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Do Open Houses Still Help to Sell Homes?

by Claire Franceschetti
Technology has changed the way property is bought and sold. Over 90% of buyers use the internet to start the search for a new investment property or to check out the competition before deciding to list a property for sale. Keeping up to date with new marketing tools is crucial, and a major part of my role as a selling Realtor. 

But buying and selling property is still very much a people business and I believe there are valuable opportunities for investors, sellers and Realtors to connect at open houses.

When you start your hunt for a new investment property, you may need to collect ideas of what you want. Listings online or on paper only tell you so much. Getting a sense of a property's space is one important aspect, but so too is the neighbourhood.

If there is an open house in the neighbourhood in which you want to buy, I recommend that my buyers attend. Even if you don’t love that particular house, it's an opportunity to see what your budget will buy in the area and to question the real estate agent about the local scene and amenities. If you are lucky, you may even overhear comments from other attendees about the property, neighbours and neighbourhood.

Doing research on the many housing styles, neighbourhoods, and by questioning several real estate agents in the area will also help you better define your needs and housing wish list when it’s time for you to put in an offer.  

Open houses have been a corner stone of selling property for many, many years. It’s a tested and true methods of selling a home and meeting potential buyers. I have met a wide variety of people during open houses – from the nosy neighbours and open house junkies to first-time buyers and some who later became my new clients.

The "looky-loo" type of house buyer does exist at open houses. But that shouldn't be used by agents as an excuse against open houses and that shouldn't deter investors from going to an open house to learn more about the property and the neighbourhood.

There may be people who are just attending an open house  to pass the time, but for every one of those types, in my experience, there are more attendees who are genuinely looking for a new property or for ways to improve their own before listing it for sale.

Adapting sales strategies to meet the changing demands of the online market is one aspect of real estate success, but so is connecting with people. Open houses are a great way to do that because you never know when you’re going to walk into your next investment property.

Attn Buyers: Get Ready for Closing Day!!!

by Claire Franceschetti

Closing day for a home buying family is a new beginning in many ways.  If you're not prepared, it can also be extremely stressful. 

 

Here are 10 helpful hints, to make your closing day a success story.

  1. Know in advance how much money you will need to bring in on closing.  Buyers need to understand the balance owing on closing will not only include what is stated in their purchase agreement, but will also include land transfer tax, legal fees, disbursements and any closing adjustments.  Have this discussion with your lawyer well in advance of closing to ensure that you have sufficient funds available. If you are using funds from your RRSP to complete the purchase, make sure you start the process at least one month before closing so that the funds will be available.

  2. Make sure your lender has completed their appraisal well in advance of closing.  If their appraisal indicates that your home is not worth as much as you paid for it, then they may advance a lesser amount than you are expecting on closing.

  3. Arrange insurance coverage well in advance.  Your insurance company will have to conduct a separate inspection on your home before agreeing to provide insurance.  If the home has out-dated wiring, it may result in a much higher insurance premium.  Make sure you have completed this well in advance of closing.

  4. The agreement provides that you may not be given possession of the property until 6 pm.  Most closings take place later in the day.  Do not plan to arrive at the home earlier or else you may end up paying more to your movers.

  5. If you are selling your home and buying at the same time, you should consider buying your home a few days before your sale.  Your bank should be able to provide you with a bridge loan to complete your purchase, so you only pay interest for a few days, until you complete the sale of your existing home.  This will give you time to clean, paint and prepare your new home before moving in. Those who attempt to sell and buy on the same date invariably have damages done to their home and their furniture as a result of being rushed with their moves.

  6. If your seller is going to remove any chandeliers prior to closing, make sure that they replace any light fixture with a cheaper version, to make sure you have light in the home when you move in.  Bring extra light bulbs with you as some sellers have been known to remove all light bulbs.

  7. Pack your valuables and important documents separately and take them with you personally to your new home. Do not put these into a box while you are packing everything else as you will likely need some of these papers when you visit your lawyer just before closing, and may not be able to find them.

  8. Arrange a pre-closing inspection of all appliances, heating, plumbing and electrical systems as close as possible to closing, to make sure that everything the seller promised will be given to you on closing. Try and make sure that the seller removes all junk from the basement and garage prior to your inspection, so that nothing is hidden from view.

  9. Inform all utility, newspaper, cable, phone, alarm system and internet suppliers of your upcoming move, in advance of closing. You may have to provide security deposits for hydro or gas accounts at your new home before service is provided. After closing, inform any credit card companies, doctors’ offices, and government departments such as for example your driver’s license. Consider preparing and sending “just moved “cards, with all of your new information, for your friends, relatives and service providers.

  10. Check all appliances and home systems as soon as you move in.  Most agreements say that the seller warrants that everything will be working on closing, not one week after closing.  If there are any problems, you need to notify the seller immediately after you move in, to be able to bring a claim later for repairs.

     

What's the Market Doing?

by Claire Franceschetti

I know there have been many conflicting reports and the media has been spinning some very negative stories in the news. Well, the market is still chugging along and sales are UP!

Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 1,469 sales through the Toronto MLS system during the first two weeks of January 2013. This result represented an increase of 2.4 per cent over the 1,435 transactions reported during the same period in 2012.

I’ll keep an eye on things as the month progresses and report back to you early in February. What we ARE seeing is that the number of new listings coming on the market is a bit higher which will increase the inventory and give more choices to the buyers. Sellers and their agents will need to be aware of this. The great news is that the sellers who stick close to the real market value, still have a great chance of selling ... contrary to what you may hear or see in the news.

Who do you listen to? There are multiple opinions on what’s going on out there. If you’re confused and want to get a clearer picture, please give me a call. If you know anyone who needs help with real estate and is looking for a good agent, I have one in mind!

How Buying Your First Home Is Like Your First Day of University

by Claire Franceschetti

First-time homebuyers often experience total excitement, frustrating setbacks and overwhelming anxiety much like they may have encountered on their first day of university.   These two experiences are remarkably similar.  Buyers are often searching for the perfect home.  They have high expectations of finding an affordable house with great schools, a big yard and character.  Beginning university students are also motivated to use their money wisely, tackle all of the challenges that higher education presents and earn high scores – all while working.  Along with wild expectations, there are five more blaring similarities between the two experiences. (Above, is a picture of my UofT Experience: Woodsworth College.)
 

1. Lifetime Milestone
 
Remember the excitement of the first day of University?  Finally, students move away from home and explore a whole new city away from their family and friends.  These 18 year olds get to take on more responsibility and fully enjoy their new freedoms.  Going to University is a rite of passage for many youth in Canada; it’s a huge transition.
 
For buyers, owning a home is a momentous transition into adulthood.  Homeownership is a major commitment of money and time.  When buyers purchase a home they are planting roots in a community for at least a few years.  They can finally unpack all of their boxes, settle-in and call one place home.  Buyers accept the responsibility of home maintenance and payments.
 
Both of these experiences are milestones at different stages of life.  They indicate a major transition and an increased level of responsibility.  Going to college and buying a home are both accomplishments representing maturity.
 
2. Underestimating the Lengthiness of the Process?
 
Getting into the right University can take months (if not years!).  Teenagers study for tests to qualify for acceptance, go through the application process and then wait.  Upon acceptance, students have paperwork and orientations to go through.  Finally, on the first day of class, students have to travel all around a foreign campus to get from class to class.  Even the most prepared student may underestimate how long it takes to walk or bus from class A to class B.  Getting in and adjusting to this level of school can be a stressful process that tests patience and confidence.


 


The home-buying process also takes an enormous amount of patience.  Buyers should be pre-qualified for a loan before their house hunt begins.  Finding the right home requires persistence to attend open houses, search online and stay in contact with realtors.  Buyers can be out-bid or turned down.  Once a home is selected and an offer is accepted, the process continues.  There is an inspection, tons of repeat paperwork and rapid exchanges between the buyer and lender.  After the papers are signed, the money must be issued to the seller and the deed recorded before the purchase is final.  Buyers may feel at times like they will never see the keys!
 
Lots of front-end work must be completed before finalizing acceptance into a college or the purchase of a home.  When one stressful step is completed, another begins.  The question of getting into a college or a home can be emotionally discouraging.  Both processes can be ongoing and require persistence.
 
3. Learning Curve
 
Think back on that first day of University.  Remember how every reference to a class, a department, a building or a book was expressed as an acronym?  No matter how many times new students reference their orientation manuals, those acronyms just don’t seem to stick.  Eventually, students become comfortable explaining that they live in B.T. eat lunch in the V.U. study their G.U.R.s and plan to complete a B.A. in G.S.  Even if students have all of their books on the first day and show up with every supply imaginable, these acronyms can make them feel confused or behind.
 
Similarly, first-time home buyers may feel like they know all about loan options and mortgage rates before meeting with their lender.  When all of the numbers are in front of them and all of the answers are provided in real estate jargon, it can be mind-boggling.  The choice of loan program can determine the next 30 years of a buyer’s monthly costs.  It can be distressing to make such long-lasting decisions without clarity.
 
It’s important to ask questions and do research.  Whether it’s the first day of University or the beginning of the home buying process, questioning the experts is the best way to get pointed in the right direction.  Studying the processes and topics that present challenges is another good way to get back on track.  Lacking confidence can make a student or buyer feel unprepared to move forward.  However, in time, these topics will become familiar and second nature.
 
4. Studying To Catch Up

Some professors use the first class of a semester to hand out syllabi and discuss how the course will progress over the next few months.  Other professors jump right into lecture.  Such rapid adjustment to topics can overwhelm new students.  They are often left wondering if they already missed an assignment and hoping the professor doesn’t call on them.  Alternatively, that fast approach can motivate students to read their books to get up to speed so they do not find themselves unprepared again.
 
When a buyer’s offer is accepted, he can hire an inspector to evaluate the condition of the home.  Inspections can last several hours, and the buyers are recommended to be present.  The inspector references building codes or points out structural inaccuracies.  After the findings are compiled, the buyer can decide whether he wants to proceed with the purchase or negotiate deductions.   For first-time home buyers, this step can be well above their knowledge base.  New homeowners rarely know how much it would cost to correct an electrical panel, fix some water damage or replace the roof.  Buyers may find themselves studying that night to find out if the fixes are worth the trouble.
 
A student’s first day of an intense college class or a buyer’s first home inspection can be overwhelming.  Both student and buyer should research the material to be better prepared and educated in the future.  However, even when topics are above an individual’s knowledge base, diving right in can motivate him to catch-up and become better informed.
 
5. Buyer’s Remorse
 
After students have experienced the first day of class, they may feel like they have taken on more than they can manage.  The course load could be too intense or the balancing of a job may be unachievable.  Once the tuition check goes through, it’s difficult to go back on the commitment.  The feelings of hopelessness or fear can sometimes be explained as buyer’s remorse.  All of that money is gone and applied to something that seems unattainable.
 
First-time home buyers may also experience such remorse.  Buyers go through such a long process of completing one step after another that their focus may not be on the final purchase until it’s complete.  The size of the mortgage payment can be shocking and saving money for each payment can be stressful.
 
A University education is invaluable, regardless of the career path graduates choose.  Education sets an individual up for a successful future.  A degree opens the door for more professional opportunities and higher standards of pay.  Buying a home doesn’t make perfect sense for everyone.  For most, it’s a financially sound decision for their future wealth.  Whether the home is purchased in downtown Toronto, Vaughan, Brampton or Richmond Hill, it’s a long-term investment that appreciates in value.  Although the purchases of education and a home are some of the most expensive in an individual’s lifetime, they are generally quality investments with high returns.
 
In conclusion, try to soak up the pride associated with these comparable milestones.  Stay persistent through the long processes and adapt as each presents challenges.  Begin as prepared as possible and study if the steps seem confusing.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions of experts, family, friends or the web.  When it’s finally complete, appreciate the degree and home that were worked for so diligently.  Not everyone is steadfast enough or financially sound enough to complete University or purchase a home.  Be responsible for the commitments made and relish in the accomplishments.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

Contact Information

Photo of Claire Franceschetti Real Estate
Claire Franceschetti
Right At Home Realty Inc.
190 Marycroft Ave.
Vaughan ON L4L5Y2
Direct: 416-918-6325
Office: 416-391-3232
Fax: Fax: 416-987-8001