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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Ideally, you would like buyers to wait until they’ve viewed your whole property before they judge it. However, the reality is, buyers start forming an impression of your home as soon as they see it from the curb. So, it pays to do everything you can to improve your property's "curb appeal".


Here are some ideas:


     · You can improve the impact of your landscaping by trimming hedges, removing any unsightly weeds, and cutting             the grass. Planting just a few fresh flowers can make a big impact.


     · If your main entrance door is old, a fresh coat of paint will make it look like new. In some cases, the effect is                     significant.


     · Remove any items that might distract the buyer from forming a good first impression. For example, garbage cans,           stored items along the side of the property, etc.


     · Make sure the curtains and blinds on your front windows are open during viewings. That will make your home look         more friendly and appealing.


     · If your driveway has grease stains and other blemishes, consider renting a power washer and giving the driveway           a thorough cleaning.


     · Clean your front windows. If possible, also clean the exterior panes.


Finally, if possible, park your vehicles on the street and away from your home. Doing this will not only make your home look more inviting to buyers, it will give them a convenient place to park.


Most of these tips can be done in less than a day. Yet, they can make a big difference in your home's curb appeal. They are worth the effort!

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If you're working with a landscaping contractor, you want to develop a good working relationship with that professional, so you can avoid delays, stress and other issues. After all, the last thing you want is a tree planted in the wrong spot because of a misunderstanding!


The same holds true when working with a real estate agent. Whether you're buying, selling, or both, you want the process to go smoothly and successfully. Creating an ideal working relationship with your agent is an important step toward making that happen.


How do you do that?


First, ask your agent to go over the process with you. If you're selling your home, you want to understand the steps the agent is going to take. That way, there will be fewer surprises. In particular, you’ll want to discuss how viewings will be handled. You'll need to come to an agreement as to when your home will be available for viewings, how short-notice viewings will be handled, and whether or not "lockbox access" will be needed.


Don't be afraid to ask questions, even if you're worried about seeming to be naive. (You won't!) You don't want to have unanswered questions or concerns between you and your agent.


Also, know that misunderstandings and mistakes can happen in any relationship with a professional. So if an issue comes up, discuss it right away. Don't let it fester.


Finally, remember that your agent should be a professional like me, with expertise in buying and selling in this market. When I make a recommendation regarding pricing, prepping your home, viewings, etc. remember that I am working in your best interest. I want to sell your property, quickly and for a good price, just as much as you do!


Looking for an agent you can trust? Contact me today!

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If you need to upsize or you’re simply ready for a change, it’s tempting to consider a major renovation. After all, renovating means you don’t have to go through the process of selling your property and buying another more suitable home. You just fix up the one you’ve got!


However, you need to carefully consider the pros and cons of renovating before going this route. You don’t want to invest in a costly renovation only to end up with a home that still doesn’t meet your needs.


Say, for example, your current property doesn’t have a home office. Since all the bedrooms are taken, you decide to renovate a portion of the basement. Building that new home office may seem like a simple project, but once you consider new electrical, flooring, lighting, etc., it really isn’t. Like most renovations, it will probably cost more than you think. Plus, you’ll need to consider whether you’ll really want to work in the basement.


In this case, it might make more sense to find a new home with an extra bedroom that can be converted, or, better still, a dedicated home office space — with windows!

Of course, there are many circumstances in which a renovation may be the best way to go. If you don’t like your kitchen, for example, upgrading it may not only get you the kitchen you want, but also add value to your property.


Basically, you need to ask yourself: "Which is more likely to get me the home I really want – a renovation or a new home?"


If your answer is a new home, then there is probably a property on the market right now that would meet your needs. Let’s talk.

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Is your home feeling a little cramped? If so, there are many relatively inexpensive ways to free up more space. Here are some ideas:


1. Convert traditional into non-traditional space. We’re all familiar with converting a spare bedroom into a home office or kids’ playroom. You can also create space by finding other uses for pantries and walk-in closets.


2. Explore smart storage solutions. There are many products on the market that revolutionize how you store things. For example, there are closet organizers available that double storage capacity. Check out the options at your local home improvement store.


3. Get rid of unneeded furnishings. Is there a chair no one ever uses? Is there a side table that takes up a lot of space, with nothing but a few knick-knacks on it? Consider selling these items to free up some space.


4. Think high. Install storage shelves, hangers or baskets high up in the kitchen and laundry room. Use that storage for items you only access infrequently.


5. Consider storage rental. If you have furnishings and other items that you don't want to get rid of, consider renting a storage unit. There may be economical options in your area.


With a little creative thinking, you’ll be amazed by how much space you can create within your existing rooms.

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There are many good reasons to put your property on the market. Some examples include a relocation, the kids leaving the nest, the need for something bigger or smaller, and the list goes on and on.


However, there are also some less-than-obvious indicators that it may be time to sell. Consider the following:


1. Your Property is no longer a Good "Fit"


Your home may have been perfect for you when you bought it. But things change. Families grow. Needs evolve. For any number of reasons, your property may no longer be a good fit for you. If that's the case, it makes sense to at least take a look at what's available on the market. Who knows? Your next "perfect" home may be for sale right now — within your price range!


2. The Neighbourhood is Changing


You may have been in love with the neighbourhood when you first moved in. But, over time, the characteristics of any area can change. Those changes don’t necessarily mean the neighbourhood is getting worse. In fact, it may be changing in a positive way; perhaps becoming more urban. But, "more urban" may not be what you want. So take a look at the direction your neighbourhood is heading. Ask yourself, "Do I still want to be living here in two years?"


3. You're Ready for Your Dream Home


Remember when you purchased your current property? Did it have every feature you wanted? Was it your dream home? Or, did you have to compromise on a few things, such as the size of the kitchen? If you had to make some tough choices back then, it might be time for you to finally get the home of your dreams.


Those are just three indicators it may be time for you to make a move. Of course, there are many others.

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According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than 160 people are injured each year in BBQ mishaps. That doesn't sound like a lot considering the thousands of people who flip burgers on their backyard grills each year. But, you certainly don't want to be one of those injured!


The best way to prevent fire and injury is maintenance. Remarkably, few people are even aware that BBQ maintenance is necessary. But, it is.


Every spring, experts say you should clean out the venturi tubes. Those are the little metal pipes that carry propane or natural gas. Pipe cleaners work well, although hardware stores also carry specialized tools for this purpose. The goal is to clean out any builtup dirt and debris. Don't be surprised if you find spider webs inside a venturi tube!


Your BBQ grills should also be cleaned with soap and water each year. Just scraping them before barbequing isn’t enough. Fat and oils from cooking can build up on grills and harden. If you're getting a lot of flare-ups, this may be the cause.


Finally, make sure nuts and bolts are tightened regularly, and replace any rusty hardware. Regular use, heat and weather can loosen or weaken bolts, particularly on the frame. Several fires each year are caused by BBQs tipping over or collapsing.

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Online shopping is growing by an average of 20 million new shoppers each year. That's a lot of people clicking and buying! You may be one of them.


However, there's a cost to online shopping that's all too easy to overlook. Shipping fees. Imagine saving $10 on a luxury cookware set, only to be hit with a $15 delivery charge. Ouch.


So how do you avoid those fees?


First of all, always check the fine print on the checkout screen. Notice what the shipping cost (if any) will be before you click the final purchase button. Keep in mind that the base shipping fee shown may update — and become higher — once you've typed in your address.


Some e-tailers offer free delivery for orders over a certain threshold amount; for example, $50. If there's more you can add to an order to get the shipping fee waived, it may be worth it.


There are a few e-tailers, most notably Amazon, that offer yearly memberships where one of the benefits is free delivery on all orders. Those kinds of memberships may be worth checking out if you do a lot of online shopping with a particular company.


A final tip: Always check for multiple delivery options. Some e-tailers, list an express shipping charge as the default option on the check-out screen, but have a free standard delivery option if you choose it.


Takeaway: Shipping fees take the fun out of online shopping. Do what you can to reduce or eliminate them!

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You've probably heard about "home staging". As the name implies, it's all about arranging each room in your home in a way that will make the best impression on buyers. Here's what you need to know about staging if you're thinking of listing your property.


1. Staging can get you a higher price.


On average, a fully-staged home tends to sell for 17% more than an unstaged home of the same type in the same local market. Depending on the current market value of your property, doing some staging in your home could put thousands of extra dollars in your pocket, post-sale.


2. It can speed up the sale.


A study by the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) showed that fullystaged homes spend an average of 90% less time on the market. So, if you need to sell quickly – without dropping your price – or you just want the comfort of having offers come in sooner, staging will definitely help.


3. You don't have to go crazy.


Completely staging every room in your home is going to give you the full benefits of this strategy. However, you don't have to go that far. In fact, just implementing a few simple staging techniques to some key rooms can make a big difference.


4. Get professional help or advice.


When it comes to home staging, don't guess at it. Get professional help or advice. As a REALTOR®, I have a lot of expertise in this area and often provide clients with proven, do-it-yourself staging tips and suggestions. If necessary, I can also recommend a professional stager. Contact me anytime.

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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.