Staging is all about dressing up your home so that it looks its best to buyers. This can involve anything from rearranging furniture and doing some home improvements, to painting and redecorating, to even replacing existing furnishings and other items. The goal is to make key rooms look worthy of a magazine cover!


But is it worth the effort? Can’t you just clean and tidy and, perhaps, do a little painting?


Sometimes you can — especially if your home is in high demand and likely to get multiple offers.


However, in most cases, staging can help sell your property faster and for a higher price.


In fact, studies done by the home staging industry consistently reveal that staged homes sell for an average of 5-23% above list price. (That varies, of course, depending on the local market.)


Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to do extensive staging. You may, for example, be able to focus on only key rooms on the main floor — where buyers tend to form their lasting impressions — and then simply clean and declutter the other rooms.


When it comes to staging, you have many options. Each home is different and will have different staging needs.


Want to find out how staging may impact the sale of your property? Call today.

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When you think about selling your property, do you dwell on the possible work and stress involved? You're not alone. Many homeowners share the same concerns.


But it doesn't have to be that way.


In fact, there are plenty of ways to add some fun, anticipation, and even a sense of adventure to the selling process. Here are just a few ideas:


  1. Plan fun things to do when your home is being shown. That can include walks, sports activities, or trying something you and your family have never done before.
  2. Declutter for your own benefit. Instead of thinking about decluttering as a chore required for the sale, focus instead on how much more comfortable your home will be after decluttering. Studies consistently show that less clutter reduces stress and increases a sense of well-being.
  3. Get everyone in your home anticipating the move in a positive way. Put pictures of your next home, including neighbourhood shots, on the fridge door. Sit together on the computer and explore your new neighbourhood's features and amenities.
  4. Celebrate milestones in the selling process. For example, when you're finished preparing your property for sale, go out to celebrate. Make a checklist of milestones and how you'll celebrate each one.
  5. Get the help you need. A big part of the stress of selling is the anticipated work involved. Remember, you don't have to do it all yourself. Much of what needs to be done can be handled by contractors and other professionals. 


There are many other ways to make selling your home a positive and turbulent-free experience. Give me a call if you'd like more ideas and suggestions.

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If you’re thinking about selling in the spring, don’t wait until the new year to start planning. In fact, you’ll save yourself a lot of work and get ahead of the game if you start planning now.


What’s that old saying? The early bird gets the worm! In this case, by starting the process this month, you’ll be in excellent shape when you’re ready to list in the spring.


Here are just a few examples of what you can do in December to get the process started:


  • Walk your property and note any maintenance issues that need attention.
  • Decide which items to stow or sell to declutter your home.
  • Determine what improvements you’ll need to make in order for your home to look great to buyers (i.e. painting.)
  • Find out approximately how much your property will likely sell for in the spring market.
  • Clarify the kind of new home you’d like to move into, including ideal neighbourhoods.
  • Look into your financing options, so you’ll know the price range you’ll be shopping within.
  • Connect with any professionals you may need, such as contractors, a mover, and a real estate lawyer.
  • Take advantage of any December shopping deals for products you may need, such as home improvement project materials, packing supplies, etc.


As you can see, the more prepared you are this month, the more stress-free and successful the home selling process will be for you in the spring.


And one more tip: contact me to get the conversation started about selling your home in the new year. It’s coming fast!
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When you’re shopping for a new home, you probably want the property to be as “move in ready” as possible. That way, you can... well... just move in!


However, there are a lot of fantastic properties on the market that need some work. For example, you might see a home that has everything you need, but the kitchen is long overdue for a renovation. Or, you might view a property that requires a lot of repairs and painting — tasks that, at first glance, seem overwhelming.


You don’t want to just pass on a property that might be a great buy. On the other hand, you don’t want to purchase a home, only to end up with more renovations, repairs and expenses than you anticipated.


What’s the solution? Here’s an idea.


When you view a home that needs work, make a note of exactly what needs to be done. Stick to the important “must have” improvements and leave “nice to have” improvements for a later time. Chances are, you’ll identify just one or two projects — such as “paint all the walls” or “replace the countertops in the kitchen”.


Once you have that list, you’ll be in a better position to determine how long the work will likely take and the approximate cost. This will give you some needed perspective on whether or not to buy the home.


If a home you’re considering needs $15,000 in work that can probably be completed within two months, that might make the property worth buying. In fact, it probably would!


So, when you see an otherwise ideal home that needs some work, don’t let your imagination make that work into more than it is. Take notes and get estimates.

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There is no doubt that COVID-19 casts a shadow on Halloween this year. How you choose to celebrate it this year is 100% the right decision for your family and one informed by your local government.

In a recent survey, by Treat Accessibly, that asked if Halloween was next month would your home hand out candy, 84% said yes they would participate, but they would celebrate it differently in light of COVID-19.

By following Treat Accessibly CURB-SIDE Tips for making your home accessible this Halloween, you are also making it a safer experience in light of COVID-19.

In a recent CTV News segment, a Canadian infectious disease expert shared that “for anyone looking to host people, doing it outside is key.” The likelihood of transmitting the novel coronavirus while outside is “very, very low”.

Treat Accessibly Tips

ou can help make Halloween accessible for everybody!

While COVID-19 has created a new barrier for all families to celebrate trick-or-treating. Lets rally to create an accessible and safer experience for all our kids this year.

If we work together for our kids we can help Halloween happen.

Here are some tips on how you can make your home accessible and CURB-SIDE safer:
 

HANDING OUT CANDY? ACCESSIBLE TIPS FOR HOME OWNERS:

  • Place an Accessible Trick or Treating sign on your front lawn one week before Halloween (follow @TreatAccessibly for updates on where to get a sign near you).

  • Create a trick-or-treating station at end of your driveway 

  • Clear driveway and pathways

  • Make sure the path to your trick-or-treating area is well lit

  • Refrain from the use of strobe lights

  • Move cars out of the driveway to allow better accessibility for trick-or- treaters

  • Make sure any pets are kept safely away from the front of the house

  • While our Treat Accessibly lawn signs are recyclable, we hope you store sign with the rest of your Halloween decor and celebrate accessibly every year

COVID-SAFER SUGGESTIONS: FOR HOME OWNERS HANDING OUT CANDY:

  • Setting up your station at the end of your driveway supports outdoor social distancing 

  • Wear a face mask, similar to how you would when shopping

  • Only handle the candy or other treats your distributing with gloves and hand it out directly from the bulk box or bag you purchased at the store

  • Don’t leave out self-serve candy or treat bowls

  • Draw temporary chalk lines on your driveway leading to your trick-or-treat station, 2-metres apart, to help kids and parents approach your trick-or-treating station in a way that’s familiar to when they check-out at a store.

COVID-SAFER SUGGESTIONS: FOR ADULTS TAKING KIDS TRICK-OR-TREATING:

  • Approach the experience similar to going grocery shopping, be mindful of social-distancing and bottlenecks at trick-or-treating stations. Be patient, take advantage of the time to share a story or two with your neighbours

  • Sanitize yours and your children’s hands often or provide your children with sanitizer to do themselves

  • Wear a face mask, similar to how you would when shopping

  • Sanitize all candy when you get home or let it sit safely somewhere for a few hours before enjoying

  • If your children are trick-or-treating without you this year, maybe reconsider and go with them or take the time to share responsible trick-or-treating practices listed above and why it is so important for everyone.

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When you’re selling your home, you want it to look its best to buyers. Unfortunately, buyers are likely to notice any cracks or stains on your floor.

Luckily, there are many do-it-yourself solutions to help make your floors look significantly better.
 
Let’s start with stains.

If you have carpeting, there are a number of spot cleaning products on the market. But before you try one of those, consider this simple remedy. Sprinkle a little baking soda on the stain and then add just enough drops of white vinegar to make it bubble. Wait two minutes. Then, dab carefully with a paper towel and vacuum the residual. This method often works.

For hard floors, gentle rubbing with warm water will take care of most stains.
If you have hardwood floors, don’t let the area remain wet. Dry it completely.

Ceramic tile floors often have old, discoloured grout that is an eyesore. Of
course, there are products available to clean grout. But try using an old
toothbrush and water before investing in those products. Scrub the grout
gently. Then mop the entire area.

If you have minor damage to a section of hardwood floor or floor tiles — for
example, a chip or crack — the best solution is replacement. Unfortunately,
this isn’t a DIY-friendly job, so unless you’ve done it successfully before,
consider hiring a contractor.

If the crack is minor and you don’t want to replace the piece, there are sealing
products available, which will camouflage the crack — to some extent — and
prevent it from getting worse.

If you have a flooring crack or stain you’re concerned about, try these tips.
Also, check out your local home improvement centre for more ideas.
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There are many storage options for your household items. For example, receipts and other paper records can be stored in a file box. Seasonal items, such as winter clothing, can be put in the basement. You can even rent a local storage unit to help with decluttering.

But what about stuff that exists electronically? These days, many important records -- vacation pictures, tax receipts, home videos, school documents, etc. -- are in the form of PDFs, JPEGs, and other electronic formats. Having those reside entirely on your computer is risky. What if your computer crashes?

Someone smart once said, "A computer file isn't a file until it's in two places." So, the solution is to store your important electronic documents in a second place. Here are the most common options:

  • Portable storage. These are data storage devices that fit in the palm of your hand. For most homes, 1T (terabyte) of memory is plenty.
  • Cloud storage. Box, DropBox, and iCloud are the biggest players here. The advantage of storing your documents "in the cloud" is that, unlike portable storage, you can't damage or lose it.
  • Large backup units. These larger units continuously backup your files so you don't even have to think about it.

Whatever option you choose, the important thing is to have a duplicate or backup of your important files, so you never have to worry about losing them.

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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.

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If it’s been a while since you last moved, you might be wondering how much you'll need to spend on your next home. That's an important question to answer, even if you're just at the "thinking about it" stage and haven't decided whether or not you'll look for a new property.


After all, knowing your budget might influence your decision.


How should you determine your budget?


The first step is to calculate the maximum you can spend. This involves adding the money you'll get from the sale of your current property after repaying your outstanding mortgage, to any other funds you have available to invest plus the maximum amount of mortgage you qualify to receive.


Of course, just because you may qualify for a large mortgage doesn't mean you want those bigger payments. So, the second step is to think about your needs. What features are a must in your next home? For example, you might want four bedrooms and anything less would be a deal-breaker.


Make a "must-have list". That list can by used to find a baseline of properties on the market — and then find their average asking price. This will give you an idea of what it would cost to find a home that meets your must-have list.


The third step is to go beyond needs and consider the features you want. These might not be deal-breakers, but you'd sure love to have them in your next home. They could be a large deck, a location in a desirable neighbourhood, a big country kitchen, etc.


Ask yourself how much you would be willing to pay for those desirable features. $20,000? $50,000?


Once you've gone through these steps, you'll have the information you need to match your needs and wants to what's available on the market — and you’ll know how much you might expect to pay for your next home.
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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.

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