APPRAISAL...Real Estate's New Dirty Word?

Cheers Leonardo! I'll drink to that! ;)

Appraisals are not a new thing & they're not really a dirty word either but they are certainly striking fear in the hearts & minds of Buyers & Sellers alike these days!

That goes double for us REALTORS® too as we try to advise these Buyers & Sellers....

As a Buyer, if you offer to pay too much, then you run the risk of the house not appraising & having to come up with the difference between what you promised to pay & what your Lender is willing to loan you on the property.

If you're a Seller who's just been offered a big boatload of money for your home, before you ask where to sign, make sure you ask about the Buyer's ability to cover any shortfalls

True House Confessions

1. My parents moved us around a lot when I was growing Mom was a REALTOR® & together they flipped houses in the 80's until the market went south...a lot of my childhood memories are tied up in this house in the Annex neighbourhood of Toronto...

 The house was black & white when we owned it

Which now looks like this & sold just last year for 1.7million...

 Beautiful remodel, inside & out!

Funny how when I look at this picture it seems so much smaller than the image in my head :) I remember that kids from school used to make fun of the house & said it looked like a barn & so I hated it & begged my parents to sell it, lol! .

2. My (now) husband & I used to move around constantly as well, from one end of Toronto to the other but once we moved out to the Durham region we finally put down roots & we've lived in our current home for almost 17yrs. It was really important to me that once we had kids that we stay put...clearly some childhood issues attached to this, lol! In any case, the minute we walked into it we knew it was the one! I wanted stability & we certainly got that, we've had the same neighbours on either side of us since we moved in & houses rarely go up for sale on our street.

3. I know how my clients feel when they don't get the home they want...the first house we put an offer on was already sold conditionally (on the sale of the purchaser's property) when we found it & I was inconsolable when the buyers firmed up rather than lose it to us...we were offering more money but the other buyers had the right of first refusal. I got the bad news while I was at work & remember sitting at my desk crying over that huge master bedroom (with a large walk-in closet!) & the inground pool...the rest of the house was meh, lol...A couple of years later I signed up for folk art painting classes & guess where they were held? You got that house! Too funny!

4.  I love my house but 2 things I wish for are a front porch & a walk-in closet. Our 2nd floor could be enlarged to accommodate changes up there but I don't think it makes sense from a cost/return perspective in our case. It's important to understand that over-improving your home may not be the wisest choice...always consult a professional, preferably a specialist in your neighbourhood (if I can't help you then I can definitely recommend someone who can!), before you sink big bucks into a project like that!

Can you hear the angels singing or is that just me? ;)

 5. One of our friends nick-named it the House of Love because there was wall paper in the family room with hearts on it...I loved that wall paper & the nickname's gone now..not the love, just the wallpaper, lol! ;)

The House of Love circa 2002 :)

 6. As much as we've done to the house over the years, there's a never ending to-do list of stuff that still NEEDS to get done or worse RE-DONE or just that I WANT to do...cue the song "If I Had A Million Dollars..."

 7. I ran a successful daycare in our home when my kids were younger...Kelly's Kids Home Daycare ROCKED & you might have even caught a glimpse of it on TV! Somewhere on the internet there is still a listing for my daycare services & I get contacted a few times a year to see if I have any open the link to see my 15secs of fame when I was asked to be a guest "expert" on the show 'Til Debt Do Us Part

Since this IS true confession time, even though a number of years have passed now, I still have a couple of rooms down in the basement jammed full of daycare stuff, as you can see from the picture, I had A LOT of stuff...must get back to "project de-daycare" soon, lol!

8. I still work from home these days & our thermostat is programmed to go down to 68°during the day....I bundle up rather than turn up the heat because I'm cheap...drives my husband crazy if he happens to be home on a week day!

9. If we ever decide to take the plunge & move, I can't bear the thought of selling the house, I think I would rather rent out our current house than sell it....Shhhh, don't tell my husband! ;) And when it comes to moving, my favourite style of home used to be a Victorian but now it's a split level beauty like you'd find up in the 'Glens in Oshawa...I just love the architecture & the open floor plans...think Brady Bunch house!  I can't find a picture I like right now but next time I have a house crush I'll definitely post about it!

10. Even though I use professional staging services, I will often grab stuff from my own house to use for finishing touches on my family has gotten used to coming home to find empty spots on the walls or in rooms & not thinking we've been robbed, lol! I buy stuff as well & have amassed quite the collection of staging inventory that I cycle through both my own house & my clients'. My staging stuff is warring for space with the daycare stuff so really something's gotta give, lol! :)

How about YOU? Have any fun (or not so fun) True House Confessions to share? I'd love to hear them! :)

Have a fabulous day!

Is Your Tenant Killing Your Sale? Revisted...

I've written on this subject before, you can find it HERE 

What sparked a new incarnation for this title was a home I showed my client a few days ago...located in a desirable neighbourhood where there are not any similar homes on the market in the same price range & there hasn't been for some time.

The house is tenanted & as it so often happens when you're dealing with tenants, it took 3 tries plus a call to the listing agent in order to get an appointment confirmed to view it.

First, I'm going to do a run down (pun intended!) of the current state of the house & then what my recommendations would be for an owner to achieve a successful sale in this situation. And by successful I mean, how they could maximize the value of their investment property.

Current State Of Affairs:

-Exterior shows a lot of deferred maintenance with peeling paint in some areas, bad paint jobs in others (including overspray on the bricks), failing retaining wall & decking that needs to be replaced in both the front & the back.

-Inside is a bit of a blur with just the red flags standing out...clutter, locked rooms, surveillance cameras overseeing both the interior & exterior of the home, nausea-inducing air fresheners attempting to camouflage the smell of pot & a general sense of unease with the tenants looking on (they didn't leave for the showing) & a desire to get out of there as soon as possible!

What I'd do:

-Since the tenant has already given notice, I'd wait until they moved out

-I'd have a full crew lined up to give the place an overhaul as soon as they left...and I wouldn't worry about the lost rental income while that was being done. A full crew so that the turnaround time was as quick as possible to get it ready to go on the market

-Deferred maintenance issues would get priority & then inside, a fresh coat of paint throughout & a facelift for the kitchen

-A thorough cleaning, staging & well thought out marketing plan

-Hit the market with a bang

How To Do It:

-Work with a professional! Get advice on how to proceed from a REALTOR® who knows the target demographic, their expectations & home values in that specific neighbourhood, for that particular style of house.

-Most REALTORS® will have trusted resources they work with on a regular basis that they can recommend to help you execute the plan

-I'm not talking about sinking a ton of money into this project so don't get carried away & overspend...this comes back to working with a professional & getting the right advice! 

-If you don't have the funds available to do this work...beg, steal or borrow them because it's THAT important!

-When the work is complete, be confident that you have done what you can to maximize the value of this asset & that the money you have spent will make a significant difference to your bottom line on closing day!

So back to the property in question, in it's current state...the owners WILL make money simply through the natural appreciation of the property, due to the overall appreciation in the market in the time that they've owned the home. But how much money COULD they have made if they'd chosen to go with the premise of spend a little money in order to make a LOT of money? We won't know THAT until we see a selling price & days on market for this property and be able to compare it to the recent sale of a similar property in the neighbourhood that HAS been maximized....


The original post was written at the height of the spring market, at a time when inventory was very tight & we were seeing tremendous price growth for this type of home....3 or more bedrooms, 3 or more bathrooms & a double car garage. 

The home that I wrote about took 25 days on the market to sell, when the average was 11 days, and sold for $41,000 less than the ONE & ONLY other comparable home that came on the market in that very desirable neighbourhood in those 25 days. And that one & only home that sold had 1 less bathroom, an unfinished basement & was not highly upgraded. And it's not like they pulled out all the stops either in terms of presentation - vacant, no staging - just an ok house on a nice street in a nice neighbourhood. And somebody was willing to pay $41,000 more for that one then have to deal with the issues associated with the first one.

The bottom line is spending between $5,000-$10,000 would have made them $30,000 or more...more because of the additional features the subject property had plus the very real difference that staging makes in a selling price.

So there you have it, real world results. There are certain principles in real estate that apply regardless of what the market is doing - don't make the same mistakes that this seller did & leave a LOT of money on the table!

Have a fabulous day!

4Bdrm/3Bath Homes in North Oshawa...Where Art Thou????



open floor plan with large kitchen
double garage
under $450k
close to Pierre Elliott Trudeau PS
 Norman G. Powers PS

I'm working with a fantastic family & we've had no luck so far 
finding them their next home! 

If you live up in the Grandview & Taunton area then perhaps I've already knocked on your door with a flyer that looks very similar to this, but I thought I'd put the power of social media to work for us in addition to pounding the pavement in person!

My clients are well qualified, motivated & make excellent neighbours!

If you or someone you know is thinking about selling a home
that matches their wishlist then  

Kelly Bayne
(Full Contact Details - Top Right Side Of This Page)

~Not Intended To Solicit Those Already Under Broker Contract To Buy Or Sell~
*Each Office Independently Owned & Operated

Do You REALLY Know What Your Home Is Worth?

You know the expression "comparing apples to oranges", right? Well, since Real Estate it's not a fruit salad my analogies to go with this picture all seemed a little silly...just like comparing houses that don't share the same characteristics & saying they have the same value!

A colleague & I had a booth at the Spring Home Show in Oshawa this weekend...I worked the booth on Saturday with Mortgage Broker Extraordinaire Sandy Cockburn & it was a very cool experience! It was a crazy long day (10 hours!!!) but what could be more fun than to spend an entire day talking about something you're passionate about! We looked up home values, gave suggestions on smart renos to focus on, gave advice on financing & improving credit scores and answered a ton of other real estate related questions as well!

One reoccurring theme that I heard from people as they passed by was "I already know what my home is worth, I stay on top of what's happening in my neighbourhood".... Now sometimes they said that because they just didn't want to stop to talk to us but, when I had the chance to dig a little deeper, I found that many were not comparing like with like! Like comparing apples to oranges...yes they're both fruit, but they're also completely different fruit...with different flavours, sizes & characteristics...just like houses! See what I did there? So lame, lol... ;)

If you're comparing a home that hasn't been upgraded to one that has been, then you're not getting an accurate has a finished basement & the other doesn't? High end finishes vs builder grade? Differences in square footage or lot size & the list goes need to make adjustments for all of those things! You also need to be able to identify the value of those differences in the current marketplace in order to make the adjustments! Different styles of homes have different values as well, bungalows are a good example of this! However, a raised bungalow vs a traditional bungalow also has a different value, lol....I'm thinking a separate post on interpreting data might be in order! Stay tuned for that...

So is your home actually worth what you think it is? And how do you find out? Ask a professional! You have a couple of options, one being an Appraisal & the other a Market Evaluation. In most cases, calling a REALTOR®, one who is familiar with your neighbourhood, will be enough to meet your needs...or at least be a good first step before you spend several hundred dollars on a full Appraisal. Be honest about the reasons why you want to know, so that we can give you relevant advice. Neither option should hold you to any obligation beyond the evaluation itself!

If you're just looking for a ballpark figure & don't want to do a formal evaluation, then stop by my booth on Saturday March 28th at the Ajax Spring Home Show & let's talk! Sandy & I will be joining forces once again to answer all your Real Estate & Financing questions!

And last but not least, I held a draw at the show for a $100 gift card to Lowes Home Improvement Store... and the winner is....drum roll...Kelly Bennett from Oshawa! Congrats Kelly! :)

Have a fabulous day!

Buying A Home Near A School - Is It Right For YOU?

Sometimes it is & sometimes it's not, but one thing's for sure, it tops the wishlist for most families that I meet! In theory it seems like a good idea, right? And I'm NOT saying it's a bad idea but there are a few realities to be aware of...

Drop off & Pick Up Times Can Be Chaotic - Try driving past a school near arrival or dismissal times to truly understand how chaotic! Between the crosswalks, cars trying to turn into the school from both directions (with typically only 1 lane in each direction) & just the sheer volume of vehicles, traffic backs up significantly! If your street is a feeder street off of where the school is located then it WILL take you a lot longer to get in & out of your neighbourhood during peak times.

Disregard For Property - If you live on the same street as the school you may have an increase in litter ending up on your property, not to mention your driveway used as a turn around...or worse, a place to park! I know from experience that this can cause increased wear & tear on the driveway. I see it every morning when I drive my son to school & I just shake my head at the lack of respect! You KNOW that if it was happening at their own homes they would be up in arms about it!

Solutions May Be Seasonal Only - Last fall the Municipality of Clarington revamped the road & sidewalk between Courtice SS & Courtice North PS. They widened the road by making these cut-outs (can't seem to find what the official term is) that created enough space for a vehicle to make a u-turn without using someone's driveway. I think they're fantastic & used them up until the snowbanks took over the space....thus making them only a seasonal solution.

Increased Vandalism & Petty Crime - You will find this problem not just around schools but in & around parks, forested areas & ravines as well...when these spaces are unoccupied (evenings, weekends, school breaks) it's the perfect place for kids to gather...get a bunch of bored kids together & it can sometimes lead to stupid pranks or making other poor choices in the neighbourhood.

Noise - And then there's the noise...the crossing guard's whistle, kids playing outside at recess, the school bell (which goes off several times a day), announcements over the PA system, fire drills etc...If you're a shift-worker trying to sleep during the day or someone who works from home then this alone can be a deal breaker!

As I said, I'm not saying it's a bad thing to want to be close to the school that your child(ren) will be attending, my own house backs on to an open field behind a school & it was a key selling feature for us! While we have experienced all of the things I've mentioned (except for the traffic issues), I've never regretted the location. 

One person's dream location may be another's nightmare so I hope that by highlighting some of these realities it will help you make a better informed decision on whether living near a school is right for YOUR family based on YOUR particular lifestyle, needs & circumstances!

Have a fabulous day!

How To Lose A Bidding War In 5 Easy Steps!

In today's tight real estate market here are a few things you can do to pretty much guarantee you to have no shot in a multiple offer situation:

In no particular order...

1. Don't show up - This goes for both the Buyer & the Buyer's agent. Be far away so that getting changes (if needed) to an offer signed off on seems impossible within the various irrevocable deadlines of the other offers. Don't present in person, just be a piece of paper with a number on it.

2. Ask for things that are clearly marked excluded - By all means ignore the Seller's direction as to what's included & what's excluded, that will set your offer apart from the others for sure...apart, like off the table!

3. Choose any old agent...we're all the same after all! -

a) Work with a Buyer's agent who doesn't know what they're doing - Choose a             REALTOR® who doesn't know the market area or how to structure an offer for multiple offers, or who chooses not to present the offer in person & see how well that works for you!

b) Work with a Seller's agent who doesn't know what they're doing - You can't control this one if you're on the Buying side but know that the flip side of Buyers' agents who don't know what they're doing is the Seller's agent who doesn't know what they're doing...who don't follow the rules or even worse don't know what the rules are!

4. Fly by the seat of your pants - Don't worry about pesky details like having your financing in order or your deposit funds liquid...nobody's going to ask about that when they're comparing the merits of several offers to determine which one to work with!

5. Submit an offer that's not properly executed - This is not an offer...period. See #1

This is all tongue-in-cheek of course & keep in mind that you can do everything right & still not have the outcome you're hoping for but these are 5 recently experienced and/or heard about scenarios that will ensure that you do NOT "win" the house you are bidding on!

And in the "be careful what you wish for" category, here's a crazy story out of the US about a woman charged with the felony stalking of a couple that she lost to in a bidding about it HERE

Have a fabulous day!