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Monthly Archives: April 2016

Reasons You Should Buy a Home

There are many reasons why you should consider jumping into the real estate market and buying a home. Below is a list :

  • House prices tend to rise over time, So a house is one of the best investments you can make. Home prices in the U.S. have risen three percent to six percent a year for the past 20 years. That trend is likely to continue. So if you buy a home now, you’ve put your capital in a safe investment where it is likely to grow.
  • You’ll be able to use the equity in your home for low-cost loans for other purposes. You can access the paid-up equity you accumulate in your home in the form of a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit. Because they are secured, home equity loans and lines of credit generally carry a lower interest rate than other types of consumer loans, such as auto loans. The interest on them is generally tax-deductible, as well.
  • You’ll pay less tax. You can deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage from your taxable income. The value of this tax break depends on factors like your personal tax bracket, the size of your mortgage, the rate of interest you pay on it and how long you’ve held the mortgage. As a rule, the newer the mortgage, the greater the amount of interest you pay each month and the bigger the tax break. Therefore, recent buyers with young mortgages tend to get the greatest benefit.
  • You’ll be buying a piece of real property rather than putting money in a landlord’s pocket each month. The real cost of renting is higher than the monthly payment. There is also an opportunity cost equal to the amount you would gain by using the money to purchase a home instead. Even if the house you purchased did not appreciate in price, you would be able to sell it and recoup some of the money you put into it.
  • Interest rates are currently very low. This makes it relatively inexpensive to take out a mortgage. The lower the interest rate, the less you actually pay for your house and the sooner you can pay the mortgage off. Use our calculator to see how different interest rates affect the total cost of your mortgage and the time it takes to retire it.
  • You’ll have the stability and emotional security of owning your own home. No more worrying about dictatorial or negligent landlords, rent increases or the possibility your building will be sold and redeveloped or turned into a condo. You’ll be able to live in your house as long as you like, fix your monthly payments for as long as 30 years and you’ll be in charge.
  • You’ll be able to redecorate and renovate any way you like, any time you like. Rules about the paint colors you can use will be a thing of the past. And you’ll be able to tear out walls, install a powder room and make any other improvements you want. Best of all, if you decide to sell, you’ll recoup at least part of the cost of the improvements.
  • You can have a garden. This is one of the big pluses of ownership–a little piece of land you can call your own, where you can grow tomatoes or roses, barbeque, and play with your kids and pets.
  • You Quit Renting, why contribute to someones mortgage payments when you could be paying off your own? With programs available such as the new 40-year amortizations and no money down with a good credit score, it is easier than ever to own a home. And with the current market increase in rent it can sometimes be cheaper to own than it is to rent and there is no fear of your mortgage payments suddenly increasing.
  • You’ll have Security, You don’t have to worry about your house being sold out from under you to out-of-province investors. If renting and faced with this scenario, you could find yourself faced with an unreasonable increase to your rent, thereby leaving you potentially homeless or too poor to eat. These increases could continue indefinitely so the investors can make more money or so that you will feel forced to leave and they can turn your building into a condominium.
  • You’ll have Investment, the price of real estate continues to increase every year, therefore purchasing real estate is one of the safest long-term investments a person can make. If you had the choice between putting money towards a new car or a new house, a house should win every time as it will appreciate in value over the years whereas a car does the opposite. Once you own one house and build some equity you may also be in a financial position to buy another and rent one out.
  • Pride of Ownership, one of the biggest reasons people buy properties is the pride of saying they own something. Even if it is a little starter home or apartment style condo, it is yours and you can do with it as you please, and for that, a person should be proud, as ownership is an accomplishment.
  • Freedom, you are free to do what you want in your own home, whether you want to paint the walls in pink and black zebra or put carpet on the ceiling (not recommended of course!) You have the freedom to express yourself and your personal tastes and change the house to suit your needs. You can hang as many pictures as you want and do renovations as you please. Just keep in mind that when you are ready to sell your home, not everyone may like what you do.
  • Equity, one of the best things about owning a home is that you are building equity, which gives you more freedom financially as you can access a home equity loan. You may then borrow against the equity you have built in your home for a wide variety of reasons including home improvements, paying for school for your children, medical reasons, or even starting your own business. Check with your lender, as these vary from one to the next.
  • Privacy, if you own your own house, you don’t ever have to worry about the owners checking up on you, since you are the owner! You will gain much more independence and privacy when you have your own property.
  • Sense of Community, Owning a house gives you a feeling of belonging in that neighborhood and gives you the sense of putting down roots and getting established. There are also many neighborhood groups that you can become involved in, and if you have children it may be of benefit for schools and friends.

Guide to Set up Your Home for Sale

As with any project, selling a home is easier if you’ve got a solid plan and a bit of professional help. To make the process as smooth as possible, you’ll want to start by making a list of needed projects and involving a real estate agent.

Getting Started
Your first step in preparing your home for sale is to create an overall list of things to do. This consumer guide can help, but you would also do well to consult with an experienced real estate agent who regularly handles properties in your neighborhood. If you are still trying to decide which real estate agent to list your home with, creating a things-to-do list is a good get-to-know-you exercise that will tell you a great deal about a real estate agent’s experience and how comfortable you are working with him or her. Preparing a list will also help should you decide to sell your home on your own, since you will still need to fix up prior to putting it on the market.

Though it’s certainly possible to prepare your home for sale on your own, involving a real estate agent as you make your list can be more helpful than you might think. First, an agent experienced in working with homes in your neighborhood is the most qualified person to tell you how your home will be perceived by potential buyers who shop in your market. For instance, an experienced real estate agent can tell you whether the kitchen needs painting or needs a new floor or new countertrops. Second, a real estate agent is objective and will see your home through the eyes of an outsider, just as potential buyers will. Home sale preparation is a bit tricky for those who’ve been living in the house. Things that look perfectly fine to you because you’ve been looking at them for years and years may stand out as needing attention in the eyes of an objective observer.

Taking Objective Advice When Selling a Home
While real estate agents can be great resources, they are nearly useless if you make it clear that you don’t want any bad news. We all become quite emotionally attached to our homes. In many ways, our home is an extension of ourselves, and it is difficult to have someone tell us that the shade of paint we picked out for the den is a liability in selling the house. We are bound to be a little hurt and will often respond by, in effect, shooting the messenger.

Instead, we should make a decision up front: Do we want good advice or do we want to hear only what makes us feel good? Just hearing what makes us feel good can be expensive when the final sale price for your home is determined. Selling a house that doesn’t show well can be a real nightmare, but since a realtor does not want to lose a listing, if we make it clear that we don’t want to hear anything critical about our home, he or she won’t offer such information.

Making Your Home Sale Preparation List
You’ve found an experienced local real estate agent, and you’ve made it clear in voice and action that you want a clear analysis of what needs to be done to prepare your home for sale. Together you can systematically develop a list of what will need to be done and why. Your real estate agent can help with the details and give you sound advice on how far to go with each project without spending money that you won’t get back.

Exterior appeal

Stand outside your home and compare it to your neighbours’ properties. If you do this and it makes you feel slightly mortified, it’s likely that you’ve already failed to impress your potential buyers.

Ask yourself :

  • When was the last time I mowed the lawn?
  • Have I ever cleaned those gutters out?
  • Could those window frames use some fresh paint?
  • Were those paving slabs always that uneven?
  • Don’t those children’s toys have somewhere to be?

Those gorgeous photographs of your daughter, husband, wife, nephew, best friend, cat and so forth that line the hallway and stairwell? Take them down. All of them. The ones in the bedroom too, and the living room, and everywhere else in the house. Don’t forget the cute finger painting your three year old made you for your birthday last year that’s still stuck on the fridge.

Your buyers don’t want to see the lovely life you’ve made for yourself in your beautiful home. They want to imagine the lovely life they could make for themselves in their beautiful potential new home. Don’t allow anything to clutter that vision.

Spring clean

Clean! Clean as though your life depended on it. We’re not talking about a quick once-over. Serious attention to detail is necessary here.

  • Dust the skirting boards (if you don’t know what a skirting board is, yours probably really need dusting)
  • Clean the windows (inside and out) and then polish them for extra shine
  • Dust light fixtures and furniture
  • Vacuum like there’s no tomorrow
  • Polish taps and mirrors
  • Clean out the refrigerator and (deodorise it by a placing an open box of baking soda inside it to soak up dours and wiping down the inside surfaces with vanilla extract)

Repair, restore, revamp

The devil is in the details, and the sale of your home could be hampered by simple little things that you’ve stopped paying attention to. Try to look at your home from the perspective of your buyer, and think about the details that would impress or dismay you if you were in their position. Then take care of those details immediately.

  • Replace broken light bulbs
  • Fix leaky taps
  • Fix doors and drawers that don’t open or close properly
  • Repair cracks in the walls
  • Touch up paint and repaint altogether where necessary (in a neutral color)
  • Replace cushion covers, bedspreads and curtains that are worn or have garish colours and patterns

Let there be light

Lots of natural light usually tops the list of things people are looking for in a home. This is great news if you own a home on a barren cliff top with ceiling-to-floor glass facing the afternoon sun, but that’s not always on the cards, is it?

Fortunately, there are other ways to maximize the light in your house – natural or otherwise – and give the impression of having plenty of bright, airy space.

  • Replace dim light bulbs with higher wattage
  • Don’t just pull open those heavy, dark curtains – pull them down altogether
  • In areas of your house that are particularly dark, install some extra light fixtures
  • Prune any trees or vines that are casting shadows inside the house

 

Speaking of clutter

Get rid of it. If you’ve accumulated a lot of bits and pieces over the years (and you definitely have), now’s the time to either a) throw them out, b) give them to charity or c) find proper, neat places for them in a closet or cupboard. You might even consider having a garage sale to purge your house of all that unnecessary ‘stuff’. Do whatever you need to so that your buyers never have to lock eyes on it.

Pay specific attention to :

  • Books, CDs and DVDs
  • Ornaments and knick-knacks
  • Kitchen tools and appliances that currently live on the counters
  • Potted plants
  • Posters on your children’s bedroom walls

Another idea many sellers have embraced is renting storage space to temporarily keep any extra furniture that could be making their house feel crowded. Be radical – remove half the furniture in your living room and see how spacious, sleek and light it looks and feels without it. As a general guide, there should be enough space for people to move around the room unhindered, and enough furniture to convey the room’s purpose.

Get out

Presumably your estate agent knows what she’s doing and has sold some houses before. Why not leave her to get on with it?

No offence, but prospective buyers don’t really want you hovering over them while they’re trying to nose around in your wardrobe and pass judgment on your crockery. It’s a bit off-putting. If they feel awkward, they’re much less likely to linger in your home and get the full impact of how great it is and how they’d very much like to buy it.

Control your pets

No buyer wants to be greeted at the door by your charming King Charles Spaniel. Or any other breed of dog, cat, rabbit, guinea pig and so on. If possible, remove pets altogether when you’re showing your property. Ask a friend or family member to take them off your hands for awhile. This brings us to our next point.