There are a great number of people who are attracted to the price of homes in distressed areas. Okay, Florida and Arizona come to mind. Many of these Buyers are thinking that they will buy something cheap now, enjoy it when they are able to get there and rent it out when they are not able. Some Buyers are also thinking that the day will come when they will spend at least 6 months every year in their vacation retreat. These Buyers need to think of a couple of things before signing the offer.
- Is your new home in a rent – attractive area? Maybe that three bedroom home in a nice family community is perfect if you are going to be living there year round. Now, what are you really looking for – something near the beach, near a community centre, surrounded by a golf course, in a gated community, managed by a HOA, close to the airport, walking distance to shops and restaurants, etc? Then, that lovely family home is not what is going to address your needs – or those of possible renters.
- Are you expecting your friends and family to rent your place? Well, they are probably thinking that they don’t have to rent it, just visit you when you are there. Also, that prime time that you want to save for yourself is the prime renting time. So, now you have to consider that your renters are going to be strangers. Are you up to managing your property, collecting rent, ensuring the place is clean and rentable? You may have to hire a property management company to take care of your vacation home.
- Can you furnish your new home to be satisfactory for you and for renters? I don’t think you are going to be buying the most expensive gadgets, expresso makers, computers, etc and leaving them available. Oh sure, it will look good on your advertisement that you have only top of the line things in your home but then you will also be asking top of the line rent. Is there a market for that type of home in the area? Maybe you just want to leave your junk and second hand things (that you long distance haul from home). Well, you might consider that a junky lived in look is not attractive to most picky renters. Of course, if your rates are dirt cheap then the furniture and furnishings can be minimal as well.
Just because you have a condo in Florida, a chalet in the Rockies or an apartment in Paris does not mean that you will automatically have renters for the times when you are not able to be there. One way to get the news out that your vacation home is available to rent is through Vacation Rental By Owner sites. You are going to be in some pretty stiff competition. Just take a quick look at what is available in Key West - 458 properties!!!
How do you cut yourself out from the herd?
Well, in real estate it is about price, location and condition. The exact same holds true in renting your vacation property.
- Price competitively. If you are way above the daily or weekly rates, no one is going to rent your home.
- The location is very very important. Ensure that you highlight all the features of the location of your property – access to roads, restaurants, shopping, beaches, the Eiffel Tower or whatever makes your home’s location good.
- The condition of the property is important. If you are expecting 25 college kids to descend on spring break and that is your market, don’t furnish the home with nice things. If, however, you want long term renters over a season, ensure that your place has all that is needed for vacationers – tour books, internet, DVDs, towels, coolers, etc. What would you want to have available if you were renting? Don’t store all of the beach toys in a locker and expect the renter to go out and buy beach things. Make them available for others and others will keep coming back to your place. Make your home as ‘homey’ as possible.
There are so many benefits to spreading the cost, maintenance and use of a cottage between or among family or friends. In fact, you may just decide to buy a fractional ownership with a stranger in a managed property. The idea that you are not wholly responsible for something that you will not be using daily is appealing. To be happy on a long term basis, have a long and detailed discussion with the person or people who you are considering partnering with on the cottage – snowbird condo – ski chalet etc. I advise you to have a few preliminary discussions and then go to a lawyer to have a detailed agreement drawn up that sets out the details of shared ownership.
Here are a few questions to discuss (and resolve BEFORE owning)
1. How will ownership be affected when the other person needs to sell their share? People die, economics dictate the sale of an asset (the cottage), families want more than just a fractional use of a cottage, relationships deteriorate. Does the remaining owner have right of first purchase? At what cost?
2. How will the maintenance costs be divided? Of course if the cottage is 50 – 50 then the easiest method is to split all of the bills in half but what about special circumstances like replacing old docks, the roof, decks, etc.? Have you calculated the annual operating costs of utilities, insurance, minor repairs and taxes? Will one person pay all the bills and collect from the other person? What happens if something is damaged – who pays?
3. Will you be able to set up some kind of schedule each year for whom gets the cottage and when? Maybe you will want to alternate the long weekends each year so that both families get the benefits of Canada Day – Independence Day, Labour Day, etc. At least on a rotating basis you will have the cottage for those important holidays. Maybe you want the cottage for certain months each year. Will the other owner be willing to let you have them each year? Rotate use on a weekend, weekly, monthly or seasonal basis. Even if you love the other owner dearly, there will come a time when you will want the place all to yourself.
4. Can you agree on the how the cottage will be left for the next visitors? For example, floors cleaned, dishes done and put away, washrooms scrubbed etc. Things will grate on your nerves if your expectations are not articulated but you just ‘assumed’ that the other owner would be as clean or messy as you. Speaking of visitors, are you ever going to rent the cottage to others? How will this work?
Cottage and second home ownership is not all about having fun and relaxing. Before buying a place with your family or friends, talk about how ownership will work and then…………..
See a lawyer and get it in writing!!!!
Even the Rolling Stones know this.
You can’t always get what you want.
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You get what you need.
When you are shopping for a house or for furniture for your home there are going to be some limitations on getting what you dream that you want. These can be budget, location and condition for the house. They can be budget, room size, style, availability and a whole lot of other factors that will start you narrowing down a furniture purchase.
Sometimes I look at those huge homes with front foyers that just look magnificent. I want a grand entrance with a round table in the middle and a huge bouquet of fresh flowers. Well, I don’t have what I want but I do have what I need. A front door, a little table for keys and mail and a small hall closet for coats and boots. Most days I am satisfied with this and then I look at Houzz photos and well…….
I find that I have what I need.
Photo credit: Purple Bouquet
Sellers often feel that, once they sign an agreement with an agent to sell their home, everything is then out of their hands. Some Sellers seem to give up and think that the agent will – should – could do it all without them being concerned or involved. When would these same people pay tens of thousands of dollars to a contractor for a task in their home and not want to have some say? I think ……. NEVER. So, why do Sellers seem to give up control on the sale of their home?
I believe Sellers do not know what they can expect from an agent. They get overwhelmed when they meet to discuss selling their home and just do not get pen to paper on what they want and what they expect. For example, if the listing has spelling mistakes and errors, why are Sellers not calling their agent to get these fixed? If Sellers expect the agent (and not the team) to be available throughout the sale, why don’t they put this in writing?
As you would with a contractor doing a $25,000 to $50,000 job in your home, set out what you want and expect and have a frank and open discussion with your potential agent …. before signing the listing contract. If you have some very specific requirements, then make sure that these form part of the contract so that, if these are not done, you have recourse to discuss this with the agency. Every agent that I worked with was willing to do their best to get a home sold. Things went awry when the Seller and the agent differed in what they assumed to be components of the sale. Good communications will resolve so many problems BEFORE they occur. At the end of the day
Who is driving the sale? My hope is that it is the Sellers.
Photo credit: Lourmanir – Namaste – three whelled vehicle
This is my final week as a licensed real estate sales representative. I have been struggling with the decision to leave all year. After my husband retired, I wanted to spend more time with him and to go on longer trips. It was clear that I could not provide top level service to my clients if I was going to be gone several weeks or months a year. So….. as my license was coming up for renewal in January, I finally wrapped up all my concerns about not having a specific plan for the future and decided to gift that freedom to myself.
As I have been telling my friends and clients of my decision, the first question that almost all of them have asked is “What are you going to do about your blog?”. I am going to continue. I have lots of experience to draw from, lots of thoughts and some ideas of activities that will keep me in the house-related area.
For the time being, I am going to enjoy the holidays ahead. In January, I will open the box of new beginnings and see what is in store.
Wish me luck!!!
Photo credit: Gift @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/72153088@N08/6510934443/
Open House protocol came into question yesterday.
A few visitors asked me if they should ring the bell and wait for the agent or just walk into the house.
I said – Please ring the bell to let me know that there is someone there and then walk in – if the door is unlocked. The door would only be locked if there were too many people in the house and I needed to crowd control.
I said that if I was tied up (hopefully just figuratively) with other visitors in another part of the home, I would like to know that someone else is coming in the house AND I would not expect them to wait for several minutes at the door until I could free myself from the other people.
Another question was – shoes or bare feet? Well, it was hot yesterday but, when asked, I said that the homeowner would prefer to deal with some bare feet prints on the floor more than the dirt brought in on the shoe soles.
Now, if only the question was “Can I put in an offer today?” . Oh well. The home was in fantastic shape. The air conditioning was working at a very comfortable level. There were a lot of visitors and families looking for more space. I have my hopes that there was a Buyer lurking in the group somewhere.
I wanted to make something fun for my Open House last Sunday. I normally have a small bowl of lifesaver mints (individually wrapped) and some packets of Red Zinger tea. Just a bit boring. I found a recipe for cookie hamburgers. Basically, a box of Nilla cookies, a can of icing, red and green food colouring, big shreds of coconut and some little chocolate chocolate-chip cookies. What took me the most time – finding the right little ‘hamburger” cookies.
Hand to the good book (Paula Deen’s cookbook where the basic ingredient of EVERY recipe is butter or cream or both), I have never bought a can of icing in my life. Can’t say I would do it again but this was for fun and for others so….
This photo is close to how my hamburgers looked – I omitted the sesame seeds and didn’t make the mustard icing – just used the plain vanilla to make it look like mayo.
I ended up with 40 cookies. I then individually wrapped each cookie in parchment paper. I live with someone who will not eat food made by unknown sources (except of course in restaurants). An aside – he will not nibble at Price Club nor will he buy all those terrific jams, jellies, candies, etc at the big craft sales.
I digress: The hamburgers were a hit. I think it helped when I said that they were actually cookies – they looked like the real thing – AND that I had made them. At least the visitors had met the ‘cook’. Of course you got the cookie on the way out. I did not want bits of coconut scattered about the house with a trail of crumbs where the visitors walked.
It helps to have some fun while you work. Hamburgers at an Open House was fun to do.
Photo credit: burgers
Yesterday I was finally moved to do something that I have put off for years. Yes, years.
I have wooden blinds on many of the windows in the house. They get dusted and occasionally vacuumed on a semi-regular basis. They do not get washed. Now, I notice dirty blinds in homes that Buyers and I look at and also those in my own home. Real dirt can accumulate on blinds as they get their fair share of household grease, dust, sprays, air born pollutants, etc. Over time, dusting no long does a good job.
Maybe it is because I want spring to really get underway or maybe it is genetic programming to do some spring cleaning but yesterday I finally got the wherewith-all to start washing the wooden blinds.
Oh sure, there are those of you who have metal blinds that you pop in the tub or take out to the driveway. Lucky you. Wood blinds, however, are not made to be soaked. So, with a bucket of warm sudsy water, yellow rubber gloves and several cleaning rags I got the job underway. It took hours and a couple of breaks but it was a start.
Next week if I hear the same call or you hear the call to sell your home, get out the bucket and cleaning rags and wash those slated wooden blinds and shutters. It will surprise you how much brighter and lighter the clean blinds will make the room.
It was a dirty job but someone had to do it.
Photo credit: Blind Perspective
I am in the process of putting together a listing for a 4-5 bedroom / swimming pool / 3 car garage home in Metcalfe. This is a great village just one very long drive down Bank Street in Ottawa. While the listing price has not been finalized, I have been doing some research into the prices in Metcalfe. This morning there were 33 listings on the MLS®. They were:
- 4 – Commercial Properties
- 10 – Lots (New homes are being built all the time)
- 1 – Multiple Family Unit
- 18 – Residential Units.
Notice that there are no condo units available. Metcalfe is not on city water and sewage. Properties are large and sufficient for a well and septic system. Not all of Metcalfe is on natural gas. Not all of Metcalfe can receive high speed internet. This is a more rural setting.
Of the 18 Residential units, the price range is between $244,900 and $1,299,000. The average asking price is $507,670. It may be rural but no one said poor.
In the past 6 months 21 residential units sold ranging from $160,000 to $623,500 and an average number of days on the market of 48 days. This is likely to drop as homes usually sell quicker in the spring market.
If you were looking for a home in the Metcalfe area, with lots of parking, 3 -5 bedrooms and built since Year 2000 then, in the past 12 months, you would have seen 12 homes sell. They ranged in price from $370,000 to $719,000 with an average of $500,908 and sold on average in 45 days.
There are schools, a doctor, a great golf course, lots of friendly people (somewhere around 1,700 to 2,000) and the best fall fair in Eastern Ontario – The Metcalfe Fair. There is a true sense of community here and of belonging.
When my listing finally is available I hope to see you or hear from you. Make your rural dream a reality.