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 full-service 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.

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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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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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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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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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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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