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Tips and Advice for the those interested in or involved in the purchase or sale of real estate.


May You Live In Interesting Times

 Tuesday, June 13, 2017     Judy Marsales     General Real Estate Advice

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"MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES" is a quote from history and is certainly applicable today both globally and in the current real estate market.

There is no shortage of opinions, theories, or general ideas floating about across a variety of medium. Every social setting provides an opportunity for questions and forecasts.  The range of analysis is from the potential of a housing market crash to the suggestion of values continuing to escalate.  It is difficult to project which direction we are currently headed in… the “crystal ball” seems a bit foggy.

However, it is safe to suggest that change will be coming.  Let’s step back and look at some practical facts.  

We are experiencing some of the lowest interest rates in our lifetime, some of the highest debt levels in history, some global economic instability, and a demographic shift.  What does all this mean?  Simply, make good real estate decisions taking all the known facts into consideration.  Your house is your principal investment but it will also be your home… the place where you live, entertain, and enjoy life.  Your home is not a guaranteed GIC that you file in a drawer.  There will be times when the value goes up, a time when the value stagnates, and times such as between 1990 to 2001 when the average value went down.  Plan accordingly.

While sheep are cute and furry and follow one another without question…..don’t be a real estate sheep. Make real estate decisions with current information from knowledgeable sales representatives.  Call us and we will provide the latest data together with the many options to consider as you move forward.  Make your interesting times also positive times.  Call us, email us, or drop by our office.


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.


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