By Melchoir - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20546775

What Are Buyers Really Looking For in a Property?

Watch any home buying show, and you will quickly notice every buyer has a different set of priorities. Some are looking for move-in ready new construction home, while others are craving a do-it-yourself fixer-upper. While every buyer is unique, there are a few steady and consistent characteristics that the majority of home shoppers are looking for with their new properties. Making yourself familiar with these buyer inquiries can help sell your home quickly and for top dollar. Check with your Doorstep Agent to find out even more options buyers are looking for so you can have a successful and timely sale.

Parking. It may not be at the top of your list when thinking about selling your home, but buyers are looking at where they can park. Be ready to put a positive spin on the parking situation when questions arise.

 Internet and phone service. You know what kind of services are available for these in your neighborhood and can give potential buyers insight into what has worked best for you.

The Boiler. Most homebuyers aren’t eager to buy a home where the heating and cooling is inadequate. Newer boilers are a necessity when you are trying to sell your home for the top asking price.

Location. If buyers are looking at your home, they are most likely going to want to know how long it will take to get to work, groceries, entertainment, dining, etc. Be ready with a few answers.

 Neighbours. What will the neighbours be like, and will they be okay with parties, kids, keeping our space private, etc? Good neighbours and neighbourhoods are extremely important to any home buyer.

        Door size. What’s that? The door size? Absolutely! It is a factor for some buyers, especially if they already own furniture. Making sure the             furniture will fit in through the doorway is actually a concern for a majority of buyers.

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By Melchoir - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20546775

3 Staging Tips Sellers Often Overlook

We've written in the past about the power of staging your home for potential buyers. It really is a phenomenal tool you can use to attract people to your home, sell it faster, and get closer to your asking price. Not every home staging, though, is the same, and they don't all have the desired effect. If you want to stage your home, but you want serious results, you may want to try these staging tips.

Clean the Fireplace. Many potential buyers love the idea of a fireplace, but they're only going to be able to imagine themselves in your home if the fireplace is clean. Whether you hire a professional chimney sweeping company to make sure it's clean or you read a few tutorials on scrubbing the soot off on your own, this is one staging must anywhere you have a fireplace in your home.

Go Fresh. In the kitchen, add some freshly cut flowers and a bowl of fresh fruit. It may sound strange, but buyers really want to feel like they're walking into a photograph of the world's perfect home, and those homes always feel fresh, so head for the market to pick out some beautiful lemons, apples, bananas, or anything else you can find that will look great in your fruit bowl as well as some seasonal flowers.

Turn Your Bathroom Into a Spa. Dump the toothbrush holder from beside the sink (or at least hide it temporarily), and go for the elegant spa look. Buy a fancy soap dispenser, a few of the fluffiest white towels you can find, and some decorative baskets to help create that look.

Need a few more tips to help make your home look amazing? Give us a call today. 

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By Melchoir - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20546775

Kitchens Sell Houses - Is Yours Ready?

It's long been known that one of the biggest returns on investment comes when sellers upgrade their kitchen before they list their home. Kitchen remodels tend to be fairly expensive undertakings, though. How can you make sure you get the most return for your money? Focus on theses aspects.

The Cabinets

If your cabinetry looks like it was installed twenty years ago, a buyer is going to notice right away. If you're noticing scratches, scuffs, and layers of dirt that have accumulated over the years, it's time for a change. Fortunately, you don't have to replace them entirely to make the most of the situation. Instead, a can of paint might do the trick. You want a refreshed, renewed look, and paint can do that. If there's a bit more damage, you still don't always have to replace them entirely. Instead, you can replace just the doors and find the look you want.

The Countertops

Countertops can make your kitchen look just as outdated as the cabinets can, so address those after you finish the cabinet renew. In almost every case, you'll want to go with granite or a solid surface like pulverized quartz. Many people want to see granite countertops, and you can typically find a fairly good deal if you shop around.

Consider At Least One Wow

While you don't have to make all of the pricey upgrades you can think of, you should at least consider one feature that makes your buyers say "Wow!" It could be a beautiful pantry, under cabinet lighting, or stainless steel appliances, but make sure you have at least one very attractive feature buyers will remember.

Need more help to ensure your home sells quickly? Learn what Doorsteps can do for you. 

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By Melchoir - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20546775

When Your Garden Matters

If you're working to sell your home, you've probably read quite a bit about curb appeal. Making those changes that potential buyers can see from the street are absolutely essential, but should you make changes to the garden, too, to help entice buyers? In some cases, you absolutely should.

The Season Really Matters

Most people want to be outside as much as possible during the spring and summer months, and it's during these sale times that the garden will really count for something. Potential buyers will want to see outdoor spaces that have real personality during those seasons, and if you can make a few upgrades that enhance your garden, you're likely to see more interest in your property as a result.

What to Change

If you feel like some changes are necessary, you may not know where to begin. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be complex. Most buyers are looking for a few simple things. Start with the plant life in your garden. Does it look overgrown, or worse, completely non-existent? If it's overgrown, give it a solid trim. Consider a natural edging for your beds like stone. If you don't really have any plant life, spice things up a little. You can get annuals at your local nursery for fairly cheap. Adding those, even in pots, around the area will help make things look attractive.

Once you've looked closely at the plant life, it's time to decide how attractive the space is. Would you feel like it's a retreat after a long day? Is it a great place for kids? A nice place for a garden party after your new buyers move in? Adding a deck, a walkway, or even an outdoor kitchen could all help, but you must be quite careful. Garden upgrades can get fairly expensive, fairly quickly, and they don't always pay off with your selling price, so make sure you consult your Doorsteps agent before you make any serious changes. 

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By Melchoir - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20546775

If The Home Needs Work, Should You Offer Less?

These days, it seems very few buyers are looking for homes that aren't in move-in condition. Yet there are many beautiful homes for sale that need a bit of work and motivated buyers who are willing to do that work. If you find a home that needs a little care before you move in, should you offer the seller a bit less to help you save some much-needed cash for those repairs you're certain to have to make?

Learn More

The single best thing you can do before you shape your offer is learn more about the property and the neighbourhood. Perhaps the home needs a bit of work for a reason. If there is a certain amount of history around the home or the neighbourhood, perhaps it's only natural for it to look at little outdated.

 Consider the Cost

You should also decide how much the repairs or upgrades will cost you. If it's simply a matter of doing some trimming in the garden, painting the front door, and making small repairs around the home, it may not be worth it to lose the bid to another buyer. If, on the other hand, the repairs needed are serious, and you're not sure you'll be able to afford them if you don't put in a lower offer, you should absolutely lower your offer.

Talk To Your Agent

Not sure what to do? The best thing move you can make is chat with your agent. He or she can help you decide what type of offer to put in and the likelihood of your seller accepting that offer based around the changes necessary for you to make the purchase. To learn more, contact us today. 

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By Melchoir - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20546775

Avoid Over-upgrading

Many sellers think they need to make a number of upgrades before they can list their home with Doorsteps. In some cases, it's absolutely true. Some changes do need to be made before your home can be made more marketable. Sellers can certainly go too far with that mentality, though, and it's not hard to find yourself over-upgrading and spending money you simply won't get back when you sell your home. How can you avoid the problem? These tips can help.

·        Consider the Market: If you're in a buyer's market, you need to make your home as sellable as possible. If, on the other hand, you have buyers lined up around the block because there are so few homes for sale, you won't need to make as many upgrades.

·        Think About the Neighbourhood: You have to consider your neighbourhood when you think about how to price your home, and you should think just as much about it when you decide what to change about your home. For example, if you live in a really nice area, and your home looks like it needs a spot of paint, hire that painter. If, on the other hand, you live in an older neighbourhood, and all of the homes around yours look like they're in the same condition, you want to make sure you don't renovate so much that your home looks out of place.

·         Consider Key Features: Trends in real estate are very real. Even though you may really want to replace your entryway floor with slate tile, if the trend is toward an updated kitchen, it's important that you invest the money there first. On the whole, trends have been leaning toward updated kitchens, beautiful bathrooms, and nice master bedrooms over the past decade, so focusing there is fairly important. If you have money left, and you still want to upgrade that floor, do it after you've made the essential changes first.

Not sure what to change? Give us a call. At Doorsteps, we have the advice you need to sell your home quickly. 

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By Melchoir - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20546775

3 Secrets to Selling Your Home

Hoping a stampede of buyers will arrive at your home the moment it hits the market? It doesn't happen very often, but it certainly can. If that's the spot you want to be when you list with Doorsteps, use these three secrets as your guide.

1. Price it Right

Pricing is everything, particularly in today's market. We've written before about how to price your home, and if you're really anxious to sell it, you'll want to shave about ten to fifteen per cent off of that price. If you do, you'll have buyers lined up around the corner for your beautiful home.

2. Maximise the Light

Almost every buyer wants plenty of light in their purchase, so do what you can to make that happen. If you need to clean the windows, do it. If you need to go with different window treatments to let the light shine in, make that shift. If you're planning to paint, go with those lighter colours. You may also want to change your light bulbs or even trim the shrubs and trees near the house to make things as bright as possible.

3. Hide Your Pets

Your pet may warm your heart, but not everyone cares about dogs or cats. In fact, most don't want to walk in and see a pile of fur on the sofa. It makes buyers think your home isn't quite as clean as it should be, so if you're going to have an open house or you plan to have a buyer drop by, you may want to find a pet sitter for the day.

Interested in learning more about how to move your home as quickly as possible? Give us a call today, and we'll help you get it sold!

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By Melchoir - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20546775

Moving for Work? Understanding Relocation Assistance Programs

Following that new job to that new city with those new people can be tough. Employers in many different sectors know this difficulty and many have assistance for you in your new place. Taking a look at what a move may cost you and your family and what expenses you can ask your employer to cover can be very helpful in a stressful and quickly-paced move. Knowing your needs ensures you will be covered. Recognising how an easy move benefits your performance is vital to the company’s productivity and the productivity of the related conversations that you may have with your employer regarding your move. These questions can help you shape that conversation.

Where Are You Going And What Will It Cost You?
It is important to look at what you are leaving: a home, a spouse’s income, a daycare, a language, a culture, a mortgage, a lower cost of living, your home country? Be sure to take every loss into consideration when you begin negotiating a moving package with your employer.

What Is The Relocation Assistance Package That Your Company Has Offered Employees Before? 
Read up on your rights in your employee handbook, talk to HR and, perhaps, most valuable of all, ask those within your company who have moved what benefits they received and what they wish they had asked for. See what your company has offered in the past and how that lines up with your own needs and wants. 

There are many different ways that employers offer to help those who are moving. Take into consideration these options that you may not realize you can ask for:

- Assistance selling your home and finding a new one; 
- Temporary housing;
- Travel expenses between the new and old location while you look for a new home;
- A stipend for house hunting;
- A stipend for cost of living;
- Utility hook ups;
- Termination of lease;
- An allowance for higher mortgage costs;
- A reimbursement for real estate commission;
- Moving companies, including transportation and packing;
- Gas costs;
- Visas for you and your spouse, including accommodations;
- Assistance for family, such as finding a job for your spouse and schools and childcare; and 
- Language instructions and cultural assimilation workshops and classes.

The process of moving is never easy, and moving for your job can be an added hardship. Talk to your employer as soon as you know a move might be in the cards. 

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By Melchoir - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20546775

Selling and Buying at the Same Time

Buying a home the second time takes the pressure off because you have already jumped through the hoops once, crossed all your t’s, and signed on the dotted line. In other words, you know the drill now. However, this time it is going to take more finesse as you balance buying your new home and selling your old house.  

Most people can’t afford to pay two mortgages at one time. Many depend on the equity from the sale of their first home to purchase their second one. In order to sell your house and move directly into your new home without unpacking, sleeping on a friend’s couch or purchasing a storage unit, you have to know what you are doing. Run through this checklist to see if you are ready for this fast-paced, unpredictable, and exciting ride.

  • Know your needs. When you look to sell your house, you must find the minimum acceptable value that you could live with selling it for. No, the number is not ideal, but sometimes it is good enough to cut your losses, saving you the stress, time and the panicked haggling that accompanies selling a home. Knowing this number will help you to act decisively, making responsible decisions for your household.
  • Don’t let yourself fall in love with the homes you view while you still own your old house. If you do, you are just asking to have your heart broken. When selling a house, sellers want to get the property off their hands as soon as possible to whomever. They are not concerned with your desire to own the home contingent on your home’s sell date that has not been set when there are other people who have the money and are ready to pay.
  • Get started with your lender. You want to be on top of this step because this step ensures you have the funds for your new home. By having your cash ready and your paperwork done you can, seriously look at houses to purchase. Finding an experienced lender who has helped other people in the same situation is helpful. You want them to have faced tricky situations and have successfully helped buyers like you come out on top. They will be ready for any curveball that comes their way. 
  • Have a backup plan. At best you sell your house and immediately move into a perfect new home. However, in an unpredictable market you must be ready for the worst, just in case. 
  • Contingency offers and post-possession agreements. While there are many types of contingencies to look into, a sale of home contingency offer protects you, the buyer, in the case that you cannot sell your house. It allows you a set amount of time to sell your old house and protect your interest in the new house. It also protects your earnest money if the sale does not go through. Post-possession agreements can be another way to protect yourself. As the seller of your old home, in this scenario, you and the person who buys the old house may agree to let you stay in your house until you find another house to live in, paying rent to the buyer until you can find another place. 

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By Melchoir - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20546775

The House Showing Tips You Need Now

Any conversation with a stranger can be awkward and uncertain, but if you have to be the person to start and maintain them at your own house viewing, there's always an added layer of anxiety. That makes it fairly  important to know how to prepare and interact with viewers during the all-important, good-first impression. A good impression on you is a good impression on the house, which is the goal of a home viewing.  Knowing that impression is important and inviting these people into the warmth and charm of your home are key. 

Here are the do’s and don’ts of a home viewing.

Always:

Prepare. To get your home ready for “company” clean, declutter, and depersonalise. Dirty homes don’t sell; clutter doesn’t make anyone want to live in your home, and family pictures of someone else’s family make it hard for potential buyers to imagine their own families in the space. 

Do a walk through. Clear your mind and detach from your home. This is no longer “your home,” but rather a house on the market. Walk around the block and enter your home, asking what stands out to you in good and bad ways. Go through each room with fresh eyes; make repairs to those areas that you never got to; and remove and rearrange furniture for easy mobility. 

Practice. Practice. Practice. You probably know the adage, "Proper planning prevents poor performance," and walking someone through your space is no exception. Don’t “wing” a viewing. Practice walking your spouse, roommate, or children through the area. Create talking points for key features in each room, ask questions to find out what your “client” may be looking for, and frame the house to their tastes.

Never:

Gush. It is one thing to share the charming features of the house with someone, but it is quite another to overshare about the outrageous parties you hosted, the children’s activities, and the stains on the carpet. Keep the sharing of your memories in this space concise. 

Overspray. Scents and sprays can be used, but only sparingly. More than ever, people are sensitive to what they are breathing, so honor your viewers and their lungs. In addition, buyers may be suspicious of what you are trying to cover up with overwhelming smells. Keep it light and pleasant. 

Hang around. After showing your home to the potential buyers, answering their questions, and encouraging them to go back through the rooms as they wish, give them a time frame and leave them inside to discuss the space amongst themselves. Allowing them to exist in the space without your presence encourages them to honestly share and picture themselves in the space. 

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