Sometimes I run into past clients or neighbours, and naturally, the question they always ask is, 'How's the market?". I respond that it is in great shape, and their home is likely worth much more than they expect. They take two steps back. Their physical stance changes. The arms cross. Their eyes squint. "Oh no, I don't care because I'm NEVER moving!". This isn't exactly music to my ears, but it's also an irresponsible comment. There are a slew of amazing reasons why you must always care about the value of your home, and it should always be maintained and respected for what it is - a huge asset. A real estate agent is a great advisor who can help you to protect your home's equity.
This may shock you, but not all the sellers I meet expected to move. A myriad reasons bring this about with the most common being a change in work, marital status, or to accommodate multi-generations. It is in these moments that careless owners pay the price. They say, "But we love our hot pink and neon green kitchen cupboards!", or, "We didn't know that knocking that wall out could compromise the structural integrity of out home!". Well - know it or not, the permanent or quasi-permanent changes made without even considering a future sale is a costly mistake. There may come a point where you need to liquidate this amazing falling-down home with a hot pink kitchen. Changes should be made carefully, and with a goal of protecting or improving your asset. Know what your house is worth, and consult a realtor before making changes.
A booming Canadian real estate market over the past 15 years has ensured that the majority of home-owners have been vigilant with home repair and maintenance. Allowing these to slide can seriously bite into the equity tied up in the house. Everyone knows "that" house in their neighbourhood. The one with curling shingles or broken and missing downspouts. I cringe knowing the damage and costs caused by these seemingly innocuous home maintenance issues. A roof is not an optional home maintenance issue, and letting it go too long can cause major damage. Not keeping up on these home repairs because you aren't planning a sale? What a shock it will be when even after the roof is replaced, we discover an attic full of mould. Nothing makes a potential buyer run faster than a mouldy attic. Listen to real estate agents even if you are NEVER moving. We offer great tips in how to protect your home.
As the past the Vice-Chair of Waterloo Regional Crime Stoppers, and a member of WRPS Citizens' Police Academy Alumni, one of my real estate passions is neighbourhood safety. A home should be safe above all else. Nobody cares about the great kitchen if the neighbourhood is violent and unsafe. In policing there is a 'Broken-Window' Theory developed by a Criminologist who noted that one broken window left for too long in a neighbourhood leads to more as the behaviour becomes accepted. More broken windows lead to graffiti, which leads to other crime and a neighbourhood full of problems. Even if you are never moving, and you don't care if the window is broken forever, please fix it anyway. Small details paint a large picture of what is tolerated in a neighbourhood. If you don't care about personal safety, be aware that others do. People own homes in communities, and we all need to maintain our homes for the safety of the community as a whole.
Whether people anticipate a move or not, there will eventually come a day when the owner or the descendants need to sell. A responsible homeowner will always keep an eye on the value of what is probably their largest asset. You don't need to be moving (EVER) to have a conversation with your Realtor. I regularly post articles and tips to twitter about home maintenance and the community we live. Be diligent with maintenance and repairs, and be aware of your contribution to the overall safety of your 'hood. And with any luck, when you do decide to move, you will be on track with a healthy profit.
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