial Post –
    https://financialpost.com/real-estate/there-has-never-been-more-housing-under-construction-in-canada-but-the-city-that-needs-it-the-most-is-missing-the-boom
  7. BC Business – https://www.bcbusiness.ca/2021-Real-Estate-Report-With-a-push-from-COVID-the-BC-property-market-enters-new-territory
  8. Bankrate –
    https://www.bankrate.com/real-estate/homebuyer-regret-survey-may-2021/
  9. HomeStars –
    https://homestars.com/cost-guides/
  10. Canadian Home Builders’ Association –
    https://blog.chba.ca/2021/05/14/are-all-energy-efficient-homes-the-same/
  11. Advanced Materials Research – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271358381_Comparative_Study_of_New_Construction_and_Renovation_Project_Based_on_Carbon_Emission
  12. Canadian Home Builders’ Association –
    https://blog.chba.ca/2020/11/26/todays-new-home-buyers-preferences/

Character, Cottage/Cabin, West Coast For Sale in British Columbia, Errington

Photo Link

•  3622 sqft , 5 bath , 5 bdrm character, cottage/cabin, west coast “Single Family Detached, Residential, Rural” FOR SALE  CAD1,600,000 .
MLS® 886466

UNIQUE ACREAGE backing Englishman River w/2 homes, garage/workshop plus shop/retail/work space. This is an amazing opportunity to have 5 acres w/a character main home, extended family/rental home, home based business and/or lots of garage/workshop space, tranquil gardens, & nature at your doorstep all in 1 package! It’s an over-used phrase, but “too much to list” so ask your agent for the extensive info package. Main home with 3 beds, 3 baths, office, rec room, extensive storage and gorgeous style. 2017 built detached secondary suite w/2 beds, 1 bath, wrap-around veranda, kitchenette for guests, family or rental. Detached garage/workshop of 1400+ sqft with it’s own 2 piece bath perfect for car enthusiasts or home-based business (current business also available for sale). Trails throughout the property lead to the crown land trails down to the river. Plus your own yoga platform/relaxation deck overlooking the river/ravine. Come enjoy Island life! Business also available under MLS 886668

Property information

Shut Down Home Intruders With These 7 Safety Strategies

A break and enter occurs every 90 seconds in Canada.1 Fortunately, there are some proven tactics you can use to decrease your likelihood of a home invasion.

Most burglars won’t go to extreme lengths to enter your home. They are looking for easy access with minimal risk. A monitored security system can be an effective deterrent—homes without one are 300% more likely to be burglarized—but it isn’t the only way to protect your property.2 The strategies below can help to maximize your home’s security and minimize your chances of being targeted by intruders.

Thinking about listing your home? We have some additional recommendations for you. Contact us to find out the procedures we use to keep our clients and their property safe and secure during the buying and selling process.

  1. Check Your Doors and Windows

According to insurance company SGI Canada, the most common entry point for a burglar is through a basement or ground floor door or window.1 So securing these points of entry is essential.

  • Evaluate the condition of your doors and locks.

A steel door is generally considered the strongest, but many homeowners prefer the look of wood. Whatever material you choose, make sure it has a solid core and pair it with a sturdy deadbolt lock that is a minimum of 2.5 cm long when thrown.3

  • Add window locks and security film.

Aftermarket window locks are an easy and inexpensive upgrade that can provide an additional layer of protection for your home. Choose a lock that is compatible with your window frame material and a style that is appropriate for the window type. And consider using a specialty film on windows that are adjacent to a door. Security film holds shattered glass in place, making the windows more difficult to penetrate.4

  1. Landscape for Security

When it comes to outdoor landscaping, many of us think about maintenance and curb appeal. But the choices we make can impact our home’s security, as well. Thieves target homes that they can enter and exit without being detected. Here are a few tweaks that can make your property less appealing to potential intruders.

  • Increase visibility from the street.

A privacy hedge may keep out nosy neighbours, but it can also welcome thieves—so trim overgrown trees and shrubs that obstruct the view of your property. According to police officers, they offer an ideal environment for criminals to hide.5

  • Place thorny bushes and noisy gravel below windows.

Don’t eliminate shrubbery altogether, though. Certain hedges can actually offer a deterrent to robbers. Plant thorny rose bushes or sharp-leaved holly beneath your first-story windows for both beauty and protection. Add some loose gravel that crunches when disturbed.

  1. Light Your Exterior

When it’s dark outside, criminals don’t need to rely on overgrown shrubbery to hide. Luckily, a well-designed outdoor lighting system can make your home both safer and more attractive.

  • Install landscape lighting.

Eliminate pockets of darkness around your yard and home’s perimeter with strategically placed outdoor lights. Use a combination of flood, spot, well, and pathway lights to add interest and highlight natural and architectural details.

  • Use motion-activated security lights to startle intruders.

The soft glow of landscape lighting isn’t always enough to dissuade a determined intruder. But a motion-activated security light may stop him in his tracks.And if you choose a Wi-Fi connected smart version, you can receive notifications on your phone when there’s movement on your property.

  1. Make It Look Like You’re Home

Motion-activated lights aren’t the only way to make an intruder think you’re at home. New technology has made it increasingly possible to monitor your home while you’re away. This is especially important since most burglaries take place between 10 am and 3 pm, when many of us are at work or school.6

  • Turn on your TV and leave a car in the driveway.

A survey of convicted burglars revealed that the majority avoid breaking into homes if they can hear a television or if there’s a vehicle parked in the driveway.7 If you’re away from home, try connecting your TV to a timer or smart plug. And when you travel, leave your car out or ask a neighbour to park theirs in your driveway.

  • Install a video doorbell.

In that same survey, every respondent said they would knock or ring the doorbell before breaking into a home. A video doorbell not only alerts you to the presence of a visitor, it also enables you to see, hear, and talk with them remotely from your smartphone—so they’ll never know you’re gone.

  1. Keep Valuables Out of Sight

Few home invasions are conducted by criminal masterminds. In fact, a survey of convicted offenders found that only 12% planned their robberies in advance, while the majority acted spontaneously.8 That’s one of the reasons security experts caution against placing valuables where they are visible from the outside.9

  • Check sightlines from your doors and windows.

Don’t tempt robbers with a clear view of the most commonly stolen items, which are cash (think purses and wallets), jewelry, electronics, firearms, and drugs (both illegal and prescription).5 Take a walk around your property to make sure none of these items are easily visible.

  • Secure valuables in a safe.

Consider the possessions that are on display inside your home, as well. It’s always a good idea to lock up firearms, sensitive documents, and expensive or irreplaceable items when you have housekeepers or other service providers on your property.

  1. Highlight Your Security Measures

While it’s prudent to hide your valuables, it’s equally important to advertise your home’s security features. In surveys, convicted burglars admit to avoiding homes with obvious protective measures in place.7,8

  • Install outdoor cameras.

Security cameras are the most common home protection device and for good reason.10 Not only do they help prevent crime (burglars are known to avoid them11), they can offer peace of mind for homeowners who want to sneak a peek at their property while away. And if you do experience a break and enter, security camera footage can help police identify your intruder.

  • Post warning signs.

Security system placards and beware-of-dog signs are also shown to be effective deterrents.8 Of course, you should back up your threats with a noisy alarm and loud barking dog for maximum impact.

  1. Limit What You Share on Social Media

Social media platforms can be a great way to stay connected with friends and family, but it’s easy to reveal more than you’ve intended. Be thoughtful about what you’re posting—and who has access.

  • Delay posting photos or travel updates.

It can be tempting to upload a concert selfie or pictures from your beach vacation. But these types of photos scream: “My house is unoccupied!” Try to wait until you’ve returned home to share the photos on social media.

  • Set privacy restrictions on your accounts.

Think twice about connecting with strangers or casual acquaintances on social media. If you enjoy sharing family updates and personal photos, it’s safer to limit your followers to those you truly know and trust.

YOUR HOME IS SAFE WITH US

We take home security seriously. That’s why we have screening procedures in place to keep our clients and their homes safe when they are for sale. We also remind our buyers to change the locks before they move into their new homes and provide referrals to locksmiths and home security companies that can help. To learn more about our procedures and how you can stay safe during the buying and selling process, contact us to schedule a free consultation!

Sources:

  1. SGI Canada –
    https://www.sgicanada.ca/news?title=preventing-break-ins
  2. Bankrate –
    https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/homeowners-insurance/house-burglary-statistics/
  3. Square One –
    https://www.squareone.ca/resource-centres/home-personal-safety/preventing-break-ins
  4. SafeWise –
    https://www.safewise.com/blog/10-simple-ways-to-secure-your-new-home/
  5. Toronto Police Department –
    https://www.torontopolice.on.ca/crimeprevention/environmental.pdf
  6. Canadian Security Professionals –
    https://www.cspalarms.ca/blog/safety/home-robberies-by-the-numbers-when-you-should-be-the-most-alert/
  7. KGW News –
    https://www.kgw.com/article/news/investigations/86-burglars-say-how-they-break-into-homes/283-344213396
  8. Science Daily –
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516160916.htm
  9. Security.org –
    https://www.security.org/home-security-systems/home-invasion-protection/
  10. SafeWise –
    https://www.safewise.com/resources/security-stats-facts/
  11. The Guardian –
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/18/former-burglars-barking-dogs-cctv-best-deterrent

9 Tips for Buying and Selling Your Home at the Same Time

Selling your home when you still need to shop for a new one can feel daunting to even the most seasoned homeowner––especially when the demand for new homes keeps rising, but the supply feels like it’s dwindling.¹ You’re not alone either if you’re already feeling drained by the complex logistics of trying to sell and buy a new home all at once.

Searching for a new home can be exciting, but many homebuyers admit that it can also be stressful, especially if you live in an unpredictable market with plenty of competitors. Unfortunately, waiting out a competitive housing market isn’t always the best idea either since homes are in notoriously short supply across Canada, and listings are expected to remain limited in the most coveted neighbourhoods for some time.²

That doesn’t mean, though, that you should just throw up your hands and give up on moving altogether. In fact, as a current homeowner, you could be in a better position than most to capitalize on a seller’s market and make a smooth transition from your old home to a new one.

We can help you prepare for the road ahead and answer any questions you have about the real estate market.  For example, here are some of the most frequent concerns we hear from clients who are trying to buy and sell at the same time.

“WHAT WILL I DO IF I SELL MY HOUSE BEFORE I CAN BUY A NEW ONE?”

This is an understandable concern for many sellers since the competitive real estate market makes it tough to plan ahead and predict when you’ll be able to move into your next home. But chances are, you will still have plenty of options if you do sell your home quickly. It may just take some creativity and compromise.

Here are some ideas to make sure you’re in the best possible position when you decide to list your home:

Tip #1: Flex your muscles as a seller.

In a competitive market, buyers may be willing to make significant concessions in order to get the home they want. In some cases, a buyer may agree to a sell and lease back agreement (also known as a “sell house and rent back” option) that allows the seller to continue living in the home after closing for a set period of time and negotiated fee.

This can be a great option for sellers who need to tap into their home equity for a downpayment or who aren’t logistically ready to move into their next home. If you’re dealing with an investor rather than a traditional buyer, you may even be able to negotiate a lengthy lease and lower rent payment than your current mortgage.³

However, leaseback agreements can be complex, with important legal, financial and tax issues to consider.⁴ At minimum, a carefully-worded contract and security deposit should be in place in case of any property damage or unexpected repairs that may be needed during the leaseback period.

Tip #2: Open your mind to short-term housing options.

While it can be a hassle to move out of your old home before you’re ready to move into your new one, it’s a common scenario. If you’re lucky enough to have family or generous friends who offer to take you in, that may be ideal. If not, you’ll need to find temporary housing. Check out furnished apartments, vacation rentals and month-to-month leases. If space is an issue, consider putting some of your furniture and possessions in storage.

You may even find that a short-term rental arrangement can offer you an opportunity to get to know your new neighbourhood better—and lead to a more informed decision about your upcoming purchase.

Tip #3: Embrace the idea of selling now and buying later.

Instead of stressing about timing your home sale and purchase perfectly, consider making a plan to focus on one at a time. Selling before you’re ready to buy your next home can offer a lot of advantages.

For one, you’ll have cash on hand from the sale of your current home. This will put you in a much better position when it comes to buying your next home. From budgeting to mortgage approval to submitting a competitive offer, cash is king. And by focusing on one step at a time, you can alleviate some of the pressure and uncertainty.

“WHAT IF I GET STUCK WITH TWO MORTGAGES AT THE SAME TIME?”

This is one of the most common concerns that we hear from buyers who are selling a home while shopping for a new one, and it’s realistic to expect at least some overlap in mortgage payments. But unless you have a large enough income to comfortably carry two mortgages, you may not pass Canada’s beefed up mortgage stress test until you have a contract on your first home. (You can use the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s Mortgage Qualifier Tool to check your odds.⁵) 

Assuming you can secure financing, however, it’s still a good idea to examine your budget and calculate the maximum number of months you can afford to pay two mortgages before you jump on a new home. Potential stopgap solutions, such as bridge financing, can also help tide you over if you qualify.

If you simply can’t afford to carry both mortgages for any amount of time, or if you are concerned about passing the mortgage stress test, then selling before you buy may be your best option. (See Tip #3 above.) But if you have some flexibility in your budget, it is possible to manage both a home sale and purchase simultaneously. Here are some steps you can take to help streamline the process:

Tip #4: As you get ready to sell, simplify.

You can condense your sales timeline if you only focus on the home renovations and tasks that matter most for selling your home quickly. For example, clean and declutter all of your common areas, refresh your outdoor paint and curb appeal and fix any outstanding maintenance issues as quickly as possible.

But don’t drain unnecessary time and money into pricey renovations and major home projects that could quickly bog you down for an unpredictable amount of time. We can advise you on the repairs and upgrades that are worth your time and investment.

Tip #5: Prep your paperwork.

You’ll also save valuable time by filing as much paperwork as possible early in the process. For example, if you know you’ll need a mortgage to buy your next home, get pre-approved right away so that you can shorten the amount of time it takes to process your loan.⁶

Similarly, set your home sale up for a fast and smooth transition by pulling together any relevant documentation about your current home, including appliance warranties, renovation permits, and repair records. That way, you’re ready to provide quick answers to buyers’ questions should they arise.

Tip #6: Ask us about other conditions that can be included in your contracts.

Part of our job as agents is to negotiate on your behalf and help you win favourable terms. For example, it’s possible to add a contract condition known as a “subject to sale” or “sale of property” (SOP) condition to your purchase offer that lets you cancel the contract if you haven’t sold your previous home.⁷ This tactic could backfire, though, if you’re competing with other buyers. We can discuss the pros and cons of these types of tactics and what’s realistic given the current market dynamics.

“WHAT IF I MESS UP MY TIMING OR BURN OUT FROM ALL THE STRESS?”

When you’re in the pressure cooker of a home sale or have been shopping for a home for a while in a competitive market, it’s easy to get carried away by stress and emotions. To make sure you’re in the right headspace for your homebuying and selling journey, take the time to slow down, breathe and delegate as much as possible. In addition:

Tip #7: Relax and accept that compromise is inevitable.

Rather than worry about getting every detail right with your housing search and home sale, trust that things will work out eventually––even if it doesn’t look like your Plan A or even your Plan B or Plan C. Perfecting every detail with your home decor or timing your home sale perfectly isn’t necessary for a successful home sale and compromise will almost always be necessary. Luckily, if you’ve got a good team of professionals, you can relax knowing that others have your back and are monitoring the details behind the scenes.

Tip #8: Don’t worry too much if your path is straying from convention.

Remember that rules-of-thumb and home-buying trends are just that: they are estimates, not facts. So if your home search or sale isn’t going exactly like your neighbours’ experience, it doesn’t mean that you are doomed to fail.

It’s possible, for example, that seasonality trends may affect sales in your neighbourhood. So a delayed sale in the summer or fall could affect your journey––but not necessarily. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, the housing market used to be more competitive during the fall and spring and less competitive during the winter. But it’s not a hard and fast rule and real estate markets across Canada have seen major shifts in recent years.⁸ Every real estate transaction is different. That’s why it’s important to talk to a local agent about your specific situation.

Tip #9: Enlist help early.

If possible, call us early in the process. We’ll not only provide you with key guidance on what you should do ahead of time to prepare your current home for sale, we’ll also help you narrow down your list of must-haves and wants for your next one. That way, you’ll be prepared to act quickly and confidently when you spot a great house and are ready to make an offer.

It’s our job to guide you and advocate on your behalf. So don’t be afraid to lean on us throughout the process. We’re here to ease your burden and make your move as seamless and stress-free as possible.

BOTTOMLINE: COLLABORATE WITH A REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL TO GET TAILORED ADVICE THAT WORKS FOR YOU

Buying and selling a home at the same time is challenging. But it doesn’t have to be a nightmare, and it can even be fun. The key is to educate yourself about the market and prepare yourself for multiple scenarios. One of the best and easiest ways to do so is to partner with a knowledgeable and trustworthy agent.

A good agent will not only help you evaluate your situation, we will also provide you with honest and individually tailored advice that addresses your unique needs and challenges. Depending on your circumstances, now may be a great time to sell your home and buy a new one. But a thorough assessment may instead show you that you’re better off pausing your search for a while longer.

Contact us for a free consultation so that we can help you review your options and decide the best way forward.

Sources:

  1. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) National Statistics –
    https://creastats.crea.ca/en-CA/
  2. Scotiabank Global Economics Housing Note – https://www.scotiabank.com/ca/en/about/economics/economics-publications/post.other-publications.housing.housing-note.housing-note–may-12-2021-.html
  3. CBC News –
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/housing-real-estate-toronto-market-sell-stay-rent-1.4075093
  4. Appraisal Institute of Canada – https://www.aicanada.ca/article/possible-valuation-issues-with-life-lease-housing/
  5. Financial Consumer Agency of Canada –
    https://itools-ioutils.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/MQ-HQ/MQ-EAPH-eng.aspx
  6. Government of Canada – https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/mortgages/preapproval-qualify-mortgage.htm
  7. RBC Bank –
    https://www.rbcroyalbank.com/mortgages/selling-buying-home.html
  8. Canadian Real Estate Association –  https://www.realtor.ca/blog/are-spring-and-fall-housing-markets-a-thing-of-the-past/20405/1361