10 secrets from a real estate agent
For people looking to buy, now is a very good time, she says. "With the all-time low mortgage interest rates, it is the perfect time for first-time buyers, investors and existing homeowners who are looking to upgrade to purchase a property." Interest rates are predicted to rise in the coming months, and with the new HST looming, you'll want to move fast.
We got Linda's best advice for weathering the still unsteady economy. Whether you're a buyer, seller or both, check out these 10 tips for navigating the real estate market successfully.
Tips for buyers
1 It's all about location
Whether you're a first-time buyer, investor or existing homeowner, you need to understand the best locations for your investment, Linda says. "Buying the smallest house on the best street versus the largest house on a less preferred street will reap big rewards when it comes time to sell." As an investor, a condominium that is near public transit or a university is a good move.
2 Think about a condo
There's a surplus of inventory in the condominium market, so your realtor should be able to negotiate a good deal for you when it comes to buying a condo, Linda says. If you're buying as an investor, rather than a first-time homebuyer, you will want to consider leasing out your suite for the next four to five years before selling, she explains. "It's been suggested that the condo market should be in an upswing by 2013."
3 Know your credit rating
It's best not to just assume your credit rating is in order. To avoid getting any surprises before you meet with a lender, check your rating first so you have time to resolve any issues that might stand in your way of buying. You can call either Trans Union of Canada at 1-800-663-9980 or Equifax Credit Information Services Canada at 1-800-465-7166.
4 Know your price range and stick to it
Meet with one or more mortgage lenders to obtain a pre-approved mortgage before you start house hunting, Linda says. Once you know how much you can spend you can narrow down your choices. It's safer to buy within your budget, no matter the economic situation.
5 Head out of the city
It's booming in Milton, Ont., for example, Linda says. Young families are heading there to buy affordable and newer resale homes. Sometimes it pays to go further afield depending on what you're looking for. If you want more space and more property, but have a budget to stick to, a downtown location won't do. You have to widen your circle of prospective locations.
Tips for sellers
1 Refresh and beautify
Getting your home ready for sale is crucial. Linda suggests considering a consultation from a professional stager so your home's potential is maximized when potential buyers see it. Think about getting rid of clutter, adding stylish accents to tired furniture and tidying the yard for curb appeal.
2 Upgrade and update
You don't have to completely renovate your home, but consider updating areas that are tired, such as replacing a kitchen counter and sink or replacing worn carpeting. Adding hardwood to a room or two is also helpful as this upgrade is becoming very popular to buyers, Linda says.
3 Make sure the price is right
Price your property right the first time, according to the current market conditions in your area. Some sellers believe that if they overprice their property, they have more room to negotiate or they can always reduce it later, Linda says. "This strategy can really hurt the seller." Prospective buyers will search for homes within their price range. If your home is listed too high, buyers may skip over it.
4 Don’t worry about a closing date conflict
If you receive a great offer on your home but the closing date is up to 30 days later than the closing date of the property you already purchased, don't sweat it, Linda says. Most mortgage lenders will approve bridge financing for approximately 30 days, if all conditions have been removed and you have a firm sale. For peace of mind, speak to your current lender prior to listing your property to confirm this, she suggests.
5 Get the best representation
Your home is most likely your largest investment so you'll want to feel comfortable when you go to sell it. Start off right by selecting a real estate agent who you feel you can trust, Linda says. Find someone who has a solid marketing plan plus a proven track record of successful negotiated sales.
Preparing to buy or sell your home? Find out everything you need to know with our real estate buying guide.