Home Buying Tips

Get pre-approved for a mortgage – Before deciding to buy a home, you first need to determine exactly how much you can afford to spend each month.  Being pre-approved for a mortgage will put you in a better position to make a serious offer in our competitive market.  It may also save you the disappointment of looking at homes that you cant afford. Speak with your bank, or I can guide you to a mortgage broker.

Hire a professional Realtor – Your time is very valuable.  Hiring a real estate agent will save you time and money.  Driving around on weekends, spending hours searching the public mls is not an optimal use of your time.  Your real estate agent should be doing all of this work for you and will have the most up to date information on every property.  Your agent is there to work for you everything possible to protect your interests.

What you need to do – Think about what you ‘need’ and ‘want’ in your future property, everything from ‘must have parking’ to ‘nice to have a city view’ by not only thinking through your needs, but prioritizing them, this will save valuable time and effort in narrowing your search to what you truly desire.

Don’t Let Your Emotions Take Over – Though it can be difficult sometimes, keep a calm head during the home buying process, especially during and after a home inspection. Be realistic. No home is perfect, especially older homes. It’s not unusual for new owners to take care of some repairs themselves. Don’t let the seller’s refusal to do a small repair kill the deal on a home you truly love.

On the other hand, don’t fall so much in love with the house that you’ll buy it no matter what needs to be done–unless you’re sure you can handle it emotionally and financially. Decide what type of repairs you can realistically tackle, then stick with the decision.

Work with specialist – It’s important to work with people who specialize in their given field. Start thinking about hiring a real estate lawyer, home inspection firms, and moving companies. I can refer you to a selection of professionals in these areas.

Moving Guide – Now that you’ve sold

Book your movers! You can choose to have your movers pack everything, or just the breakables, or you can pack yourself. It is a good idea to obtain estimates from several different companies and ask for complete references. I am happy to provide you with a list of people I recommend.


  • Arrange to have your gas, water and hydro meters read on the day you leave and forward the bill to your new address.
  • If your home has oil heating, make sure to have your tank read and filled before your sale closes (unless stipulated otherwise in the offer).
  • If the water heater or furnace is rented, arrange for a transfer of the rental agreement to the purchaser.
  • Disconnect your telephone, cable and internet.


  • Make arrangements for the gas and electric utilities, water, telephone and cable and internet to be connected on the day the sale closes.
  • Get change of address cards from the post office and send out well before moving day.
  • Arrange for the post office forward your mail to your new address.
  • Cancel any contracted services and pre-authorized cheques.
  • Notify charge account and credit card companies.
  • Notify your insurance company.
  • Inform gardening, dry cleaning, garbage pick-up, newspapers, magazines and other home services and arrange for service at your new address.
  • Cancel or transfer social, athletic, civic, religious or business affiliations and memberships.
  • Make special arrangements for the moving of your pets.



  • Check to see that utility services are on: telephone, gas, electricity, water.
  • Turn on pilot light on stove, hot water heater, furnace.
  • Check to see appliances (refrigerator, freezer, washer and dryer, etc.) are working.
  • Contact Post Office to see if they are holding any mail for you.
  • Register your children in school.
  • Contact city/municipal offices to find out about garbage pick-up, recycling facilities and local regulations and information.
  • Register for voting.

Preparing Your Home For Showings

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Make sure that buyers see the very best your home has to offer. I will provide you with advice for how to stage or enhance your particular property, however these are some good general guidelines.


  • Lawn & Garden: mow, trim, weed, clean away any dead foliage.
  • Extra vehicles: remove from curb view.
  • Clean windows and sills.
  • Keep walks and driveways clear of snow and debris.
  • Repair doors and windows, screens and hardware.
  • Clean decks and repair or paint siding and fencing as needed.
  • Place a new doormat at the entrance door.
  • Add potted flowers, seasonally appropriate.
  • Add new house number or door fixture if yours is tarnished. Give a fresh coat of paint to the front door.


  • Tidy counters, clean extra appliances, accessories, etc.
  • Clean cupboards, medicine cabinets. Pack extras away.
  • Clean cupboards inside and out.
  • Check light switches and fixtures.
  • Clean away any mildew in shower or around tub and

Fix grout and caulking as needed.

  • Repair faucets, toilets or any leaking or dripping taps.
  • Freshly paint if needed
  • Use fresh towels and replace the shower curtain with
  • a new white or neutral colour.
  • Display attractive scented soaps
  • All garbages should be empty


  • Repair ceiling and wall cracks, repaint.
  • Keep hallways and foyers clear of obstacles.
  • Put all unnecessary or out-of-season coats, boots etc. away.
  • Re-arrange furniture for openness. I will help you with this.
  • Straighten book shelves, store some away to make space.
  • Clear and polish coffee tables and all surfaces.
  • Tidy play areas, arrange children’s bedrooms to look fun and inviting.
  • If you have a fireplace, arrange for it to be cleaned and lit during cooler weather.
  • Arrange fresh flowers around the house.
  • Put linens on table, perhaps place a setting on dining room table.
  • Have artwork on the walls, it can have a huge effect on the look of a room.


  • Tidy and organize. Make sure door opener works.
  • Sweep floors, clean any grease spots, store garden tools.
  • Hang hooks for brooms, racks, bikes, and additional tools


  • Many purchases are made on an emotional basis. Keep your home warm and cozy, if in winter, or cool and fresh, if in summer, so it feels inviting!
  • Open drapes and blinds – keep rooms and hallways bright and cheerful.
  • Leave your lights on for showings
  • Clean your closets – show off how spacious they really are.
  • Be scrupulous about wastebaskets, garbage bins and litter boxes.
  • Cigarette smoke is offensive to many. Keep ashtrays washed, and only smoke outdoors.
  • Use exterior lights at night. Your home will look more inviting.


Price Your Home – Market Value

Why is it so important to price your home according to its market value?

A realistic competitive price means:

A realistic, competitive price means your home will sell faster and for the best possible price. People don’t bother looking at over-priced homes.  If you overprice, you may lose the most qualified prospects as they will view the properties that are priced within their purchase power range.  Overpricing helps sell your competition as prospective purchasers will soon realize that they can get better value elsewhere. A well-priced property can also generate competing offers.

Early activity is key.  With a listing price close to market value, Realtors will be more willing to present your property to buyers (and be more enthusiastic when they do so). Realtors are working with buyers who have seen what is currently on the market and are waiting for something new to be listed. Therefore, the most activity will take place in the first 30 days of a listing. Your home will probably receive its highest and best offers during this time.

Maintain marketability! If your home is overpriced it can lose its “marketability.” Your home may become stale if it sits on the market for too long. Buyers will wonder if there is something is wrong with the property, even after you lower the price. You may even have to settle for less than market value.

The Role of your REALTOR. Your Realtor does not determine what your home is worth, the market determines the value based on analysis that your realtor will do for you comparing solds, competition, trends and economic conditions. Together we determine the price.

Don’t pick a realtor who promises you the highest price to get you to list with them. Pick on who knows the market and substantiates the price.