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Does Your Home Insurance Cover Everything?

May 23rd, 2017 by queencityhomes

When you suffer damage to, (or the loss of), your home or its contents, you expect your insurance company to help you out. And, most do a good job of doing just that.

Still, it’s a good idea to review your policy with your insurance advisor and find out what’s covered and what isn’t. You don’t want to discover that your policy will not cover the cost of repairing the damage caused by a flood in your laundry room.

Pay particular attention to coverage in the case of water damage. Some insurance policies don’t cover floods and sewer backup unless an additional rider is purchased.

Also, check liability limits. Ask your advisor to recommend an appropriate level. Finally, make sure you know exactly how much your home is insured for. Are you covered for the full replacement cost? Are you comfortable with that coverage or the actual cash value?

Having the right insurance gives you peace-of-mind and is an important part of enjoying your home.

Keep in mind that experts advise you to review your insurance with your advisor. Ask lots of questions. Make sure you understand your coverage fully.

By the way, if you’re looking for an insurance advisor, I’m well-connected in the local “home” industry. I may be able to give you a couple of names of good, reputable professionals. Give me a call.

Buying Your Dream Home in a Hot Market

May 9th, 2017 by queencityhomes

Imagine finding the perfect home, only to discover there is serious interest from at least a dozen other buyers. It’s like scrambling for the last piece of cake at a buffet!

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help get the home you want, even in a highly competitive market. Here are just a few ideas:

• Only view a few ideal properties at a time. If you see too many, and thus spread yourself too thin, you risk homes slipping through your fingers.

• Be realistic about price. Focus on finding a great home that you can afford, rather than trying to find a bargain.

• Consider homes that need some work. They get less interest than perfectly staged properties, yet can turn out to be a dream home.

• Be prepared to make an offer with as few conditions as possible. An offer conditional on passing inspection is usually fine, but in a competitive situation, offers with other conditions will likely be turned down flat.

• Make your decisions quickly. If there are likely to be other interested buyers, you want to get your offer in early.

• Make the right offer. To win the deal, you want your offer to be as enticing as possible to the seller — especially when it comes to price.

Yes, it can be tough finding an ideal home in a hot market, but I can help. Give me a call and I’ll show you how.

Important Things to “Fix Up” before Selling

April 26th, 2017 by queencityhomes

When you’re preparing your home for sale, it’s not unusual to need to fix up a few things around the property. After all, you want your home to look its best to buyers, so that you get good offers, quickly.

 

What do you need to fix? Here are three categories that will help you create and prioritize your list.

 

  1. Anything that squeaks or creaks.

 

Is there something in your home that makes a noise it shouldn’t be making? Perhaps it’s a rattling closet door or a creaking floor board? You may be so used to it you no longer notice the sound. But buyers will. Be sure to get those items fixed.

 

  1. Anything that’s unsightly.

 

You don’t have to make your home look perfect. However, things that are unsightly will likely get buyers’ attention. You want them to focus on the terrific features of your property, not the scuff on the wall.

 

Take a walk through your property, including the yard. Pretend you’re the buyer. Do you notice anything that doesn’t look good? If so, tidy it up, fix it up or replace it.

 

  1. Anything that’s broken.

 

If there’s anything that needs repair — an outside tap that’s not working, or a sliding door that regularly careens off its runner — call the contractor or fix it yourself.

 

Getting these items fixed will go a long way toward making your home appealing to buyers.

 

Want more tips on preparing your home for sale? Call today.

Making an Offer in a Competitive Market

March 28th, 2017 by queencityhomes

Imagine finding a home you love, making an offer, and then finding out there are other competing offers on the table. Ouch.
If you’re looking for a property in a competitive market, it is likely that there will be multiple offers. Even just one can create the risk that you’ll lose the home. So how do you make sure your offer is enticing enough to win over the buyer? Here are some ideas:
• Don’t make a low-ball offer. If you do, it might be dismissed and you probably won’t get another chance to bid — especially if the other competing offers are near the listing price.
• Have a pre-arranged mortgage and include that with your offer. This reassures the buyer there won’t be any money issues. (Most lenders will provide you with a pre-arranged mortgage certificate for this purpose.)
• Go in with a price high enough that the buyer will be interested, but not so high as to be leaving money on the table. This is tricky and requires a savvy knowledge of the current market.
• Have a REALTOR® present the offer on your behalf. A REALTOR® will know how to do so professionally, and in a manner that gives you the best chance of getting the home.
In a competitive situation, working with a REALTOR® who is an expert on the local market — and a skilled negotiator — is crucial.
Looking for a REALTOR® like that? Call today.

How Long Will Your Home Appliances Last?

March 15th, 2017 by queencityhomes

If you’re paying a lot of money for a new washing machine, wouldn’t it be nice to know how long you should expect it to last? There is, of course, no exact formula for figuring that out. Every brand and unit is different. There are however, some broad estimates.

According to an article in Consumer Reports, a washer and dryer will hum along just fine for about 10 years, with a likelihood of needing a repair during the last two to three. Leading brands offer a parts and labour guarantee for at least a year. So, if something goes wrong during that period, be sure to contact the manufacturer right away.

The National Association of Home Builders released a report a few years ago on the longevity of kitchen appliances. They found that refrigerators can last up to 13 years under normal use. Dishwashers and ovens will start to show their age after nine years. The worst record is for trash compactors, with a life expectancy of only six years before repairs or replacement is required.

Microwave ovens last an average of nine years. However, the door seal should be checked often. Otherwise, the unit will quickly lose efficiency. (You’ll notice this when your food doesn’t heat up as quickly and evenly.)

All experts agree that the best way to keep home appliances functioning properly is to follow manufacturer’s instructions for use and maintenance. If you’ve lost your user’s manual, you can download a new one (which may contain important updates) from the manufacturer’s website.

Your Exit Plan in Case of a Fire

February 28th, 2017 by queencityhomes

In almost every movie featuring a house on fire, the actors seem to be able to move around the house and see just fine, while beating back flames with a shirt or coat. Of course, that’s not what happens in real fires.

 

When there’s fire in a home, there is typically complete darkness (because the power goes out) and a cloud of spreading thick, black smoke makes it difficult to see and breathe.

 

That’s why knowing how to get out of your house — fast — is crucial.

 

Experts recommend rehearsing what to do in case there’s a fire. Make sure everyone in the family has an exit plan. Each should know exactly how to get out, including primary and secondary exits, and where the family will meet once safely outside.

 

Never attempt to take anything with you. It may seem like you have plenty of time to grab a coat or purse, but the characteristics of a fire can change in seconds.

 

As a failsafe, in case you can’t exit through a door, you should determine in advance which window has the safest exit. Make sure that the window opens easily and everyone knows how to remove the screen or any other obstruction.

 

Finally, don’t call the fire department from inside your house. Get out first, then make the call.

How to Cut Your Electricity Bill in Half

February 15th, 2017 by queencityhomes

You don’t have to freeze in the winter or start reading by candlelight to reduce your electricity bill. There are many simple ways to use less power with little, if any, impact on your lifestyle.
A good place to start is with your electronics. According to the David Suzuki Foundation, “Any gizmo that has a clock,
digital timer, remote control or standby mode is sucking energy when it’s not being used (it’s called ‘phantom electricity’ — and it’s scary how much of it there is).” So keep them unplugged as much as possible. Also, unplug charger cords for phone and computers when not in use. Even when not connected to the device, they still suck power.
Another easy change to make involves your lights. Switching to compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED light bulbs can save you a lot of energy. They’re 75% more efficient.
Finally, the old-fashioned method of insulating doors and windows can work wonders for lowering your electricity bill. In fact, some particularly drafty homes can lose up to 40% of their heat. Check for drafts regularly and repair or replace insulation as needed.
None of these ideas will impact your day-to-day living. Yet, they could potentially save you a bundle.

Will an Open House Help Sell your Home?

January 24th, 2017 by queencityhomes

You’ve probably seen signs around the area for Open Houses. You may have even attended a few. These are open invitations for potential buyers to drop by on a certain day and time, to check out the property and get more information.

When you’re listing your home for sale, you might wonder whether you’ll need to have an Open House.

To answer that question, you’ll need to consider the pros and cons. Planning and hosting an open house isn’t as easy as it may seem. There’s a lot of preparation involved. In addition, you’ll likely spend hours making your property look its best and you’ll need to be away from your home for a good part of that day.

That being said, an Open House has many advantages.

• It helps showcase features of your property that may not come across well in advertisements and listing descriptions.

• It attracts potential buyers who, for any number of reasons, might not otherwise call to view the home.

• It generates a buzz and publicity about your listing.

However, an Open House might not be necessary if there is high demand for properties like yours and you’re likely to get multiple offers.

What Does a Property Surveyor Do?

January 10th, 2017 by queencityhomes

Property Surveyors, sometimes referred to as land Surveyors, play a vital role in the real estate world. They are the professionals who determine or confirm the exact boundaries of a property. Will you need to deal with a Property Surveyor when selling your home? You might. Sometimes the mortgage lender will ask for a land survey, especially if your property is older and hasn’t changed hands in many years. You might also be asked for one by the buyer if there is any confusion about the size and boundaries of your property – or if significant changes have been made to it in recent years. This is nothing to be concerned about. A qualified Property Surveyor will do the appropriate inspection and measurements on your property and issue you the survey. (It looks a little like a blueprint.) Property Surveyors are highly trained and licensed. In the United States, the profession is represented by the National Society of Professional Surveyors, with each state having its own governing body. In Canada, Professional Surveyors Canada (PSC) represents the profession nationally, and most provinces have their own professional associations. Before getting a new land survey, make sure you don’t already have one. Hopefully, you’ve stored the paperwork that relates to the purchase of your home. Look through it. A valid land survey might be right there. If you have questions about land surveys, call today

How to Watch Out for Poisons in Your Home

December 13th, 2016 by queencityhomes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90% of exposures to poisons occur inside the home. Almost all are preventable, if you follow some simple guidelines.
• Look for the poison label on products you buy. Visually, it’s a skull and cross bones, often (but not always) with the word POISON above it.
• Don’t make assumptions. Sometimes a seemingly innocuous product, like a shampoo, can contain poison or other ingredients which are harmful if swallowed.
• Avoid mixing different cleaning products together. When chemicals are combined, they change. Combining some cleaning products can even create toxic fumes.
• Keep all medication, even the non-prescription kind, out of reach of children. Never leave medicine on the bathroom counter.
• Never use pesticides inside the home unless the product is clearly labeled for indoor use. Then, use only as directed.
• Never use a charcoal grill or barbeque indoors, no matter how well ventilated you think you’ve made it. Doing so can easily cause carbon monoxide poisoning. One final tip. Pay attention to the expiry date of products, especially cosmetics and cleaning liquids. As chemicals age, they change and can emit harmful fumes.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Association of Regina REALTORS® Inc.
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