Bill & Lia McNally

The Right Move!

Tag: real estate

Have you always wanted to own a rental home? What you need to know!




For Rent

Have you always wanted to own a rental home? What you need to know!

By: Bill & Lia McNally, Realtors at Johnson Associates (905) 877-5165

If you’re like many of our clients, you’ve dreamed of owning a rental home some day, becoming a landlord, and tapping into an extra income stream.

Indeed, the benefits can be generous- most often homes appreciate in value over the years, causing your net worth to rise. Meanwhile, the rent your tenant pays you will, in most cases, entirely cover the mortgage payments and expenses, and chip away at the principle. Equity in your rental home is like money in the bank, helping you with long term financial goals like supplementing your retirement savings or helping your kids get a head start in life.

At the same time, the process can seem intimidating. It needn’t be, if you have the right Realtor to walk you through the process step by step. Bill and Lia McNally, Realtors at Johnson Associates, can help you from the conception of your idea to beyond closing.

The best part is that working with a Realtor to buy a home is usually free; it’s the seller who pays their commission!

Paying for your rental home:

Unless you’ve recently come into some serious money, say from an inheritance or bonus at work, the average home owner may be able to come up with the funds necessary to buy a rental home by borrowing against the equity in their principle home, provided there is enough available.

Talking to your banker or mortgage broker is the best way to find out whether coming up with the money for a down payment and closing expenses is feasible for you.

Access to Funds:

To make this investment work, you will need access to money for expenses. You can count on coughing up for repairs and upgrades (roof, furnace, appliances, etc.) and there may be times when your home is vacant between tenants or your tenant is behind in rent. Being able to cover your mortgage and expenses is crucial.

One strategy is to keep a savings account specifically for your rental home and deposit any rent money you receive that is over and above your mortgage and tax bills related to the home. Allowing excess funds to accumulate for this purpose is probably the least painful way to take care of expenses.

Another way to financially prepare is to have a credit line available, though you should always keep your bottom line in mind to make sure you are profitable, taking into account any interest you may have to pay to borrow money.

Familiarize yourself with what is required to be a landlord:

Not everyone is cut out for the job. To make this a successful venture you must be able to manage your finances well, and have the time and willingness to solve problems related to your tenants and home maintenance. Owning a rental home will also affect your tax situation.

Finding the right home:

This is where your experienced realtor comes in. He or she can help you find a suitable home and negotiate the purchase. There are many things you’ll want to consider when buying a rental property for instance: the cost of owning the home (age and condition), rental rates in the area, vacancy rates, parking, whether the area is appealing to renters (proximity to schools and transit) etc.

Learning about the Residential Tenancies Act:

The Residential Tenancies Act provides the rules and regulations you much be abide by in your dealings with tenants in the province of Ontario. Familiarizing yourself with the act before you start advertising to find a tenant is highly advisable and will help you avoid legal issues in the future. Follow this link to learn more:

Finding the right tenants:

This step is absolutely crucial. You are probably familiar with horror stories relating to nightmare tenants. While these kinds of tenants do exist, you’ll be happy to know they’re the exception rather than the rule.

You may choose to find a tenant through the internet/newspaper classified ads or you may employ a realtor to help you. The usual rate for using a realtor is equal to one month’s rent.

Either you or your realtor will need to conduct credit and employment checks in addition to references checks from past landlords to ensure a responsible and respectful tenant. At the same time, you’ll want to make sure you aren’t violating the Human Rights Code by discriminating during the process. Follow the link below to learn more on this topic:

Do you think you’re ready to become a landlord? Questions? Call Bill McNally at (905) 877-5165. Bill is a high performing real estate sales agent helping client to buy and sell real estate in Halton Hills and surrounding areas. With Bill you can count on excellent advice when it comes to the home buying/selling/rental processes. His advice is free and comes without slick sales pitches, pressure or obligation! Visit his website at




How your neighborhood affects the price of your home



How your neighborhood affects the price of your home

No home stands alone.  Instead, each home is part of a large, constantly changing market place.  As such, when you decide to sell your home prospective buyers compare it to other similar homes on the market to see how it stacks up in terms of price and features.  Also affecting the price are social and economic factors and whether it’s a seller’s, a buyer’s or a balanced market.

The following is a selected list of some of the factors a good real estate agent will take into account when determining an ideal listing price for your home.


In a neighborhood with dissimilar homes, a poorer property will gain value by the presence of properties with higher values.  In other words- it can be a good idea to buy the worst house on the best street.



The opposite of Progression, this principle states that the best house on the street will lose value due to the presence of poorer properties.  An extreme example- a mansion situated in a trailer park will not be as valuable as the same mansion surrounded by other mansions.  


Social and economic factors are always at work and changes affect the real estate market.  For example, if a large local employer closes down and hundreds of jobs are lost as a result, many homes may be put on the market.  The swell in housing inventory increases the competition for buyers and drives the price of homes down. 

Consistent Use-

When land is in transition towards its maximum potential it cannot be appraised with one use allotted to the land and another to the building.  For instance, if a particular property would be most valuable with an office development, but currently has a small bungalow on it, the appraisal would reflect only the value of the land with the office building.  The house’s value would not be added on top.



The value of an upgrade is measured by how much it adds to the market value by reason of its presence and how much it detracts from market value by its absence. The value of the upgrade is not determined by its cost but upon its contribution to value.  In other words- a new bathroom costing $18,000 may only add $5,400 of value to a home.  Alternately a home lacking the convenience of a second bathroom may lose value.

External Factors-

Real estate is subject to prosperity as well as economic slowdowns.  Government policies and requirements can greatly affect the marketability of a property.  For instance, significant improvements in various municipal services can dramatically increase property taxes and in turn, affect property values. 


A principle stating that a prudent buyer will not pay any more for one property than he would to find a desirable substitute.  Buyers are great at comparison shopping and they will avoid overpriced homes.

Supply and Demand-

If the demand for homes is greater than the supply, a seller’s market exists and accordingly, the prices will rise. If the supply of homes is greater than the demand, a buyer’s market exists and prices will fall.  If the homes to buyers ratio is balanced than home prices will remain steady, if no other factors are taken into account.


Increasing and Decreasing Returns-

Upgrades added to your home add value up to a certain point- the point of diminishing returns.  For instance a home with a two car garage, in a neighborhood with mostly one car garages may command $20,000 more.  Adding a third garage won’t likely add a further $20,000 to the price.


When buying a home, buyers anticipate certain future benefits of the home and the present price is based on these anticipated benefits.  For example, if there are two similar homes one priced at $200,000 with a deck and fireplace and the other, priced at $185,000 without these feature, the buyer will picture his family sitting by the fire and enjoying warm spring days on the deck. He is mentally deciding whether the future benefits justify the additional cost.

For more information on pricing your home or for a free Market evaluation please call your local Halton Hills realtor Bill McNally at 905-877-5165 or email him at  Bill McNally represents Johnson Associates Halton Ltd. Brokerage and is able to help you with all your real estate needs.



How To Choose A Great Realtor


How To Choose A Great Realtor

A Comprehensive Guide to Selecting the Best Real Estate Agent by Bill and Lia McNally, real estate sales reps., Halton Hills, Ontario. Once you have decided to buy or sell your home, your first step is hiring a realtor. The choice you make will have a huge impact on your life and what is probably your largest investment. It could be the difference between sailing smoothly through the process and lying awake at night, pulling out your hair in frustration! Realtors are not all the same. Even Realtors working within the same company can vary as much as night and day. This article will help you understand the differences and teach you which questions to ask so you can confidently select an outstanding Realtor. First: a Little Homework. Have a look through the local newspaper’s real estate section. Take notice of the ads. Who seems to be busy no matter how slow the market is? How about the ads themselves? Which ones stand out? The colour ads or the black and white ads? Read through the home descriptions. Would you like a similar write up for your home or do you think the agent could improve? Ads you would like to see your home featured in: ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ Talk to people who have recently used a Realtor’s services. To make sure you receive accurate information be sure you are speaking with the client themselves, not just a friend of the client. Ask about how they were treated during the process. Ask how easy it was to get a hold of their agent. How did the negotiations go? Did the agent look after their best interests? See about after sales service. Did the agent go the extra mile or abandon the client after the sold sign went up? Would the client use the agent again? Ask for the good and the bad. Agents recommended to you: _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ Do your online research. This step is absolutely crucial. Roughly 80% of buyers start searching for homes online and you have to make sure they will be able to find your home quickly and easily. Grab the agents’ names off the lists you have completed above and visit each of their websites. Is the website easy to navigate? Do you have to input personal information in order to navigate the website freely? This is a huge turn off for web surfers. Read the agent’s bio. Are you impressed? Check out the listings on the website. How are the photos of the listing? Professional looking or dark and dingy? How about virtual tours? Are they easy to use or frustrating? You should also Google the prospective agent’s name. Does the agent appear on the first page? If not, their website may be poorly ranked with not enough traffic to drive buyers to your listing. Realtors with Good websites: ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ Next: The Listing Presentations Now that your research is complete, you should have a good idea of which agents you would like to meet. Inviting them in for a listing presentation is the next step. A typical listing presentation involves a tour of your home, discussing your needs and desires, finding out whether the agent is right for you, and talking about a realistic listing price. Questions for the listing presentation: Does the agent listen to you? A good relationship requires listening. How many homes has the agent sold in the past twelve months? Only a handful of homes sold can signify a number of problems: perhaps the agent isn’t good at attracting clients and as such, will have a hard time attracting buyers to your home. Maybe the agent only works part time which can indicate a lack of commitment or success. Not selling enough homes usually means lack of experience. Each and every transactions comes with it’s own set of challenges and is a unique learning experience. An agent who has closed many deals is simply better equipped to handle these challenges in a stress-free manner. An important point to note: Having a team can inflate sales numbers significantly. Be sure to divide the number of sales between the number of active sales people on the team to arrive at a correct figure. Do not include administrative staff in your calculations. Do you like your agent? It sounds obvious, but sometimes clients are so impressed by the agent’s numbers that they fail to take into account how important it is that they actually like their agent. You will be spending a lot of time with this person and relying on them for information. Your experience will be so much better if you “click” with the person you hire. Don’t forget- if you find the agent abrasive, unfriendly or rude, chances are potential buyers and other agents will too. This could become an issue during negotiations and affect your bottom line. Who will you be dealing with? In most cases a team leader is the individual with talent. If you hire an agent, it stands to reason that you should expect that particular agent to represent you during negotiations. You could be in for disappointment if you hire an agent for his/her particular skills and wind up dealing with a hired assistant. What happens if you’re not happy with the agent after you’re hired him/her? If your agent is truly committed to providing you with excellent service they should not hesitate to release you from your contract should they fail to deliver. Beware of any agent who seems uncomfortable with this question. Pricing your Home. You should, under no circumstances, base your decision to hire or not hire a particular salesperson solely because they promise to sell your home for the most money. In fact, if the price they recommend is out of whack with other estimates of value, red flags should go up. Some unscrupulous agents will lie to you about your home’s value to trick you into listing with them. This can result in losing money. You need to bring your common sense with you to the listing presentation and ask to see comparable listings. Comparing your home to recently sold homes that are very close in size, condition, and features is the most accurate way to arrive at a listing price, taking the current market conditions into account as well. A simple guess is not good enough. Be objective when comparing your home to other homes and remember that emotional attachment can cloud your judgement. Don’t let your emotions override your common sense. Commission: Commission varies from salesperson to salesperson and should not be the most important factor when selecting an agent. Successful agents often demand higher commission rates, but when all is said and done, you may very well come out ahead regardless. Successful agents are usually seasoned negotiators who are skilled at getting you the most out of your deal, both in terms of price and protecting your best interests- current and future. Be wary of overly low commission rates. They could indicate lack of experience, desperation, or lack of services (advertising is very expensive.) If your agent can’t convince you why they are worth what they charge, how are they going to convince buyers to spend the most possible money on your home? Now What? Now that you’ve meet some great agents and asked all the right questions, you should have a good idea of who you would like to work with. Inform your selected agent and relax knowing that you’ve just hired the right realtor for the job! About the authors: Bill and Lia McNally are top performing sales people at their real estate company Johnson Associates. They have sold over 100 homes after just two and a half years in the business. Their success is due to their strong work ethic, ability to make seemingly impossible transactions come together and because past clients refer Bill and Lia to their friends and family. If you would like FREE, no obligation real estate advice, or are interested in buying or selling your home in Halton Hills and the surrounding areas, please call Bill McNally at (905) 877-5165 today. Never any pressure, just honest answers and advice.



Buying a house. How to make your offer attractive.

by Bill McNally and Lia McNally
Halton Hills real estate agents.  

After looking at many homes, you’ve finally found “the one.” Before you sign the offer and have it presented to the sellers there are a few things that you should know to better your chances of it being accepted.  

 The market conditions- If there are more buyers than homes on the market, it what is called a seller’s market and consequently you’ll have to make sure your offer is attractive. Alternately, if the pool of houses for sale exceeds buyers, you’ll be in the midst of a buyer’s market. This means that you will possess more bargaining power.

The home’s approximate value based on comparing it to similar homes in the area- This will help to establish an idea of how much to offer for the house. Many buyers try to start with an extremely low offer. Unless the house is ludicrously over priced, in which case you may be dealing with an unreasonable seller, or unless it’s been sitting on the market for ages, we try to discourage this practice. Quite often sellers will be insulted and become angry. That’s not exactly the way you want them feeling towards you during negotiations! It’s best to start off with a reasonable offer. Try to put yourself in the seller’s shoes and think about how you would feel if someone offered you $40,000 less than your house is worth. 

Have your agent dig around a little. A good agent will call the seller’s agent to see what things are deal breakers. Perhaps the seller has a closing date that is absolutely necessary. If you can meet him on his terms your offer will be stronger and more attractive. It’s not all about the money!

Conditions. The less conditions you attach to your offer the better. Agents call these “clean offers.” Conditions allow the buyer a chance to back out of the transaction so the less that are included, the more serious the buyer seems. Of course we wouldn’t recommend foregoing a home inspection condition on a century home. Every situation is unique and your agent will be able to help you identify weaknesses in your offer.

Pick a great agent and have him or her personally present your offer to the sellers. A good agent will tell the seller about you and portray you as the ideal person to do business with. Don’t underestimate this step. If two identical offers are presented you can bet they’ll pick the buyer they like more, even if they’ve never met you. 

If you have any questions about buying or selling your home in Halton Hills, please contact Bill & Lia McNally, local sales representative from Johnson Associates. They have a solid track record of satisfied clients, sales awards and are among the top sales representatives at Johnson Associates. The key to their success has been their first rate service, ability to negotiate seemingly impossible transaction and the referrals that have resulted. Call them at 905-877-5165, email at, or visit their website at They are never too busy for your call and you will never be pressured into anything!


Selling your Home this Spring?

Selling your Home this Spring?

What You Should Know and What You Can Do To Get Ready!

By Bill & Lia McNally: Halton Hill’s Realtors. Website:

Warming temperatures and melting snow jump-starts the real estate market here in Halton Hills. For Sale signs will be hammered into lawns and home buyers will start coming of hibernation in droves.


With all this action, spring is a great time to sell. You’ll avoid having to leave the house for showings in the cold winter weather, and beat the typical summer slow-down when vacations and gorgeous weather distracts home buyers away from their hunt. In addition, you’ll be taking advantage of all the extra buyers who want to buy in spring and move in summer to avoid disrupting their kids’ school year.


However, if you want the quickest sale with the most money in your pocket, it’s more important than ever to stand out among the other homes and strategize for spring.


Here are 4 tips, courtesy of Bill & Lia McNally, to get ready for the spring market:


Clean, clean, clean! Clean houses are preferred by the majority of buyers. The only buyer who truly doesn’t mind a dirty home, is the one who plans to offer you less money. Remember, a dirty home can give the impression that the rest of the house has been neglected of essential maintenance, which translates into lower offers. Don`t let this happen! Give your home a deep spring cleaning, sell faster, and pocket more money. If you don`t know how to clean, call in the professionals. It’ll be money well spent.


Paint Peeling paint on the deck? Hunter green or peach coloured living room walls? It’s time to freshen up and add value to your home. Painting is relatively easy and inexpensive when compared to the value it adds to your home. If you don’t know what colour to choose, browse through decorating magazines like ‘Style at Home’ or ‘Canadian House & Home’ for inspiration (always pick a neutral colour that will appeal to the greatest number of buyers) or talk to a helpful salesperson at a local paint store.


Chose an expert to sell your house. Why risk one of your biggest investments with a crappy, inexperienced Realtor when you can easily hire one with a proven track record? There are many, many things that can go wrong during real estate transactions. An experienced Realtor is your best bet to make for a smooth transaction and the best deal possible. Follow these tips to select a great Realtor:



  1. Don’t choose the cheapest option. There is usually a reason these agents are offering rock bottom prices- usually because they are not very successful at selling homes. Going cheap on an inexperienced Realtor can end up costing you, if their knowledge, negotiating skills, and marketing is lacking.


  1. Don’t choose the Realtor who gives you an unrealistic (but deceivingly flattering) list price for your home. They are attempting to “buy your listing” and plan to get you down in price at a later time. Pricing should always fit in with the current market and be backed up with statistics. It should never be a random number.


  2. Personality- Does the Realtor make you feel good or like you need to have a shower? Remember, this is the person you are getting to represent you. A good personality is easier to work with, both for you and for all the other people who will be involved in the transaction. An unpleasant demeanor can actually repel buyers, cause problems, and cost you money.

  1. Sales statistics- Don’t hire someone who only sells a handful of homes. Hire someone with statistics to prove they know their market and job well. You wouldn’t go to a surgeon who only performs three surgeries a year. The same is true with your real estate agent.


  2. Marketing- Google your agent. What do you find? If your realtor doesn’t have a solid, optimized internet presence, you’ll be missing out on the buyers who start their home searches on-line…that would be an astonishing ninety percent!


  3. References- ask your agent for recent references. When you talk to people who have recently sold through this particular agent, you will get a sense of what to expect, by way of marketing and service, and whether this agent keeps promises and gets results.


Avoid Overpricing: Don’t take the highest price within the price range your Realtor gives you and then tack on an extra ten, twenty, or thirty thousand dollars to the price.


“Trying” for a high price just deters serious buyers and allows your house to sit and become a stale listing. It’s a common misconception that people will “just make an offer” no matter where you set your price.


Think of it like this: what if a gas station decides to set their gas prices 50% higher than the rest of the gas stations in town? Most people will shake their heads and move on to a gas station with normal prices. They will not stop to argue about the ridiculousness of the situation with the attendants, preferring to avoid the hassle.


The same is true of home prices. If you price your home higher than other similar homes in your area, you’ll appear to be unrealistic and difficult to deal with by other agents and potential buyers alike.


Don’t worry about your agent under pricing your home. If you choose an agent based on the criteria above, you’ll be working with someone you can trust. Besides, even if you manage to land a buyer with no common sense, most lending institutions will not approve mortgages for an overpriced home.


Follow these tips and you’re sure to have a great experience. Happy selling!


For more information on selling in the spring or real estate in general, please contact Bill McNally, author of this article and Realtor at Johnson Associates Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage at (905) 877-5165. Bill has been among the top sellers at his brokerage since he began his real estate career in 2007. Market evaluations and advice are always free.

How to Quickly get your Home Ready for a Showing.

How to Quickly get your Home Ready for a Bill and Lia McNally. Real Estate Sales Representatives selling homes in Halton Hills, Ontario.
Do you have a showing booked and are pressed for time? Run through this quick list and have your home looking like a million buck in no time. Please note that this list assumes you have already done your main selling preparation (staging, painting, and deep cleaning to the best of your ability) and are keeping up with regular cleanings.
-Keep a large basket on hand. Quickly run through the house and throw loose ends and clutter into the basket. Swiffer dust off surfaces at the same time. Stash the basket in a closet on a top shelf. -Put all dirty dishes in the dishwasher. -Spray and wipe down counters in the bathrooms and kitchen with a cleanser. The brand Method has some nice smelling sprays (the Cucumber variety is a good one) that will clean and give your home a nice smell at the same time. -Windex the mirrors and faucets. -Straighten up. Make sure all the beds are made, put fresh towels out in the bathrooms, arrange throw pillows nicely. -Run a vacuum over any carpets or floor that looks dirty. -Make sure to adjust the temperature of your home according to the season. If it’s a sweltering day, make sure buyers feel the cool relief of your air conditioning when they step inside. If it’s cold outside, turn the heat up to a comfortable temperature and if you have a gas fireplace, turn it on. It’s the perfect opportunity to showcase this selling feature. -Turn on lights in every room, including the bedside lamps. Lighting dark corners is a great way to make rooms appear larger. If it’s night time make sure the outside lights are on. Flameless candles are a great way to create ambience without the danger of leaving real candles unattended. -Baking bread, cookies or brewing a fresh pot of coffee makes your home smell wonderful and inviting, but if you’re in a rush or are working with short notice it’s not realistic. Instead plug in a vanilla or cookie scented air freshener in the kitchen to create a similar effect. Plug a “clean linen” scent in your laundry room as well. Just don’t overdo it! -Make sure all ice and snow are cleared from your driveway, walkway and entrance. You don’t want the buyers’ to step in a slush puddle and get in a foul mood before they step inside your home. -Now for the most important part: leave! If possible take your pets with you. Having you at home makes buyers uncomfortable. Buyers will linger longer and have an easier time picturing themselves living in your home if you aren’t there. Also, if you are home you may unwittingly reveal details that can weaken your position when negotiating later on. Personality clashes have the potential to make negotiations difficult as well. For more real estate advice, or to list or buy a home, please contact Bill McNally, real estate sales rep, at (905) 877-5165. Bill is within the top selling agents at his company Johnson Associates. His clients highly recommend him due to his strong work ethic, patience, outstanding customer service & ability to make clients feel safe and secure during even the most difficult of transactions. There is a difference between agents. Clients who choose Bill McNally are often quoted saying, “Boy, am I ever glad Bill is on my side!”


Home Inspections Questions and Answers

Halton Hills Home Inspections

Questions and Answers

By Lia and Bill McNally

Why should I get a home inspection?

For peace of mind.  Buying a home is often an emotional experience so it’s important to have a trained and unbiased home inspector educate you on what could likely be the biggest purchase of your life.  With a home inspection you reduce the risk of unwanted surprises and learn how to maintain your home in the process.

What can I expect from a home inspection?

A home inspector will thoroughly examine your home, including a check of the moisture levels, grading, roof, insulation, and ventilation. The electrical, plumbing and heating/cooling systems are also scrutinized.  You will receive maintenance tips and a comprehensive report to take home, filled with information about your home and the repairs you can expect to make, along with a timeline and estimate of their cost.  Resale homes don’t come with an owner’s manual, making home inspections an invaluable source of information.


What are the limitations of a home inspection? 

Not every area of home is accessible for inspection.  Since a home inspector can’t see into the walls, where much of the plumbing and electrical work is hidden, there are limitations to the scope of inspection.  Also, a home inspection is not an appraisal and it is not a warranty.  There are no guarantees that every problem will be picked up.


If I’m a buyer, can I use a home inspection to renegotiate the price of my home?

That depends.  When you buy resale, you need to expect deficiencies in your home- after all it isn’t new and finding a home without any problems is next to impossible.  Attempting to use these normal issues to reopen price negotiations is likely to be met with resistance.  If the inspection uncovers major issues or an unusual amount of deficiencies, it would be entirely reasonable to initiate renegotiation.  The seller may agree to lower the price or make some repairs.  If your offer was conditional upon the home inspection, you may opt to walk away from the house all together.  In a buyer’s market you’ll probably have better luck having your requests met.

How much will it cost?

It depends on a variety of factors including your home’s age, location and size but you can expect to invest around $325-450.


How can I find a good home inspector in Halton Hills? 

Your realtor will be able to recommend a few home inspectors for you to choose from.  It’s important that your home inspector is properly qualified as a Registered Home Inspector.  For more information on home inspections or any aspect of the home buying process, feel free to call your local realtor, Bill McNally at 905-877-5165.


Top Turn Offs for Home Buyers

Top Turn Offs for Home Buyers. by Bill and Lia McNally, real estate sales reps.
We’ve shown hundreds of homes to all sorts of clients in the Halton Hills area and we’ve come to notice what people like and don’t like.  Use our list of don’ts to make sure you’re not turning would be buyers off when it comes time to sell your house.
Odors. First impressions count and if a prospective buyer is knocked over by an offensive odor you can bet theirs won’t be good.  Stale cigarette smoke, litter boxes, dogs and strong cooking can all cause buyers to turn their noses up at your house.  Because you may not even be aware of how your home smells, you may want to ask a neighbor or friend for their HONEST opinion.  To remedy the problem you should refrain from trying to mask odors with air fresheners.  It doesn’t work!  Instead, try getting the carpets cleaned and washing odor trapping fabrics, like bedding, upholstery and drapes.  Smoke outside your home, arrange for pets to be elsewhere while you are trying to sell, clean out the litter box every day, and refrain from cooking strong smelling dishes.  If you really want to go the extra mile, fill your home with smells that are sure to delight by baking cookies or a fresh loaf of bread.
Neglecting minor repairs.  If you haven’t changed burnt out light bulbs or fixed that leaky tap, buyers may begin to thing that you may have neglected the larger things as well. Before you list your home, make sure you tackle all these little jobs.  Often they can all be taken care of in less than a day.
Dirty, scuffed walls and old chipped paint.  Painting your home in neutral colours is one of the least expensive ways to freshen things up.  Don’t forget baseboards and doors. Most often, painting your home will result in your home selling more quickly and for more money.  It’s well worth the effort!  We can recommend a great painter in the Halton Hills area who provides fast, professional service.  
Not cleaning well enough.  If your home is dirty and unkept for a SHOWINGS, the prospective buyer will often wonder what your home looks like on a regular day.  Don’t let their minds wander down that path.  Make sure your home sparkles. Don’t forget closets, basements and garages too.
Too hot or too cold.  No one wants to step into a sweltering house on a hot summer day.  Luckily, this is an easy one to take care of.  Make your home more inviting and comfortable by selecting the right temperature for the season.  If its winter and you have gas fireplace, now would be the perfect time to showcase it.
Unkept yards.  Landscaping should not be overlooked when it comes to preparing your house for sale.  Buyers really notice if your lawn is overgrown and littered with garbage.  Take the time to make the outside of your home look presentable.
 Family pictures, knick-knacks.  Buyers like the clean, uncluttered look.  Achieve it by packing up all these items.  Just think- you’ll have to pack them anyways, why not get a head start?  
About us- Bill & Lia McNally.  We’re an energetic and highly productive spousal team committed to building our business through the referrals of satisfied clients.  We’ve consistently been among the top performing agents at Johnson Associates making us the logical choice when it comes to listing your home.  Call now for a free market evaluation on your home or if you have any real estate questions.  No obligation.




Open House Etiquette

Open House Etiquette

By Bill & Lia McNally, Realtors

Serving Acton, Georgetown, Milton & the surrounding areas

Brokerage: Johnson Associates Ltd., Brokerage

Visiting open houses is a great way to familiarize yourself with the local real estate market, whether you are already working with an agent or just starting your search alone. In addition to learning about homes and the market, you will have the opportunity to meet different Realtors, see how they work, and perhaps find one you are comfortable working with.

If you are unfamiliar with proper open house etiquette, please read the following tips to make your experience pleasant for everyone!

To knock or not to knock?- No need to knock, just come in and call out “hello!” to announce your presence to the Realtor.

Watch where you park- Try not to block in other cars or you’ll find your visit interrupted by other attendees, asking you to move your vehicle.

Sign in!- Leave your information on the sign-in registry. If you’re worried about agents calling you, simply add the words ‘please don’t contact me’ bedside your information.

Remove your shoes- After all, you’re in someone’s home, not a store! The seller probably invested hours cleaning to make the home look its best. Return the favor by slipping off your shoes! Tip: wear shoes that are easy to take on and off, especially if you’re planning to visit more than one open house…and don’t forget to wear socks!

Be honest of your intentions- if you’re a neighbor and are not interested in buying, it’s okay and even appreciated for you to say so. It’s a very common occurrence and most agents will gladly welcome you in for a tour of the home. If you get attitude, at least you know which agent not to hire!

Kids: It’s preferable to leave them at home. Otherwise, keep them close by and under control at all times. Agents are working and find it awkward having to remind children not to touch breakable items, jump on the furniture, or run wild.

Bathroom Break?- It’s in poor taste to use the bathroom while attending an open house. If you absolutely must, ask the Realtor for permission and make sure to leave the bathroom as you found it.

Don’t leave us in the dark!- Turning off the lights when you leave a room is a good, energy saving habit to have; however, when you visit an open house, please try to remember to leave them on when you’ve finished with each room.

The Price- Inevitably, you’ll come across a home you feel is overpriced, maybe even grossly so. While you may be correct, quite often you won’t be. Instead of exclaiming “There is no way I would pay X amount for this house! It’s just not worth it!” why not ask the Realtor how the price was determined? Most Realtors will be happy to explain their pricing process to you and review the past sales of comparable homes in the area.

Negative Comments- Your mother was right- if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all! While it’s proper and even appreciated to let the agent know, in general terms, why you’re not interested in the house, it’s unnecessary to cut the house to shreds. Especially in front of other potential buyers who may not share your opinion. Say things like “This house isn’t large enough for my family” or “We’re looking for something a little more modern” rather than “Wow, this house is a dump!” or “I can’t believe the shoddy craftsmanship! I wouldn’t live here if you paid me!”

Looking around- Feel free to open closets and cupboard doors to get a sense of storage space and quality, but don’t rummage around the home owners’ possessions.

If you have a lot of questions- and there are other people in the house, try not to monopolize the agent’s time and attention. A few minutes are fine, but half an hour is pushing it. Take the agents card and follow up with a phone call after the open house. You may even want to book a private showing so you can take your time and have the agent’s undivided attention. If there is no one else at the open house though, by all means, stay and chat.

Pay attention to the time: Don’t arrive early or stay past the end. If the open house ends at 4:00 p.m., please don’t show up at the front door at 3:58. By that point the lights will be off, marketing materials packed up, and the house locked. If you really want to see the house, call the number on the ‘for sale’ sign and book a showing.


Bill and Lia McNally are a highly productive real estate team, serving Halton Hills. Interested in a free, no pressure market evaluation for your home? Do you have questions about the process of buying and/or selling real estate? Please call Bill McNally at (905) 877-5165. He’ll be happy to help!