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6 Lessons Monopoly Can Teach You About buying a St. John’s home

monopoly

Some may love playing Monopoly and some may hate the game. Either way there are some valuable lessons we can all take away from the game. Here are 6 lessons Monopoly can teach you about buying a St. John’s home.

Patience

So your family has decided to play Monopoly? Refill your beverage, grab a snack and change into comfortable clothes. You’re going to be there a while.

LESSON: Buying real estate is a process. There’s pre-approval for a loan, interviewing agents, searching for homes, submitting an offer, maybe submitting another offer, the home inspection, the appraisal, and final loan processing before you get the keys. Needless to say, buying a home can take some time. Instead of getting frustrated, focus on all of the great reasons you decided buying a home was right for you. Staying in close communication with your agent throughout the process will help, too.

Neighborhood matters

Everyone starts the game with one corner in mind: Boardwalk and Park Place. The highly priced properties have the best returns on investments, and the players who snag them first tend to do well in the game.

LESSON: Location is often a major consideration in real life as well. Home values, your lifestyle and so much more are factors in your neighborhood choice. Work with your agent to learn all you can about the neighborhoods that pique your interest.

Keep an open mind

Baltic and Mediterranean Avenue have a bad reputation because they’re the cheapest properties on the board, but they also present opportunity. Add a few houses and hotels and your return could be bigger than the one on nearby Connecticut Avenue.

LESSON: Keep an open mind when looking to buy a home in St. John’s. An up-and-coming neighborhood may have appeal you didn’t see before, and more value for your budget.

Be prepared

You’re a Monopoly mogul! You have a handful of desirable properties and a steady stream of income from your houses and hotels. Then comes the Chance card: “Make general repairs on your property – for each house pay $25, for each hotel pay $100.”

LESSON: You never know what card you’re going to draw. But unlike Monopoly, the real world has home insurance available to help you prepare for unexpected repairs and disasters. A variety of plans, customizable to any budget, are available. Some homebuyers also opt for warranties covering potential appliance issues after move-in.

How to win a bidding war

Trading properties keeps Monopoly exciting. And there are no strict rules as to how a seller determines to accept an offer. Sibling rivalry, bribes involving candy or even business sense can play into a player’s decision.

LESSON: Sellers don’t always accept the highest offer. Writing a letter about why you fell in love with their home can sometimes sway their decision in your favor.

The importance of strategy

Monopoly is a game of strategy, but few players are inclined to study ways to win. What if you had a coach sitting next to you, advising how much to bid for a property, where to look next, and whether or not mortgaging a utility to buy Boardwalk is a smart idea? You would be unstoppable!

LESSON: Buying a home is an infrequent occurrence; for some it happens only once in a lifetime. Wouldn’t it be helpful to have someone on your side who was up-to-speed on laws for your state, knew which neighborhoods would best fit your lifestyle and offered to help you navigate a bidding war? That’s the value an experienced agent provides.

We’d love to help you when buying a home in the St. John’s real estate market. Contact us. We are ready when you are!

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Buying a home? How to make sense of a real estate transaction

selling your home in st. john'sHave you ever tried to make your way through a maze at an amusement park or farm field? If you don’t know the layout, it’s probably going to take you a long time to find your way through.

You’ll hit a lot of dead ends, go around in circles a few times, and maybe even become frustrated before you finally find your way out.

The same can be said about buying or selling a home in St. John’s.

Real estate transactions are probably not something you do every day, so you’re not as familiar with their “layout”. As a result, the process of preparing your home for sale, getting it listed, dealing with viewings and buyers, and negotiating offers can potentially be very stressful… so stressful, in fact, you might be discouraged from making a move!

That’s why finding a REALTOR® who knows you the St. John’s real estate market is so important.

We know the maze and can guide you through it. Let us answer your questions, show you how to make the process less stressful (and even fun), and can help ensure everything goes smoothly.

Want to talk to a REALTOR® who specializes in the St. John’s real estate market?  Contact us! We are here to assist you when buying a home or selling a home in the St. John’s real estate market.

Click here for a list of homes for sale in the St. John’s area.

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Recap of the 2015 St. John’s average housing price and 2016 Predictions

St. John’s Average Housing Price

The St. John’s average housing price (Metro Area) declined by approximately two per cent year-over-year to an estimated $297,300 for 2015. Sales increased moderately: there were 833 sales between January and October of 2015, compared to 793 during the same period last year. There was a good selection of inventory on the market in 2015, and properties averaged 70 days on market. Similarly high inventory levels are expected for 2016, and may cause prices to soften somewhat.

St. John's Average House Price

Buyers looking to purchase first homes in the $270,000 to $330,000 range drove the market, followed by move-up buyers purchasing in the $350,000 to $400,000 range. Foreign buyers are fairly new to the St. John’s real estate market, and are anticipated to play a growing role over the next several years.

First-time buyers

In October, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador introduced the Downpayment Assistance Program, which provides first-time homebuyers with low-to-moderate incomes the opportunity to qualify for downpayment loan assistance to purchase a home. The new program, combined with continued low interest rates, is expected to increase the number of first-time buyers next year. This is anticipated to increase demand for entry-level homes, encouraging their current owners to sell and move up.

 

Condo market

There is high inventory in the St. John’s condo market, as many new developments were built to meet demand from the oil industry, which has since been scaled back. A good selection of entry-level units appeals to first-time buyers and “downsizers”.

Luxury homes

The luxury home market was slower in 2015, due to the decline in oil prices and cutbacks in the industry. There were 25 sales in the $750,000 to $1 million range between January and October 2015, compared to 41 during the same period in 2014. Although demand has decreased, St. John’s average housing price in the luxury market are expected to remain stable in 2016.

st johns average housing price

 

 

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Do you have recalled products in your home?

 

Do you have recalled products in your home such as a Venmar HRV?  There’s no doubt you noticed the occasional news report’s about a this product being recalled for safety reasons. Other examples of recalls would be, a car model with a brake problem, or a children’s toy that, under some circumstances, may cause injury.

recall productYou may not know that these news reports are merely the tip of the iceberg. For each product recall you hear about in the media, there are dozens that get little, if any, publicity. That means there may be products in your home that have been recalled — and you don’t even know about it.

It’s a scary thought.

How do you find out about recalled products that may affect you?

Here are two tips.

1. Always complete the registration that comes with many products. This is typically done by mailing in a registration card or filling out an online form. When you register, you’ll be alerted by the manufacturer if the product is recalled for any reason.

2. Both Canada and the United States have agencies that list recalled products on their websites. In Canada it’s the Healthy Canadians website at www.healthycanadians.gc.ca. In the United States it’s the Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.CPSP.gov. It’s a good habit to check these sites every season. If you discover that a product in your home has been recalled, contact the manufacturer immediately.

Never assume that the reason for the recall won’t apply to you.

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Closing Day Terminology You Should Know

You have an accepted offer on your new home, completed the home inspection and received your clean letter of finance.  Now what?

Sometimes it’s just a simple as waiting for the all important closing day to arrive.

Closing day should be an exciting time for you. After all, you’re moving into your new home! The last thing you need is to be confronted with something you don’t understand to make the day stressful.

So here is a quick list of common closing day terminology you should know.

Final Walkthrough – On closing day you and your REALTOR® will do one final walkthrough the house just to make sure it’s in the same condition as the day you wrote your offer. This is typically done first thing in the morning and the house will generally close closer to 5pm

Disbursements –  This is the allocation of funds to the appropriate parties, such as the Vendor. Your lawyer will take care of this for you.

Possession – This is the moment on closing day when you are legally able to take possession of your new home. It’s usually when your REALTOR® or lawyer hands you the keys.

Title –  This is a legal document that identifies the property and its owner.

Closing costs –  These are expenses, excluding the selling cost of the property, that are due on closing day, such as legal fees, reimbursement for pre-paid utilities, utility deposits, insurance, and taxes.

Closing adjustments –  These are expenses pre-paid by the seller that need to be reimbursed on closing. Typical examples of this would be your property taxes or oil remaining in an oil tank.

Remember this is your important day.  Relax and embrace the huge milestone in your life!

Having a good lawyer, mortgage professional and REALTOR® will help make the day go smoothly for you and your family.

Speaking of a good REALTOR®, you have three here at your disposal?

Contact us today for all your St. John’s Real Estate needs.

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Should You Worry About The St. John’s Real Estate Market Fluctuations?

You turn on the television and watch a news story about real estate house prices going down in St. John’s.  Then you receive a flyer in the mail about a property around the corner that sold for a decent price. Next you read a newspaper article about the St. John’s real estate market on the upswing again.

It’s a little like being on a roller-coaster ride!

Unfortunately the ride isn’t much fun if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home. In fact, it can be very confusing and frustrating. You just don’t know if “now” is the right time to make a move.

In reality, the housing market has been fluctuating for decades. Yet, people sell their homes every day throughout the St. John’s Metro Area for good prices. As well, just as many people get into their next dream homes affordably.

When you hear news of market fluctuations, there are two important things to consider.

First of all, a lot of media information about the housing market is national, or at least regionally for bigger cities. If the housing market is trending up or down nationally, remember that it doesn’t necessarily mean that the St. John’s real estate market is doing the same. This can even be relative to some subdivisions.  (ie Southlands or Clovelly etc)

In fact, it’s entirely possible for housing prices to be rising in your neighbourhood while they are falling nationally, and vice versa.

Secondly, if you’re selling a current property while buying another home, then the net effect of market fluctuations may cancel out.

Say, for example, that the St. John’s market is on the upswing. You’ll probably be able to sell your current home for a good price. However, the home you purchase will likely also be priced to reflect the upswing.

The same holds true when the market is down.

All that being said, there are some circumstances in which you need to consider market fluctuations when deciding whether or not to make a move. A good REALTOR® will help.

Looking for a good REALTOR®? You have three to choose from.  Give us a call and we’ll be happy to answer all your questions.

 

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Graphical view of the Average House Prices for the St. John’s Metro real estate area

March 2015 Average House Prices for the St. John’s Metro real estate market. #nlrealestate

March 2015 Average House Prices for the St. John's Metro real estate market. #nlrealestate(St. John’s Average housing prices MLS® Stats from March 2014 to March 2015)

 

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Two Benefits of a Pre-Sale Home Inspection

HomeInspection

Your home probably has dozens of great features that are going to help it stand out and sell faster. Perhaps it has a cozy sunken living room  or an equipped and smartly decorated kitchen that Rachel Ray would envy. Maybe its the location in a desirable neighbourhood or a wired detached garage.

All these things will help.

But there’s another selling feature you should consider adding: a pre-sale home inspection.

A professional home inspection is usually done on behalf of the buyer before the deal to purchase a property is finalized. In fact, you can expect almost all offers to purchase your home to be “conditional upon satisfactory home inspection.” However, there are two good reasons why you, as the seller, should get the home inspection done:

Reason #1

A professional inspection can identify problems that might otherwise thwart the sale.

Say, for example, you get a great offer but the buyer’s home inspector discovers a minor crack in the foundation. That might be enough to jeopardize the deal. However, if you had a professional inspection done, you would have had the opportunity to get that problem fixed in advance of the offer.

Reason #2

Informing potential buyers that a professional inspection has been done is a great selling feature. It demonstrates to buyers that there are no hidden problems with the property, which gives them more confidence to make an offer.

Pre-Sale Home Inspections are becoming more and more popular throughout the St. John’s real estate market.  It’s becoming an enticing feature for many first time home buyers.

There are a lot of Home Inspectors throughout the St. John’s area.  Contact us today and we can give you a list of names.

Need more ideas for selling your home faster and for a better price? Contact us!