FREE SPECIAL REPORT: 45 Page Home Seller Secrets Success Book

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FREE SPECIAL REPORT: 31 Page Home Buyer's Secrets Success Book

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How Long Are Homes on the Market in Whitby, ON?

If you want to sell your home, give me a call at 905.428.8100!

We had an excellent spring market; the average days on market was just 18 days! As the summer comes, it is normal for that number to increase just a bit; people are on vacation and the market tends to move a little slower.

Another factor that may cause the market to slow is rising interest rates. Two weeks ago a five year loan was just 2.99%, now it is 3.29%. This isn’t a huge difference but it may discourage some buyers.

On the other hand, those buyers who are already preapproved will want to move quickly to lock in that lower interest rate.

What strategy do you recommend sellers to get their home ready to sell?

Now is a great time to sell! We are still floating around 18 days on market. The sooner you get your home the market, the better.

With back to school approaching, a lot of buyers with families are looking to close on a home fast! I worked on three different offers this week and everyone seemed to want to close quickly! So, sellers know that there are buyers out there who are willing and able to buy your home!

How to Succeed in the Current Market

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People often ask if the market is going up or down.  Although we saw decreasing sales, the market remains strong through February.   Here’s why.

While the number of listings decreased in January and February, prices increased year over year, which is a positive indicator.  A home sold on average for $325,000 in February 2012 and increased to $353,000 in February 2013.  

So we’re currently in a sellers’ market. One thing we always talk about is supply and demand, which we determine based on a figure called months of inventory (MOI).  The MOI indicates how long it would take to sell the current inventory if no other house came on the market.  In February, the MOI for the Durham region decreased to 1.5 months compared to 12 months earlier of 2.06 months, and anything under three months is a sellers’ market.  We’re half of that at 1.5 months!  When supply goes down, prices go up.  Right now, we’re seeing multiple offers on properties.  As we enter into the spring market, the number of listings will increase, which is good news for the buyer because they will have more choices.  

So what does this current market have to offer the seller?  To get top dollar when selling your property, you should take advantage of the low inventory situation.  Now’s the time!  When everyone who has been thinking about selling their home puts their home on the market is not the time to dive in—if you want to get the most out of your home.  If you wait for all the other For Sale signs to sprout up, you’ll have lots of homes to compete with.  At the end of the day, you have a better chance at success if you decide to sell now, instead of waiting until all the Joneses get into the market.

What does this mean for the buyer?  When a home that you’re interested in hits the market, plan to see it as soon as possible and make the best possible offer that’s at an appropriate price point for the seller.  Remember, homes are moving quickly.  If you hesitate, the property could be gone tomorrow because others will be making offers.      

To prepare yourself as a buyer in this market, think about what you want out of your dream home so you are ready to decide on a property.  Ask yourself questions such as how close do you want to be to your job?  To shopping?  To your place of worship?  Would you like to have a garden?  Do you need a garage?  How close do you want to be to a grocery store?  We can help you ask all the right questions and land your dream home.    

Give me a call so I can tell you where to be positioned and how to be successful in this market.  Please contact me at (905) 428-8100 or shawn@shawnlepp.comWe’d be happy to assist you.  

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First Time Home Buyers Enjoy Many Benefits, Potentially Saving Thousands

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Buying a home for the first time can be an overwhelming and unfamiliar experience. But with the right person by your side, you can expect it to be an exciting time with lots of rewards during the process and afterward during your journey of homeownership.

Here are just a few of the benefits of being a first time homebuyer.

First Time Home Buyers Tax Break
This is a non-refundable tax credit that is based on the amount of $5,000. Calculated by multiplying the lowest personal income tax rate for the year by $5,000 your tax credit will vary each year. For example, looking at tax year 2009, first time homebuyers benefitted with a $750 tax credit. That’s $750 right in their pockets!

Land Transfer Tax Refund
This tax benefit is another that is only available for first time buyers. It must be processed within 18 months of original date of property transfer and the amount is a maximum of $2,000 – again saving you a LOT of money. Buyers that are not working with a very hands-on or experienced agent can easily miss out on these savings, so it is important to work with someone willing to guide you through and explain each step from step.

RRSP Homebuyers Program
This is probably the most useful program for first time homebuyers that are able to tap into their RRSP contributions and use those funds toward the purchase a new home. Under this program, you can withdraw up to $25,000 from the RRSP account and you will have 15 years to repay the funds, tax-free.

Keep in mind, that without the right representation and real estate partner by your side you could easily miss out on some of the fantastic savings opportunities that come only to first-time buyers. Having the right agent is the key to a successful home buying endeavor. I welcome the opportunity to work with you and pledge my utmost sincerity as I walk you through one of the most exciting experiences of your life!

What Insurance Makes More Sense? Mortgage or Life?

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Many times people that are in the process of buying a home end up considering a mortgage insurance policy to protect them in case of a sudden change of circumstances leading to the inability to pay on their home. Did you know that even through closing, the mortgage is your obligation and regardless of unforeseen circumstances the note must be paid? That is why one of the things many buyers do is to secure insurance on the mortgage in the interim.

However, there is a viable alternative in the form of life or term insurance. While both seem to be yielding the same result there are some very noteworthy differences that will change how you decide to use each. Here is a look at some of those differences:

In Case of Mortgage Holder’s Death
The most important aspect of a mortgage insurance premium is that your mortgage is secured. The bank will automatically be paid in case of one or more mortgage holder’s death. With a life insurance or term policy however, the beneficiary will receive a tax-free payment in cash and is free to decide how to disburse the funds.

Policy Ownership and Control
This is a matter of controlling the policy not only from an ownership standpoint but also in terms of rate plans and effective dates. With mortgage insurance the underwriter has the right to change rates or even cancel the policy at any time. Life and term policies allow the policyholder much more autonomy.

Financial Considerations
Once again, life or term policies allow more flexibility in that the premiums are established at the start, are usually low in cost and can be adjusted to your needs. Mortgage insurance policies, while start out lower in cost, tend to add up and end up being the most expensive option.

Though nothing surpasses the professional advice and counsel you will receive from a certified accountant or financial planner, we believe that a life or term policy is a better choice. Of course depending on timing, you may want to temporarily institute a mortgage policy while waiting for the life insurance or term policy approval so that you are protected in the interim.

As always, please feel free to call or visit us at any time for more information on this or anything else you may need. We look forward to serving your needs! 

If you have any questions about mortgage insurance or life insurance, please click on the link below and we will have a specialist contact you.

Tips for Pre-Sale Preparedness


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If you have made the decision to sell your home and will be listing it soon you want your home to sell as quickly as possible and for the most amount of money.  By following these tips, you are sure to be successful in your home-selling endeavour and most likely with an edge over other sellers who may not have taken the time to prepare their property for sale. 

Curb Appeal
Curb appeal is a very important aspect of attracting serious buyers.  Beginning with what they see as they drive up, to what their experience is walking up to the front door – as a seller, your greatest opportunity to grab their interest lies in those very first moments. 
In the summer, pay attention to overgrown shrubs, trees, flowerbeds and hedges.  In the winter, make sure you have shovelled the driveway and walkways and kept clear of ice. Also make sure the storm door is in good shape and the doorbell works.
When the outside of a home looks unkempt it can give off a false impression of the rest of the home too.  You want your prospective buyers to see the home and fall in love at first sight – and that begins from the exterior.

Tip:  Make sure grass is watered, fresh and green. Clean up your lawn and driveway area.  Trim overgrown trees and vegetation, add some mulch or decorative rocks and flower pots for some color.  Decks should be stained.

Stage Your Home To Appeal To The Masses

Everyone who owns a home decorates it for their own personal preference. Staging helps you decorate your home to appeal to the greatest number of buyers.
Paint should be neutral colours. Make sure you paint your baseboards to freshen them up.
Regardless of whether you are still living in the space or the house is vacant, it’s important to have the house cleaned and devoid of all marks and blemishes. 
Windows and glass should be clean and smudge-free. Caulking around windows should be cleaned/replaced if necessary.  Walls should be without any scuffmarks, moving dents or other signs of wear and tear. 
Declutter your home. It is difficult for a buyer to picture their furniture in your home if it is cluttered. Remove personal photos, clean the counters and take everything off the fridge and other appliances. You can rent a storage locker for your excess belongings until your home is sold.

Tip:  Hire a cleaner to clean the house, the bathrooms, fixtures, kitchen, appliances, floors, walls and windows -- patch up dents in the wall and apply a fresh coat of paint throughout the home.

Address Aged Aspects of the Home

If you have some areas with older appliances, tiles with loose grout or any other things that need some updating, try to do so before putting up the house for sale.  Without taking on too large an expense, do make an effort to make the home presentable.

Tip:  Clean grout on older tiles, have loose tiles re-grouted, and freshen up shower stalls and bathtubs with new caulking.

The Home Should Be Warm and Inviting

Depending on where you are located, keep the temperate of the home at a comfortable level.  If it is too hot or cold, buyers will leave too quickly without getting ample time to walk through, see all the features and visualize themselves in the home.  If the home is still occupied, cook a pot of apples and cinnamon on the stove a few hours before the showing, so there is an inviting aroma throughout the house.

Tip:  In the summers, keep the air conditioning on at a comfortable 68 to 70 degrees.  In winters, leave the heating on at about 73 or 74 degrees.
Get a Second Opinion

Since you are used to the environment in the house, you may have turned a blind eye to some aspects of the home without even realizing it.  If you can ask your agent or someone else to walk through the home and make a note of any issues that may be visible then before the showing you can get an additional perspective on how the house presents.  Heed that person’s advice as much as possible and repair or address the issues that are brought up.

Tip:  Request a close friend, family member or your listing agent to walk through the home once you have prepared it for showing and provide a list of any issues or concerns that need addressing.

Have Professional Photos Taken

Since most buyers are looking on the internet before deciding to visit a home, having professional photos can entice more buyers into viewing your property. Make sure your agent has a professional photographer available to take photos and virtual tours before your home is listed.

Make Sure Your Home Is Accessible For Showings

The most important part of selling your home is allowing the highest number of potential buyers access to your home. If an agent or prospective buyer is from out of town and your home is not available to show, they may move on to the next house without returning to yours.
If you are listing with a real estate agent, they will no doubt ask you to leave when the house is being shown. Why? Because sellers being home make a buyer nervous – they don’t feel comfortable viewing the house when they feel like they are intruding.
If you own pets, try to remove them during showings. Nothing deters buyers like a large, barking dog. Also, many buyers are fearful of animals and may not give your home the attention it deserves if they know an animal is present.

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