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Buying Your First Home

 Monday, February 27, 2017     Judy Marsales     General Real Estate Advice

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There is a wonderful excitement about buying your first home but there are also a lot of things to consider.

The current trend of first time home buyers living in a more urban setting brings the challenge of balancing gorgeous heritage architecture with the uncertainty of the function of older wiring, plumbing, or heating systems. These house functions are clearly very important but they can also be improved whereas the location is a fundamental contribution to value….location, location, location.

The key to your decision with respect to the older homes is understanding the costs, the breadth of work necessary, and above all - your safety. There is an old saying "just because you own a hammer, it does not make you a carpenter". There are many tasks that anyone can do which can add great satisfaction to calling a house "your home".  Your challenge is understanding the difference between doing something yourself and calling in a certified professional….again, safety first! I recall when we purchased our first home, we stripped wallpaper, we painted, we tore up old carpet and while these activities were exhausting with a young family,  the action also imprinted a family ownership.

A home inspection by a professional inspector before buying will outline the strengths and weaknesses of a home. Buy with a good knowledge base. My favourite saying is "don't be penny wise and pound foolish".   Many of the professional electricians, plumbers, roofers and heating contractors will give you a very clear analysis of immediate improvements necessary for safety in addition to those improvements which can be done at a later date. Decorating can make a home attractive and welcoming but good utilities can allow you to sleep at night.

Buy smart. Make well informed decisions. Never be afraid to ask questions. Call us, email us, or drop by our office.


Selling Season Is Now

 Wednesday, February 8, 2017     Judy Marsales     Local Hamilton Market Conditions

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There is often a misconception about the best time to sell your home is Spring. Where did that concept originate? Is it the perception of our great Canadian Winter? The snowy days suggesting that we like to hibernate in Winter and the warm sunshine of Spring will bring us out of our ice castles to look for a new home?

Interesting thought but it does not allow for the changing economic trends which have occurred from time to time. This year is a prime example. The latest statistics from our Realtors Association indicate that the decrease of available properties year over year is one of the highest experienced. Harkening back to basic economic theory, with low supply and continued demand, there is going to be an upward push on price…..and that is exactly what we are seeing in the Hamilton-Burlington marketplace. Prices are up in all areas of Hamilton, Burlington, and surrounding communities.

Therefore, if you have been considering selling your home, do not wait until the official start of Spring…..do it now! When the supply of available properties is so low, don’t waste time because you think the house needs some TLC. In many instances, a Buyer will want to make the improvements that they feel suit their needs and often discount a homeowners hard work in favour of their own style.

The most important advice to a Seller is to clean, declutter, and get your home on the market while the economic factors are in your favour. We would love to share all the statistics and market knowledge with you so you can make the best decision. Call us, email us, or visit one of our offices.


Good Pricing Strategy - Key to Selling Well

 Friday, January 27, 2017     Judy Marsales     General Real Estate Advice

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We are in a strong Sellers’ Market as a result of a low inventory of available homes for sale.  This real estate market can be welcome news to homeowners considering selling.  However, the lack of homes for sale can also be frustrating for potential buyers who may be faced with multiple offer situations, bidding wars, reduced time lines for consideration of options, and the prospect of unconditional offers.  We have also seen some properties not sell in this buoyant time period and the questions is asked….why???  Doesn’t everything sell in this kind of market?  The answer is no…not always.  Unfortunately, some homeowner’s expectations may be out of line with value due to media hype or lack of local information.

Selling your home should not be seen as “winning the lottery”…generally, your home is your most valuable asset….do not gamble with it.  The key to achieving the highest and best price in this competitive market place is to choose your listing price very carefully after considering all the various statistics available to you through a well informed Sales Representative.  Your initial list price should be in the range of value that attracts potential buyers but does not leave any money on the table.  If you come to the market with an over priced listing of your home, you may discourage potential buyers from even looking at the home and may have to subsequently reduce your price moving forward …. thus opening the table for further negotiation and possible disappointment.  

Where is the “sweet spot” in a listing price?  What is the range of value which could potentially attract multiple offers, not leave any money on the table, and achieve the best result.  There are many strategies…some better then others.  

Call our office for a complimentary “Opinion of Value” and a discussion of the best approach to achieve the best results.


Real Estate Advertising & Changing Technology

 Tuesday, December 6, 2016     Judy Marsales, Broker of Record     General Real Estate Advice

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We are all facing changes with how we communicate - technology dominates and personal contact is diminishing. Clearly, we are more connected globally than ever experienced in history. However, what we gain in immediacy, we have lost in the sensitivity of personal interaction.

Sellers sometimes perceive that the farther they spread the word of availability of their property, the more response they will receive and by extension, the higher the return. While this perception seems reasonable enough, it does not always translate in the real estate world. In fact, it can have the opposite effect. For example, we have seen Hamilton homes advertised in the Toronto marketplace with the common expectation of achieving a higher sale value from someone outside of the existing marketplace based on that Buyer's exposure to the Toronto market. Again, sounds reasonable but has not proven to have practical application. Is this really an opportunity for the homeowner?

When a Buyer comes to Hamilton, they often have one goal and that is to buy a home at a substantially lower value then the market they know in Toronto. They are less sensitive to the nuances of local neighbourhoods. The local buyers have more appreciation for the communities, the heritage and history which often informs their value judgment. There is an old belief that the highest price will be paid by the buyer who lives within a mile radius of the sellers' home.

Sellers should ensure that they are getting maximum local exposure for best return. A home is a very emotional purchase and sellers can benefit from the personal knowledge of local buyers. Call our office for the latest up to date local information.

May your family enjoy the warmth of the Holiday Season with good health and happiness.


Shrek and Fiona Go House Hunting with Judy Marsales

 Friday, November 11, 2016     Judy Marsales     General Real Estate Advice