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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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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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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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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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.