Thursday, 8 May 2014

Tips for the Moving Process

Tips for the Moving Process 

It’s official: you’ve signed the papers, dotted all the i’s and crossed the t’s—you own a
new home! You’ve almost reached the end of your journey. However, now, faced with
the daunting task of moving, it may seem as though the journey has just begun. Moving
can be a time-consuming and stressful experience if you let yourself be overwhelmed by
the job. Remember, though, having a successful move means taking care of the details,
one by one. If you break the process down into steps and arrange your time accordingly,
you can make it manageable. Use the following checklist to ensure you’re covering all
the bases, and you will be well on your way to a successful move!


• Arrange to have your mail forwarded to your new address.
• Forward or cease all deliveries to your home, and forward or cancel newspaper
and magazine subscriptions.
• Disconnect or take care of utility, cable and phone services and accounts.
• Arrange for utilities to be connected at your new house.
• Cancel pre-authorized bill payments.
• Begin going through closets and discarding any unnecessary items.


• Plan your packing. Start by purchasing or acquiring suitable containers. Most
moving companies have specialized containers you can buy. Also, speak with
others who have recently moved—they may be looking to get rid of boxes.
You’ll need the following: small boxes for heavy items (books, tools, etc.); large
boxes for bulky items (bedding, stuffed toys, etc.); medium boxes for bulky but
less heavy items (towels, small appliances, etc.).
• Begin to collect other packing materials. Decide which items you’ll need from
the following checklist:
-White paper
-Tissue paper
-Paper towels
-Non-printed paper
-Packing tape or twine to seal boxes and containers
-Labels and stickers (available from your moving company)
-Felt marker to label boxes
-Notebook and pen for listing contents
• Set goals and deadlines for yourself. Aim, for example, to pack one room per
• Attach a list of contents to each box. Separate and label boxes to be placed in
• Consider holding a garage sale to rid yourself of excess belongings. • Begin to use up the food in your pantry and freezer. Let the food you already
have dictate your menus.
• Have rugs cleaned that are to be moved, then roll and wrap them.
• Make special arrangements for the moving of plants or pets.
• Collect all personal items from local services (dry cleaning, storage, photos).
• Service all appliances you are taking with you. Note that all gas appliances must
be emptied, as it is illegal for movers to carry flammable substances.
• Take inventory of all the boxes, and contents of the boxes, you have packed.
• Have your car serviced and tuned up.


• Return library books.
• Clean out your locker at any club you are leaving.
• Determine how to transfer your children to a new school.
• Return items you’ve borrowed to friends, and collect any you’ve lent.
• Mail or e-mail change of address notices to family members, friends, and office


• If needed, transfer medical and dental records, and fill prescriptions.
• Change the address on your driver’s license.
• Change the billing address for credit cards.
• Change the address for banking statements.
• Leave a record of security codes for new tenants.

Insurance and Legal Matters 

• Visit your lawyer and ensure all documents are signed.
• Notify your insurance company well in advance of the move and ask them to
review your policy.
• Transfer insurance to your new home, or acquire new insurance.
• Review your moving company’s insurance policy. If it doesn’t cover as much as
you’d like it to, obtain your own.
• If you are currently renting a house or apartment, give written notice to the
• Have all keys to your old home delivered to your lawyer or realtor.

The Graham Pringle Team
705-426-4663 or 800-465-7866

Monday, 5 May 2014

Buying a Home: What Expenses to Expect

Buying a Home: What Expenses to Expect 
 Budgeting for a new home can be tricky. Not only are there mortgage installments and 
the down payment to consider, there are a host of other—sometimes unexpected—
expenses to add to the equation. The last thing you want is to be caught financially 
unprepared, blindsided by taxes and other hidden costs on closing day. 

These expenses vary: some of them are one-time costs, while others will take the form of 
monthly or yearly installments. Some may not even apply to your particular case. But 
it’s best to educate yourself about all the possibilities, so you will be prepared for any 
situation, armed with the knowledge to budget accordingly for your move. Use the 
following list to determine which costs will apply to your situation prior to structuring 
your budget: 

1. Purchase offer deposit. 

2. Inspection by certified building inspector. 

3. Appraisal fee: 
Your lending institution may request an appraisal of the property. The cost of this 
appraisal is your responsibility. 

4. Survey fee: 
If the home you’re purchasing is a resale (as opposed to a newly built home), your 
lending institution may request an updated property survey. The cost for this 
survey will be your responsibility and will range from $700 to $1000. 

5. Mortgage application at your lending institution. 

6. 5% GST: this fee applies to newly built homes only, or existing homes that have 
recently undergone extensive renovations. 

7. Legal fees: 
A lawyer should be involved in every real estate transaction to review all 
paperwork. Experience and rates offered by lawyers range quite a bit, so shop 
around before you hire. 

8. Homeowner’s insurance: 
Your home will serve as security against your loan for your financial institution. 
You will be required to buy insurance in an amount equal to or greater than the 
mortgage loan. 

9. Land transfer (purchase) tax: 
This tax applies in any situation in which a property changes owners and can vary 

The Graham Pringle Team
705-426-4663 or 800-465-7866

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

How to Get Top Dollar for your Home, Fast!

 Your home is likely your largest asset, so selling it may be the biggest financial move
you’ve ever made, one that requires significant thought and strategy. However, once
you’ve entered the market, the process may move very quickly: your property has the
best chance to sell within its first seven weeks on the market. Studies indicate that the
longer a property stays on the market, the less it will ultimately sell for. So, you need to
ensure you’re ahead of the game. Get your property into top selling shape before it hits
the market in order to increase its chances of selling within the desired window of time
and drawing top dollar.

Use the following tips to seize control of the home-selling process before you begin:

1. Establish the Reasons you Want to Sell your Home: 

These reasons will direct the path you take in the home-selling process. If, for
example, you have already purchased a new home and your goal is to make a
quick sale on your current home, this reason will chart your approach. If, on the
other hand, you aim to net the highest price possible for your home, you would
need to prepare yourself for a potentially slower process. Be clear about these
reasons, as they will directly influence the amount of time and effort you put into
preparing your home for sale, and the amount you set for your asking price.

2. Pricing: 

It is essential you list your property at a competitive market value right from the
start. The competitive nature of the market means that over-pricing by a few
thousand dollars could make the difference between your home selling quickly or
not selling at all. Overpricing your home could potentially yield the following
results: minimized offers, fewer showings, fewer agent responses, limited
financing, limited buyers qualified for your type of home, or a smaller net price.
You can avoid these outcomes by setting the price of your home at its market
value when you first list.

If you are unsatisfied with the current market value of your home and unwilling to
list it as such, consider putting off the sale of your home at this time.

3. Do your Homework: 

Perhaps the most “hands-on” approach to educating yourself about the nature of
the current market—what works and what doesn’t—is to explore other homes on
the market. Take advantage of Open Houses in your area, particularly in those
homes similar to your own. Take some notes. Observe floor plans, lot size,
appearance, location, and other features of the property. Then compare asking
prices. Go through this process before setting your own asking price. Remember: you want to get a selling price as close to your asking price as possible. And if
you want to attract this price quickly, you won’t accomplish this by setting your
price higher than your neighbour’s.

4. Decide Whether to Invest in an Appraisal: 

Getting an appraisal can be a positive or negative move, depending on the
outcome. It’s up to you to determine how it might fit into your personal plan.
Having an appraisal done can be a good marketing strategy, indicating to potential
buyers that your home can be financed, which will increase the chances that your
home will sell quickly and for more money. On the other hand, however, there’s
no guarantee you’ll like the final picture offered by the appraisal. Also, it’s one
more cost you’ll have to add to your budget, and an appraisal only lasts for a
limited period of time.

5. Choosing a Realtor: 

Your choice of Realtor will greatly influence your home-selling experience. For
better or for worse, this person will be with you every step of the way during one
of the largest financial ventures of your life—and will make a difference in the
speed with which your house is sold, and how much it sells for. Don’t take this
relationship lightly. You should consider a few Realtors before you narrow down
your choice. Of course, one of the initial factors to consider will be whether the
Realtor’s personality and enthusiasm is a fit for you and your family. Also, each
candidate should be able to provide you with information on the following areas:
the length of time s/he has been involved in residential real estate in your area, the
marketing strategy s/he would use to sell your home, details on other properties in
your area their company has sold (how much the property sold for and how long it
spent on the market), and his/her philosophy or method of negotiation. You
might want to request a reference list of former clients as well. Choose a few
names on the list and call them.

6. Cleanliness: 

Make no mistake, prospective Buyers will be turned off by even a minimal lack of
cleanliness, or an odour. Sellers may lose thousands of dollars if they fail to
thoroughly clean the house before they begin to show it. Begin by clearing the
house of excess junk, clutter, and furniture. Create more space. Make every
room sparkle. Eliminate odours. You may be the last to notice a peculiar odour
in your house, but it may be the first thing a potential Buyer notices. So, air out
your house prior to showing. Keep pets in the yard as much as possible, and send
any household smokers outside.

7. Access to your Home:

Agents will be more reluctant to show your home if it isn’t readily accessible.
They don’t want to waste their time running around, picking up and dropping off
keys. Rather, a key should be immediately available for agents at all times.

Also, go through the following last-minute list to prepare for showing your home:
keep all lights on, doors unlocked, and drapes and shutters open. If you can, leave
the house while it is being shown. Head to the local coffee shop, or take the kids
to the park. Prospective Buyers will feel more intrusive if the owner of the house
is present while they are viewing. If you can’t leave the house, be as unassuming
as possible.

8. Updated Interior: 

A fresh coat of paint may be one of your best investments when preparing your
home for the market. New paint can take years off the appearance of your home,
dramatically increasing its perceived value. Likewise, if your carpeting appears
worn, old, or is an outdated pattern, consider replacing it. The carpet or paint in
one room could be the difference between a successful sale and your home being

9. Drive-Up Appeal: 

If the buyer doesn’t like the outside of your house, s/he may choose to skip it
entirely. It is essential that your home possess a certain “drive-up appeal.”
Remember, a potential buyer’s first impression of your house is formed while
s/he is still sitting in the realtor’s car. Ensure the trees are trimmed, the
walkway swept, the lawn cut. Paint the door, and put out a new, plush door
mat. All of these little things will contribute to the overall effect of a well
cared-for and welcoming home.

The Graham Pringle Team
705-426-4663 or 800-465-7866

Friday, 4 April 2014

Real Estate - Buying or Selling First?

Buy or Sell First? 

 If you are considering looking for a new house, and are a current home-owner, then chances are you’re wondering what your strategy should be: do you wait to find the perfect new home before you put your current home on the market, or do you sell first and then look around? You have a few options. Use the following as a guide to explore  what might be the best move for you. 

Sell First: 

There are several benefits to selling your current house before searching for your next home. First of all, once you have sold your house, you will know precisely how much money you have to work with. With a concrete price range, you’ll be able to narrow the pool of houses before you begin looking, and negotiate accordingly. This will allow you to immediately make firm offers on houses that you are serious about purchasing. You can be first in line with an unconditional offer you know you can afford, and this will grant even further negotiating leverage as Sellers tend to take unconditional offers more seriously. When they counter or turn down an offer that’s conditional on the sale of a home, they usually think the Buyer will come back with a better and more firm offer once they have sold their current home. However, if you make an unconditional offer, the Seller will usually give you more consideration, as they realize you’re probably looking at other properties and will move on if your offer is rejected. Likewise, if you have already sold you house, you probably do have a wider opportunity to look around, negotiate, and find the best deal and fit for you and your family. 

The flip side of this scenario, however, is that if you don’t find the right property before the closing date of the house you’ve already sold, you may have to look for temporary housing until you do find what you’re looking for. 

So, before you opt to sell first, you should determine whether you have alternate, temporary options, in case you have to move from your house before you’ve found a new one. How would you and your family deal with living in a transition home for an undetermined period of time? 

Buy First: 

Buying a new house without having sold your current home may occur if you are 
interested in a specific property and will only sell your current home if this property 
comes on the market. It may be a matter of timing—grabbing hold of the home before it’s too late. The same might be said of a property you haven’t had you eye on previously, but that catches your attention due to its uniqueness or unbelievable price. If buying first means you don’t miss out on the real estate opportunity of a lifetime, it may be the best move. 

However, be careful. If you buy another property and aren’t able to sell your current home quickly enough, you could end up having to finance both homes and shoulder the extra debt until you sell. You can get a financial appraisal or market evaluation of a home prior to selling, but this doesn’t guarantee the price you’ll ultimately receive for the home after the negotiation process has run its course. Since your selling price will be an unknown, jumping into a purchase could be a gamble, particularly if your budget is tight. 

Make sure you’re familiar with all aspects of the financial reality this scenario would create before you purchase another home. You may be faced with owning two homes at once. What type of financial stress would this bring to your life and how would you deal with it? Consider the fact that if your current house doesn’t sell quickly enough, you may be forced to sell it off at a reduced price in order align the closing dates of your two properties. What effect would this have on your financial situation? 

Conditional Offer: 

An additional option involves making your offer to purchase conditional upon the sale of your current property within a specified period. Conditional offers usually include a clause that allows for the Sellers to keep their property on the market and remain open to other offers while you try to sell your home. If the Sellers receive another attractive offer before you’ve sold your home, they may accept and ask you to either remove your condition and firm up your offer, or to back down from the offer. A conditional offer forms a kind of middle ground, an area of compromise, for those who are afraid to sell or buy first—but doesn’t hold the advantages of the other two options. 

One of the drawbacks of the conditional offer is that Sellers tend to take them less seriously. They definitely give stronger consideration to firm offers. This leaves you with less negotiating power. In fact, some Sellers will simply turn down or counter a conditional offer. Other Sellers will believe the Buyer will come back with a more serious offer when their home has sold. So, you may end up having to increase your offer in order to have your conditional offer accepted and keep your foot in the door of your desired house. 

Even if your conditional offer is accepted, there is no guarantee another Buyer won’t step in and overthrow your offer before you have sold your current home, which would put you back at the starting line. Also, consider the fact that you cannot withdraw your conditional offer until the end of the period specified in the contract—which means that if a better deal comes along, you will have to wait to jump at it.

The Graham Pringle Team
705-426-4663 or 800-465-7866