Consumer Tips For Real EstateConsumer Tips For Real EstateConsumer Tips For Real EstateHome Buyers 21 February 2024

What You Need to Know About Buying a Condo

Condos have become a popular housing option for many different reasons – a smaller footprint is great for those who might be looking to downsize from a single-family home to something smaller, while their size often translates into more affordable purchase prices for first-time home buyers or new families looking to get into the housing market. If you’re considering buying a condo, it’s important to do your research to fully understand everything that goes into condo home ownership, as there can be differences between owning a condo versus a single-family home.

If you’re thinking about dipping your toes into the housing market and buying a condo, we’ve highlighted some of the main things you need to know about condo home ownership.

Swimming pool in condo building

Take Location Into Account

Condos are typically built in high-traffic areas such as downtowns and other urban centers, so if you’re looking to be in a quiet, family-friendly neighbourhood, then a condo might not be the right choice for you. However, if you’re looking to be able to walk out your front door and be in the hustle and bustle, then a condo might be the perfect place to call home. Location is also important to consider when thinking about things such as transportation and other amenities. If you work in a busy downtown area, opting for a condo a few blocks away might be a great idea, as it’ll save on commute times and transportation costs.

What Amenities Are Included?

One of the most appealing features of many condos are their included amenities. These differ from building to building, but some common amenities often seen in condos include swimming pools and hot tubs, gyms, shared outdoor spaces such as BBQ pits and rooftop patios, and common lounge rooms that everyone in the building can access. If you’re currently paying for a gym membership, opting for a condo with a gym might be a great way to help cut down on some costs. These amenities are typically included as part of the strata fees you pay to live in a condo building, so they can be a huge added bonus when considering a condo as your next home.

Condo living room

Are There Other Costs to Be Aware Of?

While condo prices are often lower than those of single-family homes and townhouse units, it’s important to remember that the listing price doesn’t include things such as strata fees and other costs that factor into purchasing a home. Strata fees are used to help cover the cost of building maintenance, access to amenities, and general upkeep of the property and its grounds (garbage removal, landscaping, snow removal, etc.). These fees can vary depending on the property, its location and the amenities it provides, among other things. It’s important to take this fee into consideration when looking at purchasing a condo, as it will become part of your monthly payment and might impact your budget. You’ll also need to remember to consider utility and insurance payments, which also won’t be included in the purchase price.

Consider The Long-Term Potential

If you’re looking to downsize, then you might be looking at a condo as more of a long-term investment. However, if you’re looking at a condo as a bit of a stepping stone to get yourself into the housing market, then it is probably a good idea to consider the long-term potential of your condo. Condos have excellent rental potential, especially in cities like Kelowna where you have a bustling student population. Rather than selling your condo down the road, you might want to consider if it might be more worthwhile to rent it out instead. Thinking about your long-term goals before making a purchase might help you narrow down your options, or might make one condo more appealing than another.

Regardless of whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or are someone looking to downsize, condos can be a great investment. Taking the time to do your research before starting your home-buying journey can help you feel better prepared for the purchase you’re going to make, and help you get into the condo of your dreams!

Thinking about making the move to a condo? We can help! Contact Max Carbone today to have him connect you with one of our experienced real estate agents.

16 November 2023

Best Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal in Winter

When it comes to selling your home, curb appeal has a huge impact on the first impression your home gives potential buyers. While boosting your home’s curb appeal during the warmer, summer months is relatively simple, it can be more challenging once the snow flies and the cold weather sets in.

If you’re looking for a few ways to boost your home’s curb appeal in the winter, we’ve compiled a list of a few different things you can do!

Home with bright interior lights in winter

Boost Curb Appeal: Let There Be Light

As the days get shorter, you’ll want to ensure that your home is properly illuminated. Not only will this help potential buyers see the home, but it will also help keep sidewalks and front porches lit up, which will help keep people safe. With showings happening in the darker evening hours, keeping your lights on will also make your home feel more welcoming and ‘lived-in’, which will help invite potential buyers in.

Spruce Up Your Front Porch

While there won’t be much yard work to be done in the winter months to help with your home’s curb appeal, one area that you can put some work into is your front porch. Consider painting your front door a bold colour to add some personality to the space, add festive winter-themed pots on the porch, or hang a seasonal wreath on the front door to help boost the curb appeal. Not only will these add to the first impression that your home will make to potential buyers, but it will also allow them to see the potential of what they could do to the space should they decide to put in an offer.

Homeowner shovelling snow in winter

Keep Sidewalks Clear

When inviting potential buyers into your home for showings, the last thing you want is for someone to slip and fall on an icy sidewalk. This is why keeping sidewalks and driveways clear is extremely important when selling during the winter months. Shoveling and de-icing your sidewalks and driveway can also help boost your home’s curb appeal as it makes your property feel lived-in and more welcoming to those who might be considering your home during their home search.

Update House Numbers

If you’re looking for a simple, relatively inexpensive way to boost your home’s curb appeal during the winter months, then you might want to consider updating your house numbers. They are mandatory to have on your home, but depending on when your home was built and when they were last changed, they can sometimes look a bit outdated. Taking the time to update your house numbers is a great way to refresh the exterior of your home while also ensuring that potential buyers will be able to easily find it when they come for their showings.

Whether you’re planning to list your home soon or are thinking you’ll be listing later in the winter, taking these steps now is a great way to ensure that you’re putting your home’s best foot forward when it comes time to put it on the market.

Thinking about selling your home? We can help! Contact Max Carbone today to get in touch with one of our experienced real estate agents!

In The CommunityIn The Community 18 October 2023

Spooky Halloween Activities in the Okanagan

With Halloween just a few weeks away and the crisp fall weather already in the Okanagan, many people are starting to look for activities to help them get into the spooky season mood. Whether you’re looking for a good scare or are looking for something fun to do with the kids, there are dozens of fantastic Halloween activities and events happening throughout the valley.

We’ve highlighted a few spooky Halloween activities happening in the Okanagan over the next few weeks that are definitely worth checking out.

Trick or treating in the Okanagan

Haunted Farm Adventure

Hosted by Don-O-Ray Farm, the Haunted Farm Adventure will provide fun for all ages! The ghost town of Deadwood has reawakened and the fall activities are in full swing, including a hedge maze that is full of spooky surprises, twists, turns, and dead ends. While you’re enjoying the spooky fun, you can also pick up your pumpkins straight from their pumpkin patch! With dates running throughout the month of October, make sure to drop in and enjoy their Haunted Farm Adventure!

Haunted House at the Museum

If you’re looking to visit a Haunted House this spooky season, then look no further than the Westbank Museum’s 3rd annual Haunted House at the Museum. Entry is by donation and they have several dates between now and Halloween for you to enjoy. Bring your friends and family and make your way through the haunted house – if you dare!

Halloween Movie in the Vineyard

Visit Priest Creek Family Estate Winery this October and enjoy a Halloween Movie Night in the Vineyard! On Friday, October 27th, they will be screening The Haunted Mansion for everyone to enjoy. This is a ticketed event with adult tickets at $15 and kid tickets at $10. Don’t forget to enjoy a wine tasting while you’re there!

Jack-o-lantern pumpkin for halloween

Halloweenie at Grizzli Winery

For those who are looking for both kid-friendly and pet-friendly Halloween events around the Okanagan this fall, Grizzli Winery is the place to be. Their 4th annual Halloweenie event is a non-scary, ‘lights on’ indoor event that is perfect for young kids. Kids can join in on fun Halloween-themed activities such as a scavenger hunt, mini-pumpkin decorating station, outdoor s’mores around the fire, and more while parents can enjoy wine from the winery. Admission is $5 and covers a variety of things for both adults and children.

Family Monster Bash

Join the City of Kelowna for their Family Monster Bash at the Kelowna Capital News Centre on Sunday, October 29th! This is a free event perfect for the whole family and will include an obstacle course, bouncy house, Halloween games, face painting, and more. The concession will be open for purchasing food and drinks, and the ice rink will be open for free skating.

There is never a shortage of great events happening throughout the Okanagan, and the Halloween season is no exception! These events are sure to get you into the spooky spirit, just in time for Halloween!

Are you thinking about moving to the Okanagan and making it your home? We can help! Contact Max Carbone to be connected to one of our experienced real estate agents.

Preparing Your Listing for SaleSellers Advantage 21 August 2023

Top Tips for Downsizing Your Home

While having a large home with lots of room for kids and pets to run around can be great, there will likely come a time once the kids have moved out and you find yourself with more square footage than you know what to do with. In this scenario, many homeowners find themselves looking to downsize their home and find something a bit more manageable for their current lifestyle. But downsizing can be a daunting and sometimes emotional task that can be overwhelming if you don’t take steps to help streamline the process.

If you’re thinking about downsizing your home, we’ve put together a few tips to help make the downsizing process as stress-free as possible.

Small space kitchen

Declutter Before You Move

One of the best ways to make downsizing a breeze is to declutter your home before you move. Not only will this help eliminate items you don’t have space for in your new home, but it will also save time so you can avoid packing items that actually don’t need to make the move. Compare your current home with the home you’re moving into and take inventory of items that aren’t necessary.

Start Small

The idea of having to downsize and declutter an entire house can feel incredibly overwhelming, so it’s important that you remember to start small. Rather than looking at your home as a whole, start with just one room, such as a bedroom, and go from there. Making a list can also be helpful – jot down any items or pieces of furniture that you know you no longer need, and deal with them when you come to that room rather than trying to tackle everything at once.

Small space bedroom

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

Asking for help can be hard to do, but when it comes to downsizing and moving, it can be a game-changer! If you have friends and family who are willing to help with the downsizing process, take them up on it! Sometimes just having an outside opinion and an extra pair of hands can make the entire process go much faster and make it less stressful.

Utilize Space-Saving Options

When thinking about what furniture to take to your new place, it is a good idea to look at pieces that might serve more than one purpose or offer hidden storage. It’s also important to ensure that the furniture you currently have will fit in your new space, especially if you’re moving from a house to a smaller townhouse or condo. With so many great space-saving options available, you’ll be able to find something that will fit your needs while maximizing your space with additional storage or seating.

Whether you’re downsizing because you no longer need the space that you currently have or are just looking to simplify your life, these tips will help keep the downsizing and moving process simple and stress-free so you can spend less time worrying and more time enjoying your new space!

Looking to downsize from your current home into something smaller? We can help! Contact Max Carbone today to get connected to one of our experienced real estate agents!

Hot TipsHot TipsHot TipsHot Tips 5 July 2023

Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe During Summer Vacations

Now that the sunshine and hot weather are here, many people will set off on their summer vacations. Whether you’re planning to stick close to home this summer or are planning a larger getaway, it’s important to make sure you have everything in order before setting off, including making sure your home is safe and secure. The last thing you want on vacation is to receive a call that something has gone wrong, so we have highlighted some steps you can take to help ensure that your home and belongings will be safe until you return.

Whether you’re leaving town for an extended period of time or are just leaving for a day or two, following these steps before you leave will help keep your home safe while you’re on vacation.

Watering flowers while homeowners are on vacation

Get a House Sitter

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your home will be safe and secure while you’re on vacation is to hire a house sitter to keep an eye on the place. Some house sitters will actually stay in your home, which will help make it look lived-in. Alternatively, some house sitters will stop by your home once a day or once every few days to make sure that everything is in order. Not only is this a great way to ensure that your home is being looked after, but it also means you can have someone stopping by to water flowers and other plants that might suffer in the hot Okanagan sun.

Lock All Windows & Doors

Before leaving on vacation, make sure to walk around your home and check that every window and door is closed and locked. This will help improve your home’s security and will help give you peace of mind that everything is locked up and secure. You might think that simply closing your windows is enough, but ensuring that they are locked as well will help keep every possible entrance to your home safe and secure.

Install Smart Locks & Security Cameras

Investing in a security system or smart locks is a great idea if you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, but it is also an investment that will benefit you and your home year-round. There are many great, easily accessible options available, such as the Ring Video Doorbells or the Google Nest security cameras, many of which are easy to install and connect to an app on your phone so you can keep track of what’s happening from wherever you are. Smart locks are also a great way to ensure your home’s security, as many of them give you the ability to lock and unlock your doors from anywhere.

Make It Look Like Someone’s Home

If you have a trusted friend or neighbour looking after your home while you’re away, there are a few things you can ask them to do to make it look like your home is being lived in, even if you’re away. If there are cars left in your driveway, arrange to move them every so often to make it look like you’ve been out and about. Having someone collect your mail is also a great way to keep it from piling up so it’s not so obvious that no one is home. If your blinds or drapes are normally open, keep them this way so that it looks like nothing is out of the ordinary. You can also leave a light or two on to make it seem like someone is home.

While it might be tempting to rush out and make the most of your summer vacation, taking the time to properly secure your home will help give you peace of mind that it’s being looked after and will allow you to enjoy your holidays without worrying about your home or your belongings.

 

Thinking about calling the Okanagan home, but don’t know where to start? We can help! Contact Max Carbone today to be connected with one of our experienced agents.

Hot TipsPreparing Your Listing for SaleSellers AdvantageUncategorized 22 June 2023

5 Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent When Selling

While selling your home might seem as simple as just putting it on the market and waiting for the offers to come in, there is actually a lot more that goes into selling a home than you may realize. If you’re looking for a home sale that will go smoothly and be as stress-free as possible, it’s important to sit down with your real estate agent and ask some questions that will help manage your expectations and better understand the entire home selling process.

Working with an experienced and reputable real estate agent is a great place to start, but we’ve highlighted a few questions to ask your agent to best prepare for your home sale.

How Much Is My Home Worth?

One of the most important questions to ask when beginning your home selling journey is what your real estate agent thinks your home is worth. Hiring a real estate appraiser is one way to determine the price, but you can also ask your real estate agent to perform a market evaluation. They will consider the current housing market and demand in your area, along with the specifics of your home, such as square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and location to determine your home’s value and what the listing price should be.

Factors such as the age of your home, any recent upgrades or renovations, and proximity to different amenities will also have an impact on your home’s value.

couple meeting with real estate agent

What Costs Will I Incur While Selling My Home?

Another important question to ask your real estate agent is what costs you might incur while selling your home. One of the more obvious costs is the commission that your agent will take for helping you through the selling process, but there are other costs that are important to keep in mind. Some of these additional costs can include fees from a Notary Public or Lawyer, as well as any costs associated with moving, starting/canceling new utility services, and hiring cleaners to clean your home for the new buyers before they take possession.

What Do I Need To Disclose to Buyers?

While there are some things that you likely don’t need to disclose to any potential buyers in your home, in British Columbia you are obligated to disclose any and all known Material Latent Defects, which can include:

  • A defect in the home or property that could make it potentially dangerous for occupants
  • Anything that classifies the property as uninhabitable
  • Lack of appropriate building (or other) permits regarding the property
  • Any required updates that will be extremely costly to the new owners to repair

It is important to bring anything you feel may fall under a Material Latent Defect with your real estate agent early on, as they can sometimes have an impact on the value of your property.

Home improvements being made before sale

How Do I Best Prepare My Home for Sale?

Another important question to ask is what you can do to best prepare your home for being put on the market and potential showings. One of the biggest things to remember is that your home will need to remain clean and tidy for both the listing photos and for showings, as that will allow you to best represent your property. The curb appeal of your home also makes a big impact, as it is the first impression people will get of your home. There are a few simple things you can do to help boost your home’s curb appeal, such as tidying any clutter from the yard, adding some bright flowers and planters, and painting the front door.

How Will You Market My Home?

While selling your home might seem as simple as just putting it on the MLS and waiting for the offers to roll in, there is actually quite a bit of marketing that goes into selling a home, so it’s important to ask your real estate agent what they plan to do to help market your property. The marketing approach is key as it can help attract buyers and make your home very appealing compared to others on the market. Some of the most common marketing materials utilized by real estate agents include:

  • Professional real estate photos and floor plans
  • Marketing materials such as flyers and brochures
  • Advertising on real estate portals such as Realtor.ca and Zillow.com
  • Social media marketing through the agent or brokerage’s social media accounts

Some agents also leverage marketing materials such as video, 3D virtual walkthroughs, and virtual staging to help your home stand out. Be sure to ask what your agent will do to help market your property to ensure you’re getting the best service possible.

While selling your home can be a stressful and sometimes emotional time, taking the time to prepare and ask the right questions can give you peace of mind that your real estate agent has your best interest in mind and can do what it takes to get your home sold.

Ready to sell your home and are looking for an experienced real estate agent? We can help! Contact Max Carbone today to get started!

Home BuyersIn The Community 19 May 2023

Kelowna’s Top Liveability Factors

There is no question that Kelowna and the rest of the Okanagan Valley is a true four-season playground, with endless activities and amenities to enjoy year-round. These features factor into Kelowna’s liveability factors, which is a huge attraction for people looking to buy in the city. If you’re considering making the move to Kelowna, take a look at Kelowna’s liveability factors to determine if it’s the right community for you.

We’ve highlighted some of Kelowna’s top liveability factors to help you get a feel for the Okanagan Valley and everything it has to offer!

Winter activities at Big White Ski Resort

Kelowna Liveability: Get Outdoors

Tourism is very popular in the Okanagan Valley. This means that Kelowna and the surrounding area offer a diverse range of outdoor activities for locals and visitors alike. While the hot summer months are popular with people looking to spend time at the beach, go boating, or golfing at one of the many popular golf courses, the winter months also provide endless outdoor entertainment. Big White Ski Resort and Silver Star Mountain Resort are both short drives away from Kelowna and are fantastic locations for ski and snowboard enthusiasts. Snowshoeing is also a popular winter activity and a great way to enjoy the great outdoors and explore everything Kelowna has to offer.

Eat and Drink

If the Okanagan Valley is known for one thing in particular, it’s wine. Kelowna is considered the birthplace of winemaking in British Columbia, which makes it a popular spot for people looking to experience some of the many incredible wineries that call the Okanagan home. Kelowna boasts five unique wine trails, with over 40 wineries to visit in just a 20-minute drive. Many wineries have restaurants attached, making them a great place to spend an evening sampling fantastic food and drinks with friends or family, whether you’re a local resident or are just visiting.

Beaches in Kelowna

Explore The Beaches

The gorgeous Okanagan Lake is the heart of the Okanagan Valley and spans a whopping 135 kilometers from Vernon in the north to Penticton in the south. Regardless of where you’re at in the valley, you’re bound to find a beach to enjoy the refreshing water during the hot summer months. Many beaches are equipped with bathrooms, playgrounds, and other amenities such as various sports courts and concessions, making them a great place to spend the whole day with friends and family. Whether you’re looking to get out on the boat, explore the shoreline in a kayak or stand-up paddleboard, or simply lounge and soak in the sun, you won’t regret checking out one of over 30 beaches in the region. If you look hard enough, you might even catch a glimpse of the elusive Ogopogo!

Landmark district

Popular Neighbourhoods

If you’re considering moving to Kelowna but aren’t quite sure which neighbourhoods to search in, here are a few that boast great liveability features that might be worth checking out. The Capri Landmark area is great if you’re looking to be close to work, as it is one of Kelowna’s major employment hubs and there are plenty of great apartments in the area. Lower Mission is a popular neighbourhood for those looking for easy access to trendy shops, restaurants, and the lake. There are lots of new apartments and townhomes being built in the area, making it popular with current home buyers. Finally, the heartbeat of Kelowna lies in the Downtown core, where you will find shopping, transit, and more!

Whether you’re already familiar with Kelowna or are new to the area and are looking to put down roots, these liveability factors will help you determine the best place to start looking for your perfect home in the Okanagan Valley!

 

Are you ready to find your Kelowna home? We can help! Contact Max Carbone today to be connected with one of our experienced real estate agents!

Hot TipsSellers Advantage 24 February 2023

Home Staging Tips To Make Your Home Stand Out

When it comes to selling your home, there are a lot of different things that you can do to help it stand out in the market. Staging your home is probably one of the easiest things you can do, and it can have a considerable impact. Taking the time to stage your home can help showcase its best features and help potential buyers visualize how they would make the space their own.

We’ve taken the time to break down some top home staging tips to help your home make a big impact and stand out in the market.

Living room staged for sale

Home Staging Tips: Focus on Key Rooms

Focusing on the key rooms in your home when staging is a great place to start, as these are the rooms that potential buyers will focus on the most. The kitchen, living room, dining room, and primary bedroom should be the spaces you focus on first, especially if you don’t have the time to stage every single room in your home. When staging a home, you’ll want to focus on maximizing space and functionality in these spaces, so potential buyers can easily visualize themselves living in the home and using those spaces regularly. If you choose to rearrange furniture, make sure you aren’t blocking any high-traffic areas, and remember that in most cases, less is more.

Declutter & Depersonalize

One of the biggest things to remember when staging your home is to focus on making your home appeal to everyone. This often means removing personal items, such as family photos or mementos, to keep the space simple and clean. You might love a particular sentimental photo, but it might be distracting to a potential buyer and keep them from being able to visualize themselves living in the space. This doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your personal items, but tucking them away while your home is on the market will benefit you in the long run. Decluttering is also important, as clutter can often make rooms seem much smaller than they actually are. As mentioned above, less is often more, so don’t be afraid to keep your decor to a minimum to help your home appeal to a larger variety of potential buyers.

Living room in house for sale

Freshen Up The Space

When it comes to home staging, many people tend to just think about furniture and decor placement when there are other ways to help freshen up a space. Adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls is one of the easiest ways to bring new life to a room, and keeping the colour light and bright is a great way to make your home appear bigger and more spacious. Choosing a neutral paint colour will also appeal to a larger group of potential buyers, as they will be able to visualize the different design choices they might make should they purchase your home. Again, if you don’t have the ability to paint every room in your home, focus on the important spaces such as the kitchen and living room first, as those will be the spaces that potential buyers will look at first.

Maximize Your Curb Appeal

Don’t forget to take your staging outdoors! It can be easy to focus entirely on the interior of your home, but taking the time to boost your home’s curb appeal can also have a huge impact, as it is the first impression that potential buyers get of your home. It’s easy to boost your home’s curb appeal during the summer months by adding some flower pots to your porch and ensuring that your lawn is mowed and clutter-free. The winter months can be challenging, especially if there’s snow on the ground, but taking the time to ensure your sidewalk is cleared and free of ice and debris will go a long way. Adding a coat of paint to your front door is a great way to add a pop of colour to help potential buyers easily recognize your home and add personality.

While home staging can seem like a tedious process, it can have a huge impact on how your home looks on the market. Not only does staging accentuate the fantastic features of your home, but it can allow potential buyers to visualize themselves in the space, which can help lead to more offers!

 

Are you thinking about selling your home and need an experienced agent to help you through the selling process? We can help! Contact Max Carbone to learn more.

Consumer Tips For Real EstateConsumer Tips For Real EstateConsumer Tips For Real EstateConsumer Tips For Real EstateConsumer Tips For Real EstateConsumer Tips For Real EstateHome BuyersHot Tips 10 February 2023

What To Do Before Buying A Home

There’s a lot that goes into the process of buying a home, including determining where you want to buy, finding an agent, viewing properties, and finally, making an offer. But what many people don’t consider are all the things that need to be done before you even begin looking at properties. The home-buying process can be stressful, so taking the time to research and fully understand everything that goes into buying a home is vital to making sure the entire process goes as smoothly as possible.

We’ve broken down a few things that you should do before buying a home to help you get started on the right foot and make finding your dream home a stress-free experience!

Home buyers speaking to mortgage broker to get pre-approved

Buying a Home: Know Your Budget

Before you even begin looking at potential properties, the very first thing you should do is establish your budget. Understanding exactly how much you can afford is incredibly important, as it will keep you from looking at (and potentially falling in love) a property that is outside of your budget. After deciding you’re ready to buy a home, sit down and look at your finances to determine how much you’ll be able to afford for a mortgage. Don’t forget to factor in other expenses that come with owning a home, such as insurance and utilities.

Get Pre-Approved

Another important step to take before beginning your home-hunting journey is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. A pre-approval informs you of how much a mortgage lender is willing to lend you. This number is based on a number of different factors, including:

  • Income
  • Credit Rating
  • Debts

Your lender will also be able to guarantee the current interest rate for up to 120 days, which allows you to house hunt without worrying about any interest rate increases. Getting pre-approved before beginning your house hunt will not only help you stay within your budget but will also help show real estate agents that you are serious about buying a home.

Potential home buyer touring home

Choose An Agent

Once you’ve established your budget and have been pre-approved, your next step is to find a great real estate agent to work with. Buying a home is a huge investment and is likely one of the largest purchases you will make in your lifetime, so working with a knowledgeable agent will help take some of the stress out of the process. The right agent is going to be professional, knowledgeable, and responsive, and will do their best to find you the right home for the best price.

Determine Where You Want To Buy

You might have given a lot of thought to the kind of home you want to buy, whether that be a condo, townhouse, or single-family home, but taking location into consideration is also important. If you’re familiar with the area that you’re buying in, consider the different neighbourhoods and try to find one that is going to suit you and your needs best. Some people may want to prioritize things like green space and activities, while others might be focused on proximity to work, to avoid long commute times. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, ask your real estate agent for their thoughts. They are the area experts, and will be able to give you the ins and outs of the neighbourhoods you’re interested in so you can find the one that’s right for you.

Keys in door of new home

Start Home Hunting

After taking the necessary steps to prepare for the home-buying process, it’s time to begin searching for your perfect home! Spend some time looking through current listings in your preferred areas, and set up some showings with your real estate agent to view the properties in person. Photos and 3D tours can give you a good idea of the space and how a property is laid out, but actually walking through the space will allow you to see how you, your family, and your belongings would fit in the space. Remember that finding the perfect home can take some time, so patience is key in the home-buying process!

Whether you’re searching for your first home or are looking to move up or downsize, taking the necessary steps to prepare for the entire buying process will help ensure you are taken seriously as a buyer and can find the perfect home!

 

 

Ready to find your next home? We can help! Contact Max Carbone to learn more.

Consumer Tips For Real Estate 29 November 2022

The Art and Science of Real Estate Photography

Do great photos make a difference in real estate sales? Many argue that photos make or break the listing and sales process. And, while it’s true that poor real estate photography can turn off buyers from viewing the subject property, it’s important to note that good photography doesn’t sell real estate. Agents and sellers do that part.

Real Estate Photography: A Buyer’s Perspective

Buyers are looking for the best house at the lowest price. They search for desirable areas, size, number of bedrooms and sometimes features like garages and pools. In a quest for the best at the lowest price, amazing photos won’t help an overpriced house. However, detailed photos, exposed properly can feature the unique and important aspects of a home and property quickly and more effectively than written words.

A Seller’s Perspective

Photos attract buyers to view a property. From there, the property must stand on its own merits. If the property looks the same as the photos buyers often do not remark. If the photos are significantly better than the real-life experience at the home, buyers become untrusting.

Detailed photography can also help sellers and agents negotiate better. The average home viewing by buyers is estimated at 15 minutes and sometimes less. Buyers cannot remember what house had the green carpet let alone the high-quality appliances. Photos serve as a reminder to the buyers of what they are paying for. This is why “great” real estate photography will show sidewalks, foyers, landings, and laundry rooms. These photos can sometimes seem odd to sellers and look lousy. Yet, photos of features serve an important purpose in helping the sellers get more money, clarify value, bolster talking points, and manage buyer expectations.

Photograph of Kelowna kitchen

Getting Prepared

The goal of a good real estate shoot is to “capture” the essence of the home and property, snap a few money shots, shoot the flow of the house and property and get the best fill shots. 3D walk-thru video can accomplish a lot of this. Yet, static photos allow the agent and photographer to stage the angle and exposure to capture perspective. The end goal is to show nicely enough to entice the buyer to book a showing.

What Makes A Good Photo?

A good photo is properly exposed, in focus, representative of the lighting sees through windows to the outside, has understandable angles and perspectives, and reflects the features of the home fairly. If a room is dark it means the photo should probably show this. However, with today’s technology, nearly any space can be brightened. It might be a nice shot, but that doesn’t make it good photography. Photos of hallways, sidewalks, gas meters, and air conditioner units also make good photos in real estate. Photos showing the underside of gutters (soffits) can highlight expense trim and build considerations. The odd detail shot of hinges and faucets can also work well to show the home’s attention to detail and craftsmanship. Good real estate photos should show the good and not-so-great aspects of the home.

Good money shots are important and viewers will give creative license to make these photos look grander than perhaps they are, within the law. Yes, there are laws and rules that must be followed. We can make your grass look greener and photoshop the trash bin but your purple front door must stay.

Photo of indoor swimming pool

What Makes A Bad Photo?

Bad photos can look nice. Identifying bad ones is not always easy but here are some red flags. Frosty windows are the first clue. Out of focus and poor angles are another. Random angles and perspectives can also be an indication. Viewers will “feel” these items as much as point them out.

Bad real estate photos can also be excellent photos that simply hide items out of frame. Like the photo of the backyard showing lush green grass that is taken at such an angle to hide the house next door with three bedroom windows looking down onto the pool area. Or, the photo of the driveway zoomed in to hide the 50-foot drop from the garage to the road.

The seller may not like a photo that shows what the home accurately looks like; light, dark, cluttered – it doesn’t mean it’s a bad photo. Photos can help to manage buyer expectations. Sometimes a home is dark. Over-exposing and saturating light in areas that don’t normally have light can create mistrust among buyers. Accept that sometimes photos and the property, are what they are.

Shooting Day Prep

Interior: Turn on all lights, open curtains, clear counters, move furniture to open up spaces, toilet seats down, fold hanging towels, clean, polish, organization, and cleanliness.

Exterior: Time of year is important. Schedule your shoot to address where the sun will be located. Clear the driveway, hide everything possible, mow the lawn and declutter as much as possible.

Photographer adjusting camera settings before shooting real estate

Our Top Tips for Stellar Real Estate Pics:

  • Declutter rooms and make beds
  • Turn ON all lights and lamps in the home
  • Turn OFF ceiling fans and TVs
  • Clear all personal items from counters, dressers, shelves
  • Remove magnets and photos from the fridge
  • Move all vehicles and boats/ RVs off of the driveway and away from the house
  • Remove pet items and garbage /recycling bins from the view
  • Hang fresh towels on towel racks
  • Ensure you are NOT in the house during the Matterport scans
  • Takedown photos and personal items that you don’t want in the VR tour

Photos are important. Yet, stellar photos will not compensate for an overpriced home, an agent that communicates poorly, or a rapid change in the market. Photos are just one of the many tools agents use to help sellers get offers.

Pretty photos of real estate may look like art but agents and photographers must balance the scientific considerations to leverage the photography to impact a sale. It’s more than just pretty pictures.

 

 

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