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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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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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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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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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 environmentally-conscious, every little bit helps!

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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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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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