When to Add on and When to Move on

Deciding whether to add on to an existing home or to purchase a new one can be a complex decision. There are a few factors to consider, including cost, individual needs, and what will add value down the road. It is also important to consider your emotional attachment to the existing home. As designer and builder Philip S. Wenz, the author of Adding to a House: Planning, Design & Construction, notes, an addition is much cheaper than building a new home and can offer a “new” home without the heartache of moving.

Other considerations:
* Can you finance the home improvement with your own cash or will you need a loan?

* How much equity is in the property? A fair amount will make it that much easier to get a loan for home improvements.

* Is it feasible to expand the current space for an addition?

* What is permissible under local zoning and building codes? Despite your deep yearning for a new sunroom or garage, you will need to know if your town or city will allow such improvements.

* Are there affordable properties for sale that would satisfy your changing housing needs?

Explore your options. Make sure your decision is one you can live with-either under the same roof or under a different one.


Should I Buy First or Sell First?

Deciding to sell your home first or waiting until you have bought another home can be a tough decision. Your personal situation as well as the condition of the local housing market will determine which option is best for you.

If you put your home on the market first, you may have to scramble to find another one before the closing date, which could rush you into buying a home that does not meet all your requirements. Also, if you cannot find another home, you may need to move twice, temporarily staying with relatives or in a hotel.

The advantage of selling your existing home first is that it maximizes your negotiating position because you are under no pressure to sell quickly. It also eliminates the need to carry two mortgages at once.

On the other hand, if you make an offer to buy another home before you sell your existing one, you may be tempted to sell quickly, even at a lower price.

The advantage of buying first is you can shop carefully for the right home and feel comfortable with your decision before putting the existing home on the market.

You should discuss the pros and cons of each with your agent and determine whether certain contingencies written into the contract can ease some of the pressures.

Repairing a Fixer-Upper: How to Find a Contractor

Chances are you will need plenty of help making major repairs and additions to a fixer-upper home. But the last thing you will need is someone who fails to complete the job or who does a poor job. Finding good, responsible help is imperative.

A few things you can do include:

* Avoid the Yellow Pages. Check with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers for recommendations.

* Deal only with licensed contractors. The  local Better Business Bureau also can tell you if there are any outstanding complaints against the license holder.

* Interview each contractor, request free estimates if possible, and ask for recent references.

* Ask for proof of workers’ compensation insurance and get policy and insurance company phone numbers so you can verify the information. If the contractor is not covered, you could be liable for any work-related injury that takes place during the project. Also check to make sure the contractor has an umbrella general liability policy.

* Never hand over a deposit at the first meeting – you could end up losing your money.


Why Do I Need an Agent when I Have the Internet?

While more buyers now use the Internet to gain access to listings, or available properties for sale, it is still a good idea to use an agent. The agent brings value to the entire process: he or she is available to analyze data, answer questions, share their professional expertise, and handle all the paperwork and legwork that is involved in the real estate transaction.

An agent can give you insight to a new location that has been heard through the industry.  Many times, an agent will be told by the neighbourhood residents what is happening, such as municipal improvements, new developments going into the area. This will at times, help in determining what you should pay for a home.  When you have an agent working for you, he/she has an obligation to you, under buyer agency agreement to work for you as an extension of you.  That means your needs are put first .  The agent will work their best to get you the best price, and protect your rights.  Would you know what questions to ask, what is the history of the house, wash there anything that would place a stigma to the house of your dreams?  As professionals, we are constantly upgrading our education, this means we are kept update on changes to the industry.

Looking at a home on the internet is a great tool, but can you really see the room? What about the neighbourhood?  Sure there are programs out there that give you scores for walking distance but is it the amenities that you really need?

Now the paperwork,  do you know what you should put into an agreement of purchase and sale? How about the way the clauses are written? If it is not written to protect you then what?  Asking a realtor to help with the wording will make sure you are protected as the buyer.  We will work closely with you to make sure you get what you need.  We will tell you who you need to discuss certain portions of the offer with other professionals to aide in the right decisions.

Remember having an agent work for you is your best protection when purchasing your home.

Fall check list for the home.

With back to school approaching us, it is time to think about fall prep to the house and yard!  There is always talk of what to do your yard, but what about your home?  Your local fire stations remind you to check your smoke alarms, what about the rest of your home?

Fall is a great time to de-cluttered as well.  Take inventory of what is in your home and what is no longer of any use to you.  It could be as simple as toys the children have outgrown to excess furniture.  In today’s minimalist society less is better.  That doesn’t mean you need to remove everything!  Just look around as a person who might want to buy your home (even if you aren’t thinking of selling)!  Do you really need all those little knick-knacks you have collected over the years that don’t hold any sentimental value anymore?  How about that over crowded room with furniture?

Your easiest way to make a room look less crowded is maybe move some pieces to another room.  Look at each room and see how the pieces work.  There is a website app that’s called “The Make Room”.  It let’s you look at the room from a bird’s eye view and place furniture in it that best suits the room.

Next, think about the colour scheme you want.  Do the pieces work? Lighter colours make the room stand out. Choose one area of the room you want to stand out.  It could something so simple as a fireplace. What makes it unique? Is it the colours in the mantel?  Or does it anchor your room?  There are some stones out there, that have many shades in them that can make the fireplace pop out.  Which is a great starting point.  Colour can also anchor a piece of furniture. Not just a wall! Choose a colour you may want to accent that piece or the whole wall!  Don’t just restrict to the main  floor of your home either!

Now, after you have de-cluttered and chosen the colours you want, you must think about maintenance.  When was the last time you had your ducts cleaned?  Spring and summer are seasons when most people are in & out of the house more often.  Windows and doors are opened more often with school-aged children home for the summer.  Not to mention getting fresh air into your home! Fall is a great time to book a duct cleaning schedule. This way, you know that the air in your home for those long winter months is clean for the family.  Duct cleaning helps to reduce some of the air-borne allergies that bother many people.   Use this time as well, to change the filter in your furnace.  The best rule of thumb for me, is as the seasons change, change the filter – even if it doesn’t seem dirty.  Also, how old is your furnace?  You may want to have it serviced, so that it runs better.  It may also be time to replace it.  Do it now! You may think it is a costly expense; but better to have the peace of mind knowing that you will have heat when you most desperately need it! I speak from experience on this one!!  You will be amazed at the cost savings you will receive on your next heating bill.

When covering your air conditioner unit, make sure that there are no little critters who have decided to make the unit their home!  Clean off the outside of the unit, and at the same time you get the furnace serviced, see if the company you choose will service the a/c unit.

Check the outside of your home for any minor or major repairs that need done. This should include: weather stripping around all windows and doors;  your soffits, facia, eaves, and downspouts.  Make sure your downspouts don’t run off to areas where you are most likely to walk on a path to a door. Always think ahead to prevent an accident!  Check for any loose shingles on your roof too.  Get those repaired while you have time.

I know thinking about the cold long months of winter is never exciting, but with preparations it doesn’t have to be costly!  I hope you enjoyed reading this post!