Author Archive

5 Remodeling Projects to Boost Resale Value

By |

reno bathroom 1075x672 5 Remodeling Projects to Boost Resale Value

House hunters will likely wonder about the age and upkeep of certain big-ticket features in a home like the roof and HVAC system. But they will also likely be interested in just how move-in ready the home is. Sellers can take on some prep work to get their house move-in ready to appeal to the largest buyer pool.

HomeLight, a real estate referral company, recently interviewed real estate agents to list some of the top remodeling projects before selling a home. Some of the projects that topped their list and the prices referenced below have increased since the interview:

1. Painting

Average project cost: $954 to $2,893 (depending on location, paint type, and labor)

Stick with neutral colors throughout, like whites, beiges, or soft grays. “It’s fine when there’s an accent wall or whatever; that’s different,” MaryBeth Harrison, a real estate professional in Dallas, told HomeLight. “But when every room’s a different color …  that’s cheap to fix with paint.” More than half of real estate professionals surveyed by HomeLight said they advise sellers to paint their interiors before listing. Some of the most popular colors: Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray and Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter.

2. Keep flooring consistent

To install carpet: $789 to $2,794

To install hardwood floors: $2,493 to $6,754

To install vinyl floors: $800 to $2,900

Real estate pros may be more likely to recommend this house project if the home has several different kinds of flooring throughout. A more uniform flooring look—one or two types—can be more appealing to buyers. Real estate pros say that many buyers may expect hardwood floors or premium vinyl. But not all carpeting has to go. However, many real estate pros do suggest removing any dated carpet, like those in bright colors, as well as any stained or worn carpet.

3. Brighten the kitchen

Average project cost: $382 to $1,064 (depending on equipment and labor); $2 to $20 per piece of hardware. White-colored kitchens remain the most popular. They can brighten the look of the space. “What the buyers are looking for today is white and clean—they just want clean,” Harrison told HomeLight. “It doesn’t have to be stark white. But they just want a clean palette.”

Dated kitchen cabinets can be painted by a pro for a quick fix. If the kitchen has other colors throughout, real estate pros recommend painting the walls white to try to brighten the space. Also, kitchen cabinets can get an upgrade with new hardware, such as hand pulls.

4. Replace dated countertops and appliances

Average project cost: $40 to $100 per square foot for new countertops (depending on material); $1,360 to $19,050 for appliances

Dated appliances and countertops can turn off buyers. If replacing the countertop, Harrison suggests a bright, monochromatic look, such as a gray or white countertop made of granite, marble, or quartz. Butcher block countertops could be a more cost-effective option. Harrison advises against brown or multicolored granite, which she says can date a home. She also recommends not replacing a countertop if the rest of the kitchen has not been upgraded and is dated. New countertops will look out of place.

5. Hire a professional cleaner for your bathroom

Average project cost: $70 to $85 per hour for a professional

A thorough cleaning of the bathroom can make a big difference, and often a professional cleaner can do the most thorough job. Pay attention to tile grout lines and any signs of mildew.

homebeat ad 5 Remodeling Projects to Boost Resale Value

Roy Thomas SRES® (Senior’s Real Estate Specialist) is a REALTOR® with Sutton Group Professional Realty. Since 1991, Roy specializes in helping retirees with their later in life real estate transactions. Call Roy at 902-497-3031 or contact Roy here

roy e1577059263540 5 Remodeling Projects to Boost Resale Value
Roy Thomas

Read more »

4 Reasons a Smaller Home May Just Be The Right Size

By |

1 3 4 Reasons a Smaller Home May Just Be The Right Size

Moving into a smaller home can mean letting go of excess possession but it can also mean less burdens and more convenience. Deciding to downsize to a smaller home may increase your quality of life. Below are some reasons why a smaller home may be the right size for you.

Smaller homes cost less money
A smaller home means less taxes, insurance, and cheaper utility costs. It also cost less to maintain and furnish a smaller home. The thought of extra money in your bank account must make you happy. Extra income means different things to different people, it might free up enough money to do that traveling you’ve always dreamt about.

More FREE time
A smaller house is easier to maintain and keep in good repair. With a larger house you may have a schedule in place to clean different levels of your home on different days. Larger homes have more areas that are susceptible to gathering clutter. A small home takes less time to clean. A smaller yard takes less time to mow in the summer. What will you do with all this free time?

Smaller homes are generally built in more walkable areas and have access to public transportation. This means less need for a car. In addition, small houses use less energy. Think about all the rooms that are heated in a large home that rarely get used. Updating and maintenance will require fewer building materials.

Smaller homes are more intimate
No need to yell to be heard in a small home. Some homes are so large seeking out others can feel like two ships passing in the night. Family is more likely to hangout in the same room in a smaller home.

Smaller homes and smaller yards mean closer neighbors. It can provide a stronger sense of belonging and community when you see your neighbours often. A quick conversation and a morning wave just might put a smile on your face.

homebeat ad 4 Reasons a Smaller Home May Just Be The Right Size

Roy Thomas SRES® (Senior’s Real Estate Specialist) is a REALTOR® with Sutton Group Professional Realty. Since 1991, Roy specializes in helping retirees with their later in life real estate transactions. Call Roy at 902-497-3031 or contact Roy here

roy e1577059263540 4 Reasons a Smaller Home May Just Be The Right Size
Roy Thomas

Read more »

Staging Tips to Attract Qualified Buyers and The Best Offers

By |

1 Staging Tips to Attract Qualified Buyers and The Best Offers

Stage your house to sell and attract potential buyers and receive multiple offers. Multiple offers are the ideal situation when you desire the best price and conditions for the sale of your home. Home staging highlights your homes best features. Staging doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. A staged home makes it easier for buyers to visualize the property as their future home.

1. Impressive first impression with curb appeal

Make buyers excited to see your home. I’ve had buyers change their minds about seeing the interior of a home when the exterior cries of neglect and disrepair. Most buyers will first drive by a home for sale before making an appointment to view.  Ensure the exterior of your home is in tip top shape. Paint the front door if needed. Make sure the fence is not falling over. Trim back hedges and clean up gardens. Ensure the exterior has working lights for evening viewings.

2. Declutter and depersonalize your home

A decluttered home looks and feels spacious, clean, and inviting. A clutter free home presents the impression that the home has been well cared for and maintained by the seller. A cluttered house is distracting to the buyer and can feel short on storage space. Remove family photographs and store collectibles to aid in depersonalizing your home. Buyers want to envision themselves living in the home.  

3. Thorough clean inside and outside your home

Have your whole house cleaned from top to bottom. Organize every drawer, pantry, closet and room. Buyers will look inside closets, bathroom, and kitchen cabinets.  Thoroughly clean those areas. Clean your windows, trim, carpets and furniture. Carpets and furniture hold odours that you may be immune to with everyday exposure. Don’t forget to clean up your yard of any garbage or debris. 

4. Kitchen staging

Make sure your kitchen is shiny clean. Declutter your counter tops of appliances and make room for them in your cabinets.  All appliances should be clean and in good working order. Upgrade your lighting in the kitchen and update cabinets with modern fixture. 

5. Bathroom staging

A fresh look in the bathroom can be accomplished with new towels and shower curtain. A display of flameless candles, soaps and fancy hand towels can give a bathroom a spa like impression.  Make sure your bathrooms are spotless and that all plumbing is functional. Declutter bathroom counter, cabinets and shower of personal items and shampoos. Make a space in your linen closets for these items. 

6. Living room staging

The living room is usually the first room buyers will enter and assess. Make sure to remove excess furniture to make the room feel spacious and inviting. Clean the entire room and all surfaces, declutter of excess pillows and blankets. Use a combination of lighting from natural light to lamps and dimmers to make a living room a relaxing place. Remove and store personal items, books, magazines, and collectibles. 

7. Bedroom staging

Clean the room thoroughly from floor to ceiling. Closets should be tidy and not overflowing with clothing and articles. Invest the time in decluttering your closet and storing items you wish to keep. Depersonalize the space of photos, personal effects, and jewelry. Clean all bed linens or replace with new ones. Add lamps in the bedroom for additional lighting. Clean or replace old worn flooring. Paint the room if it hasn’t been done in many years. Remove excess furniture in the bedroom and store offsite or in a rented storage pod.

8. Repairs, replacements, and maintenance of homes equipment

Dirty walls, flooring and chipping paint can be easily fixed. Inspect your home visually for cracks that you can repair. Paint or wash walls to brighten up a room. Chipped paint and broken fixture make a home look neglected and in disrepair. Have your homes equipment maintained and inspected like heating system, cooling system and electrical system.

homebeat ad Staging Tips to Attract Qualified Buyers and The Best Offers

Roy Thomas SRES® (Senior’s Real Estate Specialist) is a REALTOR® with Sutton Group Professional Realty. Since 1991, Roy specializes in helping retirees with their later in life real estate transactions. Call Roy at 902-497-3031 or contact Roy here

roy e1577059263540 Staging Tips to Attract Qualified Buyers and The Best Offers

Read more »

Downsizing for Retirement? Tips for Moving & Decluttering

By |

1 Downsizing for Retirement? Tips for Moving & Decluttering

Tips on Moving

Preparing for retirement is an exciting journey but it can sometimes be overwhelming. Some retirees move into smaller homes to make retirement life a little easier financially. This helpful guide will aid you in learning how to downsize your home and belongings.

Have you considered the advantages of downsizing your home? Many people plan to downsize in their golden years. A smaller home is a great way to lower your monthly living expenses. Downsizing helps to declutter your belongings. Moving into a smaller home will lower your utility bills saving you money. The equity in your home can be a valuable asset in purchasing a smaller home without a mortgage. 

Step 1 – Cost of moving

Downsizing includes determining the cost of selling and moving into a smaller home, condo or apartment that will suit your age, health and mobility. Before moving examine your current housing expenses like mortgage payments, property taxes, utility bills, home insurance and maintenance. Compare existing expenses including any updates or improvements that will need to be made to your existing home with what a smaller home will cost. Factor in the costs of selling and moving, closing costs, lawyers and realtor fees.

Step 2 – Where do you want to live?

Do you want to live somewhere new during your retirement or perhaps someplace less expensive. Perhaps you are no longer able to drive and it is important to be closer to your healthcare provider, shopping centers and amenities. Evaluate how your needs will change. Do you want to be closer to your kids and grandkids? Do you want to travel more? Do you struggle with home and yard maintenance?  Keep these factors in mind when reviewing home options such as smaller home, condo or apartment, independent or assisted living communities. 

Step 3 – Owning vs Renting

Owning a home can provide independence. Staying in your home will require 1% – 4% of your home’s value in maintenance costs. Home maintenance becomes more difficult as you age. However, rental properties have maintenance staff so you don’t have to worry or pay for upkeep and repairs. Renting also means you don’t have to pay property taxes or worry about the real estate market in terms of your homes value going up and down in terms of resale value.

Tips on Decluttering

Downsizing your belongings whether you decide to move or stay will free up more space and help you stay organized. Downsizing also makes it easier on you and your family should you move into assisted living or nursing care later in life.

Clearing out an entire home all at once is overwhelming. Create a timeframe that works for you allowing you to tackle clutter 15 minutes a day or over a month long period. Work with a professional to assist with decluttering or enlist friends and family members. 

Step 1 – Categorizing your belongings

A most important step in decluttering is to categorize and divide your belongings. Categorize into groups such as keep, donate, sell or throw away. First deal with your larger items like furniture and then move on down to smaller items like documents, photos and your keepsakes. It is helpful to label items or place different color tape or sticky notes on items to keep them easily identifiable. 

Step 2 – Sorting through your belongings

Through the years you can accumulate a lot of possessions but getting rid of these things can be an emotional process. Getting rid of these items can make room for new memories. Schedule a time when you can go through these items with family so they can decide what they will want to keep and what they don’t want to keep making it easier to throw away  or donate belongings.

If you have photos, documents and artwork that you have to part with you can scan them into an online drive or computer file for safe keeping.

Step 3 – Selling unwanted items

You can make extra cash by holding a garage or yard sale for unwanted or unused items. If you don’t want to have a sale of your own contact an estate sale company or auction house to sell these items for you. Make sure to have antiques and other valuable items appraised to so you get highest value possible. Other places to sell your belongings would be Facebook market, eBay, Craigslist or Kijiji.

homebeat ad Downsizing for Retirement? Tips for Moving & Decluttering

Roy Thomas SRES® (Senior’s Real Estate Specialist) is a REALTOR® with Sutton Group Professional Realty. Since 1991, Roy specializes in helping retirees with their later in life real estate transactions. Call Roy at 902-497-3031 or contact Roy here

roy e1577059263540 Downsizing for Retirement? Tips for Moving & Decluttering

Read more »

Should I Sell My House First or Rent an Apartment First

By |

sellvsrent Should I Sell My House First or Rent an Apartment First

One of the biggest questions I get asked by downsizing clients is which should they do first. Sell the house or find an apartment. The answer is: it depends. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. In this article I’m going to cover the points you should consider when deciding what is best for you.

Selling Your Home First

One advantage is you know exactly how much your home sold for and thus how much you have to invest to fund your retirement. Many clients want to invest the equity in their home to produce an income they can use to pay the rent and other living expenses.

The second advantage is you know exactly when your closing date is, and you now have a firm date to plan your move around. If your preference is to look for an apartment after your house is sold, it makes it difficult to do anything more than a preliminary searching for potential buildings if you have no idea when the closing will be. You can go on a waiting list for preferred buildings but if an apartment comes available, the landlord will expect you to sign a lease to secure it.

Also selling first eliminates the expense of having to pay the monthly carrying costs of both your house and an apartment. This can be an expensive proposition, even for a couple of months.

The big disadvantage of this option is you will have to scramble to find an apartment once your house is sold. And there is a small risk you could be caught without a place to move to. Thankfully I have never had this happen to a client, but I have had a few clients have to settle for an apartment that wasn’t exactly what they wanted or move to an area they didn’t really want to go to. This also means that you may be making a second move in a year to an ideal apartment when your lease is up.

Ideally, if you are planning to sell first, you should have a backup plan of somewhere you could move to (family, cottage etc) if you can’t find a satisfactory apartment.

I also advise any clients who are looking to sell first to negotiate a closing date of 60-90 days down the road. This gives you up to 3 months to look for an apartment. Any less than a 60 day closing and you have a higher risk of not finding a great apartment. And remember even if your home sells in 1 day you don’t have to be out until the closing date you have agreed to with the buyer.

Rent an Apartment First

The main advantage is you are able to find the perfect apartment for your needs. The right apartment, in the right area with the desired amenities and at a rent you are comfortable with. This eliminates the need to rush to find a place after your house is sold. A huge stress reliever for most people.

You also know the cost you will be paying for rent so this allows you to do any budgeting you may need to do.

You also know the date the apartment is available. Knowing when the apartment is available allows us to time the listing of your house to minimize how long you are paying for both. For example if you apartment is available to move in for April 1st, you ideally would list 30-60 days prior to that. So somewhere between February 1st  & March 1st.  

The obvious downside is you have to pay carry both house and apartment for awhile so there are those additional costs. Typically if an apartment is available now or in the near future, the landlord will require you to sign a lease and pay deposit and rent right away to secure the apartment.

Since Halifax is still in a housing shortage of both homes and apartments, I suggest to clients it is easier to secure an apartment prior to putting your home on the market as the upsides outweigh the downsides. It does however mean that the client has to be willing and financially able to carry both properties until the house sells. Typically this would be 1-3 months max but in a limited number of cases it could be longer. Only you know your financial situation but I want to layout the options for you so you can decide what is best for your situation.

rentvsown Should I Sell My House First or Rent an Apartment First

Roy Thomas SRES® (Senior’s Real Estate Specialist) is a REALTOR® with Sutton Group Professional Realty. Since 1991, Roy specializes in helping retirees with their later in life real estate transactions. Call Roy at 902-497-3031 or contact Roy here

roy e1577059263540 Should I Sell My House First or Rent an Apartment First

Read more »

What are condo fees and what do they cover?

By |

302 89 Waterfront Drive front 1075x672 What are condo fees and what do they cover?

Buyers of condos find the price range, low maintenance lifestyle and access to amenities favorably compared to buying a single-family dwelling. These benefits do come at a fee above and beyond your mortgage payments. This fee is called a condo fee. This article will explain condo fees as they are related to an apartment style condo building.

What are condo fees and how often are they due?

Condo fees are monthly payments made by the condo owners to a condo corporation. The condo Corp runs the condo building. The condo Corp manages the collected money to fund maintenance and upkeep of the building. All condo’s have a condo board made up of people from the building. The group manages the building on behalf of and in the best interest of all residents and owners.

Get your free copy of Preparing To Downsize

Condominiums are all different and the fees and what they cover will differ from one building to another. The size of the condo building can also be a factor in fees. A small building will likely not have the same fees as a large complex with over 200 units.

Common condo fees:

  • Utilities – The Corp may pay some or all the building’s utilities such as water, electricity and sometimes heat.
  • Reserve fund – the reserve fund is money set aside for repairs. The building may need to replace a boiler, roof for example, and use some of the fund to pay for it. Knowing how much money is in a condo reserve fund will help you understand a buildings financial position.
  • Common areas – condo fees also go towards garbage, snow removal and maintenance of common spaces in and around the building. This includes hallways, lobbies, elevators, and the grounds.
  • Amenities = Generally the more amenities a condo has the higher the fees will be. If the building has pools, saunas and/or a gym these areas require upkeep and can become costly.

Townhouse style condo

Some condo developments have townhouses and unlike a freehold townhouse you will have condo fees. Fees could cover garbage pickup, shared community amenities like an outdoor pool or gardens.

When do condo boards reassess fees?

When searching for a condo to buy, consider that lower fees in a condo could be a bad thing as the cash flow may not cover costs for large repairs or other unforeseen costs. Choose a condo with good track records.

Special assessment

A special assessment, which is in addition to regular condo fees, could also be required at some point in time. It is important to know the terms around special assessments as they will vary with provincial legislation. You should understand what your board can and cannot do.

Examples of special assessment fees for

  • Unforeseen expenses may arise unexpectedly like a roof repair from a storm. This may happen if fees in the reserve fund have been depleted to complete a current project or renovation. 
  • Under budget – if a project costs more than the projected expense.
  • Losing a lawsuit – the board cannot pay out a judgement from the operating funds so a special assessment would have to cover the costs. The CAO says unit owners must bear any judgement against the condominium.

Regardless of whether you’re a first-time home buyer or not, ask questions and keep informed. Roy Thomas can help navigate condo fees, status certificates, and every other aspect of your condo buying journey. 

homebeat ad What are condo fees and what do they cover?

Roy Thomas SRES® (Senior’s Real Estate Specialist) is a REALTOR® with Sutton Group Professional Realty. Since 1991, Roy specializes in helping retirees with their later in life real estate transactions. Call Roy at 902-497-3031 or contact Roy here

roy e1577059263540 What are condo fees and what do they cover?

Read more »