Doorsteps blog posts

Blog entry by Doorsteps

Online Pictures Make a Great Sale

Posting your home online is a fantastic way to give buyers the opportunity to see your home at its best. The decision to actually see your home in person is likely made based on your photos and how they make your home look. Using a few camera angles and following some advice for making your home look its best can help get lookers online to an open house or inside for a scheduled visit. Take a look at some of the best advice for photographing your home and be sure to get the help of the experts at Doorsteps.

  1. More is better. Buyers are more likely to ask about your home if there are a wide variety of photos. Limiting your photos to one bedroom and bath and the kitchen/living area may not be enough to satisfy the curiosity of online viewers. Taking a wide variety of photos helps online viewers get an idea for the actual size of the house and rooms as well as the layout of the house overall.
  1. Use a hi-res camera. Low quality pics don’t give an accurate perspective of your home and what’s inside. If you cell phone camera isn’t equipped with at least an 8 mp camera, use a camera that is. You could move one step forward, too, and hire a professional photographer to capture the beauty of your house. They have the experience necessary with the lighting and angles that will show off each room and make it look its best.
  1. Pay attention to detail. Too many house photos are taken in haste without really looking at what is in the shot. Are the toilet seats down? Are there dishes in the sinks? What’s on the table when the photo is taken? While you may not think questions like these matter, paying attention to these small details can be a selling point for your home. If the photos make your home look cluttered or uncared for, buyers may question how your home has been maintained over the years.
  1. Use natural light. Taking photos, especially exterior photos, in natural sunlight is the best way to show off your home. Be careful to use angles that don’t allow glares from the light and that lessen imperfections. Finding angles that give the appearance of roominess and space are all great ways to showcase your home drawing in potential buyers leading to a successful sale.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Getting What You Want Through Negotiations

The process of selling a home should be a personalised experience as there is no “one-size-fits-all” plan for getting what you want. Every seller has a slightly different objective, so it is important to have an agent who understands what your needs are when it comes to selling your home. Doorsteps understands that the process for selling your home may be different than that of their other sellers. We work with you to ensure that the process of negotiations goes as smoothly as possible getting you the result you are after.

What are your goals?

First, decide what is really important to you for making your sale? Is buying a new house contingent on selling this one? Is your asking price firmly set? Do you simply want to sell it quickly no matter what? Having a plan before listing your home and getting offers can help you and your agent when it is time to begin the negotiations that will actually sell your home.

What are you willing to compromise?

In some cases, a buyer will offer your asking price or close to it if the seller agrees to pay part or all of the mortgage related charges. Others may want you to throw in appliances or furniture. Discuss with your agent the pros and cons of these compromises and decide immediately if you are willing to meet your buyers’ requests or if they are out of your realm of comfort. Remember, you can always refuse an offer or give a counter-offer to find a middle ground that works well for both parties.

How do you know what to counter-offer?

Chances are your agent has a good idea what the buyer is reaching for and can help you come up with the best counter-offer to keep the buyer satisfied and you happy. Price isn’t the only aspect to include in a counter-offer. For example, say the buyer is in a hurry to take possession, you could counter-offer a higher price but offer possession of home at closing. Be prepared to counter-offer a couple of times before coming to an agreement.

Your agent is in the process with you and knows how frustrating selling a home can be. We can help streamline the process so you don’t feel like you have to jump on the first offer you receive. Our sellers are our priority, and we look forward to serving you and getting you the best deal for your home.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Make Buying Your Home Easier

Buying your home is a big decision especially if you will be a first-time home owner. It can seem overwhelming and quite daunting to go the process alone. For starters, where do you begin looking for properties that are for sale? How do you get a hold of sellers to view the homes? What is the best loan option for you, and how will you pay the arrangement and legal fees? If you feel yourself starting to hyperventilate, take a deep breath and relax. Just give us a call. We are here to assist you with all of your needs when looking to buy a new home. Keep in mind some of the following to help get you through the process.

Start by visiting with one of our experienced agents to begin the process of looking for a new home. Discuss your needs, dislikes, preferred neighbourhoods, and price range. An agent can begin the process of showing you homes that meet your needs and preferences. Many homes will have scheduled open houses on weekend afternoons or evenings so you can tour potential properties and narrow down your search. Looking at a home in person is a great way to get a feel for the structure and see any potential problems you want to avoid.

The next step is for an agent to walk you through the process of obtaining a loan. They can recommend lenders as well as explain the other expenses involved in the buying process. Some of the expenses that come with purchasing a home include arrangement fees to the lender for drawing up papers, house inspection fees, misc. legal fees, and some taxes such as Stamp Duty Land Tax depending on the value and price of the property. Our experienced agents can keep you informed and make sure you aren’t surprised with unplanned expenses.

Once the negotiations and final sale price have been agreed upon, you can be sure that our agents will make the contracts and final signing process effortless and smooth. Buying a home can be difficult and stressful but it certainly doesn’t have to be. Keep in mind that this process can take as little as a few weeks to several months. Knowing what to expect ahead of time can put your mind at ease. Don’t go it alone. Trust Dooresteps to make the buying or selling process of your home and trouble free experience.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

3 Ways to Create Better Curb Appeal Now

“Curb Appeal.” You’ll hear it from estate agents like those at Doorsteps, but truly understanding the concept can be a bit difficult. It’s also an absolute must, as better curb appeal spells a better price for your home in the long run.

What is Curb Appeal?

The term itself simply considers the attractiveness of a property from the street. It factors in only a few aspects including landscaping, the front entrance, and the look of the exterior of the home (like the siding, stucco, or other exterior coating).

How Do I Increase My Home’s Curb Appeal?

Creating better curb appeal isn’t necessarily a simple process, but at Doorsteps, we’ve seen the process again and again –  an attractive exterior can make or break the sale of your home. It can also decrease the time it spends on the market. Wondering how to make sure your home is where it needs to be? These tips can help.

Evaluate Your Home Like a Buyer Might

Spend some time walking around your home’s exterior with a critical frame of mind. Grab a notepad and a pen. Anything that doesn’t look quite right, makes your home look like it might not make the cover of a magazine, or needs to be replaced, repaired or cleaned should go on your “To Do” list. You’ll want to do this both by the light of day and in the evening when the street lamps shine on your home to get the best possible view of what buyers might see. In addition you may even want to enlist the help of friends to get an outside opinion.

Add Some Plants

Unless you’re selling during the winter, there are always some kinds of annual plants in bloom that you can add around your landscaping. Consider containers, window boxes, or garden flower beds to add some colour. It will automatically create a beautiful look to the outside of your home.

Consider Lighting

If your home has poor outdoor lighting, you may want to spruce that up a bit too. Solar light fixtures are easily installed around your front walk or flower beds, and they’re fairly inexpensive. They’ll give your home a touch of luxury you didn’t initially expect.

Many buyers are far more willing to book a showing with your estate agent if they see something they like, so create a snapshot of an amazing properties outdoors. Doorsteps is ready to help. Contact us today to learn more.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Help for First-Time Sellers

The first time you sell a home can be just as complicated as the first time you bought a home. Understanding the legal aspects and what is expected of both you and the buyer can be tricky waters to navigate. The best advice for first-time sellers is to enlist the aid of qualified and experienced agents like the experts at Doorsteps. We know all of the ins and outs of selling a house, and we’ll be here for you every step of the way. To get you started, there are a few tips you should know.

Setting your price. Consult with your agent to help decide your starting listing price. Professional agents know the best way to price your home according to value, neighbourhood, and motivation to sell. Your Doorsteps knows how to get the best price for your home.

Choose the best time to list your home. You may not realize it, but the time of year can affect the sale of your house. Summer is notoriously slow for the housing market while spring tends to be the best time to list your home on the market. If the season isn’t right, though, you can still sell your home. We’ll be happy to guide you in the right direction.

Prepare your home for showings. Now is the time to listen to your agent about any upgrades that can increase the value of your home or simple landscaping tips that can add to the curb appeal. Get in the habit of keeping your home picked up and tidy every day. It also helps to take down anything personal like photos to keep a neutral looking space potential buyers can see themselves living in.

Stay in the background. It really is best to stay out of the way as your agent shows your home and works with buyers. Try to set emotional attachment aside as people start to look at your home and suggest changes they could make. It is important to remember they will make your home into the living space they desire after the sale.

Be Flexible. Buyers may want to look at your home at any point in time depending on their schedules. You have to stay flexible and be open to these impromptu visits. It’s also necessary to discuss possible negations and realtor’s fees before you get too serious about selling to make sure you and your agent are on the same page.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Update Your Paint for a Faster Home Sale

Increasing interest for a faster home sale can be as simple as a fresh coat of paint. While the money spent on updating the exterior and interior paint colours of your home may seem like a waste when you are trying to sell, the extra money has proven to be well worth the investment. First impressions go further than just selling price and the neighbourhood. For many buyers, the aesthetics of a home are just as vital a selling point. At Doorsteps, we do everything we can to get your home sold and off the market, and we encourage you to make some small improvements such as updating the paint colours. Small changes likes paint can make or break a motivated sale. If a buyer is put off by your paint colours, they could move on to another home with more neutral shades. Follow some of these specific guidelines to catch the attention of those checking out your home.

  • Go Modern. Choose a colour scheme that it is up to date without being too trendy that it will go out of style soon. Classic tones with an updated shade are your best bet to showcase the exterior as well as the interior of your home.
  • Keep it Simple. Try to stick with one theme such as earth tones or shades of grey throughout the interior of the house. Too many colours, especially bright hues, can scare away buyers with the thought of having to redo each room with multiple layers of paint.
  • Stay away from funky techniques. Remember sponge painting? There are still multiple techniques for covering wall space that border on the arts and crafts time look. Paint the walls with regular roller/brush strokes with one colour.
  • Know your neighbourhood. Most of the time Doorsteps will recommend neutral tones for painting, but if your home is in a more artsy or flamboyant neighbourhood, it’s likely buyers are looking for something that stands out as opposed to a quiet more conservative suburb.
  • Pair it with your furnishings. The staging of your furniture and the type of decor and furnishings you own need to coordinate with your paint job. If you have a more minimalist home with modern furnishings, go with grey as opposed to warmer earth tones.

For more tips on fresh paint and other ways to make updates for a faster home sale, talk to the friendly and knowledgeable Doorsteps.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Will Arranging My Furniture Sell My House Faster?

Have you ever perused the photos of homes for sale and been put off by empty rooms? Ever wondered how you could ever make that look like a home you could live in? Statistically, homes sell faster and for higher prices if the buyer has  visual of what the home will look like fully furnished. Many people ask us “How can I sell my house faster?” Creating that buyer-inspired visual is one great way to do just that. The concept is simple and is commonly known as staging.

The Research

A study that looked at 410 homes showed that staged homes sold on average in 42 days as opposed to non-staged homes that sold in 198 days. That’s far from the only convincing statistic in the world of home staging, though. Another study found that nearly one-third of buyers are willing to overlook flaws in the property if its well-staged.

To Get Started

If you think staging might be right for you, there are some important steps to follow when applying this technique to prepare your home correctly for a quick and successful sale. Utilise the skilled agents at Doorstep Agents to help stage your home for potential buyers at your next showing.

It’s not personal. For buyers to see the potential of your home as a home for themselves, it is necessary to remove any personal photos or memorabilia. Keeping your home looking more like a showroom can help buyers see what your home could look like if anyone owned it and not just your family.

Declutter your space. Eliminate furniture that is not necessary. For example in the living room, par down to one sofa and chair with matching end tables and one decorative floor item. Removing other furniture that takes ups space can also give the illusion of a bigger room.

Move to the middle. Arranging furniture away from the wall and more toward the centre of the room can also give the illusion of more floor space in any room. Take advantage of any place you can create the illusion of space. It will help sell your home.

Get rid of the throw space. We all tend to have an area in the home where everything gets thrown and tossed aside. Clean up this space and rearrange with a bed and dresser or desk and office area. Keep the furniture and arrangement minimalistic to give the appearance of a live-able, but chic space.

It’s all about function. Choose a function for each room and stick to that theme. If there is too much going on in one space, it may seem overwhelming and cluttered. If it is one large open room make a designated dining spacing and living space that are obviously separate from one another. In extra bedrooms, choose to make them either a bedroom, exercise room, or office but not all or two of those.

If you’re asking yourself, “How can I sell my house faster,” the quickest way is to contact us immediately. We’re here to help you at every level of selling your home. For more advice and tips on staging, contact Doorstep Agents today.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

How to Sell Your Home in the Summer

Summer is notoriously rough for the housing market, no matter where your home may be. The interest of potential home buyers has turned to planning holiday trips and relaxing, with a declined motivation to shop for houses. We know there are some things you can do to help increase the appeal and charm so you can sell your home even in the heat of the summer. To keep your motivation focused on the sale of your home, use this quick checklist of strategies to get your home off of the market.

Check your curb appeal. While the landscaping and exterior attractiveness of your home may not seem like a big deal, many potential buyers make their decision before even setting foot through the front door based on curbside appeal alone. Amp up your outer charm with some simple but pretty landscaping or a fresh coat of paint. You may even want to power wash siding if needed. The initial investment will be worth your sale in a stagnant market.

Spruce up the back garden. Clean up any dying or raggedy brush and flower beds. Set up the patio furniture and add little bright pops of colour with flower planters or furniture cushions. If a buyer can envision what a living space can look like with furniture and decor, they are more likely to make an offer.

Clean up your indoor living space. Making sure the inside of your home is viewer friendly at any given time allows us the freedom to show your home when a buyer is available. Keep clutter picked up, dust regularly, do laundry, and dishes anytime there is a need to ensure your home is ready for show all times of the day. Even keeping the windows and patio doors spotless is necessary for many buyers to consider a second look at your home.

Keep it cool. Summer temps can be blistering hot, and if your interior is not cool enough, your low quality air conditioning can be a deal breaker. Keep your air conditioning set to a cool and comfortable temp for potential buyers. If they fear a less than perfect working cooling system, you could lose a successful sale.

Other helpful tips to help sell your home include offering cool drinks to buyers and providing a list of activities or attractions in the neighbourhood that may entice an offer. Doorstep Agents is here to help with any questions or other helpful hints to move your home off the market.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Three Things that Can Boost The Value of Your Home Immediately

Three Things that Can Boost The Value of Your Home Immediately

At Doorsteps, we’ve rarely seen a home seller who didn’t want to boost the property value as quickly as possible. As a seller, you want to get as much as you can for your home, particularly if you’ve put a lot of sweat equity and money into it over the years. If you’re still not quite hitting the valuation you want, these three steps may be able to create a big boost in your selling price.

Create More Living Space

Have unused space that just doesn’t seem helpful currently? Turning it into living space may be able to increase the price of your home. If a little work in the attic means a granny flat for the mother-in-law or a quick remodel may mean the ability to add a flex room like a playroom or a home office, you’re going to have an add-on the buyer will love. Before you embark on any big remodel projects, though, do some research to make sure you have a project where you’ll see a real return on your investment.

Lower Your Energy Costs

It seems virtually everyone is trying to be a bit greener these days, and lower energy costs can move your home from an energy hogging beast to an eco-friendly spot buyers will love. There are several ways to do this from replacing old windows with more energy-efficient versions to ensuring all of your appliances are rated well for energy consumption. Simple steps like adding rain barrels in the garden and LED bulbs throughout your home can help too.

Build Curb Appeal

Many buyers make their decision about your home before they ever even walk through that door. If you haven’t brushed up on your curb appeal, lately, there’s never a better time to do it like that before you sell your home. If there are things like fences that need to be mended or trimming to do, you should absolutely take care of it. If you can plant flowering annuals before you sell, that’s an attraction, too. Small landscaping projects can help as well. Simple steps like these could bump your selling price up as much as three to five percent in the long run.
If you’re ready for a much higher selling price, you’re ready to work with Doorsteps. Give us a call today to learn what we can do for your home.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Is Spring Actually the Best Time to Sell a Home?

It’s long been said that real estate can be a fairly seasonal business, but for those looking to sell their homes, and idea like that one can be downright frightening. After all, what if you’re trying to sell your home in the winter or the middle of the summer holiday season. Do you still have a chance at actually getting your property off the market at a price that works for you?

Understanding the Seasons

There’s a reason they say spring is the best time to sell a home. Statistically speaking, it’s absolutely true. The shift toward spring tends to mark the busiest home buying season of the year. As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, people begin looking for that perfect home. What’s more, though, is that some people tend to shop during the summer holidays so that if it becomes necessary for the children to switch schools, they can do so before the fall term begins once more.
Homes that sell during the spring and summer months tend to valuate better, and they tend to fetch a much higher sale price. The curb appeal of a home tends to increase during the warmer months, too, because your garden looks better in bloom and, in general, homes look far better during the warmer months.

Other Seasons

If you’re not selling your home during the warmest months of the year, though, don’t fret. Your home may still perform well during other seasons. Buyers tend to be pickier because there are so many homes for sale during those warmest months. If you’re selling during the “off-season,” you’re going to find more motivated buyers who are far more serious about purchasing your home quickly.
With Doorstep Agents on your side, any time is a great time to sell your home. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you fetch the price you want, no matter what the season may be.

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