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7 Tips to Maximize Your Home’s Sale Price


7 Tips to Maximize Your Home’s Sale Price

Over the past few years, a real estate buying frenzy bid up home prices to eye-popping amounts. However, as mortgage rates have risen, buyer demand has cooled.Consequently, home sellers who enter the market today may need to reset their expectations.

The reality is, it’s no longer enough to stick a “for sale” sign in the yard and wait for buyers to bang down the door. If you want to net the most money possible for your property in today’s market, you’ll need an effective game plan and a skilled team of professionals to implement it.

Fortunately, we’ve developed a listing strategy that combines our proven approach to preparation, pricing, and promotion—all designed to help you get top dollar for your home. But you will play an important role in the selling process, as well.

Here are some crucial steps you can take to set yourself up for success as a home seller in this market:

 

1. Make Strategic Repairs and Improvements

When you sell something, it’s important to consider what your customer wants to buy. And according to a recent survey, 83% of Canadians view “affording necessary renovations” as a major hurdle to buying a home.2 If you can present buyers with a move-in-ready option, they will feel more confident in making an offer.

Before your home goes on the market, we’ll conduct a thorough walk-through to identify any problems that could prevent it from selling. In some cases, we may recommend a professional pre-listing inspection. Finding and addressing issues like leaks, rot, and foundation problems up front can pay off in the final sale price. Plus, it prevents sales from falling through because of a red flag on the home inspection, a scenario no seller wants to face.

Beyond repairs, we’ll also help you identify the simple upgrades that offer the highest return on your investment. For example, new paint can give your home a fresh look at a reasonable cost. And according to a recent report, it’s one of the top renovations for return at resale.3 Similarly, minor landscaping improvements can pay off in a major way. A healthy lawn offers an estimated 256% ROI.4

 

2. Declutter and Depersonalize

When buyers look at a home for sale, they’re trying to envision themselves living there. That’s hard to do if it’s chock-full of the current owner’s family photos, children’s artwork, and souvenir collections. Plus, cluttered homes look smaller, and older items can make them feel dated.

Decluttering before you put your home up for sale will help you in the long run—after all, you’ll need to move all your things to your new home eventually. Now is the time to shred, digitize, or organize old documents, donate old clothes, or move bulky furniture into storage. At a minimum, you’ll want to pack away excess items neatly before potential buyers view the home. Remove personal photos and other trinkets to create a blank slate that viewers can imagine decorating with their own prized possessions.

If you feel overwhelmed by this process, we’d be happy to make recommendations or refer you to a local service provider who can help.

3. Stage Your Home for Success

Just as you take care to dress professionally for a job interview, you should always ensure your home looks its best for potential buyers. Home shoppers today are used to scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest, and they want to see the same wow factor when touring a home.

The process of making your home look its best and appeal to potential buyers is called staging, and it can be a game changer. According to the International Association of Home Staging Professionals, an average priced staged home sells 5 to 11 times faster than its unstaged counterpart. Even better, the majority of staged homes sell for 4% to 20% over list price!5

Some sellers hire a professional stager, who may bring in furniture and decor to increase the home’s appeal. Others choose to stage their homes themselves. We can help advise you on which route to choose and how much to invest in the process.

It’s also important to consider what buyers in your neighbourhood are likely to be looking for in a home. We can help guide your staging choices with our local market insights. For example, in neighbourhoods where a large share of residents work from home, it may be effective to stage one room as an office space so potential buyers can envision their day-to-day routine.

 

4. Prep for Each Showing

Most of us don’t live picture-perfect lives, and our homes reflect that (sometimes messy) reality. But when your home is on the market, it’s important to ensure that it is always ready for viewers, even on short notice. A missed showing is a missed opportunity to sell your home!

Before your home hits the market, it may be worth hiring professional cleaners to get in all the nooks and crannies. After, try your best to keep things spic and span. Just a few minutes a day wiping down counters, sweeping the floors, and vacuuming can make a big difference.

It’s also worth noting that most buyers will open cabinets, drawers, and closets—so try to make sure everything is as neat and organized as possible. Keep toiletries and small appliances off countertops, and secure valuables and sensitive documents in a safe or off-site.

Want help finding a cleaning service to make your home shine for buyers? Reach out for a referral!

 

5. Price Your Home Correctly From the Start

In the past few years, you may have seen homes in your neighbourhood sell for shocking amounts and wondered if you could get a similar price for your property. The temptation to list your home on the high side can be strong, but it’s best to be realistic from the start. Even in a strong market, some homes will sit for months. And the longer a property is listed, the more buyers worry that something is wrong with it.

Of course, you also don’t want to set your price too low and lose out on potential profit. That’s why it’s essential to work with real estate agents (like us!) who know the ins and outs of our local market and what buyers are willing to pay today. In a quickly-evolving market, comparable sales from a few months ago can lag the current market reality.

Fortunately, if you’ve owned your home for several years, chances are good that it’s worth much more today than you paid for it. That means you stand to walk away with a handsome profit.

6. Avoid Acting on Emotion

The past few years of over-asking-price offers with few conditions have set certain expectations for many sellers. It’s only natural to feel hurt or even offended if an offer comes in lower than what you think your home is worth.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that those market conditions were unprecedented, and we are now returning to a more typical market. Home sellers who act rationally, rather than emotionally, are going to get the best results.

Remember: You can always counter a low offer. The same goes for repair requests and conditions—everything is negotiable. However, it’s important to accept that the market is adjusting and flexibility is key. Keep your expectations reasonable, and remain open-minded. And you can rest assured knowing that we’ll be by your side every step of the way to help you navigate the process and negotiate a great deal.

 

7. Work With a Local Market Expert

The economics impacting mortgage rates may be national, but real estate markets are hyperlocal. That’s why working with a professional agent who understands your neighbourhood’s dynamics is essential. Through our experience, we’ve gathered insights that can help us position your home for success in this market. Plus, we have the resources to connect with qualified buyers searching for a home like yours.

Working with a knowledgeable agent is also the secret to getting as much money as possible for your home. We have access to extensive data on recent sales in your neighbourhood, which we will use to price and promote your property. That’s one reason why homes sold by agents draw much higher prices than those sold by their owners alone. The U.S.-based National Association of Realtors found that for-sale-by-owner homes went for a median price of $260,000 in 2020, while the median for homes sold by agents was $318,000.6 That’s a difference of $58,000—and money you don’t want to leave on the table.

 

YOUR AGENT AND ADVOCATE

Selling a home in a fast-changing market can be stressful. You’re likely to hear conflicting advice and opinions from people in your life, and decisions like what colour to paint your front door or how much to list your home for can be overwhelming.

That’s where we come in. The market may be adjusting, but we’re here to help you make the most of it. We’re listing experts in our area, and we know what steps you need to take for a smooth, profitable transaction.

If you’re considering buying or selling a home, we invite you to reach out to schedule a free consultation. We’re happy to talk through your specific situation and goals and help you identify your next steps.

 

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.

 


Sources:

  1. Global News –
    https://globalnews.ca/news/8833692/canada-housing-prices-bidding-offers/
  2. Chartered Professional Accountants Canada –
    https://www.cpacanada.ca/en/news/canada/housing-survey
  3. RE/MAX Blog –
    https://blog.remax.ca/renovations-that-pay-off-on-resale-according-to-re-max-brokers/
  4. Angi –
    https://www.angi.com/articles/smart-landscaping-tips-can-increase-home-value.htm
  5. International Association of Home Staging Professionals –
    https://pages.iahsp.com/home-staging-statistics/
  6. National Association of Realtors –
    https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/highlights-from-the-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers#purchased
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Buy Now or Rent Longer? 5 Questions to Answer Before Purchasing Your First Home


Buy Now or Rent Longer? 5 Questions to Answer Before Purchasing Your First Home

 

Deciding whether to jump into the housing market or rent instead is rarely an easy decision – especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. But in today’s whirlwind market, you may find it particularly challenging to pinpoint the best time to start exploring homeownership.

A real estate boom during the pandemic pushed home prices to an all-time high.1 Add higher mortgage rates to the mix, and some would-be buyers are wondering if they should wait to see if prices or rates come down.

But is renting a better alternative? Rents have also soared along with inflation – and are likely to continue climbing due to a persistent housing shortage.2 And while homebuyers can lock in a set mortgage payment, renters are at the mercy of these rising costs for the foreseeable future.

So, what’s the better choice for you? There’s a lot to consider when it comes to buying versus renting. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to schedule a free consultation and we’ll help walk you through your options. You may also find it helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

 

1. How long do I plan to stay in the home?

You’ll get the most financial benefit from a home purchase if you own the property for at least five years.3 If you plan to sell in a shorter period of time, a home purchase may not be the best choice for you.

There are costs associated with buying and selling a home, and it may take time for the property’s value to rise enough to offset those expenditures.

Even though housing markets can shift from one year to the next, you’ll typically find that a home’s value will ride out a market’s ups and downs and appreciate with time.4 The longer you own a property, the more you are likely to benefit from its appreciation.

Once you’ve found a community that you’d like to stay in for several years, then buying over renting can really pay off. You’ll not only benefit from appreciation, but you’ll also build equity as you pay down your mortgage – and you’ll have more security and stability overall.

Also important: If you plan to stay in the home for the life of the mortgage, there will come a time when you no longer have to make those payments. As a result, your housing costs will drop dramatically, while your equity (and net worth) continue to grow.

 

2. Is it a better value to buy or rent in my area?

If you know you plan to stay put for at least five years, you should consider whether buying or renting is the better bargain in your area.

One helpful tool for deciding is a neighbourhood’s price-to-rent ratio: just divide the median home price by the median yearly rent price. The higher the price-to-rent ratio is, the more expensive it is to buy compared to rent.5 Keep in mind, though, that this equation provides only a snapshot of where the market stands today. As such, it may not accurately account for the full impact of rising home values and rent increases over the long term.

According to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association, a homeowner who purchased an average-priced Canadian home 10 years ago would have gained roughly $285,000 in equity — all while maintaining a steady mortgage payment.6,7

In contrast, someone who chose to rent during that same period would have not only missed out on those equity gains, but they would have also seen average Canadian rental prices increase by around 34%.8

So even if renting seems like a better bargain today, buying could be the better long-term financial play.

Ready to compare your options? Then reach out to schedule a free consultation. As local market experts, we can help you interpret the numbers to determine if buying or renting is a better value in your particular neighbourhood.

 

3. Can I afford to be a homeowner?

If you determine that buying a home is the better value, you’ll want to evaluate your financial readiness.

Start by examining how much you have in savings. After committing a down payment and closing costs, will you still have enough money left over for ancillary expenses and emergencies? If not, that’s a sign you may be better off waiting until you’ve built a larger rainy-day fund.

Then consider how your monthly budget will be impacted. Remember, your monthly mortgage payment won’t be your only expense going forward. You may also need to factor in property taxes, insurance, association fees, maintenance, and repairs.

Still, you could find that the monthly cost of homeownership is comparable to renting, especially if you make a sizable down payment. Landlords often pass the extra costs of homeowning onto tenants, so it’s not always the cheaper option.

Plus, even though you’ll be in charge of financing your home’s upkeep if you buy, you’ll also be the one who stands to benefit from the fruits of your investment. Every major upgrade, for example, not only makes your home a nicer place to live; it also helps boost your home’s market value.

If you want to buy a home but aren’t sure you can afford it, give us a call to discuss your goals and budget. We can give you a realistic assessment of your options and help you determine if your homeowning dreams are within reach.

 

4. Can I qualify for a mortgage?

If you’re prepared to handle the costs of homeownership, you’ll next want to look into how likely you are to pass Canada’s mortgage stress test and get approved for a mortgage.

Every borrower who applies for a mortgage from a federally-regulated lender, such as a bank, must pass a mortgage stress test – even if you have an ample down payment. (Some smaller lenders that aren’t federally regulated, such as credit unions, may also put your mortgage application through a stress test, but they aren’t required to do so.)9

To conduct the test, a lender will consider your qualifying income, estimated expenses (such as condo fees or non-mortgage-related debt), and prospective mortgage amount and calculate whether you’d still be able to afford the mortgage if your rate rose by a certain amount. You can also conduct your own mock stress test by inputting some income and expense estimates into the Government of Canada’s Mortgage Qualifier Tool.10 However, be aware the government’s minimum qualifying interest rate could change by the time you’re ready to buy.

Every lender will also have its own approval criteria separate from the feds’ minimum. But, in general, you can expect a creditor to scrutinize your job stability, credit history, and savings to make sure you can handle a monthly mortgage payment.

For example, lenders like to see evidence that your income is stable and predictable. So if you’re self-employed, you may need to provide additional documentation proving that your earnings are dependable. A lender will also compare your monthly debt payments to your income to make sure you aren’t at risk of becoming financially overextended.

In addition, a lender will check your credit report to verify that you have a history of on-time payments and can be trusted to pay your bills. Generally, the higher your credit score, the better your odds of securing a competitive rate.

Whatever your circumstances, it’s always a good idea to get preapproved for a mortgage before you start house hunting. Let us know if you’re interested, and we’ll give you a referral to a loan officer or mortgage broker who can help.

Want to learn more about applying for a mortgage? Reach out to request a copy of our report, “8 Strategies to Secure a Lower Mortgage Rate.”

 

5. How would owning a home change my life?

Before you begin the preapproval process, however, it’s important to consider how homeownership would affect your life, aside from the long-term financial gains.

In general, you should be prepared to invest more time and energy in owning a home than you do renting. There can be a fair amount of upkeep involved, especially if you buy a fixer-upper or overcommit yourself to a lot of DIY projects. If you’ve only lived in an apartment, for example, you could be surprised by the amount of time you spend maintaining a lawn.

On the other hand, you might relish the chance to tinker in your very own garden, make HGTV-inspired improvements, or play with your dog in a big backyard. Or, if you’re more social, you might enjoy hosting family gatherings or attending block parties with other committed homeowners.

The great thing about owning a home is that you can generally do what you want with it – even if that means painting your walls fiesta red one month and eggplant purple the next.

The choice – like the home – is all yours.

 

HAVE MORE QUESTIONS? WE’VE GOT ANSWERS

The decision to buy or rent a home is among the most consequential you will make in your lifetime. We can make the process easier by helping you compare your options using real-time local market data. So don’t hesitate to reach out for a personalized consultation, regardless of where you are in your deliberations. We’d be happy to answer your questions and identify actionable steps you can take now to reach your long-term goals.

 

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.


Sources:

  1. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) –
    https://stats.crea.ca/en-CA/
  2. Financial Post –
    https://financialpost.com/real-estate/nowhere-to-live-rents-in-canada-surge-as-home-prices-fall
  3. Wealthsimple –
    https://www.wealthsimple.com/en-ca/magazine/buying-vs-renting-your-home
  4. Trading Economics –
    https://tradingeconomics.com/canada/housing-index
  5. Investopedia –
    https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/price-to-rent-ratio.asp
  6. CBC –
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/average-home-price-ticked-2-lower-in-july-1.1281984
  7. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) –
    https://stats.crea.ca/en-CA/
  8. CMHC –
    https://www03.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/hmip-pimh/en/TableMapChart/TableMatchingCriteria?GeographyType=Country&GeographyId=1&CategoryLevel1=Primary%20Rental%20Market&CategoryLevel2=Average%20Rent%20%28%24%29&ColumnField=2&RowField=TIMESERIES#timeperiod
  9. Government of Canada –
    https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/mortgages/preparing-mortgage.html
  10. Financial Consumer Agency of Canada –
    https://itools-ioutils.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/MQ-HQ/MQ-EAPH-eng.aspx
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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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