9 Tips for Making Your Move Stress-Free

9 Tips for Making Your Move Stress-Free

Buying a new home is exciting – and a big deal. If you’re searching for the perfect place, or you’ve already found it and are under contract, the next step in the process can feel more tedious: moving.

Moving can be stressful, a bit expensive and plenty chaotic. But with some planning, help from friends and a little organization, it doesn’t have to be as hectic as you imagine. Here are some tips to take the stress out of your move:

1. Make a plan of attack – Whether you’re moving across town or across the state lines, you’ll probably want to rent a truck. Do you have willing helpers to assist in the move, or will you need to hire some help? If you’re moving farther away, you’ll probably want professional help. Figure out what your moving needs are, and ask friends or your real estate agent for references to a trusted mover. Also, stock up on boxes, packing tape, permanent markers and packing peanuts/bubble wrap.

2. Prioritize your packing – As you start packing your current home up, designate a few boxes for each room that you’ll need quick access to. For example, you’ll want to keep personal toiletries, shower curtains and liners, a first-aid kit and other necessities easily accessible for the bathroom. Label these boxes “Open Now” so you know which boxes are filled with the essentials – and which ones can wait until later.

3. Don’t go it alone – Packing is a monumental task. Invite some friends or relatives over, buy some pizza and make it a packing party! Delegate the tasks you feel most comfortable entrusting others with, like packing up DVDs, books and other non-fragile items. A little help goes a long way to saving you some time – and sanity.

4. Don’t take it all – If you realize you have 10 boxes of clothes and you haven’t worn half of them in a few years, it’s time to part ways. Create three piles: a “keep” pile, a “sell” pile and a “donate” pile. If time permits, hold a moving sale to unload some of the items you don’t want anymore. Bonus: Selling items before you move gives you extra money that you can put toward moving expenses. Added bonus: You reduce the clutter.

5. Forward your mail – Believe it or not, people forget to do this all the time! It’s easy to change your address with the U.S. Postal Service. Simply visit the USPS website, and in a few steps you’re done! Or in Canada, visit canadapost.ca.

6. Turn off your utilities – Check with your local utility providers, as well as other services (trash pickup, newspaper delivery, cable/Internet, phone), to inform them that you’re moving. They’ll need to know an exact date for your move so they can transition or cut off service. You don’t want to be billed for charges after you move!

7. Change your address everywhere else – Contact your bank, credit card companies, healthcare providers, schools, etc. to give them your new address. Although your mail will be forwarded, you still want to update your contact information as soon as possible to avoid missing important bills or letters.

8. Be flexible – Closing day can be unpredictable, and sometimes there are delays. If you’re scheduling movers or arranging for help, you might want to pick a day or two after closing to avoid a moving-day headache.

9. Consider hiring a professional house cleaner – Sellers don’t necessarily leave their homes in sparkling condition when they leave. If time and budget permit, hire a house cleaner to make your new home move-in ready. It’s one less thing for you to worry about!

Ready to search for a new home? A local RE/MAX agent can help you find your perfect fit.

Thanks to the RE/MAX blog for this great post.

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8 Tips for First-Time Sellers

Tips for first time sellers

If you’re selling a home for the first time, it’s quite a different ballgame from what you experienced as a first-time buyer.

Ultimately, you’re in control of the process. You call the shots on prepping your home for sale, deciding on a listing price, accepting (or rejecting) offers, and a host of other factors.

But you might want to heed the following tips:

1. Hire an experienced real estate agent
A real estate transaction is filled with complexities and nuances that a professional, skilled agent can help you navigate. Ask friends and family to recommend an agent they’ve used and were pleased with, or search for a local RE/MAX agent. [I’m hoping you will consider me.]

2. Detach yourself from the process
You’ve made memories to last a lifetime in your first home, and saying goodbye is hard. But be careful not to let your emotional attachment get in the way of making sound decisions, particularly when it comes to staging and pricing your home. Try to see your home as a potential buyer would. Pretend you’re a potential buyer and walk through your home. Make a list of what you like about each room – and the things you’d change.

3. Don’t overprice
Some sellers might think that in today’s low-inventory market they can overprice their home and get top dollar. In reality, if you price it competitively, you’ll create a flurry of activity and (possibly) get in a situation where multiple offers are rolling in. Overpricing at the start hurts your chances of getting a quick sale, especially if numerous price reductions are needed.

4. De-clutter and stage for a quick sale
Buyers who tour your home will have a hard time picturing themselves living in it if they only see paint colors or decor that fits your own unique style. Repaint the walls with neutral, earth-tone colors, and remove excess decorations from walls. Consider renting a storage unit to store large furniture that overpowers your main living areas; rooms should appear as spacious as possible.

5. Make the necessary repairs/upgrades
Ensure that all systems and appliances are functioning properly, as these items will come up in a home inspection that might cost you more money and, possibly, the whole sale down the road. The rule of thumb is to make improvements to your home that will help the property show well, but don’t put a ton of money into capital investments such as a basement refinish or high-end flooring, particularly if such upgrades aren’t consistent for your neighborhood. You likely won’t get that money back in the sale.

6. Give your home curb appeal
Your home’s front exterior is the first thing potential buyers will see when they drive by, and it’s likely the first photo that will appear in an online search. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint, add some bright flowers to your entryway, and make sure that any cracks or major cement damage is fixed. Consider renting a pressure washer to get rid of the grime and buildup on the outside of your house, and definitely keep the yard mowed and tidy. A little elbow grease goes a long way to making a positive first impression on buyers.

7. Keep an open mind for negotiations
What’s more important to you: Walking away with your asking price (or more)? A quick closing time? Putting out as little up front cash in closing costs as possible? All of these are considerations you’ll need to make as you evaluate offers. Also, keep in mind that you have the ability to negotiate with counter-offers. Sometimes, you can sweeten the deal by offering to pay a buyer’s closing costs (if feasible), or leaving some appliances behind. A few concessions can go a long way in the negotiation process, and your Realtor can work with you to carefully evaluate and respond to each offer.

8. Get ready for closing
Once you’ve accepted an offer and signed a sales agreement, you’ll start prepping for a closing. Also called “escrow” or “settlement,” closing is the final meeting between the buyer, seller, their agents and a loan officer (or an attorney, in some states) where the buyer pays their portion of the costs to the seller and the buyer’s new title and any mortgage liens are properly recorded. The closing agent will calculate what monies are due to the owner and what credits need to be applied to the transaction, such as taxes, title fees and other closing costs.

Ready to sell? Call today so we can help you navigate all these steps.

Thank you to my RE/MAX colleagues for this article.

Nearly 80% of millennials agree owning a home is attainable

According to new RE/MAX poll Nearly 80% of millennials agree owning a home is attainable

Canadian millennials are optimistic about the future, including their homeownership prospects, according to a new poll by RE/MAX. The survey, conducted by Leger, found that 78.5 per cent of Canadians 18-34 agree that owning a home they love is attainable. In all provinces, Canadians overwhelmingly agree that homeownership is attainable, despite price appreciation in cities like Toronto and Vancouver.

The survey also found that 81.6 per cent of Canadians 18-34 agree that finding a good job in their field is attainable, demonstrating overall optimism about their future.

While millennials are optimistic about homeownership, many expect help in order to make their dreams a reality. Of Canadians 18-34 who are considering buying a home, 37 per cent expect help with their downpayment from a family member or friend. Of those who are expecting help, 60 per cent anticipate that it will come from their parents.

“The older generation has seen significant appreciation in the value of their homes, while the younger generation is entering the market at a higher price point,” said Gurinder Sandhu, Executive Vice President, RE/MAX INTEGRA Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region . “This means first-time buyers in Canada’s higher-priced markets often need a little help, which many parents are in a position to offer.”

Unsurprisingly given the higher home prices in these regions, prospective buyers in all age demographics in British Columbia are most likely to expect help, followed by those in Ontario.

The survey also found that when asked about their financial priorities, 68.2 per cent of Canadians 18-34 agree that saving for a downpayment is a priority and 78.4 per cent agree that saving for retirement is a priority.

“We’ve found that for many young Canadians, homeownership is an important milestone that they are actively working toward,” said Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “Furthermore, while Canadians continue to value and aspire to homeownership, they are not doing so at the expense of other financial considerations, such as retirement savings.”

The survey, conducted by Leger, surveyed 1,516 Canadians between Monday, March 28, and Thursday, March, 31, 2016.

Sourced from remax.ca.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

Resharing this post, for your enjoyment, from buzzfeed.com

1. Having to scan through listing after listing after listing.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“New construction or preowned? Condo, townhome, or house? City or burbs? Do we really need a half bath? Decisions, decisions, decisions…”

2. Having to appear appealing to lenders in order to gain that coveted preapproval.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“So what credit score do I need to have in order for you to swipe right?”

3. Having to learn all the brand-new real estate lingo.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“FHLI? IAD? GDS? P.I.T.H.? You just put those letters together randomly, right?”

4. Having to deal with other buyers at an open house…

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“Oh, you called dibs, huh?”

…and having a showing that seemed much larger in the pictures.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“Shoulda known! Certain cameras are known to add 1,000 square metres.”

5. Having to deal with a dream home that got away.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“Fine! You can have it! I really didn’t want a picturesque family home on a quiet street with good neighbours and extra closet space anyway!”

6. Having to wonder if your couch will fit in a particular room.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“Will it fit through that door though?” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

7. Having a mini panic attack when your apartment lease is coming to an end, and you’re nowhere near close to closing.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“Dear Mr. Landlord, can I pleeeeeease go month to month until i close on my house????”

8. Having to fight off other bidders and counteroffers.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“Are we lowballing them? Is that reasonable? Is this above market price? OMG! What do we do?!”

9. Having to experience the wait from the date of sale ‘til the day you have keys in hand.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“So this is mine, but I’m not allowed in it? What is this closing you speak of?”

10. Having anxiety as the inspector does his walkthrough.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“Please don’t find anything wrong .”

11. Having to witness all the additional fees add up.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

$$$$$ le sigh $$$$$

12. Having to learn to see beyond the “cosmetics.”

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

It’s what’s on the inside that counts…but not just the pretty paint colours!

Your first home should be full of excitement, not regrets. The largest transaction of your life deserves the expertise of a REALTOR®.