Under normal circumstances, putting your property on the market in the fall can be an overwhelming process, even for an experienced homeowner. This year may feel especially daunting given the unknowns surrounding the pandemic and market stability. 


A slow spring gave way to a promising summer real estate market. In July the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) reported national home sales bounced back from their pandemic-induced springtime lows, rising 26% month-over-month. If this recovery momentum continues, the typically busier fall season could see a wave of homeowners listing their properties with plenty of buyers waiting to snap them up. 


If you count yourself among the owners looking to list before the end of the year, we’re here to provide you with a few key steps you can take to prepare ahead of time. 

Adil Dinani, founder and principal of the Vancouver-based Dinani Real Estate Advisors at Royal LePage West Real Estate Services, shares his plans for getting your home ready to list this fall. 


Keep your finger on the pulse

With markets shifting as a result of the coronavirus, it’s important to continue monitoring what’s going on and to respond accordingly. According to Dinani, make sure your listing agent has a pulse on not only the area they serve, but the overall base market and other emerging trends. For instance, if you’re selling a single-family home, your REALTOR® should be able to pinpoint if there’s a rise in buyers selling condominiums and moving to your neighbourhood, and how your listing should target that audience. 

“We’re seeing new trends now and that movement towards detached [homes] with a yard. [You should] know where the buyers are coming from in the area,” says Dinani. 

At the moment, Dinani says constrained supply may point to a seller’s market in fall 2020, but there’s still too many variables at play to know for sure in advance. In the latest market data released by CREA, the number of newly listed properties jumped 7.6% from June to July.

In June, the national average home price reached $539,000, a 6.5% year-over-year increase, according to CREA. Prices are expected to continue to remain stable and buyers who have been locked down in their homes are likely to be motivated to move to a space that’s more suitable for their needs in the fall. 

Whatever the case may be down the line, REALTORS® should be up to date with the market. 

“Our job, in our position as REALTORS®, is to be on top of everything that is happening, and what’s happening with the data, what’s happening with the stats, sales and prices, and keep our clients apprised as to when is the best time to sell their home,” says Dinani.


Have a plan in place

Don’t fly by the seat of your pants—it’s good to plan ahead for the safety and well-being of everyone. Dinani explains your REALTOR® should set protocol for how each showing and open house will play out according to local public health guidelines. For instance, his team prepares each property for showing by arriving early, providing a thorough cleaning, and opening all interior doors to prevent visitors from touching high-contact surfaces. It’s also recommended to provide visitors with masks and a disinfecting station for use before and after their showing. 


“When we’re outside before the buyer comes in, we prepare them on what we expect and how the showing is expected to go and what the angle of the limitations will be,” he explains.

Dinani says you should have a conversation with your REALTOR® about what measures they’re taking to protect your health as well as the health of the potential buyers who will be coming through your home.

Presentation is everything

Fall is usually a time where more serious buyers come out of the woodwork. Having skipped the spring and summer markets, fall buyers traditionally are looking to make an offer and close on a property before the holidays hit. Nowadays, home buyers are even less casual when it comes to shopping around. 

“Everyone coming through is not just casually looking. There’s the odd one, but the majority of people are actually very serious about entering the market or buying something in the market,” explains Dinani. “I feel like into the fall, that will continue.”


Given the seriousness of buyer motivations, and the social distancing recommendations that have resulted in less frequent in-person showings, it’s important to make first impressions count in the home. This means a clean, well-kept environment showcasing the best features of the property.

“When they come into the home and it’s not presented well, then you may lose them,” says Dinani. “So, we make sure our homes show a ten every single time. That presentation component is very important.”


Leverage technology for your home 

With more buyers spending their time on their phones and computers, Dinani says it’s crucial to take a more aggressive online marketing approach. When preparing your home for listing, he says to ask your REALTOR® about how they plan to leverage technology to give your home exposure. 

“We’ve seen a meaningful change from where activity has gone during the pandemic and how people are spending more time [online],” says Dinani. 

For buyers and sellers that are less comfortable with in-person showings, high-quality Matterport and virtual tours can be a powerful substitute. Instead of sending physical copies of flyers and feature sheets, convert these materials online so they are readily available. A strong presence on social media and relevant real estate websites is also vital. 

“Every one of our listings has a virtual tour attached to it,” explains Dinani. “I think that’s the first touch point that people have to your listing. It’s got to be something that impresses.”


Source: Realtor.ca/blog

https://www.realtor.ca/blog/postpage/14534/1361/steps-for-getting-ready-to-sell-your-home-this-fall

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Welcome to the dog days of summer: the hottest days of the season. It’s so hot out your shirt becomes soaked with sweat and glues itself to your skin—and the humidity is so thick you can almost chew the air! The only haven you have is your home and the cool respite of an air-conditioned room. If you have air conditioning, that is… Luckily, homeowners across Canada are finding ways to cool their living spaces without A/C using guidance from heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) experts. 


When you can’t control the temperature inside your home, there are certain tactics to help you stay cool. This includes creating a cross-breeze with strategically placed floor fans; exhausting hot air from your home using bathroom fans; and pushing cool air down by turning your ceiling fan counterclockwise. And if you have a small budget for some minor renovations, or you can justify buying a few useful products, you’ll keep comfortable despite the rising mercury.


Don’t let the summer sun melt the days away, be prepared for the next heatwave. Learn how to keep your house cool without air conditioning by employing the following actionable tips, tricks, and cooling techniques recommended by the pros.  


Keeping your home cool during the day

During the day, the goal is to stop the heat from climbing and maintaining the room temperature. This means finding ways to allow hot air to escape, while filtering out heat sources in your home. For example, shuttering blinds, hanging blackout curtains, and applying a heat-reflecting film to your windows keeps you cooler by blocking out the sun’s heat—turning on the vent fan above your oven or in your bathrooms can also help draw some of the warm air out of your house.

According to Allan Mitchell, HVAC technician at R.E.L. Controls Inc., the key to staying cool without air conditioning is to keep the air moving, “Moving air is drier (less humid), so it feels cooler even though you haven’t actually changed the temperature.” This is best done with fans:

  • Place floor fans on the opposite ends of a room—one blowing in and the other blowing out—to create a cross-breeze and a constant flow of air entering and exiting the space.
  • Turn your ceiling fan counterclockwise to offset hot air as it rises—rather than sucking up and circulating the heat, the fan pushes the air back down, removing the humidity and making it feel cooler in the process.
  • Blow the air from your basement—which is cooler—into the main living space by using floor fans to move the air from one end of the room and up to the next level.

Of course, fans aren’t your only option to regulate the temperature of your home. Try closing bedroom doors to minimize the amount of space you need to cool, and don’t feel guilty about putting off activities on the to-do list that generate heat—for example, doing laundry, vacuuming the floor, and cleaning dishes. 

Keeping your home cool at night

As the sun goes down and the balmy, summer night sets in, the outside temperature will eventually dip below the inside temperature of your home. This is your opportunity to take advantage of what’s considered “free cooling.” Let the fresh air in by opening windows, spreading curtains, and widening blinds—position floor fans to draw the outside air in and circulate it through your house. 

Speaking of “free,” learn how to use thermostats to reduce the cost of your heating bill during the winter.  


Open bedroom doors and maximize the air flow down hallways and throughout each room—once again, create cross-breezes wherever possible to keep the cool air moving. And if that doesn’t do the trick, why not make your own air conditioner? Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and place it behind a table fan; set the fan to static and drape a towel over the back covering the bowl. Admittedly, the ice melts quickly, but before it does, you’re graced with a delightfully cold breeze.


When it comes to cooking dinner, a barbeque is your best friend—nothing cranks up the heat in your home like using the oven or turning on the burners. Plus, everything tastes better off the BBQ. If you don’t own a barbeque, consider meals with little prep work and short cooking times, or treat yourself and order takeout from your favourite restaurant occasionally. 


Leigh Henderson, an HVAC Journeyman with more than20-years’ experience, was adamant about reducing the use of electronics. “Read a book or play a boardgame, ” he said jokingly when asked the best way to keep cool without air conditioning, “and don’t leave the fridge door open.”

Surprisingly, your television, computer, laptop, and other electronic devices generate a significant amount of heat, which is only compounded by the sweltering sun. As for the fridge, the longer you keep the door open, the harder the compressor works to maintain the cool temperature—the harder the compressor works, the hotter it gets inside your home.   

Keep your house cool with these 5 investments

Despite keeping your home cool, air conditioners heat up your utilities bill, and the warmer it gets outside, the more expensive it is to stay comfortable. Whereas, a few key renovations end up cheaper in the long run. If you can justify the upfront expenditure, consider the following five investments to keep your house cool without A/C:

  1. Install a ridge vent on your roof to allow hot air to escape from your attic—for installation, it’s best to hire a professional to prevent moisture damage to your roof and insulation.
  2. Purchase a dehumidifier to keep the humidity out of the air—there are several models available, so do your research to find what’s best for your home.
  3. Replace all incandescent light bulbs with LED alternatives—incandescent bulbs use more electricity (generate more heat), while LED lights are more than 75% energy efficient. 
  4. Buy a digital indoor/outdoor weather station—track the weather and monitor the temperature to pinpoint the ideal times to exploit free cooling.   Employ passive cooling techniques outside of your home—strategically planting bushes, gardens, and even trees help prevent the sun from heating the foundation of your home.
 


Source: https://www.realtor.ca/blog/postpage/14372/1363/how-to-keep-your-house-cool-without-air-conditioning

Realtor.ca/blog

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From the Realtor.ca Living Room Blog:


Buying a home isn’t necessarily something that you can do on a whim—there are months of preparation involved when transitioning from renting to homeownership.

With so many moving parts in play, from loan approvals to placing purchase offers, navigating home buying for the first time can be an overwhelming task. In the age of the coronavirus pandemic, when some real estate processes have changed, buying a home can seem especially daunting. 


Luckily, we’ve developed this handy 12-month calendar for first-time homebuyers that will help to keep you on the straight and narrow when making your home purchase. From the beginning of the process, down to the final months and weeks, we’ll guide you through what you need to do and when. 


12 months out

One year from the time you hope to buy, it’s important to determine how much house you can afford and how much you might need to save in advance.

An online affordability calculator is a great way to get started. Simply plug in your household income, loan payments and living costs, and you’ll get a breakdown of how much mortgage you could possibly take on, plus how big of a downpayment you’ll need. Based on this information, plan for your downpayment and moving expenses, whether it be devising a savings strategy or rejigging your monthly budget. 

Don’t forget to check your credit score as well—mortgage lenders will be looking at this when you apply for a loan. Be mindful lenders will need to see a healthy score within a specific range in order for you to get approved. If you’re not sure how to improve your credit score, make an appointment with a financial advisor. 

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Nine months out

At this point in your home buying journey, envision what your ideal first home looks like. 

Jot down a list of your wants versus your needs. For instance, you want a property with an inground pool in the backyard, but you need a home that has at least three bedrooms and is less than a 45-minute commute to work. Research what neighbourhoods you’d like to live in, and note their characteristics like community amenities, municipal taxes and conveniences. You could even spend some time dropping into virtual or live streamed open houses to get a feel for the homes in the area. If you can’t make it to the neighbourhoods themselves, the map feature will give you a closer look and Google Street View is always a handy tool.


Start budgeting for miscellaneous home buying expenses during this time. Remember, you’ll need to set aside money to cover legal fees, movers, home inspections and other buying-related costs. Begin to contribute to a savings account specifically for home maintenance, and start getting used to contributing to it every month.


Six months out

At the six-month mark, it’s time to start gathering your loan paperwork

Lenders will need information on your income, debts and credit history. In advance of getting your mortgage pre-approval, you’ll need to collect your personal tax returns from the last three years, your most recent pay stubs, bank and credit card statements, loan information and your addresses for the past five to seven years. 


Take some time to research mortgage lenders, and start searching for a REALTOR® to help guide you through the next stages of your home buying journey. From negotiating your offer, to providing you with listings that meet all of your ‘must-haves,’ REALTORS® are a crucial source of information and support for first-time home buyers.

Three months out

Now the saving and research groundwork is done, it’s time to get the ball rolling on buying your first home.

With the help of a mortgage professional, apply for a mortgage pre-approval, which will tell you the maximum amount you’re able to borrow from your lender. It’s important to get your loan pre-approval before you start house hunting, so you’ll know exactly what property price point you should be looking at. 

Your REALTOR® will assist with setting up virtual home showings and virtual or live streamed open houses, and will also regularly send you new listings to look at. 

Two months out

If you find your ideal home after a few weeks of shopping around, get ready to place an offer to purchase. 

Following the guidance of your REALTOR®, determine what offer price you’d like to submit to the sellers, along with any conditional clauses and a closing date. Your REALTOR® will walk you through offer submission lingo and processes, and will find the best strategy for presenting and negotiating your purchase offer to the other party.


Once your offer has been accepted, you might opt to conduct a home inspection for peace of mind on any possible repairs or issues with the property. If major flaws are found, you could be in a position to renegotiate the offer price to cover the cost of repairs, or require the sellers to make fixes prior to closing. 

Final month

In the final weeks of buying a home, you’re ready to tie up any loose ends prior to the closing date. 

Triple-check your financial and lending documents are in order, and touch base with your financial institution to arrange a wire transfer or issue a cashier’s cheque for your closing. Be sure to arrange for home insurance too, and hire a professional moving company if needed. Make sure you have a lawyer to help finalize your closing. Finally, you’ll be entitled to a buyer’s visit at your new home prior to closing. Use this appointment to take measurements, inspect any repairs, and check to make sure the home is in the same condition as when you last saw it.

While the journey to becoming a homeowner can be a long one, this 12-month calendar helps to outline all of the necessary steps you need to take along the way. With this guide in hand, along with the professional advice of an experienced REALTOR®, progressing from a renter to a homeowner can be a seamless process.


Source:  https://www.realtor.ca/blog/postpage/13828/1361/a-step-by-step-guide-to-buying-your-first-home-in-a-year

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