Chris Estrada

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

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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® or lawyer hands you the keys.

 

• Title. This is a legal document that identifies the property and its owner.

 

• 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.

 

• 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. Don’t worry, a good REALTOR® can help make the day go smoothly for you and your family.

 

Looking for a good REALTOR®? Call today.

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Upgrades That Hold Their Value


Do you have a renovation project in mind – and wonder how much value it will add to your home? Remodeling Magazine recently did a study of renovation projects, comparing costs to added value. Here are some of the results:


Replacing a main entry door has a return on investment of over 95%.After all, the entrance to a home is one of the first things a prospective buyer notices.


Adding a new deck also adds a lot of value. Depending on the materials used, you can expect to get back three-quarters of the money invested.


Another high-payback project is the garage door. This once again demonstrates the importance of a home’s “curb appeal.”


If you’re tackling a big project, such as a basement renovation, you’ll be glad to know that, according to the study, a project like this adds a lot of value.


Finally, minor improvements to bathrooms and kitchens – such as adding new countertops or cupboards, can also be good investments that mostly pay back when you sell your home.


Of course, these figures are averages and can vary widely depending on location, type of property, and other factors.


Need help determining how a particular home improvement might impact the selling price? Call me today. Let's talk. 

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If you’re relaxing on a Caribbean beach, or enjoying a bus tour through historic Paris, the last thing you want to worry about is your home. Most people know the basics of keeping a home secure while away. Here are some additional tips that are easy to miss:

 

• Tell your kids not to boast about your fabulous vacation plans, especially on social media. The fewer who know that the house will be empty, the better.

 

• Ask a neighbour to pick up any mail and flyers dropped at your doorstep. But don’t rely on that alone. Also call the newspaper and post office to temporarily halt delivery.

 

• You can buy timers to automatically turn lights on and off. However, most will stop working if the power goes out and restart with the incorrect time when the power comes back on. That’s why you should keep at least a couple of lights turned on continuously, and not connected to timers.

 

• If you’re leaving in the evening, or before dawn, don’t forget to open the blinds. Closed blinds during the day are a dead giveaway that the owners are away.

 

Finally, experts recommend creating a home security checklist, so you don’t forget anything. That will give you peace-of-mind.

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Types of lighting for the home.


You probably don't think buying a lighting fixture for a room is all that complicated. It isn't. However, it does require you to consider which types of lighting you may need.


According to the Lighting Association, there are three types:


1. General lighting. By far the most common, this is the type of lighting that is designed to create a functional brightness that spreads throughout a room. A good example is a main ceiling light.


2. Task lighting. As the name implies, this type provides extra light needed for a specific task, such as working at a desk or chopping onions on a kitchen countertop. A bedside lamp used for reading is another example of task lighting.


3. Accent lighting. This type is designed to set off a particular feature of a room, such as a painting. It creates some practical light, but its main purpose is to add to the overall decor.


When choosing lighting for a room, it's important to consider these three types. First, decide how best to light the space generally. Then think about any special lighting you might need for specific functions, such as reading. Finally, consider how accent lighting might add to the overall look.


Call me with any questions, ANYTIME. 



 


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Have you ever driven up to a restaurant and your first impression was
disappointing? Perhaps the windows looked dark and gloomy, the façade
was worn and unattractive or for some other reason it just didn't look like a
tempting place to eat.


It could still be a fantastic restaurant – a real gem. But, your first impression
has soured your anticipation. If you still walk through the front door, it will
likely be with the expectation of being disappointed.


This scenario often plays out in the real estate market as well. 


A buyer drives up to a home for sale and quickly forms an impression based
on what he sees "from the curb". That's why you'll hear real estate experts
talk about the importance of "curb appeal". It's one of the most important
selling points of a property.


If you plan to put your home on the market, you obviously want your home
to look as attractive as possible from the street. Fortunately, there are many
simple things you can do to improve curb appeal.


For example, you can trim shrubs and hedges, plant flowers, clean the
walkway and driveway, paint the front door and garage door, and clean the
exteriors of the windows. All these projects are relatively easy and
inexpensive. Yet, each can make a dramatic improvement to how your
home looks at first glance.


Don't be like the great restaurant that’s hidden behind an unkept façade.
Make sure your curb appeal reflects the overall value of your property.


Looking for more advice on selling your home quickly and for the best price?

Give me a shout. 

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5 Unusual (but effective) Home Staging Ideas


"Staging" your home is all about making the space in your home as
appealing as possible to buyers. You may already know the basics, such as
eliminating clutter. Here are some other tips that are less well known yet
very effective:


• Chandeliers. Surprisingly, these are one of the simplest ways to
make a foyer, dining room or living room dramatically more eyecatching.
You can buy a good-looking chandelier for a few hundred
dollars.


• New linen. This is something many home sellers don't consider, but
should. Replace any worn linen – sheets, coverings, towels, and
even oven mitts with new ones. Believe it or not, new linen makes a
big impression on buyers.


• Pedestal sinks. It may not be practical for you to replace a bathroom
sink. However, if you are doing a renovation, keep in mind that
pedestal sinks – especially in small washrooms – are a big hit with
buyers.


• New appliances. A brand new fridge, stove and dishwasher are
motivating selling features to buyers. That's because new appliances
make the whole kitchen look brand new.


• Avoid multi-use rooms. Have a spare bedroom that doubles as a
home office? That's a turnoff to buyers. Whenever possible, stage
each room so that it has a singular purpose. A guest bedroom, for
example, should be only that.


Want more tips on how to stage your home so that it attracts buyers? Call
today.






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How to Turn Your Home into an Investment Property

If you can afford not to sell your original home when you buy a new one, but keep it as an investment instead, you're in a great position. Atrina Kouroshnia explains what you need to do....

November 12, 2014


 




 
House mortgage investment

Most move-up buyers decide to sell their home and put the equity they’ve built up towards their new purchase. But others – those who can afford to – choose to retain their current residence as an investment property when they purchase a new home.

There are advantages to owning an investment property. For example, even though the mortgage interest on your primary residence isn’t tax deductible, you may be able to deduct interest on an investment loan. (Talk to your accountant about whether this applies to your situation and whether your finances can sustain multiple properties.)

If you choose to go this route, here’s what you need to know:

  • Down payment: In order to get the highest possible equity out of your current home, you might consider a cash-out refinance, where you take out equity from your existing property and use it as a down payment on your new home. In some cases, you might be able to stretch the amortization out to 30 or 35 years, lowering your monthly carry costs but resulting in more interest paid over the life of the loan.
    If you are unable to refinance because you don’t have enough equity in your current home, and you are putting less than 20 per cent down on your new home, you are required to get mortgage insurance from Genworth or Canada Guaranty because CMHC will not allow two insured mortgages.
    If the potential rental property was recently purchased as a high-ratio mortgage (meaning you put down less than 20 per cent), another lender and insurer may not feel comfortable lending on a second high-ratio mortgage, so it’s ideal to have at least 20 per cent equity in the first property.  
  • Income qualifications: Whether you refinance your old residence or not, you will still need to demonstrate enough income to carry both mortgages. Rental income can help, but it’s likely you won’t have a tenant until after you’ve closed on your new home. Some lenders only accept rent as income if that income is declared on your tax return and will ask for your T1 Generals to show the breakdown. However, some lenders are more lenient and will allow lease agreements or even a schedule A (estimated rent from an appraiser) if the place is rented without a lease or if the property is currently owner-occupied but will be rented once the clients move into their new home. It is important to note that contrary to popular misconceptions, no lender will use one hundred per cent of your rent as income.
    Beyond qualifying for a mortgage, you and your mortgage broker should run the numbers to make sure that you can realistically afford two mortgages. Hopefully your income has increased since you purchased the original property, but you want to give yourself a buffer in case the unexpected happens. Make sure your costs are covered – research market rental rates, account for all of your expenses and factor in vacancies, repairs and maintenance. If the equity and your monthly cash flow are too low, carrying two mortgages could be risky.
 

- See more at: http://www.rew.ca/news/how-to-turn-your-home-into-an-investment-property-1.1548567#sthash.SDB5aqWK.dpuf

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What home buyers love to see.


Buyers are more likely to make an offer on your home if they see a lot of
things they love about it. So what do buyers love to see?


One of the main things they like to see is a lot of space. Of course, you can't
change the size of your rooms, but there is a lot you can do to make small
spaces in your home seem more spacious.


Buyers also love to see a clean and uncluttered home. Think of how inviting
a hotel room looks at first glance, with everything neat and organized. Of
course, your home isn't a hotel, but the more neat and attractive you can
make each room, the better.

 

One thing buyers don't love to see is potential maintenance issues. So as
much as possible, get things fixed or updated.
In fact, the more "finished" and "move in ready" your home looks, the more
likely a buyer is to make an offer.


Don't forget the surrounding neighbourhood either. A buyer may not take
the time to explore the area, so be sure to make a list of the most appealing
features. You might want to take a picture of the brand new playground just
down the street or print off a local map showing nearby shopping, theatre
and other points of interest.


It's not about creating a false impression. Rather, it's about making your
home look its best and drawing attention to its most enticing features.


Want more home selling tips? Call me today.

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Be Sure to Plan for the “Pet Issue" When you go to Market.


 

If you have pets, you probably adore them. They're part of the family! But
when you're preparing your home for sale, you need to think about how
you're going to deal with the "pet issue".


Some potential buyers who view your property may love pets as much as
you do. However, others may be turned off by the tell-tale signs of pet
ownership – such as kitty litter, dander, and smells.


So be sure to make a plan for how you’re going to deal with your pets.


It's a good idea to keep pets out of the house during viewings. Even if your
dog or cat is friendly, some buyers will be uncomfortable around them. So,
you'll need to decide where your pets will go when buyers view your
property. Consider a local kennel or "pet day camp".


"Can't I just take my dog out for a walk?" you might be asking. You could,;
however, you may not always be available to do that during a viewing. So
have alternate plans available.


You should also consider how you will deal with pet dander and everyday
pet odours. You're probably used to them. Unfortunately, some buyers will
be turned off or even be allergic. So, in addition to cleaning your home
before a viewing -- especially in those areas where pets spend time like a
favourite cushion or scratching post – consider using specialty air sprays
available on the market that will neutralize pet odours.


Finally, it's a good idea to advise buyers that they're viewing a home with
pets. That way, they'll be more forgiving if they catch a whiff of cat dander.


Need more tips on preparing your home for sale? Call me today.


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Pack your memories away

Items that remind us of special people, events, milestones and interests are
an important part of what makes a home a home. Pictures on the fireplace
mantle, for example, showcase family and friends that are important to us.
You might also have trophies, certificates, greeting cards, and other
mementoes on display in key places.


Of course, all of those things add warmth and meaning to your home.
However, if you're preparing your home for sale, it's a good idea to pack
those memories away - at least until you've sold your property and moved to
your new home.


Why? Because those pleasant mementoes that mean so much to you may
actually turn off potential buyers.


You see, when buyers view your property, you want them to be able to
clearly picture themselves and their families living there. That's difficult to do
if everywhere they look they see reminders that this is your home!


So, to help sell your home quickly, make it look great, but not personalized.
Think of the showroom displays you see set up in furniture stores. Those
displays are most appealing when they enable you to easily picture yourself,
with that furniture, in your home. You probably wouldn't feel that way if it
looked like the furniture belonged to someone else.


Of course, buyers will know you currently live in your home. But helping
them imagine themselves living there will help you sell your property faster –
and possibly for a better price.


Need more tips on preparing your home for sale? Call Today!

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Taking the "scary" out of real estate. 


Even homeowners who have moved a few times can be intimidated by the real estate market in general, and the buying and selling process in particular.


First of all, making a decision to sell your home can be difficult. There are so many questions, such as:


• Is "now" a good time to list?


• How much can you expect to get for your property?


• How long will it take to sell – and what if it doesn't?


Then there's the buying and selling process:

 


• How do you prepare your home for sale?


• How do you find homes that meet your criteria and are within your price range?
• How do you prepare your home for viewings?


Yes, there's a lot to think about. That's why finding a good REALTOR® who is an expert on the local market is so important.


A good REALTOR® will help you understand the market, the current market value of your home, and what you can expect should you decide to list.


A good REALTOR® will also walk you step-by-step through the home selling and buying process, and work hard to make sure everything goes smoothly.


So if you're considering buying or selling a home, take the time to find a good REALTOR®. It makes all the difference.


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Bathroom upgrades using overlays


If you're considering a bathroom update, you're probably familiar with the
typical approaches, such as replacing a countertop or toilet, or removing all
the fixtures and finishes to complete a floor-to-ceiling renovation.

 

However, there is another, far less expensive way to make an older
bathroom look brand new: using overlays.


An overlay is simply a new surface applied over an existing one. For
example, instead of replacing an old and worn bathtub – which is costly –
you can purchase an overlay system (called a tub liner) that fits on top of
the existing bathtub. It's a little like giving your tub a facelift!


You can do the same thing with your bathroom countertops and floors.
Overlays come in a wide variety of styles and finishes – some of which can
make your bathroom look significantly more upscale.

 

Compared to a major renovation, the installation of overlays is relatively straightforward. A tub
liner installation, for example, can be done in a day.


You can learn more about overlays at your local home improvement centre
and at specialty bathroom showrooms.

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5 Tips for Selling Your Home Quickly


There are several reasons why you may need to sell your home quickly. For
example, a job change may require a speedy relocation to another city, or
you may have purchased another property and don't want to be stuck too
long with two mortgages.


Here are some tips that can help get the sold sign on your front lawn
sooner.


• Be realistic with price. If you set the listing price higher than the
current market value of your home, then you're not going to get
many, if any, viewers. You want the list price to be attractive, which
means listing at the current market value.


• Get things fixed. You probably don't have time for a major
renovation. So just make sure everything in your home is in good
working order. Deal with any obvious maintenance issues, such as a
leaking faucet or a gate hanging precariously on one hinge.


• Ensure your home shows well, inside and outside. Eliminate
clutter. Trim hedges. Make sure every room has adequate lighting,
especially the basement. Imagine that a special guest is visiting your
home, then clean up and prepare accordingly.


• Be flexible with viewing times. You want as many potential buyers
as possible to see your home. So don't restrict viewing times to just
Saturdays. Make sure your home is as "available" as possible for
showings. This may cause you and your family some inconvenience,
but the reward will be selling your property sooner.


• Work with a good REALTOR®. Find an agent who understands the
area and the local market well. He or she will be able to recommend
a variety of strategies that will help sell your home faster, and for a
good price.


•Of course, there's no way to guarantee that you'll sell your home within the
time frame you want. But these tips will certainly increase the chances that
you will.


Looking for a good REALTOR® who knows the area well? Call today.

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How to Choose the Right Size HDTV


If you don't own one already, you may be tempted to purchase a
widescreen digital television to enjoy your favourite movies, shows and
sports programs. However, it can be difficult to select the right screen size,
especially if you've been accustomed to viewing a TV with a traditional 4:3
screen.


When it comes to size, there are many factors that come into play, such as
screen resolution and personal preference. However, the last thing you want
is to purchase an HDTV that is too small for the room, or so big that it
dominates the space.


Here's a tip:


The rule of thumb is to take the distance you'll be sitting from the television
and multiple by five to get the screen size you need. So if you'll be sitting
eight feet away, you'll want to look at HDTVs with screens that are in the 35-
45 inch range.


A good electronics dealer can help you make the best choice.


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BC to see biggest jump in housing resales in 2014

 

 

British Columbia is forecast to have the biggest jump in housing resale activity in 2014 in Canada, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

 

CREA expects B.C. to see an increase in resale activity of 8.3% year-over-year—well above the anticipated national growth of 1.3%. While this means the province will be the biggest contributor to the expected growth across the country, the association said this is due to having had particularly slow sales in 2013, mostly in the early part of the year.

 

The opposite holds true for Canada as a whole, with 2014 starting out with low levels of growth compared with previous years. This is due to the particularly strong activity in the summer and fall of 2013.

 

“I expect fixed mortgage rates will edge marginally higher in the second half of 2014 as evidence confirms an anticipated pick-up in economic growth,” said CREA chief economist Gregory Klump.

 

“Marginally higher mortgage rates are likely to counterbalance the lift provided by stronger economic and continuing job growth, and restrain the momentum for sales activity.”

 

National sales are expected to climb to 463,700 units this year, and a further 1.2% in 2015 to 469,400 units.

The national average home price across the country is expected to rise by 3.8% in 2014, with similar gains in B.C.

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When to call a realtor


If you're like most people, you go to see a doctor when you're not
feeling well or have a health concern. However, you may also visit
your doctor for a check-up, or to ask questions about healthy living.
In fact, consulting your doctor for anything health-related is a smart
idea.


The same holds true when it comes to real estate.
Many people only call a REALTOR® when they're planning on selling
their property or buying a new home, or both. While that's an
important reason to speak to a REALTOR®, it's not the only reason.
Indeed, there are many good reasons for you to give a good
REALTOR® a call. For example:

• If you have a question about the state of the local real estate
market. (Remember that it may be very different from what you
hear on the news about the national market.)


• If you want to get a sense of what homes are currently selling
for in the area.


• If you want to determine the current market value of your
property.


• If you want to find out how much homes cost in
neighbourhoods you'd like to consider.


• If you're thinking about the possibility of making a move, but
you’re not sure if it’s the right time.

 

• In other words, don't be afraid to contact a good REALTOR® when
you have a question or need some advice about the real estate
market.

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Watch for these electrical hazards in your home


Electricity in the home is so commonplace that it's easy to forget how
dangerous it can be. According to the American Institute for Preventive
Medicine, an electrical shock can knock you unconscious, cause a serious
burn, or even stop your heartbeat.


•Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to reduce the risk.
.

•Install safety plugs in outlets that young children can reach.

• Never plug in anything with a frayed or otherwise damaged power
cord.

• Never use a plugged-in computer, hair dryer, or other electricallypowered
item near a filled sink or bathtub. This includes phones with
power cords.

• Never touch anything electrical with wet hands or while standing in
water. (Water is a remarkably efficient conductor of electricity.)

• Always turn off the appropriate breaker before doing any electrical
work, such as installing a new light fixture.


• When replacing a broken light bulb, turn off the breaker first.
Although the glass is broken, the filament may still be conducting
electricity.


•Finally, unless you're an expert or an electrician, never do any major
electrical work on your own. Hire a professional.

 

 

 

Aristotle says, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a
habit."


"There's no shortage of remarkable ideas, what's missing is the will to execute
them." Bestselling author Seth Godin.


"Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try." No one is sure who said that,
but it's true!

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