Real Estate Word -- What's Your Home Worth? October 2009   

Hi Paul,

Setting your price is one of the first decisions you’ll have to make if you’re thinking about selling your home.  Our first article discusses a service that estimates your home’s current market value.

With colder weather just around the corner, now's the time to schedule a furnace tune up.  Our second article highlights some tips on how to keep your furnace running safely and efficiently.

Finally, if you’re missing the sunny weather, why not fire up the BBQ and create a summery dining experience.  Our recipe for grilled vegetable salad will add some summer sizzle to your fall day.

Thanks so much for taking the time to check out our newsletter.  Please let us know if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles or real estate in general -- we'd love to hear from you!

Your friends in Real Estate
Rudi & Trish W.

In this issue...
Receive an Evaluation .... On the House! 
Your home's a huge asset so you'll of course want to keep tabs on its value.  A real estate agent can assist you by providing a “Comparative Market Analysis” (CMA) which is a report that determines your home's value by comparing it to similar properties that have recently sold.  This will enable you to set a competitive price should you decide to sell.

Online home evaluations are quick and easy but aren't very accurate as they don't take the finer details into account.  If you choose to go online, it's best to use a local real estate agent who specializes in your area rather than a national website.  It's best though to have a real estate agent come by in person to gather information as it will result in a much more accurate CMA.

Professional appraisers charge up to $750 so a CMA is an excellent alternative.  The report, which is usually complimentary and comes with no obligation, is essential to setting a competitive asking price.  The right price is crucial to achieving a successful sale as it'll help attract the greatest number of buyers which in turn will help your home sell faster and for top dollar.  A CMA's also helpful during negotiations as concrete facts will help justify your asking price.

After your agent has gathered information on your home, they’ll research properties in your area that have recently sold as well as current homes on the market and recently expired listings.  They'll compare homes in the area that are similar in style, square footage, age, lot size, etc. and adjust for factors such as extra bathrooms or finished basements.  The home's condition and other issues like surrounding houses (i.e. is it the biggest house on the street) will also play a part in determining fair market value.

You don’t have to necessarily be ready to sell your home to receive a CMA from a real estate agent.  If you’re thinking about renovating your home for instance, your real estate agent can provide an estimate on how much value certain renovations will add to your home so you can move confidently forward knowing the facts.  On the other hand, if you're curious about what the house down the street sold for, they can help you out with that too.

If you’re thinking about selling your home, make sure to have an agent provide you with a CMA.  This important service will ensure you have an accurate, up to date idea of your home’s true market value. This will in turn help you get top dollar for your home, because incorrectly pricing your home is a mistake that could end up costing you thousands of dollars and months of frustration.

Furnace Tune Ups -- Not Just a Bunch of Hot Air 
When we're down in the basement, we usually walk past the furnace without giving it a second thought -- until the weather changes and it’s time to turn it on!  Having your furnace checked out by a licensed technician will ensure confidence when the time comes to fire it up.

The last thing you want is for your heat to fail on the coldest night of the year when service calls cost a fortune so treat your furnace like your car and have it maintained on a regular basis.  An annual inspection which covers the motor, fan, burner, heat exchanger and thermostat will help you avoid costly repairs.

Give your furnace a quick visual inspection from time to time and make sure you clean or replace your furnace filters regularly as dirty air filters block air flow which causes the system to work overtime.  Also, keep the area around the furnace clear of obstructions and never store any kind of flammable material nearby.

An efficiently running furnace will reduce heating costs but there are other easy ways to save money.  Seal up air leaks with caulk or weather strips and always open your drapes on sunny days and close them at night to keep the heat in.  The easiest way to save though is to turn down the thermostat and add an extra layer of clothing!

Regular maintenance will increase efficiency, reduce energy use and prevent general wear and tear.  Having your furnace serviced so it works at its optimum performance level is more of an investment than an expense as it'll keep your hard earned cash where it belongs -- in your wallet!

Grilled Veggies -- A Taste of Summer 
The seasons have recently changed but the aroma of grilled vegetables will help trigger the warm memories of summer BBQs.  Not only are grilled vegetables deliciously tantalizing, they're also healthy and easy to prepare.  Here's what you’ll need:

  • 2 red onions
  • 2 yellow peppers
  • 1 dozen pieces of asparagus
  • 2 dozen cherry tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp of fresh basil, chopped
  • 4 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 cup of goat cheese, cut into small pieces

Whisk the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic and basil together and season with salt and pepper.  Cut the vegetables into wedges and mix them in a large bowl with the marinade.  Set aside for an hour then grill on the BBQ for 15 minutes.  Finally, transfer the vegetables into a salad bowl and add the goat cheese.  Enjoy!

PS Oh by the way, we always appreciate any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!
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