There's nothing like moving into a home that is truly new, with no smells, smudges or dust left behind by a previous owner. Even better is when you get to make your own custom selections. But buying from a builder is a different ball game and it’s important you know how to play. Consider these questions if you are considering new construction.
Should you use a real estate agent? I think so! The builder may have sales agents or an assistant that helps buyer’s through the process, but those people work for the builder. It’s always a good idea to have a professional advocating for you, and most builders will pay agents a commission for bringing the buyer. It’s important that your agent accompany you to the first visit to the model center or builders’ office so that representation is established.
Does the builder have a good reputation? We’ve all heard stories of builders who fail to deliver on their promises, using lower grade materials than quoted, or even disappearing before the work was completed. Check out your builder before signing anything. Find out if there are any complaints registered against them and ask for references from other homeowners. Find out if you can tour a model or a recently completed home, and bring someone who can judge the quality of the workmanship.
Should you use the builders’ lender? Many builders work with a preferred lender that offers attractive discounts on closing costs when you finance through them. It’s important to know if the lender is working as a referral or if the mortgage company is owned by the same company that is building your home. If your lender and builder both work for the same company, it’s a good idea to have an attorney review your contracts as an independent set of eyes.
Can the builder charge extra for unexpected cost increases? Look over the builder’s contract carefully, or have an attorney do so, and note if there is an escalation clause that would allow the builder to pass cost increases onto you in the event that materials or labor costs increase during construction.
What warranties are provided? Normally a builder offers a warranty lasting from six month to two years, possibly longer for some items. You should know what is covered under the builder’s warranty and for how long. All the major structural items and mechanical systems are usually covered. Appliances are not, but they should come with a manufacturer’s warranty. Damage from weather, shrinkage or expansion of the home or foundation, and anything resulting from the homeowner’s failure to provide maintenance or from work done on the home after construction is not covered.
What is the timeline for completion? This will depend on whether the build is a production home, meaning the builder is building select models throughout a development, or if you have hired the builder to build a custom home. Production homes can be completed in three to four months, where custom homes usually take a minimum of six months. Regardless, the builder should be able to give you a timeline outlining each phase of construction. Factors affecting the timeline include weather, delays receiving building supplies, or the number of changes you make along the way.
Can you choose different finishes or colors? Again, it depends on the type of build. Certainly, if you are building a custom home, you can make as many changes as you are willing to pay for. But if the home is part of a development and the builder has color palettes and finishes chosen, there may be a limit to how much you can change. Often the builder will allow you to change paint colors, flooring, fixtures, tile or appliances, as long as what you choose is in line with the budget he set, and those items have not already been ordered.
Are appliances included? More-often than not, appliances are not included in the purchase price but the builder but you can choose a package through the builder for an additional cost. Make sure when buying new, to budget for new appliances.
Is landscaping included? It’s no fun to get to the end of construction and find out there is no budget for landscaping. Find out what the builder plans to put in in terms of grass, trees and shrubbery. You may want to make additions or changes to his landscape plan.
Every home buyer hopes to find the perfect house. The one that, as soon as you walk through the front door, you know it is the one for you.
It happens, and when it does, I am really happy for my buyers. I always want my buyers to fall in love with the perfect house and live happily ever after.
Just like in relationships, however, emotions often come into play during the home buying journey…Emotions that may result in some not-so-loving feelings.
While I’m not a therapist, I can help you talk through your emotions about the homes we visit and help you identify if you are making decisions with your heart and not your head.
There are six basic emotions; let’s look at how they can affect your decision-making skills.
- Fear: We have all learned that fear triggers a “fight or flight” response. In terms of making decisions, fear may cause you to “flee” from making any decision at all, which could make your home buying experience exhausting. If you are afraid you will run out of time, or that if you pass on a house you won’t find another one, you may “fight” by making a rash decision too quickly.
- Sadness: Feeling sad can cause you to lower your expectations and settle for less than you truly want. You may decide you don’t need certain features that you previously wanted. Or you may settle for one of the first homes you see instead of persevering with the search.
- Disgust: Disgust can cause you to eliminate choices that otherwise might have been in the running. You might find the perfect floorplan, style, or location, but if the home has a bad odor, a filthy floor, or some other off-putting defect, you might not be able to stomach it, even if it is a completely reversible problem.
- Surprise: Surprise is an emotion that is fleeting– it happens quickly and then subsides. Surprises can be pleasant, like if you go to see a home you were not expecting to like and find it is much nicer than you expected. But if you are touring the home and a rat runs out of the pantry, you get a negative surprise. While surprise doesn’t last, the memory does, and it can influence how you feel about the event.
- Happiness: We all want to feel happy when buying a home but be careful that your excitement doesn’t cause you to make bad decisions. When you are happy or excited, you tend to underestimate risks, assuming everything will work out. People also tend to spend more money than they planned when super excited.
- Anger: Anger can also cause you to take bigger risks. Research shows angry people are more likely to make impulsive decisions. Anger can sometimes be helpful. If handled properly, anger can help you to identify your needs and outline action steps to get the information you need to act responsibly.
In January 2020, sales of single-family-homes dropped by 16% from one year ago, and 26% from the previous month.
174 single-family-homes sold on the MLS compared to 208 the previous year. Inventory is tightening which is one of the factors impacting sales. Despite interest from buyers, the stress-test has reduced purchasing power and pushed many buyers to the sidelines. There is an increase in demand for mid- and lower-priced properties, but the lack of inventory is limiting many buyers ability to move forward with their home purchase.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so you wanna get it right — especially when it comes to introducing your home to potential buyers.
With ninety percent of home buyers relying on the web for home searching, those listing photos matter, folks!
Make your cozy abode stand out from the rest with these quick tips:
- Select a realtor who understands the importance of clean, and bright listing photos. Hop online and check out a prospective realtor’s listing photos.
- While we’re sure your furry friends are always photo-ready, keep their cuteness (and all their toys) out of your listing photos.
- If you’re not crazy about the photos of your house, say so! Whether it’s one image or all of them, you deserve your listing to have its best face forward.
One of the most stressful situations in home buying occurs when other buyers are competing for the home you want. To make an offer on the perfect house only to find out you have entered a bidding war is certainly frustrating.
It doesn’t happen often, but if there is a shortage of homes for sale, or you are looking in a particularly sought-after area, it’s a possibility. It’s common to feel helpless as you wait for communications to come back through the agents involved, hoping for some good news.
To that end, I’ve put together some tips for how to make a multiple offer situation as comfortable and successful as possible for my buyers.
- Pick a real estate agent who is well organized and an exceptional communicator. A lapse in communication could be interpreted as disinterest. Don’t get overlooked because your agent didn’t communicate with the seller’s agent in a timely manner.
- Have your pre-approval letter or proof of funds in hand. You may have a great offer to submit, but if you can’t back it up with proof you are qualified to purchase the home the seller may just move on. Make a cash offer if you are able. If not, make as large a down payment as possible, and use a lender that communicates effectively with all parties.
- Offer more than the asking price. Your agent should do a comparative market analysis to give you a good idea on the home value as soon as you decide to make an offer. If it’s not too out of line with the CMA or your budget, offer more than the asking price.
- Keep your offer clean and simple. Don’t ask for contingencies that aren’t necessary to closing the transaction.
- Shorten the subject removal period. Asking for a 5 to 7 day inspection period instead of the traditional 14 lets the seller know that you aren’t going to waste anyone’s time. Find a home inspector who has availability to schedule your inspection as soon as your offer is accepted.
- Have your deposit ready. Offer a deposit that sends the message that you are serious about your offer and have the funds ready to turn in as soon as your offer is accepted.
- Offer flexibility with your closing date. Convey through your agent that you are willing adjust the closing date to suit the seller’s needs.
- Include a personal letter with a family photo. Let the seller know who you are, what you like about the home, and that you intend to take good care of their former residence. Let them know what it is about the home that has already made it special to you.
- Offer an additional deposit after the subject removal period. This is another way to let the seller know you are serious about the house and not just trying to get it off the market while you make up your mind or look further.
- Consider an escalation clause. Let the seller know that if your offer isn’t the highest you will go up by including a clause stating that you will increase your offer, up to a set price, if the seller shows you a higher offer from another buyer.
- Be diplomatic with negotiations after your contract is signed. Remember that the seller has other interested parties to fall back on. If you turn ugly after the contract is signed, making additional demands or not following through with your promises, the seller may hand you back your deposit and work with someone else.
If one of yours is to prepare to buy a new home, here are some resolutions to add to your list!⠀
• Resolve to pay down existing debt⠀
• Resolve to not make any large purchases on credit (cars, boats, appliances)⠀
• Resolve to save cash for a down payment⠀
• Resolve to not changes jobs⠀
• Resolve to get pre-approved for a mortgage ⠀
• And last but definitely not least, resolve to CALL ME! I can help you prepare to buy your new home!⠀
In December 2019, sales of single family homes were up by 40% compared to one year ago.
Annually, sales were down 9% with 4,119 properties sold in 2019 compared to 4,539 in 2018.
The VIREB housing market is currently balanced and leaning towards a buyers market. There is a lack of inventory, preventing many buyers from moving forward with a purchase. Now is a great time to list as Sellers can take advantage of the lack of competition.
2020 property assessments have been mailed to homeowners across BC. Nanaimo homeowners will sigh with relief that their assessments don’t come with the sticker shock of years past.
Provincially, home values dropped by 2.5% while Nanaimo saw an increase of 3%. This is a moderate increase compared to a whopping 50% increase in property values for single family homes in Nanaimo between 2015 and 2019.
A moderate increase is a good indication that the real estate values are stabilizing. We are experiencing a more balanced market in Naniamo, with less dramatic price increases.
It’s important to remember that your BC Assessment value is not an indication of your homes market value. Rather, municipalities use it to generate your property tax bill.
Find your property assessment online here: https://www.bcassessment.ca/
Home owners who disagree with their assessment have until January 31, 2020 to dispute their property assessment.
Thinking of buying or selling? To find out what your home is worth in today's real estate market, give me a call to schedule your FREE no obligation home valuation
Buying your first home is an exciting step and first-time buyers are eager to skip right to house hunting before they are ready. To avoid disappointment, follow these steps to ensure you are ready and able to make a successful offer on your dream home when you find it.
You’re ready to buy a home. The first thing you need to do is start saving for a downpayment (appx 20% of the purchase price). This may seem like a daunting task but it’s not impossible. Look for ways to earn extra money (freelance, pick up overtime shifts), cut expenses, or invest your savings so that your money is working for you!
Build Your Credit Score
The higher your credit score the lower your interest rate will be so a healthy credit score is essential. Be sure you pay all of your bills on time, start paying off debt, keep credit card balances low and only apply for/close credit cards as absolutely necessary.
Calculate What You Can Afford
As a general rule, you want to spend less than 30% of your monthly income on housing. Calculate your currently monthly payments and what they will be once you purchase a home and compare to your monthly income.
Things to consider:
Income: What is your monthly income?
Debt: Add up your monthly payments (car, insurance, mortgage etc.)
Closing Costs: how much you will need at closing (adjustments, insurance, taxes, legal fees etc.)
Get Mortgage Pre-Approval
Mortgage brokers have access to products from multiples sources so they can shop around for the best deal on your behalf. They will review your income, expenses, and credit score to determine what size of loan you qualify for. Once you are pre-approved, you can shop with confidence for homes at or below your approved price-point.
What you will need to get pre-approved:
Proof of income
Proof of assets
Decide What You Want In A Home
Visit different neighbourhoods to narrow your search. Create a checklist and be realistic about what you can afford and what you are willing to compromise on.
Choose A Realtor
An experienced REALTOR can be a valuable source of expert advice and local market information. They will guide you through the process, and act as your advocate when negotiating and closing a deal.
START LOOKING FOR HOMES
Now the fun begins: you are ready to start looking at homes! Visit open houses and tour homes with your REALTOR.
Happy House Hunting!
The long and the short of it is that sales of single family homes in Nanaimo are down 20% compared to last year, and inventory has increased by 14% board-wide. We are seeing a higher volume of listings compared to sales and buyers are negotiating competitively and willing to walk away and wait for a good deal. As always, the key to a quick sale is correctly pricing your home. Well priced homes are selling and may even receive multiple offers.