Category: selling your home (5)

Home Appraisal

Home Appraisal

Selling your home is only half of the process – after the sale is conditional your home needs to pass the appraisal test. Given the importance of this step many clients ask ” How can I improve my Home Appraisal”?
It’s a common myth that “bank appraisals” are always conservatively low, but is that really true? Understanding the appraisal process can shed some light on home values and show you how you can enable your appraiser to substantiate the highest value possible.
First it’s important to understand the rules of engagement. Appraisals are based on recent sales usually limited to the past 6 months sales of comparable properties. In a rapidly rising market this explains why it is often difficult for appraisers to find evidence that proves the current values. Of course the opposite is also true and in a declining market often appraised values can tend to be overstated.

Here are a few ways ways you can help to improve your home appraisal:

  • Ensure the Appraiser is knowledgeable about your area. Especially in inner city communities where there are a myriad of factors that affect value and where values are extremely diverse.
  • Do your own homework. Appraisers rely on MLS data so if you are aware of private sales or the unique circumstances behind any MLS sales be sure to provide this information to the appraiser. You’ll be doing some of the appraisers work, but the payback could be well worth it.
  • Boast about the Calgary Neighborhood Information  If there are unique amenities or attractions that locals covet, now is not the time to keep them a secret. Be sure to inform your appraiser.
  • Document your improvements. If you’ve spent money on improvements be sure to document and show these to the appraiser. Especially important to point out are those improvements that are not readily apparent such as electrical and plumbing upgrades, insulation and other improvements hidden behind the walls. Don’t be hesitant to show receipts to prove the work you’ve done.
  • Understand which improvements add the most value. Kitchens and bathrooms provide the greatest return on your investment. Paint and flooring are next in providing the best bang for your buck, followed by curb appeal and landscaping.
  • Clean up. Ensure that the home is meticulously clean and the entryway shows well. Removing excessive furniture can make a home feel larger. Manicure the walkway to the home. Remove clutter and excess of photos and nik-naks. Remove all the magnets off your fridge and pack loose items in boxes that can be stored in the garage.
  • Understand your home size. MLS and Appraisal rules state that measured size must be area that is above grade. If adding size to your home understand how this will be measured and accounted for in the future. If you add space below grade, it will not count as added living area.
  • Give the Appraiser some space. As in showing any home to a potential client, don’t follow them around breathing over their shoulder. Provide the appraiser some space to let them make their own assessment and take their time to absorb and appreciate the beauty and value of your home.

Remember that appraisers prove value based on sales values in the past, but may not be attuned to market trends going forward. Understanding the current market and trends could enable you to extract many thousands of dollars of value from your home. This is where an expert real estate agent can help a tremendous amount. To ensure that you receive the highest value for your real estate investment before you sell contact Sano Stante Real Estate.




Here’s a few key contractor questions to ask and steps to follow before hiring a contractor of any type, including handymen:

1. Know specifically  what you want to have done. Try to have plans drawn up by an Architect or Designer. The more information you have available for the  contractor, the better. You should also be able to obtain a more precise quote for the work and be better able to compare at least two or three competitive quotes.

2. Try to get  personal referrals, rather than relying on the phone book or internet. Ask a  friend or a relative who has had some work done on their home – that’s a great starting point. You can get some honest feedback  about the contractor’s skill level, price, scheduling, level of cooperation,  and much more. There are a lot of contractors out there to choose from, and  like most businesses, they succeed or fail mostly by their reputation so a  good referral is very helpful.

There are other sources of referrals as well. If you see  some work going on down the street, stop and talk to the homeowner. Most people  are more than willing to share their experiences – both good and bad – about  the contractor they’ve hired, and here again you can get some great firsthand  information.

Material suppliers are also great sources. Ask the people  where you buy your lumber or your plumbing supplies if they know of anyone  who’s particularly good at the type of project you have in mind. Retailers have  a reputation to protect as well — they want to keep you happy and coming back  as a customer — so they will typically refer only those contractors who they know are honest and will do a quality job.

Other good sources of referrals include real estate agents,  insurance agents, property managers, your utility company, and your local  building department inspector.

3. When you have a  referral or two, call the contractors to set up an appointment. Ask the  following four questions:

  • Do they do the specific type of work you’re looking for? It could be they no longer do kitchens or room additions, or they now do remodeling and have stopped building new homes.  Clarify this on the first call.
  • What is their schedule like? If you have a project that has to be done within the next month and the contractor can’t even start until then, there’s no point in wasting your  time or theirs.
  • Can they provide you with referrals? Most companies are more than willing to provide you with names and phone numbers of past clients. If they can’t or won’t provide you with referrals, don’t hire them. Between the time you call the contractor and the time the contractor comes out, be sure to follow up on a couple of the referrals and get some feedback from the homeowners. If possible, see if the referral would allow you to view the contractor’s work in person.
  • What is the contractor’s name and license number? Get the contractor’s full legal business name, address  and business phone number, as well as their contractor’s license number.  Follow up on this information, and verify that all of the proper bonds and insurance policies are in place (including workers compensation for their employees).

At Sano Stante Real Estate we maintain a list of qualified contractors as a service to our clients to prepare their home for sale or to upgrade a home that they have just purchased. Please call us and we can provide you with a list of these proven trades.

Clock-2While most experts agree that pricing a home properly at the onset is the best strategy, setting an accurate price can be a challenge for even the most seasoned real estate agent and homeowners. Price is affected by a myriad of complex factors including a constantly changing marketplace. Couple this with a reluctance to set the price too low and the tendency to build in “negotiating room” and you can see how overpricing is a common occurrence in every market. How do you determine that the price is the factor limiting the sale and what do you do when the market does not agree with the price?


It is common knowledge that listings receive the most showing activity in the first two weeks. While some time is required to expose the home properly to the market, generally after a couple of days and during the first week we witness the highest amount of interest and showings on a new listing. This second week generally tapers off and the third week will receive showings from buyers who perhaps were not available to view the home earlier. Following this initial flurry of activity we often experience a steady, but slower pace of showings for the next several months. From the buyers perspective they have most often viewed everything available on the market and succumb to watching new listings as they arrive on the MLS® system. This accounts for the flurry of activity in the first week as these buyers scurry to be the first to view the new product, hoping that it will be the home they have been waiting for. After this group of “pent- up buyers” digests your home, the remaining showings occur from buyers who were slower to respond and those “new buyers” who naturally arrive to the scene and are viewing all the available existing product.

The interesting fact is that the first group of buyers are your best experts. They have seen all the existing product on the market and compared the attributes of each home along with the price in your particular niche. This is why it is essential to any marketing plan to receive feedback from this field of Buyers to determine if there was anything that could be improved in the home to make it more palatable to them or the market. While our marketing plan includes a pre-staging service to determine improvements that will make the home more salable, sometimes there remain items which could be improved. Often times we will discover that an oversight or some other tweak that was not apparent can make a difference in the saleability. After a thorough review of any items that can be improved in the home and a period of time which ensures that the property has been adequately exposed to all current available Buyers, it is time to review the price. This process should highlight any items within our control that should be changed to improve marketability before we look to price as the primary factor. This review should occur between two and three weeks on market.

What affect does reducing the price have on the marketability? First it signals renewed interest from the first group who came through and the portion of them who did not show interest due to price being too high. Secondly it exposes your property to a new group of Buyers who previously did not view it because it fell outside of their price bracket in their auto-search. Third, it provides some “news” and another reason for your real estate agent to promote your property either through renewed advertising or networking. This entire process is sometimes repeated several times depending on how aggressive the Seller wished to be regarding price and their urgency to sell.

While the best strategy is to set the price accurately at the outset, you can see that with proper monitoring and an attentive real estate agent, there are good processes in place to correct an over-priced listing that will get you back on track. Sano Stante Real Estate provides a marketing plan that includes feedback and monitoring, along with expert advice to help you through the most critical stages of selling your home

ScalePeople often overlook the important question of what is the proper progression when trading homes. The two options are to either buy first before selling your home or sell your home first before committing to another purchase.

There are several important factors to consider when making this choice.

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Selling a home in winter time in  Calgary, or any cold climate offers some unique challenges for homeowners and Real Estate Professionals alike. Here are a few tips to make the best of the chilly weather and cooler market:
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