Welcome to the ‘buying’ page of Here you will find invaluable information to help you succeed in your home purchases – regardless of whether you are a first time Buyer, or an experienced purchaser. If you would like to get a sense of your financing situation, please use the ‘Mortgage Calculators’ box below. If you already know what the type of property you’re looking for, then click the ‘Find My Dream Home!‘ link in the bar above, and I will help you find it! Also, be sure to check my Market Analysis for updates on activity in different neighbourhoods throughout Halifax, Dartmouth, Cole Harbour, Bedford, Sackville and surrounding areas.

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The Art of the Deal – Buying a Home in a Buyer’s Market

Five Topics to Discuss With Your REALTOR® When Buying a Home

Things for Buyers to Consider when Determining the Appropriate Property Value and Offer Price

Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

The Art of the Deal – Buying a Home in a Buyer’s Market

When is the best time to buy a house? The housing market in the HRM is still very strong despite the economic slow affecting other parts of the country and the US. However, with the abundance of homes for sale, and interest rates remaining low, now might be one of the best times in to buy in recent memory. While today’s real estate market does offer advantages to Buyers, consumers still need to be savvy in order to get the best deal they can. Of course, I’m here to help.

The following are some things that I think every homebuyer should keep in mind:

Don’t Try to Time the Market. When home prices are lower, it is very tempting for potential Buyers to try to wait as long as possible in the hopes that prices will decline even further. This strategy can be detrimental because when there is high inventory, smart sellers price their homes properly – not according to past sales but according to current conditions – so their homes will sell in a timely fashion. Once a home is priced to what the current market will bear, Buyers will make offers.

Shop Around. But Don’t Wait Too Long. In the current Nova Scotia market, homes are taking about 90 days to sell. The HRM specific market is approximately in line with that figure as well. However, some homes are still selling quickly. In a Buyers’ market, the increased inventory gives homebuyers a great opportunity to compare homes that meet their needs. However, this does not mean that homebuyers should procrastinate. If you find a house you love, put in your bid and negotiate. Don’t provide an opportunity for another Buyer to make an offer.

Watch Mortgage Rates. Studies such as the 2006 Coldwell Banker ® Homeownership in America Index revealed that that majority of people move based on lifestyle changes such as new job, marriage, divorce or family expansion. Pay attention to the mortgage rates and recognize that buying a new house will likely result in a change in mortgage rates. How much? A monthly payment of a 30-year fixed 5.875 mortgage rate on a 300,000 loan is $1,774.61. The monthly payment at today’s 6.381 rate is $1,872.79, representing a $98.18 increase. Want to get a sense of your financing situation?

Negotiate on the Incentives. Sellers eager to move their homes may offer you a variety of incentives such as cars, trips, and even credit card bill payment. If you accept an incentive, make sure it makes sense for you. Instead of having your bills paid, you may opt to have the seller renovate the master bathroom or install new flooring. Of course, you can always ask the seller to simply deduct the amount in question from the list price.

Five Topics to Discuss With Your REALTOR® When Buying a Home

Whether you’re ready to settle into your first home or looking to buy your fifth, it is important to identify which attributes of a new home are most important to you. If you already know what you’re looking for, then tell me and I will find you YOUR DREAM HOME!

When preparing a homebuying strategy with a new client, these are the five things I focus on:

1) What You Can’t Live Without
Our lifestyle choices are often reflected in the homes we buy. Are you a motorcycle fanatic? If so, a roomy garage would be important to you. Have a big family? You’ll likely need to buy a home with at least four bedrooms. Perhaps you or your spouse is a gourmet cook. In that case, a well-designed kitchen could be a must for you. Before we begin a homebuying search, I need to know what features you can’t live without.

2) Schools and Family Needs
The quality of school systems has long been of importance to home-buying families. If you have children or are thinking about having children in your new home, school information and statistics are something we will need to consider.

3) Commuting
For many people, commuting from home to work and back is a necessary evil. A long commute can detract from a home-buyer’s quality of life and the time he or she gets to spend at home. Commuting should be a critical factor in home selection, because in many parts of the HRM, traffic backups are increasingly common.

4) Community Details
Whether you hope to live in a vibrant urban neighbourhood, or a charming rural town, the demographics, details and community statistics of a particular area are almost as important a consideration when buying a home as the details of the house itself. Do you want to live in the thick of the action? Prefer to get away from it all? If a particular aspect of a community is important to you, this can help me decide exactly what homes I should be showing you.

5) Budget
Of course, the most rigid constraint of a homebuying search is typically the Buyer’s budget. Defining budget parameters quickly and early focuses a home search to a particular segment of the market. However, with the creative lending solutions available today, budget constraints are not as rigid as they once were or as many home-buyers assume them to be. Many innovative mortgage options are now available to both first-time and veteran home-buyers. Also, get a sense of your financing situation by using my mortgage calculators.
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Things for Buyers to Consider when Determining the Appropriate Property Value and Offer Price

Determining the value of a home can be a difficult task for a Buyer. One mistake Buyers often make is that they assume they know what properties are selling for. They’ve looked on and see asking prices in an area. However, what the public does NOT have access to is the actual price a property sells for. They also do not know how long a property has been listed, nor how many times the price of a property has been reduced. These are things that only a REALTOR® can tell you. That said, purchasing a home is a very personal experience, and it is vital that you be proactive. The following are the some of the steps I take with a Buyer when we’re pricing a property for purchase:

1. Investigate Locally
After the search is narrowed down to a few neighborhoods of interest, walking or driving through these areas can give us a better idea of overall neighbourhood quality. As you narrow your search, I will begin showing you the homes available. I will then use the information from these homes (features and listing prices) along with other past sales to perform a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). A CMA is used to determine the market value of a home as established by recent transactions.

2. Get behind the numbers
It is not enough to simply crunch numbers. The findings of a CMA and our deductions from various viewings need to be consolidated and interpreted. The science of market value analysis is not perfect. We must determine YOUR value system and take that into account. We also have to look at the associated costs of each property – taxes, heating costs, etc.

3. Think about the market
When trying to determine the value of a home for sale, it might also help to consider the status of the overall housing market. Again, this is where a REALTOR® is especially valuable. First, take into account local and national trends and determine whether it is a “Buyer’s market” or a “Seller’s market.” Next, refine this determination and apply it to your desired neighbourhood. You may find that certain areas are vastly outperforming or underperforming the broader local/national markets.

4. Pay attention to the details
Besides looking at local and national housing trends, there are a few more issues that can affect the value of a home and the details of your offer. These include how long the home has been on the market. It is believed by many that if a home has been for sale more than 30 days, Sellers are often more motivated to sell and are more receptive to lower-priced offers.
In addition to the time spent on the market, you and your agent should also try to find out if there are any additional factors that could motivate the seller for a quick sale. For instance, if the seller has already purchased another home or is relocating to another state, you may receive a better response to your offer sheet.

After taking all these factors into account, you and I can determine both the market value of the home and the right amount to bid if making an offer. This will protect you from overbidding -which, of course, costs you more money- or underbidding – an error that could discourage a Seller from further negotiations.

Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Like any other life changing experience, buying a home for the first time can seem like an incredible challenge. However, once first-time homebuyers are able to organize their priorities, conduct some useful research, and interact with a trusted REALTOR®, confusion can quickly turn into excitement. Also, don’t forget: If you already know what you’re looking for, then tell me and I will find you YOUR DREAM HOME!

I’ve outlined some basic tips below that can help you pave the way to a successful first-time home buying experience.

Prior to researching the real estate market and hunting for mortgages, you will need to analyze you and/or your family’s goals and priorities. Take some time to reflect and determine if it is the right time to purchase your first home. You may also want to ask yourself where you want to be in the next few years and consider how purchasing a home for the first time fits into you/your family’s long-term goals.

Once you determine you are ready to purchase your first home, you may want to research the details of the home buying process. Though you may not understand everything you read, any insight you gain will help you avoid unwanted headaches further along in the process. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

The next important step in the home buying process may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked during the excitement of purchasing a first home. Very simply, as a first-time home Buyer, you need to determine what you can afford. Too often, first-time homebuyers underestimate or simply miscalculate the costs of owning a home. Before searching for your first home, ask yourself if your income is both adequate and reliable enough to afford mortgage payments. If you are able to determine what rates you qualify for and estimate your mortgage payment before actively bidding on a home, you can narrow down your price range and make a confident offer when the time comes. There are also upfront costs to consider when buying a home. Though the amount required to cover a down payment and possible closing costs will vary, there are usually some out of pocket expenses to incur when closing on your first home. Being prepared for these expenses, as well as any unexpected costs that occur after you have moved in will help your transition into home ownership. Also, you can get a sense of your financing situation by using my mortgage calculators.

Though following the previous steps can help a first-time home Buyer find the right home, Buyers never need to go it alone! So if you are interesting in your buying home, contact me today!

Buying a Home with Resale Value: Location, Location, Location

Everyone is concerned with the resale value of their home – and everyone should be! These days, it is not uncommon for an individual to buy and sell five homes or more in their lifetime. When thinking about resale, there is one thing to remember: Location, location, location. Though you have probably heard the phrase so many times it has lost all meaning, it is certainly still true. Whether you want to purchase a home to live in for several years or to resell quickly, location will certainly play a role in its resale value. I can help you find the best locations with the most stable resale values. If you have an area in mind, let me know the features you’re looking for: Your Dream Home.

The most important step in finding a home with resale value is choosing the right neighbourhood. One of the first things you may want to consider when researching a property is the economic stability of the area. If you are buying a home with the expectation of reselling it in the future, you will want to find an area that is not only desirable currently, but will remain a popular community for years to come. A desirable area will:

  • Be safe
  • Be near schools
  • Possess a good mixture of residential and commercial districts nearby
  • Have (or be near to) jobs for future residents
  • Demonstrate consistent economic growth

Safety is a given. There are certain areas of the HRM that have been stigmatized over the years. Though these areas are rapidly improving, they still do not appeal to all prospective Buyers.However, there is an opportunity to by low and hope for the area to appreciate. Many young buyers took advantage of this in Halifax’s North End.

Even if you don’t have children, you should try to research the closest schools before purchasing a home. Regardless of where the home is located, the quality of the nearest schools will almost certainly be an important factor for potential Buyers when you try to sell the home.

There are a number of other factors you may want to consider regarding the home’s immediate surroundings. For instance, you may want to look for property in neighbourhoods where most of the homes are similar in size and style. A gorgeous home surrounded by dilapidated ones is not going to appreciate at the rate it should.

The ideal location for a home is nearest the center of a neighbourhood, away from busy streets and bordering only other homes, as opposed to businesses, apartment complexes or schools. You may want to think about the traffic patterns that surround the neighbourhood. That said, easy access to public transportation and major freeways can also boost the resale value of a home. In short, the ideal neighbourhood will represent the best of worlds, offering residents both privacy and convenience.

Property taxes can also be a deciding factor for potential homebuyers. Though areas with higher property taxes often have newer schools or better funded municipal programs, many homebuyers avoid properties subject to higher tax payments.

As you search for the right home, try to look beneath the surface to understand the location. I can help you to determine not only how desirable a neighbourhood is, but how desirable it will be in coming years. Whether you are buying a home for your own use or to resell, simply try to think about what you and any potential Buyer would like in a new home.

In the end, the key to making a profit of your home purchase is to get a good deal in the first place! I can help. Contact me or let me know what you’re looking for.