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Alright! You've committed to the change you are about to initiate.  "How do I make the right choice?"

 

Write it down!  Make a new list - this is your wish list.  Which considerations are most important to you when you define your lifestyle?  This is list to go over carefully...if you plan to start a family, how long of a 'fit' is the property you are contemplating?  Can the (projected) 4 of you really survive in 8oo square feet?  Perhaps surprisingly, the answer can be "yes" if other criteria mesh well.  Maybe you are leaving a relationship and splitting custody; can older children find a place of their own within the home to entertain friends?  If you are downsizing, how long will 3 levels be workable?®

 

Be realistic!  If you are looking for the outstanding view property, move-in condition for under $1.5M in Point Grey - come back to Earth.  Yes, I am exaggerating but time and again I see Buyers (expecially first time Buyers) turn away from a good deal due to unrealistic expectations.

 

Be brave!  A caveat here - only forge ahead if you are working with a Realtor®.  Your Realtor® is not only a wealth of information about what is on the market but also a source that can save you time and - more importantly, money.  Full time Realtors® know the inside details on a property that can be the difference between making the wrong or right decision.

 

Which brings us to Price!  How much should you pay?  Will the Seller accept your offer?  That all depends...the price you offer a Seller can be based on a number of different criteria such as how long the property has been on the market, market conditions (expect to pay list price or over if it is a Sellers' market with very little product to choose from), what other similar properties have sold for, etc.  Your Realtor® is an invaluable source - take advantage!

 

Due dilligence is a must.  With a Strata property, at least 2 years of minutes, any engineering/Depreciation reports (see August post "Strata Fees: How High is too High?"), and financials are just some of the items needing careful scrutiny.  With a detached home, make sure you have researched as to whether or not an oil tank is on the property.  Any offer should be written with an inspection clause!!  Your Realtor® will discuss with you how long you need to carry out this research and will write the contract with a date by which you need to have completed your groundwork.  After this date, your contract is firm and binding.  Congratulations!  You are on your way to becoming a homeowner!!

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Leaving a spouse? Buying your first house/condo? Whatever the transition, your first decision is the resolve to make it happen.  The rest unfolds one step at a time.  Here are a few guidelines to get you moving in the right direction.

 

1.  Who else is involved in the decision?  Who else will be impacted by your decision - kids, friends, relatives, significant other...last, but certainly not least, pets??  If your decision involves leaving a spouse, the corresponding emotional upheaval can be disastrous.  Make a list of people who impact your life and those whose lives you impact.  Can you uproot your children to a new neighbourhood?  Does it make financial sense to move now or wait until you will be downsizing as opposed to moving laterally?  

 

2.  What will the fallout be from your decision?  Where are your activities centered?  Is your work in close proximity to where you live now?  Are you prepared to commute?  If your decision involves downsizing, can you live communally in a strata environment?

 

3.  Where are you prepared to go?   Will you give up proximity to the downtown core for space?  Is a 'neighbourhood feel' important?  Are you someone who worries about feeling safe?  Is access to transit a priority?

 

Once you have answered these questions you will begin to formulate an idea of where you are headed.  

 

An important consideration:  if you are leaving a relationship, the necessity to understand why you are making the decision intensifies.  Take the time you need and ask questions!!

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