Buying a Home

Are we about to see a rise in variable rate applications?

Most Canadians have a fixed rate mortgage but is that about to change?

A new survey from CIBC shows that, although 72% of Canadians have an FRM currently, just 54% of respondents said they would opt for a fixed rate mortgage if they signed the papers on July 10th, 2018.

However, the remaining 46% of those who are homeowners or plan to buy a home are not necessarily planning to pick a variable product; just 19% said they would while 26% are undecided and may need some help from a mortgage professional.

The survey also shows that 83% of Canadians would prefer stability over risk, suggesting a shift away from fixed rate mortgages is unlikely.

“Most Canadians believe a fixed mortgage is the way to go – especially those in the early days of paying down their mortgage or juggling household expenses,” says Tracy Best, Senior Vice President, Mobile Advice, CIBC. “Conversely, for those considering a variable mortgage, they may benefit from a lower rate initially but also need to be comfortable that rates may change, potentially several times, over the course of the mortgage. If rates go up, they need to ask themselves how that might impact their lifestyle and financial health.”

Most Canadians have a fixed rate mortgage but is that about to change?

A new survey from CIBC shows that, although 72% of Canadians have an FRM currently, just 54% of respondents said they would opt for a fixed rate mortgage if they signed the papers today.

However, the remaining 46% of those who are homeowners or plan to buy a home are not necessarily planning to pick a variable product; just 19% said they would while 26% are undecided and may need some help from a mortgage professional.

The survey also shows that 83% of Canadians would prefer stability over risk, suggesting a shift away from fixed rate mortgages is unlikely.

“Most Canadians believe a fixed mortgage is the way to go – especially those in the early days of paying down their mortgage or juggling household expenses,” says Tracy Best, Senior Vice President, Mobile Advice, CIBC. “Conversely, for those considering a variable mortgage, they may benefit from a lower rate initially but also need to be comfortable that rates may change, potentially several times, over the course of the mortgage. If rates go up, they need to ask themselves how that might impact their lifestyle and financial health.”

Average mortgage balance
The CIBC research shows that the average Canadian homeowner has mortgage debt of $170,000 but that rises to $252,000 for those earning $100K or more.

Among over 55s, 22% have a mortgage with a balance outstanding of $112,600 on average. Almost half of this demographic expect to carry mortgage debt into retirement while only 22% expect to be mortgage-free within 5 years.

Are you looking to invest in property? If you like, we can get one of our mortgage experts to tell you exactly how much you can afford to borrow, which is the best mortgage for you or how much they could save you right now if you have an existing mortgage. Click here to get help choosing the best mortgage rate

What’s Motivating Canadian Homebuyers?

Canadian homebuyers are being driven by three key motivations: the fear of missing out, the perceived impact of foreign investors and expectations of future price growth.

These are the findings from CMHC’s recent Housing Market Insight report, which surveyed 30,000 recent homebuyers in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

Despite data from Statistics Canada that pegs non-resident home ownership at 4.8 percent in Vancouver and 3.4 percent in Toronto, close to two-thirds of Vancouver respondents (68 percent) and half of Toronto respondents (48 percent) believe foreign buyers are having “a lot of influence” in their respective markets and are responsible for rising home prices.

By comparison, 42 percent of Montreal homebuyers share that belief.

“What is striking is the significant gap between perceptions of the public and available data, so much so that the perception of non-resident ownership takes centre stage when discussing the drivers of price growth,” the report noted.

Guillaume Neault, Senior Manager of Analytics at CMHC, added, “As we can see, psychological drivers can be at odds with economic fundamental drivers.”

Blowing Past Budgets

When it came to setting a budget for the purchase price of a house, a significant percentage of homebuyers in all three cities spent more than they planned.

Nearly half (48 percent) of the buyers in Vancouver and Toronto blew past their budget, while 24 percent of Montreal homebuyers spent more than intended.

CMHC said the figures were similar for both first-time and repeat buyers and suggests that the “fear of missing out” drove many buyers to exceed their budgets.

“Buying sooner than expected may reflect a lack of information about the market, thereby pushing up the initial budget for fear of missing out in a market where prices rise,” the report hypothesized. “Buying later than expected may reflect the inability to buy at the desired price, which would inevitably require buyers to revise their budget in an upward fashion.”

Bidding Wars and the Expectation of Future Price Growth

The survey also delved into the issue of bidding wars, which it noted are common in tight markets.

In Toronto and Vancouver, for example, 55 percent of buyers reported being involved in a bidding war, compared with just 17 percent of buyers in Montreal.

Single-detached homebuyers involved in bidding wars ended up paying a premium of about 20 percent in Toronto ($125,000) and 10 percent in Montreal ($55,000), according to the survey results.

Interestingly, in Vancouver those involved in bidding wars typically paid 15 percent less ($200,000) than the median price. CMHC explained this as being due to the bulk of bidding wars taking place in segments of the market where prices were below the median.

“…those who experienced a bidding war and highly value future growth have higher short-term price expectations than respondents who did not report participating in a bidding war,” the report noted. “This would suggest buyers rationalize their purchase because of expected future growth.”

 

courtesy: www.canadianmortgagetrends.com

Best, worst Tri-City ’hoods to buy a condo or townhome

New ranking examines relative value and price-growth potential – and the results may surprise you.

 

East Coquitlam has been named the best neighbourhood in the Tri-Cities to buy a condo, and nearby Mary Hill in PoCo is the place to go for a townhome, according to a new report by real estate website Zolo.

The rankings were the result of extensive study of all of Greater Vancouver’s MLS neighbourhoods, through which Zolo created a value score for each area based on a series of factors. These included: relative value of an average home compared with surrounding areas and the overall municipality; price appreciation over the past five years and potential for future growth; and the economic strength of the area combined with WalkScores and Transit scores.

 

Not just the best neighbourhoods in the Tri-Cities, East Coquitlam was named the entire Greater Vancouver region’s top area to buy a condo, and Mary Hill was placed highest for townhouses overall. (Full Greater Vancouver rankings here.)

Romana King, Zolo’s director of content, said on BTVancouver, “Why? Both areas have great commuter access, great access to the highway by car, great access to the [new] SkyTrain stations around there, great parks. These are great places to raise a family.”

At the other end of the scale, the Citadel neighbourhood in Port Coquitlam was named the “worst” area in the Tri-Cities to buy a condo in 2018, and PoCo’s Riverwood the worst for a townhome. The “worst” means that either the area is not good value compared with other neighbourhoods, or that it has less potential for price growth, or that it is low-priced for a reason, according to Zolo.

King wrote in the report, “Value isn’t synonymous with cheap, especially in real estate. Cheaper housing prices can occur for a variety of reasons — not all of them good. Instead, we wanted to find neighbourhoods that haven’t appreciated as much as surrounding communities but have access to the same amenities and social values as these higher-priced neighbouring ’hoods. In essence, we are looking for affordable, good neighbourhoods that are poised to increase in value.”

Check out the infographic below for Zolo’s top 10 areas on the North Shore to buy either a condo or a townhome, and below that, Zolo’s 10 “worst” North Shore areas to buy a condo or townhome. Do you agree with the results?

 

 

Zolo’s 10 Worst Neighbourhoods to Buy a Condo in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam & Port Moody in 2018

  1. Citadel, Port Coquitlam – $1,038,000
  2. Burke Mountain, Coquitlam – $519,900
  3. Scott Creek, Coquitlam – $395,000
  4. Riverwood, Port Coquitlam – $472,938
  5. Heritage Mountain, Port Moody – $672,000
  6. Westwood Plateau, Coquitlam – $503,917
  7. College Park, Port Moody – $330,027
  8. North Shore, Port Moody – $636,243
  9. Eagle Ridge, Coquitlam – $396,456
  10. Canyon Springs, Coquitlam – $415,135

Zolo’s 10 Worst Neighbourhoods to Buy a Townhouse in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam & Port Moody in 2018

  1. Riverwood, Port Coquitlam – $666,116
  2. College Park, Port Moody – $610,356
  3. Woodland Acres, Port Coquitlam – $622,600
  4. Birchland Manor, Port Coquitlam – $503,968
  5. Burke Mountain, Coquitlam – $776,386
  6. Heritage Mountain, Port Moody – $799,063
  7. North Shore, Port Moody – $513,983
  8. Ranch Park, Coquitlam – $578,571
  9. Citadel, Port Coquitlam – $545,407
  10. Maillardville, Coquitlam – $545,407

 

 

courtesy: http://www.tricitynews.com/real-estate

Reasonable Doubt: Divorcing couples surprised by property division in hot real-estate market

The hot Vancouver real-estate market in recent years has created a unique situation for separating couples who own property during the relationship and must now divide their property. People are often surprised when they seek legal advice and learn how their property—specifically, real property that has increased significantly in value during and after the relationship—is divided according to family law in British Columbia.

Family property includes property that you or your spouse owned on the date you separate, regardless of whose name the property is registered in. This is often one fact that surprises people, as many people assume that their ex can only receive a share of the property if their name is on the title.

Some properties are not considered family property and are called “excluded property”. Excluded property includes property that one spouse owned before the relationship started—however, the increase in value of the excluded property during the relationship is family property and will be subject to division.

So, for example, if one party owned property prior to the relationship and the property was valued at $100,000 at the beginning of the relationship, the $100,000 is excluded property. However, if the property increased in value during the relationship to, say, $200,000, the $100,000 increase in value will be divided equally between the parties.

How family property is valued is also particularly surprising to many people, because it is often assumed that the value of the property to be divided between the parties is based on the value of the property on the date they separate. However, the law mandates that the value of each party’s interest in the property is determined at the date of trial or the date that the two parties reach a settlement.

The problem is that it could take months or years for parties to settle or to wait for a trial date. In most separations, one party moves out and the other party lives in the property and pays all of the expenses related to the home, such as the mortgage, property taxes, utilities, etcetera. The party remaining in the home often assumes that if the property increases in value, they should be the one to enjoy the increase since they alone made all the financial contributions to the property post-separation.

However, this is not how the law works. In addition to any increase in value during the relationship, the party who moved out of the home is also entitled to half of the increase of value of the property between the time the parties separate and whenever the parties settle their case or go to trial.

There are many situations in recent years where a family-law case does not settle or does not proceed to trial for three or more years and meanwhile the property value has increased by more than $500,000. This means that if one party wants to keep the property and buy out the other party’s interest in the property, the buyout payment would have been far lower if they had reached settlement sooner.

Here are some tips for individuals who are facing the type of situation described above:

  • Work with the other party to settle how your property and debt will be divided as soon as possible. Do not assume that the other party will not start court proceedings simply because they have cut off communications with you or did not express any initial interest in pursuing property registered in your name. Parties have two years to start court proceedings. As a family lawyer, I have come across many clients who assumed they would not hear from their exes again after their ex moved out, only to be served with court papers making a claim against their property just a month prior to the two-year limitation date.
  •  Make sure you seek legal advice and have the settlement terms detailed in a separation agreement or court order. Similar to the point above, many people assume that a verbal agreement to not pursue property division is sufficient, only to be surprised many months later when their ex starts court proceedings respecting their property.
  •  If you are paying expenses related to the property, keep a record, along with documents such as bank statements and receipts, of all expenses you paid for after you separated, such as mortgage payments, renovation and repair costs, property taxes, etc.
  •  If the property is registered solely in your ex’s name and you have not reached an agreement regarding property division with your ex, you can protect your interest in the family home by either starting a court action to register a certificate of pending litigation against the title of the property or by registering a Land (Spouse Protection) Act charge on the property. What this does is prevent your ex from remortgaging the property or selling the property without notifying you.

Property- and debt-division issues can be complicated and there may be much to gain or lose. It is highly recommended that you seek legal advice—even if you do not intend on hiring a lawyer to represent you long-term—to get a clear understanding of your rights and have a clear strategy for protecting your property interests.

by Nancy Chen
Courtesay: www.straight.com 
Nancy Chen practises family law at Catalyst Legal LLP.

Canadian Recreational Property Prices Forecast to Appreciate 5.8% in 2018

Retiring Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers drive the recreational property market

New speculation tax serves as a cold shower for would-be B.C. investors

 

According to a cross-Canada survey of Royal LePage’s recreational property specialists, the nation’s recreational market is primed for healthy single-digit growth in 2018, as buyers across the land flock to lakes and streams, and the seaside and mountain tops, with an eye towards retirement or a secondary home to raise children. Meanwhile, recreational property values in British Columbia are expected to dip slightly, as the new speculation tax on secondary residences impedes price growth and encourages Albertans, one of largest cohorts of recreational purchasers in the region, to adjust their search and find recreational homes elsewhere.

 

Looking ahead to the end of the summer market, the price of a recreational property in Canada is forecast to increase 5.8 per cent year-over-year to $467,764. When broken out, the majority of provinces are also forecast to witness strong price growth, with Ontario and Alberta leading the way, rising 10.4 per cent and 8.9 per cent year-over-year to $535,885 and $770,100, respectively. Only three regions are expected to witness recreational home values depreciate, with prices in Atlantic Canada and British Columbia forecast to decline by 7.5 per cent and 2.8 per cent to $228,754 and $531,333, respectively, while Manitoba dips but essentially remains flat with a 0.9 per cent decline to $230,833 over the same period.

“Driven by the strength of the nation’s economy, Canada’s recreational real estate market is set to experience another strong year,” said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. “While home values and sales activity in Canada’s largest urban markets have softened, demand for recreational properties remains robust in most regions. The search for that perfect summer getaway continues unabated.”

When asked, 42.0 per cent of recreational property specialists surveyed believed that sales activity would increase in their region by the end of the cottage season compared to the same period in 2017. However, the uptick in demand found within the regions will not directly translate into a decline in supply, with many respondents in every province, aside from Ontario, forecasting a rise in inventory when compared to 2017 (48.2 per cent).

This trend will be highly visible in British Columbia, where the new speculation tax, which aims to limit property purchases by those who primarily live outside of the province, will cause many existing homeowners to sell their secondary homes. As a result, prices within the region are predicted to decline slightly during the summer season, despite 40.0 per cent of recreational property specialists forecasting that sales would rise. This is due in part to a predicted rise in supply (47.5 per cent), as many secondary homeowners living abroad sell their properties to avoid the annual tax. Moreover, even though sales are predicted to increase, 55.0 per cent of respondents within the province believe that the policies will weaken momentum within the region and keep sales activity from reaching its true potential, while 40.0 per cent also stated that the new policies would impact prices.

“With Canada’s fastest growing economy, British Columbia’s vast and varied recreational regions might be expected to lead the country,” continued Soper. “That will not be the case in the near-term as new taxes aimed specifically at recreational property owners are expected to weaken markets across the province, driving would-be purchasers to invest elsewhere. While these policies were billed as a move to impede speculation and foreign investment, international purchasers make up a very small portion of the recreational market, and the dreaded ‘house flippers’ are an urban phenomenon.”

Albertans, who are one of the largest and most tenured cohorts of buyers in British Columbia’s recreational property market, are expected to increasingly look to their own province for secondary vacation properties, driving prices higher in popular regions like Canmore, and west of Calgary in the Rocky Mountains.

Meanwhile, with a forecast aggregate price of $290,271, Quebec’s recreational market is expected to witness healthy growth, as the province’s robust economy draws many purchasers from major city centres into more rural regions. According to the survey, 43.8 per cent of respondents in Quebec believe that the number of buyers looking to acquire a recreational property as their first home will increase this year when compared to last.

“We believe strongly in the future of Quebec’s recreational property market,” added Soper.  “With an expanding economy providing more disposable family income, we expect regions like Mont-Tremblant to enjoy strong chalet sales volumes and appreciating property values.”

Nationally, 73.5 per cent of recreational property specialists surveyed stated that foreign ownership accounts for less than 5.0 per cent of the recreational market. When broken out by region, the highest agreement came from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with over 80.0 per cent of respondents in each market stating that international purchases make up less than 5.0 per cent of sales (80.0 per cent, 81.3 per cent, 88.9 per cent and 85.7 per cent, respectively). The lowest agreement found within the country came from Atlantic Canada, where 40.0 per cent of respondents believed that international purchases accounted for less than 5.0 per cent of the total market, while a further 40.0 per cent believed that it was in the range of 5.0 to 10.0 per cent.

According to the survey, 59.0 per cent of respondents stated that Generation Xers (36 to 51 years old) are the preeminent purchasers of recreational properties in Canada. These purchasers will typically search for property less than two hours away from their primary residence (67.5 per cent) for its associated lifestyle (84.5 per cent) or as a potential retirement home (49.5 per cent). When looking to sell, respondents largely agreed that most secondary homeowners claimed that they were getting older (80.0 per cent), couldn’t keep up with the maintenance of the property (48.5 per cent) and that the home was ultimately going unused (67.5 per cent). However, despite this, over two-thirds of respondents (68.5 per cent) have witnessed a growing trend in Baby Boomers and prospective retirees purchasing recreational properties with the intention of using them as their primary residence, with many agreeing that sales activity attributed to this cohort will rise throughout the remainder of the year (43.0 per cent).

“As Canada’s generational shift continues, prospective recreational property purchasers are coming from both the Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers,” said Soper. “The market is being driven both by those in search of the retirement home of their dreams, and as a place to introduce children to the wonder of the world’s largest and most pristine collection of wilderness areas. Not only do these families view recreational property as a good investment due to its relative affordability and history of steady appreciation in value, but also as a means to start the next exciting chapter of their life.”

 

National and Regional Recreational Price Summaries (.PDF)

 

Courtesay: https://www.royallepage.ca

Overpriced homes and how to identify them.

 

Whether you are in the market to buy a new home, or you are planning on selling your current home it is important to do your homework before coming up with a price.

Putting the wrong price tag on a property can be the difference of your house selling in days, months, or getting into a house that is not worth what you paid for it.

An experienced agent can definitely help in this process but here are a few tips to help you along the way.

 

Look at current or recent home sales in your neighbourhood.

It is very important to look at current homes for sale in the neighbourhood, also homes that have recently sold.

The listing price may vary from the selling price that’s why it is imperative to look at what the house actually sold for.

 

 

Has the home been on the market for a long time? 

There are a lot of homes that sell within weeks if not days of being on the market.  These homes are typically priced according to the current market.

When a property sits on the market for weeks or months it usually means it is overpriced.

If the flow of interest and offers on other houses in the neighbourhood are good but are lacking on this property it is usually and indication that the property is not fairly priced and may need to be evaluated again.

 

 

Home improvements.

If the home has a bunch of minor improvements, or if the home has been customized for the old owners benefit this can cause a home to be overpriced. (Not everyone needs a built in tennis court, swimming pool, or theatre room). However an upgraded bathroom or kitchen will add value.

Only large improvements should reflect in the overall selling price of a home.

 

 

Location.

If the home is in a low income area, near railroad tracks, or the local schools have a poor rating these will all factor into determining what a house is worth.

If the house is in a pristine area the house will have a greater value than being in a less desirable area.

 

 

Overpriced homes can be easy to spot once you know what to look for.

Competitively priced homes will often get multiple offers which will drive the price up anyways so very unlikely you will sell your home for less than what it is worth.

It is in your best interest to contact a trusted realtor to help insure you do not pay or try and sell for too much. This will save you a lot of stress and headaches in the future.

If you follow these few steps you will have the right info to help make the proper decision.

6 Things That Increase Your Home’s Value Before You Even Buy

While you’re in the process of house hunting, all you want to do is find a keeper, get the keys and settle into your new life. But it pays to think long-term when buying a home because you’re probably going to be selling it sometime in the future, and you want to get a good return on your investment. So, keeping certain factors in mind when purchasing a home is key to ensure that it has good resale value. Here, six things you should think about, according to professionals.

Location

People always emphasize “location, location, location”—and for good reason. You can change many things about a house, but not where it’s located, so think wisely about where you’re buying. “If you choose a home in a desirable location, odds are that location will always attract a larger pool of home buyers,” says Thaddeus Wong, co-founder and co-owner of @properties in Chicago.

He also recommends taking into account the walkability of the area. Is the home close to schools, grocery stores, restaurants and parks? “These neighborhood amenities can all have a lasting impact on your home’s value,” he says.

Dottie Herman, CEO of Douglas Elliman, adds that it’s important to look at the quality of school districts. “The better the school district, the higher the value of the home,” she says. “School districts play an important factor in resale value.”

She also suggests taking a ride around the area to get a feel for it. “Make sure that the area does not have a large number of vacancies, businesses that are closing, or a large number of foreclosure signs, she says. “Ensure that values are increasing in this specific area.”

Lot and landscaping

A home’s value is often concentrated inside its walls, but curb appeal is a major factor when reselling. “If you’re purchasing a single-family home, pay attention to the size and shape of the front and back yards,” says Wong. If the home is overly landscaped, you might be paying more for something you won’t maintain. And even if you do opt for paying landscaping fees, that’s not money you’re guaranteed to get back when you sell. Stick to a house that’s sparsely or moderately landscaped, so you can easily make improvements to boost curb appeal.

Similarity to neighboring houses

While you want your home to stand out from the crowd, you also want to make sure it’s comparable to others in the neighborhood. “If yours is the only single-family home in an area populated by townhomes, it will be more challenging to assess resale possibilities and estimate what your home is worth,” Wong says.

It’s also wise to avoid buying the most expensive house in the neighborhood because less expensive homes will bring down the value, Herman says. “Conversely, if you buy a lower-price home in a more expensive area, houses that are more expensive will bring up the value of the home.” This phenomenon is known as functional obsolescence.

Interior layout

Although renovations can be made to change the layout of a home, they are time-consuming and costly. So try to find a space that’s appealing and flexible. “Most home buyers prefer natural light and open spaces, so pay attention to the layout of the home,” Wong says. “An open-concept design can look much more spacious than a home with a choppy floor plan.” Although some believe the number of bedrooms can influence a home’s value, he adds that having a few large bedrooms may be more appealing to future buyers.

History of the home

When you’re considering a house, it’s important to look beyond aesthetics. A home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, so you want to make sure you’re fully informed of its history and that it’s physically sound, from roof to foundation.

“Ask the tough questions,” Wong says. “You’ll want to know if the home floods easily, has suffered from mold or was damaged in a fire.” While you might be okay with your house’s complicated history, it could cause future buyers to turn away.

Fees

Whether you’re buying a condo or a single-family home, you may have to pay fees on a regular basis, such as homeowner association or condo fees. Keep in mind that such fees can deter future buyers if they’re too costly, says David Rosen, a real estate agent with Douglas Elliman in New York City.

Wong says it’s also important to determine whether the community or building you’re considering is in good financial standing with plenty of money earmarked for unexpected costs. If not, you’re more likely to pay special assessments (extra fees required to pay for unexpected community projects, like landscaping or a new pool), which could also turn off potential future buyers.

 

courtesay: https://www.apartmenttherapy.com

What you need to know about downsizing.

For many homeowners, a time will come when your current home is just too big.  Children grow up and move away, and parents are left with a home that is just too large.  When a home becomes too much to deal with it is best to downsize.  Most people are unaware of how much work it takes to make this happen.  Below are a few tips on what you need to know about downsizing before you begin.

 

Compare the space you have, to the space you will have.

A great tip is to get a copy of the floor plan of your new space and compare it to the rooms you have to the ones you will have.  For example if your new living room is the same size as your current bedroom, try and visualize your sofas in there – if they won`t fit you may have to give one away or invest in a smaller set.

You don’t have to get rid of everything.

Downsizing and minimalizing are about getting down to the basics of what you actually need.  Keep items that are meaningful and unique like that precious statue that has been hand made by a loved one, the painting you painted in tenth grade.  Instead, get rid of the fake flowers and the coaster sets you have accumulated over the years.

Pick one area to work on at a time.

Instead of doing a little bit here and a little there, you will notice your hard work if you focus on one specific area at a time.  Maybe you start in your closet and get rid of clothes you haven`t worn in the last year, or clothes that no longer fit you, or that our no longer your style.  Throw out socks without a match, or ones that have holes, worn out shoes, old hats and gloves.  You can fill a box or a bag a day to either throw out, sell, or donate.

Digitalize whatever you can.

CD`s, DVD`s, cassettes, home videos, pictures, and important documents can all be digitized and saved either to the cloud, or a computer hard drive to free up some important space.  While you will need to keep hard copies of important personal documents such as passports and birth certificates, all other personal and financial papers can be scanned and saved.  You will be surprised as to how much space is actually needed for all of these items.

You don’t have to throw everything out.

Decluttering doesn`t mean it all must go to the landfill.  You may as well try and make some money back from all the hard earned dollars you spent on these items over the years.  Once you have decided what you want to keep, and not keep have a yard sale or sell items online. Like they say “One mans junk is another mans treasure“.  Once you have the money in hand it will make getting rid of all that stuff a little easier to swallow.  Once you have sold all you can, donate whatever is left to a homeless shelter or your local goodwill.

 

Just remember it will seem harder than it is.  Just take it step by step and room by room, and you will get there.  Think of it as exercise – It isn`t always pleasant while doing it, but leaves you with a much lighter feeling afterwards.  Good luck and happy downsizing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

Spring is in the air!  Sun is shining, birds are chirping and home maintenance tasks need your attention.  Here is a quick checklist to keep your home in tip top shape this spring.

INDOORS

  • Replace furnace filters an have a technician inspect your furnace / air conditioner
  • Clean windows inside & out, as well as window tracks. Make sure weep holes are not blocked and lubricate any openers that are sticky
  • Inspect caulking (inside and out), and touch-up or replace where needed
  • Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Vacuum lint from dryer vents
  • Vacuum all furnace vents in your home
  • Remove / donate any items that you are no longer using (rule of thumb: if you have not used it in a year, get rid of it)
  • Give your home a deep clean – all closets, cupboards, drawers top to bottom. Scrub baseboards and walls.

 

OUTDOORS

  • Inspect your roof and make sure the winter months have not damaged any of your shingles
  • Clean gutters and downspouts and make sure all drainage pipes are faced away from walls and foundation
  • Turn your exterior water supply back on and check for leaks
  • Reseal exterior wood work, (decks, trellises, fences, railings). Staining or resealing every year helps them to last longer
  • Inspect for termites. If there are a bunch of winged insects flying out of a hole in woodwork, call a professional pest control technician immediately
  • Check exterior paint and retouch if needed. If you are planning to repaint your whole house exterior, spring is the best time to take action
  • Inspect your driveways, paths and concrete retaining walls & patch any holes or cracks
  • Check all irrigation systems if you have them
  • Remove first signs of weeds
  • Rake any fallen leaves, branches or debris from winter months
  • Fertilize your lawn
  • Clear dead plants and shrubs from the home
  • Check trees for interference with power lines and prune where necessary