Your neighbourhood has a lot of features that can help sell your home faster. Unfortunately, buyers don’t usually notice those features just by driving around. So, you need to make sure they get all the information they need about your neighbourhood.

 

For example, say homes don’t go on the market often in your area. That’s an indication that the quality of life in the neighbourhood is so good that no one wants to leave! In real estate we measure the area’s “turnover rate”, and it’s handy data to have when listing your home.

 

Another bit of data that buyers can’t simply see is the local crime rate. But, most police departments keep those statistics. If your neighbourhood has a low crime rate, that’s an obvious plus to sellers.

 

Demographic data can also be helpful when selling your property. If your neighbourhood has a lot of families, for example, that’s going to be appealing to buyers with kids.

 

Even local development plans can play a role in making your home more attractive to buyers. If a new ramp to a major highway is in the works nearby, getting to work is going to be easier. That’s a big benefit to commuters.

 

Other types of data that can help sell your home include:

 

          • Planned local construction.

 

          • Proposals for neighbourhood improvements. (For example, a new playground.)

 

          • Rates at which local property values are increasing.

 

Any information that shows the advantages of living in your area is going to be useful when selling.

 

By the way, this is the kind of information I put together to provide to prospective buyers when selling your home. Contact me today.

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Have you ever considered renting out a room to a student or renovating your basement into a self-contained rental apartment?

 

It’s a big decision. There are many pros and cons to consider.

 

On the pro side, renting can provide you with additional income. An extra few hundred dollars a month can go a long way towards paying down your mortgage or splurging on an exotic summer vacation.

 

Creating rentable living space in your home — for example, an “in-law suite” featuring a kitchenette and bathroom — may also increase your property’s market value.

 

On the con side, you’ll have more costs and responsibilities as a landlord. For example, you might need to purchase extra insurance because basic home insurance policies typically do not cover rental units, even if you’re just renting out a room. You’ll also be responsible for dealing with repairs sometimes in the middle of the night.

 

Also, if you’re not careful about the renter you choose, you might end up with a “problem tenant”. For example, you could have a tenant who is consistently late on rent payments or simply stops paying. That can be stressful.

 

If you’re deciding whether or not to rent, be sure to check local laws and regulations. Many jurisdictions have very strict rules regarding renting out space in a residential property, and those rules change frequently. Make sure you get the latest information.

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Hopefully, this will never happen to you. But, there are circumstances – a fire, for example – when you and your family would need to exit through a window.

 

It pays to be prepared for that eventuality.

 

Your first step is to determine which windows are safe to use as an exit. There should be at least one on each level.

 

The windows you select will need to provide enough space for a person to climb through (at least a 20 inch opening). Make sure everyone knows which windows are “safe exit” windows, and how to open them. Keep in mind that windows may have screens, so ensure everyone knows how to remove those as well.

 

For a second floor window, consider purchasing a portable escape ladder. These are compact and easily stowed in a closet or under a bed. When you need it, it hangs off the sill and expands into a ladder all the way to the ground. It’s not designed for everyday use, but it will get you and your family out!

 

Rehearsal is a good idea. You want everyone to know how to get to the nearest “safe exit” window – especially in the dark.

 

Finally, keep your windows in a good state of repair. According to the National Fire Safety Association, windows should open easily for everyone, and should not have anything in front of them that will prevent or delay a quick exit.

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Imagine you were selling your car, and a prospective buyer was on the way over to see it. What would you do? You would probably make your vehicle look as clean and shiny as possible, inside and out.

 

The same holds true if you’re selling your home and there’s a potential buyer on the way. You want the buyer to be wow’d by your property. Here’s a handy checklist to follow:

 

• Clean every room. Make your entire house look as “guest ready” as possible.

 

• As much as is feasible given the time, reduce clutter. Consider packing some items into boxes and storing them in the basement or garage.

 

• Get pets out of the house. You can take them for a walk, have a neighbour watch them, or take them to a good kennel.

 

• Turn on the lights, even during the day. You want each room to look bright.

 

• If there are any maintenance issues, such as a dripping faucet, let your Realtor know. Often, it’s best for buyers to be told rather than discover such issues themselves.

 

• Open the curtains, except in those rooms where the sun will be uncomfortably strong during the viewing.

 

• Move your vehicles from the driveway so the buyer can park there. (That can help them imagine living there, which is what you want!)

 

• Make sure your foyer is especially clean and uncluttered. It’s the first “room” the buyer visits.

 

• Avoid cooking just before a viewing. Even if the meal is wonderful, the aroma may linger. (Some people don’t like the smell of certain dishes, such as fish.)

 

• Freshen up the outdoor space. Mow the lawn. Sweep the walkway.

 

This viewing checklist will help you prepare your home quickly, so when the buyer comes in your front door, there’s a much better chance he or she will be impressed.

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You never want to smell smoke in your home and realize there’s a fire. That’s why it is important to be diligent about fire safety. Experts recommend that homeowners be especially careful with the following common household items:

 

• Portable heaters. Never leave one in a room unattended. Make sure paper and other combustible materials are well away from these units.

 

• Electronics chargers. We all want our computers, tablets and smartphones to charge quickly. The price we pay for that convenience is chargers that pull in a lot of power, making them very hot. Keep them away from combustible material, as well as other wiring.

 

• Smoking materials. Be careful with cigarettes, pipes, cigars and other such items. Bedding and upholstery, which burn slowly and dangerously, are the source of 75% of smoking-related fires.

 

• Candles. Never leave candles unattended for any reason. If you must leave the room, extinguish them.

 

• Flammable liquids. These can include paints, thinners and some brands of cleaning products. Read labels carefully and follow the safety instructions.

 

To paraphrase a famous expression: An ounce of prevention is worth not having to deal with a house fire.

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Buyers are using the internet to search for properties more than ever before. In some cases, they can even go on a “virtual” tour of a home using their smartphone or desktop computer. So, you might be wondering if the oldfashioned Open House still works these days?

 

The answer is yes. Otherwise, you wouldn’t see them advertised. If Open Houses didn’t work, no one would be doing them!

 

No matter how good the internet gets, it can’t compete with a buyer being able to visit a property in person, walk through the rooms, stand in the backyard and imagine himself BBQ-ing with his family, stroll the area, and meet neighbours.

 

An Open House makes it easy for buyers to do just that.

 

It’s an open invitation for them to come by at a specific date and time, to see the property and chat with the REALTOR®. It’s a casual environment, which many buyers prefer. Some buyers, in fact, are more comfortable going to an Open House before scheduling a private viewing.

 

Will you need an Open House to sell your home?

 

That depends on a lot of factors. When I work with clients, I put together a marketing plan designed to sell the property quickly and for the best price possible. Depending on the circumstances, that may or may not include an Open House.

 

If you have questions about what would be involved in a quick and successful sale of your home, contact me. I’d be happy to chat and answer your questions.

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You’re at work when the thought hits you, “Did I lock the door when I left this morning?” You check your smartphone, see that you didn’t, and click the “LOCK” button. Now your house is secure.

 

That’s home automation for you!

 

But, is home automation a good idea? That depends on a number of factors.

 

On the pro side, home automation can improve your quality of life. There are automation products that will adjust heating/cooling depending on whether or not you’re home, make your morning coffee when you get out of bed, and the list goes on and on. These conveniences save you time.

 

Home automation can also give you peace-of-mind. It’s comforting to be able to remotely see the inside of your home and check that everything’s okay.

 

Home automation can also make your property more appealing to buyers. Traditionally, buyers like homes with security systems, and will appreciate other automation gizmos, too.

 

The only downside is the cost. Like most new technology, home automation products can be pricey and may become out-of-date within just a few years.

 

Thinking about it? Experts advise you to do your research first. Check out product reviews online. Then, if you determine that a particular product is going to benefit you, go for it!

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Is selling your property the furthest thing from your mind? Well, here are some reasons for listing your property that you might not have considered.

 

1. Your property may be worth more than you think. (It’s difficult to determine market value on your own. I can calculate it for you. Give me a call.)

 

2. You might qualify for a better home than you anticipate.

 

3. Perhaps you are tired of your current property and want a change.

 

4. There may be homes on the market in a neighbourhood in which you’ve always wanted to live.

 

5. Your current property may no longer meet your needs.

 

6. Your neighbourhood may have changed in ways you don’t like.

 

7. You might be ready to downsize or upsize and you no longer want to put that off.

 

8. You may want to sell in the fall, so you can have a fresh start in a new home in the new year.

 

9. Depending on the type of home you’re considering, you could end up with lower mortgage payments or no mortgage at all.

 

10.You might want to move to a home that’s more conveniently located near work, family and hobbies.

 

Of course, you may have your own reasons for listing this month. Why not discuss them with a real estate expert? Me. I can answer your questions and explain the options available to you.

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According to a recent study, the average homeowner pays more attention to kitchen stove safety than they do BBQ safety. But, the fact is, a BBQ mishap can be just as devastating. So, it pays to know the latest safety tips.

 

     • Keep BBQs at least 8 feet away from your house.

   

     • Check for venture tube blockages regularly. (Spiders are notorious for spinning webs in there.)

 

     • Clean the grill frequently to prevent flare ups. A grease fire on the grill can continue burning                                              even after you’ve turned the BBQ off.

 

     • Don’t position your BBQ close to foliage, such as under a tree or next to shrubs.

 

     • Never BBQ in an enclosed area, such as a garage, even if the space is well ventilated.

 

     • Avoid leaving the grill unattended, especially when cooking greasy foods such as sausages, beef burgers or steaks.

 

     • Do not let children BBQ.

 

Finally, make sure your BBQ is turned completely off after use. It’s a good idea to double-check this when making the rounds and locking up your home for the night.

 

Experts say you should treat a BBQ as you would a camp fire — with care.

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You might naturally assume that it is most important to talk to a Realtor when you’re selling or buying a home. But there are many other circumstances in which it makes sense to give me a call. Here are a few examples.

 

1. When you’re at the “thinking about it” stage

 

If you’re just thinking about selling your home, and haven’t made a firm decision yet, you might feel uncomfortable calling a Realtor. Don’t be. In fact, I welcome your call. We can discuss what your current property will likely sell for on today’s market, and determine the type of home you qualify to buy. That way, you’ll have some clarity and be able to make a more informed decision.

 

2. If you’re nervous about the selling process

 

If you haven’t sold a home before, you might be concerned about what’s involved in the process. You might even worry that putting your home on the market is going to be a lot of work and create a lot of turbulence for you and your family.

 

Fortunately, selling your home doesn’t need to be scary. In fact, a big part of my job as a Realtor is to make the process as smooth and trouble-free as possible.

 

So if you have concerns about selling your home, you should give me a call.

 

3. If you have questions

 

You likely have questions about the local real estate scene from time to time. You might have questions like: “How much did that home around the corner sell for?”; “Is now a good time to make a move, or should I wait until the market changes?”; and, “How much is my current home worth?”

 

When you have questions like those, you don’t need to dig for answers on your own. You can give me a call. As an expert in the local market, I can give you the answers you need.

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Imagine this scenario...

 

You purchase a new home and move in. A few weeks later, you hear a strange rumbling sound. It’s the furnace. It’s only a year old, yet it’s sputtering like it’s twenty. You realize you’ll have to call in an HVAC contractor to get it fixed.

 

You’re thinking, “Ouch! This is going to be expensive.”

 

Well, maybe not. You see, since that furnace is relatively new, it might be covered by its original warranty — even for you, the new owner.

 

But a warranty is useless if you don’t know it exists.

 

Recent studies suggest that upwards of 50% of people pay to get items fixed that were actually covered by a warranty. So, when purchasing a new home, be sure to ask this simple question: “What warranties do you have for items, materials or workmanship in this house?”

 

Warranties are common on new stoves, fridges, washers, dryers and other big ticket appliances. Some such warranties are transferrable, which means they are still in force when the items pass from one owner to another.

 

Even less expensive items, such as electronic thermostats and automatic garage door openers, may be covered by a transferrable manufacturer’s warranty.

 

If the home you’re purchasing is relatively new (say, less than 10 years old), the builder’s warranty may also still be in force. That can be handy if a structural problem arises.

 

Even recent renovations, may have come with a labour and/or installation warranty of some kind.

 

As you can see, warranties are everywhere! The more you’re aware of them, the more you’ll save when something needs repair or replacement.

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If you want to transform a room into something that’s functional, beautiful and perfectly matched to your taste, then you might want to hire an interior designer.

 

It’s an interior designer’s job to come up with imaginative ideas that will wow you.

 

It’s a myth that interior designers just deal with paint colours, décor and furnishings. In fact, according to the Interior Designers Institute, these professionals have the training needed to handle all aspects of a renovation or remodeling project, including selecting and managing contractors. They can direct a project from beginning to end.

 

If you want to renovate your basement into a stunning home theatre and gathering place, an interior designer can:

 

• Draw out several concepts for you to choose from,

 

• Purchase the best building materials,

 

• Hire the contractors, and

 

• Manage the project.

 

He or she can even pick out classic movie pictures for the walls!

 

There are many professional associations that have “Find an Interior Designer” links on their websites. In the U.S. check out the Professional Association for Interior Designers (www.asid.org). In Canada, it’s the Interior Designers of Canada (www.idcanada.org).

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Some people don’t give hallways much thought when painting and decorating. Instead, they focus on rooms.

 

The fact is, a great looking hallway can have the same, if not more, impact than the most eye-catching family room or bedroom, especially when you need to go through the hallway to get there!

 

Here are some painting tips that can bring a dull hallway to life:

 

      • Paint the hallway the reverse of the rooms around it. If the rooms are dark, use light colours in the hall. If the rooms         feature simple colours, consider being more dramatic in your choice of hallway paint.

 

      • In a longer hallway, using two shades of the same colour on perpendicular walls can make the space seem less             tunnel-like. (The darker shade goes on the shorter walls.)

 

      • Darker colours can work well if the space is well-lit and there are few, if any, shadows cast.

 

      • If you decide to paint the halls white, select an off-white or eggshell white. Avoid stark white as it will reflect light in           a way that’s unpleasant.

 

One more tip: Pictures can go a long way in making a hallway look inviting, regardless of the wall colour.

 

Good luck with the painting!

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Imagine there’s a neighbourhood you’d love to live in someday, but, every time you drive through, you rarely, if ever, see a For Sale sign. It’s as if homes get gobbled up by buyers the moment they get listed.

 

It’s true, properties do tend to sell quickly in desirable, in-demand neighbourhoods. Does that mean you’re destined to either hope for a lucky break or miss out on ever living there?

 

Fortunately, no. There are practical things you can do to increase your chances of getting into that neighbourhood.

 

Your first step is to find out the kind of new home you can afford. You want to get your financial ducks in a row so when a listing does come up in the area, you’re able to respond quickly. Find out the average price range of homes in the neighbourhood. Then, if necessary, talk to your lender or mortgage broker.

 

The second step is to get your current property ready for sale. You don’t necessary need to list it now, but you want to be in a position to do so quickly, if necessary. You may need to clean up and declutter, get repairs done, and spruce up your home in other ways.

 

The third step is to talk to me.

 

You see, listings in popular neighbourhoods often move fast. By the time you see them advertised on the internet, they may be gone. I can closely monitor listings in that area for you, so the moment one comes up that meets your criteria, you can be alerted. This greatly increases your chances of getting that home.

 

So if there is a dream neighbourhood you’d love to get into, give me a call.

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There has been a lot of emphasis lately on the importance of “going green”. That simply means being environmentally-responsible. You likely already recycle, use energy-efficient lights, and turn down your thermostat when no one is home.

 

Yet, most of us don’t think about the garden or flower bed when we “think green”.

 

We should. Here are a few practical things you can do to tend to outdoor plants — without negatively impacting the environment.

 

• Pull weeds instead of using a weed killer.

 

• Avoid strong pesticides. (Products that target only one or two types of insects tend to be less harsh.)

 

• Don’t use flower bed ornaments (i.e. gnomes) that might bleed colour dye into the soil. (Ask your garden centre before you buy.)

 

• Be careful not to leave hand spades, trowels, and other garden tools lying around, especially over winter. They can rust, which contaminates the soil.

 

These tips may seem minor, but if you want to be environmentallyconscious, every little bit helps!

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Imagine buying a product from a store, taking it home, and then discovering there’s a problem with it. Disappointing, yes, but not a catastrophe. You can simply take it back for repair or exchange.

 

But, what if it’s moving day, and you discover there’s a problem with your new home? Whoa. A house isn’t so easily returned!

 

What are the most common problems encountered on moving day?

 

• A delay in getting the keys.

 

• The seller not having completely moved out.

 

•An item expected to be included with the property is missing. (For example, the window blinds.)

 

• Something needs repair that was not disclosed by the seller, nor did it come up during inspection. (For example, the dishwasher not working.)

 

• Damage to the property caused by the seller. (For example, a heavy item dropped during the move and cracking a floor tile.)

 

Fortunately, these are rare events. In most cases, you can expect no serious issues when you move into your new home.

 

But, if something is wrong, you have options. So, call me immediately. In all likelihood, I will be able to quickly resolve the issue.

 

If it’s a serious matter, such as missing items, I may get your real estate lawyer involved to arrange for the return of the item(s) or compensation.

 

So don’t worry. Let the professionals handle it. You can just enjoy your new home!

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When you suffer damage to, (or the loss of), your home or its contents, you expect your insurance company to help you out. And, most do a good job of doing just that.

 

Still, it’s a good idea to review your policy with your insurance advisor and find out what’s covered and what isn’t. You don’t want to discover that your policy will not cover the cost of repairing the damage caused by a flood in your laundry room.

 

Pay particular attention to coverage in the case of water damage. Some insurance policies don’t cover floods and sewer backup unless an additional rider is purchased.

 

Also, check liability limits. Ask your advisor to recommend an appropriate level. Finally, make sure you know exactly how much your home is insured for. Are you covered for the full replacement cost? Are you comfortable with that coverage or the actual cash value?

 

Having the right insurance gives you peace-of-mind and is an important part of enjoying your home.

 

Keep in mind that experts advise you to review your insurance with your advisor. Ask lots of questions. Make sure you understand your coverage fully.

 

By the way, if you’re looking for an insurance advisor, I’m well-connected in the local “home” industry. I may be able to give you a couple of names of good, reputable professionals. Give me a call.

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Imagine finding the perfect home, only to discover there is serious interest from at least a dozen other buyers. It’s like scrambling for the last piece of cake at a buffet!

 

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help get the home you want, even in a highly competitive market. Here are just a few ideas:

 

• Only view a few ideal properties at a time. If you see too many, and thus spread yourself too thin, you risk homes slipping through your fingers.

 

• Be realistic about price. Focus on finding a great home that you can afford, rather than trying to find a bargain.

 

• Consider homes that need some work. They get less interest than perfectly staged properties, yet can turn out to be a dream home.

 

• Be prepared to make an offer with as few conditions as possible. An offer conditional on passing inspection is usually fine, but in a competitive situation, offers with other conditions will likely be turned down flat.

 

• Make your decisions quickly. If there are likely to be other interested buyers, you want to get your offer in early.

 

• Make the right offer. To win the deal, you want your offer to be as enticing as possible to the seller — especially when it comes to price.

 

Yes, it can be tough finding an ideal home in a hot market, but I can help.

Give me a call and I’ll show you how.

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Decorative moulding is one of the most eye-catching ways to upgrade a room. You’re probably accustomed to seeing standard baseboard moulding installed where your floor meets the wall. But, there are many other types.

For example:

 

• Crown moulding for ceilings.

 

• Panel moulding for a southern colonial look.

 

• Chair rail moulding, which is very distinctive on walls.

 

• Apron moulding for window sills.

 

• Entablature moulding for above doorways.

 

Decorative moulding comes in a dizzying array of styles. Interior designers recommend taking home samples, just as you would take paint swatches, to test out ideas.

 

In addition to style choices, you also need to select the material you prefer. Moulding can be made of wood, plaster, laminate, composite, fiberboard, vinyl and other materials. There are pros and cons to each. Generally, the higher-priced options are more attractive and durable. (If you select wood, you typically have the additional option of “finished or unfinished”. If you choose unfinished, you of course, will be painting it yourself.)

 

Choosing the right moulding for the look you want is the toughest part of the job. Installation is a lot easier and most people with DIY experience have no problems.

 

So if you want to add some magic to your walls, consider decorative moulding. It can turn a room from standard to stunning.

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When you list your home for sale, you want as many buyers as possible to find out about it. So consider how many friends, neighbours and work colleagues you have. Then think about how many people they know.

 

The number is likely in the hundreds. One of those people could be looking for a property just like yours.

 

That’s why getting your friends to spread the word about your listing is so effective. How do you do that?

 

One strategy is to have a moving party. This gives you an opportunity to ask your friends, as a group, to tell others about your listing.

 

You can also encourage your friends to bring a guest who is currently in the market for a new home.

 

Another good idea is to put a profile of your listing on Facebook. This is the fastest and most convenient way for your Facebook friends to point others to your listing.

 

Do you have friends who work at larger organizations like banks and factories? They probably have access to an employee lunch room with a bulletin board. You can spread the word by asking them to put up an information sheet on your listing.

 

Try one or more of these ideas. Combined with my marketing plan for you, they can help get more qualified buyers to your doorstep.

 

Want more tips on promoting your listing? Call today.

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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.