Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Is Recreation Property Right For You?

More and more people - especially "baby boomers" - are looking at recreation property ownership as the perfect way of finding peace and tranquility.

Studies show that boomers are the fastest-growing group of recreation property owners. The need to find that special spot away from it all - plus low mortgage rates - have fueled demand. Is this the right time to buy that hideaway you have been dreaming of, and is it the right buy for you?

Owning your primary residence does not completely prepare you for owning vacation property. In many ways buying recreational property is like buying any other form of real estate but some of the details are quite unique. Like owning a home, there are benefits and challenges to owning recreation property and a REALTOR® who specializes in the particular area of "cottage country" you are interested in will be of tremendous help in making your purchase a success.

Things to consider
Whether in a city or small town, most homes are located in a subdivision or similar development that stipulates a building scheme, supplies water, sewers and other utilities and provides an established layout of roads and sidewalks.

Cottage development, on the other hand, rarely follows any established pattern. Most cottages that border a waterfront have been developed over the course of many years. Often municipal or regional planning involvement has been limited and most day-to-day concerns are handled by local associations.

Legal issues
Waterfront properties are often subject to the rules of regulatory bodies that control what can be done with the beach and shoreline. These regulations may prevent cottage owners from making additions or installing new structures. They may also prevent an owner from altering the slope of the land.
Generally docks, boat houses, retaining walls and other structures require permission from the appropriate government authorities. Before purchasing a cottage property, you should check on the legality of the current structures and ensure that any intended changes can be undertaken in the future.

Road access
Most cottages are not located along public highways. The access road is not always a public road but may involve a private right-of-way. A buyers needs to investigate who is responsible for the upkeep of the road and whether it is open year round.

Some cottages are located on islands, which means you will require water transport as well as parking on the mainland.

Water and sewer
Seldom are cottage properties served by municipal sewer and water systems. Domestic water usually comes from wells or lakes and rivers, or both. A septic system is often used for waste disposal. These are government regulated and cottagers must comply with the requirements.

Water from the well may or may not be safe for drinking; cottagers may have to provide their own bottled drinking water.

Finding a REALTOR®
The REALTOR® you select should be someone who knows the area you are searching and who understands what you are looking for. He or she should be able to provide you with sound, effective advice and have a record of successful recreational real estate transactions.

Begin by asking colleagues, friends and relatives who have cottages in the area in which you are interested to get names of REALTORS® they can recommend. Drive through the area and drop in on real estate offices; ask how many vacation properties they have sold in the last six months and what the sale prices were.

Buying a recreation property is a major business transaction. Maintaining it is a major responsibility. Take your time, drive around different areas - rent a number of cottages in areas where you think you would enjoy owning one. A vacation getaway can bring a great deal of joy to you and your family but it's not an investment you should rush into.

I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR®
Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty
C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Defining and Finding Your Dream Home?

When you think of your dream home, what do you see? Each of us has a vision of what it will be but getting as close to that vision as possible is a practical, step-by-step process that begins with finding a REALTOR®.

A home is the single largest purchase most of us make, and it often carries with it a great deal of emotional energy. it is hard to be practical. We want a home to capture all of our ideals for the best possible price. The "real" houses we see often don't stack up to our ideal.

A REALTOR® is your best ally throughout the home-buying process. He or she can provide expert advice and help you determine how much you can afford, what kind of home you can buy in that price range and where it may be located.

You have no doubt heard the phrase "location, location, location". It really is the most important factor in making any real estate purchase. To find the right location, you must think of where you want to live both in broad terms and in detail. Let's begin with the broad terms.

Where do you want to live?
Urban:  Urban communities offer the broadest range of housing types but, generally, at higher prices than similar-sized homes in non-urban locations.

Suburb:  The suburbs are typically made up of newer neighbourhoods, schools and shopping centres. Prices may or may not be lower than those of the central city but you often get more square footage, larger rooms and bigger lots in a suburban area.

Smaller towns and cities:  A lower-paced lifestyle and lower taxes and housing prices are often big draws to British Columbia's smaller communities. There are generally fewer types of homes available and the number for sale could be limited.

Rural: A stream flowing over a few acres sounds appealing and your housing budget will often buy you more in a rural setting than other location.

Once you have considered the broader locations, it's time to think about features you need and want in a home.Begin by making a "buying blueprint" of the home you are looking for, based only on your needs, your price limit and your wants. If you have three children, for instance, you may need three or four bedrooms and two bathrooms. You may also want a pool and a large garden, but do you really need these?

Prepare a shopping list: how many bedrooms? How many bathrooms? One car garage or two? Large backyard or small?

Now for the more detailed location considerations.

Comparing homes and locations
Now you want to match the type of home you would like with a more specific location. Start reading the real estate ads in local newspapers and REALTOR®-produced publications. These ads will give you an idea of the communities that best match your criteria for homes and locations. Drive through the communities that are likely candidates.

Check out the types of homes available, how well the neighbourhoods are maintained, availability of schools and shopping, recreational and religious facilities. Be aware of drawbacks: highway noise, train tracks, airports, large industrial or manufacturing centres. Drive through the neighbourhoods at different times of the day.

Attend open houses in the areas you are exploring. Look at different home types. You will begin to understand which best suit your needs and which are in your price range. Open houses also provide an excellent chance to meet the REALTORS® hosting the events. In fact, it's possible you may select your REALTOR® subsequent to a meeting at an Open House since REALTORS® are familiar with the areas in which they work and can answer many of the questions you have developed during your search.

A REALTOR® will be familiar with the different communities in an area and be able to advise you accordingly. If you don't know what kind of community you want to live in, begin by defining where you don't want to live. Also establish a commuting circle that's acceptable to you.

To define a commuting circle, pinpoint your place of work on a map. Determine the maximum time you are prepared to travel to get to work and use this distance to draw a circle around your workplace with a compass. Within the circle, eliminate any areas known for traffic jams and bottlenecks. Drive through the neighbourhoods and delete any that don't appeal to you.

Armed with your blueprint and a REALTOR®, you will be more than ready to find the home you've been dreaming of.

I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR®
Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty
C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Buying a Home - Old versus New

Are you in the market for a home? If so, how do you envision your ideal abode? Do you see yourself in a cozy, old, Victorian treasure complete with gingerbread trim and ornate fireplaces? Or does the image of a brand new home built with today's state-of-the-art technology beckon to you?

Either way, you will find that the rewards of purchasing your own home are immeasurable. The security, comfort and peace of mind you get from home ownership - regardless of your preference for old or new - are well worth the investment.

Keep in mind that the time is right for purchasing. With lower interest rates, government incentive programs and more variety in housing opportunities than ever before, the market is very encouraging.

Look and compare
As you search for a home, you may want to look at and compare those that are both old and new before zeroing in on your particular preference. It is important to keep an open mind.

For instance, you may find a perfect 100-year old gem that needs a lot of renovation and tender loving care - but this may not necessarily fit into your budget plans, or your hectic schedule, if you plan to do a lot of the work yourself.

On the other hand, you may find a new home attractive but would have to spend extra money on landscaping and installing some of the amenities which may be part of the package in an older home.

In many cases, brand new homes aren't always as close to the amenities you may crave - like corner stores, libraries, shopping and recreation areas - simply because the neighbourhood hasn't yet been fully developed.

Advantages of an older home
Advocates of older homes will tell you that it is difficult to duplicate the charm of an older house in a newer one. In addition, with an older home you often get the added advantage of improvements made by previous owners.

Here are some of the advantages of an older home:
  • You can see exactly what you are getting and don't have to try to picture the completed house from a set of blueprints;
  • The house has been "shaken down", i.e. structural faults are clearly seen and can be or have been corrected;
  • The neighbourhood is fully built up and its character has been established;
  • There are existing recreation areas and a variety of local services;
  • Landscaping already exists;
  • There are generally fewer immediate move-in costs because basic features like drapery tracks (and sometimes even window coverings) are already installed. And chattels, such as special lighting fixtures and appliances, are often included with the sale of an older home.
Advantages of a new home
On the other side of the coin, new home advocates will point out that buying a brand new house is like getting a fresh start. You can make a choice between a custom-built home designed exactly to suit your needs and a home built from plans you have seen built into a model home.

Here are some other advantages of buying a new home:
  • You have much more flexibility with a new home in customizing your decor and landscaping to suit your tastes. You get fresh, unblemished walls and you can usually choose the type of flooring, carpeting and cupboards that you want;
  • With most new homes, you generally get more storage space (such as closets) and larger rooms;
  • Today's minimum standards for plumbing, electrical, insulation and heating systems are higher than ever before;
  • Traditionally, land values tend to increase during the first few years as neighbourhood services develop and the subdivision nears completion.

Consider location
Regardless of what type of home you choose - old, new or in between - be sure you examine all your options first so that you and your family are happy with the final choice. And don't forget to consider location; experienced Buyers know that it is the number one factor.

I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR® Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty
C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

All About Downpayments

How to Save for a Downpayment

The dream of owning a home of your own will more easily turn into reality if you take some practical steps towards saving for a down payment.

It makes good financial sense to put as much money as you can into your down payment. The bigger the down payment, the less you will have to borrow for a mortgage. This means smaller monthly mortgage payments and it also lowers the total cost of interest over the mortgage term.

Saving for a down payment can be a challenge and it often means sacrifice but there are programs designed specifically to help first-time buyers meet the challenge.

If you have been putting money into a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), the RRSP Home Buyer's Plan allows you to withdraw up to $20,000 from the plan to buy or build a house. Your spouse can also withdraw up to $20,000 from his or her RRSP, to make a total of $40,000 available for a downpayment.

There will be no income tax deducted from this money provided it is repaid to an RRSP within 15 years, according to a government repayment schedule. The money you take out must also have been deposited at least 90 days before withdrawal.

You can take part in this plan if you, or your spouse, have not owned a home and lived in it as your principal residence for five years before you take the money out of your RRSP.

You have to enter into an agreement to buy or build a home in Canada that will be your principal residence within a year. You can buy a new or resale detached or semi-detached home, a townhouse, condo, mobile home or an apartment in a duplex, triplex, fourplex or apartment building. Shares in a co-operative housing corporation also qualify.

Once you have entered into the agreement, Revenue Canada's Form T1306 must be completed and handed over to the financial institution that issued your RRSP. This form gives you permission to withdraw money without taxes being withheld. You can take money from more than one RRSP as long as you don't exceed the $20,000 limit.

If you don't think a conventional mortgage - which calls for 25 per cent of the purchase price as a down payment - is within your reach, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has a first-time buyer's program that offers financing of up to 95 per cent of a home's purchase price. To qualify, you must be planning to buy a home in Canada that will be your principal residence and you can't have owned a home in the previous five years.

Often the biggest obstacle to saving a down payment is simply the inconvenience of making regular deposits to your savings plan or account. However, even minimal contributions add up over time and before you know it you have enough saved for a downpayment.

Many financial institutions now offer automatic deductions to put some of your money into a savings account every week, every two weeks or once a month. Your ability to save money regularly will also stand you in good stead when it comes time to shop around for a mortgage.

REALTORS® are specially trained to help you find the home that's best for you. They are familiar with the way these programs work and their advice can help you start working towards making your dream of home ownership a reality.

I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR® Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty
C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Calculate a Workable Home-Buying Budget

About two-thirds of British Columbians own their own homes and every year thousands more buy a home for the first time. It's a similar story across Canada. Home ownership is an essential part of life.

If you are thinking of buying a home, don't start shopping until you know exactly how much home you can afford. Find your price range by calculating three amounts: the amount of cash you can put toward the purchase (down payment), the maximum amount of loan (mortgage) you can comfortably pay back and the costs associated with actually completing a purchase (closing costs).

Down payment
Canada's National Housing Act prohibits lenders from loaning the entire amount of a home's market value so you will need a cash down payment to cover part of the purchase price.

The Act says a lender cannot normally provide more than 75 per cent of a home's market value unless the mortgage is insured by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) or a private insurance company.

With mortgage loan insurance you can borrow up to 95 per cent of a home's value. The loan is known as a "high ratio" mortgage because of the high proportion of borrowed funds to the cash you bring to the table.

Mortgage insurance is available through chartered banks, trust companies, life insurance companies, credit unions and caisses populaires and the costs vary between one-half and two-and-a-half per cent of the total loan amount, depending on how much of the home's value is being borrowed. Mortgage insurance protects lenders against borrower default and remains in force for the life of the mortgage.

The amount and cost of a mortgage is strongly affected by how much of a down payment you make. The bigger the down payment, the smaller the loan you will need and the less you will pay in interest over the years. It makes sense to put down as big a down payment as you can afford, but keep in mind there are other costs involved in buying a home. It is a good idea to have some cash in reserve.

Mortgage Basics
A mortgage is simply a long-term loan secured using real estate as collateral. To get a mortgage, you have to fit the same criteria that lenders apply to any application for a loan - you need a certain income level, employment stability, a low or manageable debt load, a good credit history amongst other things.

Even though qualified borrowers can choose from a number of different mortgage options some things are constant from mortgage to mortgage and lender to lender.

Interest is what you pay for using a lender's money and it is usually a percentage of the amount borrowed, calculated semi-annually. Theoretically, if you borrowed $100 at 10% annual interest, you would pay $10 per year in interest. In real life, payments usually pay the interest first and repay some of the money borrowed(the "principal"), too. This is called a "blended" payment.

Loan payments are made periodically during a set length of time called the amortization period. Common amortizations are 20 or 25 years. The longer the amortization period for a given loan amount, the smaller your monthly payments will be. However, the amount of the interest paid goes up substantially as the amortization period increases.

Most mortgage payments are made once a month, but other options are twice a month, every two weeks or every week. Usually, your principal (the amount still owed) is reduced more quickly if you make more frequent payments and you will end up paying considerably less interest over the full term of the mortgage.

At first, most of each blended payment goes toward paying back interest; the principal is only reduced a little. As the end of the amortization period gets closer, more and more of each payment goes toward paying back the principal.

For example, with a $40,000 mortgage at 10% amortized over 20 years, after five years only about ten per cent of the principal amount has been paid off, after ten years about 26% has been paid, after 15 years a little more than half, with the remaining half paid off in the last five years of the amortization period.

The interest rate, amortization period and other conditions between borrower and lender are specified in a legal document called a mortgage loan agreement. The agreement stays in effect for a time period called the "term" of the mortgage - usually six months to five years, but sometimes longer.

A mortgage loan is due and payable at the end of a term. At that time a borrower may either pay off the amount owed, renew the loan with the same lender or change lenders. If borrowers can't meet their payments, lenders can "foreclose" or take possession of the property before the term is up.

A typical mortgage amortized over 20 years might end up divided into eight terms - say four three-year, a five-year and three one-year terms - each renewed at a different rate of interest set by the lenders and often tied to the government's Bank of Canada rate.

Mortgage Options
A "pre-approved' mortgage can be set up before you shop and guarantees rate, term, payment periods and other conditions for a certain period of time.

"Fixed rate" mortgages are structured so that each loan payment is the same amount, based on an interest rate that doesn't change during the term.

"Variable rate" mortgages also have standardized payments, but the interest rate can fluctuate from month to month as the Bankd of Canada rate varies. When interest rates rise, more of the interest portion of the mortgage is paid off and a smaller proportion of the payment goes toward paying off the principal. In times of falling rates, less interest is paid and more goes to the principal.

"Open" mortgages let you pay off all or part of the principal without penalty before the end of the term, cutting down on your total interest cost. There may or may not be a fee to do this, depending on the mortgage, and the interest rate is usually higher than for a closed mortgage.

"Closed" mortgages allow only regular, agreed-upon mortgage payments to be made but usually carry a lower interest rate.

"Assumable" or transferable mortgages let Buyers take over a Seller's loan, with conditions intact, if the Buyers meet the lender's criteria. Property with an assumable mortgage can be very desirable. For example, buying a home with a ten per cent assumable mortgage and eighteen months left on its term is a real bonus if the current interest rate is two or three points higher.

On the other hand, if you are buying a home and don't intend to live in it for long, you may want a "portable" mortgage. A portable mortgage can be transferred to your next home purchase with the rate, balance and term intact. If you find you will need a larger mortgage, some lenders will blend your portable mortgage with your new one.

To find a competitive interest rate and options that best suit your needs, shop around for a mortgage before shopping for a home. Be sure you look into the administration fees, penalties and other costs that can come with a mortgage too.

Closing Costs
Finalising or "closing" a real estate transaction can involve substantial costs that may come as a surprise if you don't know what to expect. A wide variety of fees, taxes and other expenses require payment before you take possession of your home.

If you are getting a high ratio mortgage, the cost of mortgage insurance can be paid immediately. On the other hand, you might have the option of adding the insurance fee to the loan, but then it will cost more because you will pay interest on it over the total life of your mortgage.

You will probably pay a fee to your lender for having an appraisal done as well, because most lenders will require an appraisal be done on a property before approving a mortgage. They just want to be sure they are lending you no more or less than the home is worth. You will have to arrange for pre-paid home insurance too, since you usually can't get a mortgage without a home-owners' policy to protect your home and the lender's investment.

There will be some delay while mortgage documents are being registered in the government Land Titles Office. When that happens you may not get your loan until after the possession date and you will have to pay interest to the Sellers on money owed to them at the same rate as your mortgage until they receive the full sale price.

No matter where you live, you can't escape property taxes. The tax year is the same as the calendar year, but tax in British Columbia is generally paid in one amount towards the middle of the year. Depending on when you take possession, you may have to reimburse the Seller for part of the year if they have already paid the Property Tax Assessment, or you may find the Seller owing you money if you have to pay after you move in. Either a credit or a debit for taxes will be included in the Statement of Adjustments prepared by your legal professional at the time of the sale. For information about property taxes in a specific area, contact the appropriate municipal or regional government.

You also have to pay a Property Transfer Tax in British Columbia.  This tax is one per cent on the first $450,000 of the purchase price and two percent on the remainder. Buying a $400,000 home would incur a $6000 tax bill.  The only exception is for those individuals who purchase a home whose purhase price is less than $400,000 and who have never owned property before - anywhere. These individuals are eligible for the First Time Homebuyers Grant/Exemption.

Additional Services and Costs
A real estate agent's fee is usually paid by the Seller, but other professional services aren't. Almost all home buyers need a legal professional to provide a title search, title and mortgage registration, zoning memorandum, a tax certificate amongst other things. You might also need a surveyor, engineer, home inspector or appraiser.

Consider your moving costs, too, as well as any repairs, renovations or redecorating you might want to do when moving in. Don't forget the fees for having new telephones, cable TV and other utilities hooked up. The GST must be paid on services, too.

You can see that using all your savings for the downpayment is not a good idea. Plan for closing costs well in advance to avoid financial surprises.

Buying a home isn't just the biggest investment most people make in their lives, it's one of the most complex. It can be one of the most pleasant and rewarding, too, with a little financial planning before you start shopping.

I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR® Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty
C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Selling Your Home During The Winter

  • Buyers looking in winter months are serious
  • No need to worry about your yard work. Snow makes it look fresh and white.
  • Less listing inventory on the market, means less competition. Higher selling price.
  • Easier time of year for closing transactions. Lenders, inspectors, lawyers not as busy. Less errors and higher level of service.
  • Buyers begin the search and purchase for spring moves in January, February. Busy move times are March spring break, April Easter, May long weekend.
  • Less choice for buyers means less sellers to play pricing against each other. Buyers willing to make more concessions in their buying decision.
  • Property shows well, almost staged with holiday décor adding to the ambience.
  • Little chance of quick showings and not being prepared to show your home. Easier time of year to make appointments and give sellers advance notice.
  • Everyone lists their home in the spring. Go ahead and beat the rush
  • Good time of year for school, work switches and transfer corporate moves
  • People are in the spending and buying mood in the winter, holiday seasons
  • You might miss that right buyer, right place, right time being off and timing the market
 I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR®
Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty
C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Home Inspection is a Good Investment

Buying a home is a major event in most people's lives. Often, homebuyers are so caught up in the excitement that they can easily overlook any flaws their new home may have. However, a house is also one of the most expensive purchases you are likely to make so it's best to know as much as possible about potential problems before you make a commitment to buy.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association recommends homebuyers hire a professional home inspector to thoroughly check out the property before purchase. A home inspection can give you the peace of mind of knowing what to expect and help you make an informed decision about the value of the home and the future upkeep.

Not only will a home inspection help you determine the condition of the house, its structural soundness, and its mechanical systems but it also brings any issues or problems to the Seller's attention at a time when they can be resolved before closing a sale.

If you are making an offer on a house before it's inspected, talk to your REALTOR® about including a clause that the sale is contingent upon a satisfactory structural inspection and specify when the inspection is to be carried out. That way, you are protected.

What's included in a home inspection?
A home inspector will go through the property and perform a comprehensive visual inspection. A typical inspection includes an examination of the structure from top to bottom, including the heating, air conditioning systems, the interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof and the visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, the foundation, basement and visible structure.

If you can spare the time, it's a good idea to accompany the inspector during this process. This will give you, the potential Purchaser, the opportunity to learn about any problems first-hand and become more familiar with your new house at the same time. The inspector may also be able to share some valuable maintenance tips with you during the inspection.

Following the examination, the inspector will provide a report that not only points out possible defects or areas of concern but also the positive aspects of the structure as well as the type of maintenance that will be necessary to keep the home in good shape. The home inspector should be willing to answer any questions you have as well as clarify any limitations of the inspection to avoid misunderstandings. Avoid firms that issue only a verbal report. The report should be more than a checklist of the items inspected. The home inspector should also issue a written report with accurate cost estimates for any major defects discovered during the inspection.

A professional assessment will provide complete information about the condition of the property you are considering and will help avoid any unpleasant surprises after the sale. In addition, a home inspector can remain totally objective while you, as the prospective homebuyer, may be emotionally involved.

A home inspection usually lasts about three hours. The inspection fee for a typical single-family house can vary depending upon the geographic area. The particular features of the home such as size, age and special structures will also be taken into consideration.

Hiring an Inspector
Inspectors are often professionally licensed in building-related fields; architects, contractors, and structural engineers are good examples. When interviewing a potential home inspection firm, carefully inquire about the specifics of their work and company. Ask how long they have been in business and ask for references from previous customers. Find out what type of insurance they carry and do they guarantee inspections?

The most reliable indication of a home inspector's qualifications is membership in the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors. To become a member of this association, inspectors must meet professional and educational requirements, successfully complete comprehensive exams and practice professionally during a trial period followed by a review. Members must also meet annual education requirements to maintain their membership.

A decision to have a home inspection is a good investment. You could save many times the cost of the inspection by becoming aware of defects, maintenance requirements and potential future upgrade requirements. There are many home inspection companies available and your REALTOR® can probably recommend several to you or you can contact the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors for a list of their local members.

I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR® Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty
C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What's Involved in Marketing Your Home

In today's fast-paced, high-stakes marketplace, it takes know-how to sell a home. That's why most sellers enlist the services of a REALTOR® - a professional who has the qualifications, experience, skills, time and knowledge to provide the advice and services needed.

A REALTOR® will market your home to your best advantage. He or she will help you set a price that reflects the true value of your home under the current market conditions. They will also explain the selling process and help you close a deal.

But even before you enlist the help of a REALTOR®, it's a good idea to try to understand the steps involved in making a successful sale.

The Marketing Plan
With your help, and based on the prevailing market conditions, your REALTOR® will develop a marketing plan that may include open houses, advertising and a variety of listing choices.

The marketing plan may also include local newspaper advertising, Internet exposure, direct mail flyers, lawn signs and listing your property through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®). An MLS® listing gives your property greater exposure to a broader audience of potential buyers and is a valuable tool when you are anxious to sell your home quickly.

The marketing plan starts when you sign a listing agreement with a REALTOR®. He or she will tell you about the option of selling your home through the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS®, which offers maximum exposure of your home to potential buyers and other REALTORS®.

Once you have agreed to work with a particular REALTOR®, it is time to set a realistic asking price. If you ask too much, you could hinder the REALTOR®'s marketing efforts before they even get off the ground. Set the price too low and buyers might wonder what's "wrong" with your home, and the proceeds from the sale will be less than they could have been.

When your home is ready to be sold, the "For Sale" sign - the most direct marketing tool of all - will go up in front of your property to catch the attention of people walking or driving by.

People who enquire about your home after seeing a "For Sale" sign are likely to be interested in your neighbourhood and already like the look of your home. A "For Sale" sign also lets your neighbours know you are selling and they may know someone who is interested in the area. Your neighbours might even be interested in buying themselves; plenty of people move on to bigger and better homes in the area they have lived in for years.

Soon after your house is on the market, an Open House may be organized for REALTORS® who stop by the check out the potential of matching the house to one of their customers. An Open House for everyone else is sometimes held on a weekend when many buyers make a point of walking or driving around neighbourhoods they are interested in.

The REALTOR® you have chosen to work with will set up the open house and you can make plans to be elsewhere for the two or three hours when visitors wander through. This lets people have a good look around without worrying about disturbing you or offending you with questions about the property they feel are pertinent.

The day-to-day contacts REALTORS® make are an extremely useful word-of-mouth type of advertising. A successful REALTOR® is often very involved in his or her community, and gets to know plenty of people. It could be one of them who decides to buy your house.

Preparing Your Home
Whether or not your home shows well to prospective buyers may determine how long it stays on the market and what it sells for. A home that is clean, in good repair, uncluttered, nicely landscaped and welcoming creates a good first impression. Add some fresh paint, flowers, a few new area rugs and you'll improve it's marketability even more. You should also act on any tips your REALTOR® provides on how to "show" your home better or add more curb appeal.

Setting an Asking Price
Deciding what the "asking price" of your home will be is one of your REALTORS® prime tasks. Your home will to be analyzed and compared to similar homes for sale or recently sold in your area.
The price should be one that you and your REALTOR® decide on together, based primarily on your home's fair market value. But you will also have to consider the strength of the real estate market, interest rates and consumer demand for your type of property.

Bringing in the Experts
Once your home has been "listed", it is essential to have a legal professional, a lawyer or notary, standing by to help ensure your rights and interests are fully protected, and to complete the sale successfully once you find a buyer.

Real estate documents, such as the Offer to Purchase, are complex and should be reviewed by a legal professional who specializes in real estate transactions.

A lawyer or notary will also look after the many complicated and time-consuming procedures involved, from the time you sign an agreement with a buyer to the actual closing. For example, if the buyer is going to assume your mortgage, your legal professional will gather all the documents required to complete the transaction and transfer title to the new owner.

I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR® Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty

C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How to Make a New Mirror with Old Door Trim

Primp in front of an attractive, full-length mirror you've made yourself using salvaged door casings.

The entrance halls of Victorian-era houses were often decorated with large pier mirrors in front of which homeowners could primp on their way out for the day. My mom—a serial renovator—had a beautiful gilded version that she carted from one old-house project to the next, always propping it proudly against a foyer wall. For my DIY pier mirror, I used the entablature of an old door casing for the top and preprimed pilasters from a lumberyard for the sides and bottom. White paint unifies the old wood with the new. Here’s the step-by-step:

Step 1: test the Fit
Lay a pre-cut mirror on a plywood backer board, and test-fit the frame around it. Use plinth blocks for the bottom joints and a 2x4 at the top on which to steady the entablature.

Step 2: Build the frame
Next, set the mirror and backer board aside, and join the pilasters to the plinths by driving in 1 ½-inch self-tapping washer head screws on the diagonal along the backs of the wood members. (Use a pocket hole jig—sold at woodworker supply shops—to bore the holes.) Attach the 2x4 top directly to the pilaster’s ends in the same manner.

Step 3: Attach the plywood back
Apply construction adhesive to the back of the frame and attach the plywood backer board.

Step 4: Secure with screws and nails
Reinforce the glue's bond by driving in 1-inch finish screws at the four corners. Then, tap in a steel tack every five inches or so along the top, sides and bottom.

Step 5: Affix the entablature
Flip the frame faceup, and use the construction adhesive to affix the decorative entablature to the 2x4 top. Secure the entablature with clamps.

I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR® Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty
C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Preparing for your Open House

First impressions count when selling your home - especially during an Open House. Your REALTOR® will help you prepare for your open house by suggesting many ways you can present your home in its best light and increase its saleability factor.
An open house is just one aspect of an effective marketing plan your REALTOR® will develop to sell your home and one of the many services a REALTOR® provides.
Tips and advice on how to get to your house ready for sale are also part of a REALTOR®’s expertise.
He or she will advise you about things like de-cluttering and de-personalizing your home as well as minor improvements such as painting and rearranging furniture. Obviously, you will want to ensure your home is squeaky clean for your open house and there are other simple touches that can make your home even more appealing.
Fresh flowers are an easy way to give your home a cheery and well-looked-after feeling. Invest in enough flowers to place one large bouquet for impact either in the foyer or the living room and a few smaller ones throughout the house. The scent of fresh-brewed coffee, home-made bread or cookies can also be very welcoming. See the list below for more Open House preparation tips.
REALTOR® Open House
Your REALTOR® may suggest you first hold an open house for REALTORS®. Other REALTORS® are already working with buyers who may be interested in your property and will inspect your home with their buyers in mind. An open house for REALTORS is also more convenient for you, eliminating many of the single inspections that would be otherwise necessary.

Your REALTOR® will likely recommend you hold at least one or more open houses for the general public as well. This type of open house tends to attract many browsers. But if your home is clean, attractive, in good repair and well-priced, it may just turn a "browser" into a buyer. Also, many purchasers want to get the 'feel' of several neighborhoods before they begin working with a REALTOR®. An open house often attracts these buyers.
Chances are your open house for the public will be held on a Saturday or Sunday since that's when most people are likely to have free time for cruising around the neighborhoods they are interested in.
Although you may be curious, it's a good idea for you and your family to leave the home during an open house. Your presence could be distracting and potential buyers may rush their visit to avoid disturbing you. They may be hesitant to comment on your home while you're there and, generally, feel more relaxed if the owner is not present.
Your REALTOR® may also suggest you temporarily remove your dog, cat or other family pets from the property since their presence could also be distracting.
Here are some tips to help ensure a successful Open House:
  • Remove or lock away valuables such as jewelry, cameras, compact discs, valuable coins and currency;
  • Attend to potential hazards - electrical wires crossing open areas, sharp table or counter top corners, slippery stairs and walkways, fragile items that can be easily damaged;
  • In poor weather, provide a place at the front door for overshoes, boots, umbrellas, and coats;
  • Avoid cooking food that would leave strong odors behind;
  • A warm fire on a cold day can be a nice touch, but ask your REALTOR® first since he or she will have to tend to the fire in your absence.

Spruce it up!
Often the smallest defect can be a turn-off to some potential buyers. Use this handy check list to assess what needs cleaning, mending, or changing before the big day:
Floor Coverings
(Includes carpeting, tile, linoleum, hardwood, etc.)
  • Dirty or stained?
  • Worn or damaged?
  • Is there hardwood under carpeting that can be restored?
  • Walls, ceilings, baseboards:
    • Any fingerprints or stains?
    • Any holes, nails, tape residue?
    • Are they all neutral or complimentary colors?
  • Do they squeak?
  • Are the handles secure and working properly?
  • Any stains or other damage?
  • Windows:
    • Are they clean and crack free?
    • Do they open easily?
    • Are the coverings clean and also easy to open?
  • Is there sufficient light?
  • Any broken switches; exposed wiring?
Pet Areas
  • Are these clean, organized and odor free?
Kitchen and Bathrooms
  • Are countertops organized?
  • Are all sinks and faucets working properly?
Other Rooms
  • Have all areas been thoroughly vacuumed and dusted?
  • Has all clutter, including excess furniture, been collected and removed?
  • Are books, toys, clothes all neatly stored?
  • Do mirrors look clean?
  • Are window coverings open?
Outside the home
  • Are all exterior surfaces, including decks, pools, walkways and driveways clean, clear of clutter and in good condition?
  • Do fence and other gates open easily?
  • Are the lawns mowed, walkways clear of snow, leaves removed, trees pruned, garden weeded, hedges trimmed?
I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR® Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty
C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Use a REALTOR® or Do It Alone?

Do you really need a REALTOR® when you sell your home, or can you do it yourself?

Selling a home is one of the biggest financial transactions most of us will ever make. REALTOR®S have the qualifications and experience to help make that transaction as smooth and painless as possible. Handling a real estate transaction on your own can be like trying to repair your own car; you may have all the right parts and tools, but unless you have the skill of a professional, you may end up making a very costly mistake.

Most people who buy and sell their homes do enlist the services of a REALTOR®. Those who go the "do it yourself' route often wind up changing their minds and contacting a REALTOR® when they discover the process is more complex, time-consuming and intimidating than they thought.

Saving money?
The main reason people attempt to sell their own homes is to save on the real estate commission. But will you really save money if you sell your home yourself? Maybe not. Most buyers expect a discount from the Seller because you aren't paying a real estate commission and, as a result, may offer you less than fair market value for your home. Determining the fair market value is one area requiring a REALTORS® extensive knowledge and training. If you set your price too high, you may frighten off potential buyers; set it too low and you could lose thousands of dollars needlessly. One of your REALTORS® most important tasks will be to help you decide upon a realistic market value for your home; one that will enable you to sell it quickly and for the best possible price.

Getting exposure
Through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®), your REALTOR® will ensure your home gets maximum exposure to other REALTORS® and their potential buyers. This is just one of the many ways a REALTOR® will market your home. He or she may also advertise in newspapers, on television and/or on the Internet. Your marketing plan may also include open houses just for other REALTORS® and also for the public. A REALTOR® will work with you to develop a marketing plan that meets your needs.

Time commitment
Do you really have the time it takes to sell your home? A REALTOR® will write and pay for the ads to market your home, remain available day and night for calls from prospects, host open houses on the weekends, show your property on short notice, screen potential buyers, fill out all the paperwork, handle the negotiations and do the dozens of other things required to sell a home. When you consider the amount of time invested, are you really saving any money by going it alone?

Negotiating skills
Many homeowners lack the skill to negotiate the best price for their home. Selling your home can be a highly emotional experience, making it almost impossible to remain neutral when potential buyers make negative comments about the property. A REALTOR® is a skilled negotiator who can remain impartial during the negotiations - a job that allows you to keep your stress levels to a minimum.

Use a REALTOR® to sell your home
When you consider all the services they provide - marketing, negotiating, dealing with contracts and legal issues - it pays to have a REALTOR® on your side. Working with a REALTOR®  - a licensed real estate professional who is a member of his or her local real estate Board and the British Columbia Real Estate Association - entitles you to access a vast array of services and benefits you will not get when you "do it yourself'.

Multiple Listing Service, MLS®, REALTOR® and REALTORS® are registered trademarks of the Canadian Real Estate Association. REALTOR® identifies a real estate practitioner who is a member of the Association.

I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR® Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty

C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Real Estate Listing: More Than Just an Ad in the Paper!

Are you thinking of selling your home? If so, you will need professional help to ensure your home gets maximum exposure and is well-marketed. You will want to enlist the services of a real estate professional to make sure you achieve your goals.

The listing is the beginning of a selling process that includes a well-thought-out and detailed marketing plan, accessibility to a wide range of potential buyers and commitments to professional service. It also means you will receive friendly, helpful advice throughout the sale of your home.

Technically speaking, a listing is an authority granted by you to a real estate broker to act as your agent in offering your property for sale or lease - according to the terms and conditions set out in the listing contract.

When you list your home with a real estate broker, you are entering into a binding agreement with that firm, so it is important to choose a company and a real estate salesperson that you are satisfied with. To find the right firm and individual, try interviewing three REALTORS® and ask them about the services they will offer when they list your home.

What you can expect

Your REALTOR® will conduct a thorough inspection of your property to help determine what your home's market value is. He or she will take accurate measurements along with a detailed description of the property.

You will be asked for documentation on taxes, surveys, title deed and mortgage information. As well, it is important for the salesperson to know if there are any limitations on the property which might affect its values - limitations such as rights-of-way.

The REALTOR® will also ask you questions to get a better idea of your sales circumstances (whether you are pressed for time or not) and what your expectations are.

For instance, you may have no pressing need to sell your home and are willing to wait a year until the right offer comes in. On the other hand, if you are being transferred to another job, you will have more time constraints. These are things your REALTOR® should know so that he or she can recommend a marketing approach that best suits your needs.

The real estate professional also needs to do a market value comparison (aka Comparitive Market Analysis) to see what similar homes in the area are selling for. You will also decide how long the listing will be for and whether it will be put on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®).

Use of MLS® gives your home maximum exposure in today's marketplace because it offers the REALTOR® the opportunity to use the facilities and services of other REALTORS® through a system operated by the local real estate Board. Only REALTORS® (members of the British Columbia Real Estate Association and local real estate Boards) have access to MLS®.

Understanding Value and Price

Before listing your home, you should understand that there is a difference between the market value of your property and the price you ask for. Often, the two are not the same.

For instance, a REALTOR® may estimate the market value of your home to be $420,000 but suggest you list below that amount if you are under pressure to sell. On the other hand, if you are not pressed for time, your REALTOR® may advise you to list it slightly above market value.


One of the most important steps in listing property is for the REALTOR® to develop a good working relationship with you. At this stage, you, the broker and the salesperson are forming a team for the purpose of selling your home.

As an owner you will be responsible for trying to assist in the marketing of your property where possible - without actually becoming physically involved in showings.

The REALTOR® will tell you about preparing the house (sometimes called "staging"), arranging showings or open houses and what is involved in an offer to purchase.

Scouting for buyers

Once the listing is complete, the REALTOR® will check his or her contact lists and begin trying to pinpoint and pre-qualify potential purchasers for your home. This way, you avoid an endless parade of unqualified viewers through your house.

If an Offer to Purchase is presented while the listing is in force, and you accept it, you then owe the real estate broker a commission for having used its services as per the clause in the Listing Agreement which obligates you to pay a commission to the listing broker.


I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR®
Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty

C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Friday, October 5, 2012

Turn that shed or outbuilding into a real estate asset

Many homeowners look to their backyard sheds solely as a storage space to house tools, gardening instruments, and a variety of old items that are no longer in use. However, as any Coldwell Banker® real estate professional can tell you, a shed or other outbuilding can be a valuable and useful piece of real estate and a creative extension of one's home if individuals take the time to fix it up.
So before hauling old boxes and clothing bags into a shed and forgetting about them, consider other ways to make it a functional space.

Home office

Working at home can be distracting when there are chores to be done or children have friends over. However, converting an outdoor shed into a quaint office space can give individuals the quiet and privacy they need to work, research, read and complete projects.  Winterizing a small room such as a shed with insulation and a heating source can be a cost effective way to add valuable living space to your home. Many sheds are already equipped with lights and outlets, so adding tables, filing cabinets and office decor is the only task left for workers who want to create a space that is all their own.

Children's playroom

Homeowners who lack the space to accommodate piles of toys, children's books and activity stations should consider using their shed as an outdoor playhouse. Painting the shed bright colours, hanging fun pictures, setting up a small snack bar and refrigerator and moving toys to the shed can create an exciting treehouse effect for young children. This can also be a great place to host birthday parties, camping trips, play dates and children's sleepovers.

Spare bedroom

Homeowners with a large shed may consider converting it into a small bedroom space, especially if it's already equipped with windows and outlets. This can be a good place for guests or adult children to stay when homeowners lack the indoor space.

Of course, these are just a few of the potential uses for a shed or outbuilding.  The list could also include screened in sitting area to enjoy a bug-free evening, a cabana change room for your swimming pool or a studio/hobby room to retreat to as you indulge in your favourite pastime.
For more helpful advice on how to maximize your enjoyment of your home, and for insights on how improvements may add to home’s future resale value, contact your local Coldwell Banker sales representative.  We’re always glad to talk real estate! 

I am the GUY that will make the difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR®
Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty

 C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Friday, September 7, 2012

Warren Buffet turns 82 years young today. Here are few of his most memorable quotes

"Rule No. 1: never lose money; rule No. 2: don't forget rule No. 1"

"Investors should remember that excitement and expenses are their enemies. And if they insist on trying to time their participation in equities, they should try to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful."

"It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price."

"The stock market is a no-called-strike game. You don't have to swing at everything--you can wait for your pitch. The problem when you're a money manager is that your fans keep yelling, 'Swing, you bum!'"

"Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls-Royce to get advice from those who take the subway."

"Long ago, Ben Graham taught me that 'Price is what you pay; value is what you get.' Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down."

"Bad things aren't obvious when times are good, after all, you only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out."

"When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever."

"I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will."

"Over the long term, the stock market news will be good. In the 20th century, the United States endured two world wars and other traumatic and expensive military conflicts; the Depression; a dozen or so recessions and financial panics; oil shocks; a flu epidemic; and the resignation of a disgraced president. Yet the Dow rose from 66 to 11,497."

I am the GUY that will make a difference! I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR® Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty 

C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tips for Visiting an Open House

There’s a lot of information out there for sellers staging an Open House, but surprisingly few guidelines for the people who come to view them.  For some, an Open House viewing may simply be an impulse activity to satisfy their curiosity about a neighbor’s home.  However, for serious buyers, especially First Time Buyers who have limited experience in seeing different home styles and layouts, visiting Open Houses can be a very worthwhile exercise.

To plan an effective Open House tour, you should start with a map.  Plot out the addresses of where the Open Houses are located, and the times of showings to ensure that you make the most productive use of your time.  Better still, plan your Open House tour on, and we’ll make up the list of all Open Houses in your target area, including times and do the mapping for you!

If you don’t already know the neighbourhood, then that’s the first place to start.  Look at your map, and see where major transportation links are located, as well as parks, schools, shopping and amenities.  If everything you see on the map looks good, then start out with a driving tour of the neighbourhood itself, before you devote some time to viewing individual houses.

If you plan on visiting an Open House, and you’re already working with a real estate salesperson, be sure to notify them in advance.  Your sales representative can be a very valuable source of information about the neighborhood, and may possibly even be familiar with the individual property.  Also, depending on the rules of your local real estate board, visiting an Open House without your agent present may result in conferring certain rights on the salesperson who is showing the property.  If you discuss this with your salesperson before your visit, you’re ensured of having the right person to look after your interests when it’s time to make an offer.  Of course, if you aren’t yet working with a sales representative, Open Houses can provide a great opportunity to not only look for the right house, but the right salesperson.  What better way to see them in action, and find out quickly if you communicate on the same wavelength.

As you tour an Open House, try to see past the furnishings, and any personal clutter, and focus on whether the space and layout works for your needs.  Don’t assume that what you see is what you get!  Many things you see at the viewing, such as window treatments, light fixtures, appliances and even that hot tub on the back deck may not be included in the list price.  Check details on the feature sheet and verify what’s included with the agent hosting the Open House.

When touring an Open House, be direct and ask questions.  Remember, this is no time to be diplomatic.  The real estate professional showing the home realizes that it may not be right for everyone.  By keeping your comments open and direct, you help the sales representative to better understand your needs, and offer solutions to meet them.

I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR®
Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty

C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Monday, August 27, 2012


When it comes to staging a home for sale, sellers should create a warm, inviting yet neutral atmosphere that will appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. The good news is, sellers don’t need to do a complete design overhaul to get a great result. 

Coldwell Banker offers seven simple staging tips to help boost a home’s appeal and give owners a competitive edge to help sell their home.

·         Stage rooms with one purpose.  Rooms that have many uses can confuse or even deter homebuyers, so staging rooms with one purpose is vital.  Determine who your most likely target market will be, whether its young professionals with no kids, families, or even empty nesters.  Then present your areas to fit their needs.  If you’ve been using a room as a guest room/kids playroom/home office, pick the one use that best suits your buyers. 

·         Tackle the easy “do-it-yourself” projects. In a Coldwell Banker consumer survey of first time buyers, the vast majority said move-in conditions are very important in their search.  Spruce up your home by replacing outdated kitchen and bathroom fixtures.  Add a fresh coat of paint.  Repaint or refinish kitchen cabinets and update with new hardware.

·         Focus on the living areas.  Potential buyers should envision themselves entertaining friends and family in the living areas of the home.  Make sure those areas feel as spacious as possible by removing any unnecessary furniture to allow for easy traffic flow.  

·         Make sure the master bedroom appeals to both sexes.  Remember that the master bedroom is a room that a couple will be sharing, so the décor should appeal to both sexes.  It should feel like a calm and peaceful refuge, not a frilly boudoir.  Remove any feature that seems too gender-specific and paint the walls a neutral colour.

·         Clear away family photos and mementos.  Buyers want to picture their family living in a home, not the previous owners. Put away family portraits, personal collections and knickknacks. Removing these items will also eliminate clutter and ensure that people are focusing on the home, not the photos from the last family vacation.

·         Furnish the home, but don't overdo it.  While an empty house may look spacious, it’s often hard for buyers to visualize their belongings in a home if they’re just looking at bare walls and floors. Leave the basic components that allow the viewer to define each room.

·         Don’t forget the outside spaces.  First impressions can play a key role in a consumer’s decision-making process, so don’t neglect your home’s curb appeal.  Make sure the home’s exterior is inviting by trimming the bushes, mowing the lawn and painting faded window trim.  Buyers will appreciate the seller’s efforts with the yard work, and will tend to assume that the same attention to detail has been devoted throughout the property.  

I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR®
Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty

C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Kelowna Real Estate Agent West Kelowna Karen Guy Realtor