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A Minute With Meta : Fun New Year's Resolutions

 
If your New Year's resolutions are feeling a bit stale this year, you're in luck! I've rounded up some of my favorite new ways to make the most of this exciting time of year.
 

Cut back on something that you'd like to do less of.

I'm not only talking about food or alcohol, though those are both good options. Be it video games, social media, or television shows, there's no better time than the new year to make a change! This is a great way to start off the year feeling refreshed and reinvigorated. It's a great opportunity to cut back on something that you'd like to do less of. And this could give us more time to spend with family and friends or just have a little more time each day to relax. 
 

Finally get around to reading a book that's been on your list for ages.

It’s easy to get distracted by the obligations of work and family, but if you want to read more this year, make sure you find some time for it. Try setting aside an hour or two each week to read a book that has been on your list for ages. If you don't know where to start, ask friends or family members what they've been reading lately—you may find some great recommendations! 
 

Start a new hobby.

Hobbies can help you stay occupied and active. Try taking up a new hobby this year—it could be anything from gardening to ballroom dancing! You might even meet new people and make some friends along the way, which is always nice (and helpful).
 

Think up fun ways to celebrate your wins.

Did you meet a goal this month? Your entire life? Celebrate that win! You deserve to throw a party for yourself and your accomplishments. Make it an event worth celebrating, with something special planned—a trip, an afternoon at the spa, or whatever else brings happiness to your heart. If there’s someone in your life who has been instrumental in helping you achieve success (like a mentor or parent), consider inviting them along so they can share in the joy of this momentous occasion. Maybe now is the time to treat yourself!
 

Challenge yourself to try one new thing each week.

Make the usual unusual. You can try something you've never done before, like taking a class or going to a museum. Or you can visit a new place, like the zoo or an amusement park. Or maybe you've always wanted to learn how to play an instrument but think you're not very good at music—here's your chance! If these ideas aren't your cup of tea (or rather, pint of beer), then perhaps think about doing something that challenges your physical abilities instead: play sports with friends or go for hikes with family members who live nearby.
 
There are lots of ways that this resolution could lead toward self-improvement—so don't be afraid if things start getting tough! Just remember: "If at first you don't succeed..."
 

Get your photo taken in five interesting places

There's no reason to wait for the perfect vacation to take a great selfie. Instead, make it a goal to do some of your best poses for the camera at home or on the go—you might even discover new places that you'd like to visit! Start by picking out five spots that are near you and think about what makes them interesting: A historical spot? An art gallery? A nature trail? A local landmark? Once you've decided on the five places that will make for the best photos, go ahead and take some pictures. Try to get creative with your poses—maybe try a funny one or two!
 

Try a new food each week

One of the best ways to get out of a rut is to try something new. A great way to do this is by trying a new food each week, no matter how small or insignificant it seems. Try a different cuisine, check out a new restaurant, make something you've never tried before in your kitchen, or try a new cooking method with which you're unfamiliar. You could even challenge yourself by trying a cooking tool that will take some practice before you master it! Maybe there's an ingredient available in your area that's not common where you live—go buy some and see if it tastes good!
 

Learn something you never learned as a child

Maybe you never learned how to ride a bike as a child. Maybe you were afraid of the water and didn't want to learn how to swim. Maybe your parents wouldn't let you play with toy guns and skateboards (it's okay, we get it). Whatever your reason, there are plenty of easy ways to pick up new skills this year.
 Learning new things is fun, and it can also help you feel more empowered. If you've ever wanted to learn how to do something but thought it was too hard or not worth the effort, it's never too late.
 
 
So, have you made any New Year's Resolutions for 2023? If not, what are some things you think about changing in the new year? 
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A Minute with Meta:Staging Your Home To Sell During The Holidays

 

The holidays may not be the best time of year to sell your home, however, there are ways to make your home more appealing during this time of year. The following tips will help you stage it so that it'll sell faster and for more money!

Make your front entrance as welcoming as possible.

When it comes to staging your home, your front porch is a prime spot for potential buyers to see. It's the first thing they see when they pull up to your house, so make sure that it looks as good as possible. This can be done by cleaning and decluttering. If you don't have a front porch, then try putting some plants on either side of your front door or in potted planters.

Put up lights. You don't have to go all out and string up a million strands, but it's always nice to see houses lit up around Christmas time. It creates a warm, cozy feeling that will make potential buyers feel at home too!


Hang fresh wreaths on your doors.

Wreaths are a simple way to add holiday spirit. They can also be made of a variety of materials, such as pine cones and fresh greenery. Wreaths not only add color and texture to your home, they make it smell good too!

Light a fire (if you have a fireplace).

Fires are a great way to make your home feel warm and cozy during the winter months. It's also a great way to show off your home's unique style. If you have a fireplace, then make sure that it's lit before potential buyers arrive.

Homebuyers love the warm, inviting feeling that a fire can give off. 

Also, make sure that the fireplace is functional and not blocked by furniture or other items.

Put out some holiday-scented candles or potpourri.

The holidays are a great time to put out some candles or potpourri to help your home smell festive. Just make sure that the air is fresh and clean, and that the scent isn't overpowering. A few candles burning slowly in different rooms will create an inviting atmosphere for holiday buyers.

Decorate with lots of natural elements, like pine cones and holiday greenery.

Holiday decorating is all about the natural elements. If you're going to put out holiday decorations, make sure they're simple and elegant. Don't go overboard with too much tinsel or glitter; keep it classy! A few tasteful pine cone arrangements, a small collection of hand-painted glass ornaments and some fresh greenery will do the trick.

Taking these steps will help buyers see your home as a festive environment they could enjoy living in.

Selling your home over the holidays can be a little stressful, but it doesn't have to be. Staging your home for sale during this time of year can help you make your house look its best and attract more buyers. 


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A Minute With Meta:Does Your Home Still Fit Your Needs?


When you move into your home, it's easy to get attached to the layout and decor. You have a sense of pride as you show off your new place, and it feels like it'll be perfect forever. But if you've been in the same house for more than five years or so, you may notice that certain rooms seem smaller than they used to be or that some areas are just getting crowded with stuff. 

You might also notice that all those cool features built into the house when it was first constructed are now actually holding back its functionality as a home. 

If this sounds familiar — and even if it doesn't — read on! I’m going explain how space can affect our day-to-day lives in ways we don't always realize at first glance:

Your home may no longer fit your needs if ...

You have more children than bedrooms

If you're not planning on having any more children, or if you already have enough bedrooms for the number of children in your home, then this probably isn't a problem. However, if you have more kids than bedrooms, it may be time to move up.

Members of your family are tripping over each other due to lack of common space.

If you have a large family, moving to a bigger home may be the answer. If you have outgrown your current space, it might be time for more room. If your household is growing and you are feeling cramped in the house, consider looking at homes that are larger than what you currently occupy.

You are trying to work from home, but you don't have an office or even a desk.

You may need the space to work from home, and the house you currently live in may be too small. Maybe you've been able to get by with just a laptop on the couch, but now that you're growing your business, it's time for something more professional. Something away from the toys and loud playing kids.

A home office is a place to focus on your work without distractions. If you're limited by the space in your house, it might be time to invest in a larger home with more room for a dedicated workplace.

You have more cars than places to park them.

You have more cars than places to park them.

If you have a car for every member of your family and then some, your driveway may be looking awfully crowded. This can be particularly problematic if you live in an area where parking is at a premium—or if you do not have access to a garage or other indoor storage space for your extra vehicles.

You don't have enough room for hobbies such as crafts or woodworking.

The importance of having enough space for hobbies will vary depending on your personal preferences. If you're a crafter, it's nice to have lots of room in which to spread out materials to work on projects. If you enjoy fishing, having a workshop or garage can help keep equipment out of sight while keeping it close at hand.

If the home you live in doesn't allow for these kinds of activities it may be time to find something that does.

Your family has outgrown the yard, and you no longer have a place for pets to roam freely.

If your family has outgrown the yard, or if you find that you no longer have a place for pets to roam freely, then it's time to think about finding somewhere else to live.

The yard should be big enough to accommodate all members of the family—including pets—as well as accommodate outdoor activities such as gardening and lawn games.

Your kitchen is too small for cooking holiday meals and entertaining guests

If you find yourself thinking, "I just don't have the space for cooking holiday meals or entertaining guests," then it's time to think about moving to a larger space. As your family grows and your needs change, so should your kitchen.

When you're ready to move up, consider the benefits of a larger home. You'll have more space for everyone, including pets and hobbies.

So if you are ready to trade in your starter home for something more spacious with potential investment potential, contact me today! I will help find just what you need at an affordable price point


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A Minute With Meta:Why You Need a Pre-approved Mortgage

If you're looking to buy a home, it's important to get pre-approved for a mortgage. A pre-approval from a mortgage professional will let you know exactly how much house you can afford. This will give you peace of mind about making an offer on a property and ensures your offer won’t fall apart due to unforeseen or unexpected financing issues. Pre-approval also helps sellers know that they can put their faith in their buyers' ability to get financing—which increases their confidence in accepting an offer on their home.

Get a clearer picture of your mortgage options

  • You can compare different mortgage options.

  • You can see how much house you can afford.

  • You can figure out how much you need to put down on a home, or what kind of mortgage would be best for your budget and future goals.

You'll have the confidence to make a stronger offer

You know what you can afford, which means that when you make an offer on a home, it'll be more likely to be accepted. You'll also know how much of a down payment you're going to need and how much each month's mortgage payments will be.

A pre-approved mortgage can save time

You may think that you could skip the pre-approval process and just get a mortgage when you’re ready to buy, but it will actually save you time in the long run.

The pre-approval process allows you to begin your search for a home without having to worry about whether or not the price will be out of reach. This means that you can focus on houses rather than worrying about how much they cost and whether or not they’re affordable with your current income.

If there are any issues with getting approved (such as when interest rates rise), then there’s no need to worry because of the pre-approval already being in place!

You have more negotiating power

A pre-approval gives you more negotiating power because it shows the seller that you are serious about buying the house. This can help you get a better price, or lower closing costs, or even a later closing date.

Pre-approved mortgages help you get in a new home faster

A pre-approved mortgage is a stamp of approval from your lender that you're able to afford the home you want to buy. It means that if you find a home in your price range, you can move quickly, negotiate for what's important to you and avoid wasting time on homes that aren't a good fit.


There are many benefits to getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Getting approved for a mortgage before you start looking at houses is the first step in the home buying process.



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A Minute with Meta: Preparing For Your Mortgage

Preparing For Your Mortgage

Buying a home is an exciting time, being prepared can help to make the process easier with less disappointments and delays. The following tips can help you be ready for buying your first home.

Determine how much you can afford

Before you start budgeting for your mortgage, it's important to determine how much you can afford. First of all, use a mortgage calculator to get a ballpark idea of what your payments will be. Then consider your monthly expenses and work out how much you can afford to pay each month. Finally, get an idea of what is available in your area and set a realistic price range that fits both your current financial situation and the potential growth of your future finances.

Save for a downpayment 

Your down payment is the portion of the mortgage you are responsible for paying upfront. The larger your down payment the less your mortgage will be. Larger down payments will reduce your monthly payment which can help meet your debt ratio amounts.

Down payment for a primary residence can be as low as 5%, but down payments lower than 20% will require CMHC insurance. This is an additional cost that can usually be rolled into your mortgage.

Make sure your credit score is in good shape

You'll want to make sure your credit score is in good shape before applying for a mortgage. Lenders use it to assess your ability to pay back money you borrow. Your credit score is influenced by several factors, including how much money you owe, how long you've been borrowing money, and whether you pay the bills on time. A higher score suggests less risk of default, which lowers a lender's likelihood of losing money when they extend a mortgage loan to you.

Your credit score also helps determine what interest rates will be available to you. In general, the better your credit score, the lower your interest rate will be. And as we’ll discuss later in this guide, lower interest rates can mean substantial savings over time.

Before applying for a mortgage loan, take some time to improve your individual credit score by following these steps:

Make sure lenders can verify that all of your income comes from legitimate sources and that it's stable enough for them to trust that it won't disappear soon after you get approved for the loan.

Pay all of your bills on time each month and stay current with any existing loans or other forms of debt that appear on your credit report.

If possible, bring down the balance owed on any outstanding loans or lines of credit listed on your report—including paying off any remaining balances on store-specific cards and consolidating multiple accounts if necessary—to lower the amount owed relative to total available limits.

Manage your debt

Before you can buy a home, the bank will assess your debt ratio. That’s simply how much of what you make goes to paying off debt each month. This includes credit card payments, car loans, student loans and any other type of monthly bill. Generally speaking, lenders prefer to see a debt-to-income ratio of less than 36%. So if you bring home $5,000 per month for example, your total monthly debts should not be greater than $1800..

To improve this ratio and increase your chances of approval for a mortgage loan:

Pay down balances on credit cards and other revolving accounts

Consider consolidating some of those smaller debts into one larger monthly payment (This is called refinancing.). Obviously that only works if the interest rate you pay on the new loan is lower than what you were paying before so it is worth doing a little research before making any sudden moves.

The other way to improve that ratio is simply increasing your income but as most people don't have much control over their salaries in the short term then it's best to focus on reducing debts rather than trying to work overtime at work or getting some side hustles going

Save up for closing costs

Next, get ready for closing costs. These are the expenses that aren’t included in your mortgage, but are due when you close on the house. They can include various taxes and fees such as land or property transfer taxes, HST/GST, title insurance, legal fees and more.  Some of these costs have to be paid up front; others you can roll into your mortgage balance.

Average closing costs in BC are about 3-5% of the purchase price.  So if you're buying a $500,000 home, expect to pay between $15 000 and $25 000 in closing costs (much of which will go toward all those fees listed above). And remember: The higher your down payment is, the lower your loan amount will be--and therefore the less you'll pay in interest over time.

Save a little more than you need, then put it into a rainy day fund

We all know that a large part of getting approved for a mortgage is having enough savings to meet lenders' requirements. But as you accumulate more and more cash, it's easy to get tempted by the idea of using every last cent to put down on your new home. We think it's key to resist this temptation and save just a little bit more than you need, then put it into a rainy day fund.

Having an emergency fund is important for everyone, not just people who are buying homes! It means you'll be less financially stressed if something unexpected happens (like your car breaks down or you lose hours at work). If nothing does happen, then hey—you can use the money for something fun!

Get a pre-approval for your mortgage

Once you have established what you feel you can afford, cleaned up your credit score, and lessened your debt load, make sure you get a pre-approval from your bank or mortgage broker.

This is a very important step before viewing homes that can save you time and money. Getting a pre-approval means the lender has reviewed your finances and determines what you can afford. This can strengthen your future offers as it shows you are a serious buyer.  It can also speed up the closing process.

Buying your first home should be a memorable experience.  Though it can be complicated, there are experts to help you each step of the way.  Feel free to call me with any questions.

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A Minute with Meta: Moving Day

How To Make Moving Day Easier

Start planning early.

A lot has to happen to get you from your current location to your new home. You have to organize, pack, and transport all of your things, figure out how much everything weighs, negotiate a price with movers (if you're hiring them), and potentially arrange for storage if the timing doesn't work out exactly. All the moving parts that go into a move can add up quickly—and become very stressful—so do yourself a favor: start planning early.

The actual process of packing can take months depending on just how much you own. But even if the job only takes a few weeks, it's best to give yourself plenty of time so you can do it thoroughly and avoid having too much clutter left at the last minute. While you're decluttering, keep in mind that moving is a great opportunity to toss or donate items that no longer serve you—or never did in the first place!

Come up with a realistic plan and timeline for packing.

You need to make a timeline for your packing. If you’re moving in one month, don’t wait until the last minute to start packing! It can get overwhelming very quickly, and the stress will likely lead to poor decisions that end up costing you time and money. Start boxing up those items you don’t use on a daily basis as soon as possible. 

You should plan to be out of your home at least a day before your move date — no one wants to pack after a tiring day of moving furniture and other heavy objects!

Get rid of stuff you don't need or want.

Moving day is a busy time. If you have plenty of time before the move, it can help to go through belongings and get rid of anything you don't really need. The last thing you want to deal with on moving day is trying to get rid of stuff that you don’t want. This can also make unpacking much easier! 

If your unwanted items are in good condition, consider donating them to charity.  This can make you feel good about clearing out the clutter.

If you plan ahead for this disposal and have a plan for getting rid of waste such as old furniture before moving day arrives, it will make moving day go much more smoothly.

Use space efficiently for packing.

Using space efficiently for packing is important because you don't want to be stuck with too many boxes taking up your living room, or paying for more space in a moving truck than you need.

To pack as efficiently as possible, try to fill odd spaces inside containers with lighter items like linens or clothes. You can also use soft items like towels and clothes to cushion breakable items.

If you have reusable containers that stack well, these are great options for packing fragile things like dishes and glassware.

Make sure all boxes are labeled clearly and that inventory lists are up to date.

 Moving may be a time-   consuming, tiring process, but it   can be done with ease if you are   prepared.

 Make sure all boxes are labeled   clearly and that inventory lists are  up to date. You'll thank   yourself later when it comes time   to unpack — or even in the midst   of your move when you need to   figure out which boxes should   ride in the moving van and which   ones can safely take a trip in your car.

Even if you decide to go the old-school route with your labeling (a Sharpie marker is just fine) or if you only make use of existing labels (like those from Amazon), it's helpful for everyone involved in the move process to quickly know what's what. 

Set aside a first night box with essentials in it.

You’ll also want to set aside a box with your essential items. This might include a change of clothes, toiletries, medications and any other items you will need in the first 24 hours. If you have it, throw in some bedding so that you can take a nap on arrival. You can also set up another box for the first week. This could include cleaning supplies and any tools or kitchen items that won't be needed straight away. Make sure to label these boxes clearly so that they are easy to spot when unpacking and don't forget them when moving!

Once you've packed, take inventory of how much you have to move -- this will help with booking the movers.

Now that you've packed up all your possessions and are ready to move, the next step is to inventory how much you have to move. This will help you book movers and plan the logistics of moving day. First, answer these questions:

How many boxes or items do I have?

How heavy are those boxes or items?

How many trucks do I need for all my stuff?

How many movers will it take to get the job done in a reasonable amount of time? How long should it take them? And what will this cost me?

If you can afford it, hire movers and make sure they are reputable ones.

If you can afford to do so, hire professional movers. These folks know what they're doing and can turn a day-long ordeal into a couple of hours of relaxation. The right type of mover will also have the proper equipment to protect your belongings from breaking. A good way to find reputable movers is reading reviews online. The best moving companies have excellent reviews, are licensed and bonded, and have fair prices. You can also ask friends and family for their recommendations.


Moving day doesn't have to turn into moving week if you plan ahead and keep organized!




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A Minute with Meta: Staging Your Home


Stage Your Home To Sell

There are many things you can do to stage your home. If you need to sell your home quickly, it is important that you do everything you can to make it appealing to the potential buyer. Most people know how helpful it is but don't have enough time or money. Here are some ideas for making your home more attractive without spending a lot of money. 


House staging has 5 main benefits: 1) Helps sell homes faster 2) Boosts overall home value 3) Minimizes buyer objections 4) Creates urgency  5) Improves your return on investment.


Curb appeal

Curb appeal is the first way to convince a buyer that it makes sense to invest in your house. No one wants to buy a house that looks dreary and unwelcoming from the outside. So, do what you can to make your home shine from the curb.

This could involve simple improvements like mowing your lawn, planting some flowers, pulling weeds, hiding clutter or cleaning up toys, trimming shrubs and trees, repairing cracks in your driveway and sidewalks, painting or staining the front step. If you have any painted surfaces that are peeling on the exterior of your home now is also a good time to repaint them so they look fresh.

If it snows where you live shoveling snow can be an important chore as well. And if it’s summertime don’t forget about watering as this can go a long way in making a great first impression with buyers!


Clear the clutter

If you have a home that’s full of clutter, then it might be time to get rid of some of your stuff. To start, take an honest look at what you really need and use and then get rid of the rest. Are there old furniture items that are making your home feel out-of-date? Then it's time to donate them or sell them to someone who can use them! In addition to getting rid of the clutter inside your home, don't forget about what's outside as well. Your yard may need some maintenance before you can show it off. Make sure you're keeping up with mowing the lawn and also rake up any fallen leaves and branches.

Storing things in your garage is another great way to clear out clutter from your main living spaces while still keeping items within reach if needed (especially useful for those seasonal decorations). If you don't have room in your garage for all the things that are cluttering up your place, consider renting a storage unit for extra space. This is also a great option for people who may have already moved or sold their homes but still want access to their belongings for sentimental reasons or until they find their next place! And don't forget about those closets – often we forget what we're storing away in there!

Get rid of old toys, books, and clothes by giving them away or selling them online through sites. 


Make your home shine

Now that you know how to make the best first impression, let's get started. It's time to deep clean your home and make sure it shines. You want buyers to picture themselves living there, so remove any personal or distracting items. Clean up every room, starting with the kitchen and bathroom(s), then move on to other areas of the house such as bedrooms and living rooms. After that checklist is complete, focus on all the little details you may have missed, like baseboards and door knobs.

Here are some more tips for cleaning up:

  • Let in as much natural light as possible; open all shades and blinds, replace burned out bulbs with bright new ones (100 watt bulbs will do), switch light fixtures if necessary, etc.

  • Clean all windows

  • Wash walls with warm water and detergent if they need it—usually they do!

  • Wash baseboards and doors, too. And don't forget the front door! It makes an important first impression too!

  • If you have wall-to-wall carpeting in any rooms (not just bedrooms), professional steam cleaning is strongly recommended. Be sure to have pets cleaned before potential buyers visit (this includes fish).

  • Neutralize bad smells by opening windows when weather permits--buyers will not like walking into the smell of last night's fried chicken dinner no matter how tasty it was! Fill your home with pleasant aromas using potpourri or scented candles instead.


Don't be too personal

You may have personal items that are special to you, but they're not so special to others. Personal photos can distract buyers, and it's best to avoid bringing up topics like religion or politics. Keep your home looking and feeling as neutral as possible.



Rearrange furniture

In the living room and dining room, rearrange furniture to best show off the space. If you have a small living area, try using floor-to-ceiling pieces that open up the area by creating vertical space rather than horizontal clutter. If you have a large room, don't be afraid to use your furniture as part of a conversation area. Take advantage of the natural flow of your home and create a path that guides buyers through each room.


Show off storage space

If you've ever seen those episodes of House Hunters where people get excited over a walk-in closet, you know how important storage space is to homebuyers. Storage is what allows people to keep things organized and out of view—which they all want, but don't necessarily have.

Closets are the most obvious place to highlight organizational features, but if square footage is at a premium in your home, think about using under-bed storage boxes. A couple of these can make a big difference in how easy it will be for buyers to imagine themselves living there; they'll feel like the place already has their stuff tucked away.

Hooks on doors and walls can also help you maximize your square footage by making additional storage options visible; if buyers see empty hooks everywhere, they'll naturally start thinking about what else could go there. For example: maybe that hall closet would be better suited for shelving or shoe racks instead of its current hodgepodge layout.


Home staging is about giving you the best edge in the market, and getting top dollar for your home. That is the end goal is it not?   Ready, set, stage!


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It may not feel like spring yet, here in the Comox Valley, but summer is fast approaching….we hope.  I always feel like Spring is a fresh start, a new beginning. 

A deep spring clean can make your home feel fresh and clean.  It also helps to be sure your home’s air is healthy to breathe. Dust and allergens collect over the winter months, so spring is a great time to be sure to get rid of them.  A clean and clutter free space helps reduce stress and gives a more calm feeling to your home.

The process of spring cleaning can be a bit overwhelming., not to mention time consuming and tiring. Take it room by room. Set an amount of time aside to tackle each area.  To help ease the spring cleaning blues, use these helpful hints to freshen up your home for spring.


   

Front doorway as well start at the first place yourself and visitors see.   Wiping down that front door, sweeping walkways and door step, adding a    new welcome mat and potted plant, can make your front door clean and    inviting.



Windows and blinds.  Let that sunshine in!  Don't forget to remove screens and hose them off outside. Cleaning windows on overcast days prevents streaking. Use a microfiber cloth for a lint free shine.




Wipe walls, doors and handles.  Removing handprints and stains can give your walls and doors a fresh new look. Using a microfiber cloth helps rids of lint and residue.





Clean carpets.  Sprinkle carpets with baking soda, then lightly spray with water.  Let dry for atleast 3 hours or overnight.  Vacuum up any light traffic stains and pet hair.




Sinks.  Run a lemon through the garburator.  Pour a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to clear out drains.  Follow with hot water.





Countertops. Spruce up granite and quartz by adding a bit of mineral oil to your cleaning cloth to help put on a shine on your counters.




Deep clean the fridge. Remove contents from the fridge. Clean all removable shelves and storage containers. Toss out expired condiments. Add a fresh box of baking soda to deodorize.




Declutter and clean kitchen cabinets. Try to keep as many items off your countertops to feel less clutter.  Clear out any items in your cupboards that you haven’t used in the past year or so.




Reorganize that junk drawer. Make sure all items have a purpose and are still needed.  Restaurant closed last year, so get rid of the menu. Never did find the piece to go with that item you’ve been saving, throw it out.




Wash shower curtains. This not only clears away mold and mildew, but also prolongs the life span of the curtain.





Clean makeup brushes with warm water and your facial cleanser. Rinse well and remove excess water with a towel.Throw away old expired cosmetics.





Freshen up throw pillows, blankets and curtains in the dryer. Air only for 10 minutes then hang immediately to avoid wrinkles.




Dust ceiling fixtures. Grab an extendable duster and attack ceiling fans, hanging and recessed lights, moldings and more. Make sure to start your cleaning here, from top to bottom, so you don’t have to vacuum your floors twice.




Sanitize kids toys. Soak any washable toys in warm water with vinegar. Don’t overlook the dishwasher, some toys are dishwasher safe. Pop in a mesh bag for a quick easy way to clean a large amount of toys. Just remember to turn off the heat dry.




Purge closet. Go through clothes and shoes.  Rid of old stained clothes.  Donate clothes you don’t wear anymore. Make room for some fresh new summer items.




Spring cleaning your home is so rewarding…after it’s done.



 



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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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MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.