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George Best, Licensed Realtor®
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There are many different way that you can prepare your home when selling. Sensory Appeal is just as important as Curb Appeal.  Buyers are led by their senses when choosing a new home.


SIGHT:   The visual appearance of a house prompts potential buyers more than any other factor.  Buyers decide within the first ten seconds of stepping inside whether or not they want to buy a house.  They are looking for a spotless, move-in ready home that offers a neutral canvas for their furnishings.  Fresh paint and new carpeting will make the best impression.  Hardwood floors should be in excellent condition.  Tile floors should be a neutral color, have no cracks and healthy grout lines.  Furniture must be arranged to show space and function – guiding the eye toward positive features of the home and away from the negative.

Light is the second most quoted reason for choosing a house. All lights should be in good working order, using highest allowed bulb wattage.  Replace dark or worn lampshades with new sheer or white shades.  Paint walls and dark woodwork in light, neutral colors.  Replace heavy window treatments with sheers.  Clean all windows, inside and out, so the sun shines in.


SCENT:  Nothing will turn away a potential buyer faster than an unpleasant odor. Buyers will feel more comfortable if a pleasant aroma like cinnamon or vanilla greets them.   Baked cookies, pie, or cake trigger a comfort response and make a house feel like a home.  A few drops of vanilla warmed in the oven yields the same result.  Remove litter boxes and keep trash can clean at all times.  Open windows before a showing when possible.

SOUND:  Creaking floors, dripping faucets, and a noisy heating system could cause concern for a buyer. Neighborhood noise such as traffic and/or a barking dog is distracting.  Playing soft jazz or classical music can help the home feel more relaxing and help buyers to concentrate on positive features.

 

TOUCH:  Texture is appealing to the eye and to the touch and will add an element of style which translates into perceived value. Buy new plush towels for the bathrooms and add throws and pillows of different textures and colors to the bedrooms. Keep all light switches, knobs, handles, doorknobs, and banisters clean to the touch. Help buyers feel comfortable and more at home by keeping the temperature cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

 

Potential buyers’ perceived value of your house is based on the reaction of their senses and the 1st reaction can be the winning one. 

 

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I read an article from CNN Money this week in regards to dating and home owership and the connection it can have. It stated that when it comes to dating, homeownership can be the ultimate aphrodisiac.


In a survey of 1,000 single people, more than a third of women and 18% of men said they would much rather date a homeowner than a renter.  Only 2% of women said they preferred to date a man who rents, while only 3% of men said they would choose a woman who rents over one that owns her home, according to the real estate survey.  Both sexes also clearly prefer it when there's no roommate in the picture; 62% of survey respondents, men and women, prefer to date singles who live alone.

 

It also noted the growing trend that seems to be occuring with what they referred to as "bommerang kids". Adult children moving back in with parents.  The young adults who went off to college then graduated, wound up back in their old bedrooms. "It's going to be hard to find love, except (perhaps) from your parents" the article quoted.  Less than 5% of all singles surveyed said they would date someone living in their childhood homes.


When the survery asked which features in a home are the biggest attraction the number one turned out to be a master bath. Men (64%) love that private sanctum almost as much as women (75%) do.

Walk-in closets were cited by 55% of men and 72% of women and gourmet kitchens got 51% of the male vote and 62% of the female. Hardwood floors, outdoor decks and home theaters also came in high on the list.


Interestingly enough, hot tubs got a lot less love from respondents. Only 26% of men and 22% of women cited the old standby in the science of seduction as an amenity they would truly want. It just goes to show that good looking and a good sense of humor may not be the only criteria on someone's dating list. 

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Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases of your life and you want to be cautious that you don’t make any mistakes that you’ll regret later on. Here are the top five most common mistakes made when buying a home, along with tips on how to prevent yourself from doing them or how to recover if you have already made them.

 

#1:  Not Getting Pre-Approved & Understanding Actual Costs of Owning a home
The biggest mistake made by homebuyers and is the first thing you should do if you plan on buying a new home! As a first time home buyer, you might think that as long as you can afford the mortgage payments, you can afford that home. But this is simply not true. A mortgage payment is just one of many home ownership costs. Property taxes and homeowner’s insurance should factor into your cost equation. Maintenance and repairs are also something to consider because your home will definitely need repairs and upkeep regardless of how new it is.

Several of these costs can sometimes be rolled into your mortgage payment. But it is important to consider all of these costs in addition to the mortgage payment so you can decide how much home you can actually afford to buy.


How to Prevent:  Get pre-approved! By getting pre-approved, you’ll be able to search for homes that are affordable for you, while also putting you in a strong negotiation position when you make an offer. Always remember to compare mortgage rates. There are many avenues you can take from banks to mortgage brokers to get the best possible rate.

 

#2:  Not Using a Qualified Agent
Qualified agents can help a homeowner buy a home in two ways. First, they can help you identify a suitable property that is well priced for the market. Second, they can help you quality for a mortgage by organizing and presenting your finances in a way that appeals to lenders.  As a result, finding a good agent is an important step. A good agent will listen to your needs, spend time with you, and will look out for your best interest. They will have experience and be knowledgeable about the market. 

 

How to Recover: It’s never too late to get an agent, even if you’re already at contract as they can help with all the legal and negotiation aspects.

 

#3:  Not Getting a Thorough Inspection
Getting a thorough inspection is the only way you’ll know you have real knowledge about the house. Getting a home inspection is an component of buying a new home, but many inexperienced home buyers simply take the seller’s word that there is nothing wrong with the house. To avoid this mistake and to save yourself from huge problems in the near future, hire an independent home inspector. These inspections often only cost a few hundred dollars but they can save a buyer thousands of dollars – or even in rare cases hundreds of thousands of dollars - if they find something major that needs to be repaired. Most home sales are based on a contingency of the results of the home inspection so you can either opt out of the purchase or ask the seller to make the repairs if you aren’t comfortable with the results of the inspection. Often, home inspections pay for themselves.  Sellers will often reduce the purchase price as compensation for problems discovered during an inspection.

 

How to Prevent: Hire a licensed home inspector. They take the emotion out of inspecting a home and give you a real critique about the home you’re thinking to purchase.

 

#4:  Focusing on Wants Not Needs
This mistake is usually made by first-time homebuyers but can happen to even the most experienced homeowner.
How to Prevent: Make a list of must-haves and refer to it when you’re house hunting. Make sure it is a list of needs not wants.
How to Recover: If you’re in negotiations and realize you made this mistake, try using provisions of contract to either get out of the deal or fix the issues before you close.

 

#5:  Thinking that buying a foreclosure is always going to be a great deal.

Buying a foreclosed home at a great bargain is often more difficult than it seems. Usually, buyers experienced with foreclosures are the ones able to get the best deals. A first-time homebuyer stands at a real disadvantage. Typically, a foreclosed home has been vacant for several months before it is put on the market. Leaving a house empty for an extended period of time is a recipe for disrepair. Experienced buyers know this and know what to look for. They also know how much to estimate repairs will cost. First time homebuyers have limited knowledge in this area.  If you want to avoid making a major financial mistake and still purchase a foreclosure, speak to someone knowledgeable with foreclosures and get an idea of common problems.  Then estimate the cost to make these repairs and decide if it’s still a good financial move.

 

Being aware of some of these typical mistakes can make a huge difference in your buying experience. 

 

 

 

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Some homeowners have been waiting for years for a better housing market and a good time to sell. Is it better to wait a few more years and see if you can realize a higher sale price or sell now and move on with your life?


The motivation for selling is a key factor. Are you commuting to work several hours a day and the commute is killing you? Are your children grown and your home is now too big, in addition to being a burden to maintain? Is your home too small? Have you taken a job out of the area? Can you no longer afford to own your home? Or do you no longer want to pay the price it costs to own your home?

These are all good reasons for considering making a move. Not only do current market conditions enter into the equation, but making a move like this is usually more complicated than it was the first time you bought a home.


First, you need to find out the probable sale price of your home and access the state of the current home-sale market in your area. You also need to know what you can do to maximize the salability of your home. Then you should consider where you'll live next and how much that will cost.


If you don't already have one, find an experienced real estate agent who specializes in your area. Friends whose opinion you trust are the best source of agent referrals. Meet with your agent at your home and ask for a comparative market analysis. This will give you information about what homes like yours have been selling for in the current market.


You'll also want to know how long you can expect it to take to sell your home. How many homes like yours have sold recently? Are homes like yours in high demand? Or, is it located in a less desirable area that could mean a longer marketing time and perhaps, a lower price than you were expecting?

Ask your agent to walk through your home with you and point out what should be done to make your home marketable. Homes that sell today are priced right for the market and are in move-in condition.

You want to make cost-effective improvements. If the kitchen and bathrooms are outdated, consider a cosmetic redo. Update paint, hardware, light fixtures and floor coverings, if necessary. Don't do a complete remodel unless you plan to stay in your home for years; otherwise, you won't recoup your investment.


Deciding where to move and when can be difficult. Some buyers can afford to buy a new home before selling and prefer to make the move that way. Most buyers can't afford to buy first. Others who can won't buy first due to market uncertainty and the stress of owning two homes at once.


The most prudent approach to making a move from one home to another is to sell first and rent if necessary until you find the right home to buy. By selling first, you will know exactly how much money you have to apply to a new home. Today's housing market is constantly changing and a dip in the market could reduce tens of thousands of dollars, or more, off your selling price.


The other benefit of renting before buying is that you're under no pressure to buy the first listing you see. Interest rates are low and are expected to stay low through 2012. Prices are also low and aren't expected to move up much for the next several years. This gives you time to find the home that will suit you for the long term.

 

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I have sold a property at 380 DODWELL ST in Williams Lake.
Wow! A great home bursting with all the options. Imagine the awesome summers spent lounging and enjoying the in-ground pool. Located just minutes to downtown and within walking distance to school, it's sure to be a friend and family pleaser. 4 bedrooms on the main floor, and a generous master bedroom with a 3 piece ensuite. The central brick fireplace anchors the living room to the kitchen and is perfect for keeping it cozy. Generous double car garage, with lots of level parking is a welcome bonus for the Cariboo winters. Upgraded flooring and countertops help keep this home feeling fresh, clean and crisp. Average gas $109 to $129 per month approx. according to Fortis BC.
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I have listed a new property at 5 1427 DOG CREEK RD in Williams Lake.
This cozy mobile has had some nice updates done. These updates include new laminate flooring, light fixtures, vanity in bathroom and some faucet updates as well. New rear deck, front entry stairs with landing. Beautiful fenced yard with lots of extras which include raised garden beds. Situated near park entrance and just minutes to city centre. Close to mountain view school. This is an affordable and great starter home for a family!
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I have listed a new property at 307 280 BROADWAY AVE N in Williams Lake.
Come check out this great 2 bedroom condo in Terra Vista. Overlooks greenspace with a balcony for barbecuing and enjoy the in suite air conditioning. Comes with on-site management and an assigned parking stall. Great value as an investmentproperty or for first time buyer. Why pay rent when you can own this unit for less per month. These rarely come along, don't miss out.
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I read an article recently profiling Home Buyers and Sellers and it showed a growing trend among recent buyers.


The latest figures show that 89 percent of buyers purchased their home with the help of a real estate agent. This is a sharp increase from a decade ago in 2001, when only 69 percent of buyers enlisted the help of an agent or broker. Why do today's buyers choose to work with an agent? Here are just a few of the many reasons an agent can be your biggest ally.


First, agents are licensed professionals, which means we had to complete coursework and pass an exam in order to become an agent. We have the education and experience to help you navigate what will be one of the biggest purchases of your life.


We also have access to a wide range of properties and can guide you to those that are the best fit for you, which can save you time and energy. If you are unsure what type of property you're interested in, an agent can help explain the pros and cons of things such as condo life versus single-family detached living. We are also aware of up and coming neighborhoods, which areas are within walking distance or have access to better schools. These are all issues an agent deals with daily.


We can also ease the burden of buying by simplifying the process. We set up showings, drive you to appointments if needed, and help you handle the intricacies of negotiations.

Today's market also presents challenges that simply weren't present or didn't dominate the market a decade ago. Buyers are faced with some great deals, but through some complicated channels such as foreclosures. How does one handle these sort of contracts? As your agent, it is my job to know and to help your through the process.


Finally, buyers are unsure if now is really a good time to buy. They need to rely on someone with local market knowledge. Is this a good neighbor to invest in? Are prices still dropping in this community? How long do homes take to sell? What is the median selling price? Buyers want the best deal out there.


If you are considering buying a home this year, be sure to strongly consider using a real estate agent. We could be your biggest ally.

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Everyone has heard rumors of de-cluttering when it's time to sell your home. But, what does that really mean?  Before going hog wild and moving out, here's a few of the most important things to consider removing before you list your home for sale.


5. Personal photos. It can be appropriate to have family photos around to give the house that homey feel but if you have hallways filled with photos or photos on every end table it is probably necessary to remove some of them. Buyers really do get distracted by them and may focus on them instead of your home.  Not only do they take away from the home, but it makes it more difficult for the buyer to imagine themselves in the home as they are overwhelmed by the existance of the current owners.


4. Bills and personal papers. As you usually cannot remove these document from the home all together, please take the time to organize them, box them up and put them out of sight. If you have bills laying out on the counter or kitchen table it's a distraction to buyers that are there to look at the home. Removing this type of clutter, allows buyers to focus on the home itself and not on those types of details.


3. Too many shoes! If you have a pile of shoes at the door... ask yourself why. A pile of shoes gives a buyer two impressions. First, that there isn't enough storage in your home. Second, that there are too many people living in the home. So, in order to avoid wondering on the part of the buyer, find a way to organize or remove them.


2. Un-cluttered kitchen counter.  The cleaner you can leave the counter, the more buyers dream of being in there. If you've ever been in a cluttered kitchen, I'm sure you did not find it inviting or that it made you want to spend time there. Also, if you store things on the counter it gives the appearance that you do not have enough storage space.


1. Nothing but a few magnets. It is pleasing to the eye to walk into a home that has a clean fridge. The children's pictures are beautiful but buyer's can't imagine their own children's drawing on there if it is covered with yours. Even if the magnets are decorative, they are generally more of a distraction to the room than a help. Less is always more. Also limit junk drawers as there is nothing more unappealing than a potential buyer opening the cupboards and drawers and having things unorganized or falling out.  


There are many more ways to de-clutter a home for sale but these are some important things to consider that many sellers may not notice until they are pointed out. For more information on selling your home, give me a call at (250) 305-7034.

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Kitchens Sell a House

 

It's a tool used by house flippers all across the nation. Stagers know its power. Real estate agents push its importance. What is this not-so-well-kept secret of real estate?A kitchen can sell a house.

 

A kitchen is the heart of a home.This is true all across the globe. The old saying that the "stomach is the way to the heart" carries a lot of truth.Kitchens are where we spend much of our time and most of that is with our families.

It's the room where we nourish our bodies and our spirits.

 

Kitchens are integral to entertaining and in today's age of open floor plans, they're a focal piece of many family rooms. It's because of this that kitchens play such an important role in the buying and selling process.

 

This one room is the showpiece of the house. You'll see it every day and your guests will see it during most visits. This means buyers want homes with up-to-date kitchens.

 

Kitchens, however, can be one of the most expensive rooms to renovate. These projects can also be the most labor and time intensive of all home renovations. It's not just a new layer of paint.

 

Instead you find a complicated array of flooring, tiling, cabinets, and counters. This means buyers may want a home with an up-to-date kitchen but they aren't willing to tackle this problem themselves. Most buyers want a kitchen that is ready to use the day they move in.

 

What do buyers look for in up-to-date kitchens? A lot of this depends on what price range your home is in.

 

The main thing to remember as a seller is to not price yourself out of your market. If homes in your neighborhood are selling for $100,000 with tidy, but not luxury kitchens, then this is no time to upgrade to granite, travertine, and marble at the price tag of $40,000+. You simply won't find a buyer.

 

Scope out the competition. Use open houses in your area or MLS listings to find out what your competitions' kitchens look like.

 

Do area homes have new solid wood cabinets and granite counters in today's designer colors? You'll be wise to consider making the same move. Are they including new stainless steel appliances and add-ons like dishwashers, wine-coolers, and trash compactors?

 

Are you in a higher-end neighborhood? It's time to think high-end. Your older home may have a highly functional kitchen, but a buyer will take one look at your formica counters and white appliances and become lost in the stress of how much money and time it would take to remodel. If you don't want to put in the time yourself to make upgrades then you'll have to make concessions in the price.

 

Don't become overwhelmed, though. Sometimes a kitchen update can mean doing just a few minor changes. Change the paint color to a warm, neutral tone. Get rid of any clutter. Update your appliances, paint your cabinets, change the pulls, or get a high-end looking counter for a fraction of the cost (faux-granite or lower end granite). You might even save a bundle by doing much of the work yourself.

 

The bottom line is a kitchen can sell a home. Do a little research and find out what your kitchen needs to make it competitive with area listings.

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Well, you’re not alone!

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), 60% of homebuyers are considering downsizing to smaller, more efficient homes. The economy is playing a significant role in this decision but, for the most part, our society is full of Baby Boomers who don’t quite need the space that they once did. Here are 7 benefits of downsizing your home:

 

1) Save money: When you buy a smaller, more energy-efficient home, you’ll save money on your utility bills. You’ll also reduce your maintenance expenses. You will most likely have a smaller mortgage. With less space to fill, you need less stuff! This allows you to also spend less on furniture and other home décor.

 

2) Reduce your impact on the environment: Your home will use less energy when you have less space to heat and cool.

 

3) Increase free time: You’ll spend less time cleaning and maintaining a smaller home. Use the extra time to travel, take up a hobby or just relax.

 

4) Enhance peace of mind: When you no longer have to worry about how you’re going to pay enormous utility bills and mortgage payments, you can sleep better at night.

 

5) Improve your health: Less stress usually equals improved health. Owning a large house full of stuff you have to pay for and take care of can be very stressful. When you downsize and let go of all that stuff, your stress decreases.

 

6) Put cash in your pocket: Sell your extra stuff on eBay, Craigslist and at a garage sale.

 

7) Simplify your life: Simplifying your life reduces stress, improves creativity and increases joy.

 

Making the decision to downsize can be difficult to do, but once you’ve taken the leap, you’ll discover many rewards. The more stuff you get rid of, the more you can save for things that truly matter, such as saving for your retirement or college education.

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By Sage Birchwater - Williams Lake Tribune Published: February 03, 2012 6:00 AM “Never judge a book by its cover,” says RE/MAX realtor George Meilleur (pronounced Meyer).

 

He is a case in point. Whoever would suspect that this realtor decked out in his dark cowboy hat, with his “country persona” splashed on property signs across the Cariboo Chilcotin and Central Coast from Horsefly to Bella Coola, is on the leading edge of the most advanced social media technology available today?

 

Take another look. Check out Meilleur’s realtor signs and see. Scan the QR (quick response) code found on his signs or in newspaper ads (see Page A13) with your iPhone or Smartphone and be amazed at the world that opens up to you. Using free apps available on the Internet, he creates a specific code for each property. If you scan the QR code with your Smartphone it takes you directly to Meilleur’s site and right to the property in question. His marketing of urban properties using the new, exciting smart technology of social media makes sense.

 

Meilleur got his start in real estate selling recreational and rural properties in the Cariboo/Chilcotin where he lived for eight years. “There’s a strong perception that all I do is ranches,” Meilleur says. “That all I sell is land and rural properties. Nothing could be further from the truth. Last year 75 per cent of my sales were residential properties in the Williams Lake area.”

 

While most of Meilleur’s current focus is on residential properties around Williams Lake, he says he still has a finger on the pulse of rural and recreation properties “because they are so unique and close to my heart.”

 

Though Meilleur is breaking new ground with the sophisticated new technology, he predicts it will be the wave of the future in the real-estate industry. “Real estate has moved to the new technology,” he explains. “Eighty per cent of the people search for homes online prior to meeting with an agent.”

 

He says agents who aren’t using the social media such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are going to be left behind.

 

However, the new technology alone isn’t enough to ensure success. “There’s a balance between using technology and person-to-person relationships. They have to work together, hand-in-hand.”

 

Meilleur offers weekly updates to every client who signs up on his georgemeilleur.com website, letting them know about what’s new in real estate around Williams Lake and the Cariboo Chilcotin Central Coast. “I include what’s happening with market conditions and other community activities taking place. I try and make it personal and informative.”

 

To welcome in the new year, Meilleur is giving away a new Tablet once a month for the next three months, to people who fill out an entry form on his website. “Once a month, a winner will be drawn,” he says.

 

He says the future of Williams Lake looks bright. “We have enough diversity of industries in this community to sustain us. Williams Lake is not a one-horse town.”

 

One trend Meilleur has observed is an increasing retirement market with people downsizing from larger to smaller homes and also re-locating from large urban centres to more affordable communities like Williams Lake. The real-estate market during January 2012 has been brisk, he notes.

 

“With very limited inventory available, we’re seeing multiple offers on some properties.”

 

Meilleur has based his reputation on core values of honesty and hard work. “My tag line is: ‘It’s a matter of trust.’ I work hard to meet the unique needs of every client, whether they are buyers or sellers, and I always do what I say I am going to do.”

 

Getting in touch with Meilleur for your real estate needs is easy. Just scan one of his QR codes with your smartphone or go directly to his website georgemeilleur.com. Oh yeah, and you can phone him too: 250-305-7034 in Williams Lake or toll free: 1-855-305-7034.

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I have sold a property at 17 803 Hodgson RD in Williams Lake.
Wow, she's a beauty. This beautiful mobile in Panorama Park feels like a home not a mobile. With all the new vinyl siding throughout and new vinyl windows and with a great open feel to the addition which has a sunken family room and large bedroom, it's in a class of it's own. There is a fenced yard for your privacy, a nicely covered deck and a fabulous view of the lake and the city from the living room. Updated kitchen counter tops and new laminate floors and neutral carpets throughout are just a few of the recent upgrades. Come call it home.
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