November 22, 2017
Common Household Items that Can Cause a Fire
You never want to smell smoke in your home and realize there’s a fire. That’s why it is important to be diligent about fire safety. Experts recommend that homeowners be especially careful with the following common household items:
· Portable heaters. Never leave one in a room unattended. Make sure paper and other combustible materials are well away from these units.
· Electronics chargers. We all want our computers, tablets and smartphones to charge quickly. The price we pay for that convenience is chargers that pull in a lot of power, making them very hot. Keep them away from combustible material, as well as other wiring.
· Smoking materials. Be careful with cigarettes, pipes, cigars and other such items. Bedding and upholstery, which burn slowly and dangerously, are the source of 75% of smoking-related fires.
· Candles. Never leave candles unattended for any reason. If you must leave the room, extinguish them.
· Flammable liquids. These can include paints, thinners and some brands of cleaning products. Read labels carefully and follow the safety instructions.
To paraphrase a famous expression: An ounce of prevention is worth not having to deal with a house fire.
Buyers are using the internet to search for properties more than ever before. In some cases, they can even go on a “virtual” tour of a home using their smartphone or desktop computer. So, you might be wondering if the old fashioned Open House still works these days?
The answer is yes. Otherwise, you wouldn’t see them advertised. If Open Houses didn’t work, no one would be doing them!
No matter how good the internet gets, it can’t compete with a buyer being able to visit a property in person, walk through the rooms, stand in the backyard and imagine himself BBQ-ing with his family, stroll the area, and meet neighbours.
An Open House makes it easy for buyers to do just that.
It’s an open invitation for them to come by at a specific date and time, to see the property and chat with the REALTOR®. It’s a casual environment, which many buyers prefer. Some buyers, in fact, are more comfortable going to an Open House before scheduling a private viewing.
Will you need an Open House to sell your home?
That depends on a lot of factors. When I work with clients, I put together a marketing plan designed to sell the property quickly and for the best price possible. Depending on the circumstances, that may or may not include an Open House.
If you have questions about what would be involved in a quick and successful sale of your home, contact me. I’d be happy to chat and answer your questions.
You’re at work when the thought hits you, “Did I lock the door when I left this morning?” You check your smartphone, see that you didn’t, and click the “LOCK” button. Now your house is secure.
That’s home automation for you!
But, is home automation a good idea? That depends on a number of factors.
On the pro side, home automation can improve your quality of life. There are automation products that will adjust heating/cooling depending on whether or not you’re home, make your morning coffee when you get out of bed, and the list goes on and on. These conveniences save you time.
Home automation can also give you peace-of-mind. It’s comforting to be able to remotely see the inside of your home and check that everything’s okay.
Home automation can also make your property more appealing to buyers. Traditionally, buyers like homes with security systems, and will appreciate other automation gizmos, too.
The only downside is the cost. Like most new technology, home automation products can be pricey and may become out-of-date within just a few years.
Thinking about it? Experts advise you to do your research first. Check out product reviews online. Then, if you determine that a particular product is going to benefit you, go for it!
Is selling your property the furthest thing from your mind? Well, here are some reasons for listing your property that you might not have considered.
1. Your property may be worth more than you think. (It’s difficult to determine market value on your own. I can calculate it for you. Give me a call.)
Of course, you may have your own reasons for listing this month. Why not discuss them with a real estate expert? Me. I can answer your questions and explain the options available to you.
According to a recent study, the average homeowner pays more attention to kitchen stove safety than they do BBQ safety. But, the fact is, a BBQ mishap can be just as devastating. So, it pays to know the latest safety tips.
• Keep BBQs at least 8 feet away from your house. • Check for venture tube blockages regularly. (Spiders are notorious for spinning webs in there.) • Clean the grill frequently to prevent flare ups. A grease fire on the grill can continue burning even after you’ve turned the BBQ off. • Don’t position your BBQ close to foliage, such as under a tree or next to shrubs. • Never BBQ in an enclosed area, such as a garage, even if the space is well ventilated. • Avoid leaving the grill unattended, especially when cooking greasy foods such as sausages, beef burgers or steaks. • Do not let children BBQ.
Finally, make sure your BBQ is turned completely off after use. It’s a good idea to double-check this when making the rounds and locking up your home for the night.
Experts say you should treat a BBQ as you would a camp fire — with care.
You might naturally assume that it is most important to talk to a Realtor when you’re selling or buying a home. But there are many other circumstances in which it makes sense to give me a call. Here are a few examples.
1. When you’re at the “thinking about it” stage
If you’re just thinking about selling your home, and haven’t made a firm decision yet, you might feel uncomfortable calling a Realtor. Don’t be. In fact, I welcome your call. We can discuss what your current property will likely sell for on today’s market, and determine the type of home you qualify to buy. That way, you’ll have some clarity and be able to make a more informed decision.
2. If you’re nervous about the selling process
If you haven’t sold a home before, you might be concerned about what’s involved in the process. You might even worry that putting your home on the market is going to be a lot of work and create a lot of turbulence for you and your family.
Fortunately, selling your home doesn’t need to be scary. In fact, a big part of my job as a Realtor is to make the process as smooth and trouble-free as possible.
So if you have concerns about selling your home, you should give me a call.
3. If you have questions
You likely have questions about the local real estate scene from time to time. You might have questions like: “How much did that home around the corner sell for?”; “Is now a good time to make a move, or should I wait until the market changes?”; and, “How much is my current home worth?”
When you have questions like those, you don’t need to dig for answers on your own. You can give me a call. As an expert in the local market, I can give you the answers you need.
If you want to transform a room into something that’s functional, beautiful and perfectly matched to your taste, then you might want to hire an interior designer.
It’s an interior designer’s job to come up with imaginative ideas that will wow you.
It’s a myth that interior designers just deal with paint colours, décor and furnishings. In fact, according to the Interior Designers Institute, these professionals have the training needed to handle all aspects of a renovation or remodeling project, including selecting and managing contractors. They can direct a project from beginning to end.
If you want to renovate your basement into a stunning home theatre and gathering place, an interior designer can:
• Draw out several concepts for you to choose from, • Purchase the best building materials, • Hire the contractors, and • Manage the project.
He or she can even pick out classic movie pictures for the walls!
There are many professional associations that have “Find an Interior Designer” links on their websites. In the U.S. check out the Professional Association for Interior Designers (www.asid.org). In Canada, it’s the Interior Designers of Canada (www.idcanada.org).
You purchase a new home and move in. A few weeks later, you hear a strange rumbling sound. It’s the furnace. It’s only a year old, yet it’s sputtering like it’s twenty. You realize you’ll have to call in an HVAC contractor to get it fixed.
You’re thinking, “Ouch! This is going to be expensive.”
Well, maybe not. You see, since that furnace is relatively new, it might be covered by its original warranty — even for you, the new owner.
But a warranty is useless if you don’t know it exists.
Recent studies suggest that upwards of 50% of people pay to get items fixed that were actually covered by a warranty. So, when purchasing a new home, be sure to ask this simple question: “What warranties do you have for items, materials or workmanship in this house?”
Warranties are common on new stoves, fridges, washers, dryers and other big ticket appliances. Some such warranties are transferrable, which means they are still in force when the items pass from one owner to another.
Even less expensive items, such as electronic thermostats and automatic garage door openers, may be covered by a transferrable manufacturer’s warranty.
If the home you’re purchasing is relatively new (say, less than 10 years old), the builder’s warranty may also still be in force. That can be handy if a structural problem arises.
Even recent renovations, may have come with a labour and/or installation warranty of some kind.
As you can see, warranties are everywhere! The more you’re aware of them, the more you’ll save when something needs repair or replacement.
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.
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!
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!
When you suffer damage to, (or the loss of), your home or its contents, you expect your insurance company to help you out. And, most do a good job of doing just that.
Still, it’s a good idea to review your policy with your insurance advisor and find out what’s covered and what isn’t. You don’t want to discover that your policy will not cover the cost of repairing the damage caused by a flood in your laundry room.
Pay particular attention to coverage in the case of water damage. Some insurance policies don’t cover floods and sewer backup unless an additional rider is purchased.
Also, check liability limits. Ask your advisor to recommend an appropriate level. Finally, make sure you know exactly how much your home is insured for. Are you covered for the full replacement cost? Are you comfortable with that coverage or the actual cash value?
Having the right insurance gives you peace-of-mind and is an important part of enjoying your home.
Keep in mind that experts advise you to review your insurance with your advisor. Ask lots of questions. Make sure you understand your coverage fully.
By the way, if you’re looking for an insurance advisor, I’m well-connected in the local “home” industry. I may be able to give you a couple of names of good, reputable professionals. Give me a call.
Imagine finding the perfect home, only to discover there is serious interest from at least a dozen other buyers. It’s like scrambling for the last piece of cake at a buffet!
Fortunately, there are things you can do to help get the home you want, even in a highly competitive market. Here are just a few ideas:
• Only view a few ideal properties at a time. If you see too many, and thus spread yourself too thin, you risk homes slipping through your fingers.
• Be realistic about price. Focus on finding a great home that you can afford, rather than trying to find a bargain.
• Consider homes that need some work. They get less interest than perfectly staged properties, yet can turn out to be a dream home.
• Be prepared to make an offer with as few conditions as possible. An offer conditional on passing inspection is usually fine, but in a competitive situation, offers with other conditions will likely be turned down flat.
• Make your decisions quickly. If there are likely to be other interested buyers, you want to get your offer in early.
• Make the right offer. To win the deal, you want your offer to be as enticing as possible to the seller — especially when it comes to price.
Yes, it can be tough finding an ideal home in a hot market, but I can help. Give me a call and I’ll show you how.
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.
You don’t have to freeze in the winter or start reading by candlelight to reduce your electricity bill. There are many simple ways to use less power with little, if any, impact on your lifestyle.
A good place to start is with your electronics.
According to the David Suzuki Foundation, “Any gizmo that has a clock, digital timer, remote control or standby mode is sucking energy when it's not being used (it's called 'phantom electricity' — and it's scary how much of it there is).” So keep them unplugged as much as possible. Also, unplug charger cords for phone and computers when not in use. Even when not connected to the device, they still suck power.
Another easy change to make involves your lights. Switching to compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED light bulbs can save you a lot of energy. They’re 75% more efficient.
Finally, the old-fashioned method of insulating doors and windows can work wonders for lowering your electricity bill. In fact, some particularly drafty homes can lose up to 40% of their heat. Check for drafts regularly and repair or replace insulation as needed.
None of these ideas will impact your day-to-day living. Yet, they could potentially save you a bundle.
Imagine finding a home you love, making an offer, and then finding out there are other competing offers on the table. Ouch.
If you’re looking for a property in a competitive market, it is likely that there will be multiple offers. Even just one can create the risk that you’ll lose the home. So how do you make sure your offer is enticing enough to win over the buyer? Here are some ideas:
• Don’t make a low-ball offer. If you do, it might be dismissed and you probably won’t get another chance to bid — especially if the other competing offers are near the listing price.
• Have a pre-arranged mortgage and include that with your offer. This reassures the buyer there won’t be any money issues. (Most lenders will provide you with a pre-arranged mortgage certificate for this purpose.)
• Go in with a price high enough that the buyer will be interested, but not so high as to be leaving money on the table. This is tricky and requires a savvy knowledge of the current market.
• Have a REALTOR® present the offer on your behalf. A REALTOR® will know how to do so professionally, and in a manner that gives you the best chance of getting the home.
In a competitive situation, working with a REALTOR® who is an expert on the local market — and a skilled negotiator — is crucial.
Looking for a REALTOR® like that? Call today.
You’ve probably seen signs around the area for Open Houses. You may have even attended a few. These are open invitations for potential buyers to drop by on a certain day and time, to check out the property and get more information.
When you’re listing your home for sale, you might wonder whether you’ll need to have an Open House.
To answer that question, you’ll need to consider the pros and cons. Planning and hosting an open house isn’t as easy as it may seem. There’s a lot of preparation involved. In addition, you’ll likely spend hours making your property look its best and you’ll need to be away from your home for a good part of that day.
That being said, an Open House has many advantages.
• It helps showcase features of your property that may not come across well in advertisements and listing descriptions.
• It attracts potential buyers who, for any number of reasons, might not otherwise call to view the home.
• It generates a buzz and publicity about your listing.
However, an Open House might not be necessary if there is high demand for properties like yours and you’re likely to get multiple offers.
It’s early in the evening and there’s a knock on the door. You answer and are greeted by an official-looking man who claims he needs to see your utility bill to confirm you’re getting your energy rebate. Do you let him in? While he may be legitimate, he may also be using deception to sell you something you don’t want. Here are some suggestions for finding out: • Ask for a business card. Then, check if it has an address, phone number and website. If the salesperson refuses or just shows you his ID card (which anyone can fake), that’s a red flag. • Ask for the name of his employer. Sometimes salespeople will say they “represent the phone company”. That doesn’t mean they actually work for it. • Ask if you can call his company to confirm details before buying. If he refuses, or says the office is closed, shut the door. • Ask if you can consider the offer and call the office the next day to place your order. • If you’re really suspicious, ask him to come back later. Then, call the non-emergency police number. Police are aware of common scams in the area. Most importantly, use your common sense. Door-to-door salespeople can be pretty persuasive, but if something doesn’t seem right to you, trust your gut. Say, “No thanks.” Of course, if everything checks out with the salesperson, and the offer is a good one, consider taking advantage of it.
No matter how much you love your current property, you may be dreaming of the day you can buy up into a better home in a better neighbourhood. Is that day today, or, is it a few years down the road? Here’s a quick way to make that assessment. First, make a list of all the practical reasons why it might be time to move up. Those reasons might include features such as: more bedrooms, proximity to work and school, a larger backyard with trees, nearby parks and walking paths and better access to things you enjoy like theatre. Next, make a list of the emotional reasons for making such a move. Those reasons might include memorable get-togethers with friends on a more spacious deck, an easier and less stressful commute to work, more family time with the kids and enjoyable Saturday golf at a nearby course. Finally, take a financial snapshot to determine if you can afford to move up. You’ll need to get a good idea of what your current property will sell for in today’s market, average price of homes in your desired neighbourhood, and how much mortgage you’ll need. Once you have all that down on paper, you’ll have a clear picture of your readiness. If the practical and emotional reasons for buying up are compelling, and you can afford to make the move, then you have your answer. The time is now! By the way, if you need help in making this determination – especially figuring out what your home will likely sell for, call today.
When you’re about to sell your home, it may be disheartening to see so many other properties for sale in your neighbourhood. You may be thinking, “That’s a lot of competition! Will our property get noticed?”
Fortunately, there are many proven strategies for standing out in a sea of For Sale signs.
First of all, keep in mind that many home purchasers come from the REALTOR’S personal network of buyers who want to move into your area. So, choosing the right REALTOR® is crucial.
Second, remember that when there are other properties for sale on your street, curb appeal becomes even more important. There are many simple things you can do to make your property look great to those driving around looking at homes. Make sure your property looks as picture perfect as possible.
In a competitive market, it’s also more important than ever to highlight features of your home that are unique and enticing. If, for example, you have a large backyard deck and brand new hardwood flooring, make sure these are mentioned prominently on the feature sheet.
Finally, be as flexible as you can be when scheduling viewings and open houses. Don’t forget that other listed properties in your neighbourhood draw in buyers, who may notice your home. It’s not uncommon for a buyer to view a property and then scout the neighbourhood. So, you want buyers to be able to see your home on short notice and at a convenient time for them. If there are several other nearby properties for sale, it means things are hot from a real estate point of view. You want to roll out the red carpet to buyers.
Looking for help selling your home quickly and for the best price? Call today!
Setting the right list price for a home is a mystery for many sellers. How do you begin to determine what buyers are likely to pay for your property? After all, no two homes are exactly alike. Yet, setting the right price is crucial. You need to avoid the two price “tipping points” that, if crossed, can cause you a lot of problems. The first tipping point is a price that’s low enough for buyers to begin thinking something is wrong. They wonder, “Why is your price so low? What are you not telling us about your property?” But that’s not even the worst problem with this tipping point. If you do get offers at that low price, you’ll have a bigger issue – leaving thousands of dollars on the table. The other tipping point is setting your price so high it discourages buyers from giving your listing a second look. When your price is that high, you’ll get few enquiries and even fewer people coming to see your property. Of course, you can lower your price later, if necessary. But experience shows that reduced prices make potential buyers skeptical. Most sellers who price high in the hopes of getting a windfall actually end up selling for much less than they would have if they had priced their properties correctly in the first place. So what’s the right price to list your property? The answer is somewhere in between those two tipping points. Call today for help determining the right price for your property.
When is the best time to meet with a REALTOR® like me? Chances are, you would say, “When I’m thinking of buying or selling a home.” You’d be right, of course!
However, there are many other good reasons to meet with me. Here are just a few:
• You want a professional opinion as to the current value of your property, so you know what it would likely sell for in today’s market.
• You notice a home listed for sale in a desirable neighbourhood, and you’re interested in learning more — even if you’re unsure you want to make a move.
• You’re thinking of moving within the next couple of years, and you want to find a REALTOR® like me, that you can get to know and trust.
• You want some recommendations for preparing your home for sale and especially determining what repairs and other work needs to be done.
• You want an honest assessment as to the state of the local market, and the best time for you to buy or sell.
• You have real estate-related questions and you want to talk to an expert who knows the local market well and can provide you with answers.
As you can see, there’s a lot of value you can get from talking to me as your REALTOR®. Call today