BUYING A HOME
Purchasing a home or cottage may be the biggest investment you’ve ever made. The more you know, the better your decisions will be. teamHUMNISKI is prepared to help you every step of the way. A multitude of decisions need to be made. Locating the perfect spot is not always an easy task, and obtaining a mortgage or financing can be a complex and tiring process. We will be at your side each step of the way, making the process of purchasing easier, more enjoyable, less time consuming, and maybe less expensive if you tried to do it on your own.
We will help you prepare so that sellers perceive you as a “preferred” buyer, help you locate and assess properties for sale, and find properties that match your specifications (Your Wish List). We will help you through the myriad of details that arise during the actual purchase. We are very familiar with the current properties on the market, we know neighbourhood values, can tell you which properties are fairly-priced and in good condition before you start your search.
List what and where you are seeking. Be specific. Create a “Wish List”. What is your ideal property?
Separate the “must haves” from the “want to haves” How much space do you need, bedrooms, bathrooms?
Are you seeking a seasonal or year round residence?
Turn key ready, new, or fixer-upper? Resale value down the road should also be put into consideration.
Keep an open mind. Photos aren’t always representative of what the house really looks like.
Don’t always believe the description and read between the lines. ‘Ready to put your decorator touch on it’ means it needs a lot of work. And ‘Tuxedo dream home for under 500K’ may not be exactly in Tuxedo.
Remember that the asking price is very different from the sale price. In a hot market like we have seen in Winnipeg, homes were selling higher than listing price. teamHUMNISKI can find any sold prices (if they are sold on MLS). It doesn’t matter what somebody lists for in a neighborhood, it is what it sells for that matters.
If you are shopping for a condo, keep in mind that what’s included in the maintenance fees varies from building to building. A lower maintenance fee might still mean more monthly costs if it doesn’t include heat and electricity.
Once you have addressed your needs and wants, your next move should be to get pre-qualified with a financial institution or mortgage specialist. Call us and we can refer you to a mortgage professional that has an excellent reputation and track record for acquiring successful approvals for our clients. Once pre-qualified, you will know the parameters of your property range in dollar value, and we can use the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) to locate the ideal property for you! We have the best possible resources’ and communication systems available on the market today. We will help you complete financing details, inspections, and the removal of conditions.
Our top priority is to make sure your buying experience is pleasant, cost efficient, stress-free, and most of all successful!
Conditions are requirements within the offer that must be met, or at least signed off by the buyer for the deal to progress. A condition is defined as “a requirement that is fundamental to the very existence of the offer”. A breach of a condition allows the buyer to get out of the contract and obtain the full amount of the deposit back. There are limitless types of conditions that might be included in an Offer to Purchase; one of the most important ones to understand is the Financing condition. The financing condition protects the buyer. While the legal wording of the clause may vary, it essentially tells a seller that your offer to buy their property is conditional on you obtaining financing. The financing must be satisfactory to the buyer in their sole and absolute discretion, not only that you were able to obtain the financing. If you buy a property without a financing condition and then realize that you can’t find a lender to lend you the money, you’ve got trouble. Or maybe you find out your credit isn’t as good as you thought it was and the bank is penalizing you by charging you a higher interest rate and you can no longer afford the mortgage payments. A financing condition can protect you from losing your deposit and being sued, by giving you an “out” if you need it. Of course if your offer is conditional on financing, you have a duty to seek financing in good faith (meaning you can’t just change your mind about the house the next day and back out of the deal saying you couldn’t get financing. Other popular conditions include lawyer’s review of the offer, home inspection, well sample, zoning and bylaw information. A deposit would also accompany any offer to purchase. Once the conditions have been met and signed off by the buyer, the deal is set.
Once you have a firm deal in place, a deposit has been submitted and all conditions have been waived, the closing process starts. As a buyer, now is the time to be in close contact with your lawyer and lending institution. The lawyers for both sides transfer the property from the seller to the buyer.
Naturally, as you go through the process, you will want to know how much money it will cost.
Some of the things you can expect are:
- Down payment (less any money you have already put in as a deposit)
- Land transfer tax (see link in Information Page)
- Lender fees (appraisals)
- Home inspection fees
- Legal fees
Your lawyer will calculate the final amount owing and you will need to provide payment for the remaining amount (minus deposits) before the property comes into your possession.
SELLING YOUR HOME
Your home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay, but the right pricing strategy can make the difference between how much money is left in your pocket and how much is left on the negotiating table.
- Is there a chance for a bidding war?
- Price high and plan to negotiate?
- How long before you drop the price?
- Is it the right time of year to list?
- Should it be listed at $200,000, or $199,999?
- What should be included in the price?
- When is it time to drop the price?
Your asking price is the starting point in the negotiations, so it is important to pick the right asking price.
Price too high and you risk being on the market too long
Properties that sit too long on the market can get a stigma on them
Price too low and you are leaving money on the table.
When it comes to determining how much your home is worth, it is important to look at:
- Recent sales in your neighbourhood
- Properties currently on the market
- Current market conditions
- The pluses and minuses of your home
It is also important to remember that the price of your home is a moving target, and will depend on the time of year you sell and who you are competing with.
How the Humniski Team can help you price your home:
- We know the market and the comparable sales.
- We live and breathe real estate, and when we’re not out looking at properties with clients, we’re doing it ourselves.
- We look at all your competition before and during the listing, so we know how to price ourselves accordingly.
- We know what sells, what doesn’t, and why.
Contrary to popular belief by other Realtors, there is much more to marketing your property than just putting it on MLS. When it comes to reaching serious buyers, an intensive marketing plan is key.
- Identify the buyer. Effective marketing targets a specific audience. The more you know about the buyer the better. Who is most likely to buy your property? Are they young families, retired, or strictly cottagers? Where do they live now?
- 90% of buyers look online for prospective properties. If they have a hard time finding yours….Not Good! Pictures are important. We offer an in depth digital and social marketing plan. This allows buyers to access your listing 24/7, at their leisure.
We look at historical sales – The best predictor of the future is the past. When pricing a home, real estate agents and appraisers will look at recent sales on your street and in your neighbourhood.
We check out the competition – What are potential buyers going to see at the same time as your property? When we list a home or cottage, we go see everything a potential buyer will see and recommend a price accordingly.
We make adjustments – No two properties are alike. Finished basements and second bathrooms add value, corner lots and next-to-no storage areas detract. A house or cottage backing onto the railway tracks is worth less than one near the lake. Experience has shown us what features add or detract from a property.
MLS Data goes only so far- Pictures on the computer can detract or greatly enhance a property. Seeing the properties first hand is the best, and by seeing many properties, it is easier to make comparisons to your home.
Supply and demand – With a lot of buyers looking at few homes, this can tend to increase the market value. Too many listings available, the market can drop. Interest rates also have an effect on market conditions.
Value is fluctuating – The value of your home last week may not be its value today. Last year can be a whole lot different this year.
Once again, the value of your home is what someone is willing to pay for it.
STEPS TO SELLING YOUR HOME
Step 1- De-cluttering and De-personalizing
We all have too much stuff, and too much in your home and property can be distracting to potential buyers. Remove as much clutter as possible- books, knick knacks, storage boxes, off-season clothes, shoe collection, etc. Removing excess items allows buyers to see themselves living in your space- and also means putting away personal photos, mementos, and collections.
Step 2- Cleaning
The amount of cleaning should be about the same result you would expect in a hotel room. Wash baseboards, remove cobwebs from corners and ceilings, clean inside your fridge and oven (these likely will be included in the sale, and buyers may look inside). Closets should be decluttered and cleaned, as well as kitchen cupboards. Items shouldn’t be falling out as someone opens the doors. Dust furniture and clean carpets. Beds should be made daily, dishes done, and clean up the daily clutter (you don’t know when the call will come for a showing).
Step 3- Staging
This involves optimizing the use, look, and feel of every room in your home. It may mean changing a home office back to another bedroom. It may mean adding, removing, or rearranging furnishings. It may mean changing dated light fixtures, adding some paint to some rooms. They don’t have to be expensive changes, they are just time consuming. The effort will help with the amount of time it takes to sell, as well as getting you the best price you can.
Step 4- Repairs and Renovations
It is easy to let little things go on without repairing immediately. Chipped drywall, dents in kitchen cupboards or baseboards, loose gutters etc. give the impression that your home has not been well maintained. Repairing these items gives the impression that everything has been continually kept in pristine condition. Buyers have a lot of things to contend with when moving into a new home, they don’t want to start by repairing minor items as soon as they take over the property. These little items can help you obtain a better price.
Step 5- Pre-listing Home Inspection
A pre-listing home inspection can help you identify any issues with your home before you put it on the market. If the inspector feels that your shingles are going to be good for a couple of years, you can have the work done on the roof, or factor the job out of your asking price. By having that information about the deficiencies of your home ahead of time, it will help you negotiate better when you do receive an offer. No one wants these surprises once the offer is accepted, and the buyers hire a home inspector and walk away from the deal.
The offer will contain some important points in the negotiation:
- THE PRICE
- THE CLOSING DATE
- THE IRREVOCABLE TIME/DATE
- THE CONDITIONS
Once you receive an offer, you can respond in one of 3 ways: Accept the offer as is. Make a counter-offer (with better price, possession date, or different conditions, or a combination of all 3). Decline the offer outright, and walk away from the deal.
Negotiating is an art, teamHUMNISKI can provide solid advice and guidance to get you the price you want. The final price decisions when selling your home are always yours to make, but it helps to have a strategic negotiator on your side. We will negotiate as if it were our home, and won’t be pressured into making a move you aren’t comfortable with. We can help you through the fine print of the offer, and help take the mysteries of the legalities for you.