7 tips to consider before listing your home for sale

7 tips to consider before listing your home for sale

Neutralize Colours

Neutral colours will allow buyers to project their own ideas into a room. Think of your walls as a blank canvas for a buyer to turn it into the home they dream of.  A fresh coat of paint goes a long way and often is the best return on investment in terms of minimal money spent and overall impact.


Minor Fix-Ups

Buyers formulate a quick first impression as soon as they see your home. Items that show wear and tear should be looked after. This includes squeaky closet doors, loose door handles, leaky faucets etc… Small fixes can go a long way. Remember the goal is to not have the buyer wondering if your home has bigger issues that they need to worry about!


Your Kitchen & Bathrooms

There are minor things that can be done to improve on these rooms. Replace hardware if outdated, apply fresh caulking where needed, update faucets or lighting. Don’t forget to clean your appliances inside and out. These rooms really need to shine!


Your Floors

This can be a tricky one to navigate. Whatever your floors are, make sure they are as clean as can be (carpet vacuumed and in some cases steam cleaned). There are instances where removing carpet will be a good idea. This can sometimes depend on each situation and guidance from a real estate professional will be critical.


Create Space

Start your packing early. Remove anything unneeded and unnecessary from all rooms of the house (knickknacks, extra furniture, personal items). This will create more space and will help allow the buyers to visualize their own furnishings in the different rooms. Don’t forget about your closets, your basement and your garage.


Curb Appeal

When a buyer first sees your house, you want them to be enticed to continue on in. Their very first impression starts outside your front door. Depending on the season you are selling in, snow should be shovelled or grass should be mowed. This is basic stuff, but it is often overlooked. Remember your home needs to look inviting both inside and out!


Count on a Pro!

Selling your home is a big decision! This process should be handled with care and expertise. Being ready to go to market goes beyond a “For Sale” sign on the lawn. Sometimes it takes an experienced eye to help you catch the things you might miss, and make your home look the best!

Would it be a bad idea to have an experienced professional on your side?
You can always give me a call to get the help you need!

7 tips to consider before home shopping

7 tips to consider before home shopping

Know your Numbers

There is absolutely no sense in home shopping until you know what you can actually afford! Visit with a mortgage professional and get yourself pre-approved. Keep in mind the additional expenses that go along with home ownership such as property taxes, utilities and maintenance costs. There are also various closing charges and legal fees to consider.

Start saving for your down payment and moving expenses.
Bottom Line: check with the professionals and don’t be caught off guard!

Work With An Agent

A good agent will guide you through the home buying process and keep you informed every step of the way. In most cases, the seller pays the real estate commission for both their own agent and the buyer’s agent. This means you have the benefit of expert advice without this additional fee. They will also be a great resource for recommending other industry professionals you will need along the way (mortgage broker, home inspector, lawyer) etc…

Your agent will work with you to find the right home and walk you though the purchase paperwork as well as see you right
through to the finish line!

Keep A Level Head

Many people get caught up in their emotions and stress about paint colours or flooring. This is a big financial purchase so the location, size and layout should be paramount. It is almost never a good idea to skip the home inspection even in a heated market as you don’t want any surprises with major components of the home (roof, plumbing, furnace, hot water tank). You have to balance patience with your ability to be decisive when you find a great home for a good value. Stay calm and be wise!

Stalk The Neighbourhood

The house itself won’t be so perfect if you find out you actually hate the area or that the nearest school doesn’t meet your standards. Drop by the area morning, noon and night. This might paint a clearer picture as to what you can expect while keeping your lifestyle in mind. Where are the closest grocery stores or other key amenities? If possible, try the commute from the neighbourhood to your work
place. The worst thing would be to move in and figure out you really can’t stand the sound of the passing train every 30 minutes. Research and do
your due diligence!

Don’t Try and Time the Market

No one has a crystal ball so don’t obsess about the exact right time to buy. Real estate can be cyclical… it goes up and it goes down and it goes back up again. So, if you try to wait for the perfect time, you’re probably going to miss out. A good time to buy is when you find a suitable house in your desired area that you can realistically afford. Keep an open mind during your house hunt and try to enjoy the

Ask Questions, Get Answers

Do you know about Mortgage Loan Insurance, the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit, the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan and the Land Transfer Tax Rebate?  Maybe you are unclear about the legal lingo in your offer. Perhaps you want some guidance on what to expect after your offer has been accepted. There are no stupid questions. Having a knowledgeable real estate professional is invaluable.

Move-In, Enjoy Your New Home

Presumably, you have hired movers, changed your forwarding address and started telling your family and friends about your purchase. After you move in start
maintaining your home, protecting your investment and building great memories!

Count on a Pro!

There is no need to navigate a home purchase on your own. Working with the right professional should save you time, energy and often money. I will even make the process fun!

You can always reach me a call to get the help you need, so let’s get started!

Fireplaces in Our Homes and Yards

Fireplaces in Our Homes and Yards

A fireplace can be the first thing you notice when you walk into a room.  Maybe it has a subtle presence or perhaps it is the focal point.  It will impact the ambience, enjoyment and overall design of the room.  

Beyond providing warmth, a nice fireplace can contribute to your space feeling cozy – something most Canadians probably want – especially during our cold winter months!

When home shopping with my buyers, more times than not, a fireplace is a nice addition in their opinions and very rarely do I have buyers telling me they would prefer a family room without one.

Traditional wood burning fireplaces have a certain old world charm to them for sure – crackle crackle!  Some things to keep in mind:

Logistically:  No remote control or easy on and off switch for these!  There is definitely more effort required to gather wood and to actually get the fire going.  They will make a bit more of a mess and of course, will leave the room smelling a bit smokey in comparison to a gas or electric alternative.

Maintenance:  You should schedule a chimney inspection every two to three years and ash removal as needed.

Safety:  Consider having a WETT inspection done by a professional.  This Wood Energy Technology Transfer inspection will be done by a qualified technician who can identify local code compliance standards.  (Your insurance company may require this to be done before insuring the home).  If you are making an offer on a home, this can be a condition within your offer to purchase.

If you are home shopping and see a home you love but do not care for a wood burning fireplace, rest assured that there are plenty of ways to work around it.  You can paint it, design a new mantle and/or trim, convert it to an electric or gas insert and even replace the hearth.

There are also many contemporary fireplace designs that can be incorporated directly into the wall.  More of these sleek linear options are popping up in bedrooms and offices and the options are endless.  

In addition, there are multi-view fireplaces that can be enjoyed from three sides and can work well to unite two separate rooms.

More and more outdoor fireplaces are being incorporated into our backyards and have become a popular element of outdoor design.  They enhance these gathering spaces for entertaining and even for cooking.

If you are looking to redesign an existing fireplace (inside or out) or perhaps you are seeking to add one into your home, hire the experts for a functional and safe outcome.  

Contact me for names of some reputable companies that can help you with design, installation and any future maintenance.

My tips for safeguarding your home against intruders

My tips for safeguarding your home against intruders

Break-ins, while not common, can happen even in safe, family-friendly neighbourhoods such as Oakville and Burlington.

Often they can be crimes of opportunity where an intruder notices an easy target (your unlocked back door for example).

These are my tips to help safeguard your home and hopefully deter a potential thief.

LOCK UP: This is the easiest first step you can take! Consider installing deadbolts to all exterior doors or in some cases, upgrading any entry doors. Don’t forget to secure sliding glass doors, lock the door leading in from your garage as well as all the windows! Never leave keys under flower pots, doormats or in other “hidden” places.

*Pro Tip: When moving into a new home, have all the locks changed.

HOME SECURITY SYSTEM: These can often qualify you for a discount on your home insurance. Make sure to add the home security sticker to your front door as well. The key here is to actually use it! Activate your alarm and motion sensors when you are leaving your home! Strategically place any cameras to capture activity around entry doors or ground floor windows.

DOGS! Some breeds are great deterrents to thieves. If you have one, let your dog be seen and heard. Dog ownership, however, is not for everyone so you can try affixing a sticker (like this one) to your door! A thief just may think again!

BE HOME: (or at least pretend to be) Leave a few lights on if you are going out for a short period of time and utilize timers when needed. Some people even purchase an electronic device that simulates lights and flickers of a TV that they leave on while they are out!

HIDE THE GOOD STUFF: Thieves are typically looking for small items they can grab quickly. Hide your valuables, cash, jewellery and important documents. Use a safe and if storing it in your home, keep it out of sight.

*Pro Tip: Keep photos, descriptions and model numbers of your most expensive possessions. (If stolen, your insurance company may ask you for this information).

MAINTAIN SOME PRIVACY: If you have just purchased some new electronics, avoid leaving the packaging sitting out by the curb. Ask the kids not to leave their fancy bikes on the front lawn. Close your curtains when away from home or at night when interior lights make it easier to see in. Encrypt vulnerable information that may be stored on your home computer.

*Pro Tip: Periodically backup any important information to a separate drive!

STRATEGIC LANDSCAPING: Having some thorny bushes under your windows may help deter a thief from trying to enter that way. Keeping other hedges well trimmed will make it harder for thieves to hide while scoping out your place. Is your home fenced in? Consider some outdoor lighting (many options to choose from) that will keep your property well lit.

DO NOT BROADCAST A TRIP: Leave posting about your vacation until after you’ve returned. While you are gone, ask a trusted neighbour to watch over your home. They can collect your mail and any packages that are delivered and bring in the accumulating newspapers off your driveway. Arrange for your lawn to be mowed or snow to be shovelled if you are going away for an extended period of time.