Thinking about selling your house? Looking at the commissions that real estate agents charge on every sale makes selling your home by owner look like a great option, but is it right for you? A lot of what traditional real estate agents do is invisible. Selling your home by owner might be a great way to save yourself major cash – or it might be a gigantic headache and far more trouble than the savings on commission is worth. Whether or not it is a good idea depends on whether you are equipped to do the work. Not everyone is, and some give up midway through the process and hire a real estate agent anyway. For those who are able to pull off the process well, it is a great way to save some of the huge costs associated with moving. How do you know if selling your home yourself is a good idea for you?
house for sale by owner
You are comfortable negotiating. Buying or selling a house is the biggest transaction of a lifetime for most people, and the negotiations can drag on and get pretty complex. Buyers might have all sorts of strange demands, and if you go into the transaction alone, you will need to be educated on what demands are standard, and what are unreasonable. They will also be looking to save money on the list price, so if you are selling your home by owner, make sure you are comfortable haggling and don’t take low offers personally. If you are not comfortable negotiating prices, it will be worth it to pay a professional to do so on your behalf. If you don’t negotiate often, but want to sell your home by owner anyway, practise often with smaller items before listing your home. Learn how to negotiate without causing offense.
You are comfortable touring strangers through your house. Not everyone is, and that is ok. Buyers might criticize your décor choices, talk about things they would change, walls they would knock down, and do things like test your taps, inspect your back basement, or flush your toilets. You’ll have to act professional and like none of those things get under your skin so as not to scare off the buyers or sour the transaction before it starts.
You have the time and a flexible schedule. Prospective buyers are going to want to tour the home before making any offers, and their schedule might be wildly different from yours. You can reduce the time commitment if you are able to schedule house tours in groups of prospective buyers, but you will have to be prepared to let a significant number of people into your home, which could end up being weeks or months of moving around your schedule to accommodate them.
You can think about your home’s value objectively. It can be difficult to determine the worth of your own possessions. People tend to value their own things higher than they might value the same thing if it did not belong to them. If you are someone who tends to price items you have owned for the same price as you paid for them or more, you might want to think about enlisting professional help to assess the value of your home. If you prefer to set the price on your own, check out what comparable properties have sold for in your neighbourhood or town to get an indication of a good starting point.
You can say no to people. If you handle the sale yourself, you will have to turn down low ball offers, and likely also ward off agents trying to get your business. If you have a hard time saying no firmly and politely, selling your home yourself might balloon into a giant headache for you.
Selling your home by owner has the potential to be a great way to save money, or a total waste of your time and resources. Being honest with yourself about what you are willing to put into the process, and your chances of success will be much higher.
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What is the best way to save serious money over the holiday shopping season? Easy – don’t buy into the idea that you need to spend serious money over the holidays.
Year after year, shoppers still experience some shock when they walk into a store in the fall and whole sections of the store have already been transformed with Hanukkah and Christmas displays.
All this reminds us that maybe it’s time to take back the power. Retailers keep churning out the same merchandise with just little tweaks knowing we as consumers are going to get caught up in the glitter and glitz and buy everything up. Spending your hard-earned money every single year on goods you don’t really need or already have isn’t just a burden on your wallet though- it has some major social and environmental consequences too.
Maybe this is the year to turn it all around and reduce your carbon footprint just a little while showing big corporations (as well as everyone around you) that you can’t be tricked that easily. The holidays can be just as enjoyable (if not more so) without having to line up outside of stores at 6am for Black Friday sales or being pushed and shoved in a stuffy, crowded mall desperately searching for a last minute gift.
Have “The (Gifting) Talk"
Making the choice to not buy a brand new present for everyone in your family or all your friends can present some awkward scenarios. Specifically, what happens if you don’t buy anything for anyone and yet everyone buys something for you? As much as people say Christmas isn’t about the presents, chances are, someone is going to be a little bothered by this. To avoid any uncomfortable situations, just casually mention to the people you usually gift to that you’re going for an anti-consumption kind of holiday this year. Here’s where you can decide if you’re just not going to give any gifts at all, if you want to stick to buying thoughtful used items, or if you’re going to go the DIY gift route- either way, if this is the first holiday season you’re trying this out, just give everyone a heads up.
For parents, it can seem a little harsh to all of a sudden curtail or take the gifting aspect away from kids during the holiday season when all the other children are getting new toys, books, and clothes. To ease them into an anti-consumption way of life, tell the kids that starting this year, all the kids will get one new gift and the other presents will be homemade. Turn it into a challenge if it feels like there’s some resistance. Best handmade craft or present gets some special prize. The transition from the usual routine might seem a little odd at first but think of what a fantastic example you’re setting. One awkward holiday season is all it takes to send the message that you’re going to be doing things a little differently from now on.
Re-use, Re-gift, and Recycle
Don’t be afraid to re-use what still works! Put those glittery ornaments down. We know they look beautiful and shiny but you have a perfectly good set of ornaments at home already. You don’t need it. The same goes for brand new shiny wrapping paper, gift bags, cake trays, cookie tins, lawn ornaments, lights, etc. If you need them or your old ones are actually broken, then go for it- but if you feel yourself gravitating towards the new for the simple reason that they’re brand new, fight the urge. Another anti-consumption tip? Re-gift! That crystal dish you got last year that you never used? Go ahead and give it away. That blue wool scarf you never got around to wearing last winter? Pass it on! Re-gifting presents that you weren’t able to find a use for is not only eco-friendly and budget-friendly, it’s also pretty much a win-win for everyone. Even if the person you re-gift to can’t find a use for the item, they now have something they can use as a gift rather than having to purchase a new present. Last tip: Don’t underestimate the value of recycling. Buying something second-hand doesn’t have to be tacky or cheap if you find something that is sentimental and has meaning to the person you’re buying for. A quick search on Kijiji can reveal thousands of amazing gently used items whether you’re looking to buy a musical instrument for your child, a rare box-set of an old TV show, a vintage piece of furniture- the possibilities are endless. Purchasing a gift second-hand takes time and patience, but at the end of the day, it’s totally worth it when you think about the good you’re doing.
Pot-Luck Instead of DIY
The holidays can be a scary time for your waistline and even scarier for those brave souls who volunteer to host the many dinners that happen during this season. Even though some of us have this vision of serving an epic feast single-handedly and being dubbed the Martha Stewart among family and friends, the reality of this vision is that it takes a lot of time, money, and energy. Save yourself the stress and shopping by spreading out the duties. Pot-lucks are incredibly fun as long as it’s planned properly. Assign rather than let people choose what to bring – sounds kind of bossy, we know, but even if you just assign them a type of food, it’ll limit your chances of having 10 people show up with pies.
You never know when disaster can strike. The old, “it won’t happen to me” is a common sentiment until Murphy’s Law kicks in. Theft, fire and damage to apartments happen more than you would guess and you should be prepared, it won’t cost you much and you’ll worry less. Check out this neat Infographic resource from one of Canada’s top property managers, they’ve seen it all.
What does the monthly Tenant Insurance cost cover?
- damage to or loss of your possessions if you rent or lease your apartment or home
- personal property stolen from your vehicle
- injury caused to visitors (ex. slip and fall on the driveway)
- Accidental damage you cause to any part of the apartment building or home you are renting. If the bathtub overflows and floods your apartment, or you’re having a foam party (you’ll want to ask about coverage for this one before sending invites, parties probably won’t qualify as accidents). Tenant insurance can pay for the damage caused to your apartment, the building or neighbouring units.
I don’t have any expensive stuff!
Replacing one or two sweaters is no biggie but imagine having to dish out for 4 or 5 new pairs of shoes, not to mention a new laptop, TV or even a new bed! Are you adding this up? My rough count is up to about $4000 on these few items alone and we’re just scratching the surface. You get the point here; what’s a few hundred bucks a year for a piece of mind? If this sounds like scare tactics to you, you’re catching my drift.
Will my insurance cover the full value of my lost/damaged possessions?
There are two standard types of reimbursement and it’s important to understand the difference between the two; it can impact your premiums and affect how the insurance company assesses your claim. When shopping around for home, condominium or tenant insurance, make sure you find out if the quotes you receive are based on actual cash value or replacement value because premiums for replacement coverage will be higher than for cash value.
- Cash value coverage reimburses you for the value of personal belongings at the time of a claim. If your 3-year-old mountain bike is stolen, you’d receive the value less depreciation. If the original cost was $2,000, you might only receive $1,000, minus the deductible.
- Replacement cost coverage reimburses you for the full value of an item. If you’d have to pay $2,500 to buy that same mountain bike today, that’s what you’d receive, less the deductible.
Do Students need Insurance?
Starting at college or university comes with brain clutter like exams, parties, co-ops and friends but one thing that rarely comes to mind is insurance, and for good reason. If you’re a student you’ve probably never had the need for your own insurance; living at your parent’s house and driving their car means you’re insured under their policy. Depending on where you stay while attending school, you might need your own.
- If you’re living at your parent’s home or residence, you’re covered by their insurance
- There is usually a cap or limit to how much coverage a student can claim from their parent’s plan, make sure to inquire about the limitations.
- Students living off campus in an apartment, condo or house should definitely get coverage, especially if you’re living with roomates!
- Best of all, once you have insurance you can now host a raging foam party (I recommend attending rather than hosting, from personal experience)
Looking for a job is tough, but it becomes exponentially harder if your resume is not up to snuff. Your resume is, in many cases, the first impression that you are giving to a company. The hiring manager or recruiter doesn’t know any of your great qualities, and they never will if your resume doesn’t get their attention. Even a small mistake on a resume can send the message that you don’t pay attention to detail. What are the major offenses that will get your resume thrown into the paper shredder or recycling bin?
1. The resume is too long. If above the recommended length, you are demanding too much time and attention from the recruiter before proving yourself. Keep their interest, and keep it short! Every 10 years deserve 1 page – don’t surpass this limit, no matter how tempting it might be. If there is something you feel you must share, put it in a separate cover letter.
2. Tiny font. A page for 10 years is not a lot, but just because you want to fit things in, don’t make the font small. Being legible to your eyes is not enough; people have different levels of comfort with small text, and if they need a magnifying glass or to dig out their glasses, or generally strains their eyes, they will likely move onto a more pleasurable read. Don’t assume they will go over it in detail. Make it easy on the reader to maximize your chances of success.
3. Too much creativity disrupting the accepted template. Recruiters and hiring managers are conditioned to look at resumes in a certain way. You can switch things up, but don’t turn convention on its head. You will irritate them by making them take too much time to find the key information points.
4. Regurgitating job descriptions. Don’t copy and paste every job description you’ve had on your resume. If you have a common job title, a reader in your industry will understand your responsibilities without an explanation. Instead, use this space to discuss your accomplishments and the value you brought to your prior employers. How much did you sell? What records or goals did you shatter? Tell the story of your results and success rather than listing duties.
5. Not adding sufficient contact information. Different companies like to communicate differently – accommodate this reality by being easily accessible in many ways. Phone number and email are essential, and as many companies will be checking on your social media, include the links to your profiles to make their job easy.
6. Spelling mistakes. Errors in spelling is a surefire way to show that you are not someone who pays attention to detail. In some fields, a spelling mistake on a resume might kill your chances completely.
7. Making company errors on cover letters. While customization is a great idea, be very careful that you are sending the right company names and not mixing up your cover letters. Sending a cover letter with the wrong company name on it is worse than forgoing the cover letter.
8. Keyword spamming your resume. Don’t put white text on your documents to make it past automated filters in hidden corners. If you can’t include a keyword legitimately in your text some way, leave them out. Put it in your future interest section if you absolutely must have a certain keyword, but don’t try to get past filters with spam. Recruiters will catch on, and they won’t be impressed.
With mortgage rates possibly headed even lower and property values skyrocketing in some parts of the country, many are considering if now the time to take the plunge into home ownership is now.
1st Time Home Buyers
Think with your head, not your heart. Buying a home is emotional, we get it – but, ideally, you should treat it like you would any other investment to get the most out of the transaction. It is easy to get wrapped up in the excitement and be so afraid of losing out that you are willing to overlook certain things, or skip certain steps such as the home inspection (don’t let anyone pressure you into buying without a home inspection clause, and don’t use the inspector recommended by the selling agent).
Crunch the numbers (independently). So you are pre-approved for a mortgage? Great – that is a good way to show sellers you are serious, and to get an idea of what the bank will give you. Don’t make the mistake of trusting what the bank says you can afford. Remember, selling mortgages is big business for them, and they are trying to sell you on using their products. They will likely pre-approve you for an amount higher than what you can actually afford, as they don’t take into account your daycare costs, the price of your daily commute, what it will cost to make home repairs, and all those other day to day living expenses. Make sure the amount of mortgage you are signing on for is something you can realistically carry, and do some additional calculations for in case interest rates go up. You don’t want to be forced to sell if interest rates rise. Don’t forget to consider different payment schedules and amortization periods. A shorter amortization period or accelerated biweekly payments rather than monthly could save you thousands of dollars in the long run. See how much you could save by using the federal government’s home buyers plan (up to $25000 for an individual, or $50000 for a couple can be borrowed from RRSPs). Does it make sense to use for you?
Remember the invisible costs. Closing costs, land transfer taxes, moving, home repair and renovation costs, and real estate lawyer fees all need to be factored in to the total cost of owning a home. Make sure you have plenty of room in your budget.
Buy at the right time for you and your family, not for interest rates. It is tempting to rush to take advantage of a great rate, but if you end up buying before you can afford it, you might not be as happy in your house as you are imagining yourself to be. Being house poor is no fun, so make sure you have a good down payment and you are comfortable taking on the extra commute, payments, or responsibility of making all the fixes yourself at this point in your life. Do you know your credit score? If it is low, you would save money by improving your credit worthiness before buying a home, and rushing might not make sense.
Don’t furnish your home on credit. Once you move into a big house, after spending all your extra cash on closing fees and moving, it can be tempting to furnish your house with a “buy now, pay later” arrangement. Don’t do it – wait until you have the money for the furniture you want, and save money by buying used furniture on your local Kijiji.
Kijiji has become an incredible resource for me. I find all sorts of unique and inexpensive things that I probably wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere. My house, job, dogs, car, appliances, electronics – honestly just about everything in my life has come from Kijiji.
Often I share my treasures with my friends on Facebook and so many of them seem amazed by what I’m able to find and bring home. To me, I don’t do anything out of the ordinary, but I thought I’d share a few of my search habits that help me to discover those hidden gems on my favourite classified site.
1. Call it Something Else
Think outside of yourself. If you’re looking for a couch, try words like ‘sofa’ or ‘sectional’ to find other items that you might not find by just searching for the word ‘couch’. Sometimes people label things differently than you might, so knowing which words to search for can help you to find hidden gems on Kijiji.
Using the example of the couch still, you can narrow it down by the colour, type of material, etc. If you want a leather sectional, why bother going through hundreds of couches that aren’t what you’re really looking for? Read other ads and see if they use other words that you didn’t think of.
2. Broaden Your Search
Once you feel like you’ve gone through all of the obvious words that the item could be called, start thinking outside the category. Just as people might not name things the same as you, sometimes they’ll list an item in a category that you wouldn’t normally expect to find it.
Broaden your search to all of Kijiji and type in ‘leather sectional’. Maybe that couch you’re looking for is hidden away in a not so obvious place you might otherwise miss if you only search in the ‘couches, futons’ category on Kijiji.
3. How Much Do You Want to Pay?
I find a lot of things because I also narrow my searches by price. If I want to pay $100 for something, I might start with a maximum price of $60 and see what comes up. If I don’t find anything, I’ll do another search between $61-80 and so on. It can help to narrow down a big list of results and also give you an idea of what a good deal is in that category.
If I mentally agree that $100 is my maximum price, I would search all the way up to $150. Remember that Kijiji is great for bartering. No matter what I inquire about, I always ask what the seller’s best price is. Sometimes they’ll say the price listed is their best price, but many times the person will drop their asking price by a few dollars if you agree to pick up the item sooner than later.
4. Search Away from Home
It’s great when you can find something and it’s close to home. By venturing outside of your area code, you open up a whole new world of opportunities. Driving a little further can be completely worth it if the price is right or if there’s something you want that you haven’t been able to find nearer to where you live.
I usually keep a wish list of things that would be great to have. If I’m planning to go away for the day or on a weekend roadtrip, I do a quick Kijiji search to see if any of those items will be on my route or near my destination. I’ve found lots of things away from home. Sometimes they’re a little too far to drive for just that, but because I was planning to go there already, it was totally worth it.
Every once in a while you get lucky and find just what you want exactly when you want it. Other times, patience is the key. As I mentioned, I keep a list of things that I need or would like to have either just in my head, or in Evernote (another must-have tool of mine).
To some, it might seem like I’m finding things all the time, but in reality it can just be that the timing is right. Other times, I’ve been searching for something for a few months and it’s just happened to come up now. Setting up Kijiji email alerts is a really easy way to find what you want, if you don’t check the website as often as I do.
So that’s it. No rocket science, just simple tips to help you find awesome things on Kijiji.
In July we published a post about the 10 questions to ask when buying a used car. But what do you need to consider when looking for a new car? Check out the infographic for the 7 useful tips for new car buyers in Canada!
Can you believe the holidays are already upon us?! Time to start ticking names off that holiday shopping list and gathering all the yummy ingredients for your holiday meal. It’s an exciting time, but when it comes to our pets, let’s not forget the dangers that come along with all the festivities. So many new scents, visitors coming and going, treats, candy and so much more. Our furry friends become vulnerable to many new dangers at this time of year. It’s important to keep them safe because let’s face it – the holidays would be missing something special if our pets were injured or sick because they got into something they shouldn’t have!
What can you do to make sure Fido and Whiskers are safe this holiday season?
Nothing gets us in the holiday spirit more than getting out our favourite holiday decorations and putting them in the perfect spots throughout our home. Tinsel is one of those things that comes to mind when we think of holiday decorating. It is fun to play with and hang on the Christmas tree, but cats and dogs are attracted to tinsel and if swallowed, it could cause serious harm. If tinsel is a holiday staple in your apartment or house, make sure it’s out of pet’s reach.
Our furry friends are always quite curious, so putting up a decorated tree will definitely peak their curiosity! To prevent your tree from falling on your pet, we recommend securing it to the wall. You wouldn’t want it to fall over when your pup goes by to sniff your new masterpiece!
Beware of pets around open flames on candles as this may also peak their curiosity. If they get too close, they may knock them over and accidently injure themselves or start a fire.
We all know how much our pets love to chew. When they see wires, batteries, glass and plastic ornaments, they probably wouldn’t think twice about chowing down! The simple solution is to hang your ornaments higher up on the tree, and hide any kind of wires as much as possible.
Holiday plants and flowers add lots of atmosphere to any home. But did you know, Holly can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea? Mistletoe and poinsettia can also cause stomach upset. It’s best to choose some other festive item (like fake flowers and plants) when decorating your home to make sure it stays pet-friendly.
Do you include your pets in your holiday gift-giving? Do they have their own special stocking hanging next to mom and dad’s? If you’re giving gifts to your pets, choose gifts that are safe for them. Some pets like to eat the stuffing found in toys. If this sounds like your pet, it’s best to avoid these types of toys.
We bet your holiday meal smells delicious! Remember: it also smells delicious to your pets! They may be tempted to sneak a bite or two of their own so it might be a good idea to keep them in a separate and comfortable room while serving and eating your holiday meal. If you’re serving alcohol, like human food and chocolate, alcoholic beverages are not meant for pets.
Using these tips won’t take up too much of your time, but they’ll definitely help keep the feline and canine members of your family out of trouble! So when you’re drinking your eggnog, playing some festive holiday music and celebrating with your loved ones, you can rest assured that your pets’ safety has been taken care of. Wishing everyone and their pets a very happy-and safe-holiday!
Kijiji is Canada’s most popular free, local classifieds site. Kijiji offers a convenient, fun, and easy way for people in the same city to buy, sell, trade and help each other out in areas such as goods, cars, services, housing, pets and jobs.
With an easy-to-use format and an amazing variety of local ads, Kijiji is a unique community where everyone is committed to sharing more and wasting less. People can easily find cars for sale, used furniture, kids toys, electronics or sporting equipment in their local area saving them time and money.
The word “kijiji” (pronounced like key-gee-gee) means “village” in Swahili. This name was chosen because it captures the essence of what we are creating – a site where people can connect with others in their community.
- Over 11 million unique monthly visitors
- 1 in 3 Canadians use our site on a monthly basis
- 5000 new classifieds are posted every hour, equivalent to a new ad posted every 0.7 seconds!