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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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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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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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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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 built-up 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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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 fully-staged 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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Carbon Monoxide (CO) is invisible and odourless, so you can't actually "watch out for it". However, you should monitor for it because an excessive build-up of this gas in your home can be deadly.

 

Fortunately, there are many types of Carbon Monoxide detectors you can purchase — and most are effective and affordable. Some models simply plug into an outlet. (Many also have a battery backup.)

 

Carbon Monoxide is caused by the incomplete burning of fuel. It can be released by a faulty gas furnace, kerosene heaters, and gas fireplaces. That's why it's a good idea to install detectors in areas close to these fixtures, as well as near bedrooms.

 

Experts say you should always follow manufacturer's instructions when installing CO detectors, and test them regularly. You want to make sure you can hear the alarm from your bedroom.

 

CO build-up in homes is rare. So your detectors may never go off. But, if the alarm does sound, get everyone (including pets) out of the home and into the fresh air. Then call 911. Typically, the fire department will do an inspection and determine the source of the carbon monoxide. 

 

A final tip: Never use your BBQ or outside grill in the garage or, especially, anywhere inside your home. The risk of CO exposure is very high and definitely not worth the convenience of a grilled burger!

 

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According to law enforcement experts, a video-based home security system is significantly more effective than a simple alarm system. The reason is obvious. Burglars don’t want their crimes captured on video, which can then be used as evidence in court.

 

So it’s no wonder that many homeowners have, or are considering, video-based security.

 

These days, most video-based home security systems are wireless. The cameras either record to your DVR (just like recording your favourite TV show), or to a cloud-based server provided by the manufacturer.

 

There are many do-it-yourself systems on the market. You simply place the cameras around your property and do some initial setup. Most of these have motion-detection that records automatically when someone comes into the frame of the camera. These are typically installed at your front door, patio door, main floor windows, and garage door.

 

Some systems will even alert you when a camera turns on, and let you see the action on your smartphone or computer. If it’s a burglary attempt, you have the opportunity to call the police.

 

Although most of these products are weatherproof, check and confirm before purchasing. The packaging will say something like, “Suitable for outdoor use” or “Suitable for all-weather conditions”.

 

Also look for night vision capability. Not all security cameras have that feature.

 

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Is your home office the dining room table? Is it anywhere you can sit down undisturbed with your laptop? If so, you might be interested in converting a room or nook into a dedicated home office. Depending on what you do for a living, there could be a tax advantage to creating this space too.

 

The first step is to pick a spot. Ideally, you want an area where you can work without too many distractions.

 

Next, make sure the spot you’ve chosen can accommodate a desk and any other furnishings you’ll need. Think about what you want within easy reach of your work area. Will you need a place for books and other papers? An extra chair for client meetings? A flipchart? A filing cabinet? Think about all of the options in advance.

 

Then, you’ll want to make sure the spot you picked has the electrical outlets you need, especially if you’re going to have a printer, special lighting, a computer and other items that need power.

 

Finally, you’ll want your home office to be a place where you can enjoy working. So decorate it with that in mind. If you like plants, get plants. If you enjoy golf, have your golf trip pictures hanging on the wall.

 

With a little work, you can quickly create a home office space that is comfortable, functional and enjoyable. It sure beats the dining room!

 

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Next to your home and car, home furnishings represent the most expensive product purchases homeowners make. A mid-quality livingroom set, with sofa and two side chairs, can cost thousands of dollars. That’s why most furniture retailers offer “interest free” and “pay much later” deals to soften the blow.

 

These are basically financing options.

 

Say, for example, you want to purchase furniture for the rec room. The cost is $7,200. The furniture retailer may offer you a deal where you “don’t pay a cent” for six months. As long as you pay the balance within that time, no interest is charged.

 

That sounds like a sweet deal. And it is.  

 

But, personal finance experts will advise you to tread carefully. If you pay off the balance within the “no interest” timeframe, you’ll benefit from the sweet deal, by having deferred the payment. However, if you fall behind on payments, you’ll be hit with a high interest charge. It’s often 20% or more. That can add hundreds of dollars to what you would have originally paid for the purchase.

 

And, even if you paid down most of the balance within the no interest period, you can still get hit hard. Some “no interest” deals charge interest on the original financed amount — not just the remaining balance.

 

The best advice, according to personal finance experts, is to read the fine print carefully and pay off the balance as promptly as you can.

 

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Sometimes the reason for putting your home on the market is crystal clear. For example, you might have a job relocation and need to move. Or, you might have decided to downsize because the kids have left the nest.

 

However, there are many other motivations to list your home that are not as obvious, and yet are still good reasons to make a move. Here are just a few examples...

 

You’re bored with your home and are looking for a change.
 
There’s something you’ve always wanted in a home that your current property doesn’t have, such as a wooded backyard.
 
You want to be closer to work, or to activities you enjoy, such as golf.
 
You want to be closer to family.
 
The neighbourhood is changing in a way that no longer fits the lifestyle you want.
 
There’s another neighbourhood you’ve always dreamed of living in.
 
Your tastes have changed and you want to live in a different type of home.

 

None of these reasons makes it an absolute necessity to list your property and find a new home. Yet, they’re all worth considering, especially if moving will make you and your family happier, and provide you with a more desirable lifestyle.

 

Want to talk about the possibilities? Call today.

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