SELLING A HOME

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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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

If you’re paying a lot of money for a new washing machine, wouldn’t it be nice to know how long you should expect it to last? There is, of course, no exact formula for figuring that out. Every brand and unit is different. There are however, some broad estimates.

According to an article in Consumer Reports, a washer and dryer will hum along just fine for about 10 years, with a likelihood of needing a repair during the last two to three. Leading brands offer a parts and labour guarantee for at least a year. So, if something goes wrong during that period, be sure to contact the manufacturer right away.

The National Association of Home Builders released a report a few years ago on the longevity of kitchen appliances. They found that refrigerators can last up to 13 years under normal use. Dishwashers and ovens will start to show their age after nine years. The worst record is for trash compactors, with a life expectancy of only six years before repairs or replacement is required.

Microwave ovens last an average of nine years. However, the door seal should be checked often. Otherwise, the unit will quickly lose efficiency. (You’ll notice this when your food doesn’t heat up as quickly and evenly.)

All experts agree that the best way to keep home appliances functioning properly is to follow manufacturer’s instructions for use and maintenance. If you’ve lost your user’s manual, you can download a new one (which may contain important updates) from the manufacturer’s website.

When you’re preparing your home for sale, it’s not unusual to need to fix up a few things around the property. After all, you want your home to look its best to buyers, so that you get good offers, quickly.

What do you need to fix? Here are three categories that will help you create and prioritize your list.

Anything that squeaks or creaks.

Is there something in your home that makes a noise it shouldn’t be making? Perhaps it’s a rattling closet door or a creaking floor board? You may be so used to it you no longer notice the sound. But buyers will. Be sure to get those items fixed.

Anything that’s unsightly.

You don’t have to make your home look perfect. However, things that are unsightly will likely get buyers’ attention. You want them to focus on the terrific features of your property, not the scuff on the wall.

Take a walk through your property, including the yard. Pretend you’re the buyer. Do you notice anything that doesn’t look good? If so, tidy it up, fix it up or replace it.

Anything that’s broken.

If there’s anything that needs repair — an outside tap that’s not working, or a sliding door that regularly careens off its runner — call the contractor or fix it yourself.

Getting these items fixed will go a long way toward making your home appealing to buyers.

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.

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.