April 24, 2015
Now that spring is here, it is time to get outside and enjoy the season. Spring means longer days, more sunshine, warmer temperatures and a great opportunity to get out and get that garden ready. A backyard garden is a great way to spend time outside with the added bonus of getting to eat what you grow.
Another great reason to garden is to make your new house feel like home. With more and more emphasis on organic and healthy eating, a garden is a great way to be a part of this new trend. We here at Fleetwood Real Estate would like to offer the following tips to a happy and healthy garden.
Clean Out the Old
Get out there and clean out any old plants or debris that may have accumulated over the winter months. This is a great opportunity to do some weeding and get back into a gardening routine. While you are removing old debris, it is time to put new organics such as compost or manure back into your soil.
Plan and Order
Unfortunately, the early spring months won’t all be sunshine. On your first wet and windy day of the season, take the time to plan what you want to grow in your garden with a bit of research and either order the seed you will be needing or go to a gardening store to purchase the seed.
This will also be the time to see what each seed needs in terms of growing time. Begin to nurture seeds indoors that will need a longer time to mature. That way, when the sun is shining again, there will be no wasted time and you can get out there and plant.
Inspect Garden Tools
Getting outside and getting into your garden also presents an opportunity to inspect all of your garden tools. Chances are they have spent the winter in your basement or shed and may need to be cleaned, fixed or even sharpened. You would not believe the improved performance of a sharpened spade over a dull one. This quick and often overlooked task can save you time and money in the long run, so it is well worth the time.
If you do not have a compost area, it is worth the effort to create one. A compost area gives you a place to put all of your dead plants and debris. Over time, this waste will break down, leaving you with a rich nutrient-filled soil which you can mix back into your garden soil. It is a win-win situation and will greatly enhance the health of your garden. Remember to turn over the compost monthly with a garden fork to keep it aerated and to help the compost break down faster.
Gardening is a great therapeutic way of enjoying the outdoors and getting back in touch with nature in your own Fleetwood home. It can be a great family activity or something done on a more solitary level. Regardless of how you want to enjoy your time in the garden, we hope these tips will help you enjoy a healthier more abundant garden.
April 17, 2015
5 Tips for the First Time Home Seller
You purchased your first home, enjoyed a few years, or many. But now the time has come to sell. Deciding to sell your first home can be very emotional and, in a market where it seems as if buyers always have the upper hand, you may be feeling apprehensive. The Vancouver market is booming — selling your home can be very profitable. Use these tips for the first time home seller to catch top dollar offers for your home.
1. Do Not Disclose Your Motivation
Homeowners sell for many reasons — some positive, others negative. You may have all the time in the world to let your property sit on the market before it sells, or you may be in a bind and need to find buyers quickly.
Whatever your situation, you do not need to disclose that information to potential buyers. Many people who know they are dealing with a highly motivated homeowner will lowball their offers in the attempt to catch a steal, only to walk away when you counter with a more reasonable price. Your home is for sale; that is all the information shoppers need to know.
2. Price Competitively
Take the time to thoroughly study the local market and have your home appraised before you send out a listing. Your property value may have changed dramatically since you first purchased the home. You want to set a price that is competitive with other houses of the same worth in the area. A fair price will snag multiple offers, increasing the final amount at which the home sells.
3. Stage Properly
One of the most important steps in the home selling process is staging. Preparing your home to do well on the market will make it appealing to many potential buyers, inside and out. Take the time to declutter your house and property, tossing or donating all of the items that you no longer use or need. Clean your entire house to the best of your ability, hiring professionals if necessary. Buyers love neutral colors, and purchasing some fresh paint to redo your walls will make your home shine as if it were new.
4. Market Online
The internet is by far the most successful way to quickly place your home on the market. Real estate sites make it possible for sellers to list a property with the click of a button. Put your best foot forward with your ads, really play up the greatest features of your home as selling points. Use pictures that show your home at its very best, and include multiple seasons if necessary. Remember, your listing is the buyer’s very first impression of your home — make it a good one!
5. Offer Incentives
Buyers love incentives. Including good appliances, the offer of covering closing costs and agreeing to complete renovations or upgrades can help you catch a quick sell. You may end up spending more money than you would like, but these incentives are investments that pay off on closing day.
Using a professional real estate agent to help you sell your property will ensure you have an excellent experience. Fleetwood Homes are professional home marketers who are guaranteed to draw the very best offers on your property. For more information, visit our selling page and contact a Fleetwood real estate representative.
April 10, 2015
A Simple 9 Step Guide to Buying a Home — Part II: The Hunt for the Close
To make the home buying process seem less daunting, we are breaking down each component into a digestible portion. Part I covered the process of aligning priorities and preparing for the financial responsibility. This part will detail how to begin searching for a home and reach the goal of closing on a home you love.
Step 4: Do Your Research
Sifting through home listings at this point becomes far more practical. You know you can eliminate homes outside your budget or lacking your required criteria. Start researching neighbourhoods that have a desirable location near schools, businesses or commuting options that work for your lifestyle.
Pay attention to recent sales as well as homes that do not quite fall into your range. The goal at this point is to get a perspective on the market as a starting reference point.
Step 5: Hire an Expert Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent’s expertise can inform you about little known listings or facts about certain areas. They can also help you when it comes time to negotiate. Best of all, their services come free upfront, since they are paid from the sale of the home.
Step 6: Start Making Viewing Appointments
With a healthy perspective and an agent at your side, you can start looking at desirable prospects within your price range and feature list. Be sure to view as many homes as possible to avoid an impulse decision. Even if the first home you set foot in is perfect, you may not know how perfect it is until you see your area’s other offerings.
Step 7: Narrow Down Your Choices and Decide on an Offer
Once you find several homes that fit the bill, you must settle on the one that fulfills your needs the most. Try to opt for the most practical and functional choice and avoid getting blindsided by amenities. A Jacuzzi tub in the master bath is certainly a great thing to have, but you may appreciate it less and less if the mortgage payments are squeezing your budget.
Step 8: Make a Contingency Offer
Choosing your intended home is no easy task, but once it is over you can work with your agent to come up with a competitive offer. The offer should include contingencies that protect you from making a poor or even an impossible investment. Common contingencies include a home inspection to spot deal breaking flaws and an appraisal to determine if the asking price is fair for the actual market value.
Step 9: Close and Move In
If the house checks out and the buyer accepts your offer, all you have to do is close the deal and start packing! We hope this guide helped give you a better overview of the Fleetwood real estate buying process.
Consult our buying page for even more help on finding a home you will cherish for years to come.
April 3, 2015
A Simple 9 Step Guide to Buying a Home — Part I: Ducks in a Row
The home buying process can seem far less complex if it is broken down into a handful of key steps. At its core, home buying is actually several processes, only one of which fulfills the traditional image of going from house to house trying to pick out your favorite. To help make the task more manageable, here are the necessary steps before you can call a new house “yours”:
Step 1: Start Saving
Window shopping online has become a growing pastime, but browsing for homes in this mode is unproductive. Future homeowners should ground their expectations in reality or they risk getting swept away in the glamour of shopping for impractical or unaffordable homes. Even current homeowners with plenty of equity under their belt should start on firm footing before they begin the house hunt anew.
In other words: start saving. You will need a 20 percent down payment on average and 2 to 5 percent set aside for closing costs alone. On top of that, you will need a security cushion in the form of saving for mortgage payments and a homeowners insurance policy.
These factors are why the journey for buying a new home starts with pinching pennies.
Step 2: Assess Your Needs
Once you engage into spendthrift mode, you can start thinking about what you actually want to get out of a house. Focus on the absolute necessities and work your way outward to preferences and eventually amenities that are nice but ultimately unnecessary.
At bare minimum, most homeowners want:
- A building in good condition with reasonable maintenance
- Enough bedrooms to comfortably fit the family
- A usable kitchen
- Adequate storage space
- A safe neighborhood
- A sitting area for relaxation or entertainment
Beyond these essentials, aspiring homeowners must narrow down other important criteria, including the exact number of bedrooms, the type of floor plan, the possible location, rooms like laundry rooms that increase functionality, kitchen size and general square footage. Write down all of these decisions in a list and try to arrange them in order of priority.
Step 3: Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
With the general idea of what type of home you want and a solid financial foundation, you can begin hunting for a way to pay for it all. Getting pre-approved lets you know how much house you can afford and gets one of the least pleasant steps partially over with. Having a pre-approval notice in your hand can also help you out down the road when you need to convince the seller that your offer is legitimate.
Those lucky enough to be paying in cash should examine their income and start charting out expenses to similarly narrow down a reasonable price range.
With these steps out of the way, buyers can start their search for the perfect Fleetwood real estate property. Take a look at our buying page to learn more, and read part II to find out the last steps to home buying.
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