Imagine you’re at a dinner party and someone brings up the topic of plumbing. They’ve had some difficulties with hot water pipes during a renovation and they’re telling the story of what happened. Then, another person in the room says, “I have a friend who’s a plumber. I always call him with my plumbing questions.”

Wouldn’t that make you think it would be nice to have a friend who’s a plumber that you could call? (In fact, you might just have that kind of a friend!)

Well, for valued clients like you, I try to be the kind of friend you’d like to have: Your friend the real estate agent!

I want you to feel comfortable calling me whenever you have a question or concern regarding the housing market, buying or selling a home, or anything else that’s real estate related. Even if you have no plans to move in the foreseeable future, please consider me your source for real estate answers and advice.

 

Should You “High Ball” Your Listing Price?

 
 
 
One of the most important decisions you make when selling your home is setting the listing price. It can be tricky. After all, if you price your property too low, you leave money on the table - perhaps thousands of dollars. On the other hand, if you price your home too high, many buyers won’t even bother to view it because they believe it is too expensive.

Even with that reality, there are some sellers who contemplate setting a high listing price in the hopes of a windfall. They want some unsuspecting buyer to fall in love with the home and buy it - even though it’s overpriced.

That rarely, if ever, happens.

Instead, the listing often languishes on the market because its listing price is conspicuously much higher than its market value.

Think about it. If two similar homes, side-by-side, are for sale, and one is priced $40,000 higher than the other, wouldn’t you wonder what was going on? That’s exactly what the market thinks. “Why is that home priced so high?”

Of course, many buyers, who might otherwise be interested in the property, won’t even consider seeing it, simply because it’s outside their price range.

It gets worse. When an overpriced home sits on the market with no offers for several weeks, the price will often need to be adjusted down. That helps the situation a little. However, you’ve lost the excitement created by a “new listing.” Yours is now an old listing struggling to get attention.

There’s a better way…

Set your list price at or near the market value and it will be much more likely to generate interest from qualified buyers and maximize how much you make on your home.

That market value may even be higher than you think!

Interested in finding out what that value is in today’s market? Call today. 

 

4 Home Hazards You May Not Know About

 
 
 
You have smoke detectors. Your doors have good locks. The bathtub has a slip-free pad. By all accounts, your home is a safe and secure place for your family to live.

However, there are some hazards that many homeowners don’t consider or even know about. 

For instance:

1. Blocked eavestroughs. Eavestroughs clogged with leaves and other debris can cause rainwater to overflow next to your foundation and create a leak.

2. Clogged dryer vents. High temperature air combined with lint is an ideal condition for a fire. Check and clear the dryer vent at least once a year.

3. Dirty faucet heads. Kitchen and bath faucets often have built-in screens to spray the water evenly. Unfortunately, dirt and other contaminates can build up on these and possibly affect the quality of the water. Clean faucet heads regularly.

4. Tripping hazards. You could step around a loose section of carpet for years and then one day, in a moment of distraction, trip over it and fall. When you see a potential tripping hazard in your home, don’t ignore it. Fix it.

Being diligent about home safety takes a little bit of time. But, if it prevents one injury or illness, it’s worth the effort.

 

Can New Kitchen Appliances Increase the Value of Your Home?

 
 
 
Next to a major kitchen renovation, replacing appliances is the most expensive way to upgrade the space. So, if you’re purchasing a new refrigerator, stove or dishwasher in order to make your home more attractive to buyers, you want to make wise purchasing decisions.

The most important consideration is how the appliances will look in the kitchen. Ideally, they should match in colour and style. They should also be the right size for the space. The last thing you want is a fridge that’s so large it dominates the room, or a stove that’s a completely different style and looks out-of-place.

Appearance is important, but so are the features. Buyers viewing your home will scrutinize the appliances. They’ll notice if the fridge has a cold water and ice dispenser. They’ll ask if the dishwasher has noise-reduction features. Double ovens and quick-heating burners (which are now available on electric stoves) will also get a buyer’s attention.

Power consumption is also a big issue these days. Increasingly, buyers are interested in the energy efficient features of a home - appliances included. 

Kitchen appliances may seem minor compared to the overall appeal of your property, but they do make a difference. Purchase wisely!


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September is typically a busy month for homeowners.

Kids go back to school. Work increases at many businesses as the fourth quarter looms. Major home renovation projects are in the midst of wrapping up, and smaller projects may be about to start!

If there’s anything I can do to help with questions, contractor referrals, advice, or information related to real estate, give me a call.

In fact, that’s the reason I stay in touch with you on a regular basis. I want to continually remind you that my services don’t end once I’ve helped you buy or sell a home. In the months and years in between transactions, I’m dedicated to helping you enjoy your home and understand your real estate options.

So, if you need help or advice, get in touch with me. That’s why I’m here!

 

5 Unusual (But Effective) Home Staging Ideas

 
 
 
“Staging” your home is all about making the space in your home as appealing as possible to buyers. You may already know the basics, such as eliminating clutter, and removing personal photographs. Here are some other tips that are less well known yet very effective:

A chandelier. Surprisingly, installing a chandelier is one of the simplest ways to make a foyer, dining room or living room look dramatically more eye-catching. You can buy a nice chandelier for only a few hundred dollars.

New linen. This is something many home sellers don’t consider, but should. Believe it or not, new linen makes a big impression on buyers. Before listing, replace any worn linen - sheets, coverings, and towels - with new ones.

Pedestal sinks. It may not be practical for you to replace a bathroom sink. However, if you are doing a renovation, keep in mind that pedestal sinks - especially in small washrooms - are a big hit with buyers.

New appliances. A brand new fridge, stove and dishwasher are motivating selling features to buyers. New appliances can make the whole kitchen look brand new, or at least much fresher.

Avoid multi-use rooms. Have a spare bedroom that doubles as a home office? That’s a turnoff to buyers. Whenever possible, stage each room so that it has a singular purpose. A guest bedroom, for example, should only be for sleeping.

Want more tips on how to stage your home so that it attracts buyers? Call today.

 

Will the Neighbourhood Go Up in Value?

 
 
 
When you purchase a home, you hope it will continually go up in value - just like a good investment.

However, there’s something else that you also want to see increase in value: the neighbourhood. In fact, the neighbourhood plays a key role in what the home will be worth in the years to come. If the neighbourhood goes down in terms of desirability, so will the market value of the home.

So, when you’re shopping for a new home, get a feel for the value of the neighbourhood, and whether or not it’s on the upswing.

How do you do that? One way is to simply take a walk. Look at the properties. Are they well maintained? Is the landscaping groomed and attractive? Those are signs of “pride in ownership” - a clear indication that owners value their homes and the neighbourhood.

Another way is to do some research. Has crime gone up in the neighbourhood? Are there improvements planned, such as new parks? Is the neighbourhood attracting the kind of people you want as neighbours? How do the neighbourhood schools rank?

Some of this information may be difficult to get on your own. As your real estate agent, I can help. Call today.

 

Being Safe with the Chemicals in Your Home

 
 
 
You would have to visit your local pharmacy or science lab to rival the number of potentially dangerous chemicals in the average home. You likely store everything from fertilizers and acidic cleaners, to gasoline and corrosive drain openers.

Obviously, it makes sense to ensure that everyone in your home uses and stores these items safely.

For example, laundry detergent packs - which have become popular recently - are attractive to children. Be sure to keep the lid locked and the package out of sight. Do the same with all laundry products. Even exposure to fabric softener pads can cause skin irritation, especially to a child.

Always read and follow the labels on household chemical products. Use and store them as directed. Make sure the labels remain affixed to all packaging.

Keep corrosives, such as harsh cleaners and drain openers, separate from other chemicals and in a place where, should they leak, they will cause minimal or no damage.

Also, never put a chemical in anything other than its original container. You don’t want to take the chance that, for example, paint thinner stored in an old water bottle is mistaken for water!

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August is a popular time to get work done around the house. Perhaps you’re planning to do some repairs or get started on a decorating or renovation project and need a contractor, interior designer, cleaner, or other professional to help.

If so, give me a call.

Through my connections in the local “home industry”, I may know reputable professionals I can recommend.

In fact, making recommendations is just one of the ways I continue to help my clients in between transactions. It’s part of my mission to be the kind of real estate agent you’d like to work with again, and refer to others.

So, don’t be shy about contacting me if you need recommendations or have questions.

I’m always delighted to hear from you.

 

Four Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Current Home

 
 
 
It’s not uncommon for couples with growing families to trade in their compact cars for something roomier, like a mini-van. The same thing happens with homes. Sometimes families simply outgrow them.

How can you tell if that’s happening with your property? Here are some sure-fire signs:

  1. You need more space.
    This is the most common reason people upgrade to a new home. They need more room. For any number of reasons, you might want an extra bedroom, a larger living room, a bigger backyard, or a more spacious kitchen. Rather than put up with feeling cramped, consider exploring the extra space a new home can provide.

  2. A renovation won’t fix it.
    Sometimes, when a property doesn’t fit its owners’ needs anymore, they consider a renovation. For example, if they need more space for a home office, they convert a spare room. However, a renovation doesn’t always fix the problem. For example, building a double, rather than single driveway and garage, may not be possible given the constraints of your property. Only a new home can solve that problem.

  3. You’re interested in a new neighbourhood.
    The neighbourhood may have been perfect for you at one time. But needs evolve. You may now be looking for something the area doesn’t provide - like closer access to a recreational activity your family enjoys, or a more convenient commute to work. If that’s the case, it might be time to look at other neighbourhoods you’d like to consider, and see what types of homes are currently available there.

  4. It’s time for a change.
    Sometimes you simply feel it’s time for a change. There’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t feel you need a practical reason to sell and find a new home. If this feels like the right time for you and your family to move, go for it.
 

How To Minimize Water Damage

 
 
 
It’s amazing how much damage water can cause. Just two gallons of water from a burst pipe or overflowing toilet can wreak havoc throughout your home and necessitate thousands of dollars in repairs. Ouch!

What should you do at the first sign of water leakage?

First, stop the source. Turn off the nearest water valve. If you can’t find it, turn off the main water valve to your home.

Next, do everything you can to soak up as much water as possible. If necessary, lift carpeting. Pay particular attention to water settling next to walls or inside ductwork. Get these areas dry as quickly as possible.

Contain the water. This is important. Do your best to prevent water from infiltrating other rooms to prevent further damage.

Once the area is as dry as possible, run fans in the room along with a good dehumidifier - for at least a full day - to draw in the remaining moisture.

If, despite your best efforts, you suspect that moisture remains inside the walls, floors or ceilings, call in the professionals. There are many companies that specialize in emergency water damage control. The key is to prevent the possibility that remaining moisture will provide an environment for mould to grow.

Also, consider contacting your insurance company. They’re as motivated as you are to reduce the damage.

 

Gentle Ways to Deal with Insects in the Home

 
 
 
A growing number of homeowners are uncomfortable using traditional pesticides for a variety of reasons, including health and environmental concerns. If you’re among them, here are some natural ways to deal with insects in your home:
  • Use a mixture of unsweetened lemon juice and water to deter spiders. Spray the solution near doorways and window sills where these arachnoids can enter.
  • Combine an equal mixture of vinegar and water to create an effective deterrent for a variety of crawling insects, particularly ants. Spray the solution on floors and countertops that are close to these creatures’ food sources.
  • Believe it or not, invest in a fake wasp nest (which you can purchase at your local home improvement store) to deter real wasps from building a nest on your property.
  • Experts recommend that you test any surface spray you plan to use to make sure it doesn’t stain or otherwise harm the surface.
 
 
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Summer is finally here and that’s great news for those of us who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors! Whether you prefer sports or leisure activities - or ambitious do-it-yourself projects - here’s hoping the days unfold just the way you wish.

Some of the best summer days are spent getting together with family and friends for fun, food, refreshments and relaxing conversation. If your discussions turn to real estate, I sincerely hope you will refer me to your friends and family for general inquiries or any specific questions they may have. I appreciate it when you let others know that I’m available to assist them as I would assist you.

Have a wonderful summer!

 

5 Things Buyers Hate to See

 
 
 
When you show your home to prospective buyers, there is probably a long list of things you’re hoping they’ll notice. For example, you’ll want them to see the beautiful chandelier in the foyer or the spacious backyard and large deck, or the kitchen with the island big enough for a whole family to sit down for breakfast.

But what about those things you’re hoping buyers will not notice?

Every home has some features that are less than enticing to the typical buyer. You may not be able to do much about a small kitchen or a home backing onto a noisy main street.

However, there are several things buyers don’t want to see that you can change. Here are five of the most common:

  • Clutter. Closets stuffed full of clothes or rooms crammed with too much furniture are distractions. Clutter of any kind makes buyers feel uneasy - and gets in the way of showcasing the wonderful features of your home.
  • Maintenance issues. Buyers definitely don’t want to see a lot of things that need repairs or replacement, such as dripping faucets, faded or chipped walls, or overgrown lawns and shrubbery.
  • Smells. Of course, you can’t see smells. But buyers will notice the lingering aroma of exotic cooking, cigarette smoke, and pets. These smells may even limit the amount of time they want to spend exploring the home.
  • Personal items. Buyers will understand that a family is living in the home they’re viewing. However, constant reminders - in the form of vacation pictures, trophies, or scattered children’s toys - can make a buyer feel like an intruder.
  • You. It’s nothing personal, but buyers prefer to view your home without you in it.

Fortunately, all these things can be easily dealt with before you show your home.

Looking for more ideas on selling your home quickly and for the best price? Call me today.

 

How a Home Inspection Helps You

 
 
 
Whether you’re considering buying a particular home, selling your current property - or doing both - a home inspection can help.

This inspection is conducted by a qualified professional who takes a close look at every aspect of a home - structure, wiring, plumbing, and more - and identifies issues you may not have noticed yourself.

For example, a home inspector can determine that a furnace will need to be replaced soon, or that there is a water leak that needs to be fixed.

You’ll definitely want to get a professional home inspection before you buy a particular property. That’s why most offers to purchase a home are conditional upon passing a home inspection. (The last thing you want is to buy your dream home only to discover that the wiring needs to be updated!)

You may also want to get a home inspection on your own home before you list it for sale. A certificate from a qualified professional that states that your home passed inspection will make your property more attractive to buyers.

Many reputable home inspectors are members of a professional industry association. However, it’s important to note that certification or licensing is not a requirement in many jurisdictions. So, select a home inspector carefully.

Need to find a reputable home inspector? Call me today for a recommendation.

 

Preventing Burglaries Requires More Than Locks and Alarms

 
 
 
There’s no doubt about it. If you want to keep your home safe from break-ins, you should have good locks on all doors and windows and ideally have an alarm system in place.

But home security doesn’t end with locks and alarms. There are other less obvious ways to keep your home safe. For example:

  • Install exterior lights with a motion detection feature. A light suddenly going on will almost always send a potential intruder away.
  • Look for - and, if possible, eliminate - potential hiding spots around your property. 
  • Always leave some lights on in your home when you’re away for an evening.
  • Never announce that you’re on vacation or otherwise away from your home on social media sites. (Ask your kids not to do this either!)
  • Don’t leave tempting valuables where they can be easily seen through a window.

In addition to good locking systems on doors and windows, simple precautions like these will significantly lower the risk of a break-in.

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There’s a famous television show from the 50’s and 60’s called Dragnet. It centres on the adventures of a no-nonsense cop who famously tells witnesses to give him, “Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.”

He did that because facts were hard to get, yet very important to his job.

These days, we live in a sea of information. “Google” just about any topic and you’ll get thousands of search results. There’s no shortage of information. But, it can still be difficult to get to the facts.

Take real estate, for example. There’s a lot of news available about what’s happening in the national real estate market, current overall housing prices, the best time to make a move, and so forth.

It can all be overwhelming. But, which reports can you rely on?

That’s where I can help. As a real estate professional, I’m dedicated to providing my clients with the facts they need to make important decisions about real estate - facts that are backed by comprehensive data and experienced analysis of the local market.

Give me a call to discuss the real estate facts you need.

 

How To Make Your Home Sale “Smooth Sailing”

 
 
 
If you’ve ever been on a cruise ship, you know that rough waters can result in a miserable experience. Even on modern ships equipped with stabilizers, choppy seas and bad weather can leave you stuck below deck - and possibly sea sick!

In fact, the expression “smooth sailing” comes from a desire for calm waters.

When you sell your property, you’ll want smooth sailing too! You’ll want the experience to be as nondisruptive as possible, while also having plenty of qualified buyers interested in your listing. In the end, you’ll want the transaction to get done without a hitch.

So how do you ensure that happens? Here are some things you can do to help:

Think of your home as a product. Potential buyers are more likely to become interested in a product that looks clean, uncluttered and well-maintained.

Price it right. If your property is listed too high, potential buyers won’t come. If it’s listed too low, you may leave money on the table. (Potentially thousands.) Setting the price will be one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make when selling your home.

Don’t be there during showings. As your real estate agent, I will take buyers through your property and show them all the great features. If you’re there, some buyers may not feel comfortable and may leave before they have had a chance to become interested.

Be flexible. This is especially important, when it comes to showing appointments, negotiations, home inspections, closing dates, etc. It’s okay to be firm on some things, just not everything!

The best tip of all? Use me as your real estate agent and I will make the entire experience of selling your home trouble-free and successful.

In other words, let me help make it smooth sailing!

 

Simplifying Your Home Life

 
 
 
Let’s face it. Life can get complicated, complex and stressful very easily. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to simplify your life, especially at home. Here are some tips from the experts:
  • Don’t be ruled by the TV guide. Instead, select the shows you want to watch and record them. That way, you can watch what you want at the times that are most convenient for you.
  • Prepare some meals in advance and freeze them. Simply heat them up as needed. That will reduce a lot of after-work, “gotta-get-dinner-ready” stress.
  • Create a weekly dinner menu. It takes some time to prepare, but it allows you to shop effectively, and greatly reduces the stress of figuring out what to cook each day.
  • Don’t accumulate stuff you don’t want or need. Give those things away.
  • Simplify your cleaning by dividing tasks into 10 minute chunks (such as vacuuming the living room.) Then, fit those tasks in whenever you have 10 minutes to spare.
  • To avoid clutter, adopt the “touch it once” rule, which simply means you put things where they belong right away.
  • Limit the time you and others in your family spend checking emails and text messages. Consider having an hour or two of “no screen” time each evening.
  • Develop healthy routines, such as evening walks and family board game night.

These are just a few ideas. If you want to simplify your home life, you can probably brainstorm several other strategies and habits you can try. The idea is to make your home an enjoyable place to be - for you and your family.

 

Flexible Dumpsters for Home Renos

 
 
 
New synthetic fabric dumpsters offer a flexible method of holding and disposing of renovation waste - without the need to order a large and unsightly metal bin that sits on your front lawn or driveway for weeks on end.

The industry calls them FIBC’s, or Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers, but they’re more commonly known as big bags, bulk bags, bagsters and super sacks.

These durable trash containers can be purchased and taken home (or delivered) for indefinite use, then picked up for a preset fee when full.

When the bag is picked up, another bag is dropped off. Available through specialty suppliers or through some home renovation stores, these “soft bins” are easy to move when empty, and they take up much less space than large metal dumpsters. They also take much less time to fill up, so you’ll have a tidier renovation site and less of an eyesore on your property.

 
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