At a recent showing of a home, the Buyers noticed that every window blind and curtain was completely closed and drawn. Although it was a beautiful spring day with plenty of sunshine, the house was dark and cool. One of the home owners was still in the house. After I had opened a couple of blinds, the owner came behind me and closed them. I asked why everything was closed and the owner said it was so that there would be no sun damage on the cupboards and wood floors. Okay. I admit that the floors looked brand new as they were so well maintained but……
If you are selling your home – a product – then you need to display it in the best manner possible. When it comes to homes – open the drapes and, if warm enough, open the windows. Let light into the home. Almost all home owners see themselves in a light bright home with sun shining in and a sense of peace and contentment. Stage your home to provide this feeling.
Photo credit: Chair in front of open window @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/72955502@N00/2243422737/
Ring the bell or knock on the door when you visit an Open House,. You do not have to wait for the salesperson to answer as he or she may be occupied with another group of visitors. It is polite to let the agent know that you are entering the house. If the home is For Sale By Owner, wait for the owner to answer the door.
Knocking and ringing will get your foot in the door of the sale.
As of this morning, 33 residential units are for sale in Stonebridge (3 are conditionally sold). 19 are detached homes and 14 are row units. The price range is $299,900 to $899,900 with the average price $527,915.
In the past 90 days, 44 houses sold in Stonebridge at an average sold price of $499,504 and an average Days on the Market of 29. The time it took to sell varied from 0 days to 227 days.
Stonebridge homes are primarily built by Monarch and Cardel.
Ottawa is experiencing a real estate sales rush. Many houses are on the market for as little as a few hours to a few days. Many are set up for bidding wars. Buyers, afraid to never find a house, are entering into this market with some anxiety. In a bidding war there are a few ways in increase your chances of getting the house:
- Only include those conditions that are absolutely essential.
- Try to get a home inspection done before putting in the offer. You may have to spend $300 just to increase your chances of getting the house.
- Contact the bank to ensure that financing is in place.
- Call your insurance agent to see if there are any issues with insuring the property.
- Enclose a substantial deposit to ensure that the Sellers know that you are serious.
- Align your possession date with the date most appropriate for the Seller.
Finally, decide on what you want to offer for the house. Ask your agent for information on comparable sales. Think that you may have to pay above the most recent sales in the area. Ask yourself the key question – “What is my highest and best offer. If I have to go $100 above that price I will not want to pay that price to own the house.” If you love the house, your best offer will be higher than if you like the house and it “will do”. The right price is what an informed Buyer is willing to pay. If you are willing to pay above recent sales and you have comparison shopped, then you are setting the new market price.
Sometimes it is necessary to hold your breathe and dive in to a bidding war.
Photo credit: Dive @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeshlabotnik/516341295/
On the day of your Open House, move any cars, that you are not using, to a parking lot near your home. Who cares what kind of car you own? Leave the driveway and the front street open for your visitors. The empty garage will allow the Buyers to imagine their own cars being kept safe and dry.
Park your pride of car ownership.
As of this morning, 7 residential units are for sale in Upper Hunt Club. All of them are 2 storey detached homes. Upper Hunt Club now includes the new development of Solera on the north side of Hunt Club Road. The price range is $469,000 to $656,675 with the average price $541,095.
In the past 6 months, 5 houses sold in Upper Hunt Club at an average sold price of $513,700 and an average Days on the Market of 47. The time it took to sell varied from 4 days to 121 days.
Upper Hunt Club has homes primarily built by Minto but there are a few custom builders and the Solera neighbourhood is being built by Larco.
No matter how hard they try not to disrupt a house, people coming into your home, to view it or inspect it for purchase, will leave some evidence that they have been there.
I recently accompanied a Buyer on his home inspection. The inspection went very well. This was his first home and he brought 4 other people to walk through the inspection with him. Imagine – an inspector, the Buyer, 4 friends/relatives and the real estate agent!!! Too many. Everyone was careful to remove their shoes. I watched to ensure that the Sellers’ things were respected. The inspector put everything back where it belonged (such as the cover on the electrical box) and tried to put ornaments back in their right location when he had to move the to get access at doors, cranks, tapes, pipes, etc.
Before leaving the house, I did one final tour to ensure that all doors were closed and locked and that all lights were turned off. I left and was not more that 15 minutes away when I realized that I had forgotten my binder. I returned within the 1/2 hour to get my binder.
Imagine my surprise to find a very distressed homeowner, vacuum in hand and tension emanating from every pore. I assumed that she was worried about the results of the inspection so I mentioned that it had gone very well and that the she would soon be hearing from her real estate agent about the inspection and any other conditions. Her distress, and it was significant, was related to the table in the kitchen being moved (the inspector had opened the windows to ensure that the cranks were functioning) and that three dining room chairs and her plant had been moved in the dining room – where the inspector, Buyer and I had sat discussing the inspection and getting the final written report.
I felt badly for her. It was obvious that any unknown visitors were an intrusion and that the selling process had been very difficult. Although her house was only 5 days on the market, every day must have been torture. I apologized for moving the furniture and left.
If you are selling, remember that It is impossible for people to spend 3 hours on an inspection in your house and not leave some trace of being there. If you are a Buyer, keep in mind, the motto – “Touch with your eyes.” unless you are with a home inspector.
Photo credit: footprint.JPG@ http://www.flickr.com/photos/greencolander/1413601855/
For $300 – $450, a Seller can have a home inspector do a full house inspection – in advance of selling their home. Why would you do this? First, it will give you an opportunity to repair major issues that would prohit a sale and, second, you could offer it to a home buyer as part of the purchasing package.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
As of this morning, 18 residential units are for sale in Old Ottawa South/ Rideau Gardens. 10 are detached units, 2 row and 6 semi-detached. The price range is $367,000 to $1,189,000 with the average price $595,882.
In the past 90 days 13 units sold at an average sold price of $550,065 and an average Days on the Market of 18. It does not take long for a house to sell in this area.
A Buyer would be wise to shop with specific criteria and be ready to buy quickly.
With housing being one of many investment opportunities, some Buyers are in the market for more than just their housing needs. On recent forays into “handyman specials” it is clear that there is a market for those with skills and determination to get a house to fix up for increased future value.
Buyers are getting more and more savvy, thanks to the shows on TV, about spotting a house that has been cosmetically improved but the basics were not touched. No matter how wonderful the paint colours, most informed Buyers will have a house inspector ensure that the house is safe and sound. As such, it is important for investment Buyers to prioritize the projects, put in some sweat equity and improve the house to the point of getting a decent Return on Investment.
Address the fundamentals first: foundation, HVAC, windows, roof. Look at energy conservation. Good windows and improved insulation may not be glamourous but they are key. Keep all the permits and receipts. Buyers want to see that good quality work has been done and that any warranties go with the house.
Photo Credit: Shacks at Low Tide @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/braydawg/174567361/