10 SECRETS FROM A REAL ESTATE AGENT

With the economy on a slow rise back to normalcy, many are still unsure of whether they should be buying or selling a home. Despite the uneasiness you may feel, you don’t necessarily have to stay put.

For people looking to buy, now is a very good time, she says. With the all-time low mortgage interest rates, it is the perfect time for first-time buyers, investors and existing homeowners who are looking to upgrade to purchase a property… until the new Government stress test comes in. Then buyers will, for the most part, qualify for a lot less taking detached homes out of the realm of the possible.

Tips for buyers

1 It's all about location

Whether you're a first-time buyer, investor or existing homeowner, you need to understand the best locations for your investment. Buying the smallest house on the best street versus the largest house on a less preferred street will reap big rewards when it comes time to sell. As an investor, a condominium that is near public transit or a university is a good move.

2 Think about a condo

While not a surplus of inventory in the condominium market, there are lots of opportunity to find gems and get a good deal for you when it comes to buying a condo. If you're buying as an investor, rather than a first-time homebuyer, you will want to consider leasing out your suite for the next four to five years before selling. The Condo market is likely on the upswing. Given the new stress test mortgage rules those who used to qualify for a starter detached house now will not. This will cause a higher demand in the lower price point, naturally raising prices.

3 Know your credit rating

It's best not to just assume your credit rating is in order. To avoid getting any surprises before you meet with a lender, check your rating first so you have time to resolve any issues that might stand in your way of buying. You can call either Trans Union of Canada or Equifax Credit Information Services.

4 Know your price range and stick to it

Meet with one or more mortgage lenders to obtain a pre-approved mortgage before you start house hunting, Linda says. Once you know how much you can spend you can narrow down your choices. It's safer to buy within your budget, no matter the economic situation. As much as possible you want to look past the small things that can be changed and focus on the structure of the house.

5 Head out of the city

It's booming in Lake Country, for example, yet lower prices then Kelowna. Young families are heading there to buy affordable and newer resale homes. Sometimes it pays to go further afield depending on what you're looking for. If you want more space and more property, but have a budget to stick to, a downtown location won't do. You have to widen your circle of prospective locations.

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Beautiful Okanagan

Tips for sellers

1 Refresh and beautify

Getting your home ready for sale is crucial. Consider a consultation from a professional stager so your home's potential is maximized when potential buyers see it. Think about getting rid of clutter, adding stylish accents to tired furniture and tidying the yard for curb appeal. I have seen many houses with extremely low branches that ruin the impression of the house. Sometimes easy fixes can dramatically increase the curb appeal. In Residential real estate the appeal plays a large factor in the overall price.

2 Upgrade and update

You don't have to completely renovate your home, but consider updating areas that are tired, such as replacing a kitchen counter and sink or replacing worn carpeting. Adding hardwood to a room or two is also helpful as this upgrade is becoming very popular to buyers. This is a balance as you don’t want to spend yourself out before you sell, but some basic upgrades can go a long way.

3 Make sure the price is right

Price your property right the first time, according to the current market conditions in your area. Some sellers believe that if they overprice their property, they have more room to negotiate or they can always reduce it later. This strategy can really hurt the seller. If your home is listed too high, buyers may skip over it. Or if it sits on the market for look long compared to others people will wonder what is wrong with it.

4 Don’t worry about a closing date conflict

If you receive a great offer on your home but the closing date is up to 30 days later than the closing date of the property you already purchased, don't sweat it, Linda says. Most mortgage lenders will approve bridge financing for approximately 30 days, if all conditions have been removed and you have a firm sale. For peace of mind, speak to your current lender prior to listing your property to confirm this as different lenders have different rules.

5 Get the best representation

Your home is most likely your largest investment so you'll want to feel comfortable when you go to sell it. Start off right by selecting a real estate agent who you feel you can trust. Find someone who has a solid marketing plan plus a proven track record of successful negotiated sales.

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