The Death of The Dining Room?

Many families are still enjoying dinners together, but chances are they’re not taking place in those formal dining rooms of years gone by.

Instead, you’re likely to find families eating at large kitchen islands, desks in multi-functioning offices, on terraces, or in outdoor kitchens. In fact, any place equipped with a table and chairs (or bench) can host dinnertime.

So where are dining rooms today? Don’t feel sorry for them – they haven’t been abandoned completely. They’re just being used for other purposes.

Homeowners in pursuit of useful square footage are turning dining rooms into living areas or workspaces, particularly in cities and square-footage challenged homes. Interior designers are turning existing dining rooms into multi-function rooms, like lounges or bars or combinations of both.

Many new homes are avoiding the dining room altogether.  In fact, formal dining rooms are being reincarnated architecturally.  Architects and contractors are creating rooms that can quickly be “flipped” into dining areas, like offices where desks or shelving unit components fold down into dining tables, or living rooms where the coffee table extends and rises to seat six or more people in total comfort.

The traditional dining room may be gone, but it’s been reborn as a space where people can tailor their homes to their lifestyles. And maybe, like the kitchen that returned to its roots as the heart of the home, it’s an idea whose time has come.

To learn more about Virani Real Estate Advisors or to discuss a property sale or purchase, email us at admin@thevlist.com, visit one of our offices, or call 604-913 1000 .

 

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Homeownership Revisited – Why It Makes Sense To Own A Home.

According to the Financial Post, more than 70% of Canadian households now own their home.  Even young people have caught the housing bug. Statistics Canada says much of the increase in home ownership — the number was 68.4% in 2006 — has been from young people buying condos.

House prices have continually increased over the last few decades resulting in some amazing gains for many homeowners. 

So what are the advantages of owning a home in Canada? 

1. Home ownership is the single largest source of savings for Canadian households.

2. Your payments build equity (as opposed to renting, where your money goes to the building owner).

3. Unlike other investments that can be volatile, when you buy a home the increase in its value is relatively steady. The average price of a house for sale on the Canadian real estate market has increased every year since 1998.

4. The return on investment for a house can be substantial. In Canada, there has not been a recorded 10-year period where average house prices have not increased.

5. Homeowners can use the equity in their homes as security for other loans.

6. Buying a home and building equity is the first step on the property ladder. It gets you into the housing market, keeps you in touch with increasing house prices, and puts you in a good position to trade up to bigger and better homes as your circumstances allow. 

7. If the home is a principal residence, it can be sold without any capital gains tax. 

If you are contemplating buying a home, get in touch with us for some useful advice.  We can guide you within your budget and lifestyle. Call us on 604 913 1000, contact us  or follow us on Facebook.

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Here Are Some Great Ways To Become Mortgage Free

A large number of homeowners get weighed down by the number of years left on their mortgage. The historically low interest rates have been a boon as many individuals who, once upon a time were tenants, have now become homeowners. Getting low interest rates is crucial, but there is a lot more you can do to ensure you can become mortgage free even sooner.
Here are some great tips to do this: 

  1. If you shorten your amortization period, you can build equity faster and take years
    off your mortgage. So if possible, budget for higher monthly payments.
  2. Make bi-weekly payments that match with your pay periods. This will increase the number of payments made in the year and take years off your mortgage term.
  3.  Many mortgages allow a lump sum payment in any one calendar year, and if you don’t use it, you will lose it! Even if you don’t have a sizeable amount to contribute, make sure you make that extra payment, no matter how small, as this could pay huge dividends later.
  4. If your salary increases, increase your mortgage payments to match. You probably wont feel the strain, unless you budget for a big ticket item such as  a car or a boat with your extra salary.  Remember your equity is increasing and interest decreasing with every extra dollar you put into your mortgage.
  5. When it is time to renew your mortgage, make sure you shop around for a better term. You may think that you get a favorable rate just because you are an existing customer of the bank or institution, but that’s not always the case. Make sure you negotiate and shop around. 

Through our affiliation with various Financial Institutions, you can access a full range of financial options for your home. Get the mortgage that’s right for you with the best rates and start saving money.  

Complete and submit this form. A Mortgage Specialist will contact you at your convenience. 

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Waterfront Living: The Advantages and Disadvantages

Waterfront living is a lifelong dream for many people. Living near the water has many advantages as well as disadvantages, so you should be prepared if you want to find out if it is the right lifestyle for you.

Advantages:

1) Houses near the water are always in limited supply and they are more desirable, hence they will retain their value longer and may be considered as a good investment.
2) There is a level of peace and tranquility that you cannot find anywhere else. The sounds, the smells, the air all bring you a peaceful level of calm.
3) You can have some spectacular views regardless of the weather.
4) Waterfront homes offer you a higher level of privacy. Rather than staring at another home, you have beautiful sunsets and sunrises. You can also rest assured that new properties will not pop up overnight, or in close proximity.
5) You are close to many water activities, which can be a lot of fun and lead to a healthier lifestyle.

Disadvantages:
1) There is increased exposure to natural risk, as sea levels can rise, storm surges can erode shorelines, and properties are more susceptible to wind damage.
2) Insurance premiums are typically higher and in some cases, expensive flood insurance may be required.
3) Waterfront homes may require more maintenance due to the humidity, dampness and salty air that can impact the exterior of the homes.
4) Water can also be a breeding ground for insects and other animals, which can be a nuisance.
5) If you don’t own the land at the edge of your property, the public may have legal access to your shoreline. This can impact your privacy and your home can be vulnerable to theft and vandalism.

To learn more about Virani Real Estate Advisors or to discuss a property, fill in this  form, visit one of our offices, or call 604-913-1000.

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When Buying Your Home, Take Into Consideration Where You Work.

If you’re entering into the real estate market for the first time, you’ll hear the old adage: location, location, location. That’s three of the key factors. So, if the neighborhood is nice, with parks, good schools, retail stores nearby, and close to the highway, it’s a good location. But what also makes it a good location is how close it is to your work. 

These days many people are telecommuting, which allows them to work from home and save gas. If that’s the case, a 45-minute or hour-plus drive, one-way to the office, might not be too intimidating because you’re not going to have to do it every day. 

If you are buying far from your place of work, you should take your extended commute into consideration. With rising gas prices and increasing traffic, an extra long commute to work can hurt your pocketbook.

Sometimes the allure of rural areas with typically less expensive housing prices is so strong that buyers forget to consider how long they’ll be on the road before they’re home at night with their families. They also don’t factor in the gas costs that add up fast and can amount to hundreds of dollars in expenses each month. 

If you do purchase a home with a long commute, talk to your company about possible commuting subsidies, arrange a carpool, or try to work remotely more frequently to reduce the back and forth commute.

You can also ask your work to adjust your hours so that you can come in and leave at times when you’ll miss rush hours. This way you’re not just burning gas while sitting in tight, slow-moving traffic. 

So when you are shopping for a home and there is a long commute involved, spend a little time weighing the pros and cons. It’s very important to do a little research. 

Planning to purchase a new home? Have any real estate related questions? Get in touch with us.  Call us on 604 913 1000, contact us  or follow us on Facebook!

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Important and Unavoidable Costs To Consider When Buying Your Home.

Planning to purchase a home is not just taking a realistic look at your budget to see how expensive a home you can afford, and how much the monthly mortgage and property tax payment will be.

There are more expenses involved than these property costs and if you don’t factor them in your planning, you can seriously overrun your budget and run into some unwarranted financial problems.

Here are some of the important home-buying expenses you should keep in mind first and foremost:

Costs directly involved in buying your home:

1) Realtor fees
2) Home inspection fees
3) Lawyers fees

Moving costs

1) Packing
2) Storing
3) Transportation

Utility costs

1) Setting up electricity, gas and water
2) Transferring your telephone line

Buying new items for the home

1) New furniture and fittings
2) New appliances

Renovations in the new home

1) Painting walls
2) Replacing flooring
3) Landscaping
4) Plumbing updates
5) Electrical updates

Other costs

1) Higher insurance costs – if you are moving to a larger home, or from a rental unit

Purchasing real estate is a great investment. Whether it’s a detached home, a townhome or a condo, we’ll help you find the perfect fit in the right community for you! Please contact us and one of our experienced real estate advisors will be happy to assist you!

 

 

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Hardwood Floors Have A Considerable Advantage When Selling Your Home.

If you are selling a home with hardwood floors, you will be pleased to know that according to American based ERA Real Estate, 82% of homebuyers look for homes that have this feature. Hardwood floors are proving to be very popular, and one of the main renos new homebuyers perform is to remove existing carpets and install hardwood floors after they have bought the property.

So if you decide to have hardwood floors installed, here are some helpful tips on choosing the right kind: 

  • If a hardwood floor is going in a high-traffic area, it will need to be strong and durable to prevent wear and tear. Red oak is a good choice for high-traffic areas.
  • The type of wood you should get depends on which rooms will have hardwood floors. For living room floors that are even with the ground outside and bedroom floors that are above that level, you can go with solid hardwood. If you’re having a hardwood floor installed in a basement, though, you’d be better off with engineered hardwood.
  • Your subfloor type makes a big difference in the type of wood you can get. For example, a concrete subfloor would need engineered hardwood, while plywood can have solid or engineered wood. 

Why do people like hardwood floors? 

  • If you suffer from allergies, hardwood flooring is an excellent choice for as wood floors don’t give pollen, animal dander, or mold any place to hide and thrive. 
  • A little sweeping and a little mopping with wood floor products, and your hardwood floor will keep looking nice for a long time to come. 
  • Wood floors last a long time and add value to a home, whereas carpet will look old and used in just a few years. There is no substitute for solid hardwood floors, giving any room in your house natural warmth and beauty.
  • Not only is hardwood more pleasant to walk on, it is naturally warm as wood is an excellent insulator. 

The disadvantages are:

  • Hardwood flooring is highly vulnerable to moisture and humidity. Even a little amount of moisture can deteriorate the wood.
  • The high cost makes it less affordable. Installation can be quite labor intensive and expensive.
  • A hardwood floor can be noisy, so it would have to be covered by rugs to muffle the sound. 

If you want to improve the look, durability and value of your home or apartment, hardwood floors are a definite way to go.  

Need more help preparing your home for selling? Why not contact us; our real estate professionals would be happy to help you!

 

 

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So Now I’ve Listed My Home – What Happens Next?

You have made that crucial decision to sell your home. You are excited. Knowing what to expect when your house goes up for sale can be half the battle of getting through the transaction. The whole process can be an emotionally challenging time, so you must be prepared.

Here’s a look at what you can expect once you sign a listing agreement:

Listing

The first thing your realtor will do is likely place your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This notifies all other agents in the area that your home is for sale.

Then, a “For Sale” sign will appear which will officially declare to your neighborhood that your home is up for sale.

A lockbox will be attached to your home allowing realtors access to your home when you are not in. If you don’t have one, it may be detrimental to you as other realtors will not take much interest in your place as it may be difficult trying to get access.

Open House

Your realtor will want to have a couple of open houses as soon as possible, which is why it’s not recommended to list your house until everything is ready for a good showing. This means you’ll likely be swamped with last-minute touch-ups and clean-ups to get things ready.

The realtor will likely have a brokers’ open house, which is during the week, so area agents, hopefully with clients looking to buy, can see the property. Next, traditionally on a Sunday will be the public open house.

It is best if you are not present during open houses, because buyers want the freedom to look in closets and make their personal comments. That’s difficult for most people to do if you are present. When potential buyers come for a viewing, try to step outside while they tour your house and let your professional realtor do what he/she is good at.

Interest

You should get the most interest during the first two to three weeks your house is listed. Anyone looking for a house similar to the one you’re selling will rush to see your home. Don’t get too concerned when the interest dies down.

If you have buyers come back a second or third time it usually means they are seriously considering your home and you’ll want your agent to keep in contact with their agent. Never ignore an offer, even if you consider it below your minimum.  Remember an offer can give you a chance to negotiate.

After 6 weeks

After 6 weeks if your home has not had any serious interest, you are either in a difficult market or you need to meet with your agent and re think your sales strategy.

This is crucial, because you may be tired of keeping the house clean, the initial excitement of the listing may have worn off and you may be irritated at just another person having a cursory look at your home.

At this stage you need to consider price and any physical changes or improvements that could enhance the home.

Thinking of listing your home? We have been in the real estate business for over 25 years and have successfully sold hundreds of millions of dollars of real estate. Contact us if you have any questions.

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How to Sell Your Home This Fall.

Generally speaking, fall often signals a slowing down in the real estate business. While steady home sales are expected to continue through the year, there are some regions that will likely slowly shift from a sellers market to a moderate or buyers market. So if you’re selling, you’ll want to do everything you can to make you house look its best. 

Keep the following fall tips in mind as you set out to put your home on the market and add your home sale to this year’s statistics:

Outside – Make sure your home has curb appeal, as you want to give the prospective buyer a great first impression.

  • Clear all the leaves off your property.
  • Cut your lawn, prune your shrubs and bushes.
  • Trim the trees so branches don’t get knocked down by the wind and cause unwarranted damage.
  • Ensure that your gutters have been cleaned and drain properly.
  • Make sure you have a good doormat so visitors can wipe their feet properly at the door.

Inside – Keeping the inside of the house clean is just as important as the outside.

  • Make sure your home feels warm and cozy – set the thermometer at a comfortable temperature.
  • Clear your home from clutter and keep all the rooms clean and tidy.
  • Place a nice fall centerpiece on your dining room table – decorate your home with festive fall embellishments.
  • Keep your windows clean from dirt and grime.
  • Let as much light in as possible. The extra light will help illuminate the houses’ interior.

Thinking of selling your home? We have a lot of experience in selling homes. Our real estate advisors understand the business and know how to negotiate the best possible outcome for their clients.  Contact us by email or call us on 604 695 1000.

 

 

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Does a Pool Increase the Value of your Home?

Although owning a home with a pool may sound glamorous, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will attract more buyers and a higher price. In fact in some instances a pool may be a negative factor. 

In a warmer climate area, the pool would be a significant asset, as the pool would be used more often. In colder climate areas, a pool would not feature prominently due to the weather. However, an indoor pool would be more attractive.

Here are a few other considerations to keep in mind if you have a pool or are thinking of getting one to add value to your home:

  • You may run into a buyer who was not considering a pool, but may be willing to buy a home that has one.
  • Pools take up a lot of yard space and are expensive to maintain – keeping in mind cleaning costs, heating costs and higher insurance.
  • Buyers with young kids may have the fear that their kids can accidentally fall into the pool and drown.
  • Experts say the biggest market for pools consists of buyers who skew toward middle age with teenage children.
  • In ground pools are better investments than above ground pools. So if you want to add a pool, chose either a granite or vinyl in ground one.
  • Above ground pools cost a fraction of what it costs to build an in ground pool, and have become increasingly easy to install and maintain.

If you have a home with a pool and need help selling it or if you are looking for a home with a pool, contact us and we certainly be able to help you.

 

 

 

 

 

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