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Military Relocation Buying & Selling Tips by Brian Baker

Selling Tips

Buying or Selling Homes in Cold Lake

Pricing your home right can make all the difference to the amount you end up receiving when selling your home.   Sometimes you may end up being a seller in a buyers’ market,  you and your Realtor have to study the market and you have to become an educated seller.  As a seller you have to know the trends in your local market, whether prices are going up or down.   You have to research your neighborhood sales and investigate what has been selling in the last year, six months and three months ago. One important factor is the amount of days a house sits on the market prior to selling, and what was the final selling price?

Your IRP-DND.COM Realtor is the ideal person to provide you with all this information plus more.  If you are selling your IRP-DND.COM Realtor can also find out the trends, prices, locations and discounted prices on where you are moving to.  This can help you make an educated decision based on the information available from where your selling to where you will be buying.  Your Military Relocation Realtor will be in the best position” to find “the tipping point between nice, attractive and interesting — and being sold.”   Even the most experienced Realtors’ have a tough time predicting a market and if you start too low it’s very difficult for your agent to raise your listing price once it has been viewed on MLS.  On the other hand if you list slightly below market value for your area, you could have buyers involved in a bidding war where you end up getting more than listing price.

Unfortunately Military Sellers only have a relatively small window to sell their home.  There is always the issue of market being down where you live and have to sell, and you are facing a booming market where you intend to buy.  If this is only going to be a temporary market glitch you may want to look a renting at both ends until both markets are stabilized.  Whenever you own Real Estate waiting is always a viable option,  usually your property will increase anywhere from 3 to 5% in most average markets.

Most agents now work hand in hand with professional stagers.  They will try and make your home “anonymous” so that prospective buyers can visualize themselves living there.  Removing “clutter” is one of the biggest goals of most home stagers.  To an experienced eye clutter is everywhere in the average home,  usually found on shelves, on countertops, drawers, closets, garages, attics, and basements.  If your home is cluttered, new buyers will most likely think there is not enough room in the house for their “stuff”.

While walking through your home, buyers will tend to open doors, switch on lights and fans etc and run any taps and fixtures in the room.   Ensure all your doors function properly, replace any missing electrical covers, ensure all your cabinets, taps and counter tops are free of clutter and clean.  If you cannot clean your taps, investing in a new set would be a good idea.  Open all your windows and check that locks are functioning, screens are in place or properly stored. and all mechanisms are working correctly.  If you have leaking thermal seals, you might want to consider replacing the glass units which is fairly reasonable if you take the units to glass company yourself.  Having one of the Fog Removal companies come in and drill holes will make the windows look better but this defect will always be discovered during the home inspection.  Then you are faced with possible renegotiation due to damaged windows being discovered.

If you have had any water leaks, ensure they are properly repaired, and then repair, seal and paint affected area.  Painting your home can be one of the best investments you can make when selling your home.  Choosing neutral and light colors will help you home look bright and spacious to prospective buyers.

If you want to invest some money in preparing your home for re-sale, the kitchen is the place to focus on.  Most people spend a lot of time in their kitchens and many have an attached eating area, so it can also double as a entertaining area.  After removing clutter start looking at the taps and fixtures. Can they be cleaned up to that sparkling new shine that people like,  if not, invest some money on new fixtures.   Spend a couple of hours ensuring all cabinet doors are hung properly and are all aligned.  Scrub out area under sink and put shelf paper down if bottom shelf has any stains or signs of water damage.

Buying Tips

Military personnel should start looking at possible homes and neighborhoods in the area they are moving to as soon as possible.  There are many Real Estate sites you can visit including MLS.CA, which allows you to search by area and by price.  Your IRP-DND.COM agent can greatly assist you by recommending areas which maybe suited to your specific needs.  If your child was currently enrolled in a French Immersion school you would probably not want to live on the other side of town from the nearest school.  Your Realtor has done this process countless times, and knows what your requirements will most likely entail.  The faster you communicate with your Realtor, the more information gathered and your housing goals will be quickly established.

If you are moving to an area which is currently favoring sellers,  more buyers than homes available, you have to have a good idea of the type of home you want, and more importantly you have to know what you’re willing to pay for that home.  When you are in a seller’s market you have to be able to strike quickly when you find the home you want.  Trying  to negotiate a discount can back fire and someone else could jump in with a better offer and end up with the home you wanted.   You have to be willing to pay a “fair price” for a home, especially in a seller’s market.  This is when your  Realtor and your knowledge from researching the market enable you to feel comfortable in  knowing what a “fair price” is.

Hire a professional Home Inspector.  Make arrangements through your Realtor or call one of the Home Inspectors listed at IRP-DND.COM to tentatively schedule a home inspection during your House Hunting Trip.  All the Home Inspectors are used to dealing with Military Personnel and will accommodate short notice inspections.  If you decide to look for a Home Inspector on the Internet,  ensure you really check out the qualifications as there are many Home Inspector’s who only have online accreditations, which may look good but are not really any indication of any professional training.  Provincial and Federal training courses and accreditations are the most reliable and if they have them they will advertise them, as that is what sets them apart from the “newbies”.

Have your Mortgage Pre-Approved is one of the first things you should do when you know your being posted — even before you start your search for a home. Some of the benefits are:

  • By getting pre-approved for a mortgage, you’ll have a better idea how much you can borrow, how much home you can afford and what your monthly mortgage payments will be.
  • If you choose a fixed interest rate mortgage, you are guaranteed that rate during the 90-day pre-approval period, so you are protected if interest rates should rise.
  • When it comes time to make an offer, because you know you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage, you’ll be able to act more quickly.

House Hunting Trip

Military members usually only have a limited time to look for a new home and make a decision. This handy checklist will enable them to keep track of the likes and dislikes of the homes they view. When viewing many homes it is easy to forget features that may be present or missing in the homes you visit. This simple checklist will enable you to make notes which will enable you at a glance to refresh your memory of that particular home. Bringing a digital camera with you is also a good idea as you can shoot the front of the house and then add snapshots of what you like or dislike. You can then view them as a slide show on your laptop or Realtor’s computer to refresh your memory.

  • Your Realtor can supply the names of some quality hotels that are in a convenient location.
  • Tentatively book a Home Inspector after you set your arrival date. Confirm there is no penalty to cancel or re-schedule the home inspection. Most professional Home Inspector’s will have no problem with cancellations.
  • Bring your cheque book along. You may need to pay for a home inspection and put a deposit on your new home. Most Home Inspectors bill Brookfield directly for home inspection.
  • Bring a video or still camera to take pictures of the home you purchase. Remember, we will need the owners’ permission!
  • Bring slip-on shoes to get in and out of homes quicker. You can even bring some slippers to use during house showings.
  • If you are bringing younger children along, you may want to arrange for child care to facilitate evening showings and when reviewing and signing important documentation.
  • Arrange to contact with a local lender or broker prior to your arrival which can expedite the purchase process, particularly when you are trying to remove any financing conditions from your Offer of Purchase and Sale.
  • You may require the services of other professionals while on your house hunting trip i.e., lawyer, home inspector, contractor, etc. We can provide you with a list of experienced specialists who will be pleased to assist you.
  • Bring medical referral letters to arrange for new medical practitioners when you have some free time. The sooner you get on wait lists, the better!
  • When you have an accepted offer, but are still waiting to remove conditions i.e., home inspection, etc., you may wish to take advantage of the time to complete other tasks, such as those noted below, if you are from out of town. Make sure you bring along all required documentation to:
    • investigate schools
    • drop off resumes at potential employers if spouse is not military
    • open bank accounts / or arrange for transfer of account to local branch near your new home.
    • complete change of address cards
    • research a babysitter
    • set-up utilities/phone/cable

Remember to view the House Hunting Trip as a Team Effort.   Your Mortgage Broker and Realtor are important members of your team and can help make your House Hunting Trip a success.