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By Courtney Atkinson
Monday, February 13, 2017
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8 Tips If You're Thinking of Renovating Before Selling


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:


1: Do the Simple Things

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.


2: Evaluate the Market

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.


3: Invest In the Kitchen

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.

4: Focus On First Impressions


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.

5: Upgrade Floors and Fixtures

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.

6: Keep It Neutral

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.

7: Consider the Personal Cost

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.

8: Hire the Pros


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.


If you have any questions about selling real estate in Lethbridge, reach out to our team of award-winning Lethbridge Realtors at (403) 795-7777 or office@atkinsonteam.ca.

By Courtney Atkinson
Monday, January 30, 2017
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How to Buy Your First House

Explainer illustration how to buy a house 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 you need to save to buy a house in Canada

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!


If you have any questions or you want to chat more, feel free to give us a shout here at Atkinson & Associates Realty:
(403) 795-7777 or office@atkinsonteam.ca.
By Courtney Atkinson
Friday, June 03, 2016
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"What Is There To Do In Lethbridge?"



"What Is There To Do In Lethbridge?", by Courtney Atkinson, Lethbridge Real Estate Expert.

People are constantly asking the question; “so what is there to do in Lethbridge?” Summer is one of the best times to live in Lethbridge! Far too often we fall in to routines that make us forget just how great of a city we have. There are events running practically every weekend all across the city for all ages! This summer let’s break out of those routines and try something new!

One of our team’s favorite events to take advantage of is all the great deals that local businesses are putting on during “First Friday!” Today is the first Friday in June and tons of businesses have some awesome prizes and great deals to get the community out and about. As the popularity for this grows every month, there are even more businesses taking part in this awesome community initiative. If you are looking to get out and explore this great city, First Friday is a great excuse to try out new shops and restaurants.

Coming up this weekend is the 7th Annual ‘Carnage in Coaldale’ brought to you by the Kinsmen Club of Coaldale! If you are looking to take the whole family out for a low cost day of good old fashioned Southern Alberta entertainment this is going to be an awesome event. They’ve got a Demolition Derby on Saturday and a Mud Bog on Sunday both starting at 1:00! It is only $10 per person - not to mention that all kids 12 and under are FREE! We have got a great weekend forecast and there is no excuse not to be out and enjoying the summer heat.

This city has more than coulees and coffee shops. If you haven’t been out to a Lethbridge Bulls game you are missing out on a great time for the entire family. Spitz Stadium brings you so close to the action that you feel like you’re right on the bench! With all of their various themed nights and special events, there is always something special going on at the ball park.

Even with these suggestions in mind, this might not appeal to everyone. That’s why we recommend you check out these sites if you are looking for something new this summer:

-          The City of Lethbridge

-          Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens

-          Explore Southern Alberta

-          Downtown Lethbridge

-          Exhibition Park

-          The Enmax Centre

-          Rocky Mountain Turf Club

-          Evergreen Golf Centre Mini Putt & Go-Karts

-          Get Air Lethbridge

-          Escape From LA

There is a lot of property for sale in Lethbridge and having a real estate professional on your team can help you to navigate the difficult process of buying or selling a home in Lethbridge. Call me at 403.795.7777 or email me at info@courtneyatkinson.ca to discuss Lethbridge real estate or Lethbridge land for sale and I will be more than happy to answer all your questions. Or, if you would like instant access to information about buying, selling, or building a home in Lethbridge, including Lethbridge real estate values and more, please visit the most complete website dedicated to everything Lethbridge real estate at http://www.courtneyatkinson.ca.

By Courtney Atkinson
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
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Millennials Are Changing The Real Estate Game



Its not uncommon to hear that millennials are breaking the mold when it comes to their work and personal lives compared to their parent’s generation. Many people would call these millennials “immature” or “irresponsible,” but according to experts, this generation simply accepts debt as something they will always have in their lives.
Forbes recently published an article talking about the scary fact that many millennials simply ignore debt and are unaware of how long it will take them to be debt free.

            In this article there was one quote that truly stood out as it impacts the real estate market: “most millennials are also unwilling to prioritize debt repayment over quality of life — unsurprising for a generation that values experiences over material things.” The idea that today's home buyers are more invested in experiences rather than material things (ie. homes!) is forcing the real estate world to completely change our approach to home selling. Although there are still folks who don’t subscribe to this idea, the fact is that millennials carry the burden of increasing student loans and would rather spend their dollars on a backpacking trip to Europe rather than a down payment on a house.

            The Globe and Mail talks about how it is simply achievable for these millennials to get approved for a mortgage and oftentimes turn to their parents for support. As a realtor, we see that time and time again parents get a vote in their son or daughters first home buying decision as they are typically the one fronting a down payment. In today's market, not only does a realtor have to market homes to young professionals, but now they must make sure the home meets the parents’ standard as well. This is where selecting a realtor that is willing to take the time to understand your situation and the factors weighing in on your decision is critical to getting the deal done. We are proud to have a team that is ready for any situation. Whether you are buying your first home, up-sizing, or looking for a revenue property, our team will take the time to understand what you are looking for and make your buying or selling experience a cinch! We are so confident we will find you the perfect home that we back it up with our Buyers Guarantee to give you peace of mind with your investment decision (even if there was a little help from mom and dad).

There is a lot of property for sale in Lethbridge and having a real estate professional on your team can help you to navigate the difficult process of buying or selling a home in Lethbridge. Call me at 403.795.7777 or email me at info@courtneyatkinson.ca to discuss Lethbridge real estate or Lethbridge land for sale and I will be more than happy to answer all your questions. Or, if you would like instant access to information about buying, selling, or building a home in Lethbridge, including Lethbridge real estate values and more, please visit the most complete website dedicated to everything Lethbridge real estate at http://www.courtneyatkinson.ca.

By Courtney Atkinson
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
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Happy New Year! Do you make New Year's Resolutions?




Happy New Year!  Do you make New Year's Resolutions?

Click Here for a helpful guide to making New Year's Resolutions for success!