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When to call a REALTOR®


When to call a REALTOR®

 

If you're like most people, you go to see a doctor when you're not feeling well or have a health concern. However, you may also visit your doctor for a check-up, or to ask questions about healthy living.

 

In fact, consulting your doctor for anything health-related is a smart idea.

 

The same holds true when it comes to real estate.

 

Many people only call a REALTOR® when they're planning on selling their property or buying a new home, or both. While that's an important reason to speak to a REALTOR®, it's not the only reason.

 

Indeed, there are many good reasons for you to give a good REALTOR® a call. For example:

  • If you have a question about the state of the local real estate market. (Remember that it may be very different from what you hear on the news about the national market.)

 

  • If you want to get a sense of what homes are currently selling for in the area.

 

  • If you want to determine the current market value of your property.

 

  • If you want to find out how much homes cost in neighbourhoods you'd like to consider.

 

  • If you're thinking about the possibility of making a move, but you’re not sure if it’s the right time.

In other words, don't be afraid to contact a good REALTOR® when you have a question or need some advice about the real estate market.



Watch for these electrical hazards in your home


Watch for these electrical hazards in your home

 

Electricity in the home is so commonplace that it's easy to forget how dangerous it can be. According to the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, an electrical shock can knock you unconscious, cause a serious burn, or even stop your heartbeat.

 

Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to reduce the risk.

  • Install safety plugs in outlets that young children can reach.
  • Never plug in anything with a frayed or otherwise damaged power cord.
  • Never use a plugged-in computer, hair dryer, or other electrically-powered item near a filled sink or bathtub. This includes phones with power cords.
  • Never touch anything electrical with wet hands or while standing in water. (Water is a remarkably efficient conductor of electricity.)
  • Always turn off the appropriate breaker before doing any electrical work, such as installing a new light fixture.
  • When replacing a broken light bulb, turn off the breaker first. Although the glass is broken, the filament may still be conducting electricity.

Finally, unless you're an expert or an electrician, never do any major electrical work on your own. Hire a professional.



Making sense of a crazy market


Making sense of a crazy market

 

Unless you're a real estate expert, you probably look at the market and think things are pretty confusing. Even a bit crazy! You hear news about “bubbles bursting”, “higher or lower home sales in a particular month”, “new home starts” that are up or down, and on and on it goes.

 

It’s a lot of news and a lot of jargon.

 

If you're thinking of selling your home within the next year or two, you will want to understand what's happening in the market so you can make the right decisions and get a clear sense of what to expect. So, how do you make sense of it all?

 

That's where a good REALTOR® can help.

 

Even if you don't have any definite plans to move in the near future, a REALTOR® who is an expert in the local marketplace can help you understand what homes in a particular neighbourhood are selling for, and what you can expect to get should you decide to list your property.

 

Getting to know a REALTOR® also means you’ll have a trusted expert to talk to from time to time, when you have real estate-related questions.

 

You’ll have someone you can think of as "Your REALTOR®".

 

Plus, when the time comes to sell your property, you won't have to deal with a stranger. Instead, you'll be able to work with a REALTOR® that you know well -- and who knows YOU. Overall, that will make the buying and selling process go more smoothly and more successfully.

 

Looking for a good REALTOR® who wants to get to know you? Call today!



A Quick Lesson in Wood Floors


A quick lesson in wood floors

 

Thinking about installing wood floors? The first decision you need to make involves the type. According to the National Wood Flooring Association, there are four types:

  • Unfinished. This type requires you or your installer to sand and apply a finish. If you want a specific colour or style, or you're trying to match existing flooring, this might be the best option for you.
  • Factory finished. As the name suggests, this is flooring that has its finish applied in the factory. Although it is more expensive, factory finished flooring can be installed faster and can be walked upon immediately.
  • Solid. This is flooring that is made from a solid piece of wood, top to bottom. The advantage is that it can be sanded and refinished many times over the years, or even decades.
  • Engineered. This is flooring that is made of thin layers of wood pressed together. It can be engineered to be very durable and expand and contract less than solid flooring.

The type you choose depends on your needs. Talk to your dealer or contractor about your specific application.



When is it time to talk to a REALTOR®?


When is it time to talk to a REALTOR®?

 

Many people only see a doctor when they're sick or have some other health concern. On the other hand, some people visit a doctor regularly for check-ups, to ask questions and get advice, and to maintain good health.

 

Which do you think is the better approach? Obviously, the second one!

 

The same thing is true when it comes to real estate. Even if you have no current plans to buy or sell a home, there are many reasons to talk to a REALTOR® regularly in order to maintain your good "real estate" health. For example, you can:

 

  • Get an assessment of the current market value of your home, so you can make an informed decision about whether to stay or move.

 

  • Ask about the state of the local real estate market (which may be vastly different than what you hear on the national news.)

 

  • Find out what homes are currently selling for in the area.

 

  • Learn what's currently available on the market, especially in neighbourhoods you would like to live in and that are within your budget.

 

  • Ask for a contractor recommendation.

 

In fact, it's a good idea to have a chat with your REALTOR® once or twice a year, even if it's just to say hello.

 

You want to build a relationship with a good REALTOR® who understands (and cares about) you and your needs. That way, when it does come time for you to make a move, you're dealing with a REALTOR® you already know and trust.

 

Don't have a good REALTOR®? Call today!



Doorways to Better Living Spaces


Doorways to Better Living Spaces

 

When people renovate or remodel a room, they almost always overlook the door. However, changing the style of an interior door, or adding a new one, can dramatically change the look of a living space – often for the better.

 

The most common type of door is the traditional solid 6-panel door. But there are many other choices available. Want to add light and a greater sense of space to a room? Consider a door with glass panels. Do you have an interior door that gets in the way when opened? Change it to a bi-fold door, which cuts the distance of the swing in half.

 

There are also specialty doors that are designed to block noise, and sliding doors that tuck neatly into the wall when opened.

 

Interior doors are typically much less expensive than their exterior counterparts. So making the decision to upgrade or add a door to a room is an affordable design option.

 

Visit a door showroom and explore what's available.



Light Your Way to a Faster Sale


Light Your Way to a Faster Sale

 

Remember the last time you visited an upscale furniture showroom? The furniture and fixtures on display probably looked great. The colours and textures jumped out at you. It was a feast for the eyes!

 

There is a good reason for this: lighting.

 

Of course, the quality of the products has a lot to do with how appealing they look when on display. But smart retailers know that proper lighting is key to making those products look their best. In fact, some retailers even hire lighting consultants!

 

What does this have to do with selling your home quickly, and for the best price?

 

Obviously, when showing your property to potential buyers, you want your home to look its very best. Proper lighting can be a big help.

 

When preparing your home for sale, review the lighting in each room and make sure the space is sufficiently well lit. You want the lighting to be strong enough to prevent dark or shadowy areas, yet not so strong that it's uncomfortable for the eyes.

 

As a rule of thumb, the total wattage of lights in a room should equal the room's square footage times 1.5. So, if a room is 120 square feet and has three light sources (ceiling light and two lamps) then the bulbs in each should be 60 watts.

 

Pay particular attention to traditionally dark areas, such as the garage, basement, and closets. Make sure those areas are well lit.

 

If you have a viewing scheduled during the day, take advantage of natural light through windows. Open the curtains! 

 

Finally, one of the most important areas is the foyer. Always make sure the entrance has sufficient lighting. You don't want buyers to think they've entered the home of classic TV's The Adam's Family!

 

Want more ideas for preparing your home for sale? Call today.



How to Choose the Right Size HDTV


How to Choose the Right Size HDTV

 

If you don't own one already, you may be tempted to purchase a widescreen digital television to enjoy your favourite movies, shows and sports programs. However, it can be difficult to select the right screen size, especially if you've been accustomed to viewing a TV with a traditional 4:3 screen.

 

When it comes to size, there are many factors that come into play, such as screen resolution and personal preference. However, the last thing you want is to purchase an HDTV that is too small for the room, or so big that it dominates the space.

 

Here's a tip:

 

The rule of thumb is to take the distance you'll be sitting from the television and multiple by five to get the screen size you need. So if you'll be sitting eight feet away, you'll want to look at HDTVs with screens that are in the 35-45 inch range.

 

A good electronics dealer can help you make the best choice.



Making Your Kitchen More Attractive to Buyers


Making Your Kitchen More Attractive to Buyers

 

What's one of the most important rooms in your home? When it comes to selling your property quickly, and for the best price, the answer is clearly the kitchen. In fact, one of the most common explanations a particular buyer gives for not making an offer is, "I liked the house, but I wasn't too keen on the kitchen."

 

That doesn't mean you must do a major renovation. However, you should do what you can to make the kitchen as attractive as possible to buyers.

 

Here are some ideas:

 

First, clear the countertops. Put away the toaster and other items. You want to make the entire countertop area seem as spacious as possible.

 

If the cabinetry is old, you can spruce it up by installing new knobs, handles and other hardware. A fresh coat of paint on the walls and ceiling can also make the kitchen look like it has had a major renovation – and it will only cost you a few hundred dollars. According to an article on the website HDTV.com, "The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware."

 

Replacing the countertops is a more expensive renovation, but it may be worth it if the current counters are old and worn.

 

Finally, when preparing your kitchen for a viewing, make sure it's clean and tidy. The garbage and recycling bins should be empty. Buyers will open cabinets so make sure items on shelves are neatly organized with the front labels facing forward.

 

There are many other ways to make the most important room in your home look great to potential buyers. Call today for more ideas.



Preventing Basement Leaks


Preventing Basement Leaks

 

If you have a basement, or even just a crawlspace, the last thing you want is water infiltrating the area. Even a minor leak can cause damage to walls and flooring, and may even lead to mould issues. Here are some precautions worth taking:

  • Every spring and fall, check the grading around your home. The ground should gently slope away from the foundation. Pay particular attention to areas where shrubs and other foliage make the grading difficult to see.
  • Look for cracks in the foundation. Get them fixed right away. Even a minor crack that doesn't appear to penetrate all the way through can cause problems eventually.
  • Check the caulking on basement windows. If it's worn and cracked, it's time for recaulking. The lifespan of most exterior caulking is less than five years.
  • Watch the eavestroughs when it rains. (You'll get wet, but it's worth it.) Make sure the water drains well away from the foundation.

Doing these simple inspections takes just a few minutes. Yet, if they prevent a basement leak, it's time well spent!



How Long Does it Take to Find a New Home?


How Long Does it Take to Find a New Home?

 

If you're planning to look for a new home sometime in the future, you may be wondering how long the process will take. How much time should you set aside for viewings? How many of the listed homes should you see?

 

Of course, the process varies from person to person. According to the Department of Housing & Urban Development, home buyers view an average of 15 properties before finally choosing to make an offer on one of them. That number may be a good benchmark for you.

 

On a Saturday afternoon, you can comfortably look at three or four potential properties. You can see more if you want to make a full day of it.

 

One factor that impacts the home shopping process is how clearly you know what you're looking for.

 

For example, if you're certain you want a three bedroom backsplit, backing onto a wooded area or ravine, in an upscale neighbourhood, then the process is going to be fairly simple. You're just going to view properties that closely meet that criteria.

 

But if you're the kind of person who simply says, "I'll know it when I see it", then you'll need to look at several homes on the market. That means carving out plenty of room in your schedule for viewings.

 

A good REALTOR can help you understand what's available on the market and which homes are worth seeing. He or she can also help you determine how long the process will likely take, and show you ways to make the process go more quickly and smoothly.

 

 

Looking for a good REALTOR? Call today.



Preventing burglaries requires more than locks and alarms


Preventing burglaries requires more than locks and alarms

There's no doubt about it. If you want to keep your home safe from break-ins, you should have good locks an all doors and windows. An alarm system is also a good idea.

But home security doesn't end with locks and alarms. There are other less obvious ways to keep your home safe. For example:

  • Install exterior lights with a motion detection feature. A light suddenly going on will almost always send a potential intruder away.
  • Look for – and if possible eliminate – spots around your property where someone can hide.
  • Always have some lights on in your home when you're away for an evening.
  • Never announce that you're on vacation or otherwise away from your home on social media sites. (Also ask your kids not to do this!)
  • Don't leave tempting valuables where they can be easily seen through a window.

In addition to good locking systems on doors and windows, simple precautions like these will significantly lower the risk of a break-in.



How a Home Inspection Helps You


How a Home Inspection Helps You

Whether you're considering buying a particular home, selling your current property – or both – a home inspection can help.

A home inspection is an inspection by a qualified professional who takes a close look at every aspect of a home – structure, wiring, plumbing, and more – and identifies issues you may not have noticed yourself.

For example, a home inspection can reveal that a furnace will need to be replaced soon, or that there is a water leak into the basement that needs to be fixed.

You'll definitely want to get a professional home inspection before you buy a particular property. That's why most offers to purchase a home are conditional upon passing a home inspection. (The last thing you want is to buy your dream home only to discover that the wiring needs to be updated!)

You may also want to get a home inspection on your own home before you list it for sale. A certificate from a qualified professional that states that your home passed inspection will make your property more attractive to buyers.

Many reputable home inspectors are members of a professional industry association.

In Canada:

In the U.S.

It's important to note that certification or licensing is not a requirement in many jurisdictions. So select a home inspector carefully.

Need to find a reputable home inspector? Call today.