Lethbridge Real Estate Blog

The Lethbridge Real Estate Blog features news, updates and timely message about buying and selling homes in Lethbridge. This includes recent property listings.

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Sep 04, 2018

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - August. 2018

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Aug 08, 2018

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - July. 2018

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Jul 10, 2018

Four Things You Should Know About Staging

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You've probably heard about "home staging". As the name implies, it's all about arranging each room in your home in a way that will make the best impression on buyers. Here's what you need to know about staging if you're thinking of listing your property.

1.
Staging can get you a higher price. On average, a fully-staged home tends to sell for 17% more than an unstaged home of the same type in the same local market. Depending on the current market value of your property, doing some staging in your home could put thousands of extra dollars in your pocket, post-sale.

2.
It can speed up the sale. A study by the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) showed that fully staged homes spend an average of 90% less time on the market. So, if you need to sell quickly – without dropping your price – or you just want the comfort of having offers come in sooner, staging will definitely help.

3.
You don't have to go crazy. Completely staging every room in your home is going to give you the full benefits of this strategy. However, you don't have to go that far. In fact, just implementing a few simple staging techniques to some key rooms can make a big difference.

4.
Get professional help or advice. When it comes to home staging, don't guess at it. Get professional help or advice. As a REALTOR®, I have a lot of expertise in this area and often provide clients with proven, do-it-yourself staging tips and suggestions. If necessary, I can also recommend a professional stager. Contact me anytime.

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Jul 03, 2018

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - June. 2018

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Jun 07, 2018

The 1% Rule in Real Estate

There's a reason why real estate has been such a powerful tool for so many years in wealth building.

Franklin D. Roosevelt summed it up best.

"Real estate cannot be lost or stolen, nor can it be carried away. Purchased with common sense, paid for in full, and managed with reasonable care, it is about the safest investment in the world."

That's why I personally chose real estate as one of my main wealth building vehicles.

One thing that I see many people struggle with is really understanding how to properly underwrite and analyze an investment property to make sure it operates at the standard you want for your portfolio.

Yes it can be confusing, but it doesn't have to be.

All you have to follow is one simple rule.

It's called The 1% Rule.

What that means is if a property can rent for 1% of what you are buying the property for or whatever the purchase price is, the property is probably a great investment.

Here's an example.

If $100,000 is the purchase price and you can get that property to rent for $1,000 (which is 1% of $100,000) that is going to be a great return. In this case, that's about an 8% return.

Let's break it down. (There's some math involved but bear with me.)

Our gross annual rent would be $12,000 because we're collecting $1,000 in rent per month for the year.

Now we want to subtract all of our expenses for operating the building.

35% of the gross annual income is generally going to be what you're operating expenses are at.

We take $12,000 and multiply that by 35%. That gives us $4,200 in operating expenses.

Take that $4,200 in gross annual income and subtract that from the $12,000 in gross annual income.

That leaves you with $7,800 in net operating income, pure cash flow from that property.

If you divide $7,800 by $100,000 that equals 7.8% return on your money.

This is pretty darn good for a longterm investment, not to mention all the other benefits you get from owning property.

When you know the numbers and you utilize proven strategies, you build wealth.

So next time you come across an investment opportunity to buy a property for your own longterm wealth building portfolio, reference back to the 1% Rule.

This will save you a lot of time and prevent you from making mistakes.

Jun 07, 2018

What Type of New Home Are You Qualified to Buy?

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When you think about looking for a new home, one of the first questions that probably comes to mind is: "What type of property can I afford?" That's an important question because your price range is a major determining factor in the types and sizes of homes you should be viewing.

You don't want to waste time looking at properties that are beyond your price range. At the same time, you don't want to purchase a less-than-ideal home, only to realize later on that you could have afforded more.So how do you determine what type of new home you are qualified topurchase?

The first step is to find out what your current property would likely sell for in today's market. I make that calculation for clients all the time. It involves reviewing what homes similar to yours have sold for recently, as well as other data — such as special features your home may have that are likely to boost the selling price.

Once you know the current market value of your home, subtract any outstanding mortgages and estimated selling expenses, and you’ll end up with an amount that can be applied to the purchase of your next home. (You may also have other funds you want to use.)

The next step is to talk to a lender or mortgage broker to see how much of a new mortgage you qualify for. (Call me if you need a recommendation.) It's important to get a Pre-Qualification or Pre-Approval. That makes the offer you make on a new home more credible.

If you want to find out the types and sizes of homes you can get into, giveme a call. I'd be happy to show you the possibilities!

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Jun 01, 2018

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - May. 2018

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May 07, 2018

Beware of Over-Downsizing or Over-Upsizing

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Buying a new pair of shoes is relatively easy. Once you find the style you like, all you need to do is try them on and see if they fit. If they do, you go to the cash register and pay.

When it comes to size, buying a new home can be trickier! Whether your intention is to up-size or downsize, figuring out the right size can be especially challenging.

Say for example, you’re downsizing from a large two-story home to a smaller bungalow. You don’t want to underestimate the space you needand end up in a place that feels tight. If you’re going the other way and up-sizing, you don’t want to end up sinking extra money into a propertythat’s larger than you really need.

So how do you avoid these scenarios? One of the best ways is to start by considering your current home. Do you use all the rooms in your home regularly? Is there a bedroom that’s rarely occupied? Has the recreation room become simply a storage area? If you’re downsizing, subtracting rooms you scarcely use can giveyou a better idea of what you need in a new home.

Up-sizing is a bit more challenging because you have to anticipate what you will need in the future. For example, if you have young children, and your place is feeling cramped, then a home with a recreation room or separate family and living rooms may be a good idea. You may also need a bigger kitchen with a spacious eating area (in addition to a separate dining room.) Think about the extra room you’ll need and how you’ll use that space.

When I work with a client, I typically sit down with them and discuss the type of home they want in detail — and, based on needs and circumstance, I make expert recommendations. Bottom line, I help clients find the perfect fit in a new home. Contact me if you’d like to learn more.

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May 07, 2018

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - April. 2018

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Apr 04, 2018

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - Mar. 2018

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Apr 04, 2018

Should You Rent Out Part of Your Home?

Have you ever considered renting out a room to a student or renovating your basement into a self-contained rental apartment?

It’s a big decision. There are many pros and cons to consider.

On the pro side, renting can provide you with additional income. An extra few hundred dollars a month can go a long way towards paying down your mortgage or splurging on an exotic summer vacation.

Creating rentable living space in your home — for example, an “in-law suite” featuring a kitchenette and bathroom — may also increase your property’s market value.

On the con side, you’ll have more costs and responsibilities as a landlord.

For example, you might need to purchase extra insurance because basic home insurance policies typically do not cover rental units, even if you’re just renting out a room. You’ll also be responsible for dealing with repairs sometimes in the middle of the night.

Also, if you’re not careful about the renter you choose, you might end upwith a “problem tenant”. For example, you could have a tenant who isconsistently late on rent payments or simply stops paying. That can bestressful.

If you’re deciding whether or not to rent, be sure to check local laws andregulations. Many jurisdictions have very strict rules regarding renting out space in a residential property, and those rules change frequently. Make sure you get the latest information.

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Mar 02, 2018

Subtle Signs it May Be Time to Sell your Lethbridge Home

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Sometimes the reason for putting your home on the market is crystal clear. For example, you might have a job relocation and need to move. Or, you might have decided to downsize because the kids have left the nest. However, there are many other motivations to list your home that are not as obvious, and yet are still good reasons to make a move. Here are just a few examples...

• You’re bored with your home and are looking for a change.
• There’s something you’ve always wanted in a home that your current property doesn’t have, such as a wooded backyard.
• You want to be closer to work, or to activities you enjoy, such as golf.
• You want to be closer to family.
• The neighbourhood is changing in a way that no longer fits the lifestyle you want.
• There’s another neighbourhood you’ve always dreamed of living in.
• Your tastes have changed and you want to live in a different type of home.

None of these reasons makes it an absolute necessity to list your property and find a new home. Yet, they’re all worth considering, especially if moving will make you and your family happier, and provide you with a more desirable lifestyle.

Want to talk about the possibilities? Call today.

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Mar 01, 2018

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - Feb. 2018

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Feb 01, 2018

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - Jan. 2018

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Jan 25, 2018

Using Neighbourhood Data to Help Sell Your Lethbridge Home

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Your neighbourhood has a lot of features that can help sell your homefaster. Unfortunately, buyers don’t usually notice those features just by driving around. So, you need to make sure they get all the information they need about your neighbourhood.

For example, say homes don’t go on the market often in your area. That’s an indication that the quality of life in the neighbourhood is so good that no one wants to leave! In real estate we measure the area’s “turnover rate”, and it’s handy data to have when listing your home.

Another bit of data that buyers can’t simply see is the local crime rate. But, most police departments keep those statistics. If your neighbourhood has a low crime rate, that’s an obvious plus to sellers.

Demographic data can also be helpful when selling your property. If yourneighbourhood has a lot of families, for example, that’s going to beappealing to buyers with kids.

Even local development plans can play a role in making your home moreattractive to buyers. If a new ramp to a major highway is in the worksnearby, getting to work is going to be easier. That’s a big benefit tocommuters.

Other types of data that can help sell your home include:

• Planned local construction.
• Proposals for neighbourhood improvements.
(For example, a new playground.)
• Rates at which local property values are increasing.

Any information that shows the advantages of living in your area is going to be useful when selling. By the way, this is the kind of information I put together to provide to prospective buyers when selling your home.

Contact me today

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Dec 01, 2017

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - Dec. 2017

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Nov 20, 2017

How to be a Smart Home Viewer

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Viewing homes on the market can be a very exciting and a fast-paced experience — especially if you’re also selling your current property. You see a home you like, you fall in love with some of its key features and, before you know it, you’re making an offer. But, if you haven’t taken the time to consider some of the details, you may wind up discovering that upon closer inspection, the home doesn’t truly meet your needs. That’s a recipe for disaster.

While you have to act quickly when you find a property that matches your criteria, you also need to make sure that the home really is a good fit, and that you’re not being swayed by first impressions.

When you’re viewing a potential new home, what should you look for beyond the obvious? Here are some suggestions:

• Will the property require a lot of immediate repairs and upgrades?

• Is it in a neighbourhood that supports your family’s needs and activities? (Consider commuting time to work, playgrounds for the kids, local shopping, etc.)

• Is the yard big enough?

• Is the driveway and garage space okay for all your vehicles?

• Will your furniture and other items fit the space?

• Are there enough bedrooms,bathrooms, closets and storage space? (Think about your current AND future needs.)

Avoid the temptation to focus on only the major features of a home, such as the large kitchen. Get down to the nitty-gritty details. After all, it’s a major purchase. You want to get it right!

Need more tips on finding a home that has everything you need and want?

Call today.

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Nov 01, 2017

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - Nov. 2017

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Oct 01, 2017

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - Oct. 2017

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Sep 01, 2017

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - Sept. 2017

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Aug 02, 2017

This Simple Question Can Save You a Lot of Money!

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Imagine this scenario...

You purchase a new home and move in. A few weeks later, you hear a strange rumbling sound. It’s the furnace. It’s only a year old, yet it’s sputtering like it’s twenty.

You realize you’ll have to call in an HVAC contractor to get it fixed.You’re thinking, “Ouch! This is going to be expensive.”

Well, maybe not. You see, since that furnace is relatively new, it might becovered by its original warranty — even for you, the new owner.

But a warranty is useless if you don’t know it exists. Recent studies suggest that upwards of 50% of people pay to get items fixed that were actually covered by a warranty. So, when purchasing a new home, be sure to ask this simple question: “What warranties do you have for items, materials or workmanship in this house?”

Warranties are common on new stoves, fridges, washers, dryers and otherbig ticket appliances. Some such warranties are transferrable, which means they are still in force when the items pass from one owner to another. Even less expensive items, such as electronic thermostats and automatic garage door openers, may be covered by a transferable manufacturer’swarranty.

If the home you’re purchasing is relatively new (say, less than 10 years old), the builder’s warranty may also still be in force. That can be handy if a structural problem arises.

Even recent renovations, may have come with a labour and/or installation warranty of some kind.

As you can see, warranties are everywhere! The more you’re aware ofthem, the more you’ll save when something needs repair or replacement.

Aug 01, 2017

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - Aug. 2017

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Jul 01, 2017

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - July. 2017

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Jun 01, 2017

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - June. 2017

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May 01, 2017

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - May. 2017

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Apr 01, 2017

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - April. 2017

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Mar 14, 2017

Understanding the Home Buying Process in Lethbridge

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The more you know about the best way to reach a goal, the more likely you are to get the result you want. So, whether you’re hunting for a new job, assembling a backyard BBQ, or training for a 3 mile run, you’ll want to use a proven process to help you get there.

That certainly holds true when shopping for a new home. There is a proven process to getting the home you want, in the neighbourhood you want, at a price you can afford.

Here are the highlights:

1. Get ready. There’s a lot you must do before you pack your energy snacks in the car and go looking at homes. If you own your current home, you must prepare that property for sale. Youshould also get financing for a new home pre-approved, so you know exactly how much you can afford.

2. Go shopping. Your next step is to view the right homes currently available on the market. It’s a good idea to make a wish list of property and neighbourhood features you’re looking for in a new home. You may not be able to get everything you want, but you can probably come pretty close.

3. Make an offer. When you see a home you like, the first thing you’ll need to do is make an offer. This can be tricky, especially if there are other interested buyers.

4. Get an inspection. Always get the home checked out by a qualified home inspector. A property may have issues, such as a foundation leak, that are not obvious during a viewing.

5. Prepare for the move. Once you’ve made the purchase, you need to arrange for moving and deal with other details, such as utilities, telephone, mail forwarding and so forth. Want a smooth home buying process? Call today

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Mar 01, 2017

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - March. 2017

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Feb 28, 2017

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - Feb. 2017

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Feb 01, 2017

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - Jan. 2017

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Jan 13, 2017

How To Sell Your Lethbridge Home More Quickly

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When you put your property on the market, ideally you want to sell it as quickly as possible and for the highest price possible. Sometimes one is more important than the other. For example, if you’re relocating, or have purchased another home that is closing soon, selling your current property quickly may be a priority.

Do you have to sacrifice price to do that? Not necessarily. There are things you can do to help get a good offer, sooner. Price your property competitively. Make sure your home is not listed higher than the price for which similar properties have recently sold in your neighbourhood.

Make it look “move-in ready”. Take care of all repairs and other maintenance issues before you list. Ensure your property is clean and uncluttered, inside and out. Be flexible with viewing times. Be willing to take your family out for a coffee should a potential buyer want to see your home on short notice.

Want more tips on how to sell your home quickly? Call today.

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Jan 03, 2017

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - Dec. 2016

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Dec 01, 2016

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - Nov. 2016

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Nov 15, 2016

What Do Buyers Want To Pay For Your Lethbridge Home

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If you’re selling your Lethbridge home, you’ll have a very personal perspective on what it‘s worth. You’ll remember all the hours you put into making the backyard flower garden beautiful, or the money you spent on installing new hardwood floors in the livingroom and hallways.

It’s natural to want these improvements factored into the asking price.

However, potential buyers don’t have that same perspective. Although they may appreciate the improvements made to the home, buyers will only be interested in paying currentmarket value for your property. That’s the price for which comparable homes with comparable features are currently selling in your area.

Potential buyers will notice the final features: the hardwood floors, the freshly painted bedrooms, the sparkling new master ensuite. Features like these will certainly help sell your home faster and for the best price — but that price will likely be close to the current market value.

Now, it’s tempting to try to set a list price high above the current market value in the hopes that some buyer will appreciate all the time and money put into the property. But that strategy rarely, if ever, works. In most cases, pricing your home higher than comparable properties on the marketonly discourages potential buyers from viewing it.

Want to find out the current market value of your Lethbridge home? Call today.

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Nov 15, 2016

Don't Forget To Get What You Want

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Shopping for a new Lethbridge home can be a dizzying experience. There are so many things to think about, it’s all too easy to lose focus on the most important consideration of all: getting the home you really want.

Here are five questions to keep front-of-mind:

1. Is it located in the neighbourhood I want? Where a property is located can have a dramatic impact on how much you enjoy it. Make sure the neighbourhood has the characteristics you’re looking for.

2. Does it have the look I want? Looks aren’t everything, but they are important. A good looking property, inside and out, can make living in it that much more satisfying.

3. Does it have the features I want? Three bedrooms? A spacious backyard with a wraparound deck? You may not find all the features you’re looking for, but you should be able to come close.

4. Does it have issues I don’t want? Does the property require extensive repairs or renovations? Does it back onto a noisy street?

5. Can I purchase it for the price I want? Does the property fit your budget?

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Oct 01, 2016

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - Oct. 2016

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Sep 28, 2016

Under What Conditions Should You Accept a Conditional Offer?

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Ideally, you want a firm offer for your home. That means the buyer offers you a certain price, and you can either accept or reject it.Sometimes, however, buyers will make a conditional offer.

For example, you may be offered your full asking price —but only on the condition that the buyers can sell their current home or secure appropriate financing within a specified period of time.

Should you accept a conditional offer, despite the risk that it may “fall through”?

There’s no easy answer. That’s why we should discuss these types ofoffers. This way you will be prepared to determine the conditions underwhich you should accept a conditional offer

Stay Informed.

Call today for a complimentary, no obligation Real EstateCheck-up. We’ll review up-to-date market trends inyour immediate area, the current resale value of yourhome, and tips on improving the value of your home.

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Sep 12, 2016

When it Comes to Offers, it’s Not Always about Price

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When considering which of two or more competing offers to accept for your home, there is no doubt price plays a huge role. After all, if Offer #1 is $10,000 higher than Offer #2, that’s an enticing difference that puts thousands of extra dollars in your pocket.

However, price isn’t the only thing you should think about when comparing multiple offers. There are other factors you need to consider as well.

For example, what conditions are in the offer? If Offer #1 is conditional upon the buyer selling his current property for a specific amount, then what if that doesn’t happen? You could end up with an offer that dies and be forced to list your home all over again.

In that circumstance, accepting the lower offer may be your best move. There’s also financing to consider. Most buyers will attach a certificate from their mortgage lender to show that they can afford the home and will likely secure financing with little difficulty.

If you get an offer where the ability of the buyer to get financing is in doubt, that’s a red flag.

The closing date is another important factor. Offer #1 might propose a closing date that’s perfect for you, while Offer #2 is four weeks later. If you’ve already purchased another home, you might require a month of bridge financing if you accept Offer #2. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but the costs and additional hassle are factors you should consider.

As you can see, assessing competing offers isn’t as easy as it looks. Fortunately, as your REALTOR®, I will guide you toward making the right decision.

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Sep 12, 2016

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - Aug. 2016

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Sep 01, 2016

Lethbridge Single Family Stats Report - Sept. 2016

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Did I Ox You?

I promise, I'm not like this guy in the video. Find out yourself. Get in touch.

Jeff van de Bennet, realtor in Lethbridge

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