8 Strategies to Secure a Lower Mortgage Rate


8 Strategies to Secure a Lower Mortgage Rate

Interest rates have risen rapidly this year, triggered by the Bank of Canada’s efforts to curb inflation. And the July MNP Consumer Debt Index found that 59% of Canadians “are already feeling the effects of interest rate increases.”1

Why has the impact been so widespread? In part, due to the rising popularity of variable rate mortgages. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, in the latter half of last year, the majority of mortgage borrowers opted for a variable over a fixed interest rate.2

Variable mortgages are typically pegged to the lender’s prime rate, which means they are immediately affected by rising interest rates. Homeowners with fixed mortgages aren’t impacted as quickly because their interest rate is locked in, but they will face higher rates, as well, when their mortgages are up for renewal. And many homebuyers are finding it increasingly difficult to afford or even qualify for a mortgage at today’s elevated rates.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to strengthen your position if you have plans to buy a home or renew an existing mortgage. Try these eight strategies to help secure the best available rate:

 

  1. Raise your credit score.

Borrowers with higher credit scores are viewed as “less risky” to lenders, so they are offered lower interest rates. A “good” credit score typically starts at 660 and can move up into the 800s.3 If you don’t know your score, you can access it online from Canada’s two primary credit bureaus, Equifax and Transunion.4

Then, if your credit score is low, you can take steps to improve it, including:5

  • Correct any errors on your credit reports, which can bring down your score. You can request free copies of your reports through the Equifax and Transunion websites.
  • Pay down revolving debt. This includes credit card balances and home equity lines of credit.
  • Avoid closing old credit card accounts in good standing. It could lower your score by shortening your credit history and shrinking your total available credit.
  • Make all future payments on time. Payment history is a primary factor in determining your credit score, so make it a priority.
  • Limit your credit applications to avoid having your score dinged by too many inquiries. If you’re shopping around for a car loan or mortgage, minimize the impact by limiting your applications to a two-week period.

Over time, you should start to see your credit score climb — which will help you qualify for a lower mortgage rate.

 

  1. Keep steady employment.

If you are preparing to purchase a home, it might not be the best time to make a major career change. Unfortunately, frequent job moves or gaps in your résumé could hurt your borrower eligibility.

When you apply for a new mortgage, lenders will typically review your employment and income history and look for evidence that you’ve been financially stable for at least two years.6 If you’ve earned a steady paycheck, you could qualify for a better interest rate. A stable employment history gives lenders more confidence in your ability to repay the loan.

That doesn’t mean a job change will automatically disqualify you from purchasing a home. But certain moves, like switching from corporate employment to freelance or self-employment status, could force you to delay your purchase, since lenders will want to see proof of steady, long-term earnings.6

 

  1. Lower your debt service ratios.

Even with a high credit score and a great job, lenders will be concerned if your debt payments are consuming too much of your income. That’s where your debt service ratios will come into play.

There are two types of debt service ratios:7

  1. Gross debt service (GDS) — What percentage of your gross monthly income will go towards covering housing expenses (mortgage, property taxes, utilities, and 50% of condo maintenance fees)?
  2. Total debt service (TDS) — What percentage of your gross monthly income will go towards covering ALL debt obligations (housing expenses, credit cards, student loans, and other debt)?

What’s considered a good debt service ratio? Lenders typically want to see a GDS ratio that’s no higher than 32% and a TDS ratio that’s 40% or less.7

Low debt service ratios will also help you pass a mortgage stress test, which is required by all Canadian banks and some other types of lenders. The stress test is designed to help ensure you can continue to afford your mortgage payments even if interest rates rise. You can use the government of Canada’s Mortgage Qualifier Tool to calculate how much you can afford to borrow.

If your debt service ratios are too high, or you can’t pass a mortgage stress test, you may need to consider purchasing a less expensive home, increasing your down payment, or paying down your existing debt. A bump in your monthly income will also help.

 

  1. Increase your down payment.

Minimum down payment requirements vary by loan size and property type. But, in some cases, you can qualify for a lower mortgage rate if you make a larger down payment.

Why do lenders care about your down payment size? Because borrowers with significant equity in their homes are less likely to default on their mortgages. That’s why you will be required to purchase mortgage default insurance if you put down less than 20%.8

It’s important to note that some lenders offer discount rates for borrowers who put down less than 20% – because the required default insurance protects them from any potential loss. However, the cost of CMHC or private mortgage default insurance will typically exceed any interest savings. You’ll also have to pay interest on that insurance if you add it to your mortgage.9 The bottom line: you’ll save money in borrowing costs if you can afford a larger down payment.

Fortunately, there are a couple of government-initiated resources designed to help eligible first-time home buyers with a down payment, including:9

  • Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) – Buyers may withdraw up to $35,000 (tax-free) from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan(RRSP). The money must be used to build or purchase a qualifying home and repaid to the RRSP within 15 years.
  • First-Time Home Buyer Incentive – Buyers can take advantage of a shared-equity mortgage with the Government of Canada. Essentially, the Government will put 5% or 10% towards your down payment, interest-free, in exchange for a limited equity share of your property. The repayment is due in 25 years or when you sell your home.

We’d be happy to discuss these and other programs, tax rebates, and incentives that might help you increase your down payment.

 

  1. Weigh interest rate options.

All mortgages are not created equal, and some may be a better fit than others, depending on your priorities and risk tolerance. For starters, there are several interest rate options to choose from:10

  • Fixed — You’re guaranteed to keep the same interest rate for the entire length of the loan. Many buyers prefer a fixed rate because it offers them predictability and stability. However, you’ll pay a premium for it, as these mortgages typically have a higher interest rate to start. And if rates fall, you’ll be locked into that higher rate.
  • Variable — Your interest rate will rise or fall along with your lender’s prime rate. You can choose either an adjustable or a fixed monthly payment. However, if you opt for a fixed payment, the amount that goes towards principal and interest each month will fluctuate depending on the current rate. Variable-rate mortgages typically offer lower interest rates to start but run the risk of increasing.
  • Hybrid – Can’t decide between a fixed or variable rate? Hybrid mortgages attempt to address that dilemma. A portion of the mortgage will have a fixed rate and the remainder will have a variable rate. The fixed gives you some protection if rates go up, while the variable offers some benefit if rates fall.

What’s the best choice if you’re looking for the lowest mortgage rate? The answer is…it depends. If mortgage rates don’t rise much higher, or drop back down in a couple of years, you could win by opting for a variable rate. However, if they continue to climb, you may be better off with a fixed rate.

Keep in mind that the spread between variable and fixed rates has narrowed as rates rise.11 However, it’s still easier to meet the stress-test requirements for a variable mortgage, since the threshold is lower.12 So, your choice may be limited by your ability to qualify.

 

  1. Compare loan terms.

A mortgage term is the length of time your mortgage agreement is in effect. At the end of the term, a mortgage holder will need to either pay off their mortgage or renew for another term.

There are three major types of mortgage terms:13

  • Shorter-term – These can range from 6 months to 5 years, and they are the most popular type in Canada. Borrowers can choose between a fixed or variable interest rate.
  • Longer-term – These are longer than 5 years but generally no more than 10 years in length. Longer-term mortgages are more likely to feature fixed-interest rates and hefty prepayment penalties.
  • Convertible – Offers the option to extend a shorter-term mortgage to a longer-term mortgage, typically at a different interest rate.

Which loan term offers the lowest rate? A shorter-term mortgage will typically feature a lower interest rate than a longer-term mortgage. However, the rate on a 1-year or a 3-year mortgage could be higher or lower than a 5-year mortgage depending on the current economic climate and whether it’s fixed or variable.

Many lenders offer especially attractive rates for 5-year mortgages due to their popularity.14 But to find the best rate, you’ll need to compare your options at the time of purchase or renewal.

 

  1. Get quotes from multiple lenders.

When shopping for a mortgage, be sure to solicit quotes from several different lenders and lender types to compare the interest rates and fees. Depending upon your situation, you could find that one institution offers a better deal for the type of loan and term length you want.

Ideally, you should begin this process before you start looking for a home. If you get preapproved for a mortgage, in most cases, you can lock in the mortgage rate for 90 to 120 days. This is especially important when interest rates are rising.15

Some borrowers choose to work with a mortgage broker. Like an insurance broker, they can help you gather quotes and find the best rate. They’re paid a commission by the lender, so it won’t cost you anything out of pocket to use a broker. However, make sure you find out which lenders they work with and contact more than one so you can compare their recommendations.16

Don’t forget that we can be a valuable resource in finding a lender, especially if you are new to the home buying process. After a consultation, we can discuss your financing needs and connect you with loan officers or brokers best suited for your situation.

 

  1. Ask for a discount.

When shopping for a mortgage, don’t be afraid to negotiate. In Canada, it’s commonplace for lenders to discount their advertised interest rates, which are called posted rates. And in many cases, all you have to do is ask. Of course, the strength of your application will come into play here – so don’t neglect strategies 1 through 4 above.17

Keep in mind that interest rates aren’t the only thing on the table. You can negotiate other contract terms, as well, like prepayment options and rebates. And if you get a great offer from one lender, you can leverage it by asking your preferred institution to match or beat it.17

 

Getting Started

Unfortunately, the rock-bottom mortgage rates we saw during the height of the pandemic are behind us. However, today’s 5-year fixed rates still fall beneath the historical average — and are well below the all-time peak of 20.75% in 1981.18

And although higher mortgage rates have made it more expensive to finance a home purchase, they have also ushered in a more balanced market. Consequently, today’s buyers are finding more homes to choose from, a better value for their investment, and sellers who are willing to negotiate.

If you have questions or would like more information about buying or selling a home, reach out to schedule a free consultation. We’d love to help you weigh your options, navigate this shifting market, and reach your real estate goals!

 


Sources:

  1. MNP Consumer Debt Index –
    https://mnpdebt.ca/en/resources/mnp-consumer-debt-index
  2. Global News –
    https://globalnews.ca/news/8970237/canada-mortgages-variable-fixed-cmhc/
  3. Loans Canada –
    https://loanscanada.ca/mortgage/minimum-credit-score-required-for-mortgage-approval/
  4. Government of Canada –
    https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/credit-reports-score/order-credit-report.html
  5. Government of Canada – https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/credit-reports-score/improve-credit-score.html
  6. RATESDOTCA –
    https://rates.ca/resources/how-long-at-job-before-applying-mortgage
  7. NerdWallet –
    https://www.nerdwallet.com/ca/mortgages/what-are-debt-service-ratios
  8. Royal Bank of Canada –
    https://www.rbcroyalbank.com/mortgages/mortgage-default-insurance.html
  9. Government of Canada – https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/mortgages/down-payment.html#toc2
  10. Government of Canada –
    https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/mortgages/choose-mortgage.html
  11. Canada Mortgage Professional –
    https://www.mpamag.com/ca/mortgage-industry/industry-trends/what-do-falling-bond-yields-mean-for-fixed-rates/416463
  12. The Globe and Mail –
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-the-best-mortgage-strategies-for-a-rising-interest-rate-environment/
  13. Government of Canada –
    https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/mortgages/mortgage-terms-amortization.html
  14. WOWA.ca –
    https://wowa.ca/mortgage-rates
  15. NerdWallet –
    https://www.nerdwallet.com/ca/mortgages/what-is-mortgage-pre-approval
  16. Government of Canada –https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/mortgages/preapproval-qualify-mortgage.html
  17. NerdWallet –
    https://www.nerdwallet.com/ca/mortgages/negotiating-mortgage-fees
  18. RateHub.ca –
    https://www.ratehub.ca/5-year-fixed-mortgage-rate-history
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Nova Scotia Association Of REALTORS® MARKET UPDATE JUNE 2022


Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS®

The number of homes sold through the MLS® System of the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS® totaled 1,419 units in June 2022. This was a minor decrease of 3.9% from June 2021.

Homes Sold

The number of homes sold through the MLS® System of the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS® totaled 1,419 units in June 2022. This was a minor decrease of 3.9% from June 2021.

Home sales were 1.6% above the five-year average and 13.5% above the 10-year average for the month of June.

On a year-to-date basis, home sales totaled 6,933 units over the first six months of the year. This was a large decline of 18.1% from the same period in 2021.

 

Average Homes Price

The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) tracks price trends far more accurately than is possible using average or median price measures. The overall MLS® HPI composite benchmark price was $417,300 in June 2022, a sizable gain of 27.2% compared to June 2021.

The benchmark price for single-family homes was $410,900, increasing by 27% on a year-over-year basis in June. By comparison, the benchmark price for townhouse/row units was $490,300, a gain of 25.3% compared to a year earlier, while the benchmark apartment price was $479,800, up sharply by 31.4% from year-ago levels.

The average price of homes sold in June 2022 was $420,243, increasing by 14.8% from June 2021.

The more comprehensive year-to-date average price was $438,101, a gain of 22.3% from the first six months of 2021.

The dollar value of all home sales in June 2022 was $596.3 million, up by 10.3% from the same month in 2021. This was also a new record for the month of June.

New Listings

The number of new listings saw an increase of 4.3% from June 2021. There were 2,271 new residential listings in June 2022. This was the largest number of new listings added in the month of June in more than five years.

New listings were 11.7% above the five-year average and 3.8% above the 10-year average for the month of June.

Active Listings

Active residential listings numbered 3,289 units on the market at the end of June, a moderate gain of 4.5% from the end of June 2021.

Active listings were 36.6% below the five-year average and 59% below the 10-year average for the month of June.

Months of inventory numbered 2.3 at the end of June 2022, up from the 2.1 months recorded at the end of June 2021 and below the long-run average of 6.9 months for this time of year. The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

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10 Pro Tips for a Smooth Home Move


10 Pro Tips for a Smooth Home Move

 

The process of buying a new home can be both exhilarating and exhausting. But the journey doesn’t stop when you close on your property. On the contrary, you still have quite a bit to do before you can begin the process of settling into your new place.

Fortunately, you don’t have to do everything in a day. You don’t have to do it all alone, either. When you work with us to sell or purchase a home, you’ll have an ally by your side long after your transaction has closed. We’ll continue to be a resource, offering advice and referrals whenever you need them on packing, hiring movers and contractors, and acclimating to your new home and neighbourhood.

When it comes to a life event as stressful as moving, it pays to have a professional by your side. Here are some of our favourite pro tips to share with clients as they prepare for an upcoming move.

 

1. Watch out for moving scams.

Maybe you receive a flyer for a moving company in the mail. Perhaps you find a mover online. Either way, never assume that you’re getting accurate information. According to The Canadian Association of Movers, moving scams are on the rise — with seniors, in particular, being targeted.1

How can you tell if a moving deal is too good to be true? Trust your instincts. If the price appears too low or you can’t pin down the mover’s physical business address, try someone else. The same goes for any moving company representative who dodges questions. Reputable movers should offer transparent pricing, conduct in-home estimates, and provide referrals and copies of their insurance documents upon request.1 For help finding trustworthy movers, reach out. We’d be happy to share our recommendations.

 

2. Insure your belongings.

Your moving company promises to take care of your custom piano or your antique furniture. But don’t just take their word for it. Ask to see how much insurance they carry and talk about how the claims process works. That way, you’ll know what is (and isn’t) covered in case of loss or damage. If needed, consider paying extra to upgrade to full replacement value protection.2

Of course, some items are priceless because they’re irreplaceable. You might want to move your more sensitive valuables (jewellery, documents, family heirlooms, etc.) in your own vehicle just to be safe. For added peace of mind, call your home insurance provider if you’re moving anything yourself. In many cases, your personal property will be covered while in transit for a limited period of time.

 

3. Start packing when you start looking for a new home.

As soon as your house hunting begins in earnest, think about packing away things you won’t need for the next few months. These could include seasonal or holiday decor, clothing, and books. Tackling just one or two boxes a day will give you a head start.

If you’re going to put your current home on the market, you’ll want to declutter anyway. Decluttering will make your home seem larger, and depersonalizing helps buyers envision their own items in the space. Consider selling, donating, or throwing out possessions you no longer need. The things you want to keep can be placed in storage until you officially start moving to a new place.

 

4. Pack to make unpacking easier.

Have you ever opened a packed box only to find that it’s filled with an assortment of items that don’t belong together? This isn’t efficient and will only make unpacking harder. A better way to pack is to bundle items from a single room in a labelled box. Labels can let movers know (and remind you) where to place each box, whether it’s fragile, and which side needs to be up. Some people like to assign colours to each room in their new home to make distributing colour-coded boxes a breeze.

Feel free to unleash your inner organizer with this project. For example, you could create a spreadsheet and assign each box a number. As boxes are packed, simply fill in the spreadsheet with a list of contents. Anyone with access to the spreadsheet can log in and quickly find a desired item.

 

5. Think outside the box when transporting clothes.

Who wants to worry about boxing up clothes? If you plan on hiring professional movers, ask if you can leave clothing in your dressers. In many cases, they will use plastic to wrap the dresser so the drawers don’t fall out during transport. If keeping your clothes in your furniture makes it too heavy, the movers might be able to wrap and move drawers by themselves.

Another easy transport trick involves turning clean garbage bags into garment bags. Poke a hole in the bottom of a garbage bag, turn the bag upside down, slide it over five to seven garments on hangers, and lay the items flat in the back seat or trunk of your vehicle. The bags will help prevent wrinkling, and your clothes will be ready to hang up when you get to your new home.

 

6. Document prior to disassembling appliances and furnishings.

Few things are as confusing as looking at a plastic baggie filled with nuts, bolts, and screws from your disassembled dining room table or sorting through a box of electrical wires and cords to see which ones fit your TV.

The best workaround to easier reassembly is to document the disassembly process. Take photos and videos or thorough notes as you go. Whether it’s your headboard or treadmill, be very precise. And just a tip: Construct your beds first when you get to your new home. After a long moving day, the very last thing you want is to be assembling beds into the wee hours of the morning.

 

7. Prioritize unpacking kids’ rooms.

Children can become very stressed by a big move. To ease their transition, consider prioritizing unpacking their rooms as their “safe zones.”3 You aren’t obligated to unpack everything, certainly. However, set up your children’s rooms to be functional. That way, your kids can hang out in a private oasis away from the chaos while you’re running around and moving everything else.

Depending upon how old your youngsters are, you might want to give them decorating leeway, too. Even if it’s just letting them choose where furniture goes, it gives them a sense of buy-in. This can help ease the blues of leaving a former home they loved.

 

8. Be a thoughtful pet parent.

Many types of pets can’t handle the commotion of moving day. Knowing this, be considerate and seek ways to give your pets breaks from the action. You might ask a friend to pet-sit your pooch or keep your kitty in a quieter room, like a guest bathroom.

Be sure to check in on your pet frequently. Pets like to know that you’re around. Give them treats, food, and water throughout the day. When it’s time to transport your pet, do it calmly. At your new property, give your pet access to just a room or two at first. Pets typically prefer to acclimate themselves slowly to unfamiliar environments.4

 

9. Plan for your move like you’re planning for an exciting vacation.

When you plan vacations, you probably look up local restaurants, shops, and recreational areas. Who says you can’t do the same thing when moving? Create a list of all the places you want to go and things you want to do around your newly purchased home. Having a to-explore list keeps everyone’s spirits high and gives you starting points to settle into the neighbourhood.

And don’t feel that you have to cook that first night. Once the moving trucks are gone, you can always pop over to a local eatery or order SkipTheDishes for major convenience. The first meal in your new home should be a happy, welcoming treat. And if you’re relocating to our neck of the woods, we would love to introduce you to the hot spots in town and recommend our local favourites.

 

10. Pack an “Open Me First!” box.

You won’t be able to unpack all your boxes in one day, but you shouldn’t go without your sheets, pillows, or toothbrush. Designate some boxes with “Open Me First!” labels. (Pro tip: Keep a tool kit front and centre for all that reassembling.)

Along these lines, use luggage and duffel bags to transport everyone’s personal must-have items and enough clothing for a couple of days. That way, you won’t have to rummage through everything in the middle of your move looking for sneakers or snacks.

When packing your “Open Me First!” boxes, think about which items you’ll need in those first 24 hours. For example, toilet paper and hand soap are musts. A box cutter will make unpacking a lot easier, and paper towels and trash bags are sure to come in handy. Reach out for a complete, printable list of “Open Me First!” box essentials to keep on hand for your next move!

 

LET’S GET MOVING

Getting the phone call from your real estate agent that your bid was accepted is a thrilling moment. Make sure you keep the positivity flowing during the following weeks by mapping out a streamlined, efficient move. Feel free to get in touch with us today to help make your big move your best move.

 


Sources:

  1. Mover.net –
    https://www.mover.net/planning-a-move/consumer-alerts/moving-fraud
  2. Mover.net –
    https://www.mover.net/planning-a-move/info-about-moving/moving-protection
  3. Aha! Parenting –
    https://www.ahaparenting.com/read/moving-help-child-adjust
  4. Ontario SPCA –
    https://ontariospca.ca/blog/how-to-successfully-move-homes-with-your-pet/
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7 Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make (And How to Avoid Them)


7 Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make (And How to Avoid Them)

No matter what’s going on in the housing market, the process of selling a home can be challenging. Some sellers have a hard time saying goodbye to a treasured family residence. Others want to skip ahead to the fun of decorating and settling in a new place. Almost all sellers want to make the most money possible.

Whatever your circumstances, the road to the closing table can be riddled with obstacles — from issues with showings and negotiations to inspection surprises. But many of these complications are avoidable when you have a skilled and knowledgeable real estate agent by your side.

For example, here are seven common mistakes that many home sellers make. These can cause anxiety, cost you time, and shrink your financial proceeds. Fortunately, we can help you avert these missteps and set you up for a successful and low-stress selling experience instead.

 

MISTAKE # 1: Setting An Unrealistic Price

Many sellers believe that pricing their home high and waiting for the “right buyer” to come along will net them the most money. However, overpriced homes often sit on the market with little activity, which can be the kiss of death in real estate — and result in an inevitable price drop.1

Alternatively, if you price your home at (or sometimes slightly below) market value, your home can be among the nicest that buyers have seen within their budget. This can increase your likelihood of receiving multiple offers.2

To help you set a realistic price from the start, we will do a comparative market analysis, or CMA. This integral piece of research will help us determine an ideal listing price, based on the amount that similar properties have recently sold for in your area.

Without this data, you risk pricing your home too high (and getting no offers) or too low (and leaving money on the table). We can help you find that sweet spot that will draw in buyers without undercutting your profits.

MISTAKE #2: Trying To Time The Market

You’ve probably heard the old saying: “Buy low and sell high.” But when it comes to real estate, that’s easier said than done.

Delaying your home sale until prices are at their peak may sound like a great idea. But sellers should keep these factors in mind:

  1. Predicting the market with certainty is nearly impossible.
  2. If you wait to buy your next home, its price could increase, as well. This may erode any additional proceeds from your sale.
  3. If mortgage rates are rising, your pool of potential buyers could shrink—and you will have to pay more to finance your next purchase.

Instead of trying to time the market, choose your ideal sales timeline, instead. This may be based on factors like your personal financial situation, shifting family dynamics, or the seasonal patterns in your particular neighbourhood. We can help you figure out the best time to sell given your individual circumstances.

 

MISTAKE #3: Failing To Address Needed Repairs

Many sellers hope that buyers won’t notice their leaky faucet or broken shutters during a home showing. But minor issues like these can leave buyers worrying about more serious — and costly — problems lurking out of sight.

Even if you do receive an offer, there’s a high likelihood that the buyer will hire a professional home inspector, who will flag any defects in their report. Neglecting to address a major issue could lead buyers to ask for costly repairs, money back, or worse yet, walk away from the purchase altogether.

To avoid these types of disruptions, it’s important to make necessary renovations before your home hits the market. We can help you decide which repairs and updates are worth your time and investment. In some cases, we may recommend a professional pre-listing inspection.

This extra time and attention can help you avoid potential surprises down the road and identify any major structural, system, or cosmetic faults that could impact a future sale.3

 

MISTAKE #4: Neglecting To Stage Your Home

Staging is the act of preparing your home for potential buyers. The goal is to “set the stage” for buyers to help them envision themselves living in your home. Some sellers opt to skip this step, but that mistake can cost them time and money in the long run. A 2021 survey by the Real Estate Staging Association found that, on average, staged homes sold nine days faster and for $40,000 over list price.4

Indoors, staging could include everything from redecorating, painting, or rearranging your furniture pieces to removing personal items, decluttering, and deep cleaning. Outdoors, you might focus on power washing, planting flowers, or hanging a wreath on the front door.

You may not need to do all of these tasks, but almost every home can benefit from some form of staging. Before your home hits the market, we can refer you to a professional stager or offer our insights and suggestions if you prefer the do-it-yourself route.

MISTAKE #5: Evaluating Offers On Price Alone

When reviewing offers, most sellers focus on one thing: the offer price. And while dollar value is certainly important, a high-priced offer is worthless if the deal never reaches the closing table. That’s why it’s important to consider other factors in addition to the offer price, such as:

  • Financing and buyer qualifications
  • Deposit size
  • Contract contingencies
  • Closing date

Depending on your particular circumstances, some of these factors may or may not be important to you. For example, if you’re still shopping for your next home, you might place a high premium on an offer that allows for a flexible closing date.

Buyers and their agents are focused on crafting a deal that works well for them. We can help you assess your needs and goals to select an offer that works best for you.

 

MISTAKE #6: Acting On Emotion Instead Of Reason

It’s only natural to grow emotionally attached to your home. That’s why so many sellers end up feeling hurt or offended at some point during the selling process. Low offers can feel like insults. Repair requests can feel like judgments. And whatever you do — don’t listen in on showings through your security monitoring system. Chances are, some buyers won’t like your decor choices, either!

However, it’s a huge mistake to ruin a great selling opportunity because you refuse to counter a low offer or negotiate minor repairs. Instead, try to keep a cool head and be willing to adjust reasonably to make the sale. We can help you weigh your decisions and provide rational advice with your best interests in mind.

 

MISTAKE #7: Not Hiring An Agent

There’s a good reason 90% of homeowners choose to sell with the help of a real estate agent. Homes listed by an agent sold for 22% more than the average for-sale-by-owner home, according to a recent US-based study.5

Selling a home on your own may seem like an easy way to save money. But in reality, there is a steep learning curve. And a listing agent can:

  • Skip past time-consuming problems
  • Use market knowledge to get the best price
  • Access contacts and networks to speed up the selling process

If you choose to work with a listing agent, you’ll save significant time and effort while minimizing your personal risk and liability. And the increased profits realized through a more effective marketing and negotiation strategy could more than make up for the cost of your agent’s commission.

We can navigate the ins and outs of the housing market for you and make your selling process as stress-free as possible. You may even end up with an offer for your home that’s better than you expected.

 

BYPASS THE PITFALLS WITH A KNOWLEDGEABLE GUIDE

Your home selling journey doesn’t have to be hard. When you hire us as your listing agent, we’ll develop a customized sales plan to help you get top dollar for your home without any undue risk, stress, or aggravation. If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, reach out today to schedule a free consultation and home value assessment.

 


Sources:

  1. Realtor.ca –
    https://www.realtor.ca/blog/postpage/2666/1362/the-importance-of-having-a-realtor%C2%AE-price-your-home/
  2. Royal Bank of Canada –
    https://www.rbcroyalbank.com/mortgages/sellers-vs-buyers-market.html
  3. Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors –
    https://www.cahpi.ca/en/blog/3-reasons-you-should-hire-a-cahpi-inspector
  4. Real Estate Staging Association –
    https://www.realestatestagingassociation.com/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=304550&module_id=164548
  5. National Association of Realtors –
    https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/quick-real-estate-statistics
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NOVA SCOTIA MARKET REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE MAY 2022


Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS®

Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS® MLS® home sales in Nova Scotia continue at a steady pace in May

Homes Sold

The number of homes sold through the MLS® System of the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS® totaled 1,476 units in May 2022. Although down 7.3% from the same month last year, sales still managed to post the second highest total for any May on record.

Home sales were 11.3% above the five-year average and 22.1% above the 10-year average for the month of May.

On a year-to-date basis, home sales totaled 5,526 units over the first five months of the year. This was a significant decrease of 20.9% from the same period in 2021.

Average Homes Price

The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) tracks price trends far more accurately than is possible using average or median price measures. The overall MLS® HPI composite benchmark price was $417,500 in May 2022, a significant increase of 31.7% compared to May 2021.

The benchmark price for single-family homes was $410,300, a jump of 31.3% on a year-over-year basis in May. By comparison, the benchmark price for townhouse/row units was $506,000, rising 33.1% compared to a year earlier, while the benchmark apartment price was $482,500, an advance of 36.9% from year-ago levels.

The average price of homes sold in May 2022 was $452,748, up by 25.7% from May 2021.

The more comprehensive year-to-date average price was $442,378, an increase of 24.1% from the first five months of 2021.

The dollar value of all home sales in May 2022 was $668.3 million, a notable gain of 16.5% from the same month in 2021. This was also a new record for the month of May.

New Listings

The number of new listings advanced by 30.6% from May 2021. There were 2,238 new residential listings in May 2022.

New listings were 12.1% above the five-year average and 2.3% below the 10-year average for the month of May.

Active Listings

Active residential listings numbered 2,747 units on the market at the end of May, a modest gain of 2.3% from the end of May 2021.

Active listings were 44.2% below the five-year average and 64.2% below the 10-year average for the month of May.

Months of inventory numbered 1.9 at the end of May 2022, up from the 1.7 months recorded at the end of May 2021 and below the long-run average of 6.8 months for this time of year. The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

Source: www.creastats.crea.ca/board/nsar

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