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The Basics of Do-it-Yourself Video-based Home Security

Thursday May 17th, 2018

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According to law enforcement experts, a video-based home security system is significantly more effective than a simple alarm system. The reason is obvious. Burglars don’t want their crimes captured on video, which can then be used as evidence in court. So it’s no wonder that many homeowners have, or are considering, video-based security. These days, most video-based home security systems are wireless. The cameras either record to your DVR (just like recording your favourite TV... [read more]

Beware of Over-Downsizing or Over-Upsizing

Monday Apr 30th, 2018

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Buying a new pair of shoes is relatively easy. Once you find the style you like, all you need to do is try them on and see if they fit. If they do, you go to the cash register and pay. When it comes to size, buying a new home can be trickier! Whether your intention is to upsize or downsize, figuring out the right size can be especially challenging. Say for example, you’re downsizing from a large two-story home to a smaller bungalow. You don’t want to underestimate the space... [read more]

Creating a Practical Home Office

Monday Apr 16th, 2018

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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... [read more]

5 Ways to Make the Selling Process Stress-Free

Monday Apr 02nd, 2018

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For some homeowners, the process of listing, showing and selling their home can be stressful. Fortunately, there is plenty you can do to make it much less nerve-racking—and even exciting and enjoyable. Here are some ideas: 1. Make a plan. Decide when you’re going to show your property, search for a new home, view listings, etc. Block out these times in an agenda book or calendar. That way, you and your family can see what’s coming up. 2. Be flexible. Few things go... [read more]

What You Need to Know about “Interest Free” Deals

Saturday Mar 17th, 2018

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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... [read more]

Open House Questions Some Buyers Forget to Ask

Thursday Mar 01st, 2018

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An Open House is an event. And, like many events, it’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement and energy. In fact, when you visit an Open House, you might even end up rubbing elbows with other buyers who are there at the same time. It can feel like a party! In an environment like that, it’s not unusual to forget to ask important questions about the property. Here are some of the most common: • How old is the roof? • How old is the furnace, air conditioner and... [read more]

How a Professional Chef Would Remodel Your Kitchen

Thursday Feb 15th, 2018

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Watch any TV cooking show, and you’ll notice that a chef’s kitchen looks quite a bit different than what you’d find in most homes. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have one just like it in your home! With a little remodeling, and splurging on some new items, you too can have a kitchen worthy of Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver, or Rachel Ray. Chefs love counter space. So, when remodeling, plan to create as much as possible. If you have an existing island, for... [read more]

Subtle Signs it May Be Time to Sell

Thursday Feb 01st, 2018

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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... [read more]

Should You Rent Out Part of Your Home?

Thursday Jan 18th, 2018

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Have you ever considered renting out a room to a student or renovating your basement into a self-contained rental apartment? It’s a big decision. There are many pros and cons to consider. On the pro side, renting can provide you with additional income. An extra few hundred dollars a month can go a long way towards paying down your mortgage or splurging on an exotic summer vacation. Creating rentable living space in your home — for example, an “in-law suite”... [read more]

Using Neighbourhood Data to Help Sell Your Home

Wednesday Jan 03rd, 2018

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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... [read more]

Checklist for WOW-ing a Buyer during a Viewing

Tuesday Dec 05th, 2017

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Imagine you were selling your car, and a prospective buyer was on the way over to see it. What would you do? You would probably make your vehicle look as clean and shiny as possible, inside and out. The same holds true if you’re selling your home and there’s a potential buyer on the way. You want the buyer to be wow’d by your property. Here’s a handy checklist to follow: • Clean every room. Make your entire house look as “guest ready” as... [read more]

Common Household Items that Can Cause a Fire

Monday Nov 20th, 2017

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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. • Electronic chargers. We all want our computers, tablets and smartphones to charge... [read more]

Do Open Houses Still Work?

Sunday Nov 05th, 2017

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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 oldfashioned 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... [read more]

Should You Buy the Latest Home Automation Gadgets?

Monday Oct 23rd, 2017

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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... [read more]

10 Reasons to List Your Home This Month

Thursday Oct 12th, 2017

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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.) 2. You might qualify for a better home than you anticipate. 3. Perhaps you are tired of your current property and want a change. 4. There may be homes on the market in a... [read more]

BBQ Safety Tips You Should Know

Monday Sep 25th, 2017

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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... [read more]

3 Reasons to Talk to a Realtor Today

Friday Sep 01st, 2017

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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... [read more]

This Simple Question Can Save You a Lot of Money

Tuesday Aug 01st, 2017

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Imagine this scenario... 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... [read more]

Painting Techniques that Bring a Hallway to Life

Friday Jun 30th, 2017

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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... [read more]

Painting Techniques that Bring a Hallway to Life

Friday Jun 30th, 2017

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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... [read more]

Going “Green” in Your Garden or Flower Be

Monday Jun 12th, 2017

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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. •... [read more]

Handling a New Home Problem on Moving Day

Wednesday May 31st, 2017

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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... [read more]

Does Your Home Insurance Cover Everything?

Wednesday May 17th, 2017

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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... [read more]

Buying Your Dream Home in a Hot Market

Monday May 01st, 2017

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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... [read more]

The Magic of Decorative Moulding

Monday Apr 17th, 2017

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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... [read more]

Getting Friends to Spread the Word about Your Listing

Monday Apr 03rd, 2017

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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... [read more]

Important Things to “Fix Up” before Selling

Friday Mar 03rd, 2017

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 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. 1. 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... [read more]

How Long Will Your Home Appliances Last?

Friday Mar 03rd, 2017

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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... [read more]

What Does a Property Surveyor Do?

Monday Feb 13th, 2017

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Property Surveyors, sometimes referred to as land Surveyors, play a vital role in the real estate world. They are the professionals who determine or confirm the exact boundaries of a property. Will you need to deal with a Property Surveyor when selling your home? You might. Sometimes the mortgage lender will ask for a land survey, especially if your property is older and hasn’t changed hands in many years. You might also be asked for one by the buyer if there is any confusion... [read more]

How to Watch Out for Poisons in Your Home

Monday Feb 13th, 2017

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90% of exposures to poisons occur inside the home. Almost all are preventable, if you follow some simple guidelines  • Look for the poison label on products you buy. Visually, it’s a skull and cross bones, often (but not always) with the word POISON above it. • Don’t make assumptions. Sometimes a seemingly innocuous product, like a shampoo, can contain poison or other ingredients which are... [read more]

Will an Open House Help Sell your Home?

Monday Feb 13th, 2017

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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.... [read more]

Your Exit Plan in Case of a Fire

Monday Feb 13th, 2017

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In almost every movie featuring a house on fire, the actors seem to be able to move around the house and see just fine, while beating back flames with a shirt or coat. Of course, that’s not what happens in real fires. When there’s fire in a home, there is typically complete darkness (because the power goes out) and a cloud of spreading thick, black smoke makes it difficult to see and breathe. That’s why knowing how to get out of your house — fast — is... [read more]

Making an Offer in a Competitive Market

Monday Feb 13th, 2017

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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... [read more]

How to Cut Your Electricity Bill in Half

Monday Feb 13th, 2017

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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... [read more]

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