Do Appraisals Help in Selling a Home?

Appraisal Road Sign Illustration Design
Sometimes sellers overspend when getting their houses ready for sale. Other home sellers don’t spend enough, leaving important maintenance items undone. A trustworthy real estate agent can usually help a seller anticipate which items should be ignored and which ones should be addressed, but there is one area that agents disagree about: Will having an appraisal help you sell your home?

The answer is yes. And no.

An appraisal won’t make your home more attractive.

An appraisal won’t increase a home’s value. It’s certainly not going to add curb appeal. It won’t even save time or money, because a buyer’s lender will want the property appraised again by one of their own approved appraisers.

For these reasons, real estate professionals may advise a seller not to spend a few hundred dollars for an appraisal. They may claim that their own estimate of market value is an accurate guide, and this could be true, especially if the agent is very familiar with building materials, the neighborhood, and the current marketplace. When sellers are short on cash, forgoing an appraisal certainly won’t prevent them from selling if they use a good agent who provides sound advice.

So why do some agents encourage getting an appraisal before listing your home?

An appraisal will set the fair market price for your home.

An appraisal is a valuable tool that helps sellers know whether or not they are setting a fair market price. It provides a standard for evaluating whether to take an offer or counteroffer. Perhaps best of all, it helps ensure that a property doesn’t languish on the market. A properly priced listing will sell much faster than an overpriced one. Motivated sellers don’t want to wait months to close on their sale — those mortgage payments add up quickly!

A pre-market appraisal also provides peace of mind to anxious buyers who might worry about whether there’s another, better house out there for the same amount of money. When they know that they are paying a fair price, they’re less likely to keep looking at other properties. Buyers who are paying cash for a house will also be satisfied that they won’t have to pay for another appraisal if you’re willing to share yours. They can see before they make an offer that your asking price is reasonable.

In a brisk market like the one Calgary is experiencing in recent months, getting an appraisal may seem like an unnecessary step. Plenty of people sell without paying for a formal estimate of value. Those who do, however, will never wonder whether they sold for too little and may save valuable marketing time, freeing them up to get on with their new lives sooner.

Would you like a stress-free real estate experience? If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell in the next few months, call me today at 403-605-6440 or email me at bradwillson@remax.net and I’ll put you and your needs first.

About Brad Willson

has been making home buying, selling and investing in the Calgary area smooth and stress-free for nearly a decade. He is an awardee in the Calgary Real Estate Board Million Dollar Club, a member of the RE/MAX 100% Club and a recipient of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame Award, and is one of the few Certified Condominium Specialists in the Calgary area. Brad is as devoted to his clients as he is to his wife and two children who are now young adults.

Posted in Buy and Sell Homes in Calgary, Buying and Selling Homes in Calgary, Real Estate Agent, Real Estate in Calgary | Leave a comment

Spring in Calgary

Spring Forest
It will be spring soon — the busiest season of the Calgary real estate market.

Because the winters in Calgary are so harsh, the real estate industry in the area really begins to boom when the weather starts getting nicer outside. People can come out of their homes and start fixing up their properties to get them ready to sell in nice weather. It is not uncommon to see homes listed for sale in this area at this time of the year.

But that’s only one of the reasons why I’m looking forward to spring.

The other reason is Calgary is beautiful in this season.

I think Calgary is one of the most beautiful cities in all of Canada. The front ranges of the Canadian Rockies are about 80 km west of it, and the Bow River runs through it in the south. There are foothills and prairies all around. Though the area is beautiful all year round, it is particularly lovely when the long, harsh winter makes way for days with an average temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. When that time comes, Calgary begins to spring to life (no pun intended) in a wide variety of ways.

One particularly notable element of Calgary in the spring is the beautiful flora and fauna that is on display. The Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is native to the area, as is the White Spruce.

With the warm weather and the great beauty all around, there is also a significant number of outdoor activities, events and festivals that take place during the spring in Calgary. From the beginning of March to the end of May alone, you can see the Gluten Free Expo, the MTT Fest, the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, the Calgary Underground Film Festival, the Funny Fest Calgary Comedy Festival, the Heritage Park Festival of Quilts, and more.

I can feel spring in my bones. Let it come! And when it does, I will make sure I am as ready as ever to help people buy and sell Calgary real estate!

Would you like a stress-free real estate experience? If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell in the next few months, call me today at 403-605-6440 or email me at bradwillson@remax.net and I’ll put you and your needs first.

About Brad Willson

has been making home buying, selling and investing in the Calgary area smooth and stress-free for nearly a decade. He is an awardee in the Calgary Real Estate Board Million Dollar Club, a member of the RE/MAX 100% Club and a recipient of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame Award, and is one of the few Certified Condominium Specialists in the Calgary area. Brad is as devoted to his clients as he is to his wife and two children who are now young adults.

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How To Raise The Value of Your Home

Image courtesy of BigStock.com

Image courtesy of BigStock.com

When it comes to adding value to a house, sellers are sometimes tempted to spend on beautiful kitchen upgrades or room additions. What many don’t understand is that while these major projects will certainly add value, the price jump they’ll see won’t be as much as they spent on the project.

Remodeling Magazine’s 2013 report details how much return sellers are likely to see from their completed upgrades. The results show that homeowners will normally see a 54-72% return on their cost. For example, typical kitchen remodeling averaged just under $54,000, but added less than $35,000 to a home’s resale value.

I encourage people to perform expensive upgrades if they want to achieve a new look and feel for their home while they’re living in it, but to save renovation dollars if they’re planning to sell right away.

The best way to improve what a buyer will pay for your home is to go the extra mile in smaller ways such as these.

Exterior

Give your house the kind of curb appeal that makes buyers eager to step inside. Attractive landscaping, fresh paint, and a tidy appearance will set the stage for how receptive they will be as they step through the front door.

Staging

Inside, a house that appears ready for a new family will appeal to your buyer’s emotions. It can be tricky finding the right balance between a cozy, inviting look and one that is too personal, which makes buyers aware that it’s not their home. If they can visualize themselves living there, they’ll be more likely to make an offer.

Maintenance

Proper maintenance of both the interior and exterior is critical to getting top dollar for your home. Buyers will happily pay a premium price for a house that feels well-loved and is impeccably tended. Loose doorknobs, damaged screens, peeling paint, and cobwebs in the corner can detract from a property’s desirability and lose buyers. Worse, even when a buyer does step up and make an offer, they may ask the seller to pay to have these maintenance items completed anyway.

Consistently caring well for your home now and balancing your needs and tastes with what is likely to be important to the next owner is the best path you can take to raising your home’s resale value.

Would you like a stress-free real estate experience? If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell in the next few months, call me today at 403-605-6440403-605-6440 or email me at bradwillson@remax.net and I’ll put you and your needs first.

About Brad Willson

has been making home buying, selling and investing in the Calgary area smooth and stress-free for nearly a decade. He is an awardee in the Calgary Real Estate Board Million Dollar Club, a member of the RE/MAX 100% Club and a recipient of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame Award, and is one of the few Certified Condominium Specialists in the Calgary area. Brad is as devoted to his clients as he is to his wife and two children who are now young adults.

Posted in Buy and Sell Homes in Calgary, Calgary Real Estate, Home Staging, Real Estate Agent, Real Estate in Calgary, Seller Tips | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How to Rent Out Your House for Extra Income

Real Estate Concept Canadian Dollar

Image courtesy of BigStock.com

When I hear people say they wish they earned more, I always want to ask them if they have considered one of the easiest, yet often overlooked, sources of extra cash: rental income. Here in Calgary, there are several ways property owners can improve their finances by renting out their property, and it’s not nearly as problematic as naysayers believe! Take a look at these three sources of income, and how to ensure a great experience for everyone involved.

Turn your basement into a rental unit.

It doesn’t cost much to create a comfortable living area in your unfinished basement, but the rewards can be generous. In fact, your tenants will pay back your costs over the first year or two, which will leave you with a home that has more value than it did before; and from that point forward, it will be entirely profitable. Because you still live upstairs, you’ll be able to keep an eye on your tenants and they’ll be likely to behave well.

Rent out a home you own, but don’t live in it.

One man I know rented to a truck driver who only spent a few days each month at the house, but paid the full market rental price for the house each month. What a great way to earn extra money with very little wear and tear!

Of course, not all tenants are truck drivers. Many people shy away from renting out their properties because they’ve heard stories about bad tenants and costly maintenance. By hiring a good property manager (I recommend Red Line Properties), home owners can exchange part of their profit for someone who will investigate the tenant’s suitability, collect the rent, and ensure that your home is properly maintained. Property managers understand the laws, too, and help make sure that your rights are protected. It’s much better to spend a bit on professional property management than to let your emotions guide you!

Rent garage space.

In areas where parking is at a premium, such as downtown or in condominium developments, you may be able to rent your extra parking spot, if you have one.

By renting out your unneeded space, you can generate extra cash flow, but there are some common sense precautions to take. Always verify a potential tenant’s credit score and check his references. I recommend running a criminal check, too, just to be on the safe side. Finally, if you will do your own management, be sure to learn applicable laws and to occasionally visit your property to ensure that it’s maintained well.

Would you like a stress-free real estate experience? If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell in the next few months, call me today at 403-605-6440 or email me at bradwillson@remax.net and I’ll put you and your needs first.

About Brad Willson

has been making home buying, selling and investing in the Calgary area smooth and stress-free for nearly a decade. He is an awardee in the Calgary Real Estate Board Million Dollar Club, a member of the RE/MAX 100% Club and a recipient of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame Award, and is one of the few Certified Condominium Specialists in the Calgary area. Brad is as devoted to his clients as he is to his wife and two children who are now young adults.

Posted in Buy and Sell Homes in Calgary, Buying and Selling Homes in Calgary, Calgary Real Estate, Real Estate in Calgary | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Home Inspection Tips Before Buying a Home

Image courtesy of BigStock.com

Image courtesy of BigStock.com

When buyers purchase homes, they have a right to learn as much as they can about the property they’re purchasing. It’s usually not practical to find out everything, though. How much should a buyer spend on home inspections?

Types of home inspections

There are many kinds of inspections, and most of them cost money. Buyers usually want an independent, third-party inspection that tells them about the condition of the house or condo they’re purchasing. I always encourage buyers to pay for this, because it can reveal important information that cannot be detected simply by walking through the home — electrical and plumbing problems, inadequate roof trusses that could cause the roof to collapse under heavy snow, and carbon monoxide fumes due to improper duct work are just a few examples.

Septic and sewer inspections can save future homeowners thousands of dollars if a hidden problem exists. Ask me about the different types of inspections that are available, because each reveals different types of information that you may need to know!

Other inspections may be called for, too. If mold is present, for example, your family’s health could be at stake. A mold inspection can identify how bad the problem is and give a buyer tools for negotiating with the seller. However, a buyer may want to skip this inspection if there is no reason to believe mold growth exists.

Pest inspections can reveal the presence of mice or unwanted insects.

Mandatory home inspections

Some home inspections may be required. Appraisals inspect market value, for instance, and a lender will certainly require one. A property boundary survey could also be required in some instances.

Inessential home inspections

And then there are home inspections that are probably  not worth the cost at all. I’ve heard of homeowners elsewhere having inspections to check for electromagnetic fields, but I don’t know anyone who would request an inspection for that in our homes. (At least, I don’t know anyone yet!)

Buyers may be able to negotiate to have the seller pay for repairs, or get out of a contract if the problem is simply too big to fix. I have seen inspections that saved much more than the buyer spent for the inspector, so this one is probably too important to skip!

When you’re ready to buy a home, call me if you have questions about what types of inspections you should order. I’ll be happy to help you figure out which ones are worth paying for, and which ones you can safely skip.

Would you like a stress-free real estate experience? If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell in the next few months, call me today at 403-605-6440 or email me at bradwillson@remax.net and I’ll put you and your needs first.

About Brad Willson

has been making home buying, selling and investing in the Calgary area smooth and stress-free for nearly a decade. He is an awardee in the Calgary Real Estate Board Million Dollar Club, a member of the RE/MAX 100% Club and a recipient of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame Award, and is one of the few Certified Condominium Specialists in the Calgary area. Brad is as devoted to his clients as he is to his wife and two children who are now young adults.

Posted in Buy and Sell Homes in Calgary, Buying and Selling Homes in Calgary, Calgary Real Estate, Real Estate Agent, Real Estate in Calgary | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Take Travel Photos Your Facebook Friends Will Love

Q3 b3 Fotos & FB

Image courtesy of mkhmarketing

 

Valentine’s Day is almost among us and I’d like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a wonderful holiday to be shared with friends, family members and that special someone. I’d also love to take the opportunity to give a special greeting to my lovely wife and best friend, Beth, with whom I just finished a wonderful trip to Mexico. I travel with Beth each year to Central or South America, and I love to take photos and post them on my Facebook page. I’m pretty much doing the photography and Facebook uploading by myself, as an amateur, but I figured I’d check online for some tips on how to take photos your Facebook friends will love. I wanted to see if I could pick up a good idea or two. Here are some of the best tips I found.

Show the vista.

Remember that not all photos that you take on Facebook have to include yourself or the person you’re traveling with. Especially if you’re visiting someplace naturally beautiful like Central or South America, there will definitely be times where you’ll want to allow the landscape and area to speak for itself in your photos.

Master your camera.

You’ll also want to make sure that your photos are taken properly and that you have properly configured your camera before your trip. You’re not just capturing memories – you’re also showing all of your friends online the beautiful place you just visited. Make sure that you are manually adjusting your camera’s focus, configuring the white balance and taking care of other settings before you snap those first pictures.

Write great captions!

Finally, make sure that the captions for your photos have any necessary context to provide people additional information about your trip. Sometimes a photograph without a caption is just a picture that nobody can really understand, regardless of how pretty or properly composed it actually is.

Try these tips and let’s see you get more likes, comments and shares with your next travel photos on Facebook!

Would you like a stress-free real estate experience? If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell in the next few months, call me today at 403-605-6440 or email me at Bradwillson@remax.net and I’ll put you and your needs first.

 

About Brad Willson

has been making home buying, selling and investing in the Calgary area smooth and stress-free for nearly a decade. He is an awardee in the Calgary Real Estate Board Million Dollar Club, a member of the RE/MAX 100% Club and a recipient of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame Award, and is one of the few Certified Condominium Specialists in the Calgary area. Brad is as devoted to his clients as he is to his wife and two children who are now young adults.

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Calgary’s Secret To Success: Youth And Diversity

Calgary youth

Image courtesy of Anuraj Singh

Last year, Moneysense named Calgary Canada’s Best Large City, citing high incomes and abundant jobs, fueled mainly by growth in the oil sector. But if you ask me, the secret to Calgary’s continued phenomenal growth and rise to the top is its people. Calgarians are among the subjects I am proudest to talk about when I sell Calgary real estate, and here’s why.

The Power of Diversity

Calgary is famous for its annual Calgary Stampede, but throughout the year, this vibrant city hosts dozens of festivals and showcases the art and culture of its many minorities. With Calgary’s visible minorities comprising over 28 percent of its total population, the city is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Canada, next only to Toronto and Vancouver. This explains the city’s unique vibe and youthful exuberance, celebrated almost the whole year round through its festivals and art events. These include the International Festival of Animated Objects in winter, the Calgary International Children’s Festival and the Punjabi Spring Harvest Festival in spring, and the Fiestaval Latino, Turkish Festival, and Dragon Boat Festival in summer.

Youthful Exuberance

The population of Calgary is the youngest among Canada’s major metropolitan areas. Statistics Canada’s Annual Demographics Estimates pegged Calgary’s median age at 36 years, younger than Edmonton (36.1), Toronto (38.2), Ottawa (38.9), Montreal (39.4), and Vancouver (39.5). There’s a lot of youthfulness in this city, and that is seen in the active, sporty lifestyles of the people who live here. Calgary’s residents have their fill of hiking, boating, kayaking, kiteboarding, fishing, biking and… zorbing!

If you’re looking to make your home in a place where diverse cultural origins come together into a potent, youthful mix of energy and creativity, check out Calgary real estate and you just may find here what you’re looking for!

Would you like a stress-free real estate experience? If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell in the next few months, call me today at 403-605-6440 or email me at bradwillson@remax.net and I’ll put you and your needs first.

About Brad Willson

has been making home buying, selling and investing in the Calgary area smooth and stress-free for nearly a decade. He is an awardee in the Calgary Real Estate Board Million Dollar Club, a member of the RE/MAX 100% Club and a recipient of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame Award, and is one of the few Certified Condominium Specialists in the Calgary area. Brad is as devoted to his clients as he is to his wife and two children who are now young adults.

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