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Top 5 Winter Curb Appeal Tips

Wed, 04 Oct by edmontonhomesolutions

Top 5 Winter Curb Appeal Tips

Typically, it’s easy to make your house look attractive when flowers are blooming, the sun is shining or the leaves are changing colour.

But how do you make your property look great during the cold months?

We asked the RE/MAX Influencers—a panel consisting of RE/MAX Sales Associates from throughout Canada—for their top Winter Curb Appeal Tips. Below are their top responses.

1 – Sweep the Leaves, Shovel the Snow

A driveway with a thick layer of snow is much less inviting than a clear pathway leading to the front door of a home. Sweeping leaves and shovelling snow is incredibly important to make your home look its best in the cold winter months.

It’s also a good idea to sprinkle salt or sand on the cleared areas to prevent guests from slipping. Also, remove any icicles that are hanging dangerously above walkways.

2 – Bright Lighting

Bright lighting, both inside and outside a home, can create a warm, welcoming feeling. Well-lit homes will also look great in photos that market the property, especially if those photos are taken at night.

The Holiday Season gives you a perfect excuse to add a bit of decorative lighting to trees or shrubs near the house as well. However, be sure not to go overboard on festive lighting, as you don’t want your property to look tacky.

“Making sure exterior porch and garage lighting is on when potential buyers show up for a viewing makes them feel welcome, despite the cool temperatures.”

3 – Winter décor

Our Influencers suggest showcasing wintery native cedars, holly, pine and evergreen pots at the front entrance or in front of the garage.

During the Holiday Season, Christmas décor such as a seasonal wreath can help make the home its best. However, make sure you don’t leave Christmas decorations up after Dec. 25 has passed.

“Have lights on for evening showings and decorate the front door and entrance. A wreath on the door, a welcome mat and large pot with greenery is a nice addition.”

4 – Landscaping

Trim the bushes, trees and shrubs so the windows and doors are visible outside. This will also allow more light in to brighten up the home when inside.

5 – Other Ideas

We received several other tips to help make your property look great during the cold months of the year:

  • Reroute standing water
  • Hide outdoor toys
  • Make the home smell fresh with candles
  • Have summer images available so potential buyers can see what the home looks like then

 

If you are looking for more great real estate and MLS advice. buying a home in the Edmonton region or thinking of selling your home and want a free home evaluation, contact Travis at 780-720-8240 or by email at sell@travisbannert.com. 

Top 8 Winter Home Energy Solutions

Sun, 01 Oct by edmontonhomesolutions

Top 8 Winter Home Energy Solutions

Energy bills can get dramatically high, especially during Canada’s cold winter months. There are, however, steps you can take to conserve energy and save money at the same time. Below are our top eight Winter Home Energy Solutions.

8 – Turn Down the Temperature

When you’re away from your house for a few days, you don’t need to keep the heat cranked up. By reducing the temperature when you’re out of the house, you can save money on heating costs.

Another idea is to add an extra blanket on your bed and reduce the temperature by a couple of degrees at night.

7 – Seal Unwanted Leaks

Caulking and sealing leaks will insulate your home better, which will save you money in the long run.

You’ll want to make sure you’re buying the correct type of caulk, depending on what specifically needs to be sealed, and whether it is interior or exterior.

6 – Replace Furnace Filters

It’s a good idea to keep your furnace properly adjusted with annual maintenance.

This will include cleaning or replacing your filters every couple of months to improve efficiency.

5 – Save Money on Water

There are several ways you minimize water consumption. Low-flow shower heads and smaller toilets will minimize water output.

You’ll also want to make sure you fix any leaky taps that might be constantly wasting water.

4 – Update Old Appliances

Refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers and washing machines that are a couple of decades old may be using significantly more energy than newer models.

Sometimes the investment in a new major appliance will save you money in the long run.

3 – Use an Area Rug

We like to be barefoot in our own space, but when our feet are cold, so is the rest of our body.

Consider purchasing an area rug for rooms in your home that have cold floors.

2 – Unplug Electronics

Electronics that are plugged in still use energy, even when you’re not using them.

By unplugging electronics and small appliances when you’re not using them, you will ensure that there is not additional energy being used up.

1 – Switch Lights Off

One of the simplest ways to reduce your energy use is by flicking off lights when you leave a room.

It’s also a good idea to switch to energy-efficient lighting.

 

If you are buying a home in the Edmonton region or thinking of selling your home and want a free home evaluation, contact Travis at 780-720-8240 or by email at sell@travisbannert.com for more real estate and MLS advice. 

You’re Moving in Together… Now What?

Wed, 27 Sep by edmontonhomesolutions

You’re Moving in Together… Now What?

You’ve made the decision to move in together — Congratulations! In order to keep things running smoothly we’d like to share with you our own insights and suggest a few conversations that are worth discussing before you take the plunge and sign your name on that infamous dotted line!

Moving in together is a big step in your relationship. The worst thing to do upon move in date is assume that everything will be smooth sailing. Naturally, with change, there are always a few things that take a little bit of time getting used to. That said, having the tough conversations before you share a key will help to lay the ground work for each of your expectations in the long run.

  1. Who’s responsible for what: There are a lot of jobs around the house that one person would go nuts trying to do on their own. Figuring out who is going to be taking out the trash, cooking dinner, cleaning the washrooms and doing the laundry (and how often) is key to having a smooth day-to-day life! Once settled, the two of you should sit down and re-evaluate to ensure everything is fair.
  2. Working through the Finances: Be sure to talk to your partner about finances prior to moving in. You will also want to ask each other who will be responsible for the bills? We suggest that you have 3 piggy banks; one for each of your personal use/saving and one for the joint bills. Whoever is “assigned” to keeping an eye on the household finances should be transparent about the status on a regular basis. This will help eliminate the blame game.
  3. Personal Time and Space: It is important to designate areas of the house that each of you can go to for your own personal time and space. We believe you when you say you are happily in love, however it is important to determine these areas as we all know that some time apart is healthy for everyone’s relationship.

We can’t make any promises, but we can assure you that you will certainly be better off having had these conversations beforehand. Now get chatting so that you can work together in creating a solid foundation for a life where you both live happily ever after.

Preparing for the sale: The best ways to spend $1,000

Wed, 27 Sep by edmontonhomesolutions

Preparing for the sale: The best ways to spend $1,000

You’re preparing to sell your home. You’ve already given the walls a fresh coat of paint, and now you have $1,000 to invest to help make sure your home sells for as much as possible. What do you do?

The RE/MAX Influencers—a panel consisting of RE/MAX Sales Associates from throughout Canada—weighed in with their advice about how $1,000 might be best spent to make your home look great.

Clean it up!

Our Influencers’ most popular answer was to hire a professional cleaner to make appliances, doors and windows squeaky clean. They also suggested deep cleaning the carpets, steaming the tile and decluttering the home.

When cleaning, don’t forget about outside as well! First impressions can be irreversible, so make sure your house looks as appealing from the outside as it does from the inside.

“Clean the house thoroughly inside and outside…and buy the brightest bulbs!”

Fix what needs fixing

You may want to consider using $1,000 to fix things that are broken in your house, such as cupboards, doors or countertops. You can also take on small projects that will improve your home, such as updating light fixtures, replacing doorknobs and cabinet hardware, changing old window coverings or updating kitchen/bathroom backsplashes.

“I would recommend assessing what is most worn and giving attention to that. For instance, if the counters are in poor condition, perhaps a new countertop and hardware would improve the kitchen immensely. If there are flooring issues, a good clean, having carpets stretched, and even replacing some small areas would be beneficial.”

Stage right

Wall décor, area rugs, door mats, flowers for the front porch and fresh towels in the bathroom.

For a relatively low cost, there are many staging opportunities that will freshen up your home.

“A staging consultation could go a long way. Additionally, the consultant may make recommendations that require adding some pieces that may make a huge impact on potential buyers.”

Each situation is unique

Although the RE/MAX Influencers had a few suggestions about how $1,000 could be best spent, many insisted that each situation is unique.

“This is where a real estate agent can walk through the home and guide you. He/she can point out the biggest shortfalls compared with other nearby homes on the market.”

 

If you are buying a home in the Edmonton region or thinking of selling your home and want a free home evaluation, contact Travis at 780-720-8240 or by email at sell@travisbannert.com for more real estate and MLS advice. 

The Difference Between a Buyer’s and Seller’s Market

Thu, 21 Sep by edmontonhomesolutions

The Difference Between a Buyer’s and Seller’s Market

When you begin the home buying or selling journey, there may be several terms used that you’re unfamiliar with. Buyer’s market? Seller’s market? Balanced market? To help get you started, we’ve broken down the difference between a buyer’s market and a seller’s market below.

Buyer’s Market: There are more homes on the market than there are buyers.

In this type of market, buyers will spend more time looking for homes. There are more homes on the market, giving the small number of potential buyers more to choose from. The prices of homes can be stable or perhaps dropping. Sellers will find that buyers have stronger leverage when negotiating.

Seller’s Market: There are more buyers than there are homes for sale.

With fewer homes on the market and more buyers, homes sell quickly in a seller’s market. Prices of homes are likely to increase, and there are more likely to be multiple offers on a home. Multiple offers give the seller negotiating power, and conditional offers may be rejected.

Balanced Market: There are the same amount of homes for sale and buyers.

When there is equal competition between buyers and sellers, this means that there are reasonable offers given by buyers and homes sell within a reasonable time. With less tension between buyers and sellers, the prices of homes remain stable.

Before buying or selling a home, it is important to find out what type of market you are entering into. Your listing price, negotiations and expectations will all be affected depending on whether it is a buyer’s market or a seller’s market.

Talk to a real estate agent: Our RE/MAX agents are always willing to help with all of your real estate questions. They not only know the local market inside and out, but they have experience pricing and selling homes in your area.  Visit remax.ca to get in touch with a local RE/MAX agent.

 

If you are buying a home in the Edmonton region or thinking of selling your home and want a free home evaluation, contact Travis at 780-720-8240 or by email at sell@travisbannert.com for more real estate and MLS advice. 

5 Things Millenial Home Buyers Look For

Sun, 17 Sep by edmontonhomesolutions

5 Things Millenial Home Buyers Look For

As the oldest millennials enter their 30s, more and more are entering the housing market. In fact, according to a 2015 report, peak levels of millennials will be making housing decisions in the next five years, including the decision to buy. Although some of their ‘must haves’ are the same as those of generations past—such as ample storage and updated bathrooms—they also have a few new items on their list. If you’re thinking of selling your home in the next few years, here are five things that today’s homebuyers are looking for.

Open Kitchen

As part of an overall trend away from rigidly compartmentalized floor plans, there has been a move in recent years toward the open kitchen. Many homebuyers are now opting for kitchens that flow seamlessly into other spaces, as opposed to formal dining rooms, so that they can cook, socialize and watch television all at the same time. While a modern kitchen has always been on many homebuyers’ wish lists, it now has to have an open concept as well.

open-kitchen

Office Space

As working from home becomes increasingly common, working from the kitchen table no longer cuts it. Many homebuyers are now seeking a designated office space that allows them to conduct business as usual, away from household distractions. Although an extra room is often sought out by growing families, it is becoming increasingly popular among professional couples that are looking to make a living from home.

office-space

Low Maintenance

People are busier than ever nowadays, meaning they have less time to spend keeping up with their homes. As a result, more and more buyers are looking for turnkey homes that require little or no maintenance. That’s why low maintenance materials, such as hardwood floors and granite countertops, are an increasingly popular choice. Not only do they look modern, they are easy to wipe up and mop down, which is especially convenient for families with young children.

low-maintenance

Outdoor Living

Perhaps a side effect of social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, more and more homebuyers are seeking functional outdoor living spaces. Long gone are the days of a simple patio set and umbrella—today’s homebuyers want outdoor fireplaces, comfy lounge chairs and a hammock where they can take a Sunday afternoon nap. This is as true for those with mild weather year-round as it is for those who just want to make the most of those few precious summer months.

outdoor-living

Energy Efficiency

An increasing focus on environmental sustainability, as well as rising energy costs, has many modern homebuyers gravitating toward green homes. Although it is not the most important factor when selecting a home, energy efficient features are certainly a welcome bonus for this environmentally conscious generation. These features don’t have to be elaborate either—they can be as simple as energy efficient appliances or double-paned windows.

energy-efficiency

If you’re thinking about selling your home in the foreseeable future, it is important to keep in mind what the new generation of homebuyers is looking for. Whether you plan to do some renovations or simply stage your home to fit more modern tastes, keeping these 5 things in mind can help you fetch a higher price when your home finally sells!

 

If you are buying a home in the Edmonton region or thinking of selling your home and want a free home evaluation, contact Travis at 780-720-8240 or by email at sell@travisbannert.com for more real estate and MLS advice. 

Is Now the Best Time to Sell?

Sun, 17 Sep by edmontonhomesolutions

Is Now the Best Time to Sell?

Selling your home is not only a big decision financially, but also emotionally. Your home is no longer the bricks, drywall, and hardwood floors you fell in love with when you bought it. You have tackled some of life’s many milestones and made memories inside the house you now call a home. Whether you have simply grown out of the house, are choosing to downsize, or you’re looking for a new location, there are many factors that may influence your decision to sell your house.

Check your Finances: Do some research to determine the payoff amount of your loan so you can determine what your sales proceeds will be after you have paid off your loans, closing costs, and REALTOR’s commissions.  The closer you are to the end of your mortgage term, the less additional expenses you will incur.

Do Some Comparisons: Doing your homework is always important! Do some research on the current condition of the real estate market, and look into some comparable properties who have recently sold in your neighbourhood.  You may want to consider selling when it is a seller’s market.

Is your Home Ready to Sell?

We have all heard the many ways you can improve your home to get the biggest return on your investment when selling. While you may not want to make any major improvements, it’s important to ask yourself if your home is in its best condition to sell. At the very least, you need to ensure you have the time to give your home a good deep-clean and de-clutter to ensure it is prepared for showings when the time comes. Take into consideration the length of time it will take to do this to determine a time frame for when you can realistically list your home.

Four Questions to Ask Yourself:

Take a second to think about your answer to these four very important questions. If you’re happy with your answers, you may be ready to sell and if not, it may be worth it to continue weighing the pros and cons of your decision to sell or speak further with a Real Estate Agent to get their opinion.

  • After selling this home, where will you move?
  • Are you still emotionally attached to your current home?
  • Are you financially ready?
  • Are you willing to make changes to paint colours, or upgrades to the home?

When is the Best Time to Sell a House?

Most real estate professionals will tell you that the best time to sell would be the spring, followed by the fall. Spring is desirable for many sellers as it is a great time to showcase your homes best features and many buyers want the transaction to be completed before the summer months. It’s important to remember that since it is the busiest time of the year, you will face more competition, increasing the importance of making sure your home shows at its best.

Do you have questions about selling your home? Make sure you visit remax.ca to get in touch with a local RE/MAX agent who will be able to answer all your questions!

 

If you are buying a home in the Edmonton region or thinking of selling your home and want a free home evaluation, contact Travis at 780-720-8240 or by email at sell@travisbannert.com for more real estate and MLS advice. 

Closing: Understanding your Legal Obligations as a Buyer

Fri, 15 Sep by edmontonhomesolutions

Closing: Understanding your Legal Obligations as a Buyer

So you’ve made a successful offer to purchase the home of your dreams, or at least taken that important first step toward home ownership. Now what?

At this point, typically there is a bit of waiting period. Closing periods can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months, but there are some important buyer obligations that need to happen right away.

Once your offer has been accepted, there’s typically a 10-day conditional period, during which you take all the necessary steps with regard to financing, home inspection and everything else that needs to happen before you officially seal the deal. Your mortgage lender will need a copy of the offer to make sure everything is still in order and that the offer is still in line with your pre-approved level of financing.

What to do During the Home Inspection

Your building inspector will discuss with you their overall approach and how their findings will be shared with you. Your Real Estate Agent will be able to advise you as to the most likely approach to be taken by building inspectors in your area.

If permitted, you may want to consider accompanying the inspector throughout the home inspection process, which usually takes about three hours. This will allow you to learn as much as you can about the various systems in the home: From heating and plumbing to electrical and roofing. The home inspection may also identify some repairs that need to be made, which may allow you to negotiate a lower purchase price or insist that the repairs be made at the seller’s expense before you proceed with the deal.

At the end of the conditional period—with any adjustments or repairs made to your satisfaction, your Real Estate Agent will finalize the deal and your lawyer will process the paperwork, including the mortgage documents with your lender. All of this will point to a final date of actual legal possession: The real closing day.

Four Things that Happen on the Date of Legal Possession

-Your mortgage lender will provide the funds to your lawyer
-You pay all of the remaining closing costs
-Your lawyer pays the seller and registers the home in your name
-You have all your insurance in place

Welcome Home!

Whether it’s weeks or months between finalizing the deal and actually moving in, it’s just a matter of planning your move. This may include hiring a moving company, arranging electricity and cable services, rerouting your mail and other moving essentials.

Before long, you’ll be settled in the new place you call home.

Looking for information not listed above? Leave a comment and we will do the research for you.

 

If you are buying a home in the Edmonton region or thinking of selling your home and want a free home evaluation, contact Travis at 780-720-8240 or by email at sell@travisbannert.com for more real estate and MLS advice. 

What’s Better? Buying vs. Renting

Wed, 13 Sep by edmontonhomesolutions

What’s Better? Buying vs. Renting

Should you rent, or should you buy?

It’s a question that most Canadians will ask themselves at one point or another in their lifetime. Those who choose to rent often wonder if they’re wasting money. Those who buy may wonder whether or not their investment will be worth it in the long run.

Though it’s clear home ownership offers many benefits, the decision to buy or rent is a personal choice that should be based on several factors.

4 Factors to consider

1) Market Conditions – What is the price of real estate in your local market? It’s important to understand the market conditions and how they may affect prices before you decide to buy or rent.

2) Job Stability – Do you have a stable job and roots within your community? If your plan is to continue living in your community for the foreseeable future, home ownership may be the best option for you.

3) Time of life – What stage of life are you in? If you have a family, home ownership can provide a stable living situation without some of the uncertainties that are associated with renting.

4) Down payment – Do you have enough money saved up for an adequate down payment?

3 Benefits of home ownership

1) Financial investment – Your monthly mortgage payment creates equity for you, not your landlord.

2) Quality of life – Owning a home can provide a sense of stability and control that you don’t often get from renting. There is a great feeling about coming home to a place that you own.

3) Do what you want – When you own your own home, there’s no need to get approval before you paint a wall or hang a piece of art. You can choose what minor and major renovations you make to the place you live in.

How RE/MAX can help

RE/MAX Agents are experienced professionals who can help you out if you’ve decided that home ownership is the next step for you. Their expertise can help you find the house most suitable for your needs. We’ve also created a guide to help explain all of the costs that are encountered during home ownership.

 

If you are buying a home in the Edmonton region or thinking of selling your home and want a free home evaluation, contact Travis at 780-720-8240 or by email at sell@travisbannert.com for more real estate and MLS advice. 

What Happens After An Offer Is Accepted?

Sat, 09 Sep by edmontonhomesolutions

What Happens After An Offer Is Accepted?

after closing an offer

The Offer Is Accepted, Now What?

If you’re getting closer to accepting an offer on your home, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel getting brighter! Once you receive an offer, you have a very important choice to make. You can choose to accept the offer, reject the offer, or counter the offer. This decision is one that your RE/MAX Agent can help you make while keeping your best interests in mind. They will help you negotiate the offer with the buyer’s agent and once signed by both you and the buyer, the offer will become a binding contract.

 

Offer Infographic

 

What if the Offer had Conditions?

If the offer you accepted had conditions, it would be considered sold conditional. Each of the conditions has an expiration date and the buyer must decide what to do about the conditions. The most common conditions include the following:

  • Financing: most buyers need to obtain a mortgage or loan to purchase the home
  • Inspection: generally at the buyers expense and if they are unsatisfied with the results of the condition, they can choose to walk away from the deal
  • Status Certificate (Condo Purchases): A status certificate shares the current state of the condo unit, financial status of the condo, and other important details about the building. If the buyers are satisfied with the results, they can then choose to accept the offer.

Closing the Sale:

Now that the offer has been accepted and all conditions have been met, the only thing left to deal with are closing costs. Some costs you will have to take into consideration include:

  • Seller Agent Commissions
  • Buyer Agent Commissions
  • Legal Costs
  • Adjustments for taxes
  • Surveys (if needed)
  • Mortgage Penalties (if applicable)
  • Adjustment for utilities
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Mortgages and Penalty

Do you have more questions about what happens after you have accepted the offer? Leave a comment below and one of our experts will answer it, or reach out to a local RE/MAX Agent who will be able to help!

 

If you are buying a home in the Edmonton region or thinking of selling your home and want a free home evaluation, contact Travis at 780-720-8240 or by email at sell@travisbannert.com for more real estate and MLS advice. 


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