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10 Tools Every Homeowner Should Own
Posted on Sat, 30 Jul 2016, 11:10:00 AM  in Home buying tips,  My services
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Some of us will tackle any project that comes our way, while others have neither the time nor the inclination to do home improvement. Here is a list of 10 basic tools that are perfect for your first-time homebuyer toolbox, even if you never plan to use them. Always remember to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use proper safety equipment.

Home Improvement Book

Black & Decker has an entire series dedicated to home repair and improvement, but for a quick reference guide choose their “Black & Decker The Book of Home How-To: The Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair & Improvement.” Remember to consult your local code manuals.

Ladder

When choosing the size and type of ladder, consider the height of your interior ceilings and whether you plan to use it outside for cleaning the gutters.

toolsLightweight Drill with Bit Set

Corded or cordless, a powerful lightweight drill is worth more than its weight in gold. Make sure the bit set has a variety of types and sizes, and many will usually come with a case and magnetic bit holder.

Extension Cord

Especially useful for that drill you just bought, but also good for Christmas lights, the dehumidifier in the basement, or other outdoor power tools. Be sure to get something high quality, indoor/outdoor, and with multiple plugs should you ever need them.

Screwdriver Set, or Similar

For those times when the drill is overkill, a screwdriver set never goes out of style. Spend a little more and buy a single screwdriver that ratchets and has multiple heads built into the handle – these take up very little space and are good for so many applications!

Adjustable Wrench / Crescent Wrench

Unless you are willing to spend a little more, this will not get you through any major plumbing projects, but it will shut off the water in an emergency or install a low-flow shower head.

Hammer

This is probably the most obvious of the group, but there are actually many different types of hammers for different applications. Start with a basic but solid model with a little bit of heft.

Miscellaneous Fastener Kit

There are many versions of this, but they are usually relatively cheap plastic boxes with several types of nails, screws, nuts, and bolts. When you misplace the screw for your cabinet knob, need to hang a picture in a pinch, or want to secure the lip of trim on the stairs, you’ll be ready.

Tape Measure

From measuring for furniture to hanging shelving and trim, a tape measure is indispensable. Consider buying more than one – something longer and sturdier for the toolbox, and something shorter, more compact, and possibly magnetic to hang on the fridge or keep in your purse or car.

Smartphone

True, you won’t want to keep this in your toolbox, but don’t forget what a helpful home improvement tool it can be. Many smartphones have built-in levels and flashlights, offer conversion apps, can provide eBooks on any home improvement topic, and have the internet to look up code restrictions, find instructions or manuals, or watch helpful YouTube instructional videos. And, in a pinch, you can use it to call a professional for help!

The final tools any homeowner needs to have in his or her toolbox are humor and humility. Home improvement is hard, especially at first. You will get better and hopefully have some fun along the way. Be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small. And if you find yourself at the end of your rope, don’t be afraid to call in a professional.


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Tips for Decluttering Your Home for Sale
Posted on Fri, 15 Jul 2016, 10:55:00 AM  in Home selling tips,  My services
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If you're planning on selling your home in the next 6 months, you'll often be thinking of ways to fix the home like repairing cracks in the walls. This should be the same time you're considering a declutter as well. You don't want to take all the items that accumulate in the home with you to a new space. This is the perfect time to purge your home of unwanted items. It's also great for staging the home for selling. Buyers don't want to see all your clutter littering the space when they're trying to envision themselves there.

30 in 30 Challenge

To make the decluttering process more fun, you can challenge yourself to clear out one bag of clutter each day. It's a simple way to tackle an overwhelming chore. When you whittle away at the clutter over a month's period, you're less likely to give up on the decluttering process.

Stay Motivated

clean-roomIt can be difficult to stay motivated through a decluttering session. You'll have to visualize the end result, which is more money in your pocket after your home sells. This will help you keep the goal in mind as you spend boring hours declutter the space.

Three Containers

A great way to tackle a space like a bedroom closet is to have three containers or bags nearby for the organization part. One of the bags should be for trash or recycling. The second bag or container should be for items you want to keep. The third should be for donations. You have to be ruthless when clearing out the space. Each item has to land in a specific container. Donate items you don't wear or haven't worn in the past 3 months.

Gather Like Items Together

When you walk into a cluttered room, it can be tough to pick a place to start first. You can work from the top of the room down or left to right as you enter the space. Clear one area where you can pile like items together. If you have three places where you keep sweaters, it helps to gather them into one pile. It makes it easier to sort and throw away items when you can see them in one place.

Investigate the Groups

Once items are grouped together, whether it's books, pens, jeans or knick-knacks, you'll be able to decide what needs to be donated, what can be trashed and what you can't really live without. You'll also be able to see that you've actually accumulated more than you thought.

Avoid Renewed Clutter

It can be tough to fight clutter when you're disorganized. If you have no space for holding like items, they'll tend to begin to clutter again. With no designated space for mail, it will accumulate wherever you toss it. That could be the kitchen table, counters or on the dresser. Find a place for everything. Mail can be held in one container, and once that container is filled, it's time to deal with it by sorting and trashing.

Open, Empty Spaces

Many people feel like they're surrounded by their favorite things when everything is on display. In fact, when everything is on display, nothing is special. Don't be afraid to leave empty spaces on your shelves, counters and tables. Three great pieces are better than displaying twelve items that look chaotic. Buyers want to see clean, bright spaces when they look at your home. Clutter is dark, dingy and dusty, which will turn away buyers quickly.

Decluttering the home is essential for the process of selling it. You could also rent a storage unit while selling your home if you simply can't part with much of your collectibles and belongings.


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What Are The Top Canadian Real Estate Blogs For 2016?
Posted on Sun, 15 May 2016, 11:40:00 AM  in Home buying tips,  Home selling tips,  Marketing strategies
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If you are considering buying or selling a home in Canada in 2016, you will certainly need all the hot tips and helpful advice that you can lay your hands on. One of the defining features of the Internet is that it is a vast resource of information on every conceivable topic, very much including Canadian real estate. And one of the best ways to get advice on getting the most of a real estate deal is to check the many exciting and informative blogs that are available on the Internet for you to consult. Here's a list of some of the top Canadian real estate blogs for 2016. 

Vancouver Price Drop
If you live in the city of Vancouver and are interested in learning the daily fluctuations in price that the local real estate market is subject to, Vancouver Price Drop is here to be your one stop source for the latest information. Since its first appearance in 2012, the Vancouver Price Drop blog has been constantly updated with the on a weekly basis in order to give sellers the latest news on prices in the area. One of its most famous and reliable features is the weekly listing of the 30 properties whose prices have dropped most sharply during the stated period. 

The Red Pin
The Red Pin is one of the Toronto area's most prestigious and most often consulted real estate sites. You can log into the site, do a search for any area in thelader city, and view instantly all of the properties that are there to be rented or sold. In addition, you can just use the general listing feature to view all of the available properties at once, and then gradually zoom into specific locations at your leisure. The Red Pin is also home to a handy blog that is updated frequently with news, market projections, and helpful tips concerning how best to buy and sell property in the Toronto area. 

The Greater Fool 
Canadian economic, political, and financial expert Garth Turner has owned and operated his website, The Greater Fool, since 2005, making it one of the eldest and most trusted sources of real estate information throughout the country. The blog is not confined to any one area of Canada, nor is it necessarily always confined to the subject of real estate, but its sheer variety and wealth of information makes it a must read when you are searching for helpful advice and expert tips. 

Eximus
Eximus is an extremely well written and prolific blog that focuses on the real estate market of Vancouver and its associated suburbs, such as Abbotsford, Langley, Surrey, and White Rock. You'll find a wealth of demographics, price fluctuations, and other important statistics that relate to the day to day reality of each area. And you can use the site to get reports on local activities, such as real estate open houses and other goings on that will help you get a feel for the area you are hoping to purchase property in. 

Winnipeg Home Finder
The official blog for the Winnipeg Home Finder website contains a wealth of information that will satisfy the appetites of long time home owners and prospective real estate buyers for the latest market information. The blog is also home to a monthly podcast that contains even more recent and specific information concerning activities in the local Winnipeg real estate market. This is the premiere blog to be aware of if you are planning on buying or selling property in the city of Winnipeg.

 


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Realistic Advice For Buying A New Home In Ontario
Posted on Wed, 30 Mar 2016, 10:45:00 AM  in Home buying tips,  Marketing strategies,  My services
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If you are planning to relocate to Ontario, when purchasing a new home, there are a few things that should be kept in mind in order to make the process as smooth, efficient, and cost effective as possible. When making the move to a new location, it's important to keep your goals as realistic and grounded as possible, so that you are in a better position to deal with possible snags and setbacks that may arise along the way. By keeping your goals realistic, and by absorbing a few helpful hints and tips, your move to Ontario will be a much smoother and more enjoyable experience.

Information For New Home Buyers In Ontario Is Easily Available
Information for new home buyers in Ontario is very easily available. Canada Mortgages and Housing (CMHC) has recently purchased a fully detailed guide realisticentitled Homebuying Step-by-Step: A Consumer Guide and Workbook. This easily digestible guide book is filled to the brim with useful information that will allow you to quickly get a handle on all of the steps you will need to take in order to become a home buyer in the province of Ontario. If you have any further questions, comments, or concerns, a local real estate professional in Ontario can fill you in on all of the extra details you need to know. 

Ontario Is One Of The Easiest Provinces In Canada To Buy A Home
If you have the ability to purchase a home in Ontario, you'll no doubt be pleased to learn that Ontario is one of the easiest provinces in all of Canada to buy a home. A qualified real estate professional can quickly point out to you the fastest and easiest method of acquiring or purchasing a title so that you can claim ownership of a new property in a quick and effortless manner. 

Buyer Beware Is Still The Law Of The Land In Ontario
"Caveat emptor", i.e., "Buyer beware!" is still very much the law of the land in Ontario, as it is throughout much of Canada. For this reason, you will need to do quite a bit of hands on research in order to make sure that you are truly getting the best possible property for your hard earned money.

The assistance of a qualified real estate professional in Ontario can go a long way toward safeguarding you from making a mistake in this area. This is why it's important to not only shop around for a number of properties in the province before making your final decision, but to make good use of the advice and guidance that you receive from your Realtor. 

Make Sure You Use The Services Of A Top Notch Real Estate Professional
Finally, it goes without saying that you should make sure to use the services of a top notch real estate professional. Your move to Ontario, whether to London, Toronto, or any other location within the province, will proceed in a much smoother fashion if you have professional assistance from someone who fully understands your needs and goals. The sooner you hire a qualified real estate professional in Ontario, the sooner you can breathe easier concerning all of the other details concerning your move.


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Condos vs. Detached Homes: What is the Best Option?
Posted on Tue, 15 Mar 2016, 09:35:00 AM  in Home buying tips,  Marketing strategies,  My services,  condo
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Finding the property that is best for you is the most important decision that you will make pertaining to real estate ownership. The most popular types of properties to own are condominiums and detached (single-family) homes. Although both options are great choices, the ultimate decision will come down to your personal preference, and which of the two options is the best investment for you. 

Transportation Factors 
This will play an important role in your decision between purchasing a home or a condo. Transportation is a part of your lifestyle. For example, do you prefer to travel by bicycle, public transit, or walking to-and-from your destination? It is best to choose a property that puts you in the heart of the city and is close to all of the main attractions. If you own a car, your preferred choice of transportation may be to drive. Therefore, the distance between your home and the city is not a huge ordeal.

Level of Privacy 
Even though a single-family home is near other houses, the level of privacy is not the same when compared to condos. You will be able to move around the home as you would like, without having to worry about making too much noise and upsetting the other condo owners that live within close proximity. condovshome

Keep in mind that some condominiums have private outdoor spaces, but many do not. Therefore, if you are looking for a patio or backyard, a detached home may be the best option for you. 

Maintaining the Property
When you purchase a condo, the agreement will generally include maintenance fees. These fees are used to maintain the unit, which typically includes landscaping and exterior work. As a homeowner, you will need to maintain your property. Some neighborhoods have a homeowner’s association that will take care of exterior maintenance, but this will vary from community-to-community. 

Affordability
Come up with a budget for your new investment and search for properties that fall within that budget. When it pertains to affordability, condos are typically more affordable in comparison to homes. Even with the flux of the housing market, condos still remain more affordable than a single-family home. However, this will vary by the property type and extra features. 

Keep in mind that you do not want to overextend yourself financially, even when purchasing a new home or condo. Therefore, you should always remain within budget. An experienced real estate agent will help you find the perfect property that is affordable, regardless if you are searching for a home or condominium. 

An Investment Standpoint 
A house comes with land, which makes this property a great investment. When you purchase a property with land, there is typically a lot of value in that property. This is true in urban areas throughout Canada, where land is at a premium. In these areas, there is a good chance of appreciation. 

This does not mean that condos are bad investments. Many residents in Canadian cities think of condos as long-term investments. These properties can also be rented out if you choose to purchase another home later on in life. This rental income could come in handy, which makes condos a good investment. 

Restrictions
With a condo, there are generally more restrictions, compared to living in a detached home. The inside of your condo is legally yours to do whatever you would like, but the outside of the home has its restrictions. You will generally need to receive approval before adding fences, painting the home, growing specific plants, and more. Keep in mind that these restrictions could also apply to detached homes that have a homeowner’s association. 

Some condos cannot be rented out, or have strict rental rules. A condo association may also have pet restrictions. These are details that you should always know before making a purchase. 

Condos and homes have their advantages and disadvantages, so ultimately, the decision will depend on your personal preference. Always speak with an experienced real estate agent before making a purchase.


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Top 10 Tips for New Landlords
Posted on Mon, 29 Feb 2016, 11:00:00 AM  in Marketing strategies,  My services
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The real estate business is always considered lucrative. But, many people that venture into the business don’t understand that it also has its challenges, and if you don’t have the wits to manage your property tactfully, you may end up overwhelmed by its demands, or you may encounter problems of all sorts. The following ideas will help you to have a soft landing as a new landlord.


1. Screen your tenants
Before renting out your property, check the background, credit history, and references of your potential tenants. Haphazard tenant selection and screening can cause you immense problems as a landlord. You may end up with a tenant who pays late or doesn’t pay at all, who welcomes undesirable friends, or who trashes your place. To properly screen a tenant, use a written rental application.

2. Get it written
Use a month-to-month written lease to document vital facts about your relationship with your tenants. This agreement should include how and when to handle tenants’ problems and complaints, repairs, the notice you give to residents before entering the property, and any other important aspects of the relationship. For information about what to include in the document, do an online research, or check with the landlords association in your city.

3. Handle security deposits
Develop a fair system of setting, holding, collecting, and returning security deposits. Before a tenant moves into the rental unit, inspect and document the statelandlord of the unit. This will help you sidestep disputes over the security deposits when the tenant leaves.

4. Make repairs
You need to sort out the repair and maintenance needs. And, when requested, make the necessary repairs. If your estate is not kept in good condition, you will lose good tenants, and the tenants may gain the right to withhold the rent, sort out the repair issues, and deduct the repair charges from the rent. They may as well sue you for injuries due to defective conditions, and they may even move out without giving you the notice.

5. Provide secure premises
Don’t let your property and tenants to be an easy target for criminal activity. Assess the security of your units and take the necessary steps to protect your tenants. Usually, the best security measures such as trimmed landscaping and proper lighting are affordable.

6. Give a notice before entering
Your tenants have a right to privacy. And you need to notify them when you are planning to enter the rental unit. The notice should be as convenient as possible. The law requires that you give a notice of at least 24 hours before accessing the premises.

7. Disclose environmental hazards
If there are health risks such as mold or lead on the property, inform the tenants. Many landlords are continually being held liable for tenant health problems that result from environmental toxins in the rental premises.

8. Oversee managers
Select and supervise your property managers carefully. If a manager is incompetent or commits a crime, you will be forced to compensate your tenants financially. Thus, do a proper background check and clearly spell out your manager’s responsibilities to prevent problems in the long run.

9. Get insurance
As a landlord, you need to purchase the required liability or other types of insurance. A well-written insurance policy can protect you from tenant lawsuits due to injuries, discrimination, or losses of property due to burglary, fire, vandalism, or storms.

10. Resolve disputes
Try to resolve disputes with tenants without lawsuits or lawyers. If you have a conflict with your renter that involves deposits, rent, noise, your access to the property, repairs, or any other issue that does not warrant eviction, meet with the lessee to see if the matter can be fixed amicably in an informal manner. If this does not work, ask for a third-party mediator. They are often accessible for free or for an affordable fee from any public program.

Understanding your conduct and obligations as a landlord will help you to avoid many problems and lawsuits in future. Thus, follow these tips to ensure your work as an owner goes on smoothly.

 


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How to Clean All Areas of Your Home Before an Open House
Posted on Tue, 16 Feb 2016, 10:30:00 AM  in Home selling tips,  Marketing strategies,  My services
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The open house is one of the most important steps you go through when selling a house. It gives buyers the chance to walk through each room, see the outside, get to know your city and get a general feel for your home. Long before those buyers visit your home, you need to make sure that it looks great and smells good too. While your real estate agent can give you tips on getting your home ready and staging each room, you'll also want to use some tips on cleaning your house.

Take Care of Clutter
There is a clear difference between clutter and mess. A cluttered home is one that has a lot of various items laying around on the floors, tucked underneath furniture and placed on shelves. A messy house is one that has dishes piled up in the sink, trash sitting around every room and feels like something that should be on Hoarders. Before the day of your open house, always walk through your home and find ways to take care of clutter. You might hold a big yard sale, moveopen items to a storage unit or even add some more storage to your home.

Clean the Floors
Something as basic as a small stain on the carpet caused by your son dropping his juice box might leave buyers looking closely for other stains. You should take the time to clean every type of flooring you have in your home. Clean hardwood with a wood cleaner that won't warp or leave behind a greasy residue, and use tile cleaner on any tiled floors. Your carpets may need more than vacuuming alone. Consider renting a carpet shampooer to remove stains, clean the carpets and remove any odours trapped in the padding or floorboards.

Wash and Seal Walls
You might remember to take out the trash, put away the dishes and clean up the messes your kids left behind, but you may not think twice about your walls. Those walls might have fingerprint stains, crayon or pencil marks from your kids and even grease stains. A simple solution of water and distilled white vinegar is often strong enough to cut through most stains. If you notice that your walls have a greasy scent or any other odours, now might be a good time to seal your walls.

Reduce Odours
As buyers walk through an open house, they can't help noticing any odours in the air and scents coming off your furniture. Those odours come from your pets, family, the cleaning products you use and even the foods you eat. There are a few ways you can get rid of odours, including cleaning your furniture, washing your drapes and window treatments and steam cleaning your floors. Using a room deodorizer or neutralizer can also help. These machines pull odours out of the air and leave behind a light and refreshing smell.

Do a Final Walk Through
The cleaning that you do means nothing if you don't do a final walk through in the hours before that open house. Walk through your home as if you were a buyer just seeing it for the first time. Look for things that might turn off those buyers, including dishes left piled up in the sink, an overflowing trash can or toys scattered all over the house. Use plug in air fresheners to give your home a soft but not overpowering scent, and put away as much as you can. Buyers attending open houses always prefer house that are clean and smell good.


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Create That At Home Feeling In Your New House
Posted on Fri, 29 Jan 2016, 10:55:00 AM  in Marketing strategies,  My services
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You have just moved into your new house, but it does not feel like home yet. There is a good chance you are still surrounded by boxes from move-in day. It is hard to feel right at home when your new place does not look like your home. The following tips can help you make your new house feel like home.


Brighten Up The Place: It is never too early to start unpacking your table or floor lamps. Brightening up your new home will improve your overall mood and surround yourself with familiar accessories.

Start Getting Cozy: You want everything to feel cozy from the moment you step into your new home. You can start by unpacking your bedding and making your bed. Are you spending the first night on a mattress on a floor? Place the bedding on your mattress anyway. You can also unpack the throw pillows or blankets you keep on the couch.

The Bedroom Should Be Relaxing: Speaking of unpacking your bedding, your new bedroom should be a relaxing spot from day one. It never hurts to unpackathome your area rug, curtains, artwork and nightstand the day you move in.

Set The Bathroom Up: You are going to use your new bathroom every day, and it is important to set your bathroom up as soon as possible. You can set up the bathroom by unpacking your robes, towels, shower mat, shower curtain and even your travel-size toiletries. If you do not have time to unpack everything, save the decor for the next day and at least unpack the essentials.

Create a Familiar Atmosphere: Use accessories and home decor to create familiar sights, sounds and smells. You can create familiar sights with the wall signs, artwork and decorative vases from your previous home. Create familiar sounds with a wall clock, the radio or even the television. You can also create familiar smells by lighting a scented candle or baking a batch of cookies.

Create a Comfort Zone: Did you have a comfort zone in your previous home? It is important to recreate this zone in your new home. If you did not have a comfort zone in your previous home, give your home a new at-home feel by creating this zone. Your comfort zone may include a stack of books and comfortable chair, craft corner with a table and drawers or a yoga mat and radio with relaxing music.

Go Grocery Shopping: What could make you feel more at home than a refrigerator and pantry full of food? You should stock up on the essentials and a few of your favorite snacks. There is nothing like making your favorite meal and relaxing on your couch after a day of moving in.

Do Not Order Take-Out: Ordering a pizza or Chinese food is only a reminder that you are still trying to settle into your new home. The best way to create that at-home vibe is to cook a homemade meal. You can keep it simple with chicken and a few sides, or you can celebrate by throwing a few steaks on your grill.

Spend Time At Home: It is important to spend time in your new home, whether you are decorating each room or giving yourself a lazy day. It will be hard to feel right at home if you are always going out.

Your new house will eventually feel like your own home, but there is nothing wrong with creating that vibe from the day you move in. All you need to do is surrounding yourself with familiar accessories, unpack the necessities and treat yourself to a homemade meal. You are sure to feel right at home before you know it.

 


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