Chris Estrada

(604) 841-9670
Chris Estrada
Cell:(604) 841-9670
Office:(604) 575-5262
Fax:(604) 677-5252

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Beware of Over-Downsizing or Over-Upsizing.

 

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 upsize 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 need and end up in a place that feels tight. If you’re going the other way and upsizing, you don’t want to end up sinking extra money into a property that’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 give you a better idea of what you need in a new home.


Upsizing 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 working 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'm better prepared make expert recommendations. Bottom line, I help clients find the perfect fit in a new home. Contact me if you'd like any recommendations etc. 


Cheers,


Chris

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5 Ways to Make the Selling Process Stress-Free.


For some homeowners, the process of listing, showing and selling their home can be stressful. Fortunately, there is plenty you can do to make it much less nerve-racking—and even exciting and enjoyable. Here are some ideas:


1. Make a plan. Decide when you’re going to show your property, search for a new home, view listings, etc. Block out these times in an agenda book or calendar. That way, you and your family can see what’s coming up.


2. Be flexible. Few things go exactly as planned! So, it’s important to build in flexibility. For example, you may plan to see homes for sale on Saturdays, but if an opportunity comes up on a weeknight, give yourself room in your schedule to jump on it, if need be. 


3. Eat well. There are numerous studies that connect poor nutrition with increased stress. When people are selling and moving, there’s a tendency to rely on quick fixes, such as hot dogs and pizza! Try to plan more nutritious meals that will keep everyone healthy and energized.


4. Get stuff done early. Doing things last minute, such as finding a real estate lawyer or getting rid of clutter, can quickly lead to stress and frustration. Whenever possible, get tasks done early. That way, you won’t have to worry about them.


5. Hire the right professionals. By far, the surest way to a stress-free move is to get the right professionals working for you: everyone from contractors to mortgage brokers to movers. And Realtors. 


By the way, a big part of what I do best,  for clients especially, is to help make every aspect of buying, selling and moving go smoothly. Contact me to learn how I can help you. All the best, 


Chris

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Handling a New Home Problem on Moving Day

 

Imagine buying a product from a store, taking it home, and then discovering there’s a problem with it. Disappointing, yes, but not a catastrophe. You can simply take it back for repair or exchange, right? 


But, what if it’s moving day, and you discover there’s a problem with your new home? Whoa. A house isn’t so easily returned!


What are the most common problems encountered on moving day?


• A delay in getting the keys.


• The seller not having completely moved out.


• An item expected to be included with the property is missing. (For example, the window blinds.)


• Something needs repair that was not disclosed by the seller, nor did it come up during inspection. (For example, the dishwasher not working.)


• Damage to the property caused by the seller. (For example, a heavy item dropped during the move and cracking a floor tile.)


Fortunately, these are rare events. In most cases, you can expect no serious issues when you move into your new home.


But, if something is wrong, you have options. So, call me immediately. In all likelihood, I will be able to quickly resolve the issue.


If it’s a serious matter, such as missing items, I may get your real estate lawyer involved to arrange for the return of the item(s) or compensation.


So don’t worry. Let me handle it for you. And you can just enjoy your new home!

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Buying Your Dream Home in a Hot Market.


Imagine finding the perfect home, only to discover there is serious interest from at least a dozen other buyers. It’s like scrambling for the last piece of cake at a buffet!


Fortunately, there are things you can do to help get the home you want, even in a highly competitive market. Here are just a few ideas:



• Only view a few ideal properties at a time. If you see too many, and thus spread yourself too thin, you risk homes slipping through your fingers.


• Be realistic about price. Focus on finding a great home that you can afford, rather than trying to find a bargain.


• Consider homes that need some work. They get less interest than perfectly staged properties, yet can turn out to be a dream home.


• Be prepared to make an offer with as few conditions as possible. An offer conditional on passing inspection is usually fine, but in a competitive situation, offers with other conditions will likely be turned down flat. Many offers are coming in these days with NO SUBJECTS, and a bank draft attached to the offer. 


• Make your decisions quickly. If there are likely to be other interested buyers, you want to get your offer in early.


• Make the right offer. To win the deal, you want your offer to be as enticing as possible to the seller — especially when it comes to price. 


Its best to buy first and sell second, in a rising market, obviously, (if you9 are able), especially when prices are going up 5% per month. Although this can be tricky, as bank rules have changed some policies on mortgages and bridge financing etc. Always chat with your mortgage broker beforehand, and maybe get yourself preapproved. 


Yes, it can be tough finding the ideal home in a hot market, but I can help. Give me a shout or a text message and we could chat. Talk soon. 

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Decorative moulding is one of the most eye-catching ways to upgrade a room. You’re probably accustomed to seeing standard baseboard moulding installed where your floor meets the wall. But, there are many other types. For example:

 

• Crown moulding for ceilings.

• Panel moulding for a southern colonial look.

• Chair rail moulding, which is very distinctive on walls.

• Apron moulding for window sills.

• Entablature moulding for above doorways.

 

Decorative moulding comes in a dizzying array of styles. Interior designers recommend taking home samples, just as you would take paint swatches, to test out ideas.

 

In addition to style choices, you also need to select the material you prefer. Moulding can be made of wood, plaster, laminate, composite, fiberboard, vinyl and other materials. There are pros and cons to each. Generally, the higher-priced options are more attractive and durable. (If you select wood, you typically have the additional option of “finished or unfinished”. If you choose unfinished, you of course, will be painting it yourself.)

 

Choosing the right moulding for the look you want is the toughest part of the job. Installation is a lot easier and most people with DIY experience have no problems.

 

So if you want to add some magic to your walls, consider decorative moulding. It can turn a room from standard to stunning.

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Making an Offer in a Competitive Market


So, imagine finding a home you love, making an offer, and then finding out there are other competing offers on the table. This has been the norm, in recent months, when negotiating on a property.   


If you’re looking for a property in a competitive market, it is likely that there will be multiple, or competing offers. Even just one other offer can create the risk that you’ll lose the home. So how do you make sure your offer is enticing enough to win over the seller? Here are some ideas:



• Don’t make a low-ball offer. If you do, it might be dismissed and you probably won’t get another chance to bid — especially if the other competing offers are near, or over the list price.


• Have a pre-arranged mortgage and include that with your offer. This reassures the seller that there won’t be any money issues. (Most lenders will provide you with a pre-arranged mortgage certificate for this purpose.)


• Go in with a price high enough that the seller will be interested, but not so high as to be leaving your money on the table. This is tricky and requires a savvy knowledge of the current market.


• Have a professional real estate agent present the offer on your behalf. A great realtor will know how to do so professionally, and in a manner that gives you the best chance of getting the home, presenting your offer in it's best light. 


In a competitive situation, working with a realtor who is an expert on the local market — and a skilled negotiator — is crucial. Looking for a like that? Give me a shout. 


All the best,



Chris.

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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, correct? 


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.


In another case, you could receive another offer, with NO SUBJECTS, and $100,000 bank draft in hand. Even if it was $10,000 LESS than the other lowest offer, this may also be considered, especially if the dates are bang on for facilitate the dates on your other, already purchased property.  


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. Give me a shout or message me anytime. All the best,



Chris.  

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So,.....when would YOU say is the best time to meet with a REALTOR. Me perhaps. Chances are, you would say, “When I’m thinking of buying or selling a home.” You’d be right, of course! Absolutely!


Also, there are many other good reasons to meet up. Here are just a few:


• You want a professional opinion as to the current value of your property, so you know what it would likely sell for in today’s market, even if you hadn't thought of selling. It's like a financial check-up, you see. 


• Here's a good one. You notice a home listed for sale in a desirable neighbourhood, and you’re interested in learning more — even if you’re unsure you want to make a move.


• You’re thinking of moving within the next couple of years, and you want to find a great realtor, that you can get to know, and trust.


• You want some recommendations for preparing your home for sale and especially determining what repairs and other work needs to be done.


• You want an honest assessment as to the state of the local market, and the best time for you to buy or sell. Sell first, then buy, or vise versa. Market depending. 


• You have real estate-related questions and you want to talk to an expert who knows the local market well and can provide you with answers.


There’s a lot of value you can get from talking to a real estate professional.  Call me anytime. All the best, :D


Chris. 

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Closing day is an exciting time. After all, you’re moving into your new home! However, it can be stressful as well. The last thing you need is to be confronted with something you don’t understand. So here is a quick list of common “closing day” terms.


Disbursements. This is the allocation of funds to the appropriate parties, such as the seller. Your lawyer will take care of this for you.


Possession. This is the moment on closing day when you are legally able to take possession of your new home. It’s usually when your realtor hands you the keys' I always meet my clients at the house, with the keys.


Title. This is a legal document that identifies the property and its owner. Also, any easments, rights of way and/or any restrictive covenants. 


Closing costs. These are expenses, excluding the selling cost of the property, that are due on closing day, such as legal fees, reimbursement for pre-paid utilities, utility deposits, insurance, and taxes etc...


Closing adjustments. These are expenses pre-paid by the seller that need to be reimbursed on closing.


There may be other terms you come across on closing day as well. Call or email me anytime with any questions. All the best,


C.

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So, as you’re probably aware, the list price you set for your property has an impact on how quickly it sells — and how much you'll realize on the sale, yes? 


What you may not realize is just how significant an impact it has. Consider the following examples:


Example 1:

You price your property  above its current market value. As a result, many buyers don’t bother to see it because it’s outside of their price range. Those who do see it are confused by the high price tag, (and may even be suspicious.) They may wonder, “What’s going on?”


In this scenario, the home will quite likely languish on the market for weeks or even months, like I've seen many times before, but not so much in THIS current market. Eventuall you'll have to lower the price dramatically to reignite interest if you still want to sell it, or worse, if you HAVE to sell it. 


Example 2:

You price your property just a couple of percentage points lower than what is necessary to gain the interest of qualified buyers. That might not seem like much of a problem. How much can a couple of percentage points matter?


Those points matter a lot.


On a $400,000 property, pricing your home just 2% lower than necessary could cost you $8,000 on the sale. That’s a serious amount of money!


So, as you can see, pricing your home right is serious business. Fortunately, I'll be able to set the right price, to get maximum dollars. Typically, the longer it's on the market, the less you'll get for it, for a number of reasons.  


Looking for a price on your home?  Call me today, and all the best,

 

C :)

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One of the most important decisions you make when selling your home is setting the listing price. That can be tricky. After all, if you price your property too low, you leave money on the table — perhaps thousands of dollars. On the other hand, if you price your home too high, many buyers won’t even bother to see it, believing it is too expensive. Or they may have overlooker your home. 


Even with that reality, there are some sellers who contemplate setting a high listing price in the hopes of a windfall. They want, and hope some unsuspecting buyer to fall in love with the home and buy it — even though it’s overpriced.


 

Instead, the listing often languishes on the market because its listing price is conspicuously higher than its market value, or slightly over a buyers price range. 


Think about it. If two similar homes, side-by-side, are for sale, and one is priced $10,000 or $20,000 higher than the other, wouldn’t you wonder what was going on? That’s exactly what the market thinks. “Why is that home priced so high?”


Of course, many buyers, who might otherwise be interested in the property, won’t even consider seeing it, simply because it’s outside their price range.


It gets worse. When an overpriced home sits on the market with no offers for several weeks, the price will often need to be adjusted down. That helps the situation a little. However, you’ve lost the excitement created by a “new listing.” Yours is now an old listing struggling to get attention. Buyers will ask "how come it's not sold yet, why is it still on the market after 3 weeks" ? etc...... 


Here's a better way…


Setting your list price at or near the market value is much more likely to generate interest from qualified buyers and maximize how much you make on your home. This way, in todays market, you'll likely have competing offers, and actually get OVER market value. Yes...OVER market value. Some buyers hate to lose in a bidding war, and come over-the-top with a super high offer.  


That market value may even be higher than you think!


Interested in finding out how much your place is worth, in this market? Call me today. All the best,


C.



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Many homeowners think there’s not much they can do about telephone, heating, water and other utility expenses. Sure, you may grumble about a high heating bill one month, but what can you do about it?


Turns out, you can do plenty. There are several ways to reduce monthly utility costs that can save you tens or even hundreds of dollars. For example:



     

• Shop around for a better phone plan. Then contact your phone company. They might match the rates.


• Turn down the thermostat on your water heater. You likely don’t need tap water to be that hot.


• Clean the screen on your outside air conditioning unit regularly. (Gently with the water hose.) Dirt and leaves can build up on it, reducing the unit’s efficiency.


• Leverage the sun. Open curtains in the winter to gain heat. Block direct sunlight in summer to keep the cool air inside.


• Scrutinize your bill. There may be extras you’re paying for that you don’t need.


• Play with the thermostat. Experiment with setting the temperature a couple of degrees lower. You might not notice any difference





It’s worth paying attention to your utility costs. Just a few smart moves can save you some serious money, and it all adds up. 


C.

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When Is the Right Time to Talk to a REALTOR®?


When would you talk to a car salesperson, for example? Probably, only once you’re ready to buy a new car. You would maybe do some initial research (perhaps on the internet), get an idea of what you want, and then go to the dealership to meet a salesperson, test drive the car and make the purchase, right??


Now, although that approach may work when you’re buying a car, it’s not the best approach when it comes to real estate.


You see, successfully buying or selling a home requires a lot of planning and legwork. You want the process to go smoothly, the right decisions to be made, and the best possible deal to be negotiated, right? 


After all, this is the purchase and/or sale of your home!


So, the best time to talk to a realtor, is, as early in the process as possible.


In fact, even if you’re just THINKING of buying or selling — and simply want to explore the possibility of making a move sometime this year, or next year, for example — you should have a conversation with a good realtor. Of course you should. 


A good realtor will answer your questions, provide you with the information and insights you need, help you avoid costly mistakes, and make sure you’re heading in the right direction.


When you are ready to buy or sell, having already worked with a realtor, early in the process, will help ensure you get what you want.


So, talk to a good realtor when:


• You have a question about the local or any other market.


• You want to know what your home might sell for today.


• You’re interested in checking out homes currently available on the market.


• You’re in the midst of deciding, whether or not to make a move at this time etc...


All the best. 


C. :D


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The first known use of stairs was in ancient Egypt during the building of the pyramids. Chances are, some workers back then tripped and fell on them. Some 3,000 years later, injuries on stairs are still a big problem.

 

According to the Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, the insurance cost of injuries from falls on stairs is second only to automobile accidents! Clearly, it's a bigger problem than most people imagine.

 

So how do you prevent trips, falls and other mishaps on stairs?

 

The most common way is to use handrails. In fact, most trips and falls occur when people aren't able to regain their balance because they are not holding a handrail.

 

Another source of accidents are items, such as toys, left on stairs. Some people have the bad habit of using stairs as a temporary shelf for books, magazines, mail and other items. That’s not a good idea!

 

Always be careful when carrying heavy items on stairs. Even an overloaded laundry basket can be a hazard. If it's too heavy or you can’t see over the top, it’s too full.

 

A lot of this is common sense. However, because injuries on stairs are so prevalent, we need to use our common sense more often.

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Do You Have “Recalled” Products in Your Home?


You’ve no doubt noticed the occasional news report about a product being recalled for safety reasons. For example, a car model with a brake problem, or a children’s toy that, under some circumstances, may cause injury.


You may not know that these news reports are merely the tip of the iceberg. For each product recall you hear about in the media, there are dozens that get little, if any, publicity.


That means there may be products in your home that have been recalled — and you don’t even know about it. It’s a scary thought.


How do you find out about recalled products that may affect you? Here are two tips.


1. Always complete the registration that comes with many products. This is typically done by mailing in a registration card or filling out an online form. When you register, you’ll be alerted by the manufacturer if the product is recalled for any reason.


2. Both Canada and the United States have agencies that list recalled products on their websites. In Canada it’s the Healthy Canadians website at www.healthycanadians.gc.ca. In the United States it’s the Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.CPSP.gov. It’s a good habit to check these sites every season.


If you discover that a product in your home has been recalled, contact the manufacturer immediately. Never assume that the reason for the recall won’t apply to you. All the best to you.:)


C. 

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Concerned about Condensation on Windows?


If you see a haze of condensation on your window, should you be concerned? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on a number of factors.


First of all, an occasional build-up of condensation is normal and often the result of fluctuating humidity in the home. Usually, it’s nothing to worry about. If you’re using a humidifier, try adjusting the levels. If the humidity is being generated naturally, try placing a dehumidifier nearby. Also, remove any plants and firewood from the area, as they can release a surprising volume of moisture into the air.


Do you see moisture in between the panes of glass that make up the window? If so, that means the seal has failed and moisture has crept in. Double and triple pane windows often contain a gas (argon, for example) that boosts the insulating qualities of the window. When the seal fails, the gas disappears, making the glass colder and often allowing condensation to creep in. Eventually, you’ll want to get it replaced.


If you see moisture build-up anywhere on the frame of the window, particularly at the joints, that could be a sign of water leaking through. That’s an issue you should get checked out immediately by a window contractor.

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If you take care to price your home correctly — that is, at a price that is in line with what similar properties in the area have sold for recently — then you have a good chance of selling it at or near your asking price.

 

That doesn’t mean you won’t get a low-ball offer. You might. So what do you do when that happens?

 

First, understand that the buyer may not necessarily be trying to steal away your home at a bargain-basement price. He might simply be mistaken about its true market value. Of course, he might also be coming in at a low price in the hopes he’ll get lucky.

 

You will never actually know the buyer’s motives. So it would be a mistake to get angry or dismiss the offer out-of-hand. That low-ball offer might end up being the beginning of a negotiation that results in you selling your home at a good price.

 

Your first step is to work with me to determine:

 

• How serious the buyer is.

• How qualified the buyer is. (For example, does he have a preapproved mortgage?)

• How amenable the buyer is to a counter-offer that reflects the true market value of your home.

• What that counter-offer should be.

 

This isn’t an easy process. It takes knowledge and experience to get it right. That’s why working with a good REALTOR® is essential.

 

Looking for a REALTOR® who is an expert at this stuff? Call me right away. :) 

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How do you make sure there are no unexpected maintenance or repair issues after you purchase a home? Answers here:


Say you’re viewing a home and are impressed with how it looks. The walls are freshly painted. Everything seems bright and new. You’re considering making an offer.


Then, while standing on a mat in the kitchen, you hear a squeak below your feet. You lift the mat and see that some tiles are broken. Obviously the mat was there to, literally, cover up that defect.


A few broken tiles are not a big deal. But now you’re thinking, “What else might be wrong with this house?”


There’s no reason to worry that every home will have maintenance issues hidden from view. However, it’s smart to do your due diligence to ensure the home you’re considering is truly as good as it looks.


One way is to have a professional home inspector check out the property as a condition of your purchase offer. He or she will inspect the home from top to bottom, inside and out, and point out any issues you should address.


It’s also smart to ask questions. Find out the age of certain features, such as the roof, furnace, and appliances. Ask about any recent renovations, and determine whether they were done by a professional or by the homeowner.


Most importantly, work with a good REALTOR® who can provide you with information on the property that you would have difficulty getting on your own. Your REALTOR® has a stake in making sure you buy a home with your eyes wide open — knowing all the potential maintenance issues you’re likely to encounter.


Call me today for more info. 

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Will the neighbourhood go up in value?


When you purchase a home, you’re hoping it will continually go up in value — just like a good investment.


However, there’s something else that you want to see go up in value as well: the neighbourhood. In fact, the neighbourhood plays a key role in what the home will be worth in years to come. If the neighbourhood goes down in terms of desirability, so will the market value of the home.


That’s why, when shopping for a new home, it’s important to get a feel for the value of the neighbourhood, and whether or not it’s on the upswing.


How do you do that? One way is to simply take a walk. Look at the properties. Are they well maintained? Is the landscaping groomed and attractive? Those are signs of “pride of ownership” — a clear indication that owners value their homes and the neighbourhood.


Another way is to do some research. Has crime gone up in the neighbourhood? Are there improvements planned, such as new parks? Is the neighbourhood attracting the kind of people you want as neighbours? How does the neighbourhood school rank?


Some of this information may be difficult to get on your own. A good REALTOR® can help you. Call or text me today.

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 When you’re thinking of selling your home and buying another, you face the inevitable question: Should I list my property first or buy my new home first?

 

Let’s take a look at both options.

 

If you attempt to buy a property before listing your home, you run into a couple of challenges.

 

First, sellers may not take you seriously as a potential buyer. After all, you haven’t put your own home up for sale. As far as they’re concerned, you might merely be testing the market.

 

Second, your property might not sell as quickly as you thought it would. If there is an early closing date on the home you purchased, you might end up owning, and paying a mortgage on both properties, at least until your home sells.

 

If, on the other hand, you list your property before buying a new home, sellers will know you’re serious. That puts you in a competitive position in the event of multiple offers.

 

Also, if your home sells quickly, you’ll have the peace-of-mind of knowing exactly how much of a new home you can afford. You’ll be able to shop with confidence.

 

Of course, like the first option, there is a chance that the closing dates won’t match and you’ll end up owning two properties for a period of time. However, solutions such as bridge financing are available to help.

 

So, there is no perfect answer. A lot depends on the state of the local market. Looking for a good REALTOR® who can help you decide which is the best move for you. Call me today. 

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