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If you’re thinking about selling your Lethbridge home, you’ve probably considered doing some upgrades before putting it on the real estate market with the hope of getting a higher price. But the last thing you want to do is invest money into your property and not get it back when you sell. Here are eight tips if you’re thinking of renovating to sell:
It pays to fix the obvious issues. Patch the nicks and dents in the walls, replace the cracked switch cover, and put in new lightbulbs where they’re needed. These are the things that everyone should do when selling their home because they cost very little and, left undone, can taint the impression a prospective buyer has of your home.
Sometimes the best path is to repair, not remodel. Just do the things that put your home in the best condition it can be without altering anything.
If you’re thinking of something a bit more extensive, compare your home with others in the Lethbridge real estate market, your local area, and your street. If you already have the nicest home on the block, it can be unpredictable how much more value you can get from your home with further upgrades.
However, if most similar homes have higher-end features, you can see what kind of prices they fetch and judge whether it’s worth investing in some upgrades to bump up your price.
A renovation that often sees a good return on investment is in the kitchen. We spend a lot of time in our kitchens and they are an important factor for most buyers. A kitchen can make or break a decision. Changing the impression of your buyer could come as easily as installing new cabinet hardware. But if the kitchen hasn’t seen an upgrade in a few decades, new cabinets, countertops, lighting, tile, and more might be worth the investment to really make it a selling point of the property instead of an eyesore.
Curb appeal is another area that can have a big impact. The first impression people have of the house is what they see when they drive up. A welcoming entrance with good light and some greenery can set the tone for someone coming to look at your home. A well-maintained front yard will help too. But don’t get too carried away with extensive landscaping; it can be a tough area to get your investment back from.
Another upgrade to consider might be flooring and fixtures. Replacing tired carpet with hardwood or quality laminate can really change the value of your home. And updating the lighting fixtures with something more contemporary can make a big difference without costing too much.
Something to keep in mind is to depersonalize if you make any changes. It’s difficult for people to imagine themselves in the house when it expresses your very unique style. Neutral colours and currently popular finishes will help prospective buyers feel like this could be their home. Taking down any family photos can help too.
One last thing to consider before making your decision about whether or not to do any renovations is the stress of doing major upgrades. If you still plan to live in the home while it’s being worked on, it can be very disruptive and might not be personally worth the increased dollar value you’ll see returned. Don’t discount the anxiety and inconvenience that can be caused by living in a space under renovation. Make it part of the equation before you make your decision.
Finally, make sure you use professionals. If you or your partner have these skills then you are fortunate because you can save a lot of money doing the work yourself. Otherwise, don’t go the DIY route because it will almost always show. You don’t want to invest in all the materials and your time only to see little increased value because it looks like it was done by an amateur. Let the pros handle it.
So you’re ready to buy your first house. Now what?
For someone who’s new to home-buying, there can be a lot of unknowns about how to proceed. What’s the first step? Who do you contact first?
The first thing to consider is how much you can afford. To determine that, have a look online for a mortgage affordability calculator to get a rough sense of what your budget might be. That’ll give you an idea of what types of properties you can be looking at and what price range would be of interest to you.
How much do you need to save? In Canada, you’ll need to have at least five percent saved up for the downpayment. Then the closing costs on a purchase will be about 1.5 percent. That’ll cover things like the property inspection, title transfer, and other fees. Fortunately, you don’t have to pay your realtor when you’re purchasing.
Your next step will be to check your credit. You can go to TransUnion or Equifax and pull a report for free. You get one of those per year. That’ll give you an idea of how your credit looks and whether or not you need to build or repair your credit before moving forward.
From there, what you want to do is get preapproved. We recommend you work with a qualified mortgage professional who’s done this many times before and can get all of your questions answered. They’ll need some information from you about your income and your employment history. Get that to them and they’ll give you your preapproval amount. Sellers like to see that you’ve already been preapproved for a mortgage when they’re reviewing your offer.
At that time, you’re ready sit down and meet with a realtor. You want to find someone you can trust, either someone that’s been referred to you or is respected in the industry, and together you’ll do a needs assessment. Have that conversation and talk about the types of properties that you’re interested in and where you might like to live and the realtor will go to work for you.
Once you’ve seen a few properties -- maybe five, ten, or, in some cases, 40 if it takes that long -- it’s time to make an offer. Your realtor will manage that whole process for you to talk about terms and conditions, deposit funds, and what all is involved. The will write the offer, submit it, and negotiate it for you. And in the background, they’ll also be sending documents off to lawyers and to your mortgage broker to make sure that they have everything that they need to finalize the mortgage and get it in place.
Possession day is the when those funds transfer and the property becomes yours. You’ll likely do a prepossession walkthrough the day before just to make sure the property is in the kind of condition that it should be. After that, all that’s left is to get moved. Congratulations. Now you’re a homeowner!