Joanna Sacchetti

Is selling your property the furthest thing from your mind? Well, here are some reasons for listing your property that you might not have considered.



1.  Your property may be worth more than you think. (It’s difficult to determine market value on your own. I can calculate it for you. Give me a call.)
2.  You might qualify for a better home than you anticipate.
3.  Perhaps you are tired of your current property and want a change.
4.  There may be homes on the market in a neighbourhood in which you’ve always wanted to live.
5.  Your current property may no longer meet your needs.
6.  Your neighbourhood may have changed in ways you don’t like.
7.  You might be ready to downsize or upsize and you no longer want to put that off.
8.  You may want to sell in the fall, so you can have a fresh start in a new home in the new year.
9.  Depending on the type of home you’re considering, you could end up with lower mortgage payments or no mortgage at all.
10.  You might want to move to a home that’s more conveniently
located near work, family and hobbies.



Of course, you may have your own reasons for listing this month. Why not discuss them with a real estate expert? Me. I can answer your questions and explain the options available to you.

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Imagine there’s a neighbourhood you’d love to live in someday, but, every time you drive through, you rarely, if ever, see a For Sale sign. It’s as if homes get gobbled up by buyers the moment they get listed.

It’s true, properties do tend to sell quickly in desirable, in-demand neighbourhoods. Does that mean you’re destined to either hope for a lucky break or miss out on ever living there?

Fortunately, no. There are practical things you can do to increase your chances of getting into that neighbourhood.

Your first step is to find out the kind of new home you can afford. You want to get your financial ducks in a row so when a listing does come up in the area, you’re able to respond quickly. Find out the average price range of homes in the neighbourhood. Then, if necessary, talk to your lender or mortgage broker.

The second step is to get your current property ready for sale. You don’t necessary need to list it now, but you want to be in a position to do so quickly, if necessary. You may need to clean up and declutter, get repairs done, and spruce up your home in other ways.

The third step is to talk to me.

You see, listings in popular neighbourhoods often move fast. By the time you see them advertised on the internet, they may be gone. I can closely monitor listings in that area for you, so the moment one comes up that meets your criteria, you can be alerted. This greatly increases your chances of getting that home.

So if there is a dream neighbourhood you’d love to get into, give me a call.

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There’s a lot of housing market talk again this week with the January numbers coming in, and B.C. taking some measures in its 2016 budget. In addition to the transfer tax changes, B.C. is also promising to collect better data on the impact foreign buyers are having on the local market. While we still don’t know exactly how big their impact is, what we have known for a while now is that the fundamentals in Vancouver and Toronto are strong enough on their own to drive solid price gains. Consider these three simple facts (can also see AM Charts):

 

1)    Demand is strong: Population growth in the 30-39 age group (prime first-time or move-up buying years) is accelerating in Toronto and Vancouver. At the same time, these two cities have accounted for 75% of Canada’s net job growth over the past two years.

 

2)    Supply is constrained: Vancouver’s geography is well documented, but in Toronto, development restrictions contributed to 2015 seeing the lowest annual number of detached home completions in 37 years (and that’s not a population-adjusted number!).

 

3)    Financing is cheap: Demand is robust, supply is constrained, and those two forces are butting up against each other in a record-low interest rate environment. A five-year fixed mortgage is barely above the expected long-run inflation rate. The longer this lasts, the hotter these markets will burn. In some cases (like 16% y/y gains in Vancouver condo prices), fundamentally-driven price gains appear to be morphing into something more—something that usually doesn’t end all that nicely.

 

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As you’re probably aware, the list price you set for your property has an impact on how quickly it sells — and how much you earn on the sale.

 

What you may not realize is just how significant an impact it has. Consider the following examples.

 

Example 1:

You price your property well above its current market value. As a result, many buyers don’t bother to see it because it’s outside of their price range. Those who do see it are confused by the high price tag, (and may even be suspicious.) They may wonder, “What’s going on?”

 

In this scenario, the home will likely languish on the market for weeks or even months. You might even have to lower the price dramatically to re-ignite interest.

 

Example 2:

You price your property just a couple of percentage points lower than what is necessary to gain the interest of qualified buyers. That might not seem like much of a problem. How much can a couple of percentage points matter?

 

Those points matter a lot.

 

On a $400,000 property, pricing your home just 2% lower than necessary could cost you $8,000 on the sale. That’s a serious amount of money!

 

So, as you can see, pricing your home right is serious business. Fortunately, a good REALTOR® knows how to set the right price.

 

Looking for a good REALTOR®? Call today.

 

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What Home Inspectors See That You Can’t

 

When you make an offer on a home, it’s a smart idea to have a professional home inspector check it out from top to bottom. This inspection will ensure that the property doesn’t have any unexpected “issues”. After all, you don’t want to buy a home only to discover that the roof needs to be replaced, immediately, for thousands of dollars.

 

That being said, you might question whether you really need to invest the few hundred dollars it costs for a professional home inspection. “The home we want to buy looks like it’s in very good shape,” you might be thinking. “I can’t see anything wrong with it.”

 

However, a professional home inspector can see things you can’t. When you view a property that’s on the market, you might be able to notice obvious issues, like a crack in the foundation or a dripping faucet. If you’re experienced with home maintenance, you might even notice roofing tiles that look like they’re overdue for replacement.

 

But you won’t pick up all the issues a home inspector can.

 

A home inspector will, for example, use a special device to check for moisture build-up in the washrooms – which can be an indication of mould. He or she will also inspect wiring to make sure everything is safe and compliant with the building code.

 

That’s not all.

 

Like a determined detective, a home inspector will investigate the property’s structure, electrical and plumbing systems, insulation, and other components — and then report the findings to you.

 

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Many homeowners think there’s not much they can do about telephone, heating, water and other utility expenses. Sure, you may grumble about a high heating bill one month, but what can you do about it?

 

Turns out, you can do plenty. There are several ways to reduce monthly utility costs that can save you tens or even hundreds of dollars. For example:

 

  • Shop around for a better phone plan. Then contact your phone company. They might match the rates.

 

  • Turn down the thermostat on your water heater. You likely don’t need tap water to be that hot.

 

  • Clean the screen on your outside air conditioning unit regularly. (Gently with the water hose.) Dirt and leaves can build up on it, reducing the unit’s efficiency.

 

  • Leverage the sun. Open curtains in the winter to gain heat. Block direct sunlight in summer to keep the cool air inside.

 

  • Scrutinize your bill. There may be extras you’re paying for that you don’t need.

 

  • Play with the thermostat. Experiment with setting the temperature a couple of degrees lower. You might not notice any difference.

 

It’s worth paying attention to your utility costs. Just a few smart moves can save you some serious money.

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When would you talk to a car salesperson? Probably only once you’re ready to buy a new car. You would do some initial research (perhaps on the internet), get an idea of what you want, and then go to the dealership to meet a salesperson, test drive the car and make the purchase.

 

Although that approach may work when you’re buying a car, it’s not the best approach when it comes to real estate.

 

You see, successfully buying or selling a home requires a lot of planning and legwork. You want the process to go smoothly, the right decisions to be made, and the best possible deal to be negotiated.  

 

After all, this is the purchase and/or sale of your home!

 

So, the best time to talk to a REALTOR® is as early in the process as possible.

 

In fact, even if you’re just thinking of buying or selling — and simply want to explore the possibility of making a move sometime this year — you should have a conversation with a good REALTOR®.

 

A REALTOR® will answer your questions, provide you with the information and insights you need, help you avoid costly mistakes, and make sure you’re heading in the right direction.

 

When you are ready to buy or sell, having worked with a REALTOR® early in the process will help ensure you get what you want.

 

So talk to a good REALTOR® when:

 

  • You have a question about the local market.

  • You want to know what your home might sell for today.

  • You’re interested in checking out homes currently available on the market.

  • You’re in the midst of deciding whether or not to make a move.

  • You’ve decided to buy or sell.

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When you put your home up for sale, you want it to look its best to potential buyers. That’s why you clean, tidy and de-clutter every room.

 

Some sellers, however, miss the backyard. You need to pay just as much attention to that space as you do to the interior of your home. The backyard is as important a living space as the family room. To some buyers, even more.

 

Buyers want to see an attractive backyard space, with the grass cut and the hedges trimmed. The more neat and tidy you can make it, the better. Be sure to sweep walkways and wipe down patio furniture.

 

Also, watch out for the following things that buyers do not want to see:

 

  • Bags of garage and other waste.

  • Doggie do-do. (Be sure to stoop and scoop!)

  • Rakes and other tools piled in the corner.

  • Cluttered and disorganized storage sheds, pool huts and other backyard structures.

  • Weeds in the flower beds.

  • Items stored underneath the deck.

  • Hoses not stowed neatly.

  • Electrical outlets and water faucets that don’t work.

 

These are not difficult issues to fix. Doing so will positively impact the impression the buyer gets of your backyard.

 

Do you have a backyard that shows particularly well in the summer? Here’s a tip: Take pictures. Those photos will help buyers be able to appreciate how it looks should you list your home in the winter.

 

Want more tips on making your home show well so that it sells fast? Call today.

 

 

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If you see a haze of condensation on your window, should you be concerned? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on a number of factors.

 

First of all, an occasional build-up of condensation is normal and often the result of fluctuating humidity in the home. Usually, it’s nothing to worry about. If you’re using a humidifier, try adjusting the levels. If the humidity is being generated naturally, try placing a dehumidifier nearby. Also, remove any plants and firewood from the area, as they can release a surprising volume of moisture into the air.

 

Do you see moisture in between the panes of glass that make up the window? If so, that means the seal has failed and moisture has crept in. Double and triple pane windows often contain a gas (argon, for example) that boosts the insulating qualities of the window. When the seal fails, the gas disappears, making the glass colder and often allowing condensation to creep in. Eventually, you’ll want to get it replaced.

 

If you see moisture build-up anywhere on the frame of the window, particularly at the joints, that could be a sign of water leaking through. That’s an issue you should get checked out immediately by a window contractor.

 

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There are many reasons why the air quality in your home may not be at its best. A faulty furnace or an aged carpet are just two potential culprits. Until you get those issues addressed, how do you make your indoor air healthier — today? Here are some ideas:

• Check the furnace filter. This is one of the most overlooked maintenance items in the home. Any furnace repair person can tell you stories about filters they’ve seen caked in dust. Make sure those aren’t yours. Air passes through those filters before circulating throughout your home. Replacing a filter takes less than five minutes.

• Clean the drains. Drains are a surprisingly common source of odour in the home. Most people only clean them when they’re clogged, but they should be flushed thoroughly with a good-quality cleaner at least once a season. • Turn on the bathroom fan. Not only do bathroom fans remove odour, they also reduce moisture build-up. About 50% of air pollutants originate from some type of moisture; mould being the worst. Professionals recommend you keep the bathroom fan on for at least 30 minutes after a shower.

• Clean your doormat. Even if your doormat doesn’t smell, it can be a source of air pollutants. When people wipe their shoes, they transfer pesticides and other outside ground pollutants from their shoes to your mat. Of course, you can always open a window. That’s the most popular way to freshen the air, and it works.

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Usually when you list your home, you would prefer to sell it quickly. It’s like being the first one served at a crowded ice cream parlour. It’s satisfying.

However, sometimes there’s more to it than that. There may be a truly urgent reason why you need to find a buyer for your property as soon as possible, such as a sudden job relocation.

If that’s the case, it’s important to explain your situation to your REALTOR®, who will be able to put together an action plan for selling your home quickly and for the best price possible.

During that conversation, ask what you can do to help the process along. For example, you may be able to:

  • Spread the word to your friends and other connections on Facebook.
  • Canvass your neighbours and tell them about your listing.
  • Stage your home so that it’s more attractive to prospective buyers.

When it comes to price, be prepared to be flexible. That doesn’t mean you must settle for a price far below your home’s market value. However, you do need to be prepared to accept a good offer rather than try to hold out for a great one.

Also be open to as many viewings and open houses as possible. Having many prospective buyers come through your home within a short period of time may be a little inconvenient, but the payoff might be an offer!

Finally, work with your REALTOR®. A good REALTOR® will know the local market well and have many ideas for selling your property fast.

Looking for a good REALTOR® like that? Call today.

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You probably don't think buying a lighting fixture for a room is all that complicated. It isn't. However, it does require you to consider which types of lighting you may need. According to the Lighting Association, there are three types:

  1. General lighting. By far the most common, this is the type of lighting that is designed to create a functional brightness that spreads throughout a room. A good example is a main ceiling light.
  1. Task lighting. As the name implies, this type provides extra light needed for a specific task, such as working at a desk or chopping onions on a kitchen countertop. A bedside lamp used for reading is another example of task lighting.
  1. Accent lighting. This type is designed to set off a particular feature of a room, such as a painting. It creates some practical light, but its main purpose is to add to the overall decor. (Example to right)

 

When choosing lighting for a room, it's important to consider these three types. First, decide how best to light the space generally. Then think about any special lighting you might need for specific functions, such as reading. Finally, consider how accent lighting might add to the overall look

.

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The Toronto market was one of the hottest in the country. Buyers vied for properties in an environment of acutely constrained inventory.

The social and economic factors that have influenced the Toronto market in recent years remain unchanged, so it is reasonable to expect we will see continued price appreciation in Toronto and surrounding areas in 2015.

Demand both here and in Vancouver for higher-end homes is largely being driven by downsizing baby boomers and the wealthy, including foreign buyers, looking to Canada’s two biggest cities as stable, safe havens, said McCredie in an interview.  In fact, some foreign investors are increasingly looking to Toronto because it’s still more affordable than Vancouver, he added.

The real story maybe more in the GTA than anywhere else in Canada, is that the baby boomer is largely driving this market right now.  They have a lot of money, they are inheriting a lot of money and they are giving away a lot of money.

Sales of $2 million to $4 million homes were up 38% over 2013 and $4 million plus sales were up 10%, says Sotherby’s.

The number of Toronto houses and condos that sold for over $1 million in 2014 surged by 38% over 201 as “robust consumer demand” and a shortage of listings continued to drive house prices skyward.

There are about 270,000 high-net worth families in Canada and there are more of them driving this marketing than every before, especially in the GTA.

Some 7,527 condos and single family homes (detached, semis and townhomes) sold for over $1million in 2014 across the GTA.  That’s a relatively small portion of the more than 90,000 homes that changed hands in the GTA in 2014.

Toronto joined the list of the top 10 most expensive cities in the world. An updated Swiss wealth management firm suggests the city jumped around 20 spots from later year, ranking either among 73 cities surveyed.  Toronto ranked higher than London, Singapore and even Paris.  The survey also found employees in the Canadian cities enjoy relatively high purchasing power from their hourly wages with Toronto ranking 14th.

Real Estate is increasingly driving the Canadian economy.  Stats Can reported the country’s real estate industry has contributed to national GDP growth since 2000 more than the energy, manufacturing and healthcare industries combined.

The real estate sector – buyer and selling property, and leasing and renting property – contributed almost $207.7 billion to Canada’s GDP in the month of August, representing 12.8% of the total national GDP.  That contribution rose a whopping 35.4% over the last 10 years.

It’s not unrealistic or surprising, and the with the lack of available homes and low interest rates and the net migration…prices will increase across the board.   A new study says that we will need another 4.5 million homes over the next three decades.

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Sometimes we don't have much choice about selling our home and buying another. Circumstances, such as a job relocation, may have made that choice for us.

However, most often the decision to move is discretionary. Sometimes people move simply because they think it's a good idea. They feel that "now" is the right time to find their next dream home.

So how do you make that kind of decision?

There are, of course, many reasons to make a discretionary move. Usually, those reasons fall into one of two categories: need and want.

You may need to find a new home, for example, because you've outgrown your current property. Perhaps you have a growing family and require more space. Maybe you're doing more entertaining and need a larger backyard with a more spacious deck. It could be that the commute to work is arduous and you need to move to a place that's closer.

Those "needs" may motivate you to move, but sometimes a "want" plays an important role, too.

For example, you may want to live in a quieter neighbourhood or in a newly built home that requires less maintenance. Maybe you simply want a change.

If you're thinking of making a move, take a moment to write down a list of your needs and wants. Seeing them on paper will help make the decision easier.

Looking for expert help? Call today.

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Have you ever driven up to a restaurant and your first impression was disappointing? Perhaps the windows looked dark and gloomy, the façade was worn and unattractive or for some other reason it just didn't look like a tempting place to eat.

It could still be a fantastic restaurant – a real gem. But, your first impression has soured your anticipation. If you still walk through the front door, it will likely be with the expectation of being disappointed.

This scenario often plays out in the real estate market as well.

A buyer drives up to a home for sale and quickly forms an impression based on what he sees "from the curb". That's why you'll hear real estate experts talk about the importance of "curb appeal". It's one of the most important selling points of a property.

If you plan to put your home on the market, you obviously want your home to look as attractive as possible from the street. Fortunately, there are many simple things you can do to improve curb appeal.

For example, you can trim shrubs and hedges, plant flowers, clean the walkway and driveway, paint the front door and garage door, and clean the exteriors of the windows. All these projects are relatively easy and inexpensive. Yet, each can make a dramatic improvement to how your home looks at first glance.

Don't be like the great restaurant that’s hidden behind an unkept façade. Make sure your curb appeal reflects the overall value of your property.

Looking for more advice on selling your home quickly and for the best price? Call today.

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Canadian home sales held steady on a seasonally-adjusted basis in November, leaving activity up a modest 2.7% in the past year. While sales are still running comfortably above their 10-year average, activity has levelled off since peaking in August. With sales running at around 56% of new listings, and the months’ supply of homes for sale a very-normal 5.8, the national picture remains balanced. Prices continue to push higher, but all signs suggest that momentum has levelled off with the average transaction price up 5.7% y/y, and the more representative MLS HPI up 5.2% y/y—price growth isn’t exactly cooling yet, but it’s not accelerating anymore either. The familiar story about price growth largely being a 3-city show still rings true, though that list could be trimmed to 2 in short order (more on that below). Scanning across 26 major cities, fully 18 saw average prices up by less than the national average, with the median tucked comfortably at 3.5%. Here are some notable city trends: 

The slide in oil prices is going to take some, if not all, of the steam out of Calgary and Edmonton—and it may be doing so already. Sales in Calgary grew a tame 5.5% y/y in November, while new listings jumped 15% y/y. Early-December results from the city are more glaring, with sales flat and new listings popping more than 35% y/y. True, December is a slow month with a small sample, but that, combined with November’s result, is a decent hint that Calgary’s market could be rolling over. As Alberta-wide economic growth slows below the national average next year, inward migration will likely weaken as well, and flows from other provinces have been adding roughly a full percentage point to population growth in recent years.

Regina continues to weaken, with benchmark prices down 3.4% y/y. While sales are still healthy, the market remains flooded with supply—the sales-to-new listings ratio is at the low end of the historical range, while the months’ supply across Saskatchewan has popped above 7.

Vancouver prices continue to rise at a 5% y/y-plus pace (MLS HPI). Market balance remains near the tightest since mid-2009, with the sales-to-new listings ratio topping 58% in November, up almost 8 ticks from a year ago (the biggest gain in the country). Detached home prices are far outpacing those for condos.

Toronto benchmark prices were up 7.7% y/y in November, with detached homes in the city arguably the strongest sub-market in Canada, now that Calgary is poised to slow. Single-family homes are up almost 9% y/y, or twice the rate of condos, with lack of quality supply clearly an issue in the face of strong demand.

East of Toronto, half of the 10 reporting regions are seeing average prices below year-ago levels amid challenging demographics and very elevated supply. Note that Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland & Labrador each have more than 10 months’ worth of supply on the market. Quebec is showing some sign of improvement, but market balance remains unfavourable.

The Bottom Line: Canada’s housing market continues to look balanced on a national basis, with strong price growth still coming from 3 select cities—and suffice it so say that Calgary can be soon crossed off that list. That leaves Vancouver and Toronto, where most of the gains are being fanned by lack of supply in the detached market.

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"Staging" your home is all about making the space in your home as appealing as possible to buyers. You may already know the basics, such as eliminating clutter. Here are some other tips that are less well known yet very effective:

  • Chandeliers. Surprisingly, these are one of the simplest ways to make a foyer, dining room or living room dramatically more eye-catching. You can buy a good-looking chandelier for a few hundred dollars.
  • New linen. This is something many home sellers don't consider, but should. Replace any worn linen – sheets, coverings, towels, and even oven mitts with new ones. Believe it or not, new linen makes a big impression on buyers.
  • Pedestal sinks. It may not be practical for you to replace a bathroom sink. However, if you are doing a renovation, keep in mind that pedestal sinks – especially in small washrooms – are a big hit with buyers.
  • New appliances. A brand new fridge, stove and dishwasher are motivating selling features to buyers. That's because new appliances make the whole kitchen look brand new.
  • Avoid multi-use rooms. Have a spare bedroom that doubles as a home office? That's a turnoff to buyers. Whenever possible, stage each room so that it has a singular purpose. A guest bedroom, for example, should be only that.

Want more tips on how to stage your home so that it attracts buyers? Call today.

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You would have to visit your local pharmacy or science lab to rival the number of potentially dangerous chemicals in the average home. You likely store everything from fertilizers and acidic cleaners to gasoline and corrosive drain openers.

Obviously, it makes sense to ensure that everyone in your home uses and stores such items safely.

For example, laundry detergent packs – which have become popular recently – are attractive to children. Keep them locked and out of sight. You should do the same with all laundry products. Even exposure to fabric softener pads can cause skin irritation to a child.

Always read and follow the labels on household chemical products. Use and store them as directed.

Keep corrosives, such as harsh cleaners and drain openers, separate from other chemicals and in a place where, should they leak, they will cause minimal or no damage.

Also, never put a chemical in anything other than its original container. You don’t want to take the chance that paint thinner stored in an old water bottle, for example, is mistaken for water!

Finally, make sure you have the phone number to your local Poison Control Center in a handy place, such as your fridge door. (You can find a list of numbers at www.CAPCC.ca in Canada and www.AAPCC.org in the U.S.)

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Imagine you're viewing a potential new home. You walk in the front door and are instantly impressed. You explore the property room by room and like what you see.

Then there's something you notice that's not quite right. An odour. You realize that it's likely cat dander and, now that you've identified it, you smell it everywhere. Suddenly the home doesn't seem as attractive as it did just moments earlier.

The owner of the property is probably so used to the smell that he doesn't even notice it. Neither does anyone else in the household.

So, when marketing your home for sale, be scent sensitive. Think about the odours that you may have become used to but others are likely to notice. Even odours you think are pleasant, like the strong scent given off by some house plants, may not be pleasing to everyone.

An odour can easily distract a buyer from appreciating the good qualities of your property. Pay particular attention to garbage bins (which can smell even when empty), pets, kitty litter (even when fresh and unused), the kitchen (especially after cooking), perfumes, and closets.

The smell of cigarette smoke is particularly unpleasant to many people. Its odour can linger even on an outside deck or patio.

Bottom line? Don't assume buyers won't notice certain smells. They will.

Looking for more advice on selling your home quickly and for the best price? Call today.

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Some people can live in their homes for years without ever experiencing a power outage. In fact, even in areas prone to serious storms or snowfalls, power loss doesn't happen that often. No wonder so many homeowners are caught unprepared when it does. 

To make sure you're not caught unprepared, follow these tips:

  • Replace batteries in unused flashlights every six months.
  • Keep candles and matches in a handy place. Monitor them closely when lit and always blow them out before going to sleep.
  • For computers and phones, consider purchasing a power backup. (Some models provide up to 8 hours of power for two or three devices.)
  • Know the address of your local fire station and nearest community centre. These are the most common places to find help during a power outage.

When the power does go out, make sure the stove is turned off. You don't want an unattended burner or gas leak when the power finally comes back on.

 

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