Saturday, February 9, 2008

What is home staging ?

Maybe you've heard the term recently. Is it just a new fad ? Another angle for someone to get their hands on some of your hard earned money or make more profit from you selling your home?
Well let's start with what home staging is - a professional service to prepare your home for sale. It is a great selling tool with the sole purpose of securing the highest amount of equity in your home. A home stager can visit you in the comfort of your home and at your convenience. If a few simple suggestions could give your home's selling price a lift of several thousand dollars ... don't you think that would be time and money well spent ?
The process usually starts with a one-on-one, in-home consultation where a home stager will walk you through every room in your home, providing a written assessment on all elements that need to be addressed to showcase your home.
The services can also include:
1. Assisting you in packing & decluttering after identifying what needs to be done to showcase the look and space of your home
2. Furniture and accessory rental - ashamed of those hand-me-downs you'll be getting rid of as soon as you move ? There's nothing like the look and feel of brand-new, updated furniture to make a potential buyer see themselves enjoying a luxurious lifestyle in your home.
3. Furniture and accessory placement - where should the sofa go ? And what about knick-knacks, candles etc ? Let the home stager worry about it for you.
How long does this take ? A professional home stager can usually make the transformation in your home and have it ready to show within ONLY one week!
And if that isn't enough reason to consider a home stager, recent studies show that staged homes will sell 2 to 3 times faster than unstaged homes – that means less time having people in and out of your home at all hours for viewings.
If you are considering selling your home then of course ask us about your mortgage financing needs but don't forget to ask us (or your local real estate professional) how to put you in touch with an Accredited Home Stager!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Here are the don't do's they never tell you about

Ever notice that all the advice you read is like a big "to do" list? Well here's a list of "don't do's" that are equally important:
1. Don't believe everything you hear, especially from family & friends (everyone you talk to thinks that they're a mortgage expert). Just because somebody got a cavity once doesn't mean they are a dentist - right ? Same thing is true with mortgages
2. Don't apply for new credit cards or loans - you'll have plenty of time to do so after you move in!
3. Don't open a "don't-pay-for-a-year" account - most lender policies mean that they will input a phantom payment on that debt which may mean your maximum qualification is affected due to lower credit score or higher debt load
4. Don't guarantee or co-sign a loan or mortgage for anyone else - again, that other payment is included in YOUR debt load as far as the bank is concerned which means you may qualify for less money on the mortgage
5. Don't stop paying your bills (including your current mortgage) - just because you are approved today doesn't mean you can suspend all your other payments
6. Don't spend part (or all) of your down payment on other things - there are rules that lenders go by to determine your downpayment money is properly accumulated and accounted for in order to get your low interest rate
7. Don't let the value of your investments slip below the amount you need to "close the deal"
8. Don't wait until the last minute to provide proof of your down payment
9. Don't pack documents that may be required to verify income or down payment - keep a "mortgage" folder or envelope separate from your packed documents and clothes
10. Don't make large deposits to your bank account (unless you're prepared to provide an explanation with supporting documentation)
11. Don't underestimate your closing costs (your lawyer, notary or mortgage consultant can help you with this) - all costs and adjustments are paid on closing day, no loans or I.O.U.'s !
12. Don't forget to ask your lawyer or notary about property tax adjustments - no need for a surprise scramble to come up with more money on closing day
13. Don't quit your current job - the lender may make a decision to provide financing based on the stability of your employment so a change after the fact may mean approval is cancelled
14. Don't change the status of your employment from full-time to part-time - same as above
15. Don't change your closing date without telling your mortgage consultant - a courtesy of course but also as the "quarterback" of the proceedure they also inform all others in the transaction of important information ... if certain work is done for no reason because of your silence you may get billed for it!
16. Don't neglect to satisfy all outstanding conditions of your mortgage approval - the lender doesn't care that you were too tired or too busy to send in required documentation, it's their money that you are borrowing remember
17. Don't wait until the last minute to arrange for home insurance - you need to know that your home is actually insurable or at least have time to get issues resolved before issuance of insurance
18. Don't ignore telephone calls from your lawyer, notary, real estate representative or mortgage consultant - they are always working for you so why not help yourself in the end ?
Visit Spencer Group Mortgages to find out more or get more clarification on these or other questions.

Friday, February 1, 2008

February 1st - snow day !

Winter returned with a vengence today here so we're taking a snow day and just writing a little thank you to some of our visitors from the month of January. And don't forget to visit our website Spencer Group Mortgages for even more information on Ontario mortgage financing options, rates etc. We have an easy access newsletter signup, simple mortgage application form and much more.
We had several visitors from the USA ... Florida, Louisiana, Arizona and Idaho as well as those further afield in places like San Miguel de Tucuman in Argentina and Bramley (a suburb of Johannesburg) in South Africa.
Homegrown visitors from Ontario included those from Whitby, Unionville, Islington, Ottawa, Weston, Oakville, Guelph and Don Mills.
How do we know all this ?? Try google analytics ... it's amazing what you can find out about your web traffic !
Next post this weekend after we dig out from this snow storm and of course finish watching the Superbowl.