Nov. 29, 2022

4 Quick & Easy Ways To Cozy Up Your Home This Winter

4 Quick & Easy Ways To Cozy Up Your Home This Winter

Winter is definitely here! If you haven’t already, it’s time to create an inviting and cozy space for you and your guests.

Being told that your home is “cozy” is probably the best compliment a homeowner could ever receive. It means that your guests feel comfortable in your home.

Creating a space that is not only inviting but also gives a feeling of warmth, is the most difficult task for any interior decorator to achieve, let alone, the most important. With these easy and quick tips, you can transform your home into the coziest living space imaginable!

 

STAY WARM, LITERALLY.

 

The most important part of having a “cozy” home is to keep yourself warm! We know that it can get really cold outside, so having tons of blankets, especially bulky blankets accessible to you can make a world of a difference. In fact, many interior decorators use this tip to create inviting and relaxed environments.

LIGHTING IS EVERYTHING!

 

The key to creating a warm and cozy space is to have the just right amount of light You don’t want a space to be too bright yet not too dark either, so finding this perfect in-between can be difficult. However, playing around with different types of lighting can make your space feel cozier.

START WITH CANDLES.

 

Speaking of the perfect amount of lighting. Why not bring in some candles?

By using candles you not only play around with the use of lighting and create a much cozier space but you can also have control over how you want your home to smell! We love vanilla scented candles.

DID SOMEONE SAY PILLOW TALK?

 

Lastly, pillows are also a great way to make any space feel comfortable and inviting. Interior decorators use this tip also to fill in some awkward spaces like adding throw pillows to hallway benches, empty reading nooks, and more!

 

With these easy tips, you are sure to have the most comfortable and cozy space in the world! In fact, you may not want to step outside after this.

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Nov. 14, 2022

11 Reasons You Should List Your Home During the Holidays

11 Reasons You Should List Your Home During the Holidays

When most people assume that the Holidays are the slowest time for Real Estate, there is actually a unique opportunity to capture some attention for your listing or as a buyer to jump on a property when others may not be paying much attention. Every year it's a conversation we have with clients!

Take a look at our 11 Reasons to list your home during the holidays! 

  1. People who look for a home during the Holidays are typically more serious buyers.

 

  1. Often because inventory is low around the Holiday season, serious Buyers have fewer houses to choose from. Less competition means your home has a higher likelihood of selling for top dollar.

 

  1. Since the supply of listings will dramatically increase in January, there will be less demand for your particular home, statistically lowering the offers coming in. Less demand means less money for you.

 

  1. Houses show magnificently when decorated for the holidays! 

 

  1. Buyers are more emotional during the Holidays, so they are more likely to pay closer to your list price.

 

  1. Buyers have more time to look for a home during the Holidays and brief time leading up to them than they do during their typical working week.

 

  1. Some people must buy before the end of the year for tax reasons.

 

  1. January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Since transferees cannot wait until Spring to buy, you must be on the market now so you don’t miss out on this niche of potential buyers.

 

  1. You can still be on the market but you have the option to understandably restrict showings during the six or seven days during the height of the Holidays. 

 

  1. You can sell now for more money and we will negotiate for a delayed closing or extended occupancy until early in the New Year.

 

  1. By selling now, you may have an opportunity to be a non-contingent buyer during the Spring, when many more houses are on the market, for less money. This will allow you to sell high and buy low, while not having to worry about the sale of your current home to waive conditions on the purchase of your new one.
Posted in Real Estate Tips
Nov. 1, 2022

Upsizing or Downsizing: What's Your Best Move?

Upsizing or Downsizing

Deciding if it is time for your family to upsize or downsize is not always a clear choice. There are factors to consider that might push you to take the leap or stay put for a while longer. Whether you are thinking about upsizing so your family can spread out or purging possessions so you can downsize, here are some questions to ponder.

 

How are you using your current space?

Do your family members feel like they don’t have adequate privacy or space to do their own thing?  Are you tired of working at the dining table and really need an office or workshop? Is having the kids share bedrooms just not working out? Maybe an upsize is warranted. On the other hand, do you have rooms that aren’t being used, or are you tired of paying property taxes on more house than you need? Check for the downsize column!

 

Have you considered the maintenance costs?

If upsizing is on your mind, consider the added costs for maintaining a larger home and property, whether in money or time. Will you be able to keep up with cleaning, lawn care, and general maintenance issues that come with owning a home? If you are ready to cross maintenance off your to-do list, perhaps you are ready to downsize to a more manageable property or one where the HOA handles part of the job.

 

What are your outdoor space needs?

Are you ready to give up having a yard or garden to downsize to a maintenance-free space? Do you have pets that need outdoor space? Do you need more outdoor space for your children to play or your dog to run around in? The size of the house is one thing, but the property is important also.

 

Have you looked to the future?

What do you expect your needs to be in the next five, ten, or twenty years? Do you want a large home where your children and grandchildren will come for vacations and holidays, or will you be spending those times at their homes? Will you want to entertain groups of friends, or do you foresee going out for your entertainment? What will happen if your spouse passes; will you want to stay in the home on your own?

 

Do the financial implications add up in your favour?

Can you handle the higher costs involved with a larger home, or are you ready to cut costs with a downsize? Consider where you stand on your current mortgage. Are you alright with starting a new mortgage at this point in your life, or are you in a position to purchase in cash? What are the tax implications for your move?  

 

Is it the right market to upsize or downsize?

A seller’s market is hot for those looking to sell a larger home and downsize. Upsizing may be riskier in a big seller’s market, but if your family would be happier in a larger home, it might be worth the leap.

 

Whatever questions you have about purchasing your next home, we’d be honoured to assist you. So let’s work together to make sure your next move is the right one.

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Oct. 18, 2022

Understanding Home Equity

Understanding Home Equity

 

Home equity…Everybody wants it, but what exactly is it, and how do you get it?

 

 

Equity represents the degree of ownership an individual or entity has in an asset after subtracting any debts against the asset. To say someone shares equity in a company means they would share in any assets remaining after all debts are accounted for.

 

For example, if your business has sold $500,000 worth of product this year, but you have rent, operating expenses, and a business loan payment totalling $400,000 for the year, you have $100,000 of equity in your business. Equity changes as the value of your assets and debts change.

 

Home equity works the same way. When you take out a mortgage to purchase a home, your home is collateral on the mortgage loan, so the outstanding mortgage principal must be deducted from the value of the home to determine your home equity.

 

In most cases, you make a down payment when you purchase your home. That down payment is your initial home equity. If you pay a 20% down payment on a $200,000 home, you have $40,000 equity when you close on your purchase.

 

As time goes on and you continue to pay down your mortgage principal, your equity grows. Usually, the longer your own your home, the more equity you gain because you are paying down your mortgage.  However, any debts you take on using your home value as collateral, such as a second mortgage or home equity line of credit (HELOC,) decrease your home equity.

 

The changing real estate market also influences your equity. If you paid $200,000 for your home, and two years later the homes in your neighbourhood start selling in the $400,000 range, your theoretical equity increases. (Theoretical because you don’t realize your home equity until you sell your home and pay off all debts against it.) You can also lose equity if the market takes a dive but be patient and it should recover in time.

 

Equity also grows if you make improvements on your home that increase its value. Let’s say you add a swimming pool and all new appliances. You have increased the value of the home. Your equity doesn’t increase by the amount you spent on the improvements, but on the value you get upon resale. This is an important point when considering making improvements prior to putting your home on the market, and one that is often misunderstood.

 

Let’s say Joe spends $50,000 on upgrades to his home. He might tell his neighbour, “I have $50,000 in my home,” but when he goes to sell, the current market dictates how much he will actually get in return. If Joe ends up selling for $40,000 more than he originally paid, his $50,000 investment got him $40,000 in home equity.

 

 

Some things you can do to increase your home equity include:

 

  1. Make a large down payment when you purchase your home. The more cash you put down, the more equity you begin with.
  2. Make increased or extra payments on your mortgage principal. Adding to the principal portion only on your monthly payments, or making extra payments when you are able, helps chip away at your outstanding debt.
  3. Be smart when making home improvements. Not all improvements build equity. Some improvements may be personal preferences that don’t necessarily add value for resale. Improvements such as a new new appliances or a new roof are usually more reliable investments than a fountain in the front yard or surround sound speakers throughout the house.
  4. Don’t borrow against your home equity unless you must. Home equity is often a homeowner’s biggest asset, and can help to build your retirement nest egg, but it can also come in handy if life throws you a curve ball and you need to borrow against it for an unforeseen emergency. Be careful not to borrow against your equity for frivolous purposes, so it will be there if you really need it.
  5. Sell when the market is favourable. If you are counting on your home equity to help finance your next home, pay for your children’s education, or add to your retirement funds, try to sell during a seller’s market when inventory is needed in your area.
Posted in Real Estate Tips
Oct. 7, 2022

12 Tips for an Easier Move

 

As exciting as it is to move into a new home, not many people look forward to the actual moving day. Whether you are moving across town or across the country, moving is stressful. Here are some helpful hints from expert movers to make the big day a little more bearable.

 

1. Schedule your move well ahead of time. Moving companies get booked up weeks in advance, so don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your move. Make sure they know ahead of time if you have any very large or heavy items to move. The last thing you want is for the movers to show up with a truck that isn’t big enough or without enough people to move your belongings safely.

 

2. Consider letting the moving company pack your items. If it’s within your budget to hire packers, it may be money well spent. Packers are usually very efficient and take time to wrap fragile items securely. Packers will usually pack you the day before your move, so you don’t have to pack items away that you may need up until the day of your move.

 

3. Schedule services. Don’t forget to have services transferred or started at your new home. These may include: Power, Water, Trash service Internet/TV/Phone, Gas, Lawn service and Security system monitoring.

 

4. Have your new home professionally cleaned. If your seller is not arranging for cleaning to be done prior to closing, arrange to have it done before you move in so that you won’t arrive to a dirty house.

 

5. Pack a moving supply box. Your moving supply box should contain items you may need while you are unpacking and getting settled in your new home, such as:

 

Toilet paper, Paper towels, Sponge, All-purpose cleaner and glass cleaner, Shelf liner paper, Scissors, Furniture moving pads, Tape measure, Cordless screwdriver, Hammer, Picture hanging kit, Bottled water, snacks, pet food, Paper plates, cups, and disposable utensils, Dish Soap and Hand Soap.     

 

6. Make your bed. As soon as your bed frames and mattresses come off the truck, put them together or have the movers put them together, and make them up. Pack your sheets, blankets, and pillows together in well-marked boxes so you can find them easily. When you are ready to collapse at the end of moving day, you’ll be thankful the beds are made up and ready to fall into.

 

7. Ditto for your towels and bath soap. Pack bath towels and soap with your bed sheets so you can jump in the shower before retiring without having to search for towels.

 

8. Make plans for your pets. The last thing you need on moving day is a stressed-out pup or kitty, or worse, one that escapes in an unfamiliar neighbourhood. Make plans for your pets to spend the day with family or friends, a pet sitter, or boarding facility until you are ready to introduce them to their new home.

 

9. Say yes to helpers. Sometimes it’s hard to accept extra help from family or friends if you aren’t sure what they can help with. Here are some tasks you can delegate:

 

Lay shelf liner in the kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers. Unpack and put away your kitchen items (you can rearrange later!). Babysit or keep your children occupied. Make up your beds, place towels in the bathrooms. Wipe down cabinets and counters. Break down packing boxes. Hang clothes in closets. Organize tools and equipment in the garage. Pick up lunch or dinner.

 

10. Hire a Sitter. If you have little ones, they will be very excited about their new home, new rooms, and yard. They will want to be with you, but they will not be interested in unpacking boxes! Make plans for someone to be available just for them, so you can concentrate. A family member, friend or hired sitter can help them explore their new surroundings, build a box fort, or organize their toys in their new rooms without you worrying about where they are.

 

11. Hire someone to hang your art. Unless you love to hang things yourself, you might consider having a handyman scheduled to come in and hand your wall art and window treatments for you. This can save you a great deal of time getting settled. If you need help deciding where to hang art or portraits, a decorator may be a better choice than a handyman. They can help you decide on placement and hang items themselves or direct a handyman where to hang items.

 

12. Check out of the old house. Prior to closing, you should have submitted a change of address form with the post office. You’ll also need to remember to leave all keys and garage door or gate openers, and make sure the movers don’t pack up things like ceiling fan remote controls or other loose items that stay with the house. Don’t forget to clean out spaces like the attic, backyard sheds, crawl spaces, or any other hideaway spaces you might have stored items. It’s always nice to have the home professionally cleaned for the new owners, and, if you feel inclined, leave a list of recommended local vendors for household services.

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Sept. 2, 2022

Mental and Emotional Sides of Real Estate

 

Bring it in, buyers and sellers. We know you’re probably feeling a little anxious, scattered, and unsettled about what’s ahead. ⁣

That’s why we want you to stop, clear your mind, and take in a few affirmations that will be here for you to revisit anytime negativity makes an unwelcome appearance in your head or heart. Sound good? First, take a deep breath in and a deep breath out.⁣

Sellers, say to yourself:⁣

I cannot control the outcome of this real estate journey. I can only control getting my home ready for the market, hiring people to help me, and preparing myself and my loved ones for the major life transition ahead.⁣

My home will sell. It may not be the minute, hour, or day I want it to, but it will sell. I have a team of professionals who know what they’re doing and are 100% qualified to sell my home.⁣

I will lean into this process, ask questions, and fully show up for myself and my family. I will follow my intuition and trust that everything will unfold exactly as it should. ⁣

Now, buyers: ⁣

I cannot control the outcome of this real estate journey, but I can position myself for success by getting my budget in order, seeking a preapproval letter, and thinking long and hard about what I want in my next home.⁣

The market may be chaotic, but I can choose to stay calm. I will listen to my agent, my friends, and my family to stay grounded as I move through each step of this process.⁣

Buying a home is a privilege. I am grateful that I am at a place in my life where I can purchase a place to live and call my own. No matter what happens, I will be thankful for this opportunity.⁣

If you'd like to have a longer conversation about the mental and emotional sides of buying and selling, We’d love to! DM us today and let’s find a time to connect. We’re here for you!

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Aug. 2, 2022

The Risk of Buying a Home Without a Real Estate Agent

While it might seem like a good idea to save a buck by going it alone, buying a home without an agent exposes you to risks that could seriously outweigh any of the benefits. What kind of risks, you ask? Here are three. 

 

First, you may end up overpaying. Sellers are notorious for overestimating the value of their homes — which is why it’s critical for an agent to analyze the market value for you and negotiate on your behalf.

 

Second, you may find yourself knee-deep in inspection problems. A real estate agent not only helps you choose the right inspector, but helps you decipher the home inspection report and negotiate repairs with the seller.

 

And finally, you may get stuck with legal issues. Real estate law is complex and simple mistakes in the paperwork can lead to serious and costly problems an experienced agent could have steered clear of.  

 

Moral of this story? Leave it to the experts! A real estate agent will:

 

- Guide you through the process from start to finish 

- Represent your best interests 100% of the time

- Ensure that the buying process is clear, manageable, and dare I say? Enjoyable.

 

If that sounds like the type of experience you're looking for buying your next home, reach out to the team at FM Homes!

Posted in Real Estate Tips
July 1, 2022

MUST-HAVE TOOLS FOR HOMEOWNERS

 

When you own your home, things are going to break and, unless you want to spend your money on visits from a neighborhood handyman, you’re going to need to fix them yourself. Luckily, you don’t need an arsenal of tools to handle most home maintenance fixes. These five tools will cover most of your basic projects.

 

Cordless drill: A cordless drill is a must-have for installing cabinets, drawer pulls, hinges, picture frames, shelves and hooks, and more. Whether it’s for do-it-yourself projects or repairs, you’ll use your cordless drill just about every month.

 

Drain cleaners: Shower and bathroom sink drains are susceptible to clogs because of the daily buildup of hair and whisker clippings. You can use chemical clog removers like Drano, but they’re expensive and the lingering chemical scent is unpleasant. Instead, buy some plastic drain cleaners that can reach into the drain to pull out the clog of hair and gunk. You can purchase them on Amazon or at a local hardware store for a low price.

 

Shop-vac: No matter how careful you are, spills and accidents will happen and there are some tasks that just can’t be handled with paper towels or a standard vacuum, like pet messes or broken glass.

 

Loppers: Even the minimum amount of care for your landscaping will require some loppers to remove damaged branches, vines, thick weeds, and any other unruly plants in your yard.

 

Flashlight: You’re going to want something a little more powerful than your iPhone flashlight when you’re in the crawlspace!

Posted in Real Estate Tips
June 1, 2022

TOWNHOUSE VS. CONDO: WHICH SHOULD YOU BUY?

 

Whether it’s your first time buying or you just want to purchase something smaller, townhouses and condos are both great options. Check out the differences between the two to help aid you in your search!

 

Condominiums

Condominiums are similar to apartments in that you purchase an individual unit inside of a larger building, but not the property it sits on. This generally includes access to the building’s amenities, such as the clubhouse, pool, and gym. However, condo owners are not responsible for the upkeep and repair of these common areas. Because of the number of shared spaces, living in a condo often allows for meeting new people and building a strong sense of community. There is a fairly similar vetting process for loan approval as for a full-sized home; however, the lender will also look at the health of the condo association.

 

Townhouses

Those who purchase a townhome are generally purchasing the complete unit, both inside and out, including the land it sits on. This might also include the driveway, yard, or roof. Traditionally, these units are two- or three-stories tall and may also include common areas like pools and parks. Townhome owners pay a fee to a homeowners association every month and the loan process is the same as buying a full-sized home.

 

Which is the best choice?

Both townhomes and condos offer less maintenance than a traditional home and generally offer great shared areas. Your decision ultimately comes down to you and your family’s needs and wants. Things you’ll want to take into consideration include location, lifestyle, family growth, and price.

Posted in Real Estate Tips
May 17, 2022

Easy Landscaping DIY Projects

 

Ever get the itch to do a DIY project? Whenever we do, our favorites involve getting outdoors and mixing up our landscaping features.  Whether it's as simple as installing some lighting or a little more time-consuming like re-plotting plants, a fresh look for the lawn always gives your home a fresh look as well. Here are our top five easy landscaping projects!

 

Create a pathway.

To guide you and visitors throughout your yard and link different areas together, install a pathway. You can use materials from a variety of materials, including reclaimed pallet wood, flagstones, gravel, and more to add texture and color.

 

Add a wall or border.

Installing a flagstone, rock, or brick wall around flower beds or trees adds a sleek, clean look to your landscaping and helps separate different sections of your yard.

 

Install a water feature.

Nothing says zen quite like the sound of trickling water as you relax in your backyard. You can start simple with by purchasing and installing a small feature powered by a solar panel or create a larger focal point in your yard by installing a waterfall wall or small pond.

 

Light your way.

An easy way to transform your yard is to strategically use lighting. Place cool-colored lights high in trees to recreate a moonlight feel, use pathway lights to naturally guide the eye, or highlight objects or plants.

 

Plant upwards.

Expand your yard space by drawing the eye to the sky with a trellis fence or screen made of wood or metal. Once you install your trellis, select your climbing plants and vines and get to planting!

 

The best backyard budget landscaping tip of all is to reuse and recycle items whenever possible. Visit your local thrift stores and check the classifieds online to find local garage sales. By purchasing used planters, furniture and even gardening tools to spruce up your lawn, you can save hundreds of dollars, and keep some really nice items out of the trash. Ultimately, to keep your backyard landscaping costs low, all you need is time and a little creativity.

Posted in Home Trends