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Value-add projects to do this winter

If you haven’t yet figured out how to make the most of winter, you probably dread the onset of this dismal season. With its frigid temps and long, dark days, winter tends to get a bad rap. If you’re not skiing, skating or snowboarding, what else does one do to pass the time?

Winter renovating, perhaps not as popular as spring or summer renovating, comes with many benefits. Besides offering the added value that every homeowner appreciates, tackling projects during the winter will put you in a better position to enjoy every minute of summer when it finally rolls around again. It is also a great time to get your home in as best shape as possible if your intent is to sell it in the spring.
“Homeowners planning to sell their homes in the spring are best to prepare them for sale now so that they’re ready to go come April or May,” says Phil Dorner, president of the Ontario Real Estate Association. “If all that a home needs is a refresher in certain areas, ‘mini’ renos can often be done with minor inconveniences to the homeowner. You won’t even need to move out during the process.”

Dorner recommends homeowners speak to their Realtor to find out what renovations would add the greatest value and provide a return on investment. Some value-add renovations that can be done over the winter months include:
A fresh coat of paint – A fairly inexpensive project, sprucing up the walls with a fresh coat of paint is easy enough to do in the winter. In fact, cooler temperatures are ideal for drying paint.
Basement renovation – If you and your Realtor have determined that a basement renovation would provide a return on your investment, then doing this over the winter is a great idea. While you may encounter some dust or debris in your main floor living quarters, most of it will remain contained in the basement.
Bathroom renovation – Depending on your skill and comfort level, you may be able to pull this one off without enlisting the services of a professional. If you plan on taking this renovation slowly, just make sure you have a ‘back up’ toilet and shower at your disposal.
New kitchen countertops – Sometimes new countertops are all a kitchen needs to feel new again. Just be sure to keep the old one on until the new one has arrived and it’s ready to be installed.
Install new kitchen cabinets – It’s the renovation that promises the greatest return, but it can also be one of the costliest. It may also take a while to complete and cause some inconveniences. If you’re keeping the same layout you had but just getting new cabinets, it won’t be as complicated. A new kitchen layout may require moving electrical and plumbing, so just be prepared for some disturbances.
For more information, visit www.wedothehomework.ca
This article is provided by local REALTORS® and the Ontario Real Estate Association for the benefit of consumers in the real estate market.

Some things are best left to the experts
In an era of DIY (do-it-yourself) thinking, it is easy to make a case for doing just about anything yourself. Thanks to the internet, accessing medical, legal and financial advice has never been easier, not to mention free. But is it necessarily wise to take all matters into your own hands?
Take home buying and selling, for instance. Why should buying or selling a home be any different than buying shoes, furniture or cars? It is a transaction, an exchange of a good for money between two parties.

“The difference is that there is a lot more riding on this transaction, compared to others,” says Phil Dorner, president of the Ontario Real Estate Association. “Buying a home is the biggest investment most people will make in their lifetime. Selling a home on the other hand, involves much more than setting a price and securing a buyer. It involves large sums of money, stringent legal requirements and the potential for costly mistakes.”
If you’ve ever thought about flying solo through this time consuming and financially perilous process, there are a few things you should consider.
Look beyond the listings – A Realtor’s role is not just about finding or posting listings. A Realtor is there to present your offer to the seller’s Realtor in a way that will help get it accepted. A Realtor also provides many services in the selling process, including identifying your needs and wants, helping to set a listing price within current market guidelines, developing a marketing plan, offering tips and advice to make your home more attractive and “saleable,” and acting on your behalf during negotiations to ensure your interests are protected.

Time is money – Selling a home is a full time job, and you may already have one. Will you be able to take calls at any time? Or, screen callers to figure out if they are serious candidates? Not everyone who calls is even suitable to walk through your home, but how do you tell?
It’s who you know – Your Realtor will ensure information about your home is relayed to a vast network of Realtors and potential homebuyers in your market. The greater the exposure your home receives, the more likely you are to find a buyer.

More than meets the eye – A Realtor will know the details of similar homes bought and sold in your area. He or she will know why a comparable home sold for less, or more, than the home you’re considering. Going in with a lower offer without knowing the full details behind some of the other sales in your neighbourhood, may result in a ‘no sale.’
For what it’s worth – Setting a sales price is one of the most difficult and yet critical steps in the home-selling process. This is an area that requires extensive knowledge and training as well as access to sophisticated market analysis. Most “do-it-yourselfers” end up choosing an inaccurate price for their home. If you set your price too high, many prospective buyers will be frightened off without even looking at the property -- too low, and you could miss out on thousands of dollars. A Realtor will work with you to decide upon and negotiate a realistic price.

It’s business – When an offer comes in, emotions can run high with so much money on the line. This is why direct seller-to-buyer deals often end in disaster. Realtors know how to keep it professional and are indispensable when it comes to bargaining with buyers.

More information is available at www.wedothehomework.ca

This article is provided by local REALTORS® and the Ontario Real Estate Association for the benefit of consumers in the real estate market.

Katarina Markovinovic    1/14/2014


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