Ahh November, that lovely month that’s not quite Fall and not quite Winter. The colourful leaves have fallen, and where the air typically feels like snow in our wet November, this year Mother Nature has granted us a (very) premature January freeze. In Canada, it’s not our prettiest month of the year but with it comes the eager anticipation of the upcoming Holidays, the sweet smell (and taste!) of Pumpkin Spice and – for many – the tangible slowing of the Real Estate market.
However despite this typical Fall slow down, we are busier than ever. After hosting over 200 friends and clients at Graystone Brewing in September at our 6th annual Client Appreciation Event, we got to work. You may have noticed our team has been growing over the past couple of months and we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to them formally. You know the duck that swims calmly above the water but underneath it’s peddling its little feet like crazy? Meet the Syroid Group 🙂
What started as a dream for 4 of us as individuals, has become a reality in the form of the Syroid Group. With distinctly different backgrounds in mortgages, insurance, relationship management and sales, we are cohesive in our approach and core values. Who are we?
- We are moms and dads, of both human and fur variety.
- We are Fredericton and surrounding area born and raised.
- We are not only supportive, but inclusive and proud of our cultures, including LGBTQIA2+ and other members of our communities.
- We are believers in healthy body, mind, and balance.
- We are proudly Canadian; we are Royal LePage.
- We are servants to our city and community.
- We are authentic individuals and uniquely “us”, and we attract like-minded clients.
- We are committed to giving back and to helping women and their families suffering from domestic violence.
- We are Real Estate, marketing, and communication experts.
- We are loyal members of the locally owned Gardiner Realty family.
At the Syroid Group we work together but not in the standard team format. When you choose one of us as your representative, that’s who you’ll work with from contact to contract to closing day. We support each other and lean on our respective strengths, further enhancing the one-on-one, individualized attention from your advisor. The power of four, the comfort and communication of one.
Seven years ago the prospect of having a dynamic, service-minded, marketing savvy team composed of people we truly enjoy spending our time with, would have been a dream. And frankly it still is. We sold over $20 million in local Real Estate in 2018 alone, and our trajectory only continues to climb. While our team dynamic has changed, our service model has not. We’re leveraged to continue to operate the same way we always have: one-on-one service, expert advice, clear strategy, and properties that move.
We are Karen, Brittany, Bradley and Chris. Now please, someone remind “7 years ago us” that all of this would be possible, because this is truly a dream come true and a realization of expectations far surpassed.
Thinking of buying or selling? You’re in the right place. Call, text or email our team anytime. We’re absolutely sure we’ll find you the perfect fit.
A couple of years ago, I “finally” found a home I was ready to buy! The experience was exciting, thrilling, and insanely stressful. Having had the pleasure of working with Karen over the 2 past years, there are many things I’ve learned about the home buying process that I wish I’d known when I was going through it… All which would’ve have saved time, effort, and headaches!
So, since “sharing is caring”… here are a few tips whether you’re buying your first home, or your first home in a while!
1. Get the Real Lowdown on Mortgages
Before you begin your search, meet with a mortgage broker. Online calculators help set a range for what you can afford, but there’s much more to it. Take the time to sit down with a mortgage broker/specialist to find out more about the options that currently exist, and how much you can actually afford.
Don’t be afraid to ask a LOT of questions. Like “what happens if I decide to sell next year?” You never want to be surprised by additional fees, penalties, etc.
Also take into account additional home buying costs, listed HERE!
2. Don’t Search On Your Own, Work with A Realtor®
Having witnessed many #daysinthelife of a Realtor®, I can vouch that they do MUCH more than oversee the transaction of getting an accepted deal together. They bring a wealth of knowledge that can save you big bucks, help you avoid massive mistakes, and make the entire home purchasing (and selling) process MUCH easier and safer.
Great Realtors® know their local markets, they know the inside scoop (incl the homes that have been listed far too long, or the hidden gems you would never have considered!). In addition, they can show any home that is listed on the market, and often know of some that aren’t publicly listed yet- and who doesn’t love exclusivity?!
They’ll come up with a list of homes that fit your “wants & needs” list.
And, as a buyer, it doesn’t cost you a penny upfront to search with their help. This is all pre-negotiated between the seller and the seller’s listing agent. The service of having a trusted advisor and friend throughout the entire process, is free!
So don’t waste any more time searching online and by driving through your favourite neighbourhoods: contact a Realtor® right now. Not sure who? I know of a great team I’m happy to recommend!
3. Look beyond the aesthetics
When you begin viewing homes, ONLINE OR IN PERSON, please don’t ever get caught up on the aesthetics of the home. By that I mean: don’t dismiss the house that has ugly paint colours, old shag carpet, or especially the one that has hideous furnishings. Repainting is easier than you think, replacing old carpet is cheaper than ever (have you seen all the flooring options out there?!), and those furnishings are probably leaving with the homeowners.
When reviewing homes online, remember that the photos may not do it justice. It may have been a gloomy day, the “photographer” may have used an old iPhone 4… there are so many reasons bad photos turn up on real estate listings. You need to step inside to see and feel the space. So many missed opportunities happen when you judge a book by its cover! My home had grey carpets, salmon pink walls, and matching pink fabric vertical blinds. On the flip side, it had 9+ foot ceilings and the open concept living area I dreamed of. Under the carpets were beautifully kept original hardwood floors, and 2 coats of paint later the walls are a nice neutral tone.
4. Search for The Sun
My mom ALWAYS said to me – pay attention to where the sun is. Honestly, I heard it repeatedly, but never really paid attention to it. I lucked out. The sun rises on one side of my home, letting the rays stream in through my dining room and master bedroom in the morning. It leaves me smiling every. single. sunny. day. In the afternoon, it plunges my back deck with gorgeous warmth, leaving me with the perfect spot to get a solid dose of Vitamin D.
I never thought I’d care about having natural sunlight throughout my home as much as I do. The older I get, the more I truly appreciate it. Sunshine doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, but keep it in mind.
5. Manage your Emotions
Many, many tears and tissue boxes later, I learned this. The home buying process is an emotional one, whether or not you want to admit it. It’s one of, if not THE, largest investment in one’s life, it’s where we live, where we make memories – it’s “where the heart is”.
All that said, try to keep emotions to a minimum when house shopping. Don’t let yourself fall in love too fast, stay somewhat guarded – you’ll be thankful you did. When you think you’ve found the one, ask yourself if it truly meets your needs/budget. Let your Realtor® play your devil’s advocate. They’re along for the ride with you and can be an amazing and objective support.
6. When You Make an Offer, There Are These Things Called Conditions
When you’ve found “the one”, your real estate agent will draft up the offer with you. You may think this just means price (I did!), but there’s more to it than that. There are these little gems called conditions. Why do I refer to them as gems? Because they’re meant to protect you.
Conditions are items that need to be completed by a certain deadline, usually within a week or two of your accepted offer. Once they’ve all been met, the house is then sold, and you just have to wait until closing day to get the keys. Conditions can include everything from financing, to inspection, water potability, radon testing, and several others.
Financing is a great example: you may be 100% sure you can afford this home, but the bank could decide not to fund your mortgage if they feel the value of the home doesn’t match what you’re borrowing. The finance condition allows you to ensure that not only can you afford the home, but your bank will actually lend you the money and your mortgage insurer (for anyone who has less than 20% downpayment) will underwrite your policy. Without that, you could end up owing big $$, without having the funds to back you up.
Your Real Estate agent should work with you to identify which conditions matter to your purchase, and when you’re required to fulfill them by – don’t hesitate to ask questions if you’re unsure about anything!
7. Say Yes! To a Home Inspection.
No matter what, get a proper home inspection. It’s a condition that is meant to protect you, and it’s a worthy one. Hire a professional inspector. They aren’t typically experts in any one area of homes (like a plumber or electrician would be, for example) – they are generalists who search through every nook and cranny. It’s money well spent. If all looks good with the house (and trust me, every house has something!) – you’ll have not only peace of mind, but also an education on how the house functions and what you’ll want to maintain on an ongoing basis.
If your opinion of value has changed upon uncovering unknown (latent) defects following the inspection, you’ll have the option to:
• Ask the seller to fix certain things or help cover the cost;
• Walk away from the deal;
• Go ahead as planned, but have a list of things in your back pocket to consider fixing once the home is yours. Surprises can always arise after you’ve moved in…but at least you’ll have done your due diligence.
8. Closing Day, What?!
So once you’ve offered on a home, reached an agreement with the sellers, and met all conditions – you have to wait until closing day before the home is yours. Technically the home is sold, but it’s not yours yet. Even when closing day arrives, the home isn’t yours at 12:01 am.
Tips for closing day:
• Don’t expect to have access to your home at 9 am! Sometimes it can take several hours, and if glitches happen, days, to “close” a home. Don’t book a moving truck (or plan a house warming party!) first thing in the morning – wait until late afternoon or the next day.
• Don’t access the property before then, without consent from your real estate agent. It isn’t yours until your lawyer calls to congratulate you and advise you to pick up your keys!
• Expect to have to meet with your real estate agent that day or the night before to do a final walkthrough, and you’ll meet your lawyer to sign paperwork the week leading up to closing.
Oh yeah, and if the lock box and/or sign remain on YOUR property (once it’s closed) – call your real estate agent. Neither are yours to dispose of. As much as Realtors try to stay on top of things, it’s like anything else, sometimes, they forget a sign or two! They’ll appreciate you not destroying their belongings. Lock boxes and signs are much more costly than one would imagine.
All in all, have fun. Home buying doesn’t have to be stressful. It’s exciting enough when you’re able to begin this process – make it the best you can.