Friday, January 24, 2020

How To Sell Your Home

How to Sell Your House in 2020

Updated on January 22nd, 2020
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how to sell your house
So, you’ve evaluated your finances, thought about your lifestyle, and made the big decision to sell your home. Maybe you’re downsizing because the kids have finally left the nest, or you’ve gotten a job in a new city and need to relocate, or maybe you’ve just retired and want to head south to warmer climates. Whatever your reason, you’re ready to sell. Luckily, for you, we put together a comprehensive guide for first-time and seasoned home sellers. Continue reading to find out how to sell your house this year.

1) Hire a Home Inspector

You’re probably thinking, wait, isn’t that the buyer’s responsibility? You’re not wrong. When you’ve accepted an offer, the buyer will most likely request a home inspection of their own. So, why would you have one? First, if a home inspection turns up something that’s in need of repair, wouldn’t you prefer to resolve it before entering into negotiations?
In fact, if you end up needing to make repairs that take weeks to fix, you may lose that buyer altogether. Having a home inspection is a proactive approach to getting your home ready to sell. Known as a pre-listing home inspection, you can find out the exact condition of your property, what issues and repairs need to be addressed beforehand, fix them, and then focus on the next task to sell your home fast.
Also, knowing the condition of your property will further assist you during the negotiation phase with potential buyers. As you may already be aware, buyers often use their home inspection as a way of getting concessions from sellers, such as asking you to drop your list price. If you’ve already addressed these repairs, it is less likely that anything new will come up and impact your negotiation.

2) Make Repairs and Small Upgrades to Your House

After you receive a comprehensive list of repairs you should make, it’s time to get started either making the repairs yourself or contracting the right person to do them. This may also be a great time to make small upgrades to your home.

Understand Your Home’s Selling Points

First, try understanding your home’s selling points and then highlight those features to make them really stand out. Not sure what those features are? Just think about what sold you on your home when you first toured it. Was it the kitchen, the open floor plan, or that personal studio space? These are the features you’ll want to concentrate on because they are most likely to sell your house again.

Enhance Your Outdoor Space

When you are selling your house, you want to find ways to make it stand out and what better way than having the most beautiful entrance and lawn on the block. You don’t necessarily have to paint the exterior of your house to impress homebuyers. Simple things like trimming your hedges and a freshly mowed lawn will go a long way. Even freshly laid beauty bark and newly planted flowers can really make your yard pop! If these improvements seem like too much to handle while you’re trying to prepare your home to sell, look into hiring a landscaper to assist.

Brighten Your Home

Simple ways to brighten your home include painting your ceilings white and choosing a wall color that is brighter and more neutral. 

3) Declutter and Prep Your House to Sell

Decluttering and prepping your house are steps you should make a priority. Renting storage units is becoming an increasingly popular method of decluttering one’s house before selling it. The idea is to limit the amount of stuff in your house so that potential future owners can envision themselves (and their stuff) in that space. Even removing photos is a great way to allow potential buyers to think about what they would hang on those walls. If you’re looking for a quick turnaround, bring in a professional organizer. They can help get your house in order, while also preparing you for a stress-free move.

staged bright living room

4) Find a Real Estate Agent

Finding a real estate agent is easy, finding a great real estate agent can be more of a challenge. Getting referrals and reading online reviews is a great way to start narrowing down your options. You’ll want to understand what you’re looking for when hiring a real estate agent to represent your best interests. Here are some questions to consider asking any potential candidate:
  • How many clients have you served this year?
  • Has a client ever filed a complaint against you?
  • What is your fee? 
  • What services do you offer beyond negotiations and escrow?
After you decide on a real estate agent, you and your agent should come up with a plan of action. It should include a timeline, from the pricing of your house and getting it listed on MLS to open houses. You and your agent should be on the same page at all times and a plan of action will help ensure that.

5) How to Price Your House to Sell

Now is the time to find out what price you should list your home. You can start by using online tools to help you get an idea of what your home is worth. However, you should never set your sights on a single number and expect it to happen. Market conditions change all the time and so too does buyer behavior. 
Another option is to conduct an appraisal. Home appraisers are licensed professionals that will assess the value of your house based on the state of your property and overall housing market conditions. They will look at the size of your property, the interior and exterior conditions of your house, any upgrades, additions or home improvements you’ve done, and then calculate your home’s worth based on the local market conditions.
Looking at comparables of recently sold homes in your area will also help you settle on a price. These homes should be similar in size, location, and sold within the last few months. Furthermore, you want to be strategic about your pricing. Instead of lumping the price of your house in with others in the area, strategize your pricing based on your home’s selling features. In other words, if there are three houses for sale in you’re area and they are priced at $350,000, you might be able to justify $360,000 or more because you have a larger lot size or maybe you’re located in a popular neighborhood.

6) Get Professional Photos Taken of Your Home

Nothing sells a house faster than professional photos. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. They are searching online, looking at every home that comes up for sale within their filtered interests the moment it’s listed. If your house is represented online by poorly shot photography, your listing will see very little traffic. Not to mention, it’s widely observed that houses with professionally shot photos, on average, sell for more money than other listings.
Furthermore, 3D walking tours along with aerial photography that show a bird’s eye view of one’s home and its surrounding area have become increasingly popular with buyers looking online. Many agencies include some or all of these services as a component of their overall services to you as a seller. Just remember, the better you represent your house online, the faster it will sell.

7) List Your Home to Sell

Your real estate agent will list your home online on MLS (Multiple Listing Service), in order for it to start showing up on real estate search platforms to potential buyers.
You may be wondering, when is the best time to list your home? If you’re thinking about waiting for a specific season, then you might be waiting for nothing. In 2016, Redfin analyzed more than 7 million home sales to identify specific seasonal trends. It was determined that while spring was slightly better for homes that sold within 30 days and for above-asking price, winter was surprisingly a close second. What plays a bigger role in a house being sold quickly and/or above-asking price has more to do with current market conditions than the season a house is sold.
Also, don’t limit the marketing of your house to your real estate agent and online search. Market your house yourself! Spread the word through your family and friends. Share your listing on social media and send out emails asking people to share your listing with others. 

row of houses

8) Have Open Houses and Personal Showings

Your first open house is what you’ve been working towards and now it’s about to happen. It’s time to step up your game and stage your home to sell. If you don’t deem yourself a design-minded individual, consider hiring a professional home stager to help. Here is a list of things to consider that will really help you make your house shine:
  • Clear the clutter: You may have already transferred most of your belongings to a storage unit by this point. Now is the time to focus on cleaning up the clutter on countertops and tables. Put away newspapers, mail or magazines, or if you have children, help them pick up their toys.
  • Deep clean your house: Nothing turns off buyers more than an unclean bathroom. That is also true for the rest of your house. Now more than ever is the time to wash your windows, windowsills, and scrub your grimy glass shower doors.
  • Add white accents: White accents such as flowers or towels in the bathroom create a sense of welcome cleanliness.
  • Arrange furniture: You don’t have to necessarily rent furniture to stage your home. You can most likely use what you have. The key is to limit the number of furniture pieces in any one room. Then arrange them in a way that’s inviting to people as they enter the room.
  • Bring in light: Think about removing your curtains or keeping them drawn back to allow as much light into your house as possible. If you have rather large elaborate curtains, consider storing them away until you get to your next home.
  • Highlight your floors: Floors are a key feature homebuyers are looking at, especially if you have wood floors. Show them off by removing any rugs or unneeded furniture so that more of your flooring can be seen. If you have wood floors, think about polishing them to really make them pop.
  • Organize all closets and drawers: Homebuyers touring your home will most likely look in your closets to determine space and, frankly, to see if their stuff will fit in there. They will also likely open kitchen drawers and cabinets as well, so make sure everything is nice and tidy.
  • Dust: Concentrate on all the areas that you’ve most likely have turned a blind eye to for some time, like ceiling fans, baseboards, on top of doorways, appliances, etc.

9) Have a Plan in Case your Home Doesn’t Sell Quick Enough

You and your real estate agent should have already gone over this beforehand, but not every house sells after the first open house. There are many factors at play and depending on the condition of the housing market for your area, your real estate agent may have to use some other strategies in their arsenal to get your house sold. If it’s lowering the price of your home or holding more open houses, you’ll want to agree on what the next steps should be in case your house isn’t seeing any offers.

10) Negotiate the Sale Price of Your Home

One thing to consider is that the buyer is trying to get the absolute best price they can, while you’re doing the exact same. There will be multiple factors to consider, as each home sold and purchased is different. For example, if it’s a buyer’s market, that means the buyer has the upper hand because there are multiple listings with fewer offers being made. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make huge concessions in order to sell your house.
This is where your agent really steps up. They will help you navigate the negotiation process, and will give you their advice on how to proceed when offers are being made. Luckily, you interviewed and hired the right agent, so you know they have your best interests in mind.

11) Sign and Close

You and your agent have been working towards this moment. You’ve agreed on a price with the buyers, all inspections and appraisals of your home have been completed, and you are now signing the papers to sell your house. Congratulations, you’ve done it!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Gas Fireplace Recall

Director's Public Safety Order - FS-222-2016
Natural Gas & Propane-Fired Direct Vented Gas Fireplaces
Manufactured by Security Fireplace

Models SRGH36, SBGH36, DV73 and DV71 Series
TSSA has investigated two incidents involving direct-vent natural gas fireplaces manufactured by Security Fireplaces since 2014. In both instances, glass and debris was blown out and into the living space when the relief damper did not adequately relieve the pressure resulting from a delayed ignition.

TSSA investigators conducted a delayed ignition test in accordance with CSA standards on a sample fireplace. The relief damper on the fireplace did not prevent the glass from blowing out.

A leaking valve, poor flame carry-over, or accumulated unburnt natural or propane gas inside the fireplace can result in a delayed ignition. If the relief damper does not adequately relieve the pressure in the event of a delayed ignition, it’s possible that fireplace’s glass front will break, expel debris and glass fragments into the living space and cause personal injury.
  • Models SRGH36, SBGH36, DV73 and DV71 Series bear a CGA and AGA certification mark.
  • The DV73 and DV71 Series were marketed under the trade name Oliver MacLeod.
  • The word "series" includes all suffixes as the above models are the basic units, for example - SRGH36RN(E)
The above models may include one or more of the following suffixes:
R         - Decorative Appliance
WF      - Wall Furnace
MH      - Mobile Home
E         - Electronic Ignition
N         - Natural Gas
P          - Propane Gas

Pursuant to 
section 31 of the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000, the director hereby orders the following:
All of the subject direct vented gas fireplaces shall:
  1. be immediately removed from service and their use is prohibited;
  2. not be offered for use, sale, lease, rent or installation
Photo of Security Direct-Vent Gas Fireplace - Model SRGH36
Security Direct-Vent Gas Fireplace - Model SRGH36
Effective November 18, 2016:
  1. Director’s Safety Order, Reference No. FS-222-2016, dated November 18, 2016, prohibits the sale, leasing, renting, installation or use of Natural Gas and Propane Fired Models: SRGH36, SBGH36, DV73 and DV71 Series manufactured by Security Fireplace and may be marketed under the trade name Oliver MacLeod.
  2. Any affected fireplaces currently in use shall have the fuel supply terminated immediately. Since the manufacturer is no longer in business no retro fit kit is available; and
  3. Distributors, certificate holders and fireplace owners shall consider operation of the affected fireplaces to pose immediate hazards and shall follow the directions prescribed in section 13 of the Ontario Regulation 212/01

1.5 Million Carbon Monoxide Detectors Recalled

The recall applies to two Kidde NightHawk models that are hard-wired into a home's electricity.
The recall applies to two Kidde NightHawk models that are hard-wired into a home's electricity. (Health Canada)
A national recall has been issued for 1.5 million Kidde smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarms in Canada because they may not chirp in the case of an emergency.
The recall applies to two Kidde NightHawk models that are hard-wired into a home's electricity and were manufactured between June 2004 and March 2011. The affected models are:
  • KN-COSM-IBCA, which has a battery backup
  • KN-COSM-ICA, which doesn't have a battery backup
The issue is the alarm may no longer chirp in the model with battery backup even after the original batteries have been replaced. In the case of the model without battery backup, the chirp may not work if power is removed and then restored.
"This could lead consumers to believe it is still working, which poses a risk to consumers not being alerted to a fire or carbon monoxide incident in their home," said the Health Canada recall notice.
Kidde smoke detector carbon monoxide alarm recall
The model and manufacturing information of the recalled smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarms is located on the backs of the devices. (Health Canada)
In Canada, there haven't been any reported incidents, according to Health Canada, but there have been eight in the U.S., where 3.6 million units of the models have been sold. Health Canada did not detail in its recall notice the nature of those incidents, but said there have been no injuries.
The alarms are white, round and measure about 13 to 15 centimetres in diameter. The word Kidde is both on the front and back of the devices, while the manufacturing date is on the back and can be thought of as being in the three or four o'clock spot of a traditional clock.
People with the recalled alarms should stop using them and can contact Kidde for a free replacement or a discount on a new alarm.
Kidde Canada can be contacted at 1-855-239-0490 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. ET Monday to Friday, or through its website.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Oil Fired Water Heater Recall

A.O. Smith Recalls John Wood Brand Oil-Fired Water Heaters Due to Fire and Burn Hazards
This recall involves John Wood brand 50 and 70 gallon oil-fired water heaters. The 50 gallon water heaters have model number JW517 and serial numbers from 1349A021678 through 1503A016643. The 70 gallon water heaters have model number JW717 and serial numbers from 1421M001517 through 436M000040. The water heaters are gray with “John Wood” printed in blue and white near the top.  The model number, size and serial numbers are printed on the rating plate near the top of the tank. Only oil-fired water heaters are included in this recall

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Changes Are Coming To Ontario's Home Inspection Industry

Monday February 22, 2016 a bill was introduced proposing to mandate the Licensing of Home Inspectors in Ontario, and to require inspectors carry liability E&O insurance.
Bill 165, the Licensed Home Inspectors Act is can be viewed at this link
Currently in Ontario there is no regulation for home inspectors, no requirement certification, no requirement for insurance, no requirement for continuing education. This is an enormous risk for the Home Buyer. This poses a huge financial risk as well the condition of homes could also constitute a safety risk to homeowners
Currently only British Columbia and Alberta already licence their Home Inspectors.
With Bill 165, would make it illegal to perform a home inspection without a license and fines up to $10,000 per day could be imposed. It will be illegal for anyone without a licence to “take or use the designation “Licensed Home Inspector” or the initials “L.H.I.” or a description implying that the person is a “Licensed Home Inspector”. Again fines can be imposed
Licensees would be required to:
  • meet a prescribed standard of practice (likely the new CSA Standard for Home Inspection which is in the process to get the national standard designation from the Standards Council of Canada)
  • comply with the code of ethics established in the regulations
  • maintain minimum insurance requirements set out in the regulations
  • and to meet other conditions specified in regulations that will likely be drawn from Home Inspector Panel Report and Recommendations to the Minister of Consumer Services December 10, 2013
The next estimated steps:
Feb 2016 - The first reading had a unanimous approval. There is nothing to suggest that given need to help protect consumers from huge financial disasters the members of the Assembly on both sides of the house will pass the Second and Third readings fairly quickly. March/April 2016 - The Bill may require 1 or 2 committee hearings and then be signed into legislation May/June 2016 - Expect the Minister of Government and Consumer Services (Hon David Orazietti MPP) to draw together the foundation for how a Designated Administrative Authority or DAA could be established. It is not known at this stage if a new DAA would be created or if an existing one would be tasked with taking on the Home Inspectors. Following that, the DAA would then have a number of items to create, for the regulation. Much of what they need is already in the Home Inspector Panel Report and Recommendations document
Based on past DAA formations in Ontario, the whole process to establish the initial announcement for regulation to be in the timeframe to fit BEFORE the house rises for the summer
Following that it is again estimated at 12-18 months to finalise the regulations, complete the transition process for which Home Inspectors will be required to meet licensing requirements and reach a point where licensing will be enforced


England's Stove Pellet Stove Recall

Recall of Pellet Stove  (Feb 2016) : If you have an England's Stove Works Pellet Stove then please view this recall information regarding smoke build up and possible damage to the glass in the door to request a Free repair kit

Friday, February 5, 2016

When is Aluminum Wiring NOT Aluminum Wiring

Inspecting older homes 1960's/70's vintage can sometimes expose problems with the wiring that maybe isn't the problem that you perceive it to be.
Wiring that looks like Aluminum wiring may not in fact be Aluminum. Care to try and see the ends of the exposed wires where they have been cut should be taken. This will confirm or contradict the fact that the wiring may be Aluminum. If signs of Copper colour at the cut surface will indicate that the wiring is "Tinned". The surface of the wire was covered with Tin during manufacturing, this was done for 2 purposes. 1 to reduce the interaction between the rubberised wire shielding and the copper wires as corrosion was a concern. 2 to give a better joint where a soldered joint was employed as this was a popular method of creating a secure effective connection.
If fact tinned wires were manufactured as early as 1915 so predating the popularity of Aluminum that was caused in the cost of copper spiking in the 60/70's so be careful not to flag Aluminum wiring and causing the stigma that has been felt by the Aluminum wiring being associated to your home.
The problem that may be existing with this type of wiring specifically is that during its lifetime the rubber shielding may have become brittle and become detached from the wire which then may become exposed. This is why a plasticised more durable shield was developed as is installed on modern wiring.
Aluminum wiring can very effectively and safely used in homes assuming the compatible fixtures, anti corrosion compound and components are used along with it or if "Pigtailing"is employed - Contact us for an inspection and / or advice on this issue.