Friday, July 20, 2018

Real Estate Agents and selling homes

I have a love hate relationship with real estate agents, because we are good clients to have.  We listen to what they tell you and make adjustments accordingly.  Our houses are generally pretty easy sells as they show well.  We tend to be flexible and accommodate all viewings within reason.

I am not faithful to a particular agent or company.  We have used a different agent for every house.  The way I chose them is:

  1. Dh and I have to like them; though we did have one agent who got on all our nerves, even Maxine our black lab.  I think it was her voice it grated on you, she sold the house though.
  2. Choose an agent that sells a lot in your area and is knowledgeable of your area.
  3. Is professional and offers good service and has a good marketing plan.  Nowadays internet marketing is the way to go and is so, so important.
  4. Offers a good plan of how they work and what they will do for you.
  5. You have to like them; if your real estate agent is not friendly and willing to listen to your needs, walk away from them; they're not a good match for you.

Here in Canada and the United States, the real estate agents get a percentage of the selling price as their fee.  The rates vary from agent to agent but if for example you sold your home for $500,000 and the agent charged a 5% fee then the buyers agent and the sellers agent would split the $25,000 fee, oh and for us in Ontario there is a 13% HST tax on top of the $25,000 as well, so all in all you end up handing over $28,250.  So although I am willing to hold up to my end of the deal and keep the house spotless I do expect our real estate agent to do her part as well.  Which means lots of publicity, following up with me (super important) and open houses.

You can negotiate with agents on their fees, but somewhere between 4 to 4 1/2 % fee is the usual.  You can get cheaper but I find you get what you pay for.

Here is Ontario we have a land transfer tax we have to pay when buying a home.  Again using the $500,000 as a price you are paying for a home you would have to pay $6,475.00.

Then of course there are the lawyers fees.  For selling your home, it's around $1,200.00, for buying your home it's probably a little more, say around $1,300.00.

Then of course there is hiring a moving company.  The cost varies and also depends on how much stuff you have to move and how far you are moving.  But for this exercise lets say it's going to cost $3,000.00.

Now lets add all this up:

Real Estate Fee:    $28,250.00
Land Transfer Tax: $6,475.00
Lawyers Fees:        $2,500.00
Movers:                  $3,000.00

TOTAL:          $40,225.00

Moving is an expensive and time consuming business.  There are alternatives, DON'T MOVE😏, or sell the house yourself, or use cheaper agents, but for us this is the way we go.

Not sure if this is the same (price wise) all over the world? Would love to hear your thoughts, experiences.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

How much house cleaning can one person do?

With the house up for sale it seems to be an endless chore making sure the house is spic and span just in case someone wants to see it.  I have sold numerous houses over the years so know what matters and what doesn't but I feel everyone has their own way of doing things.  I found that dealing with this agent has been totally different from dealing with our last agent. Our current agent is more relaxed and we have a few more things on display that I thought would be acceptable.

I know that having a clean house makes it an easier sell than having one that is cluttered and dirty.  I personally can see through clutter and dirt; hence we bought the farmhouse.  Some people though can't see through things like that.  Mind you I have walked through houses for sale and they were so badly cluttered that even I struggled.

Before we looked at the farmhouse we looked at a converted school house.  There were presents laying around everywhere, plus boxes of thing, and hanging up was a rented tuxedo in a bag and underneath it a fancy dress in a bag. Every where you turned there was "stuff" Turns out the couple had just got married and left all their presents laying around.  It turns out the couple had just got married and went off on their honeymoon without tidying anything up.  We didn't buy that house........not because of that but other issues with it, but the mess didn't help.

I also know that the house photos people see online make a difference.  However what you see in the photos and what you see in real life can be a totally different thing.  We had an agents open house yesterday and the feed back was good I am pleased to say.  Enough that what you see in the photos is as good as what you see in real life.  I am "house proud," so I was super happy with their remarks.

When looking at homes can you see their potential through dirt and clutter or does it have to be super clean and staged?

Tomorrow I am going to talk about Real Estate Agents.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Christmas shopping..........

yes I know I mentioned the "C" word, but you know me I like to be organized. I am nearly done with all the grandkids.  When there is six to buy for it can get expensive, so shopping for deals is a must.

I picked up their Christmas pj's from Hatley's sale the other month.  Love their quality, well worth paying that little bit extra for, and when I can get all six a pair of pj's for under $90 for all of them, I can say I did well.

I also made out like a bandit at Chapters Indigo as well.  They have a summer reading programme on at the moment.  When you buy a child's book, you get a stamp.  Five stamps = $10 off a child's book or toy.  Combine that with the buy 4 items for $10 in the children's department and there was a bonus points thing going on one weekend, I swear I cleaned up there!!!  On the 4 items for $10 table, there were also games, puzzles, boxed crafts as well as sticker books, reading books and packages of books.  I see they also have free shipping on books all summer, so even if you don't live near a Chapter's store, you can take advantage of the deals they have.

I still put $20 a week away in my Christmas jar.  Been doing that for years and will continue to do that.

How is you Christmas shopping going?  Do you buy months in advance or are you a last minute shopper?

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Flat Rate Box..........

 As I have mentioned in a couple of posts, I purchased a Flat Rate Box to send my little girl's birthday box up to Nunavut, as it is a much more cost effective way to mail things.

The boxes come in three sizes, small, medium and last.  They cost $15, $20 and $25 respectively, plus the ever present 13% HST tax on top of that.  You can have up to 5 kg in these boxes and they can be sent all over Canada. 

I bought the big box and when I took it too the Post Office to ship we decided just for the "fun" of it to see what it would have cost if I had used a regular box:

As you can see there is quite a difference in price.  $61.26 versus the $28 something I paid including the taxes.

Why I am talking about this; is that prior to me shipping this birthday box I had never heard of this service?  Also when I went to see where I could get one, imagine my dismay to find there are very few places where you can pick up these boxes.  You would have thought that your local post office would keep them?  My local post office doesn't and didn't even know where I could get them.

I looked up online here and you can see how few the locations are in Canada where you can buy them.  Why?  Turns out it's a "pilot programme" that's been in the "pilot" stage for nearly two years?

I posted a message on Facebook asking them to make these readily available all over Canada, no response from Canada Post, no surprise there.  

I know people from various countries read this blog, do you have something similar in your country?  For the Canadian readers, have you heard of this?  Is there another way I could ship things up North?

Monday, July 16, 2018

Northern Birthday Box Project

The Northern Birthday Box Project, is a Facebook group, and here is what they do:

"This page was created to assist in bringing Birthday fun to those in need within remote Northern Canada.
If you would like to send a birthday box to a child between the ages of 1 and 16 please message us today to be matched.
Items should include at a minimum, a cake mix, icing and decorations.
Each child is matched with a sponsor who gets the age, gender and name of the child who is having the birthday, and an address to ship the box to directly. All costs are covered by the sponsor, including shipping. "

I read about them in the Toronto Star the other month and decided I would like to sponsor a child and send them a birthday box. So I signed up, you have to join the group as it's a closed group and they match you up with a child.

I got word about my child, a little girl who will be 2 at the beginning of September and her theme was Boss Baby and her favourite colours were lime green and purple😕 So after I looked up what Boss Baby was (had NO IDEA WHATSOEVER!!) and had a day or two to think about it, I got too work.

Here is what I put into my box for her:
At the minimum you have to add cake mix and frosting.  My child wanted vanilla frosting.  I added a couple packages of jello/jelly lime and grape flavours to go with the colour theme.  I bought purple and green sprinkles and green and purple icing writers things so they could write her name on the cake.  The whole Boss Baby theme was impossible to find, but we did manage to find some colouring sheets that we got customized with her name and age on them.  We got them from Etsy, and they sent us the PDF file and it was less than $6 CDN, so I double sided printed a number of them out.  Also some flavouring for water.

 I picked up a onsie, a pair of leggings and pj's up for $5 total from Wal-Mart on sale.  I knitted the hat; the Beanie Baby had the purple and lime green colours on it.  The Princess crown was purple and sparkly.  Purple balloons, and I got the Happy Birthday candles, and they are reusable.  They can write on the banner and that's purple.  That candy was from the dollar store and I got the markers, along with a 64 pack of crayons (not pictured) for free with a promotion at Chapters Indigo.
 Lime green table cloth, napkins, paper plates and cups, along with some straws and I found purple and lime green packages of pocket Kleenex. A couple packages of purples streamers, just because!!
 This is a closer look at the hat. 
This package went to Nunavut, where it is super expensive to buy these things, so quite often children don't get a birthday party. I was limited in weight and how much I could send as I bought a flat rate box from Canada Post. I am hoping it will be well received and I will do another one probably in late Fall. If you are in Canada and are willing, this is a super thing to do and it all goes to the children.