Page 1

2012-2013

Your complete guide to buying or selling real estate. Everything you need to know to help you make good decisions for your greatest asset.

real estate

review

The Chilliwack

Progress


2 - The Key to Real Estate 2012-2013


Do I really need a REALTOR® to sell my home? Many people who try to sell their own home end up using a REALTOR® in the end anyway. Before anybody decides to fly solo through this complex, time consuming and financially perilous process, they should consider these questions. Will you really “save” the real estate commission? When buyers see a home for sale ‘by owner’, they see a bargain. They imagine the REALTOR®’s fee going into their pocket, not yours. How many potential buyers will you reach? Selling a home takes more than just hanging a ‘For Sale’ sign. How will you promote your home? Will you write your own ads? How will you use the Internet? MLS® and the corresponding website www.REALTOR.ca have changed the way people search for homes, and it’s hard to court buyers without it. Do you have the time? Promoting a home is a full time job, and you may already have one. Will you be able to take calls at any time? How about screening the callers to figure out if they’re suitable candidates? Not everybody who calls is even suitable to walk through your home, but how do you tell? Do you know the market well enough to get the most for your home?

Lacking years of experience, the average do-it-yourselfer is merely guessing at their listing price. Often they set the price too low and miss out on thousands of dollars, or they price their home too high and drive away willing buyers. Do you have the negotiation skills to keep a deal on track? When an offer comes in, emotions can run high with so much money on the line. This is why direct seller-tobuyer deals often end in disaster. REALTORS® keep it professional and are indispensable when it comes to bargaining with buyers. – Courtesy of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board

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www.lindasexsmith.com The Key to Real Estate 2012-2013 - 3


Making an offer on a home You’ve found a home? Congratulations! Now, if you actually want to make it yours, you have to make a successful offer, one that the seller will accept. Preparing the offer REALTORS® can prepare the offer for you. Here are some terms you’ll see in the offer. • Buyer: That’s you. • Seller: The present owners. • Purchase Price:

The most important number. Let’s hope the seller goes for it! A cheque you write to the seller or the seller’s brokerage ‘in trust’. This is your way of saying ‘my offer is serious’. The size of the deposit is up to you.

• The seller can accept your offer:

Fantastic, when do you move in? It’s not common for an offer to be completely rejected. If it was, your REALTOR® can investigate why and see if there was some misunderstanding. • The seller can ‘sign back’ or counter your offer:

• Chattels included and fixtures:

Be sure you know what is included with the house; the washer and dryer, the microwave, draperies, light fixtures. Don’t leave anything to ‘chance’. • Irrevocability of the offer:

The length of time you give the seller to consider your offer. Usually less than 48 hours. • Completion date:

The glorious day you take possession! Often 30 or 60 days after signing.

The seller wants to alter some part of your offer – most likely the price. The seller will cross out the price on your offer and write a higher number, or delete or alter some conditions. Now it’s your turn to sign back with any additional changes or your acceptance of the counter offer. Good luck! – Courtesy of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board

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Making your dreams reality 4 - The Key to Real Estate 2012-2013

Every transaction is unique, and you may want to add conditions that are important to you, such as a proper home inspection. Your REALTOR® can help ensure no details are overlooked in your offer. Submitting the offer You’ve signed on the dotted line and your REALTOR® has provided your offer to the seller. • The seller can reject your offer:

• Deposit:

mark

• Clauses particular to this agreement:


Arranging a mortgage Money makes the world go round, and a mortgage gives you the power to buy a home. This isn’t the most fun step in buying a home, but it’s vital. Who do you talk to? There are hundreds of banks, credit unions, mortgage specialists, mortgage brokers and other lenders out there who would love your monthly mortgage payments. So talk to everybody and don’t be money-shy! Talk to your banker, other banks and people you know. REALTORS® can be very knowledgeable about mortgages and have lots of good advice. Your best mortgage might be the seller’s mortgage Often, you can take over or ‘assume’ the seller’s mortgage. This is a great idea if the seller is locked into a lower interest rate than you can get right now. Your REALTOR® may have additional information. How big a down payment? You want as small a mortgage as possible, which means making the biggest down payment possible. Just remember to set money aside for all the fees associated with buying a home. Not to mention moving, repairs, renovations, new furniture... think ahead. The Home Buyers’ Plan – A little sweet relief If you’re a first-time homebuyer with money in an RRSP,

you can withdraw up to $25,000 without paying any income tax. If your spouse is also eligible, that’s $50,000. Ask your REALTOR® how to best take advantage of this plan. Lock into an interest rate? For how long? It’s a tough question. What if you ‘lock in’ for five years and the rate goes into a period of decline? That could mean you’re stuck paying more than you had to for a long time. But if rates were to steadily climb over the next five years, locking in for five years now would be a great move. Your REALTOR® may have a lot of good advice. What you need to apply for a mortgage • Letter of employment confirmation

(include your position, your pay and how many years you’ve been with the company) • List your assets

(your car, stocks, bonds, GICs, etc.) • List your liabilities

(car payments, student loans, credit card debt, etc.) • • • •

Social Insurance Number Your chequing account number Your lawyer’s contact information Information about the house you want to buy

Dixie Hay A GOOD CHOICE!

CONT’D. ON PG. 6

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CONT’D. FROM PG. 5

Don’t forget these extra costs • Application fee:

Some mortgage lenders charge a fee to process your application. But ask to see if you can get it waived.

fraud and potential errors surrounding the title to your land. Ask your lawyer for details. • Legal fees:

You’ll pay your lawyer for their invaluable time and ‘disbursements’ which are the costs involved in title searches, drawing up the title deed, and preparing your mortgage.

• Appraisal fee:

Your mortgage lender may need to have your new home appraised by a professional, and they often pass the bill on to you. Sometimes your lender will also waive this fee. • Mortgage broker’s fee:

Your mortgage broker may charge a fee that’s payable on your closing date. Ask your broker to avoid surprises.

• Adjustments:

The previous owner may have paid property tax or utilities in advance, and they want to be credited for those payments. Ask your REALTOR® and lawyer what might come up on the closing date. • Maintenance and utility costs:

Remember, you’ll now have more regular monthly payments in the form of property tax and utilities.

• Land survey fee:

Lenders may require a survey of your property, even if it’s an existing survey. Get your lawyer on the case.

• Property Transfer Tax:

The amount of this tax varies from province to province.

• Home inspection fee:

A home inspection is so important. Avoid surprises and protect yourself... this is money well spent. • Home Insurance:

Mortgage lenders require you to carry fire and extended-coverage insurance because your home is the security deposit on the mortgage. Often you can have these payments added to your monthly mortgage payments. Shop around.

• The GST/HST and new homes:

Resale homes don’t involve GST/HST, but new homes do. If you intend to live in your new home (instead of renting it out) there is some relief. Consult your REALTOR® and/or lawyer for more information. • REALTOR® Commissions or fees:

• Title insurance:

It’s not mandatory, but protects you from all sorts of

REALTOR® commissions/fees are subject to GST/ HST. – Courtesy of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board

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10 questions to ask your REALTOR® ???????????????????????????????

LESLEY WHITE

6. May I review documents that I will be asked to sign? A good REALTOR® makes forms available to you before you are required to sign them. Ask to see agency disclosure, listing agreement, seller disclosure forms. 7. How will you help me find other professionals? Ask for a written list of referring vendors. Get an explanation if you see the term ‘affiliated.’ It could mean the REALTOR® is getting compensation from vendors. 8. How much do you charge? You don’t have to ask if the fee is negotiable, since all real estate fees are negotiated. 9. What kind of guarantee do you offer? If you sign a listing agreement with the REALTOR® and later find that you are unhappy with the agreement, will the REALTOR® let you cancel the agreement? 10. What haven’t I asked you that I need to know? Pay close attention to how the REALTOR® answers this question, because there is always something you need to know. – Courtesy of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board

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The Key to Real Estate 2012-2013 - 7

8 -12T PL7

If you have decided to sell your home, and you’re looking for a REALTOR® here are questions to help you decide who will best fit your needs. 1. How long have you been a REALTOR®? A new REALTOR® can do a wonderful job and will have up-to-date training. Those in the business longer bring practical experience to the table. 2. What is your average list-to-sales ratio? A good REALTOR® should hold a track record for how many properties they have listed compared to how many they have sold within a given time period. In a good market, there would be about six sales for every 10 listings. In a poor market, there would be about four sales for every 10 listings. 3. How will your marketing plan meet my needs? Specifically, how will you sell my home? Where and how often will you advertise? Do you have a sample flyer, advertisements, and web copy? 4. Will you provide references? Ask if you can talk to past clients. Then follow up and talk to them. 5. What separates you from your competition? Key phrases to listen for: assertive, available by phone or e-mail, analytical, able to maintain a good sense of humour under trying circumstances.


Create a great first impression – De-clutter before you sell Just hearing the word ‘clutter’ will make a REALTOR® and most buyers cringe! If you are considering selling your home in the next 6 to 12 months or just looking for a fresh new look in your home then de-cluttering MUST BE TOP ON YOUR LIST OF TO DO’S! Ask yourself are you willing to pay to have items moved that you no longer like or have a need for in your new home? Your answer is probably NO! This is all well and good you say! But how does one untangle themselves from the items you do not like, bought on that special holiday, gifts received from family or friends etc. It can begin with a willingness to change! Giving yourself permission to donate/give away, recycle items you no longer love or like can be a very liberating experience. Think about how good it would feel to only have items in your home that you loved, made you feel good and reflected who you are as a person. When you are de-cluttering start small if this is new to you, begin with one drawer, one closet or room. Most people have an emotional attachment to their belongings and every home tells a story, and sometimes there has been some great loss, maybe a loved one, family member, spouse or maybe a divorce has transpired, so please be

kind to yourself, start with 15 minutes per day. Start de-cluttering with things you feel comfortable with letting go of, like old clothes. Get boxes and label them: items to keep, items to donate, items I’m not sure of. Take clothes out the closet and decide one by one and ask yourself these questions, do I like it, need it, wear it, use it? Clothes you no longer wear or like, give to thrift stores, shelters, there are ALWAYS people in greater need. Set aside clothing you are not sure of, if you do not wear them over the next six to nine months, you probably never will. Ask yourself the same questions for furniture, gifts, ornaments, etc. If the items no longer reflect your lifestyle or personality, have a garage sale or donate them to someone who will appreciate and use them. If you need help to de-clutter due to downsizing or wanting a more minimalist home, consider contacting a professionally trained Home Staging Consultant or an organizing professional to HELP you to get started on the de-cluttering and packing, to bring subtle or more dramatic positive changes to your home! – Courtesy of Pair Home Design

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8 - The Key to Real Estate 2012-2013

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Tips for first-time home buyers • Determine how much of a down payment you can those payments will be each month. Keep in mind it is afford. This may come from existing savings, RRSP’s important that you are comfortable with those payments (first-time buyer) or gifted from a family member. This and that they fit into your lifestyle and other monthly total cannot be less than five percent of the final purchase expenses. Remember homeownership is more involved than renting – you will have taxes, price of the house. utilities, insurance and perhaps strata • Shop around for the best mortgage payments if applicable. rates, terms, conditions. Sometimes Now that you know • Find how much you will pay the best rate isn’t the best mortgage. in closing costs. Closing costs are what you can afford, A homebuyer needs to know what the charges that you will pay over and conditions of their mortgage are, and choose a reputable above your down payment when it’s what prepayment options they have time to take over the new property. with that mortgage. You may also find real estate agent Common closing costs include legal that some institutions will offer you in your area fees, property transfer tax where other free items such as legal packages applicable, property tax adjustment, and appraisals. Just make sure that home insurance. Most institutions the rate isn’t lower if you don’t take will require confirmation that you have these funds along the free package and if so, check what the ‘true’ cost of those savings are. It is a very competitive market, and you with your downpayment. • Now that you know what you can afford, choose are probably shopping for the largest investment you will a reputable real estate agent in your area. Local ever make, so get the most for your money. • Find out what you can afford by speaking with REALTORS® know the area better than anyone and can a financial institution before you start looking. The help you find a property that suits your needs in a location lender upon a full pre-qualification process, will let you that will appreciate in the future. know what they are willing to lend to you, and what –Courtesy of Vancity Credit Union

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The Key to Real Estate 2012-2013 - 9


How to determine your home’s asking price Lots of people out there want to buy your home. The right asking price will attract attention and get you maximum return. With the help of a REALTOR® you can set a fair market value on your home to get the most out of interested buyers. You don’t want to set your price too low or too high • Setting too low a price: Means you could miss out on thousands of dollars that some buyer would have paid. • Setting too high a price: Can scare away willing buyers and leave your home on the market for too long. When you lower the price, people may assume you are under pressure to sell, and lower their offers even further. REALTORS® know the general factors affecting your market Are larger families moving into your neighbourhood? That makes homes with three plus bedrooms and large yards more appealing. Perhaps a large employer is opening a company nearby, which will increase demand for housing in general. How are interest rates affecting people’s willingness to take out big mortgages? You can ask your REALTOR® these questions and, more importantly,

how he or she can affect the price of your home. REALTORS® can calculate your home’s value within your market Using the extensive background information available to REALTORS® through a real estate board’s MLS® system, they can compare your home to a collection of similar homes that have recently been sold in your area. No two homes are the same, but REALTORS® are very good at adjusting their calculations according to the differences. Yes, first impressions matter It’s nearly impossible to replace the initial flurry of interest and activity a new listing will generate. REALTORS® in your area will want to see your home right away and tell their buyers all about it. Be sure you’re priced and poised to capitalize on this first wave of excitement. – Courtesy of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board

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10 - The Key to Real Estate 2012-2013

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Preparing your home for sale Break out the mop and the paintbrush It’s time to give your home a mini-makeover. Here are all the little things you can do to attract the big offers. See your home through a buyer’s eyes Now’s the time to address your home’s little imperfections: the hole in the screen door, the chipped paint on the baseboards, and the mess in the basement. Get rid of clutter Your house will feel a lot bigger and more inviting when you clear out those closets, remove bulky, unused furniture and rearrange the remaining pieces to make the best use of space. If you haven’t used something in the past year, toss it, donate it to charity or sell it. Clean everything Cleaning is the single most cost effective way to make your home more attractive to buyers. Floors, windows, walls, doors, baseboards - everything! Give extra care and attention to the bathrooms and kitchen. And once it’s all clean, keep it clean! You never know when your ideal buyer will visit. Repair as much as you can, within reason Some repairs are absolutely vital, like a leaky roof or basement and unsafe electrical problems. Otherwise, fix all the little things like leaky faucets, doors that squeak,

and small cracks in the ceiling. Depersonalize your home You want buyers to walk through your house and feel like it’s their home, not yours! Things like a cluttered wall of family portraits or your trophy collection, are guaranteed to prevent buyers from emotionally placing themselves in your home. Remove everything that’s too much about you.

Mirrors on the wall help rooms feel more spacious

Never underestimate the power of paint Strong colours on the walls or wild wallpaper make it hard for buyers to imagine their furniture in your house. Consider repainting your home in bright, neutral colours that will enhance a room’s size and look more inviting. Next to cleaning your home, paint is the most costeffective way to increase your home’s appeal. CONT’D. ON PG. 12

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The Key to Real Estate 2012-2013 - 11


New Mortgage Rule Changes for 2012 CONT’D. FROM PG. 11

Add some beautifying touches You don’t need to spend a fortune to make a big difference. Replace tattered old curtains with some fresh draperies. Mirrors on the wall help rooms feel more spacious. New houseplants add undeniable appeal. And on the outside of your home trim the trees, weed the garden and consider planting a few new flowers to make a great first impression. Weighing the cost of improvements vs. the potential return Don’t get so carried away with prepping your home that you forget why you’re doing this - to get more money! You need to consider two things before making any improvements. • Will this make my home more desirable to buyers? • Will this increase the value of my home more than it costs me to do it? Your REALTOR® may also be able to offer useful tips and advice when it comes to prepping homes. – Courtesy of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board

LYNNE

A lot of Canadians were very confused as to how the new mortgage changes would affect them that came into play on July 9, 2012. Let’s look at what those changes are: • Reduced the maximum amortization period from 30 years to 25 years • Maximum amount of equity homeowners can take from their homes when refinancing is reduced from 85% to 80% • Maximum purchase price of a home requiring high ratio insurance is reduced to less than $1-million • Maximum gross debt service ratio reduced to 39% and total debt service ratio to 44%. (see definition of debt service ratio pg. 30 - glossary of terms) Although these seem like big changes – especially the amortization change, they only apply to purchasers that require high ratio financing – meaning they have less than 20% down. For buyers that have the 20% or higher down payment requirement – these rules do not apply. There are several financial institutions that will still amortize a mortgage as long as 35 years. Most financial institutions will also refinance mortgages up to 80% as long as you do not require high ratio financing, so the new rules are a non-issue for most existing home owners. Always check with your financial institution to confirm their policies when buying a home. – Courtesy of Vancity Credit Union

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12 - The Key to Real Estate 2012-2013

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Let your REALTOR® market your home It’s time for your REALTOR® to do their thing with a few old-fashioned, and some new-fashioned, marketing tools. • The ‘For Sale’ Sign Despite our leaps in technology, the ‘For Sale’ sign continues to be an extremely effective way to advertise. Anybody responding to your sign is a solid lead because they’ve seen your home with their own eyes. • Traditional media Your REALTOR® may choose any or all of the following: ads in real estate publications, property listings on cable television and good old-fashioned mail. Neighbourhood mailers can be incredibly effective. • The power of the Internet If you decide to have your home listed on a real estate Board’s MLS® System, you can also have your home advertised on www.REALTOR.ca, Canada’s most popular Internet research tool for residential real estate, and a big reason why over 85% of Canadians who search for a home start their search on the Internet. • REALTORS® really know how to network Your REALTOR® is part of an extensive

community of REALTORS® who collectively represent hundreds of eager buyers. REALTORS® can call other REALTORS®, who can call other REALTORS®, who can call other REALTORS®. Ultimately, your home itself becomes a selling tool • Start with an open house for REALTORS® A REALTOR® open house is an efficient way to attract REALTORS® to see your home with their own eyes. If your home is perfect for one of their buyers, you can be sure they’ll rush right out and tell them! Your REALTOR® can organize everything and get the buzz started. • Next, an ‘open house’ for everybody Many buyers want to get a feel for your neighbourhood before they start working with a REALTOR®. That’s why open houses to the public are so important. They usually last a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday, and there are a few simple but important rules to follow: • Make sure your home looks its finest Your best buyer may just walk in off the street! • Lock away valuables Most folks are decent, courteous and honest, but it’s

PROFESSIONALLY UPDATE YOUR HOME

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For Re-Sale Value or For a Fresh New Look!

YOUR HOME?

CONT’D. ON PG. 14

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The Key to Real Estate 2012-2013 - 13

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sits in it? Fix it, or lose it. • Avoid cooking foods with strong aroma Almost nobody’s dream home smells like smoked herring!

You want people to feel relaxed and daydream that your home is their home • The best way you can help: Don’t be there You want people to feel relaxed and daydream that your home is their home. This just isn’t possible with you there. Go see a movie, or take your pets on a field trip. • A “lock boxâ€? makes it easier to show your home A “lock boxâ€? is a small, secure box that’s affixed to your front doorknob. It’s a mini safe with a key to your house inside. REALTORSÂŽ are given a combination to the lock box, so they can show your home to interested buyers. Be patient with visits. Hopefully they will lead to a great offer, soon. – Courtesy of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board

CONT’D. FROM PG. 13

wise to stash away jewelry, cameras and other small valuables. You can ask your REALTORŽ to request a name and phone number from every visitor for added security. • Attend to any hazards Is there an electrical cord somebody could trip on? Is there a chair that will collapse if somebody actually

  

        

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14 - The Key to Real Estate 2012-2013

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The Key to Real Estate 2012-2013 - 15


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16 - The Key to Real Estate 2012-2013


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The Key to Real Estate 2012-2013 - 17


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Pre-approval VS. Pre-qualified Did you know that there is a difference between being case of an applicant in business for themselves, the last pre-approved and pre-qualified for a mortgage by a full two years of tax returns with Notice of Assessments lender? Most people think once they have been to their are required. Know what you owe so the lender does financial institution or broker, and discussed what they not discover unmentioned debt, which could change qualify for that they are automatically approved once they your borrowing situation when an actual credit report is requested. Also, bring in verification of where your down find the home of their dreams. Most lenders in the initial appointment go over numbers payment is coming from – if it is in your account, or in an RRSP, bring a recent statement based on information you tell to confirm. If it is coming from them. In this initial appointment Know what you owe so the the sale of your existing home, they will pre-approve you for bring a copy of your contract what you can afford to buy lender does not discover of sale and confirmation of first based on your income, debts unmentioned debt, which mortgage balance. and down payment. With that Be aware that although you said however, quite often this could change your borrowing may be pre-qualified, the information does not match the situation when an actual credit financial institution still needs final paperwork that is issued to to approve the property either the lender. If you are looking for report is requested through an internet appraisal the lender to solidify your presystem, or an on site appraisal, qualification you will need to bring in all the required documentation to confirm the or if it is a high ratio mortgage, the high ratio company has the final say. So if you require financing, always make information you have relayed. In most cases a lender requires a recent job letter your contract of purchase and sale subject to financing to confirming your wages or salary, along with a recent protect yourself. paystub or Revenue Canada Notice of Assessment. In the – Courtesy of Vancity Credit Union

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AVOID Renovation Nightmares! Whether you are considering buying a different house and making the improvements to suit your lifestyle or renovating the home that you currently own, you want to avoid renovation nightmares! A detailed written contract between you and your contractor is essential. Whether you are doing a simple home repair or major renovation, the size or cost of the job doesn’t alter the importance of a contract. When you hire a contractor to work on your home, you need to be aware of and protected from a number of risks. These fall into two general categories, poor work or dishonesty by the contractor, and risks related to accidents that cause damage to property or injure someone. You need a general understanding of how the contracting business works and to educate yourself on how to manage the hiring process. In general, the process of hiring a contractor involves seven steps before you begin work! 1. Determine what type of contractor you need 2. Locate contractors 3. Interview contractors 4. Check references 5. Get bids 6. Get it in Writing . . . use a written contract! 7. Make changes to the contract as they occur

All contracts need to define two sets of information: cts n • Every aspect ect of the project that you and the contractor have agreed to, including the work to be done, material and product specifications, responsibility for building permits and inspections, the work schedule, price and payment arrangements. • Proof that the contractor is operating their business properly, so that you are protected from risks. This includes proof of business liability insurance, Workers’ Compensation coverage or equivalent accidental injury insurance, proof of bonding and/or licensing where this is required by provincial or municipal legislation, and proof of proper business registration (a Business or GST/ HST Number). For more information visit www.chbafv.com – Courtesy of Canadian Home Builders’ Association Fraser Valley

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Protecting your home against burglary Burglary is not a sophisticated crime. Amateur burglars are opportunists. They do not choose a victim so much as a favourable circumstance. To gain access to a dwelling, amateur burglars do not rely on deception or skill, but on concealment, speed and force. Once inside, they steal indiscriminately, taking anything that might be of value and can be easily carried. By knowing the conditions favourable to burglars and by taking steps to eliminate them, you can greatly reduce the chances that your home will be broken into. Begin with an assessment of your home’s security strengths and weaknesses. Start by evaluating your overall level of risk. Examine your home from a burglar’s perspective. Do this both in the daylight and at night, both inside and outside the home. Improve visibility, keep the landscape around the house simple and well trimmed. Be especially critical of tall plants around doors and windows that might help conceal someone trying to break in. Keep areas around basement windows as clear as possible. Good lighting is one of the cheapest and yet most effective measures you can take to deter break-ins after dark. Provide enough light that anyone lurking nearby could be seen by an alert neighbour or pedestrian. If you are moving, think about security before you buy

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your new home. When viewing a home, check the quality of its doors and windows, including the frames. If they are sturdy and in good repair, security might be improved by simply installing better locks. Ordinary glass in doors or on the side adjacent to doors is a potential invitation to forced entry if it can be broken to gain access to the door lock. It should be replaced by laminated glass, wired glass, or burglar-resistant acrylic. There is a vast array of door locks available for the homeowner. Deadbolts, operated by a key from the outside and a thumb-turn from the inside provide better security. If you are moving to an apartment, examine the buildings security measures. Windows are often the weak link in the home security chain. Intruders can break glass or pry windows open with a tool. Some sliding windows can be lifted out of their tracks, even when locked. To prevent this, simply screw several large pan-head screws into the upper track, just far enough that the top of the sash grazes the screw heads without jamming. This eliminates the slack. Block horizontal sliding windows with a length of wood laid into the lower track to prevent the window from opening. On windows that open vertically, insert a nail or bolt to CONT’D. ON PG. 22

HELPING YOU MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR REAL ESTATE OPPORTUNITIES. 8-12K

The Key to Real Estate 2012-2013 - 21


CONT’D. FROM PG 21

prevent the window from being fully raised up for access. Air conditioners mounted in a window should be bolted to the window frame to prevent removal. Draw curtains after dark, keep burglars guessing about what they can expect if they break in. Make garage windows opaque by painting them over or screening them with curtains. Most sliding patio doors are equipped with a single locking mechanism. These locks are often flimsy and ineffective. To compensate for the lack of effective locks on most patio doors, manufacturers have produced a wide range of add-on security devices. These devices should be used in combination with one another and with the doors existing lock to prevent horizontal, vertical and rotating motion of the door. Once you have attended to the doors and windows of your home, provided for good exterior lighting and, if necessary, installed a suitable alarm, good home security becomes a matter of adopting common-sense precautions. Neighbours working together are their own best defence against residential crime. You can help yourself and others by joining a Neighbourhood/Block Watch Program in your area or simply being an alert neighbour. Avoid keeping valuables at home. Use a safety deposit box. Never tag your house keys with your name, address, licence plate number or telephone number. If

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you lose them, you could lead a burglar to your home. Do not display your family’s name outside of the home. This allows a burglar to look up your phone number and call on some pretext to see if you are home.

If your drapes are normally open when you are home, leave them that way If you are planning a vacation, avoid advertising your vacation plans in advance and ask your children to do likewise. While vacationing, do not post photos or comments on social networks. Load your car or trailer in the garage rather than the driveway. The fewer people who know you are away the better. Arrange for a neighbour to collect your mail, mow the lawn, or shovel the walk in the winter. Give your home the appearance of being occupied. If your drapes are normally open when you are home, leave them that way. If you have a second car, leave it parked in the driveway. If you are away for several months, consider getting a house sitter so you can have peace of mind and enjoy your extended vacation. – An excerpt from CMHC’s Protecting Your Home Against Burglary

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Tips To Improve Your Credit Score When you are buying a home, your credit rating (or score) is very important in the approval process as well as receiving the best interest rate available to you. Many buyers are unaware of their score – good or bad. A good first step is to check into your credit to make sure it is accurate, and secondly what your rating actually is. You can obtain your credit information on line, or through your financial institution. If you have had issues in the past which have affected your credit rating, here are a few ways to bring it up to a better standing. Always make your monthly payments No matter how small (many people think that if they make a larger payment then necessary in one month that they are not required to make a payment the following month) – this couldn’t be farther from the truth – you must make a payment each and every month unless your balance owing is paid in full. Always make your payments by the date required Any day after that may result in a mark against your credit. Do not go over the limit that has been set by your creditor This will automatically result in a credit score reduction

(this also includes any interest that is being charged to your account). Keep credit seeking to a minimum Each time you fill out a credit application the creditor will do a credit check - multiple checks in a short period of time, may lower your credit score. If you have never obtained a loan, or a credit card, you will need to find a way to establish credit This can be done by either using a co-signer for a loan, securing a credit card with cash, or taking a credit card with a low limit until you have proven yourself as credit worthy. Contact a financial institution to discuss your options. – Courtesy of Vancity Credit Union

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The Key to Real Estate 2012-2013 - 23


Does atmosphere sell? Have you ever walked into a home and said, “I could live in this home?” To feel this way there must have been some type of atmosphere within the home that made you feel completely at ease, whether it was the way the home flowed from one room to another with the right amount and size of furniture, or maybe it was a combination of design, fresh paint and cleanliness that made the home so inviting. For your home to be attractive to buyers you need to create a similar atmosphere so your home can appeal to the maximum amount of buyers viewing your home on the internet or in person. Over 86% of potential buyers will check out listings on the internet before arranging a viewing ‘first impressions’ count! For many home owners selling their home this is often an overwhelming and daunting task yet almost everyone wants to get as much money as they can for their largest investment, their home. Did you know there are three different ways of staging your home for sale? 1. Using all your own furniture, art and accessories, most cost effective if you have the right furnishings suitable for your style of home. 2. Use some of your furnishings and add an accessory package to complement your existing furniture.

3. Vacant homes, full to partial rental package of furniture, art and accessories to suit your style and size of home. Some benefits of home staging 1. Gives your home a competitive edge over other listings. 2. Reduces the time a home is on the market 3. Get your home on the top 10 list of must see properties. 4. More interested buyers = more offers. 5. Pictures show great on the internet. 6. Potential buyers can visualize living in YOUR home. 7. Gives your home an updated look. 8. Your home is move in ready! When selling it’s worth investing in a professional home staging consultation, she/he will help you get focused and keep you on track in preparing your home for sale in today’s real estate market. During your consultation (usually 1-2 hours) you will be given a list of suggestions, going from one room to another. The list will include such things as paint colours and how to de-clutter for selling! Yikes, yes most of us have too much clutter. CONT’D. ON PG. 25

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CONT’D. FROM PG. 24

Truthfully potential buyers are not interested in your personal items and clutter is often a big distraction from buyers purchasing a home and of course cleanliness or lack thereof ! Investing a small amount of money in a consultation may not only save you money, but may also help avoid price concessions and or a price reduction. Some tips to get you started 1. De-clutter - buyers want to be able to walk freely in

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your home and feel comfortable, rent a storage locker if necessary. 2. Hire a professional painter and choose neutral light colours, this makes the home look cleaner and smells fresher. 3. Upgrade lighting - people want modern fixtures. 4. Shampoo carpets - get rid of unpleasant odours. 5. Service furnace and clean filters. 6. Ensure interior/exterior light fixtures and doors are all in good working order. 7. Curb appeal - buyers will drive by and check you out, gardens should be clean, garbage/junk free and appealing - add colourful potted flowers. 8. Clean, clean, clean - unclean homes turn buyers away instantly unless they want a deal! (Consider hiring a professional cleaning company.) 9. Your lovely pets! Cats, dogs and other animals can have quite the odor so suggest removing pets during viewing and ensure your home has a nice fresh scent. 10. If you feel you need help, consider investing in hiring a professional home staging consultant in your area who will help you to get focused and prioritize what needs to be done to get your home “open house ready”. –Courtesy of Pair Home Design

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Closing the deal on your new home Your offer has been accepted and you can’t wait to move in. But don’t break out the bubbly just yet. You have to close the deal. Your REALTOR® and lawyer will do most of the closing work, but here’s your checklist. Immediately begin satisfying any conditions of the agreement that require action on your part. Your REALTOR® can fill out the documents stating that the conditions have been satisfied. Have your lawyer begin searching the title to the property. This can take a while, so make sure you allow ample time. Well before closing, get your homeowner’s insurance to be effective on your closing date. Your insurance broker will give you a ‘binder’ letter certifying that you’re covered. You can’t get a mortgage without this letter! Contact your lender and have them finalize your mortgage documents. Have your lawyer review them before you sign. Your lawyer will transfer essential utilities like hydro and water, but you’ll have to make sure telephone and cable companies switch their services to your name. If you rent, give notice to your landlord or sublease your apartment. Begin planning your big move! Where are those

cardboard boxes? Send out your change of address information and fill out a card at the post office. Contact the Access Centre about changing your driver’s license. Walk through your new home one more time with your REALTOR®. A day or two before closing, you’ll meet with your lawyer to sign the closing documents. Your lawyer will tell you in advance what certified cheques you’ll need to seal the deal. – Article from www.howrealtorshelp.ca – Courtesy of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board

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Time To Have Your Dream Home Built? If you’ve decided you want to have a custom-built home, selecting a builder is as important as choosing your home. Your satisfaction will depend on their experience, their skills and their commitment to customer service. You need to know that you are dealing with a builder who has good qualifications, experience, and is able to meet your needs and expectations. There are hundreds of home builders in the Fraser Valley ranging from small companies building a few houses a year to large builders constructing hundreds of homes annually. Some may focus on specific market segments or neighbourhoods. Others may specialize in particular types of homes or have certain distinctive expertise, such as adult lifestyle design or energy efficiency. And every company does business in its own unique way. Before choosing, take a close look at each builder you are considering and ask these questions: Who are they? Do they build a quality home? What are they like to buy from? What is their after-sales service like? What’s their reputation, what do others say about them? Building your new home should begin with research and a lot of legwork as you look at home plans and talk

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with builders. Before you get going, it is a good idea to do some pre-planning. This will help you to focus on the decisions ahead and prepare you for a successful project. Get everyone in your household involved in discussing what you are looking for in a new home. For example: • Type and size of home; number of bedrooms; other space requirements, e.g. garage. • Layout: open or divided spaces; flexibility for future changes. • Outdoor living areas: space and privacy. • Desired features for looks or convenience. • Special considerations, e.g. household members with mobility restrictions. • Distance to work, shopping, medical facilities, schools and recreational facilities. • Public transportation. Make a list of everything you must have, and everything you would like to have. It’s a great starting point for builders to identify the type of home that will best meet your needs and wants. – For more information visit: www.chbafv.com – Courtesy of Canadian Home Builders’ Association Fraser Valley

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Glossary of Mortgage Terms Amortization The time required to repay the entire principal and interest of a loan by means of equal payments. The term of a loan and the amortization period are not necessarily the same. For example, a mortgage with a 5-year term and a 25-year amortization period, means that the outstanding principal balance and interest rate must be renegotiated after five years. Conventional Mortgage An uninsured mortgage that does not exceed 80% of the appraised value of the property, when combined with (if any) other outstanding mortgages on the property Down Payment The amount of money that a purchaser puts down towards the purchase price of the home – minimum 5% or more. Fixed Interest Rate A mortgage loan where the interest rate does not change for a specific term – usually from six months to 10 years. High-ratio Mortgage A mortgage in excess of 80% of the appraised value of the property, usually insured under the National Housing Act by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) or by a private insurer such as Genworth

Financial cial Canada. Open Mortgage e A mortgage that can be prepaid at any time without penalty. These types of mortgages can be in a fixed rate or variable rate. Pre-Payment Penalty Provided a pre-payment right has been exceeded, a dollar amount that is charged to the borrower to compensate the financial institution for loss of future interest income. It can range from 3 months’ interest to full interest differential, which approximates the amount of interest lost by the lender over the remaining life of the term. See pre-payment rights. CONT’D. ON PG. 30

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CONT’D. FROM PG. 29

Pre-Payment Rights Payment of all or part of the principal portion of a loan before it is due, in addition to regular required installments. Generally, pre-payment rights are limited to a certain percentage on each anniversary (e.g. 20%). Term (Mortgage) The period from the interest adjustment date of a mortgage loan or the most recent renewal date, until the mortgage becomes due for repayment in full. The term usually ranges from six months to five years. Total Debt Service Ratio The total amount of monthly debt obligations expressed as a percentage of the borrower’s qualifying gross monthly income. Debts include mortgage payments, property taxes and heating plus other debts such as credit card payments, car loans or lines of credit – also includes any student loans, spousal and child support payments. Generally the total debt service ration should not exceed 44% of the home owner’s combined gross income. Variable Rate Mortgage A mortgage that has an adjustable interest rate that generally follows each rise and fall of the prime lending rate. Also called a ‘floating rate’ or ‘adjustable rate’ mortgage. –Courtesy of Vancity Credit Union

MOVE IN FOR

Moving into your new home Moving day will come sooner than you think, so get planning now. ‘Closing date’ may or may not mean moving date. It may or may not be practical to move in on the closing date. You may not get the keys to your new home until late in the day. So you may want to try and schedule the actual move for a day or so after closing. If you intend to move at the end of the month, contact a moving company or truck rental company now before they’re all booked. If you can move mid-week or midmonth, a moving company might cut you a deal. Go with a reputable moving company. Go with an established, insured mover, so your items are protected. If you’re packing yourself pack early. Label all your boxes by room so the movers know where to put them, and label anything that’s fragile. Do you really need to take that with you? A new home is a new lease on life, and a chance to liberate yourself from stuff you simply don’t need. If you haven’t used it or worn it in the last year, you probably don’t need it. Have a garage sale, or give it to charity. Once you move in and the boxes are unpacked, resist making changes and improvements right away. Take time to get a feel for your new home, and your new budget. COUNTRY? YES!www.howrealtorshelp.ca – Article from NO! – CourtesyBUMPKIN? of51428 theYALE Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board RD., ROSEDALE

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Sabrina

Gloria

Bringing over 1225 Buyers and Sellers together for over 20 years! WE are a dynamic Realtor® team boasting over two decades of real estate experience. We are a powerful unified partnership, passionately committed to helping our clients achieve their real estate goals. Our extensive knowledge of properties and Fraser Valley communities, plus real estate listings, provides the background needed to counsel clients towards intelligent real estate decisions.

Recognized six times as one of the top 10 REALTORS® in the country with HomeLife Canada, including the last two consecutive years! We offer to you... Selling or Buying a home is one of the largest investments in one’s lifetime. This complex, time consuming process involves careful thought and preparation, calculated strategy and timing. When you are ready to make a move, our Team will be sensitive to your needs and provide you with honest professional advice.

Rod

We Can Do More!

The benefit of using Sabrina, Gloria and Rod... The Trio Realtors, is our combined wealth of experience and expertise. Our knowledge in market values, contracts, effective negotiation skills combined with our superior service and attention to details, has earned us an exceptional track record of successfully representing Buyers and Sellers. We are real estate professionals who hold their client’s best interest at heart. Contact The Trio Realtors® today for a private consultation.

SABRINA VANDENBRINK GLORIA HUMPHRIES ROD HUMPHRIES REALTORS® HomeLife Glenayre Realty Chilliwack Ltd.

vandenbrinkteam@yahoo.com 1 800 795 2955 Direct 1 888 550 9051 toll free fax www.mychilliwack.net 8-12K

Special Features - The Key to Real Estate  

Section A of the September 04, 2012 edition of the Chilliwack Progress