Robert and Jenn Ferguson

Our Intent

To publish this newsletter four times a year. This will coincide with the changing seasons, keep you informed and up-to-date with what is happening on the local real estate market. Real estate is an ever-changing scene with fluctuating prices, styles and trends in design and décor, along with investment opportunities.

We Are Here To Help

We understand that buying or selling can be a stressful situation with so many details to think about and we would like to make that experience a more relaxed and enjoyable one. We will accomplish this by providing four or five short stories on topical aspects of the real estate business that we believe will be useful to anyone interested in buying or selling.

General Topics

  • what is home staging
  • what are the steps to buying a home
  • housing market snapshot

Our newsletters will be sent out when published and anyone will be able to access a past issue by going to our website. This is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to our past clients, friends and staying connected with local people. We have also designed our website to help you along with the selling or buying process.  Under the resources tab, you will find mortgage calculators and connections to our community for home inspectors, contractors, lawyers, mortgage brokers, and more.

If there is a topic of interest to you and you want additional information, please contact us at any time to discuss it.

What is Home Staging?

To put it simply, home staging is a way of presenting your home for sale in a way that helps prospective homebuyers to imagine themselves living there. 
The process usually includes:

  1. Depersonalizing your space:
    Even if you’re proud of your personal trophies (as you should be!), if it’s on your mantelpiece you should pack it away, along with family photos. (Yes, even the ones of the dog.)
  2. Decluttering:
    Though you may not see it, you probably have years’ worth of items on display such as that coffee table book on traveling, or your favourite collection of spoons, memorabilia, mementos and well, stuff that can be packed away. You may see it as taking away the home’s personality but it’s taking away your personality, which allows buyers to see a blank slate that they can put their own personal stamp (or stamp collection) on. Try to think of it as less to pack on moving day. This is the objective of home staging.
  3. Redecorating:
    Changing out stained or worn furniture, painting, reorganizing, decorating can help buyers see the value of your home. Worn out items can distract buyers from looking at the space. This is where a professional home stager is very helpful or you could simply use us.

Who Pays for Home Staging?

The seller typically covers the cost, with the idea that they will recoup the cost (and then some!) in a higher sale price. According to a survey by the International Association of Home Staging Professionals revealed staged homes (with an investment of one per cent of the listed price) sell up to 30 per cent faster on average for 20 per cent more. These are the key benefits of home staging. Hmmm… suddenly, it doesn’t seem as sad to put away that picture of Grandma on your nightstand!

How Much Does Home Staging Cost?

This all depends on the degree of staging required. An older home may need some more intensive updates, such as painting, replacing hardware and light fixtures, or renting new furniture for the presentation of your home.  On the other hand, a home that is relatively new and/or updated may only require some simple depersonalizing and decluttering, which costs nothing. In terms of the home staging service, if the seller engages a professional stager, then they’ll incur a service fee, which differs by stager. If the seller takes a DIY approach, it’ll just cost them some time and sweat equity.

Staging Your Home to Sell Faster

Homebuyers want who are looking for a turn-key home usually do not want a project. Here’s what you can do to appeal to this type of buyer, and stage your home to sell.

  1. Focus on the key rooms:
    There are several areas that Buyers zero in on when they look at your home, with the living room, kitchen, primary bedroom, and dining room topping the list.
    If you can’t get to every room, make sure that you spend your time, energy, and money on these rooms.
  2. Clean, clean, clean:
    If you have spent any time looking at homes for sale online, you have undoubtedly encountered some sellers who skimped on the cleaning. We’ve all seen the kitchen photo where that morning’s breakfast is still on the counter. Avoid that. Please.
    If you can’t stage every room in your home, you can still clean every room. It’s essential. It signals pride of ownership and that you have cared for the house over the years.
    Ensure that appliances are spotless and the bathrooms sparkle. You will not regret cleaning.
  3. Declutter your home:
    Decluttering is something that you can do without having to hire a stager. It gives your home an open, airy feel, making it feel more spacious.
    On the flip side, an overcrowded home is distracting. There is no room for buyers to imagine. Instead of potential, they see restrictions and a shortage of storage space.
    Go room by room. Organize your items in piles: the things you want out of your life and the ones that can go into storage, until you’re ready to move.
  4. Depersonalize the space:
    While you are decluttering, be sure to remove any personal items from display. Buyers want to picture themselves in the space, and your family portraits can make it hard for them to imagine.
    Photos, your kids’ artwork on the fridge, knick-knacks from that trip to Italy – sure, they have sentimental value to you, but not to potential buyers. Remove these items are replace them with more generic artwork that will appeal to potential buyers.
  5. Add plants:
    Freshen up your space with live, thriving plants. They can do wonders to make your home feel more inviting. Do not crowd any area with plants, have them dispersed throughout the space.
  6. Give rooms a purpose:
    Just because you use that spare room as a gym, home office and the guest room does not mean that a potential buyer will see the practicality of it. They want each room to have a single, defined purpose. A bedroom is a bedroom. An office is an office.
    Defining the purpose of each room will maximize the appeal and contribute to that open, clutter-free feel that buyers want. Giving each room a purpose allows buyers to envision how they too can make use of the space.
    If you can add office space, do it. With so many people shifting to remote or hybrid work, it allows them to see themselves working in that space.
  7. Fresh paint:
    According to the RE/MAX Canada survey – 36 per cent of RE/MAX brokers surveyed said Buyers want a fresh coat of paint. This simple and cost-efficient update can go a long way. When you head to the paint store, opt for light, neutral colours. People’s colour preferences vary widely, and bold choices may scare some buyers off.
  8. Let there be light:
    You want your home to feel bright and inviting. Lighting plays an essential role. Open your curtains and blinds to let the natural light pour in. Turn on all the lights. Bring in a lamp to let your home shine if you need new lighting!
  9. Furniture:
    When it comes to furniture, less is more. Don’t clutter a room with too much furniture. The starting point for most professional stagers is getting rid of furniture. Often, they will remove about half of the furniture in the home. The goal is to make your house look bigger. Furniture takes up space and can make the home feel cluttered.
    If you need to upscale your furniture, you can rent the right pieces to make your space more inviting.
  10. Boost the Curb Appeal:
    The exterior of your home is a great place to start your staging efforts. Some sweat equity over a weekend can turn into real equity in your bank account.
    Make your home sparkle with a power washer. If you don’t have one, rent one. Remove dirt and grime from your siding, roof, fascia and gutters. Give your deck a scrub too.
    If your shutters or front door needs some paint, be sure to freshen them up. Pay attention to the little things like the house numbers, mailbox and welcome mat.

Ready, Set, Move

When you’re ready to sell your home, consider staging it and consult your RE/MAX agent for advice on how you can potentially sell it faster and for a higher price.

Sometimes we are just too close to the situation to make good ‘staging’ decisions as that trophy or picture has been there so long, it is simply overlooked. Time to let the professionals come have a walk thru your home and provide you with that 2nd opinion or a different perspective on what needs to be done to get the ‘top dollar’ on your property.

2nd opinion from Jenn and Hilary

buying a home

What Are the Steps to Buying a Home?

There’s a lot to do, but we’ve narrowed it down. Here’s our 10-step home buying process checklist to get you started!

  1. Choose a real estate agent that’s right for you:
    A home is a huge investment, so work with a realtor that’s knowledgeable, professional and responsive. Treat your search for the right agent like a job interview. Meet with a few different agents, ask lots of questions and check references. We would love to meet with you and answer any questions, concerns or how we can help you through the buying process.
  2. Know your budget:
    As you already know, buying a home is going to be expensive. Knowing exactly how much it will cost and how much you can spend is a crucial step in making a wise investment. Consider your lifestyle, your income and any current debts you’re carrying. Are you secure in your employment? Are you planning any major life changes soon, such as a job change or growing your family? Be mindful of the financial impacts this could have.
  3. Explore mortgage options and get pre-approved:
    A mortgage pre-approval informs you of how much your lender is willing to lend you based on several factors, such as your credit rating, income and debts. The lender also guarantees the current interest rate for up to 120 days (time may vary depending on the lender), giving you the freedom to house hunt, knowing that you’re safe from interest rate increases. If rates drop, so too should your guaranteed rate. In addition to the interest rate, be sure to also consider the terms of the mortgage. We have put together a list of mortgage brokers on our website to help you explore mortgage options at www.robandjenn.ca.
  4. Start home hunting:
    Admittedly, this step that has many sub-steps, but let’s narrow it down a bit. While the adage of “location, location, location” still stands when it comes to good real estate investments, the recent trend of remote workplaces has given people greater flexibility when it comes to answering that all-important question of “where?” Then comes ‘what’: what type of home do you need to accommodate how you and your family live? Condominiums, townhomes and freehold homes each offer distinct benefits, so ensure you’re choosing something that will work for you for the next five years. We can set you up with automatic emails so when a home is listed that meets your needs you will be notified immediately.
  5. Schedule showings:
    Did you know your agent can show homes in-person or virtually? Virtual showings have been around for some time, often used for purchases by buyers from overseas, however it has picked-up speed with local buyers too, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Regardless of how you choose to view the listings, keep your eyes on the prize. Remember your budget and the must-haves outlined in step #4 above.
  6. Make an offer:
    You’ve found the home you want in a location you like. Now to make an offer to purchase for a price and terms that are agreeable to both you and the seller. Here’s where working with a realtor can give you the upper hand. Different market conditions require a different approach – a seller’s market might mean lots of competition, requiring you to come in at or over asking price with few to no conditions, while a buyer’s market means you have choice and time is on your side. Lean on your agent on how to best handle the situation.
  7. Get a home inspection:
    Regardless of the market, this is one condition that we recommend you keep as part of your offer. The home inspection is intended to identify any existing or potential underlying problems in a home, alerting the buyer of risks and giving them leverage in negotiating a reduced selling price. Your home inspector will examine systems that are visible without opening walls or floors, including heating, plumbing, electrical, roofing and foundation. The inspection should take approximately three hours and will cost a few hundred dollars, depending on the size of the home.
  8. Close the deal:
    The closing period for your transaction is typically 90 days, however it can range depending on the agreed upon terms in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. The homebuyer has some important obligations during this waiting period. Once the offer has been accepted, there’s a window during which you must take all the necessary steps regarding your offer conditions, such as financing, home inspection and anything else that needs to happen before you officially seal the deal. Your mortgage lender will need a copy of the offer to ensure its in-line with your pre-approved level of financing. After any adjustments or repairs have been done to your satisfaction, your realtor will finalize the deal and your lawyer will process the paperwork, including the mortgage documents with your lender. All of this will point to a final date of actual legal possession: the real closing day.
  9. Update utilities, transfer services and change-of-address:
    During your closing period, keep track of utility and credit card bills, magazine subscriptions and any other regular mail or standing orders that you receive at your current address. Alert them of the address change in advance of your closing date. Also be sure to contact your doctor and dentist. For family and friends, you can easily send a change of address card via mail or email, but there are a few more steps when it comes to informing government agencies.
    • Contact your local Ministry of Health and Ministry of Transportation to find out how to change your address on your health card and driver’s license.
    • Forward mail to your new address by visiting the Canada Post website or at your local post office.
    We offer our clients a free access to a service that helps put this all together. www.movesnap.ca provides moving checklists to help organize the move seamlessly, get quotes for moving companies, address changes and contact information for utilities.
  10. Move into your new home!:
    If you’re moving during the busy season (typically summer) ensure you’ve booked a moving company well in advance.
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