Archive for the ‘Tips For Home Sellers’ Category

Why Wait for Spring to List Your Home? 9 Reasons to Sell During the Holidays

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Why Wait for Spring to List Your Home? 9 Reasons to Sell During the Holidays | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamYou might think that putting your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area home on the market at this time of year is a bad idea. But there are actually many good reasons to list your home during the holiday season.

  1. People shopping for a new home during the winter months tend to be more serious about a home purchase than those looking at other times of the year. They may be in a situation where moving is not an option since January often marks the start of a new job. Buyers are not only more likely to make an offer, but also more likely to meet your list price, especially as people are apt to be in a good mood at this time of year!
  2. Generally, fewer houses are listed at this time of year. This means less competition for your home now than later in the spring when more homes will come on the market.
  3. Many businesses reduce their hours during the holiday season, meaning employees may have time during the work week, not just evenings and weekends, to shop for a new home.
  4. Some buyers may find themselves in a financial situation where it is advantageous for tax or incentive reasons to make their deal before the end of the year.
  5. You’ve probably spent a fair amount of time cleaning, decluttering and decorating your home for the holidays. Why not take advantage of this natural staging when your home is looking its best?
  6. Your home being on the market does not have to interfere with your holiday plans. You always have the option to specify when showings may or may not occur.
  7. Selling now does not necessarily mean you’d have to move now. It is possible to negotiate a later date for buyers to take possession, or to allow you to remain in your home for a longer period of time.
  8. But, if you sell and move to a temporary residence now, with the intention of buying later in the spring, you can do so with money in the bank and without the pressure of having to write an offer that is conditional upon the sale of your current home.
  9. Mortgage rates remain at record lows so there are still many buyers for whom your house just might be the perfect home.

 

Whether you are looking to buy or sell at any time of the year, I’m here to help. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

10 Things Not to Do to Your Home When Selling

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

10 Things Not to Do to Your Home When Selling | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you’re planning on selling your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area home, you want to sell it fast and for the best price. You’ve probably gotten lots of advice about all the things you must do. (I’ve written plenty of blog articles myself on the topic. This is the most recent one, and it includes links to the other articles:  4 Tips to Sell Your Home in Any Market)

But what are some so-called upgrades or updates that won’t pay you back and might even hurt you when it comes time to sell?

Some of these are items you may have built into your home for your own pleasure and convenience. Use them and enjoy them, but be aware that other people might not be so thrilled with them, and may be reluctant to pay for them.  Others are things you may be considering doing because you’ve heard they’ll add value. It’s true that most buyers these days are looking for a home that requires no improvements before they can move in, and sellers are more likely to get top dollar for their home if everything is up to date. But – how much more should you invest in your home to make it sales-worthy?

1.  Special rooms

The average house buyer is looking for at least 3 bedrooms, AND the average buyer tends not to have a lot of imagination when it comes to use of space! Using a bedroom as a home office won’t put off a buyer, but converting a garage to a family room might kill your sale. In addition, most buyers don’t want dedicated spaces like yoga studios, hair salons, sound-proofed recording studios, even tiered theatre rooms which are popular at the moment, and certainly aren’t willing to pay extra for them. In general, it’s wise to avoid making permanent structural changes that alter the intended use of a space or limit its future use.

2.  Trendy or personal-taste decorating

If your daughter’s bedroom is fluorescent pink, and the dining room has splashy floral wallpaper, you might want to dial things back to neutral before listing your home. Paint – in a neutral color – is the one upgrade which will benefit you and pay you back, especially if you do it yourself and do it well.

3.  Appliances

A lot of buyers these days want stainless steel, but installing brand new top end appliances won’t get you a higher selling price.

4.  Flooring

Should you replace the wall-to-wall carpet in your home, especially if it is an out-of-date color and starting to show signs of wear? Most buyers these days are looking for solid flooring, such as hardwood, laminate, ceramic tile and the like, but this type of flooring isn’t cheap, and you are unlikely to get your money back when you sell. My advice would be to go for a good professional carpet cleaning and hope for the best!

5.  Built-ins

Extra storage is always a boon to homeowners, but what if you’ve built in extra cabinets, cupboards and shelving in every room in the house? Lots of buyers will appreciate this but not to the point of compensating you for what you probably spent.

6.  Sunroom addition

A nice idea, especially in our climate, but hugely expensive to add on, and many buyers would not want to take on the extra heating and cooling costs.

7.  Swimming pools and hot tubs

These cost a lot to install and require significant maintenance. You won’t get your money back on these, and you may even find some buyers are turned off by them. Definitely do not put more money into these to spruce them up just before you sell (although remember that items in your home should be in good working order).

8.  Roof

Surprisingly, a brand new roof won’t add value to your home, although it might make the home easier to sell. Replace your roof if you need to but don’t expect to recover your cost.

9.  Backup generator, and other system improvements

Practical, useful, potentially life-saving in our area, especially if your home is on an acreage… Who wouldn’t want a backup generator?! Most buyers don’t want to pay for this extra but instead would probably consider it a nice bonus. Most people also, unfortunately, will not pay extra for a new furnace, plumbing updates, air conditioning, new hot water heater and the like. These are part of the invisible systems that buyers have every right to expect will be in proper working order. Think of these as regular maintenance instead of an investment in your home. Improvements of this type may make for a faster sale and possibly less haggling on the price, but won’t increase the price from what similar houses are selling for.

10.  Anything that is over the top for the level of home and neighbourhood

We all want our homes to be comfortable and beautiful, but if you put a gourmet kitchen or luxury ensuite into your modest home, or splurge on fancy landscaping (fire pit, gazebo, fountain, fish pond, basketball court…) so that these items resemble a spread in House Beautiful, chances are good you’ll recover only a fraction of your costs when it’s time to sell. Avoid over-improving your home. I recently listed a home whose owner had installed a Bose sound system throughout his home, an expenditure of $100,000! He loved it while he lived in the home, but we knew we would be unlikely to find that special buyer willing to pay the price. If you can’t take expensive equipment with you, be prepared to swallow the loss.

Value in a home depends on many factors.  Some of these include:

  • the local market (the number of homes currently for sale in an area, prices of homes recently sold, how fast they sold, etc.);
  • the age, size and style of the home;
  • the quality of construction;
  • the home’s condition, including regular maintenance and updating;
  • location, including amenities and accessibility, type and size of lot, nearby traffic patterns and green space, crime levels, etc.

Taking on a major renovation just before you sell in hopes that you’ll score big is pretty much always a bad idea (assuming that your home is in reasonable condition. If it isn’t, that’s a whole other discussion!). My best advice? Fix all the little things that need to be repaired, do a superior cleaning job, and paint anything that’s looking shop-worn.  The most important thing to remember is that a home is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it, and it’s probably not worth it to put more money into it just before you sell.

Need help in deciding how to best present your home in the market? I’m happy to provide that help. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

4 Tips to Sell Your Home in Any Market

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

4 Tips to Sell Your Home in Any Market |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamAre we in a “buyer’s market” yet in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region? Well, sort of. Buyers won’t find super bargain prices this fall, but they will find many more homes on the market and this means greater choice for them. Not such good news if you’re looking to sell your home right now.

As a seller, what are the things that will get your property sold, even against lots of competition?

1. Get your home noticed in today’s world.

List with a REALTOR® who knows the local market and will get your property “out there”. These days it isn’t enough to hammer a “For Sale” sign on the front lawn and post the occasional ad in the local newspaper. In my office, for example, we work hard to ensure that my online presence will get your home seen. You’ll find your listing on my website, on Realtor.ca and MLS, on a virtual tour website and blogs, on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Kijiji, and many others.

2. Set a realistic asking price.

Take the advice of your realtor in pricing your property appropriately. Remember that realtors do property evaluations all the time and are very aware of what is selling and for how much. We want to help you get as much for your property as possible. Think about those last two words. Sometimes it just isn’t possible to find a buyer who will see as much value in your property as you do, and unfortunately, a property is only worth as much as a buyer is willing to pay for it. Overpricing is probably the single biggest reason homes languish on the market, and this leads to a dismal spiral that goes like this: House priced too high ► potential buyers pass it by ► house sits on the market for far too long ► price is reduced (sometimes several times) ► potential buyers think there is more wrong with the house than a price that’s too high ► disappointed sellers eventually sell for a lower price than they would have received if the house had been priced right to begin with.

3. Make your home shine and stand out from the competition.

Look at your home through the objective eyes of a prospective buyer who wants to move right into a home that is clean and well-maintained. Then get busy, clean your home thoroughly, and attend to all the little repairs and fix-ups your house needs. Now is not the time to undertake major and expensive renovations that you won’t get to enjoy, but it is certainly the time to replace burnt-out light bulbs, repair broken windows, fix drippy faucets and squeaky hinges, touch up chipped paint, tidy up the yard, etc. etc. etc.!

I have written extensively in the past about the sorts of repairs, upgrades, staging and curb appeal that will sell your home without breaking the bank. Take a look especially at the starred* articles below.
Boost the Value of Your Home With Strategic Updates
Let There Be Light: Enhance Your Home’s Look and Boost Its Resale Value With These Home Lighting Tips
Selling Your House in Spring: Tips That Will Boost Your Home’s Appeal
Selling Your House in the Fall
*Leaner, Cleaner – and Sold!
Drive-by Delight or Disaster?
Use Good “Sense” to Sell Your Home!
*Be Your Own Home Stager
Thinking of Selling Your Home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain or Parkland County?
Home Staging Starts With De-cluttering
*10 Things I Hate About Your House!

4. Accommodate all viewings from prospective buyers.

Having a constant parade of visitors through your home is stressful if you and your family are still living there. Keeping the place pristine for the lookers while packing for your move and maintaining as normal a family routine as possible is a hard juggling act. But buyers won’t make offers if they can’t get in to see the place so set as few conditions on showings as you can. Be readily available when an offer comes in.

There are many things you can’t control when selling your home, such as its location on a busy corner, or the size of the lot, or its floor plan, or the weather! But if your home is clean and well-maintained, priced right, advertised wherever it can be, and shown to all people who express an interest in it, it will sell.

If you have a property to sell this fall, let’s talk! Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Moving? Here’s What to Do With Your Modems, Routers, PVRs and Home Security Equipment

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Those of us who live in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton area and elsewhere have a lot of equipment in our homes. Some of it we’ve purchased and it’s ours to keep or dispose of as we wish. But what do we do with the equipment that we’re renting from the companies that supply us with phone service, internet, cable television, security alarm monitoring and the like? And what about the service agreements that accompany that equipment?

Recently, a client whose home I sold a number of months ago contacted me for help in retrieving components of the security system in her former home. She thought she was doing the new owners a favor by leaving the equipment for them. Instead, she found herself having to pay the bill for service to her former address even though she and her family were obviously not benefiting from it!

Policies and procedures vary from company to company, but some things hold true for every company of this type. Bottom line: If you’re moving, let your service providers know! Contact them directly and ask what is to be done with the equipment in your possession. At the same time, ask them what happens to time remaining in your service contract. Neglect to do this and you may continue to be billed, whether or not you are receiving service.

Moving?  Here’s What to Do With Your Modems, Routers, PVRs and Home Security Equipment  | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

TELUS

(TV, internet, home phone). Customer service 1-888-811-2323

When you move, disconnect everything (routers and modems for internet connections, set-top cable boxes and PVRs for television service, etc.) and return it to TELUS. Pack it all up, ideally in the boxes the equipment came in, or some suitable packing box, and include your name, account number, phone number and the service address (that is, the address where the equipment was used). Take it to your local Canada Post office and the agents there will send it off to TELUS at no cost to you. (One person we spoke to at TELUS said that Canada Post supplies the boxes too, but this may be something you want to check out yourself.)

Do NOT leave the equipment you used for the people who will be moving into your home. Even if they decide to use TELUS as their service provider, TELUS prefers a clean break from you and a fresh start with the new customers.

Wondering if you can take your equipment with you to your new residence? Call and ask.

Moving?  Here’s What to Do With Your Modems, Routers, PVRs and Home Security Equipment  | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

Shaw

(TV, internet, home phone).  Customer service 1-888-472-2222

Very similar policies to TELUS in that you need to disconnect everything and return it to Shaw if you are moving out and canceling your service. Don’t forget to include important information such as your name, phone number, account number and service address.

Spruce Grove does not have a drop-off location. Shaw customers will need to take their equipment to one of three locations in Edmonton:
Edmonton West: 10450-178 St NW (Mon-Fri 8-6, Sat 10-5, Sun 12-5)
Edmonton East: 7633-50 St NW (Mon-Fri 8-6, Sat 10-5, Sun closed)
Edmonton South: Southgate Mall, 5015-111 St NW (Mon-Fri 10-9, Sat 9:30-6, Sun 11-5)
Equipment can also be dropped off at selected UPS stores. Contact Shaw for updated hours of service at the locations mentioned above, as well as for the nearest UPS store that will accept Shaw equipment.

Shaw affirmed that customers can take their equipment with them to a new residence but advised calling first to confirm this and to book connection in your new home.

Like TELUS, Shaw does not want you leaving your equipment for your home’s new residents.

Moving?  Here’s What to Do With Your Modems, Routers, PVRs and Home Security Equipment  | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSecurity Companies

Security companies such as Alarm Force (Customer service 1-800-267-2001) and ADT (Customer service 1-888-854-1778) differ in their policies regarding the hardware you rent or purchase from them. Online information for them and other companies like them is readily available. (By the way, did you know that the city of Edmonton requires an Alarm Permit for anyone with a security system in Edmonton? This permit must be canceled when you move, as it is not transferable to a new address.)

Can You Keep Your Home Security System When You Move?”, an article from SafeWise,  outlines policies from companies such as ADT, Vivint and others. Another article with useful information for alarm system clients is “Tips for Moving: Easily Reinstall Your Security System” from A Secure Life.com.   All companies appear to be willing to work with their clients to move the equipment for them to their new residence if it’s not hardwired into the home, or advise how to move it yourself, or provide new equipment and a new monitoring service after the move. As with cable and internet companies, CONTACT YOUR PROVIDER! This way, you can let them know you are moving and your intentions with respect to the service. That means letting them know whether or not you plan to continue the service so that the equipment can be properly deployed. It may even be possible for the new owners of your home to take over your security system contract, but make sure this arrangement is crystal clear to all parties!

As with nearly everything else in life, good communication will go a long way to preventing problems and misunderstandings!

What experiences have you had dealing with service companies? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

No Permits or RPR? How to Sell Your Spruce Grove Home When Something’s Missing

Friday, October 10th, 2014

No Permits or RPR?  How to Sell Your Spruce Grove Home When Something’s Missing | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSelling your home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton area or elsewhere is stressful enough, but what happens if you’re missing some critical documentation about the property?

“What documents should I have for my property?”

• If you own your home with or without a mortgage, you’ll have a Title Certificate showing this information. Service Alberta is the source for information about land titles in Alberta. Your REALTOR® will order your property title certificate as part of the process to list your property for sale.
• Most municipalities require building and development permits for a wide variety of activities on a piece of property. Please read my post entitled “Just Because You Own Your Spruce Grove House Doesn’t Mean You Can Do Whatever You Want!” for information about permits in the City of Spruce Grove.
• Another document you’ll need is a Real Property Report, or RPR, which is basically a survey of your property showing the property boundaries and the location of all the structures built upon it. Purchase Contracts in Alberta have a clause requiring a seller to provide a current Real Property Report showing the current state of improvements with evidence of compliance or non-compliance with municipal guidelines. Please read the City of Spruce Grove’s webpage on Compliance Requests.  Here you’ll find the procedure for applying for a new Real Property Report, followed by seeking compliance from the City.

“I’m planning to sell my home and I know I don’t have permits for my basement development, my garden shed or hot tub. Why would this be a problem?”

From a buyer’s perspective, missing permits might indicate something defective about the property. This could mean your property takes longer to sell and for a lower price. Even worse is that the City could force homeowners who are missing permits to tear out the development and start over with the proper permits in place. (This rarely happens, unless the situation is a clear public safety issue or an overt violation of city bylaws impacting properties beyond yours.)

If you know you’re missing permits, it might be in your best interest to contact the City and apply for new permits before you apply for a new Real Property Report. That way, you’re much more likely to receive full compliance from the City. Full compliance means that everything on your property meets current standards – and potential buyers may be more willing to offer the best price.

***HOWEVERThere may be times when applying for missing permits is not a good idea!*** Let’s say you own an older home in Spruce Grove. You had your basement professionally developed 25 years ago and you’re pretty sure no permits were issued. If you were to apply for permits now, the building inspectors might need to tear into your walls to see that the gas, electrical and plumbing installations were done correctly. If that isn’t bad enough, the work must conform to today’s building and safety codes, not those of 25 years ago, in order for it to pass inspection.

Applying for a new RPR and then getting a letter from the City indicating some issues of non-conformance to current standards do not necessarily mean a big problem. Most of the time those issues won’t require you to take any action unless you decide to upgrade. For example, it may be that your deck is too close to the property line. You will likely be allowed to live with this situation until or unless you (or subsequent owners) decide to rebuild or modify the deck. Any renovations will have to comply with current standards. (A more serious situation occurs when the letter states that deficiencies must be corrected within a certain time frame, meaning expense and inconvenience for you as the owner.) The real problem for sellers is that many buyers see non-conformance as a red flag.

“Okay, this isn’t looking good! Am I going to be unable to sell my property?”

Luckily, not having the proper permits or compliance doesn’t mean you won’t be able to sell your home; it just means greater cooperation may be needed among all parties involved in the sale, and your REALTOR® can help with that!

  • No permits?

Consider the situation. Would new permits be an easy fix, or would this mean greater disruption, hassle, time and expense than anyone cares to deal with? It might be best to admit the error to potential buyers and request that they accept an existing RPR with compliance (or non-compliance). In addition, you would offer to fund Title Insurance for the buyers. (Please see my blog article entitled “RPR or Title Insurance?”)  Be aware that it may be difficult to get some buyers to agree to this arrangement, and that may mean a longer wait to find buyers for your property. Your REALTOR® can advise you.

  • No up-to-date RPR?

Again, get advice from your REALTOR®. The best action may be to follow the procedures as per the City’s webpage on Compliance Requests: order and pay for a new RPR. Or, your REALTOR® may suggest other options, especially if you know your property will not conform to the standards. (For example, you could offer to supply an old survey of the property together with Title Insurance).

  • Received a letter from the City of Spruce Grove indicating some level of non-conformance?

• If the letter says things must be fixed, fix them!
• If the letter simply points out the issues but doesn’t require repairs, you might want to correct them anyway, if the problems are easy fixes, because your house is likely to be an easier sell, and at a better price.
• “Non-conforming” items on your property that aren’t easy fixes? One solution to the problem of lack of compliance that your REALTOR® might be able to provide is to “write around” an issue. For example, if a garden shed is too close to the edge of the property and it would be more trouble than it’s worth to move it (and the City has indicated the non-conformance can stay as is), a clause can be inserted into the Purchase Contract stating that the buyer agrees to accept the shed in its current location. Your REALTOR® may also recommend that you offer to fund Title Insurance for the buyer.

Of course, these solutions require potential buyers to agree to a situation that may be less than ideal or optimal, but at least you won’t be stuck unable to sell your property.

Questions about RPRs, compliance, title insurance, or building permits? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Just Because You Own Your Spruce Grove House Doesn’t Mean You Can Do Whatever You Want!

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Just Because You Own Your Spruce Grove House Doesn’t Mean You Can Do Whatever You Want! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSometimes it comes as a surprise to people living in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the city of Edmonton or any other Alberta municipality that there are strict rules as to what they can and can’t do or build on their property. This surprise can be especially rude when it comes time to sell a property and the owners discover that they were supposed to have permits for certain things.

“Why would a municipality care about what goes on inside private property? Aren’t all those permits just a cash grab?”

The City of Spruce Grove’s webpage dealing with building and development permits says this:

“Building Permits deal with structural stability of buildings and the health and safety of the building’s occupants. Development Permits deal primarily with a development’s impact on surrounding properties.”

Permits help a municipality ensure that all structures and activities within municipal limits meet the standards for health and safety of people and the environment. Yes, there is a cost for the processing of permits, but wise homeowners should see this cost as a good investment for the future and insurance that their home and property are secure.

“What sorts of things require permits?”

The City of Spruce Grove’s webpage on building permits has a long list of things requiring permits, along with the cost of the permits, for items inside your home and on the piece of land your home occupies. Some common interior items include

• developing and finishing a basement
• installing a wood-burning stove or fireplace
• installing, replacing or altering materials or equipment regulated by the Alberta Building Code (such as replacing a furnace).

Outside your home, you’ll need a permit to

• add a deck that is higher than 2 feet above the ground
• cover an existing deck
• install a hot tub or swimming pool
• construct any building on your property, such as a detached garage or shed.

These permits not only specify the safety measures to be followed but also mandate the distance structures must be from property boundaries and rights of way. Demolitions may require permits too.

If you want a firepit on your property, you’ll need a fire permit.  You may also need permits for gas installations, electrical installations, plumbing installations, and lot grading.  Please see the City’s webpage for the complete list of items requiring permits.

***If you are unsure about whether you need a permit or not, contact the City’s Planning and Development Department and ASK! Do this BEFORE you begin the work!***

“What happens if I want to sell my house and I don’t have the proper permits?”

For the answer to this question, see my blog post entitled “No Permits or RPR? How to Sell Your Spruce Grove Home When Something’s Missing”.

Questions about  building permits, RPRs, compliance, or title insurance? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

 

 

Let There Be Light: Enhance Your Home’s Look and Boost Its Resale Value with These Home Lighting Tips

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Let There Be Light: Enhance Your Home's Look and Boost Its Resale Value with These Home Lighting Tips | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you’re selling your home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton region, it’s important to ensure that you make it look appealing to buyers. Increasing your home’s appeal will make buyers more likely to put down an offer – and can even boost the final selling price. Even something as simple as lighting can increase your home’s resale value. Take advantage of these lighting tips to make your home sale quick and profitable.

Outdoor Lighting: It’s All About Curb Appeal

Use outdoor lighting to enhance your home’s appearance and create an alluring atmosphere. Adding lighting to landscaped areas creates interesting contrasts of light and shadow that will catch your buyers’ eyes. You can add emphasis to landscaping by using uplighting for trees and shrubbery. Adding mood lighting to a patio area makes it appear more welcoming. Lighting dark areas of your property is also a good security measure, and it may prevent someone from slipping or falling. Individual solar lights can be installed along a walkway for safety and to improve the appearance of the property.

Entryway Lighting: First Impressions Count

The first impression anyone has of your home is when they walk through the front door. One of the easiest ways to increase the value of your home and add to its appeal is by making simple cosmetic changes to the interior. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to give your home a fresh, new look. A chandelier in a large foyer makes a dramatic impression. It can be simple or elaborate, depending on your decor. An entryway table with a decorative lamp and soft lighting is also a nice touch.

Kitchen Lighting: Practicality is Key

Kitchens usually have plenty of overhead lighting, but not enough light for specific tasks like cutting or washing food. Direct lighting in specific areas makes it easier to see when preparing food, which makes your kitchen more functional. Fluorescent lighting is easy to install underneath kitchen cabinets, giving your kitchen the practical lighting it needs.

Ceiling Fans: Lighting With Style

Ceiling fans with installed light fixtures can be placed in any room and are easy to install. The vast array of styles makes it easy to find ceiling fans that complement your home’s decor. Not only do they provide more light, but they also increase the airflow through your home.

Lighting Living Spaces: Use Full Spectrum Bulbs for a Richer Environment

The living room or family room is where families spend a lot of their leisure time. Overhead lighting is a good choice for entertaining, but if you want an atmosphere that’s more relaxing, you can use lamps containing full spectrum bulbs. Full spectrum light bulbs are bulbs that mimic the appearance of natural light. Dimmer switches in the living areas are perfect for times when a lot of light isn’t necessary. When selling your home, show it off to its advantage by taking advantage of natural light, especially if you have a nice view.

Lighting for Dark Areas: Soft Lights Add Nuance

If you don’t already have them, install dimmer switches in your bedrooms to achieve a comforting, relaxing appearance. Use soft lighting in bedside lamps. Softer lights can make dark areas of your home feel more cozy and inviting. You can buy decorative night lights to add atmosphere to a darkened hallway.

The proper lighting has the ability to transform any living space and make it more appealing. With the right lighting in every room, you can make your home more appealing to buyers – and you might even sell it for a higher price.

I am always available to answer questions you may have about enhancing the resale value of your home.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Hands Off! When Buyers and Sellers Need to Leave It to the Pros

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Hands Off!  When Buyers and Sellers Need to Leave It to the Pros | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamAn incident occurred recently involving one of my buyer clients, providing another good reason for buyers and sellers to be represented by REALTORS®. There are lessons here for all buyers and sellers of real estate in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region or elsewhere.

My client’s purchase of a home was nearly complete. All the documents had been signed, conditions removed, keys ready to hand over. My client was very happy with the home. It was in top-notch condition, being exceptionally clean and well-maintained, with a beautifully landscaped yard.

My client happened to be driving past the property when he spotted the current owner in the garden apparently digging up shrubs and handing them over to a friend. This is, of course, a no-no in real estate transactions. Once a deal has been done and a contract in place, anything attached to the property has to stay.

When I represent the sellers in a real estate transaction, I usually warn my clients who are selling their home to make sure they remove everything they want to keep that would normally be considered permanent attachments to the home before we even place the listing on the market. Once a home is on the market, potential buyers have every right to assume that what they see is what they will get. That means sellers can’t take away items such as wall-hung shelves, kitchen cabinetry, drapery rods, plumbing or light fixtures, or parts of the landscaping, nor can they swap out appliances with cheaper or older models, unless those things are specifically mentioned in the contract.

So, if you were the buyer in this situation, what would you do?

I urge people involved in something like this to contact their REALTOR® and have him or her confer with the other REALTOR® to resolve, and possibly defuse, the situation. Buying and selling real estate can be an emotional, nerve-wracking experience, and nothing constructive can come out of a direct confrontation between buyer and seller. Instead, the two agents can determine whether there has been a breach of the contract, and then establish the best way to settle the issue. That way, no one should feel hurt or ripped off, no one loses face or good will, and the end result is what we all want: a successful and positive conclusion for all parties.

Questions or comments about what a REALTOR® can do for you? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

Three Home Automation Technologies That Will Increase the Resale Value of Your Edmonton Area House

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Three Home Automation Technologies That Will Increase the Resale Value of Your Edmonton Area House | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you’re in the process of listing your Spruce Grove real estate, Parkland County real estate, Stony Plain real estate or other Edmonton real estate for sale, it is important to make property improvements that buyers are looking for and that will increase resale value. There is nothing worse than making a home modification or a property upgrade that will not offer you any return on your investment in the form of a larger offer. Some of the more popular upgrades to consider when you want a return involve modern home automation. Here are three home automation technologies that will bring your home into the 21st century while attracting buyers.

Appeal to a Buyer’s Desire for Safety with a Home Automation Security System

Home buyers who are looking to buy highly valued Parkland County acreages or other Edmonton acreages want to know that they will be safe and secure on their property. When you are selling a property, it is all about appealing to the buyer’s emotions, and all buyers want comfort and safety. The first home automation system all sellers should consider installing in their home is a security system. With the right home automation monitoring equipment, including alarms and security cameras, you can give all buyers setting foot on the property a feeling of relief as you show them how you can control, arm, disarm and view the property from a remote device installed with the home automation app.

More Dramatic and Efficient Lighting Systems

Selling your home or your acreage is all about making that first impression. Not only does your property need curb appeal, it needs to appeal to the growing market of energy efficient buyers that exists today. Home automation lighting systems are becoming the new craze, and these systems will offer you a return in two very different ways. The dramatic lighting dimming effects that you can dress your home with will set a mood to capture attention, and the energy efficient qualities of the system will reinforce just how great the home automation technology is.

Decluttering The Property With Whole Home Entertainment

More and more households are ditching the wires and the clutter of electronics and remote controls that once lined cabinets and cluttered tabletops. Cables have become eyesores and speakers needed in every room have become an unnecessary expense. If you are targeting a tech-savvy buyer who wants a whole-home automation entertainment system that allows them to ditch the wires and all of those remotes, this is a technology to add to your home. The speakers will be hidden in your ceiling, screens will be cleverly mounted, and buyers will pay attention to your tech-savvy listing.

Every seller wants to set a sales record and get the best offer on their home. To make this happen, you need to choose to invest in upgrades and updates that will bring your dated property into the 21st century while still ensuring it has character.

If you need help deciding which updates are best, I am always willing to help answer any home-related questions that you might have.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Splendor in the Grass?! Nope, You’ve Got Snow Mold!

Friday, April 25th, 2014
Splendor in the Grass?!  Nope, You’ve Got Snow Mold!  | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

(Photo courtesy of TootsieTime.com)

After another brutal winter in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton area, you can finally look out your windows and see grass instead of mounds of snow.  But what is that dull fuzzy coating in circles on your lawn?  And how did it get there?  You, my friend, have been afflicted by the dreaded “snow mold”!

What is snow mold?

Snow mold is a fungus that shows up in the early spring as snow melts.  According to Lawncare.about.com, there are two types of snow mold.  Pink snow mold (or Fusarium patch) grows in a pinkish web-like mycelium on the surface of the grass.  When the grass is wet, the mycelium resembles white cobwebs, but as it matures it changes to a pink or salmon color.  The mycelium disappears as the grass dries.  Gray snow mold (Typhula blight) has a mycelium that stays a whitish-gray color.  If you look closely at the grass blades infected by gray snow mold, you may see tiny black mycelial masses (sclerotia).  Plants infected with pink snow mold will not have these, but pink snow mold is actually more damaging than the gray variety because it can destroy the roots and crowns of grass.  And, just to keep things interesting, it’s possible for your lawn to be infected with both!

What causes snow mold?

Many of us think of mold as an organism that flourishes in warm, damp places.  While other fungi live it up during the warm summer months, snow mold is dormant, only coming out to play when the weather is cold and wet. Snow mold especially loves long periods of snow cover on ground that is not completely frozen.  Sounds a lot like spring in our region, doesn’t it?  Snow mold also shows up in yards that were neglected in the fall:  grass left unmowed and leaves not raked before the first snowfall.

How do I stop it?

Prevention:

  • Change your lawn fertilizer at the end of summer to one with much less nitrogen.  This will slow down lawn growth.
  • Continue to mow your lawn until growth stops.  This will leave a short turf that won’t fall over on itself during the winter, giving snow mold less chance of taking hold.
  • Remove any dead leaves from your lawn so that nothing is covering the grass.

Repair:

If snow mold is sitting on your lawn right now, don’t panic.  Most snow mold damage will repair itself as the area dries and the grass grows out in the warm spring weather.  If you are bothered by the ugly look of snow mold in your yard or an allergic reaction to breathing in the spores, you may want to help things along by lightly raking the grass as it dries.  Reduce any piles of snow that still remain in shaded areas.  Overseed bare patches if necessary, and then allow the natural growth process to fill out your lawn.  For more detailed instructions on dealing with snow mold infested grass in the spring, check out “Snow Mold: Causes and Prevention”, an article from Babes Lawn Care.com.

Looking to buy a property with a great lawn or sell your well-tended garden property this spring?  Let’s talk!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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