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Benefits of a Home Evaluation

Whether you are deciding to put your house up for sale or you are searching for a home to buy, a home evaluation — also known as a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) — is important in determining the market value of the property.

A CMA is a report that includes both active and sold listings. Agents use these reports to help pinpoint an accurate market value for a listed home. A home evaluation for sellers is something that should be done prior to the home being listed on Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

When an agent goes to a home to do a CMA presentation, the agent will do a walkthrough of the home before sitting down with the sellers to review other relevant listings that are active or have recently been sold within the area that are comparable to their home.

Looking at home values in the surrounding area will give both the seller and the listing agent an approximate price range at which the home should be listed, based on the current market value.

When listing your home on the market you want to ensure that you are pricing it accurately. You don’t want your home to be overpriced because your home will end up sitting on the market while the competitors’ homes are being sold.

The same is true where the home is undervalued as this will result in the seller losing money on a home that they could have sold at a higher price.

Before your house goes on the market

Besides getting a CMA, there are other important steps that we recommend you do before you list your house on the MLS:

Declutter and Organize

Homeowners want to ensure that their home is going to appeal to buyers who typically like big, open, clutter-free spaces.

De-personalize

From the minute a potential buyer walks through the door of your home you want them to envision themselves living in the house. The best way to achieve this is by de-personalizing your home by removing things such as family photos.

At the Paula Mitchell Group, we have an in-house stager, Samantha Amodeo, who can provide your with a staging consultation prior to selling your home. Home staging can increase a home’s sale price by as much as 15%.

To learn more about how Samantha’s can help get you a higher price for your home, contact us.

Improve Curb Appeal

Improving your home’s curb appeal is especially important when you are listing your home in the spring, summer and fall months. The exterior of your home is the first thing potential buyers see when they are looking at your home. It only takes roughly 8 seconds for a buyer to determine if they are interested in the home so if your curb appeal is lacking, you may lose a potential buyer’s interest before they even walk in the front door.

If you are thinking of selling your home and want to know more about the comparative market value of your property, contact the Paula Mitchell Group’s team of real estate experts.

Decluttering the Marie Kondo Way

Does it spark joy? If the answer to this question is no, it’s time to get rid of it. That’s the Marie Kondo method on organizing your home and your life, and at Paula Mitchell Group, we recommend that our clients take the time to declutter their homes before listing them.

Who is Marie Kondo?

Marie Kondo is a tidying expert. She began her tidying consulting business at the early age of 19 in Tokyo, Japan. Little did she know, her tidying methods were going to become a universal success later on in life. Marie is also a New York Times best-selling author for her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and her recent Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, has sparked a lot of conversation.

The KonMari Method

Marie Kondo’s method is different from other organizers as it focuses on not organizing your home by specific rooms but instead by specific categories. With this method, it is important that you follow the categories in order. According to the KonMari Method, the five categories in which you should organize your home are:

  1. Clothing
  2. Books
  3. Paper documents
  4. Komono (meaning kitchen, bathroom, garage, and miscellaneous)
  5. Sentimental items  

Through her method she wants her clients to remove everything from their current locations to visually see what it is that they have. From there, they are asked to separate the items by what “sparks joy” and which ones don’t.

When clients come to us for advice on staging their homes or what to do before listing their home, we recommend  Marie’s Tips:

  • Clean by category: It’s a good idea to tidy by her five categories instead of the usual way of cleaning room by room.
  • Ask if it sparks joy: This is not meant to judge how often you use or value any particular item in your home but instead ask if it sparks joy. If it does spark joy, you keep it.
  • Say goodbye to your stuff: Once you decide that you aren’t going to keep an item it is important, as per the KonMari method, that you thank the item before giving it away.

Ensuring that your home is neat, tidy, and decluttered will help to make your space look larger and will better showcase your home.

Tidying Specific Items

To help you get started, here are some specific organizational tips that Marie uses for the clients:

Kitchen Drawers

  • Keep like items together by size.
  • Utilize tiny boxes to separate and store.

Clothes

  • Create one big pile with all of your clothes. This allows you to actually see how much you have and can decide which items are necessary to keep.
  • When putting your folded clothes away, make sure to stand them up in the drawers so you are able to see each item.
  • Folding Pants
    • Fold in half
    • Fold in half again
    • Fold in thirds
  • Folding Tops
    • Create a rectangle in the middle
    • Fold in half
    • Fold in thirds

Sheets

  • Fold the sheet into the rubber band
  • Fold into thirds
  • Fold in half
  • Store upright

Bags

  • Put similar size bags inside each other
  • Keep handles visible in order to easily see and identify the bag

With the spring market heating up, it might be time to use her method and ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?”

Contact the team at Paula Mitchell Group to discuss putting your home on the market and home staging tips today!

Explore Downtown Brampton!

Have you ever spent a day exploring downtown Brampton?

When people decide to spend a day exploring a city, they often seek out places they’ve never been to before. Many people either don’t know all the great things that their city has to offer. So, why not explore the place you live — it’s like a staycation!

Downtown Brampton is filled with history, wonderful places to eat, and terrific sights to see — and it’s all right inside the heart of the Flower City.

Here is a list of fun things to see and do in Brampton:

Garden Square

Garden Square marks the centre of downtown Brampton and it’s home to many community programs and events. This space features free entertainment all year round, including artistic, cultural, and theatrical events for all ages.

Summer in Garden Square

Each day of the week throughout the summer, there is something happening at Garden Square. Mondays are Brampton On Screen, where local digital media artists are featured. Tuesdays are Unboxed where young people are featured for their athletic and artistic pursuits. Wednesdays are Brampton on Stage where Brampton’s emerging artists perform on the fountain stage. Thursdays you can enjoy a Bollywood film under the stars. Fridays are Friday Night Live where you can enjoy a free concert from some of the music industry’s biggest names. Saturdays are Night Movies where you can enjoy two family-friendly box office hits and pre-movie activities including giveaways, pop-up performances, and meet-and-greets with characters.

Brampton Farmers Market

Enjoy your local farmers market at Garden Square from the middle of June until the beginning of October. Select from a wide variety of fresh produce, baked goods, prepared foods, and goods straight from the producer.

Brampton Arts Walk of Fame

An Arts Walk of Fame was established with the aim to inspire the next generation of artists and creators by recognizing the incredible talent that has emerged from Brampton. The Walk of Fame includes Russell Peters, Johnny Reid, Alan Thicke, Michael Cera, Keshia Chante, and Trey Anthony.

Gage Park

Gage Park is a great place to explore when visiting downtown Brampton. Regardless of the time of year, there’s always something fun to do in the Park.

In the winter, you can enjoy outdoor skating along a circular path surrounded by trees decorated with lights.

In the summer, you can enjoy the playground and cool down in the splash pad and wading pool.

PAMA – Peel Art Gallery Museum and Archives

The Peel Art Gallery Museum and Archives is a museum, art gallery, and archives focusing on the Region of Peel. Previously known as the Peel Heritage Complex, it underwent renovations in 2010 and now houses a permanent collection of art and presents rotating exhibitions in their art gallery. Make sure you check out their website before you attend to see what exhibitions are being featured.

Good Eats

While exploring downtown Brampton, you might work up an appetite.Here are some of the unique places that are always a hit:

Poutine Dare to be Fresh

This is a great place to go to indulge in comfort food. Specializing in fresh cut fries and fresh cheese curds, they are known for their poutines but it’s not the only thing they serve on their menu. Other options include sandwiches, hotdogs, chilli dogs, chicken tenders, and breaded dill pickles. Yum!

Fanzorelli’s Restaurant & Wine Bar

If you like Italian food, you’ll love Fanzorelli’s. They use fresh, local ingredients to create modern Italian dishes. If you’re seeing a show at the Rose Theatre, they offer a special pre-theatre menu at a discounted rate!

Wendel Clark’s Classic Grill and Bar

If you are a Toronto Maple Leaf fan, this is the place to go. Owned by the former captain of the Maple Leafs, Wendel Clark, the legend’s restaurant has a lot to offer. From daily lunch specials to daily drink specials there is something for everyone to enjoy at this classic grill and bar.

Little Shop of Ice Cream

Serving Kawartha Dairy ice cream as well as homemade soups, grilled cheese sandwiches, and fresh salads. What more could you ask for?!

Regardless of what you decide to see and do while you are exploring downtown Brampton, it is sure to be a great time.

How to Get the Highest Price for Your Home

One question our group of real estate professionals often gets asked by homeowners is, “How do I get the highest price for my home?”

While there is no single, easy-to-point-to answer, there are many variables that contribute to the price of your home. Variables include the comparative market analysis, the current real estate market you are entering, the upgrades in your home, and even how your home shows.

Despite all the variables, there are two actions we suggest that all our clients take when they decide it’s the right time to sell their home: decluttering and staging their home.

Decluttering

It is always a good idea to remove any of the excess clutter from your home. A clean home will look as big and open as possible for potential buyers, which in turn can net you a higher selling price.

While you are clearing the clutter, we recommend that you pay special attention to your closets. Clean them out, and organize your belongings! Potential buyers will want to see how much storage space your home has rather than notice a lack of space.

Staging

Home staging improves the flow of your home and highlights the unique characteristics your home has to offer to potential buyers.

There are five reasons why you should consider staging your home to ensure it stands out, especially in a competitive market:

  1. Makes a home more welcoming and move in ready
  2. Gives each room a sense of scale
  3. Makes sense of awkward spots
  4. Attracts more attention online
  5. Buyers can visualize the home as their own when staged because it has been de-personalized

Low-cost ways to boost your home price

Another question we’re frequently asked is, “What quick renovations have the biggest possible return?”

If you’re renovating for the purposes of selling, the first thing you need to do is either hire a professional or do some research regarding the current housing market. You need to know what buyers are looking for in order to attract them to your home.

Here are some inexpensive ways that you can update your home and see a return when you go to sell:

Painting

Painting your home is an inexpensive way to update your home. Also, the return on the investment for painting your home is between 50-100%. Having a neutral scheme throughout the home allows for potential buyers to see the home as a blank canvas, which makes it easier for buyers to envision themselves living there.

New floors

Redoing your floors is another less expensive way to increase the value of your home as it helps to brighten up any room. Carpet in the home is generally not desired by today’s buyers. Hardwood, laminate, and tile are the way to go if floors are something you’re renovating.

Sprucing up the exterior

You only get one chance to make a first impression. It might be cliché but it’s true.

Upgrading the exterior of your home is something you could feasibly do yourself. Some of these changes could including maintaining the lawn and garden or painting the front door and garage door. Keep in mind that you want to keep your exterior simple in order to appeal to a variety of buyers.

Higher cost ways to boost your home price

If you decide that you want to completely remodel or make dramatic changes to your home before selling it, there are two rooms which tend to have the highest return on investment: the kitchen and the bathroom.

The return can be between 75-100% when deciding to renovate these two rooms.

Kitchen

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home, which is why putting your money into it can add value to your home.

Ensuring that you renovate your kitchen in a functional and comfortable way is key.

It is important to research what people are looking for in a kitchen when they’re home shopping. Some of the things buyers are looking for include ample storage, lots of counter space, and newer appliances.

Kitchen remodels don’t always have to break the bank. Smaller changes to your kitchen can also add value to your home. Some of these face-lift items include:

  • Painting the existing cabinets or installing new cabinet doors
  • New appliances
  • Upgrading countertops
  • Changing the cabinet hardware

Bathroom

Depending on the state or age of your bathroom, it might be worth doing a complete remodel. However, bathroom renovations don’t necessarily mean that you have to completely rip everything out and start from scratch.

If you are wanting to do a more budget-friendly renovation that still has a big impact, here are some ideas:

  • Replace the faucet and vanity hardware
  • Add a fresh coat of paint
  • Replace the toilet
  • Re-grout the tiles
  • Remove and replace caulking around the shower, tub, and toilet areas
  • Replace mirrors and light fixtures

Consultation

Ultimately, the market in your geographical area is going to have a large impact on the types of upgrades you should be making.

It might be beneficial to consult with a local realtor who can give you insight on what would make sense for your home in order to meet the needs of the buyers in that market.

If you are in need of professional advice, don’t hesitate to contact the Paula Mitchell Group. We’d love to assist you in getting the most value out of your home when you are getting ready to sell.

5 Things to do Family Day Weekend in Brampton

With Family Day fast approaching (Monday, February 18), it is time to start deciding what to do with your family for the long weekend. Here is a list of five fun Family Day activities to do in Brampton:

1. Outdoor Skating

Enjoy Family Day at one of the many outdoor skating rinks in Brampton. Most of the outdoor rinks in Brampton are free of charge and open to the public most days of the week. However, since they are outdoors, they are also weather dependent. Ensure that you check the rink status on the City of Brampton website before heading out. Here is a list of the outdoor skating rinks you should check out:

Mount Pleasant

Enjoy a fun family outing at the outdoor rink in Mount Pleasant Village. This outdoor rink is smaller in size but perfect for skaters of any ability, especially those who are just learning how to skate.

Gore Meadows

The newest skating rink is Brampton is now open at Gore Meadows Community Centre. This outdoor ice rink is unique because it is covered, which means you won’t be exposed to any weather falling from the clouds. Ice skates and helmets are not available for rental at this location so make sure you bring your own!

skating on an outdoor rink

Gage Park Outdoor Skating Trail

In the heart of downtown Brampton is this outdoor skating trail perfect for families to enjoy. You can skate through the trees and scenery of Gage Park, and as an added bonus, it’s free! If you go in the evening there is a fire pit which is perfect for warming up during those frigid February evenings.

Chinguacousy Park Skate Trail

One of the newer Brampton outdoor skating rinks is located at Chinguacousy Park. The rink is designed in an irregular canal shape which allows skaters of all abilities to practice their skills. This rink is able to accommodate up to 500 skaters.

Don’t have skates or a helmet? Not a problem! At Gage Park and the Chinguacousy Park Skate Trail, you can rent these items from Thursday to Sunday.

2. Chinguacousy Park Fun

There is a lot more to do at Chinguacousy Park aside from skating. In the last few years, Brampton has done a lot of renovating and updating to its Chinguacousy Park. There is so much to do here all year long. This Family Day, get your family outside to explore what it has to offer. One of the most popular winter activities at Chinguacousy Park is skiing, snowboarding and tubing at Mount Chinguacousy, a great hill for beginners to learn on. Rental of skis, snowboards and equipment can be done at the rental shop.

3. Peel Art Gallery Museum and Archives (PAMA)

On February 18th, you can enjoy a fun-filled day with free activities inspired by PAMA’s winter exhibit: Ronald Boore – Black & White and North is Freedom. These activities include creating a winter polar bear scene, meeting local artist Mosa McNeilly, and a storytelling performance with Diane Brathwaite and Chris Whiteley.

If you can’t make it on February 18th, there are other family-friendly activities occurring all weekend long, including designing your own quilt pattern and storytelling with Sandra Whiting.

4. Aerosports Trampoline Park

Aerosports Trampoline Park is a great place to go to burn off a lot of energy. There is so much to do at this park for kids of all ages. Some of the fun features include dodgeball, a full arcade, climbing walls, open jumping, and climb and slide zone. As well as the largest warrior course in Canada, which tests your balance and strength on an obstacle course.

Little girls on a trampoline

5. Brampton Community Centres

Many Brampton Community Centres have public swimming or public skating for you and your family to enjoy. These are great activities for you and your family to enjoy that won’t break the bank.

You can also try checking out one of Brampton’s local libraries for some Family Day Learning. As an added bonus, if you go to the libraries at Mount Pleasant Village or Gore Meadows, there are also skating rinks to enjoy.

With all these fun family activities to enjoy, there’s no doubt you will be able to find a way to spend quality time with your family this Family Day long weekend. Let us know if you have any other favourite fun family activities you like to do this long weekend. Comment below!

Assessing the Canadian Real Estate Market 2019

 

“Employment is high, rates are low, and home prices are essentially flat. 2019 is shaping up to be a year of rare opportunities” – Phil Sopher, President and CEO, Royal LePage

With one month of 2019 in the books, changes have already been happening in the Canadian Real Estate market this year. The Canadian Real Estate market is constantly changing with the supply and demand needed for today’s buyers and sellers. If you are thinking of making moves in the 2019 market, here is some information you might find helpful when buying or selling this year:

What did home sales in the Real Estate Market look like in 2018?

Knowing what happened in the previous year and the previous quarter is important when trying to determine what might happen in the following quarters. At the beginning of 2019, Royal LePage released their House Price Survey which stated that healthy gains were made throughout Canada, especially in the fourth quarter of 2018. This is great news for buyers and sellers as the market is continuing to recover from the most significant housing correction since the financial crisis. According to the survey, “the price of a home in Canada increased 4.0 per cent year-over-year to $631,223 in the fourth quarter of 2018.” During the end of the fourth quarter, the Greater Toronto Area saw healthy home appreciation. Condominiums continued to see the highest rate of appreciation nationally when compared to the detached segment, rising 7.2 per cent year-over-year to $447,915.

Bank of Canada Announcement – January 2019

On January 9th, the Bank of Canada announced that there would be no change to their overnight rate, meaning that variable rate mortgages, lines of credit, and/or student loans that are based on the Bank’s Prime Rate will stay the same. But what does this mean for you as a homeowner or potential homeowner?

“Those with a variable rate mortgage can take a sigh of relief for now. The Bank of Canada held its overnight rate at their January 9th meeting. Many Economists expect there will be a slower pace on rate hikes and that spring to mid-year will be the more likely timing,” said Michelle Campbell, a local mortgage broker.

Campbell continued, “Although the 5-year bond yield would suggest a decrease in fixed rates, that hasn’t happened. The variable rates are almost 90% lower than fixed rates, depending on if you are purchasing, renewing or refinancing. CMHC reported that 31% of insured buyers chose a variable rate mortgage in the third quarter of 2018. Features of a variable rate mortgage include the ability to lock into a fixed rate at any time without a penalty, a 3-month interest penalty to break the mortgage before the term is up as well as the qualifying interest rate being much lower than that of a fixed rate.”

“With fixed rates holding steady, a variable rate mortgage is still a very attractive option,” concluded Campbell.

Expect to have more interest rates announcements in 2019. The announcement dates for this year are as followed: March 6, April 24, May 29, July 10, September 4, October 30, and December 4.

Canadian dollar with business diagram pen and calcualtor
What are the predictions for the 2019 Housing Market?

Although in real estate nothing is ever certain, there are still projections made each year as well as each quarter. Phil Sopher, president and CEO, Royal LePage stated, “Canada’s real estate market is beginning to emerge from the correction that began a year ago. The national real estate market is stable and should see modest price gains by the end of 2019.”

Although house prices and home sale volumes were soft and low last year, you can expect modestly better results in 2019 according to Sopher. It is projected that the modest home price appreciation to rise 1.2 per cent in Canada in 2019, which means if you looking to enter the real estate market, the time is now.

“A silver lining in this cloud of uncertainty is the opportunity for young families to enter the market,” said Sopher.

For more information on the Canadian Real Estate market and the projections for 2019, please contact one our agents or mortgage brokers today.