Whether you're a home-buyer or a seller, it pays to understand the real estate market if you want to get a good deal. Unfortunately, a series of damaging ideas has grown up around real estate which can get in the way of a smooth transaction for both sides.


Here are six of the worst myths you need to ignore.


1) Spring is the Busiest Season.


Traditionally, the best time to list a home was in spring. This was because parents would try to move home over the summer holidays, minimizing the disruption to their children's education. Naturally, spring became the busiest season with the most homes appearing on the market.


However, today's home-buyer profile is a lot more varied than in the past. More than half of buyers are unmarried and have no children, and the school timetable is no longer nearly so relevant.


Instead, as a seller focus on getting your home In the best sale-ready condition you can before listing, rather than rushing to meet an outdated deadline. And as a buyer, start your search whenever you're ready to move, whatever time of year that is.


2) Start With a Low Offer


When you've found a home you want to buy, the traditional advice is to put in a low offer far below what you're really prepared to pay. The idea is to test the water and avoid paying more than you need to.


Today, this is poor advice. Whatever the overall state of the real estate market, desirable properties can sell extremely quickly. If you put in too low an offer, you run the risk of being outbid by another buyer leaving you no time to react.


What's more, most asking prices today are set according to well-established guidelines, and the vast majority of homes are priced more or less correctly. As a buyer, offering an insultingly low figure makes you seem like a time-waster, alienating the seller and souring negotiations from the start.


As a seller, if you receive an offer far below what you're asking for, you shouldn't hesitate to reject it out of hand rather than using it as a starting point for negotiation.


3) Cash is King 


It's often thought that a cash payment is the most attractive option for a seller, and therefore the best choice for a hopeful buyer. This idea is completely without foundation.


The vast majority of homes are bought using a mortgage, and it's the expected mode of payment. If anything, an unusual cash buyer might raise the suspicions of a careful seller, who may choose to opt for a well-documented, traceable, bank-financed buyer instead.


4) Making Improvements Boosts the Value 


While it's important to make your home look presentable if you want to sell it quickly, it's a mistake to think investing in home improvements will boost its value by much. Most improvements won't raise the value by enough to pay for themselves, with the possible exception of major structural work such as an extension or basement conversion.


For sellers, it's usually much more cost-effective to concentrate on fixing problems and improving appearances rather than spending a fortune on upgrades and remodels.


For buyers, don't let home improvements you don't need lure you into paying a premium.


5) You Can't Trust Real Estate Agents 


There's a common idea that real estate agents should be treated warily, and any advice they give taken with a pinch of salt. It's not clear why this myth has developed.


Most agents earn their living from commission on successful sales, where both the buyer and seller need to be happy for the sale to close. It's in the interests of a real estate agent to help strike a fair deal, not to propose unrealistic prices in either direction.


6) Buyers Can Leave Finance Until Later 


Arranging a mortgage isn't as exciting as exploring listings to find your dream home, but it's not something to put off. If you don't get a pre-approval right at the start of the house-hunting journey, you can risk several major problems later on.


You could fall in love with a home that's out of your financial reach in reality. And even if you can afford the asking price, starting a mortgage application from fresh can introduce a deadly delay, opening the door for competing buyers.


And lastly, seeking a pre-approval will highlight any problems with your credit file, giving you a chance to fix them before getting too deep into the buying process.


Buying or selling a home is complicated enough, with plenty of pitfalls along the way. Don't make it even harder by accepting these all-too-common myths that serve no purpose in the modern market.


Read full post

There are a multitude of reasons why a homeowner may be considering refinancing their mortgage. However, before any final decisions are made it is always a good idea to consider carefully whether refinancing is a good idea for you.


What is refinancing?


To refinance means to apply for a new loan on your current mortgage. Due to the fact that you are applying for a new loan, you will need to supply your lender with all of the details necessary for refinancing - this will include credit history, income history, your assets and the appraisal of your home to name just a few.


Reasons why most people refinance


The vast majority of mortgage refinances are completed in order to obtain a lower interest rate on a mortgage. After all, a lower interest rate can potentially save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.


Some other reasons to refinance a mortgage would include: 


1.Stabilizing a monthly payment: Some homeowners opt to refinance their mortgages to switch from an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage. When you have a fixed interest rate on your mortgage it is much easier to complete your monthly budget since the payment amount will not change. 


2.Combining two mortgages: Though it is uncommon, some homeowners choose to refinance mortgages so that they can combine the two payments into one. For some, this is just to make things more convenient, while for others it may hold some financial benefits. 


Though refinancing may seem like a good fit for you at this point, there are still a few questions that you need to ask yourself before moving forward. These questions are: 


1.Is there any prepayment penalty on your current mortgage? If so, you will need to figure the penalty into deciding whether the refinance math works in your favor. 


2.What are the upfront costs for the new mortgage? Refinances often come with closing costs so these will need to be accounted for. 


3.How will the refinance impact your tax situation? You may want to speak with an accountant to see if refinancing will change your taxes at the end of the year. 


4.How much money will you save by refinancing? This is the most important question of all. If the refinance isn't going to save you any money there's a good chance it may not be worth completing it. 


Ultimately, your decision on whether to move forward with any refinance deal will depend entirely on your own personal situation. However, don't be afraid to shop around for the best rates and you may soon find a refinance deal that works well for you.


Read full post

Selling your home is a big decision, and it's often a long and complex undertaking. Hiring a real estate agent can make every step of the home-selling process easier, from setting an asking price to closing the sale. Here are four benefits of hiring a real estate agent to sell your home.


Pricing Expertise


Many homeowners have an idea of what their houses are worth, but their ideas are often not realistic. Their perspective may be based on emotion and sentimental value, rather than what the housing market will bear. Conversely, some homeowners undervalue their homes and ask for much less than the home is really worth.


An experienced real estate agent is an expert on the home prices in your local market. An agent will suggest an asking price based on a Comparative Market Analysis. A market analysis examines supply and demand in the area, along with the price and condition of similar properties. A market analysis ensures your home will be priced in order to sell as quickly as possible for the highest amount of money. By working with an agent, you'll arrive at an unbiased and accurate sale price for your home.


Access to Multiple Listing Service


Real estate agents are able to list your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), greatly increasing its exposure. When your home is listed on the MLS, it will be seen by potential buyers and by buyers' agents. You have a good chance of finding a buyer quickly. Access to the MLS is one of the best benefits of hiring a real estate agent to sell your home.


Negotiation


The best real estate agents are skilled negotiators. Selling a home has several potential pitfalls, including repairs, inspections, and financing. If any questions arise, your agent will negotiate on your behalf to resolve the issues. If you receive multiple offers for your home, your agent will help you weigh the pros and cons of each one, ensuring you make the best decision.


Paperwork


Selling a home comes with a great deal of paperwork. Purchase agreements alone can be ten pages or longer.* Your real estate agent will read all of the fine print and will handle the necessary paperwork for you. He or she will draft your sales agreement, prepare the closing documents, and ensure you comply with all legal requirements.


The help a real estate agent provides during the selling process can be invaluable. The right agent will ensure you get a fair price and will make selling your home as easy as possible.

Read full post

For the vast majority of home buyers, obtaining a mortgage will be a vital part of the purchasing process. Of course, in order to be approved for that mortgage, you will need to ensure that your credit score is in good shape. Luckily, there are a few steps that you can take to boost your score before starting your application, such as:


Fix Reporting Errors


When compiling your credit report, it is not at all unusual for the credit bureaus to accidentally place an incorrect or inaccurate note in your file. For example, if an individual who shares your name has fallen behind on their car loan it can occasionally appear on your credit report. As such, before you apply for a mortgage, it is a good idea to check your report for any mistakes such as these. If you spot any mistakes, report them to the agencies and they should be able to remove the errors in a relatively timely manner. Once the negative mark has disappeared, your credit score will quickly move upwards.


Reduce Your Balances


Your outstanding credit balances are an important factor in determining your credit score. As such, if your balances are currently quite high, it would be a prudent move to try to reduce them as much as you can. By reducing these balances, you are both improving your credit score and improving your debt to income ratio, making it just a little bit easier to be approved for your mortgage.


Avoid Opening New Credit


Each time you apply for new credit, it causes a small ding in your credit score. With this in mind, you should try to avoid opening up new credit cards or taking out new loans for around a year before you plan on purchasing your house. That year will allow time for the effects of previous credit applications to drop off of your report, and you will eventually end up with an impressively high score.


Pay Your Bills On Time


The most obvious way to boost your credit score is also the best way to do so. During the year that you are waiting for your score to recover from any previous credit applications, you should make a concerted effort to pay all of your bills on time. By establishing a pattern of on-time payments, your score will soon show you to be a reliable and trustworthy borrower.


Obtaining a mortgage is an essential part of the home buying process. By following the advice contained in this article, you will be able to boost your credit score and increase your chances of being approved for that mortgage.

Read full post

Selling your home can be a time-consuming process - a situation which is less than ideal if you want to move sooner rather than later. Luckily, though, there are a few things that you can do to speed up the process, such as:


1. Hire the right agent


You will have no trouble locating plenty of real estate agents who are willing to sell your property - but finding the right agent can make all the difference. Before you select the agent, ask them about their experience, the properties they have sold, and if they have sold any houses in your neighborhood recently. Also, conduct some research on the agent you have chosen by talking to some of their past clients. Put simply, if you wish to sell quickly, you should choose your agent very carefully.


2. Take the right pictures


In the age of the smartphone camera, your first instinct may be to be your own photographer. While this may work for vacations and other informal events, you should always hire a professional to photograph your house. These pictures will almost certainly be the first thing that a potential buyer will see when they click on your property online. As such, if you want to make a quick sale, you should ensure that the pictures are perfect.


3. Time the sale right


The property market has its fair share of ebbs and flows. Before you put your property up for sale, you should study the patterns of the market. In most cities, you are likely to find that homes sell quicker during the summer - since that is when buyers with children are available to go house hunting. Your area may be different though, so be sure to do your research ahead of time.


4. Stage the property


If you want potential buyers to fall in love with your home, you will need to help them envision themselves living there. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to have the house professionally staged. By creating an environment that the buyer can feel at home in, you are much more likely to receive offers after the viewing.


In Closing


Though selling a home can be a time-consuming process, it doesn't have to be. By following the advice outlined here, you can sell your house in a hurry.

Read full post

Investing in real estate can be a great way to grow your wealth. However, in order to be a successful investor, you will need to identify the right properties to invest in. In particular, you will want to look closely at the following aspects of any house, condominium, or townhome you are considering making an offer on:


Location


One of the most important things to look for in an investment property is a great location. Put simply, you want to purchase real estate located in an area that people want to live in. However, this doesn't mean the home has to be in a gated community with perfectly manicured lawns. Instead, potential buyers and renters will be more interested in properties that are close to good schools, offer easy transportation options, and have plenty of retail and dining establishments nearby.


Normality


When searching for your own personal home, you may have been on the lookout for a house with unique character or interesting features. However, finding an investment property is very different. Since you want your new house or condo to appeal to as many buyers or renters as possible, it is best to purchase one that is relatively normal and cookie-cutter. This means saying yes to the three-bedroom, two-bathroom bungalow and saying no to the stunning Victorian townhome with an outhouse in the back yard.


Workable Financial Numbers


The whole reason you are looking to invest in real estate is to make money. As such, you should only consider deals where the numbers and the financials make sense. Your personal tastes and other external factors simply don't matter. The perfect investment property isn't the one that you and your friends fall in love with - it is the one where you stand to make the most money.


In Closing


Though finding and purchasing an investment property can certainly be quite difficult, it is by no means impossible. By following the advice laid out in this article, you can ensure your foray into the world of real estate investing is as successful as possible.

Read full post
Data is supplied by Pillar 9™ MLS® System. Pillar 9™ is the owner of the copyright in its MLS®System. Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by Pillar 9™.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.