Imagine your coffee maker switching on by itself, staying on for hours, overheating and becoming a fire hazard. That's not science fiction. As more and more appliances incorporate WIFI, the opportunities for hackers to play havoc with your home gadgets increase.


How do you prevent that from happening? Here are some safety tips:


       • If your gadget uses a password to access the settings, change that password frequently. Ideally, change it once every 3 months.


       • Some gadgets, such as alarm systems, come with their own connection to the internet. Learn how to turn that connection off if it becomes necessary to do so.


       • Don't leave an internet-connected appliance or other gadget on constantly unless it’s necessary. For example, you don't need your home speaker system connected to your digital music providers all the time.


       • Baby monitors with video are a common target for hackers. Use a password unique to that device and change it often. Never leave the monitor on when not in use.


       • Never share passwords with anyone unless it is absolutely necessary. Most home WIFI systems have a "guest" feature with a separate password and limited access. Use it.


In this age of internet connectivity — from coffee makers to stereos and even washing machines — it's smart to play it safe. Know what's connected and protect yourself.

Read full post

When you sell, you’ll probably want to get the best possible price for your property. Who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, there are many ways to inadvertently leave money on the table – sometimes thousands of dollars.


How do you avoid that possibility? Just remember the 4 Ps:


       • Prep. Do everything you can to prepare your home so that it looks great to buyers. Clean, declutter, fix, make                 improvements. Home staging can also help. In fact, effectively staged homes have been shown to sell for up to               5% more than comparable unstaged properties.


       • Price. Set the right asking price. That’s crucial. If it's too low, you'll attract only deal-hunters — and you might end           up getting less than you should. If the asking price is too high, however, you'll discourage those buyers who might           otherwise be interested and willing to make a good offer. Be careful with pricing!


       • Promotion. There may be qualified buyers out there who would be eager to see your property. But, they need to             find out about your listing and the great features of your home first! Reaching these buyers requires more than                 merely profiling the listing on the MLS. Homes that sell for top dollar often have strong marketing — directed to               the right buyers.


       • Proposal. Once an offer comes in, there may be an opportunity to negotiate with the buyer to maximize the final             price you get. This requires deep knowledge of the local market as well as street-smart negotiation skills. If done             effectively, these negotiations can help put more money in your pocket.


These four Ps are easy to remember, but sometimes not so easy to implement! That's why working with a great real estate agent is so important.


Contact me to get the conversation started.

Read full post

Do you have only a few weeks to search for your next dream home? Don't panic. There are things you can do to find the perfect (or, at least, almost perfect) property — without getting too stressed out!


Consider these tips:


       • Pre-arrange your mortgage. You want to be able to make a good offer on a home right away, without worrying about financing. So, talk to your mortgage advisor or lender about getting a mortgage preapproval. Sellers will take your offer more seriously if you have financing in hand.


       • Decide what you want. What type of home are you looking for? What type of neighbourhood do you want to live               in? The narrower your focus, the less time you’ll waste looking at properties that don’t fit your needs.


       • Be open to possibilities. There are probably terrific homes on the market — right now — that are close to what                 you're looking for. So be prepared to consider properties that are less-than-perfect. Remember, what a home                   lacks today may be remedied with a renovation later on.


       • Be flexible with your schedule. When you see a home you like, schedule a viewing immediately, even if it's at an             inconvenient day/time, such as a weekday after work. Finding a great home, quickly, is worth some inconvenience.


       • Get alerted to new listings. As they say, the early-bird gets the worm. So arrange to be alerted to new listings the             moment they come on the market. That way, you can see these properties right away.


Want more tips on finding a home, quickly? Give me a call.

Read full post

Here's a surprising statistic. Less than 30% of window replacements are the result of the old windows being worn, broken or otherwise in need of replacement.


Clearly, there are other good reasons to consider new windows!


One of the most popular motivations is cosmetic. Brand new windows have a huge impact on the overall look of a home, both on the inside and the outside. New windows can improve curb appeal — an important element when you sell a home. From the inside, new windows can dramatically improve the look of a room.


Another reason to replace windows is to address energy costs. Modern windows are packed with technologies that lower heating/cooling bills. From low-e/argon to special spacer bars to high-insulating construction, these technologies can provide savings you'll notice, especially if you're replacing very old windows.


A third reason is window style and characteristics. Simply put, you may not like your current windows! You may want more glass and less frame to enhance your view. Maybe your windows pull up (vertical sliders) when you'd rather have them open like a door (casements). Perhaps you'd like fancy blinds in-between the panes of glass. Replacing windows lets you get exactly the look and features you want.


Will new windows boost the resale value of your home? They might, at least a little. But there's one thing for certain: upgraded windows definitely make your home look more appealing to buyers.

Read full post

If you're thinking about buying a new home, you may be considering purchasing in a new development.


How does that compare to purchasing a resale property?


Buying a newly-built home has some advantages. Depending on the development, you may have leeway in the style of the home and the lot you choose. Also, when the home is built, you'll be moving into a place where everything is brand new!


On the downside, however, you may be forced to make a decision based purely on marketing brochures and floor plans. Unless there's a model home just like the one you want, you'll be buying sight unseen. Also, there may be unpredictable construction delays — an unpleasant experience if you've already sold your current property.


Of course, buying a resale home may also have a downside. For example, the house might need work, such as a new roof. What you see is pretty much what you get. And, that’s true for the floor plan too. You can't ask for the living room to be five feet wider, unless you decide to renovate.


On the other hand, a big advantage of a resale home is moving into a neighbourhood that is already there for you to see and explore. Unlike in a new development, you can get a very clear idea of what it’s going to be like to live there.


Plus, you get to see the house too!


Regardless of which way you go, I can help you make the best decision and find the home that's perfect for you. Call today.

Read full post

It can be tough to make the decision to sell. In fact, for many homeowners, it's overwhelming. If you're considering making a move and struggling with the decision, here are five helpful questions to ask yourselves:


1. "What are our practical reasons for selling?"


This question refers to what you'll get by moving to a new home. The reasons could include a bigger backyard, shorter commute to work, an extra bedroom, a more desirable neighbourhood, etc.


2. "What are our emotional reasons for selling?"


This question refers to how you'll feel about living in a new home. For example, you might feel safer, less cramped, less worried (because the local schools are better), or happier (because the shorter commute means more time with your family.)


3. "What type of new home can we afford?"


This question involves finding out how much you'll likely get when you sell your existing home and how much of a mortgage you qualify to receive. With that information, you'll have a price range within which you can comfortably shop plus a clear idea of what your mortgage payments will be.


4. "In what ways will our lifestyle be better in a new home?"


This ties in closely with emotional reasons for selling. It relates to what your life will be like in a new home. Try to paint a picture in your mind. For example, you might want to be able to spend Saturday afternoons relaxing in your bigger backyard or Sunday nights entertaining friends and family in your larger living room.


5. "What else do we need to know before we decide to sell and move?"


Sometimes people are hesitant about selling simply because they have unanswered questions. So, if there's any part of the selling and buying process that’s not clear, be sure to ask me.


Did thinking about these questions help make the decision easier? If you need more help or want to talk about your decision, call today!

Read full post

Imagine driving through a desirable neighbourhood and, just as you turn a corner, you see the absolutely perfect home. Guess what? It's for sale! But, there’s a problem. Your current property isn't on the market. In fact, until this moment, you hadn’t seriously considered moving.


So what do you do?


Your first step is to find out more about the listing. Get a description of the property. Find out the listing price. Check out the size, layout, number of bedrooms and other features. If it all looks good, schedule a viewing.


Chances are, you can do all that in less than a day.


If you go to see the property and still love it, your next step is to determine if it fits within your budget. To do that, you'll need to quickly find out the Current Market Value of your home — what it will likely sell for — so you can determine how much money you'll have available after your outstanding mortgage and any other costs are deducted. It’s a smart idea to speak to your lender about getting a pre-approved mortgage at this point too.


Next, you'll need to make an offer on the new home. Depending on the competitiveness of the neighbourhood, and the likelihood of multiple offers, you might need to list your home first. That, along with a pre-approved mortgage, will make your offer more credible.


You might end up buying the new home before your current property sells. Although that might cause some jitters, this scenario happens all the time in real estate. If you do the right things, and prepare your home properly, there's a good probability it will sell in time and that everything else regarding the two transactions will go smoothly.


But, you do need to move quickly and make some fast decisions if you want to get that perfect home.


I can help. Call me.

Read full post

On moving day, you'll have a big task. You’ll need to get your possessions from your old property to your new one — ideally without delays or damage! Surprisingly, many people underestimate the time and costs involved in doing that. Careful planning and budgeting are crucial to ensuring moving day goes smoothly.


You basically have three options:


     1. Hire a moving company to handle everything.


     2. Hire a truck and crew, while doing some of the work yourself. (For example, you can pack and help with loading.)


     3. Do it all yourself by renting a moving van and getting friends and family to help.


If you're going with option one, get quotations as early in the buying/selling process as possible. Services, costs and quality vary widely among fullservice moving companies.


If you're going to do some or all of the move yourself, the best place to start is by making a list of what you'll need. In addition to renting a moving van, or hiring a truck and crew, there are many supplies you may require. For example, you’ll need boxes, protective fill and/or wrapping (i.e. bubble wrap), markers for labeling boxes, packing tape, and more.


You may decide to rely on friends to help load the truck on moving day. That's fine. Just be sure you have enough people to do the job within a reasonable timeframe, and confirm everyone's attendance at least a couple of days before.

Read full post

You've probably heard the expression, "The early-bird gets the worm." It refers, of course, to those who get in early and reap the rewards. For example, if you arrive early to a retail store for a big blowout sale, you're likely to get the deals before the inventory runs out. The stragglers who come later miss out.


Well, this same wisdom can be applied to selling your home. Starting the process early — even if that means simply doing some initial planning — gives you the edge in several ways.


First of all, you get extra time for preparation. That means you can get your home cleaned, uncluttered and staged without feeling rushed. You also get more time to find out how much your property will likely sell for on today's market. That's important information, especially if you're also looking to finance a new home.


Secondly, there's less stress. You'll have more time to make the right decisions. The last thing you want is to be scrambling around, last minute, trying to get your home ready for sale.


Finally, with your initial preparations done, you'll be able to put your home on the market at a moment's notice. That's a huge advantage that's likely to lead to selling your property more quickly and for the best price. In fact, by getting an early start on the process, you might even find that right now is the best time to list -- and you'll be able to do so, with confidence.


Want help getting an early start on selling your home? Call me.

Read full post

Imagine you’ve dreamed of living in a particular neighbourhood, perhaps for years, and then, when you're finally ready to make a move, finding out that the area is competitive and buying there is definitely a challenge.


A disappointment? Not necessarily.


There is a lot you can do to buy into a popular neighbourhood, even in competitive offer situations.


Your first step is to start targeting that area now. Find out about property types, prices and trends. In particular, you’ll need to know what price range you should be thinking about, and making sure that it’s going to fit your budget. To do that, you might need to get a determination of the Fair Market Value of your current home.


Next, begin making preparations so you can get a jump on opportunities in that neighbourhood quickly. You don't want to see a great property come on the market and not be ready to make a move. So, get your current home in order so it’s ready for a quick listing.


If possible, make arrangements to get alerted to new listings as soon as they come on the market. Keep in mind that a new listing may not appear online for several days. By getting advance notice, you can be among the first buyers to see the home and have an early advantage over other buyers.


If it's likely there's going to be competing offers for the home you want, there are many strategies that can increase your chances of winning. These involve going in at the right price, minimizing conditions to the offer, presenting the offer appropriately, and negotiating effectively.


Is there a neighbourhood you want to get into? I can help make it happen. Call today.

Read full post

Ideally you should have a week or two available before you list your property in order to stage your home and make it look its best for buyers. But, what if you listed quickly and within hours of the For Sale sign going up a buyer wants to view your property?


In that scenario, you need to do some quick "staging" to get your home ready. Let's assume your property is already clean and tidy. Here are some other things you can do.


     · Open the curtains, even at night. This will make each room seem brighter, more appealing and more spacious.


     · Pull out some boxes or storage bins. Put away personal knick-knacks (like that bowling trophy) and other personal         items to reduce clutter on shelves and countertops.


     · Clear countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms. Put the old toaster oven out-of-sight.


     · Make sure lighting throughout the house is bright and comfortable. In darker areas, plug in a lamp.


     · Clear away as much as you can in the foyer. Make that space look open, uncluttered and welcoming.


     · Move cars out of the driveway. Give the buyer a convenient place to park!


     · Make the beds. Fluff pillows on sofas.


     · Clear away as many items as possible from the closet floors (such as shoes.)


     · Open a window and air out the kitchen, especially if you just finished cooking.


     · Make sure your pet is in a crate or, if possible, out for a walk. Not everyone loves pets.


These staging tips take only a few minutes each, but can make a big difference in the impression your home makes on a buyer. Want more home selling advice? Call today.

Read full post

Imagine going to a restaurant with your family for dinner. You're planning on ordering a nice pasta and salad. Your heart is set on it. But, after you go to the trouble of driving there and getting a table, you discover that pasta is not on the menu.


That’s disappointing!


Of course, it’s only a meal. You can go somewhere else next time. But, what if the same scenario played out once you had moved into a new neighbourhood? Imagine you were counting on public transit being in easy walking distance, but discovered the nearest stop is four blocks away. Argh!


That's why it's important to ensure a neighbourhood has the characteristics you want — before you make an offer on a home you like.


Think about what you want most in a neighbourhood. Consider work, commuting, schools, playgrounds, noise level, walking and cycling, hobbies, shopping, entertainment, etc.


If there is a neighbourhood feature that is very important to you, check it out for yourself. For example, if easy access to a main highway is desirable for commuting, take the route for a test drive.


You can get a lot of information on a neighbourhood through the listed property's description and MLS listing.


Want more in-depth insights into an area you're considering? I have that information. Call today.

Read full post

Moving around the corner or even across town is relatively simple because you are likely familiar with the various neighbourhoods and you can access them anytime. If there's a listed home you want to view, you can simply go see it.


Relocating to a different town or city, however, is much more challenging. It may not be possible for you to make multiple visits to see homes for sale. You may also be unfamiliar with the various neighbourhoods.


So what do you do if you want to move out-of-town or need to relocate due to work?


Your first step is to get the information you need. You'll want up-to-date data on the neighbourhoods so you can pinpoint the ones that are the best fit for your needs and lifestyle. You'll also want to get a sense of the types of homes for sale in those neighbourhoods — style, size, features, listing price, etc.


Your next step is to schedule a day to view homes. This visit must be carefully planned so you only see those properties that are likely to be of interest. You don’t want to travel all that way only to end up seeing properties you wouldn't likely buy. What a waste of time!


So, if you’re relocating, you’ll need help. Give me a call. I can help make the relocation go smoothly for you.

Read full post

If you're thinking ahead to your next dream home, the road you need to take to get there may seem confusing. Do you search for listings online? Drop by Open Houses on the weekends? Call the number on For Sale signs?


Let's break it all down! Here are the specific steps you need to take to ensure you find a home that fits your wants, needs and budget.


     1. Find out how much your current property will likely sell for on today’s market.


     2. Arrange for financing, so you know what you can afford.


     3. Select neighbourhoods you'd love to live in. (That may involve some fun exploring!)


     4. Decide on the type of home you want to buy. (For example: detached, three-bedroom, etc.)


     5. Prioritize the property features you want most, so you can be flexible if a feature is missing from a home listed on           the market that is otherwise ideal.


     6. View properties on the market that closely fit your criteria, particularly new listings that may not yet be posted                   online. (Tip: Arrange to be immediately notified of new listings that are a good fit for you.)


     7. When you find a home you want, make an offer designed to get the property — without overpaying.


     8. Negotiate until you secure the deal. This may involve counter-offers.


     9. If the negotiation is skillfully done and all goes well, the home is yours.


As you can see, there isn't a lot of mystery in finding your next dream home. You just need to take the steps and get the professional help you need along the way.


Looking for a real estate agent that can get you to the finish line? Call today

Read full post

Imagine you've found the perfect home. You love it. You've made an offer that's been accepted. So far so good! The only catch? You've wisely made the offer conditional on passing a professional home inspection.


What happens if that home inspection reveals a major issue?


First, you should know that, depending on the age of the property, a home inspection will typically turn up at least a few areas of concern. The inspector might find loose insulation in the attic that is thinning out or roofing shingles that will need replacing in two or three years.


Issues like those are not usually deal-breakers.


However, if the home inspector finds a major issue — such as old wiring that's worn and presents a safety concern — then you're facing a potentially high cost of repair should the deal go through.


In a situation like that, as your real estate agent, I will address the issue with the seller, usually through the seller's agent. Since neither of you will want to lose the deal, the seller often agrees to get the repair done at his own expense or, have some or all of the estimated repair cost deducted from the sale price.


Will the deal be in jeopardy? Usually not. In most cases, if you have a real estate agent like me working in your best interests, it all works out.

Read full post

For some people, the thought of listing their home for sale is stressful. They worry about all the things they have to do — and all the things that might go wrong.


Luckily, it doesn't have to be that way. Here are some tips for making your home sale go smoothly:


     · Give yourself time to prepare. If you're thinking of selling six months from now, start preparing your property now.             Do any necessary staging, and get it looking its best. Avoid doing these tasks at the last minute.


     · Set the right price. Pricing your property too high will likely result in few, if any, buyers coming to see it. You might           end up having to lower your price later, causing your home to linger even longer on the market. That's stress you             don't need!


     · Have a flexible viewing schedule. If you make it too difficult for buyers to see your property, they might lose interest         or simply choose to buy another home. Be as flexible as possible when a buyer wants to view your property.


     · Plan get-away activities. When a buyer comes for a scheduled viewing, don't be home. Instead, plan some fun               activities for your family. Think: playground, shopping, cycling, the zoo, etc.


     · Accept the ups and downs. Prospective buyers might say they love your home and plan to make an offer. Then               you don't hear from them again! It happens! Accept the inevitable ups and downs of selling your home.


     · Get help with repairs. You'll probably have things that need to be fixed around the home, like a dripping faucet that         needs repair or a room that needs painting. If possible, hire a professional to do some of that work.


     · Finally, work with a great real estate agent. That will make the biggest difference in ensuring your move goes                   smoothly and stress-free.


Looking for a real estate agent like that? Call me!

Read full post

Is there an area you'd love to get into that's "hot"? In other words, an area where, as soon as a new home comes up for sale, buyers are clamouring to see it?


It can be intimidating to try to buy into a neighbourhood like that. On one hand, it's the type of area you'd love to call home. After all, there are good reasons why it's so popular! On the other hand, you might be discouraged by the competitiveness and prices.


If you want to live in that neighbourhood, there are a couple of things you can do that will increase your chances of success.


The first is to create a strategy. Most buyers rush to see a listing in a desirable area only when it shows up on MLS — or sometimes only when it's advertised. You'll have a better chance of getting into the neighbourhood if you are alerted the moment a property comes up for sale and you have pre-arranged financing. You’ll get to the head of the line and be ready to make a credible offer.


The second option is to consider targeting other neighbourhoods with similar characteristics. You may have long-dreamed of living in Prestigious Area A, yet there might be a Hidden Gem Area B that is just as good. Maybe it’s even better!


Ultimately, your goal is to find the home you want in a neighbourhood you like. The right strategy will get you there.


Contact me for more information.

Read full post

Wouldn't it be nice if you had all the time in the world to find your next dream home? You could leisurely browse the current listings, select homes you'd like to see, schedule visits on dates that are most convenient for you, and make an offer on a property only after you've had plenty of time to consider all the alternatives.


Sure, that sometimes happens, but it's not typical. Often, people shopping for a home are on a timeline. Sometimes a very tight timeline.


So how do you find your next dream home when you don't have all the time in the world?


First, you need to develop a clear picture of the home you're looking to buy. How many bedrooms? What size of property? What type of structure (two story, back split, etc.)? Then, you need to list your preferences. These might include "large kitchen" or "main floor office".


Once you've completed that exercise, you'll have a more detailed profile of the type of property you want. That will make it easier to decide which of the listings on the market you want to see.


You should also narrow down the area in which you'd like to live. If you have three or four targeted areas, and only consider listings in those areas, your home search will be much faster.


What if you don't know the neighbourhoods well? Visit a few. Drive around. Explore. Get as much neighbourhood data as possible, such as demographics, recreational activities, parks, shopping, schools, etc. Then choose the neighbourhoods that fit your lifestyle.


Finally, the best way to find a new home on a tight schedule is to work with the right real estate agent — someone who, like me, is experienced in the local market.


Call me anytime.

Read full post

Imagine this scenario...


You're shopping for a new home. You drive to visit a recent listing. As you walk through the front doors, you're impressed. Every room looks fantastic. You see yourself relaxing on the spacious patio, cooking in the modern kitchen, and enjoying evenings with the family in the cozy living room.


Your emotions are on overdrive.


This is your dream home!


Should you make an offer? Probably. In fact, you should make that decision quickly in case there are other interested buyers.


However, your decision shouldn't be guided purely by emotion. You want to make sure you take practical matters into consideration too.


For example, you'll want to consider:


       · Is the property within your price range?


       · Does it have everything you need?


       · Do you like the neighbourhood?


       · How old is the property? Are there items, such as the furnace, that may need to be replaced soon?


       · Will it need any major repairs or upgrades?


       · What are the average monthly costs of carrying the home? (Property taxes, utilities, etc.)


Once you've considered the purchase of the home from a practical standpoint, you'll have a lot more confidence in your decision when you make an offer.


Need help? Call me.

Read full post

When you're having a garage sale, one of the toughest tasks is pricing your items. If you put a price tag on your old golf clubs that’s too high, no one will buy them. If you make the price too low, they might sell quickly, but you’ll spend the rest of the day wondering if you could have gotten more!


It's similar to selling your home — except with your home, the stakes are much higher. You want to price your property to sell, but you don’t want to leave any money on the table.


How do you accomplish that?


Setting the right list price for your home requires a combination of skilled calculation and industry savvy.


Let's start with the "calculation" part...


When you work with me, I'll review recently sold properties that are similar to yours in type, size, features and location. Then, using that data, we’ll calculate a range that represents your property's "current market value."


For example, consider a spacious 15-year-old bungalow in a nice neighbourhood. If similar homes in the area have sold for $475,000- $550,000 in the last six months, then it's obvious that your home should sell in that range too. A list price above or below that range would be in the danger zone.


But skilled calculation is only half the task.


Setting your list price also requires expertise in the local market, combined with good old-fashioned gut instinct. That instinct comes from being on the front lines of many property transactions.


That's why working with a good real estate salesperson is so important, when you’re deciding on the list price for your home.


Want to discuss selling your home? Call me.

Read full post

Data supplied by CREB®’s MLS® System. CREB® is the owner of the copyright in its MLS® System. The Listing data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by CREB®.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.
The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.