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NEW HOMES: ARE THEY RIGHT FOR YOU?

Read This Before Visiting Your First Model

Most homes on the market are resale, yet one of four home buyers purchase a new home. Both
new builds and resale have their advantages, but before you make a decision let’s compare the two:

New Homes:

  • Offer customizable use of space and style
  • More Energy Efficient than older homes
  • Choice of options and upgrades
  • Everything is new and modern

Versus Resale Properties:

  • Less expensive on average
  • Often have neighborhoods with fully finished / mature landscaping
  • Homes (foundation, etc.) have already settled, which eliminates potential structural problems in the future.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but it’s important to consider every aspect of a new build before deciding it’s right for you. Here are 10 ways you can save time and money before viewing
your first model home!

Call Your Agent!
Sit down with your agent and discuss all possible options when it comes to buying a new build. Do some
homework on prices for new builds in your area, so you can determine a comfortable price range. Your
agent can also help you understand your net proceeds from your current homes’ sale, so you know how
much cash you’ll have available. If you’re a first time buyer, qualify your income and figure out how
much you can put down on a new property. After this, work out your monthly debt load so you can
determine a comfortable price range.

Seller Agent or Buyer Agent?
It’s important to know the sales agents in the model home represent the builders’ best interest, not
yours – They are known as “seller’s agents”. As a buyer, you can also enlist your own agent, who will
represent your best interests and be knowledgeable about home construction, warranties, financing,
pricing differences, quality, and even lot selection so you get exactly what you need.

Builder? What Kind?
There are builders who vary in their skills. Some specialize in craftsmanship, some offer below-market
financing, those who are customer attentive before and after the build is complete, and those who are
innovating with spacing. Figure out what you need from a house and what you want, and show around
for a builder who can meet both!

Know Your Builder Before making a final decision on model or builder, it’s important to get as many facts as possible about your builder. Knowing their reputation and financial strength will help your build go smoothly. Get “spec sheets” on home features that covers everything from warranty, energy efficiency, lot availability, and delivery of your home! Knowing this information will help you keep track of what you’re getting out of the build and what you still need to know.

Is this the right neighbourhood? When choosing a new build over a resale property, there are a lot of things up in the air. For one, the community surrounding the build. What amenities do they offer? Is there a financial reserve to build / replace any major amenities like schools or community roads? Knowing if these features will eventually be offered on-site, or if you have to go elsewhere will play a large factor in the enjoyment of your neighbourhood. If there is a homeowner’s association, make sure to review any rules, or find out if a homeowner’s association will be set up. Thinking about your commute times is also crucial when picking a neighbourhood. A 35-minute drive might not seem like a lot but doing it twice a day everyday may be more than you can handle.

Options and Upgrades When the base price is less expensive, you can put more money into the upgrades you want! These options are installed while the builder is constructing the property, like a sunroom or extra powder room. These can add the most vale to the resale of the property, so it’s important to choose them wisely. Upgrading means selecting quality above the “builder standard”. This could refer to carpeting, vinyl, ceramics, detailing, kitchen fixtures, and appliances. Be sure to check for any free upgrades or offers from your builder. Remember: you can add things like a deck, finished basement, and landscaping later and sometimes for less money!

Negotiations Sometimes there are opportunities to negotiate price, upgrades, and options. If you view a new build that has been completed but hasn’t sold – there is room to negotiate. “Premium lots” are also priced higher and are sometimes saved to be sold last, but all lots typically cost the builder the same, so inquire about how they price their models. Builders may also offer discounts or financing to close a deal.

Read Your Contract When reading over your contract, make sure you take precautions to protect yourself and write them into the agreement. This could include:

  • A 30-Day Notice of The Closing Date
  • Allowing Access During Construction to Check Progress
  • Placing Your Deposit in Escrow
  • Detailing Your Upgrades
  • Explanation of The Fine Print For The Warranty Of The Builder And Manufacturer

Financing – What Works for You Some builders have special financing packages when they are in high-volume communities or have a large number of loans. “Home loans” are very competitive these days, so shop around for your loans to see what rate is right for you. You have many financing choices other than those being offered by the builder, rates and lender fees, appraisals, inspections, surveys, attorneys, and closing fees should all be taken into consideration while you look.

New Doesn’t Mean Perfect Consider hiring a reputable home inspector. Even though new homes are normally built with durable materials and built to last longer, that doesn’t mean the builder won’t make mistakes. After you find your inspector, create a “to-do” list for your builder and address those problems before closing. Having a real estate agent you can trust can help you sort through all these tips quickly and effectively while looking out for your best interest!

Immediate Delivery Homes: What to Know Homes available for immediate delivery (move-in within 30 days or less) are available for a variety of reasons. If the community is nearly done, the builder may continue to make “spec” homes on the last available lots. The model home could also be available for a quick sale if all other units have sold. Sometimes the contract on a home has fallen through too, which means you can get their upgrades for a lower bottom dollar! Sometimes builders also have immediate delivery homes available for relocation buyers who need a home quickly. In any sense, when looking at a home that has immediate delivery, try to negotiate with your realtor and see what other goodies you can get included! If you’re not sure about the time a new build takes, an immediate delivery home may be a good option for you.

AVOID COSTLY HOUSING MISTAKES DURING A DIVORCE

Divorce comes with many emotional and financial issues to solve. One decision you will
eventually have to make is: what to do about the house.
We have some answers to help you get through this tough time. These crucial decisions are
easier to make once you figure out how divorce is going to affect your home, mortgage and taxes. Third
party information can help you make rational, logical choices instead of emotion-driven decisions.
The first decision is probably whether you want to continue living in your house. How will you
handle seeing these familiar surroundings and memories daily? Will it bring you comfort or unpleasant
memories? Will moving be too much change, or should you sell and move to a new location with a new
start?
You alone can only answer these questions, but take into consideration the financial
repercussions of each action. Ensure that whatever you choose will bring you joy in the long-term and
be fiscally responsible. The purpose of this report is to ask you the right questions and show some
options on how to responsibly handle your home after a divorce.

Here Are Your Four Options:

  1. Sell The House And Divide The Proceeds.
  2. Buy Out Your Spouse
  3. Have Your Spouse Buy You Out
  4. Retain Ownership

There are financial implications for each scenario, so let’s break them down:

Sell Your House and Divide the Proceeds
If you choose to sell your home and divide the proceeds, your primary concern is most likely maximizing
the sale price of the property. Most often, people don’t understand what their net proceeds will be. An
example is after selling expenses and determine what your split will be. This isn’t always a 50/50 split.
There are many variables that can influence one partner to get more than the other. The outcome of the
divorce settlement, the source of the original down payment, and property laws in your area may
change the percentage you’re entitled to.

Buy Out Your Spouse
If you want to keep the property, you’ll have to refinance and determine how you’ll meet the monthly
financial obligation since there will only be one salary. If you qualified for the old loan using two
incomes, refinancing may be difficult.

Have Your Spouse Buy You Out
If you’re the one leaving, you have the opportunity to start fresh with some extra money. Although that
can be exciting, ensure you’re your spouse refinances quickly after separation so you are no longer tied
to the loan. Most lenders consider you and your spouse as original co-signers to be liable for the
mortgage. This might make qualifying for a new mortgage difficult even though you won’t have legal
ownership of your old property.

Retain Joint Ownership
Some couples in the midst of a divorce decide to retain joint ownership of the home for a mutually
agreed period of time even though in most cases only one spouse lives there. While this may be a
temporary solution, it may eventually cause a problem as your tax considerations may change from the
time of the divorce to the time of the sale.

When you decide to sell, it will be important to work together to maximize your profit. Both should be
present at the listing presentation and should understand and sign this contract, being active in
negotiations, etc.
When you buy your next home use proceeds from your previous property or buy-out to determine the
price range for your next home. Ensure you pick a property that fulfills all your needs within your price
range. An agent who offers house-hunting services will be able to quickly help you find the property you
need.

4 IMPORTANT TIPS TO SELL YOUR EXPIRED HOME

Sometimes homes don’t sell. There are so many reasons for why this could happen, so don’t be
discouraged. The truth is, your home probably didn’t sell because of the home itself or the current
housing market. In reality, your home might have been a top choice for many buyers, but some red flags
deterred them from putting in an offer. If your listing has expired, but you still want to sell, take a step
back and review your situation. Ask yourself:

Where to Begin?
The sale you want is within reach! Ensure you’re committed to exhausting all avenues to sell
your home, and make a list of all the things you could do on the sellers end.

Why Didn’t Your Home Sell?
Review the plan your agent previously used to sell your home, and you’ll notice the problems
normally arise from four common areas:

  1. Teamwork
  2. Pricing
  3. Home Condition
  4. Marketing

  1. Teamwork:
    Selling your home is a huge investment of time and money and your Realtor’s work should be
    reflecting that. It is your agents responsibility to understand your needs and wishes and provide detailed
    and consistent feedback on the sale of your home. It is your agents responsibility to gather this
    information from other agents, open houses, etc. and communicate with you the strengths and
    weaknesses of the listing.
    In order to understand where your old listing went wrong, it’s important to ask yourself: how
    well did my Realtor communicate last time my home was for sale?
  2. Pricing:
    Pricing is tricky – if you price too high, your house will sit on the market and if you price too low,
    you’re not receiving the best profit from your home. The right price really depends on the market
    conditions, competition, and condition of your home. If your home doesn’t compare to others in your
    listing price, agents and prospective buyers won’t even look at your home.
    To help you realistically set your price, ask your agent to present a Comparative Market Analysis
    (CMA) to give you:

An idea of other homes in your neighborhood that are for sale or have been sold within the last
6-12 months.

An idea of how long homes in your area have been listed to calculate the average time on
market.

A review of expired listings and a run-down of the strengths and weaknesses of the listings.

3. Your Home’s Condition:
Your home very well be someone else’s dream home, and that’s how it should be presented. Buyers
have to leave thinking “Wow! I love this home!” which is most often a decision made through emotion
and not logic. A well priced house in move-in condition will be sold quickly!
Here are some things to consider:

  • Fix Any And All Imperfections
  • De-Personalize And Declutter Your Home
  • Keep It Clean For All Showings
  • Open Your Windows To Let Some Fresh Air In And Open Curtains / Blinds To Bring In Sunlight!
  • Concentrate On Curb Appeal
    Keep in mind that a freshly painted and well-staged house will interest buyers more than a cluttered
    home with cracking paint. It might also be a good idea to repaint the interior (and exterior if
    needed) to get a positive response from your home. Another alternative is to give prospective
    buyers an allowance to paint the property themselves, but it shows you care about the property,
    which will make them care too.
    Remember: a house that shows well sells for the best price because it outshines the competition!

4. Market Your Home to Sell!
Ask your agent what steps they will take to successfully market your home. Finding an agent
that will best represent you and your interests is the first step. Test and compare knowledge
between the different agents you interview, and ask each how they intend to market your home to
buyers. Ask and compare how much each agent spends on marketing their listings and in what
media do they advertise? What they choose to market in could be telling of how successfully they
will market your home. Open houses only sell 1% of homes, so how else do they intend to reach
buyers?

Separate yourself from agents only using traditional methods to sell your home. Using only the
traditional methods will not sell your home, so look into those using social media, paper marketing,
recording systems, and open houses. Today’s market is competitive, agents who use new and
innovative technology have a higher success rate.

  • Before You Put Your Home Back On The Market:
  • Ensure You Have Open Lines Of Communication With Your Agent
  • Price Your Home Appropriately For The Market Of Your Neighborhood And Home’s Condition.
  • Make Sure Your Home Is “Showing Ready”
  • Have A Marketing Plan In Place

MOVING YOUR PETS

Moving doesn’t only affect the human members of your family, but the pets too! Your pet can
sense stress that their owners are feeling, and during this process probably have a lot of anxieties of
their own. Animals are habitual creatures, so when this suddenly changes they become confused and
anxious. Similarly to humans, animals also act out when they are under large amounts of stress and
discomfort. When faced with a move, how do we reduce our pets’ stress and how can we keep their
routine the same? We have the answers!

Tips: During the Packing Phase

  1. Keep everything normal
    At the packing stage, it’s relatively easy to keep their schedule normal. Keep their feeding, exercise, and
    bedtime around the same times.
  2. Pack them last
    Leave all their food dishes, litter box, and pet beds until moving day. This will help your pet keep
    comfortable and will prevent any “accidents” by keeping everything normal. Do this until you move
    them to a transition space at the new property.
  3. Let them Explore
    Pets love to explore, by leaving a couple of boxes empty on the ground they can make themselves
    familiar with the object. This will ultimately lessen their anxiety and potentially become a new toy for
    your pet.

Tips: On Moving Day

  1. Move Them First
    Save yourself a lot of trouble removing your pet(s) from the house before moving your possessions. Put
    your pet in a safe space with all their belongings so you have one less thing to worry about. When
    moving from one house to the other, doors are left open, people are running around moving heavy
    boxes, and a pet can surely complicate things.
  2. Reduce the Stress
    If it’s not possible to move them into a room of the new house, have a room picked and cleaned out
    before your moving date. That way, they will be comfortable in a familiar space, and people won’t rush
    in and out of the room. Background noise like a radio or television is also comforting for pets. It helps
    muffle out the loud noises that comes from moving.
  3. Identification Is Key
    Since there are many opportunities for pets to escape during moving day, it’s of the utmost importance
    to have identification on your animal(s). It’s a good idea to ensure your pet has a proper collar as well,
    and that it’s tight enough to avoid them slipping out. A good way to measure the collar’s tightness is by placing two fingers under the collar. With your fingers under the collar, there should be minimal room between your pets neck and the collar. Microchipping your pet is also a good idea, as a pet care technician can quickly help you locate your pet.
  4. Transportation
    Cats should be transported to the new home in a carrier on the floor of the back seat to avoid any hard
    impact, and dogs should be in the back seat with a dog seat-belt. This protects both your animals and
    the passengers in the vehicle. A hard stop can seriously injury your dogs and those in it’s path.
  5. Vehicles
    NEVER leave your pet unattended in a vehicle. The temperature in the vehicle might seem a little warm,
    or a little cold, but that can drastically change in a matter of minutes. Sadly, each year thousands of pets
    who succumb to heatstroke each year are those left in a hot car.
  6. Consistency
    Bring all your pets belongings (dishes, food, leash, toys, bedding, litter box, medications) in the car with
    you and your pet. Consistency is the best way to make the transition smooth for your pet. Their items
    should be set up first in the new property.

THE 9 STEPS YOU NEED FOR TOP DOLLAR ON YOUR HOME

Selling your home is a big deal, and arguably one of the most important decisions in your life! Here
are 9 steps that will help you maximize profit, reduce stress, and give you control over the home-selling
process.

  1. Do Your Homework Before Setting a Price
    Before Setting a price on your home, there needs to be some serious research. Having a price range
    in mind will help your agent understand what your needs are and how they can get you the highest
    profit. Pricing too high is a dangerous game, which typically leaves your home on the market for a long
    time, resulting in a lower offer than the listed price. The average buyer is looking at 15-20 homes while
    also considering yours, so they have a good basis for comparison. If they see a house that has more
    value, but is priced lower than yours, you will lose a potential buyer. Another result of over-pricing your
    home is because it will sit on the market for a long time new buyers will think there is something wrong
    with your home.
  2. Know Why You’re Selling – but Don’t Tell
    Your decision to sell and the reasons behind it affect everything from setting your price to deciding
    how much time and money to put into your home. There are questions you need to ask yourself, is the
    dollar amount most important, a quick sale, or both? Your end goal decides all the moves you make
    next.
    Don’t reveal why you’re selling to anyone else, or they could use it against you in negotiating. If your
    agent or others ask, it’s best to simply say your housing needs have changed.
  3. Find a Good Real Estate Agent!
    Finding a good agent is key to successfully listing and selling your home. Three-quarters of
    homeowners say they would not use their last real estate agent. Most dissatisfaction is due to poor
    communication between the seller and agent, which results in little to no feedback about their home,
    and low-ball pricing which results in a strained relationship.
  4. Know Your Neighborhood
    Typically, when your agent tries to sign you as a client, they do a Comparative Market Analysis
    (CMA) where they discuss the sales/market for your neighborhood in the last 6-12 months. This includes
    a comparison of square footage, condition of the property, and other variables that help you accurately
    price and sell your home. This is also how prospective buyers will assess the worth of your home.
  5. Maximize Your Sales Potential
    A lot more goes into selling a home than simply placing a “For Sale” sign on your property and
    waiting for potential buyers. Your agent should be maximizing your homes’ sale potential through
    marketing strategies and open houses. Each year advertising companies spend billions on the
    appearance and marketing of their product, and real estate is no different.
    While there are qualities about your home you can’t change, like location and floor plan, there
    are a lot of ways you can increase your sale potential. A good way to do that is by cleaning and de-personalizing Your Home. Not every personal picture or knick-knack has to go, but it’s a good way for the buyer to visualize themselves in your space. No matter how small, fix any imperfections so you get a “WOW” response from prospective buyers.
  6. Give Information
    Some strategies realtors use to market homes are not always effective. Traditional open houses
    actually only account for 1% of home sales. It’s important to provide as much information to potential
    buyers as possible. Prospects calling for information on your home value their time, so it’s important
    that information is readily available for them. Having a pre-recorded hotline that gives information on
    your property is a good way to ensure any person who calls at any time of day can get information. It’s
    been proven that 3 times as many buyers call for information on homes under this system. The more
    buyers, the more competition for your home, which equals a bidding war where you have control!
  7. Know Your Buyer
    When negotiating, you should control the pace and set the duration. Just like your know why you’re
    selling, it’s important you know the buyers motivation. Do they need to move quickly? Can they pay
    your asking price? This information gives you the upper hand in negotiations because you have leverage
    to get what you need.
  8. Complete Your Contract
    Disclose everything! As a seller, disclose any problems and defects to the buyer in writing. This will
    legally protect your from law suits in the future, and save you lots of time and money. Make sure all
    terms, responsibilities, and costs are in the Contract of Sale, and do not diverge from the contract. For
    example, if a buyer requests to move in before the closing date, simply say no to avoid any sale
    complications.
  9. Don’t Move Out Before you Sell
    Selling a vacant house is difficult because buyers cannot envision themselves or their furniture in an
    empty space. It could cause your home to stay on the market longer than necessary, potentially costing
    you thousands of dollars. Having a vacant home also shows the buyers you are motivated to sell fast,
    which gives them the advantage in negotiations.