My Realtor wants to bring in a stager in before listing my home. I’d rather not have someone touching my things. Isn’t it enough that the house is clean? – Spotless
DEAR SPOTLESS: According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), professional staging can increase a home’s selling price by up to 9 percent and based on my own experience, I’m inclined to agree.
Home staging is more than a good cleaning. It’s about neutralizing the personal aspects of a home, while using strategic furniture arrangement and de-cluttering to make rooms appear larger and more dramatic. Staged homes appeal to a wider array of buyers, have a higher perceived value, and often experience shorter selling times. Professional staging, complimented by professional photography, has proven so effective in my practise that I cover the cost of both services for almost every new listing.
We want to buy a house and noticed it has hot water heating. We are used to forced air. What’s the difference? – Warm & Toasty
DEAR W&T: Hot water heating systems (also known as radiant heat) can take many forms inside a home, from wall radiators to pipes that snake under concrete, ceramic or hardwood floors. These boiler-powered systems are generally fed by natural gas and use radiant energy to warm air/surfaces with which they come in contact, like a sunbeam shining through a window. Radiant systems provide quiet, even heat and tend to be allergy-friendly, as they don’t blow allergens throughout the house. The one obvious down side is that radiant systems have no provision for central air conditioning, although today, there are a number of solutions aside from window A/C units!
Homes with forced air heating rely on a system of air ducts to carry hot air from a furnace that is also commonly powered by natural gas. Forced air promotes the circulation of air around the house, but can also lose heat as air travels through the system. Because heat rises, the basement and floors may also stay cooler in a home with forced air heating.
We’ve met a few Realtors in our home search. Some have asked us to sign agreements with them before we even get started. What’s the rush? – No Hurry
DEAR HURRY: By signing a Buyer Representation Agreement, you bind your Realtor to a higher level of service with ethical and legal regulations governed by provincial legislation.
The Realtor’s fiduciary responsibility is to protect your interests above those of the seller. A signed agreement puts you in a position of power and keeps the focus on protecting your largest investment. At the same time, it gives your Realtor the peace of mind to whole-heartedly invest their time and resources into your move. You’ll want to feel comfortable with the Realtor you choose. My suggestion is to ask a friend or co-worker to refer a Realtor with whom they have had a one-on-one relationship.