Staging Your Home to Sell

Staging a Home for Sale

First let’s talk about what staging a home means. Staging a home is the process of decluttering and arranging furnishings and décor to allow your home to show its best and most spacious while up for sale. This can include things such as putting some of your things in storage to declutter, arranging furniture and possibly removing some, or it could include moving most of your furniture and décor out and renting furniture and décor to stage your home.

This can all seem like a daunting task, but the stats don’t lie, staging your home can significantly increase your chance of a faster sale and for top dollar. A 2019 study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that 40% of buyers’ agents cited that home staging influenced most buyers’ view of the home. While 83% of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home. Another 25% of buyers’ agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered by 1% - 5%, compared to other similar homes on the market that were not staged. Of selling agents’, 25% stated that staging greatly decreased the time spent on market.

So now we know that staging a home can be an important part of the process, where in the home do you start? According to the same 2019 NAR study, the most common rooms to be staged included the living room (93%), the kitchen (84%), master bedroom (78%), followed by the dinning room (72%). Although those are the most common rooms staged, 47% of buyers stated the living room was the most important, next was the master bedroom (42%), followed by the kitchen (35%) as being the most important to them.

A couple of the biggest staging tips I would suggest, are purging and cleaning. You want to declutter and remove personal knickknacks to depersonalize and to make the home look as big as possible. The would-be buyer should be able to visualize themselves and their family in the home, not see all the memories you and your family have made in the home. Seeing your memories can cloud their imagination of the memories they will make in the home.

Now that you’ve decluttered and rearranged your furniture to make your home look as big as possible, it’s time to do a deep clean; no one wants to see spiderwebs in the top corners of your walls, nor do they want to see dusty light fixtures. Sometimes the easiest way to accomplish this is to hire a professional cleaner. This can save you tons of time and headache. If a buyer can see dusty light fixtures or cobwebs in the corner of your walls, it makes it appear that the home has not been well taken care of over the years.

Last, but certainly not least, curb appeal. All this talk about the interior of the home, we can’t forget the exterior. Curb appeal is crucial. This is the first thing buyers’ see when they pull up. I can’t count how many times I’ve pulled up to a home with clients, only to leave immediately as my clients didn’t even want to see the inside after seeing the front yard. This can include things such as tidying up your lawn and making sure it’s cut and maintained. Cut back any overgrown hedges/bushes and cut out dead parts. Ensure there are no ripped screens visible from the street. If you have a RV or a boat, possibly putting them in storage to show how big the yard is. If your front door looks weathered or beat up, a fresh coat of paint can do wonders!

Generally speaking, this can all be done on a small budget. The same 2019 NAR study states the median price spent on home staging was $400.

As always, I'd love to hear your feedback, so drop me a comment in the comment section below.


Move to Prince George

Prince George

Thinking of moving to Prince George? Why wouldn’t you? That will be your thought after I tell you just some of the reasons my wife, Karen, and I decided to make it our home.

First, lets talk about the lifestyle offered by this region. Karen and I love the outdoors! We enjoy opening our backroads map book and finding a new location to explore with our 3 dogs. There is an abundance of free recreation sites for camping and day trips on one of the 1,600 lakes and rivers within an hour drive of the City. We’ve even been able to pull up to a lakefront campsite in the middle of a long weekend. Winter is filled with days on the lake ice fishing or afternoon snowshoe.

Affordability is another appealing factor in the region. A detached home here averages $357,965 as of February 2020, compared to Vancouver BC’s average of $2,222,798. Here a typical family can afford a home with a yard and a great lifestyle.

The people we have met since moving to Prince George have been incredibly friendly. We have had the fortune of making amazing new friends and creating a family away from family. When in need of anything, the community is quick to offer a helping hand in any way needed. This is seen regularly on various Facebook pages as well.

Prince George is laid out well, offering ease of commuting. You can be almost anywhere in the city within 15 minutes. Despite the population being similar to that of other cities like Grande Prairie, Prince George has maintained a small-town feel. Despite that, it has all the amenities of a big city, including big box stores. We also have many gyms and an aquatic centre. The City is also building a new pool in the downtown core.

Being the “gateway to the North” and referred to as the Capital of the North, Prince George has The College of New Caledonia, University of Northern BC, and the University Hospital of Northern BC, and a Cancer Agency. Your children don’t even need to leave town for a high quality post-secondary education. The College of New Caledonia is currently expanding its programs to provide even more for our region.

Manufacturing is one of the largest sectors for Prince George’s economic development. We produce a variety of products including pulp and paper, plastic goods, and pellets and biomass products. The manufacturing sector aides our other economic drivers of mining, forestry, energy, and transportation. With all the wonder of our region, tourism has also been increasing. This year we will be hosting the 2020 Women’s Curling Championships.  

Whether you’re a hunter, fisher, a family looking for an affordable home, Prince George has lots to offer and may be the place for you too.

As always, I'm interested in your feedback. Drop me a comment in the comment section below.


First-time Homebuyers Part 2

First-time Homebuyers Part 2

You found the home you want! You and your Realtor® will go over market stats and look at any homes close by that have sold recently. You will also look at what’s actively listed close by. This will all help you in determining a good price to offer. Your Realtor® will guide you through the process, but at the end of the day, it is your decision on what to offer. You will also come up with an amount to put down as a deposit. This deposit is not your down-payment but acts as earnest money. The deposit helps show the seller how serious you are in purchasing the home. Should you try and back out or collapse the deal due to any other reason other than your ‘subjects’ the seller could, potentially, keep your deposit.

Once you have a price in mind, your Realtor® will write up legally binding contract to present to the listing Realtor®. In this legally binding contract is where you will include your ‘subjects’, or condition precedents. These will include things like, subject to financing, home inspection, house insurance, title review, Property Disclosure Statement review, and review of all city documents on file to name a few standard ones.

What that the agent does next, in my opinion, is one of the most important part of our jobs. Negotiating. I take negotiating very seriously, and personally take classes on negotiating. I am a Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE®) through the Real Estate Negotiation Institute. Your Realtor® will negotiate the best possible terms, timing and price on your behalf. A good negotiation isn’t a ‘I win, you loose’, it should be a ‘win win’ for both sides of the transaction. Where everyone can walk away feeling as though they got what they wanted out of the negotiations.

Now that you have an accepted offer, its time to deal with those ‘subjects’. They need to be removed by you, or else the contract can not proceed. You usually have anywhere from 10-14 days to remove them. Your Realtor® will help you through this process. They will have a list of home inspectors and insurance providers in your area for you to choose form. They will ensure all document are sent to your mortgage specialist, book your home inspection for you and stay in constant contact with the listing Realtor® to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Subjects are removed and you have a firm and binding deal! Your Realtor® will ensure all documents are sent to the notary/lawyer of your choice. Depending on how far away the closing/possession is, you could be waiting 30-60 days before you get the keys to your new home. Now is the time to start setting up accounts for your services such as natural gas, electricity, water, garbage removal and TV to name a few. If you’re using movers, schedule them as well. 30 days before possession is time to get your insurance binder, a form stating the insurance broker will insure your home as of possession date. Your notary/lawyer will need this when you go in for your appointment with them. Your notary/lawyer usually calls to set up an appointment in the week leading up to closing/possession. This is where you will bring in your down-payment, in the form of a money order, and all other required identification. They will tell you exactly what you need to bring when scheduling the appointment.

MOVING DAY! Move in and enjoy your new home!!

I'd love to hear your feed back on this blog, so drop me a comment in the comment section below.


First-time Homebuyers Part 1

First-time Homebuyers – Part 1

As a first-time homebuyer, I’m sure you have lots of question about the process. Like, where do you even start?

The first place to start, is getting a pre-approval for a mortgage. As a Real Estate Professional, I work with many great mortgage specialists, some that work for specific banks, and others that are called mortgage brokers. A mortgage broker has many different lenders at their disposal, where a mortgage specialist works for a specific bank, and can only deal with that bank. They both have their pros and cons.  A pre-approval, although not a guarantee you will get a mortgage, will tell you what kind of price range you are able to look in and also allows you to lock in an interest rate; usually for 90-120 days.

Now that you have your pre-approval, its time to start your search for a Realtor® to help guide you through the process. This is someone that you are going to be putting a lot of trust into, as well as spending quite a bit of time with, so spend some time interviewing agents. A few things to look for in a great agent, such as, what their specialty is; is it residential real estate, commercial real estate? How long have they been licensed? Do they work fulltime as a Realtor®? Do they have a written business plan? Do they have a mission statement and core values? At the end of the day, you have to feel comfortable and be able to trust the Realtor® you choose.

Once you’ve chosen a Realtor® that you want to work with, they will go over the special duties they owe to you, their client. You will enter into what’s called an Agency Relationship with your Realtor®. Once in an Agency Relationship, the Realtor® has a fiduciary duty that they owe to you.  Fiduciary duty is a legal obligation for one party to act in the best interest of another. They must maintain their loyalty, avoid conflicts of interest, fully disclose relevant information, and protect your confidentiality.

Now it’s time to start your search!  You and your Realtor® will go over what it is you are looking for in a home. You will go over things like what kind of home; condo, townhome, or a single-family home, size, location, your must haves and your definitely nots. Your Realtor® should be able to provide incite into different neighbourhoods, schools, proposed developments etc. as well as market stats. This usually all happens at the Realtors® office. The Realtor® will go over what is available at that time and set up some showings for you to get into a couple houses and check them out.

Show time! Your Realtor® should really be dialled in to what it is you’re looking for and really shouldn’t have to show you a ton of houses. That being said, it can take a bit more time with first-time homebuyers, as it is a completely foreign process going through other people’s homes. This is your chance to take a good look, open those closets, look in the cupboards, what isn’t in plain sight can tell you a lot about the upkeep of the home. 

I'd love to hear your feed back on this blog, so drop me a comment in the comment section below.

Keep an eye out for part 2 coming next week.