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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

Are You Value Monitoring?

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 03 August 1999 00:00

Remember when this day used to be called, "August Bank Holiday?" Now, it carries different names in different parts of Canada. (In Toronto, they're celebrating Simcoe Day in honor of the first Lieutenant-Governor of Canada, John Graves Simcoe -- our founding father, if we thought that way.)

Unless you live in a tourist Mecca, this may be the quietest day and week of the summer -- neighbors have left in droves for vacations and cottages. Why not take advantage of the relative quiet to take stock of the changes that have crept into your neighborhood? Remember, the value of your home is determined by the way that buyers value its surroundings. It's still location, location, location.

The frantic pace of everyday living can blind you to the creep of development, environmental erosion or economic decline. Take time and walk your neighborhood. At eye level and at walking pace, you'll notice what has changed and what has not.

Is your home one of the best houses on the street now? Strangely enough that's not necessarily good. Ideally, you'd like to have the least expensive or a midrange home so that as the most expensive houses are improved, they give your home added value and prestige - at no cost to you.

How are the trees in the neighborhood faring? Are new trees being planted? Are the natural features that made you buy still holding their own or are they under attack?

How many "for sale" signs are there? What are the homes listed at? How do their features compare with your home's? If you don't know, you've lost track of the value of your neighborhood.

How many older homes are being torn down and replaced by new homes? This trend may mean your land represents the bulk of the value of your property. If this is the case, spending money to redo the kitchen -- usually a reasonable investment -- may be a waste.

Are the new infill homes larger "mega" homes or retirement bungalows? What price-range do the buyers attracted to your area shop in? Would your property be a preferred purchase? This may tell you whether selling sooner would make more sense than later.

Is the local commercial area looking vibrant and prosperous or showing signs of decline? Do you support local business to keep your area vibrant and valued? Do your neighbors?

When did your home last have a "value checkup" -- a market evaluation? Check with your local realtor for a free written estimate of market value. Look for someone who backs up what they say with facts and figures.

No matter where you live in Canada, these "value monitoring" tips apply:

  • Read local real estate newspapers and check real estate board web pages.
  • Visit local open houses.
  • Get a copy of each new area listing. Later, check on the sale price.
  • Find a realtor who values informed homeowners so that you can get the above information automatically delivered to you.
  • Join the local rate payers association to find out before things happen.
  • Continually look for ways to preserve and improve neighborhood's value - in all senses of the word.

More Canadian Issues by PJ Wade:

  • B.C. Legion behind "Build it For Ourselves" Housing
  • Technology Reinvents Canada's Real Estate Boards
  • Beyond Interest Rates: What To Look For In A Mortgage
  • Don't Overimprove Your Greatest Tax-free Investment
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    PJ Wade

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