Real Estate Chat With Marsha

image

What To Expect During Inspection

When you are buying a home for the first time, you’re likely to run into many processes that you haven’t been through before. One of the most important parts of the purchasing process is your property inspection. It may seem tempting to skip this stage of the process, or even daunting as a be buyer, but if you know your role and the role of others, it can make the process less stressful. Here is what you should expect for each role in the property inspection process.

The Buyer

Your job will be to learn about the property during inspection. Before the inspection, you should prepare by looking over the property disclosures or any other building department documentation that you’ve received up until that point. Make a list of any questions or concerns you have about those documents and address any issues that the listing agent may have pointed out. Ask your agent what the typical inspections are for your market and make sure you set aside a few hours for the inspection.

The Buyer’s Agent

Your agent should be with you and help to walk you through the inspection. Your agent should know what to look for during inspections and be able to let you know what is important and needs to be addressed before the transaction is complete and what is a quick fix. 

The Listing Agent

In some cases, the listing agent may not be present for the inspection. Otherwise, the listing agent will be there to advocate for the seller and help to address any issues that may arise, as they are likely the most familiar with the property.

The Inspector

You will hire the property inspector as the buyer. You can get a referral from your agent to find a licensed inspector in your area. The inspector is there to explain what may need to be changed about a property and the potential cost it would have for you as a buyer. They are not there as a contractor and will not be fixing the problems, simply inspecting the property and the overall state of the house. 

image

Thinking of Renovating Your Bathroom?

Homeowners Are Ditching The Tub

Homeowners are looking for large, high-tech bathrooms with sleek color palettes and finishes, according to the Houzz 2017 Bathroom Trends Report.

On average, homeowners spent $21,000 to remodel bathrooms exceeding 100 square feet. That cost drops to about $12,300 for homeowners with smaller bathrooms that are less than 100 square feet. When it comes to age demographics, those aged 55+ spent the most on remodeling their bathroom since the majority of them reported that they don’t plan to sell their home anytime soon.

Meanwhile, millennials, who see their home as a short- to medium-term residence, are choosing to invest less in bathroom renovations. Out of the 4 percent of millennials who renovated their bathrooms this year, most spent $9,200 to 12,500.

Homeowners of all ages were willing to shell out the extra dough for showers (42 percent), cabinets and vanities (40 percent), faucets (35 percent) and countertops (35 percent). On the other hand, it seems that homeowners weren’t so willing to spend extra money on an upgraded toilet.

Beyond updating showers, toilets and faucets, 90 percent of homeowners decided to change the entire style and color scheme of their bathroom during renovations. Contemporary is the most popular style at 25%, followed by transitional and modern. Contemporary is most popular among baby boomers, while Gen-Xers and millennials favor modern styles with clean finishes.

When it comes to wall colors and cabinet, countertop and floor finishes, homeowners of all ages favor a white and gray palette over neutral or more colorful options. Although baby boomers and Gen-Xers are more partial to using wood grain and darker tones, Houzz says paying attention to millennial design preferences is important, especially since they’ll be leading the housing market for the foreseeable future.

Beyond design and decor, homeowners (27 percent) swapped out bathtubs for large showers, and 73 percent of homeowners chose to add high-end features such as rainfall shower heads (55 percent), dual showers (24 percent), curbless showers (21 percent) and body sprays (18 percent). Also, 29 percent of homeowners purchased a high-tech toilet — a 19 percent year-over-year increase.

The most coveted features among toilet techies were self-cleaning (12 percent), optional bidet (8 percent), overflow protection (8 percent) and motion activation (6 percent). The least important features were a self-deodorizer (4 percent) and hands-free flushing (3 percent). Baby boomers also looked for increased accessibility with comfort-height toilets (68 percent).

Previous studies have shown that bathroom renovations yield some of the highest ROIs. It showed that blue and periwinkle bathrooms sell for an average of $5,400 more and that buyers tend to favor homes with clean, neutral colors.

“Color can be a powerful tool for attracting buyers to a home, especially in listing photos and videos,” said Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell. “Painting walls in fresh, natural-looking colors, particularly in shades of blue and pale gray not only make a home feel larger, but also are neutral enough to help future buyers envision themselves living in the space.”

image

3 Steps To Downsizing

Whether you are moving to a smaller space or just trying to de-clutter, down-sizing can be overwhelming. There are often many bittersweet feelings - excitement for change but sadness over what you might need to let go of. Downsizing can force you to get rid of items that you may have clung to for a long time, but it is the perfect opportunity to remind yourself what you value most. If you can sort out the clutter, you can fill your space with the things you really love, making it truly feel like home. Here are 3 main steps to follow for downsizing without sacrificing what means the most to you.

1. Create A Plan
If you’re moving somewhere new, measure the size of your new rooms and storage areas. This will act as your guide for how much you can take with you. As you begin to decide what to keep and what to get rid of, do only one room at a time. Give yourself a week or two for this part. Moving is a big job and can be time consuming, and is much less overwhelming if not done all at once. Plan to do a room a day, and leave extra time so you aren’t rushed. Start with the furniture in each room - this will give you a better idea how much space you have left to fill. You don’t want to have to reshuffle everything if you can’t take that bookshelf with you.

2. Sort What You Own
Ask yourself - will you use it? If you haven’t used the item in a year and you always say “someday” when asking when the next time you will use or wear the item, it is time to put it in the donate/toss pile. Get rid of multiples. If you have multiple coffee pots, or several sets of china that you can only use one at a time, you don’t need to keep both. As you sort, follow a strict yes/no policy —no “maybes” allowed. Create a keep and toss pile, and force yourself to choose. If you aren’t completely sure, the item needs to go in the no pile.
Then you need to decide what to do with your “no” pile. You may not want or need these items anymore, but they may be useful to someone else. Special items can be passed on to family members, while furniture, clothing and other items in good condition can be sold or donated. Anything damaged or worn beyond repair should be recycled if possible or thrown away if necessary.

3. Preserve Your Memories
Gathering up your memories in one place will make them easier than ever to enjoy. Downsizing is an emotional process. You will discover items you haven’t seen in years, and you will have to decide what to do with them. Give yourself some time to reminisce, and then make a decision. Keep in mind your space limitations. Take with you what is truly valuable — only you can decide what you can’t do without.

image

How To Prepare For Professional Movers

Moving into a new home can be an exciting life change, but it comes with its own set of stresses. Whether it's cross-country or cross-town, a move requires a lot of work to pack up your belongings, transport them and lug them into your new place. Professional movers can be a big help because they do all of the heavy lifting for you. You can even pay them extra to pack and unpack your stuff!

However, preparation is the key to making sure your move won't take longer than it needs to and be even more stressful or expensive (most of these guys are paid by the hour, after all). Here are a few tips to get the best out of your experience with the pros.

1: Know What Can and Cannot Be Moved

For obvious reasons, most moving companies won't move cash and other valuables for you.

Professional movers won't just move anything. Many moving companies have lists of items they will not transport for safety reasons, such as household chemicals, paints and liquids. They may also have a list of things they won't move for liability reasons, like cash, important papers, photographs, pets, food and medicine. If you plan on bringing these items with you, you'll have to pack them up and transport them yourself.

2: Have a Packing Plan

Before your moving day, determine whether you or the movers will be responsible for packing and unpacking your belongings. If you're doing the packing, make sure you use plenty of newspaper, bubble wrap or blankets for padding. This is important because if what you pack breaks during transport, the movers may not be held liable for it. Be sure to have enough boxes on hand and label them with your name, room destination and contents so it's easier to keep track of where it all needs to go in your new space.

Once everything's packed, try to sort the boxes by weight to make loading easier for the movers. Keep piles of boxes away from the doorways so everyone can easily walk around. Avoid piling stuff on heavy furniture that will get loaded into the van first. There are several home moving checklist apps that can help you organize your move.

3: Have Insurance

Regardless whether or not you choose to use the moving company's insurance services, make sure your belongings are financially protected. Accidents can and do happen, so it's best to have a security blanket in case something breaks or gets lost along the way.

Moving companies offer different types of insurance coverage. Two popular options are by the pound and comprehensive. Insurance by the pound is cheaper, but it doesn't cover much. For example, if your antique dining table gets scratched during the move and needs to be repaired, this type of coverage will only pay a certain amount depending on how much the table weighs. It may not cover all -- or even most of -- the repair bill. Comprehensive coverage is more expensive, but it will cover all damages and losses.

4: Have Drinks and Snacks

A few bottles of water can really help movers on a hot day. Professional movers often have packed schedules. This is especially true during the summer months, when more people tend to switch residences. Movers often don't have much time to take a lunch break or make a quick trip to a convenience store to grab a drink, so be sure to have refreshments on hand. Go with portable food options like energy bars, and have a variety of beverages to offer thirsty workers. If the weather's hot, make sure you give a few bottles of water or sports drinks to each worker because they'll definitely need the extra hydration.

5: Have Cash for Tips

The movers have been schlepping your stuff all day, and if you have a long-distance move, the process is just beginning. They may have a long drive ahead of them to your new house, or they might need to pack several households' belongings into a large semi trailer and make several stops on a cross-country trip. A general guide to follow is to give 10 to 20 percent if the workers have done a good job. Ultimately, the tip you choose to provide should reflect the level of service and degree of difficulty involved. Any way you pack it, moving's a tough job, so have some cash on hand to show that you appreciate their hard work, especially if they do a quick, thorough job of taking care of your belongings.

image

Start a Gratitude Practice and Change Your Life

Fresh off Canadian Thanksgiving it is a little easier to think in terms of gratitude and thankfulness. Fall is a great way to begin a new practice as we shift into the coming holiday season.


1. Commit.

Gratitude is a way of looking at your life that gains momentum over time and gets stronger with practice. Its true, gratitude doesn’t seem to come as easily as grumbling does, and you will likely resist this exercise from time to time, but trust me, just commit to it. Even when you can hardly summon up the energy to shift into gratitude it still has magnetizing power.

2. Begin.

Sit down with pen and paper or at your computer and start with “I am grateful for …” Maybe you will have to stop there for a minute and wait because you just can’t think of anything. But if you wait, surrendering to the moment, something inside you will shift. The words will come.

The power of gratitude that you are tapping into is bigger than you and it is bigger than your problem, no matter how big that is. 

3. Write it down.

There is just something about the energy of writing things down that sets it apart from merely think about what you are grateful for. Its as if it pulls that gratitude into your physical world by training your attention to it in a solid way.

4. Feel it.

Some days you will write without feeling a shred of gratitude. That’s okay. Just do it anyway. BUT when you can feel those feelings of gratitude in your heart, allow them to be present in your body. If you can embody the 'why' of your gratitude with a feeling it will help you on the days you are less connected to your gratitude.

5. Choose a set time of day.

You may want to do this when you first wake in the morning or late at night before you go to sleep. The 'when' isn't so much important as your dedication. Consistency is the key.

6. Practice present-moment gratitude.

As you move through your day, when you remember, think about what you are grateful for in the moment. Moving through your day with awareness and grace will mean that when you do sit down to write your gratitude list those things will come to mind.

7. Share the gratitude.

Partner with someone so you stay at it.Not only will you keep each other going, but that sense of obligation to the other person will give you the push you need to write your list on the days when it feels too hard.

 

8. Don’t stop once you start to see results!

When you first began to see results, don't take a break from gratitude for a while, keep the momentum. Gratitude builds on itself. The more you notice, the more you will have to be grateful for.

9. Allow yourself to be human.

Grumble if you must. Miss the odd day here and there. Write “I am grateful I am writing my gratitude list” five times if you can think of nothing else. If you miss a day, don't beat yourself up, just get back to it and keep riding!

Seeing life is a positive way awaits you!

image

5 Reasons Fall is a Great Time to Sell

It is no secret that the spring season still ranks as the top season to put a home on the market, it’s an undeniable fact that there are enormous benefits to selling your home in the fall. Even though spring offers warmer weather and more people looking to buy, there’s no reason to put off listing your home until spring, when you can take full advantage of the home selling opportunities that come in the fall!
 
Here are 5 reasons why the fall is a great time to sell your home;
 

  1. Less Competition
Less listings means less competition. Yes, typically there are fewer properties coming onto the market, but that doesn’t necessarily mean fewer buyers. Listing your property during the autumn months means your property will have fewer properties to compete with and may attract more interest. Lower inventory also means that you might be able to sell your home at a more favourable price as buyers have less available inventory to choose from.
  1. Increased Price
It’s believed that house prices will continue to increase past the summer season and into the fall months. Real estate agents all over Ontario believe prices in our province will continue to be a hot market with consumers. Luxury properties have continued to perform exceptionally. There is no financial downside to listing your home at this time.
 
 
  1. Optimal Weather
 
Cool weather means a better buying experience. Similar to spring, the weather in autumn is actually great house-hunting weather. Crisp, sunny days and less sweltering, humid, rainy or cold days are advantageous to the seller. Many homebuyers dislike shopping for homes during the warmer seasons. Walking around in hot weather is just not fun – everyone’s just a little happier walking around in weather that’s conducive to getting out and about!
  1. High Influx Of Serious Buyers
Summer is full of browsers, those who go from open house to open house without any intention of buying. In off-peak times, you’re far more likely to attract serious buyers who are looking to move due to circumstance, which means you can line up with the real buyers. A majority of Real Estate agents believe serious buyers often feel the pressure to make their move before the bad weather hits and holidays begin.
  1. Curb Appeal
 
It’s a great time to create curb appeal! It’s effortless and affordable to create seasonal curb appeal by staging the front steps and entry with gold, yellow and orange mums, pumpkins and gourds. You can bring the fall theme inside with some autumn-hued accent colors, cinnamon and clove scented candles or other seasonal touches like freshly baked pumpkin muffins or simmering hot apple cider.

I'd love to help you sell your home this fall! Give me a call and we can set up an assessment !

image

Fall Clean Up Tips and Tricks

Home maintenance is essential, both to keep your house looking its best and to prevent problems that could worsen over time. One of the best times to clean up and maintain your home is during the fall, the weather is cooler but winter freeze is still a little way off so it makes working outside enjoyable! Fall cleaning can be a big job, there are many things to think about, so here are a few ideas to get you started.
 

Take Care of Your Flower Beds

Don't let leaves and other plant material build up over flower beds in the fall, leaving the hard work for the spring. If you tackle some of the work in the fall (staying on top of spent flowers, plants and shrubs) the clean-up later will be easier; leaving you more time to enjoy the coming spring! Make sure to spread fallen leaves, compost and any other material that will break down over the winter onto your garden soil. Turning over the garden and breaking up the soil will drive that compostable material into the ground, giving your garden extra nutrients. 
 


Plant Bulbs, Shrubs, and Fall Annuals

Some plants do best when planted in the fall. If you want to add new shrubs or spring bulbs fall is for planting! Fall annuals like pansies and mums are also a great addition to keep some color in your yard as other plants begin to go dormant.

Unhook Your Garden Hose

Fall is the time to store hoses, unhooking them before cold temperatures set in. Before you do that, though why not give them a workout! Give your house a good wash, clean out the gutters, and removing as much dirt and other debris from the siding and drains as possible. Once you’re done, unhook the hoses and allow them to dry thoroughly before storing them for winter.

Clean up the vegetable garden

After the final harvest, pull out old vegetable plants and remove debris. If you compost, now is the time to add a layer of compost to help nurture your soil for planting next spring.
 

Take Care of Your Lawn


In the days leading up to the first major frost or freeze, cut your grass to about an inch in height. Make sure to rake, aerate and fertilize to ensure your lawn is healthy and ready for the spring seasons.

 

Your Deck Needs Care Too


Decks and the garden furniture you have on them will need a good cleaning and, if appropriate, the may need staining too. Don’t forget to properly store cushions and outdoor cloths so that they can be used again next season!

For many of us, autumn means cool nights, warm drinks and visits to the local pumpkin patch. It also means it’s time to get your yard ready for winter. The right preparation now will save you time and energy when spring rolls around. A little effort now and you'll be ready to enjoy you yards into a whole new season!

 

image

How to Choose “The One”

Finding Your Family’s Perfect Home

Some people may make the mistake of rushing into buying a property, only to realize later where they've landed just doesn't fit. Below are some things to consider when you are choosing a property that you will love.  

#1 - Does It Check ALL Your Boxes?

Before you begin your house hunt its a good idea to evaluate your current home environment. Create a list of things you love and that work really well for the flow of you and your family. Then, create a list of things you would like more or less of. These lists will help you decide on your “must haves” and your “new wants” and will be the lists you use as you begin hunting adventure.

The home that checks most of your boxes will be high on your potential offer list.

#2 - Does it have Renovation Potential?

Is there a house you like, but it needs some work?Are you capable of taking on the renovation or having them done for you? This can be one of the best ways to ensure you will love the home you move into. Something as simple as stripping wallpaper and updating counter tops, or something more complex like removing whole walls can be the thing that gets you in the house of your dreams. So think outside the box.

#3 - Evaluate Size & Storage

What are the needs of your family? Too small, and you'll have no where to grow to. Too large, and you may find you wont use all the extra size. Ideally, your home should be just big enough for your family and have the desired space to store your belongings.

#4 - Investigate the Neighbourhood

If you enjoy talking with your neighbors over the fence, walking for exercise, or getting out in the local community, its a good idea to check out the neighbourhood. Is the home close to the places that are important to you, like work, schools, or activities? If not, will it bother you to drive 30 minutes to an hour to and from each day?

#5 - Pay Attention to Your Feelings

Do you get that warm fuzzy feeling when you drive down the street? Does the home “speak” to you? Does it feel like a good match to your inner awareness? Can you envision your family living there long term?  Have you already begun imagining furniture placement? These are all things to consider when visiting potential homes.
 

#6 - Be Realistic

The house you end up with may not be your dream house. It’s imperative that you end up with a house you’re going to be happy living in, but you might also have to adjust your expectations. If the home you want isn’t one you can afford you may have to pass on some of your wants in order to get your needs met fully.  

Think about the pros and cons of the houses you’re considering BUT consult your gut as well. Sometimes, when it’s the “the one,” you just know.

image

SPRING CLEANING

Tips for Successful Spring Cleaning

The birds are back and singing in the trees but your house feels like its stuck with the winter doldrums. It may be time for Spring cleaning. This is a tradition that allows us to freshen up your home and get a head start on the spring and summer seasons. It can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be difficult.

Here are six spring cleaning tips to get you started.

Clean Room by Room

Approaching your house room by room is the most effective way to deep clean it. Create cleaning checklists for each room to help you get organized and to remind you of the areas that need extra attention. Feel free to skip the areas that have been cleaned recently, and focus on the parts of your home that were largely neglected over the winter.

Organize and Clear the Clutter

One of the biggest parts of spring cleaning is often getting rid of clutter. A systematic four-step approach can be helpful for this. Identify problem areas, analyze reasons for the clutter, determine solutions, and implement these remedies. Sorting your belongings into four categories—trash, give away, store, or put away—can also be effective as you go through the spring-cleaning process. Move the clutter out as soon as possible, whether it's bringing a donation box to a charity or planning a yard sale.

Get the Household Involved

Make spring cleaning a household endeavor. Even young children can be excellent helpers. Try throwing on some music as you all clean or establishing a household reward as an incentive to get the work done.

Tackle the Seasonal Chores

Many chores need to be done seasonally, especially in preparation for warmer weather. So incorporate them into your spring-cleaning routine to get them out of the way early. For instance, tackle outdoor chores, such as cleaning the grill, patio, and outsides of windows, as soon as the weather warms up. Also, store winter clothing, bedding, decor out of the way. Begin pulling out your spring items to give your home a refreshed look.

Keep Cleaning Products to a Minimum

If you need to shop for new cleaning products for spring cleaning, keep your items to a minimum. Myriad cleaning supplies can create clutter, and you probably don't need all of them to keep your home fresh and clean. 

Establish New Cleaning Habits

A thorough spring cleaning that covers the whole house is a great opportunity to establish ongoing habits, which can make the next spring cleaning even easier! For instance, don't try to do all of your spring cleaning in one day or even one weekend. Tackle items on your spring cleaning to-do list in smaller jobs, just 15 minutes each day adds up over time. 

image

Is Your Home Ready to Show?

While it may be your goal to keep your home show-ready at all times, that isn't always possible. It is completely normal to have a home that feels lived in - especially if you are living in it! This isn't a major issue, but something to be aware of you if you are getting ready to list this spring.

If your house is already for sale, you may have already experienced the stress of last minute showings. Of course you want your home to appeal to a potential buyer, but you also want to be able to maintain some normalcy while you are still living in the home. Here are three tips to help you show your home in its best light.

Create Routine

Create and follow an easy maintenance schedule for each family member. Rather than worry about cleaning the whole house at once, this allows your to maintain order and cleanliness - making show-ready living easy!

Decide on the Necessities

Do a walk through of your home and decide what items you'll need and use while your home is on the market, and start the job of packing up the rest. If you have the room, store the items in the house, and if not consider renting a storage unit. 

Quick Fix Containers 

Thankfully decorative bins and baskets are in fashion right now. If you don't already use containers to organize your household now would be a good time to start! You will then be able to toss items like clothes, shoes, toys and other items away quickly before a showing!

 

image

Pet Friendly Indoor Plants

Do cooler temperatures have you missing greenery this time of year? While the plants at your local grocery story may look tempting, you may want to look up that plant before buying if you have pets in your home.

Even if you don't have curious pets, there are some plants that are best to avoid all together if you have fury friends in your care.  Its important to always do your research before bringing plants into your home, but there are some tried and true potted plants that experts can agree on!

Ferns: True ferns are an easy addition to your pet-friendly home. They pose no threat to your fury loved ones and are usually hung in spaces where your pets can't reach!

Kitchen  Herbs: This is the best way to bring greenery into your home space! Rosemary, basil, dill, sage and fennel are all easy indoor garden additions and smell great too.

Orchids: They may not be the easiest to grow, but orchids have a wide variety f options that are safe for pets.

Palms: True palms are safe for pets, but cycads are not. Safe palm species include: areca palm, bamboo palm, dwarf palm and ponytail palm.

Peperomia: This group of plants is well known for it easy care requirements, making it a perfect plant for busy households. 

Succulents: Succulents and cacti as a grouping are pretty safe for pets, though the plants may not be toxic, it may be important to notice if your pet can reach a plant covered in spines.

image

Keep Up Your Curb Appeal in Winter

Just because the days are grey, and the snow is falling doesn't mean you can't keep up your curb appeal in the winter. Here are five ideas to keep up your curb appeal this winter!


1. Check your outdoor lights. Exterior lighting can add a warm glow making your home look cozy and inviting. Make sure to replace any bulbs that have gone out or update any that make the place seem dull and gloomy. 

2. Take the time to shovel all your walkways and clear the driveway. Its  such a simple thing and this keeps the place looking well maintained, not to mention the paths clear and safe.

3. Dress up the front door with winter planters or urns. Think plants with colorful berries to add some interest, and remember that evergreens aren't just for the Christmas season.

4.Make sure all toys, shovels and winter equipment are put away after use. Leaving items laying around makes your yard look uncared for.

5.Think about changing your front door's colour. The pop of colour may be just what your home needs during the depths of winter. 

 

image

Smudging Your Home

Tips to Purify Your Space

What was once a fringe practice has now gone mainstream, with multiple articles and platforms touting its virtue, but many people still don't know what it is or why its done. 

So what is smudging and how does one do it?

Smudging your home with sage smoke can help purify the air and provide a calming ritual that helps ease tension and reset the living space.

People use smudge for all sorts of reasons, if they've recently moved to a new home, are getting ready to sell their current home or want to feel free and easy in a space they already occupy.

Smudging, or burning dried cedar or sage, is a practice that helps both mind and body, working to clear negative energy and provide soothing scents that have a direct calming effect on stress and tension in the body. Various book stores, incense shops, alternative medicine practitioners, and even whole foods markets sell smudge sticks. Some use white sage or some incorporate fragrant herbs, but what you use is up to your individual preferences for scent.  

To begin, its important to prepare the space by gathering a bowl of sand, a lighter, a candle, and a fire-proof bowl. If you have a particular prayer, meditation, or calming song you like take a moment to center yourself into quiet contemplation. 
The entire practice of smudging is meant to free the space of negativity and your intention and mindset is an important element in the practice.


Light the sage bundle on the candle until it begins to smoke. Wave the bundle in the air to generate smoke production, then begin by carrying the fireproof bowl with you as you bring the smudge stick from room to room. You may also want to bring matches, as thicker smudge sticks have a tendency to go out.

Open a window, and starting at the front door, waive the smudge stick around to produce smoke, continuing clockwise around the space you wish to clear.


Pay special attention to corners, stairways, doorways and mirrors of each room, as those areas are more likely to collect and trap energies. Don’t skip over closets, laundry rooms, or basements, as these are all parts of your home that tend to stagnate. 

After you’ve smudged all areas of the home, return to your initial starting point, closing the loop you walk in your home. Carefully put out the smudge stick in the bowl of sand. Take a moment to come into silence, you can recite a small prayer or meditation silently. Blow out your candle and close any open windows, packing away your smudge materials until the next time they are needed.
Enjoy the space's new feel.

 

image

Colour Trends 2021

Rich and bold, mixed with soothing neutrals

While some colours, like grey, blush and white, aren't going anywhere in 2021, there are a host of new and on trend paint colours to make your home into an oasis that you'll love.
Jewel tones and soothing neutrals are a must this season, darker blues and even blacks are also cropping up for drama. With most of us spending more time in our home environments the colours we choose to surround ourselves matters even more. 

When working with different colours for each room a good rule of thumb is to use a darker or lighter colour in adjacent rooms. For example, if your dining room is already a light gray, then you could paint the adjacent living room a darker teal or green from the same colour pallet. 

Feel like making a change, but not sure where to start? Experts suggest beginning with the formal areas of your home first. S
pecifically, the living room, dining room and/or entry way. Choose a colour scheme for those areas first, then pull complementary colours throughout the rest of your space.

Make sure to take your time, multiple paint experts recommended taking a few days to decide between paint swatches. That is because the colours you like will change with the light throughout the day, looking different on a cloudy day versus a sunny day. 


 

image

Is it a good time to sell in the Winter?

I get asked this question alot.

Some people think the best time to sell is in the Spring time.  I often hear who buys in the winter?  Approximately 20% of the home sales happen in the winter.
What are the benefits to selling in the winter time?
1.  Less Competition.  There are fewer listings on the market which is better for you, the Seller. It gives you a better chance of entertaining mulitiple offers when the buyers don't have as many homes to choose from.
2.  The buyers who are looking this time of year tend to be more serious.  This means less time being wasted for you.  There is nothing more frusterating then cleaning your home and leaving your home only to have a buyer through who isn't that serious.
3.  Chances are everyone helping you will be not as busy so you will get better customer service.  When you are not closing your home in the busiest months it means your movers, lawyers etc will have more time to focus on you and give you better customer service.
4. No yard work which equals less work for you.  No cutting grass, raking leaves or weeding gardens.  Still important to make sure your walkways and driveways and clear of ice and snow though.
5.  Worried buyers won't see your favourite parts of the outside of your property?  With the high quality feature sheets I offer and virtual tours that I include it is very easy to include those summer pictures in so that your new buyer can fall in love with the same things you did.

Have I helped you make a decision to not wait for spring and consider moving now? You know what they say there is no time like the present.  Feel free to contact me at any time to sit down and discuss your home value and marketing plan.  

cell 705-440-9400
email  sellwithmarsha@gmail.com

image

Prevent Cold Weather Falls On Your Property

Winter is here which means an increased risk of ice on your property. While bad weather can be inevitable, decreasing fall risk at your home can help. Here are a few ways to just do that:

INDOOR TIPS

The first step to preventing your own falls start indoors. Preparing your entryways can help! Try placing skid-resistant door mats near entrances to dry your footwear. Make sure you check the bottoms of your feet each time you enter the home, and clean off the accumulated ice, snow or water. Keeping your floors as dry as possible is another great way to prepare your home.

OUTDOOR TIPS

To start, you will need adequate supplies of salt and sand. Clear your walkways and treat outdoor surfaces to prevent falls. Wooden porches, decks or steps can become especially slick in winter. Be sure to shovel and treat pathways with salt or sand immediately after storms. Prevent dangerous ice buildup by clearing sidewalks before snow is compacted by footsteps or melts and refreezes. Salt lowers the freezing point of water and can be spread on sidewalks or driveways to keep them from getting icy, or to help melt away ice that has already formed. Sand doesn’t melt ice but is applied to icy walkways to provide traction. If you don’t have sand on hand, other abrasive materials such as kitty litter, saw dust and wood ashes can be used to create traction on icy walkways. You will want to adjust downspouts to drive water away from pathways - it doesn’t take long for pooling water to become icy patches.

image

Boost The Mood Of Your Space

Here are some of the easiest ways to boost the mood of your space!

Compartmentalize

If you’re working at home, it is easy to get distracted by your typical home responsibilities since they are now right in front of your face. To stay focused on work, try designating different areas for certain activities. By assigning specific areas for fitness, work and leisure, you will have an easier time letting your brain and body know what you should be focusing on.

Try Some Color

Adding an accent wall, or even painting a whole room, is one of the easiest ways to immediately boost the mood of a room. Consider adding a feature wall with a pop of color or lighting up the space where you work during the day. If you’re not ready to commit to painting your walls you can use accessories like throw pillows, curtains, or artwork to bring color into your space.

Declutter!

Spending more time at home can make a space that didn’t seem cramped before feel overwhelming. There’s no better way to bring harmony to your space than decluttering. While having a clean, decluttered space is aesthetically pleasing, it can also reduce your stress and help you stay focused on work instead of worrying about all the clutter in your field of vision during the day.

Try a Digital Detox

Staying informed is important, and many jobs require technology, but cutting down on screen time can greatly impact how you feel in your space. To reduce screen dependence, set up manageable boundaries based on time or place. Designate phone-free times or remove tech devices from your bedroom for a daily reset.

Lighten Up

If your home is now your office, you can now control the light conditions of your workday. Natural light is one of the best ways to literally and figuratively lighten up a space. Try positioning your desk near a window and keep drapes and shades open during the daytime. You can also add reflective surfaces to enhance the light in dark rooms.

image

Repurpose Items For Holiday Decor

What's In Your Home?

Before you spend your holiday savings on tinsel and twinkle lights, take another look at items you already have. By searching through your cabinets and closets, you can easily repurpose common household items into yuletide decor for your abode. Need a little inspiration? These design experts share how they style up everyday objects into festive flourishes.

Dig through the craft closet

If you’ve got extra cloth or burlap, you can use it for anything from tablecloths to a Christmas tree skirt. You can roll out brown or black butcher paper on your table like a runner. You can also tie ribbon on everything, thread it through chandeliers or banisters, or put festive printed fabric in frames.

Check the kitchen

You can fill a large glass serving bowl with whatever seasonal item you have. This is an easy way to repurpose decorations and switch up how you would normally display them. If you have flower vases, stick glass ornaments inside with a string of white lights.

Use your food

Dried fruit garland is easy and classic. Use a needle and thread to some popcorn, cranberries or dried sliced oranges, and string it up wherever you see fit. Cut up fresh fruit and put it in a pitcher before adding flowers for a centerpiece. Throw in some cloves and cinnamon sticks for added flair.

Forage in the yard

Instead of placing a star at the top of your Christmas tree, find some sticks and tie them together at the top of the tree with a bow. You can then layer pine cones throughout the tree to balance out the ornaments for an organic, natural feel.

Look around

You can give a corner of your home a holiday touch by adding seasonal pillows you can store the rest of the year, some evergreen cuttings from the yard, and a stack of wrapped gifts. Consider repurposing a metallic vase into a holiday greenery display.

image

Eliminate Pet Odors In Your Home

Eliminating bad odors from your home is incredibly important, you want to make sure you've removed them before putting it on the market. Often times, the first thing buyers notice upon entering your home, is how it smells. If there is an odd odor, it will instantly put them off. No matter how beautifully staged and presented it is, strong odors or stale air can make your home unappealing to prospective buyers. Opening windows and exhaust fans will only go so far in removing foul odors, but won't generally eliminate it completely. To ensure you don't lose potential buyers, follow these odor eliminating tips to ensure your home smells and feels fresh and new.

Don’t Use Artificial Freshening Sprays

Don't make the mistake of spraying artificial room freshener sprays in hopes that it will remove the bad odor. Deodorizers will quickly fade, and only mask the smell, sometimes in an overwhelming way. If a buyer walks into your home, your air freshener can cause a reaction, like a runny nose or a headache, and will make them suspicious of an underlying foul odor. Instead of trying to mask it, locate the actual source of the bad odor and get rid of it.

Best Pet Carpet Cleaners for Accidents

We all love our furry friends, but unfortunately, they can get your home pretty smelly. Whether the smell is on the carpet, furniture, or even on the walls - it's essential to have it removed. Most odors stem from accidents. You always want to attend to the accident right away. Blot them with a paper towel and use mild dishwashing liquid to help remove the odor. Once completely cleaned, blot again with fresh paper towels to dry the spot. If the accident is not recent, use an enzyme cleaner to eat the bad bacteria. Another great idea is to use activated charcoal. It is a form of carbon that has been activated to make it extremely porous. You can get activated charcoal meant for pet odors at most pet stores. 

Green Cleaning Products

Using natural odor eliminators is a great green alternative to most of the chemicals sold at stores. One of the most recommended products is to use baking soda. You can place an open box of it in a room to help absorb unwanted smells. It also helps to remove musty aroma in dark spaces, like a basement. On top of being used to remove pet odors, it also works great for cigarette smells. If you don't wish to use baking soda, most pet supply stores will have green cleaning products that help remove odors, while still being safe for your household. 

Home Buying Myths

Do you really need 20% down?

Although the internet can be a great resource for a variety of information, a lot of that information is incorrect. One of the most important and expensive decisions in your life, home buying, tends to circulate a lot of misinformation. Most of that misinformation is in regards to how much of a down payment you need or what your credit score needs to be. Let's go over the real facts about buying a home and knock those myths out, so they don't hinder your ability to purchase!  
CREDIT SCORES

Though it may come as a surprise, you don't need a perfect credit score to purchase a home. Traditional bank lenders will work with credit scores as low as 640, but your agent can also get you connected with local lenders that accept credit scores as low as 580. Although there are other required stipulations to qualify for the loan, you don't need a perfect score in the 700's or 800's to get approved for a mortgage. 
DOWN PAYMENTS
You don't have to sell an arm and a leg to be able to purchase your dream house. There is a huge misconception that you need to pay a minimum of 20% down to buy. That information is outdated. These days, there a large variety of loan programs that only need an average of 3-5% down. Based on your income or military status, you may even qualify for mortgage programs that require 0% down. Although you'll expect to pay an additional 3% in closing costs, which is separate from the down payment, this is still significantly less that 20% of the purchase price. If you're in a buyer's market, you may even be able to negotatie for the closing costs to be covered by the sellers. 
---
Be sure to connect with a local real estate agent like me to ensure you have the right facts. Don't let online myths persuade you into thinking you can't qualify or afford to buy a home. There are a variety of programs to help you get into your dream house. Since these vary by county and province, it's imperative to call your agent and let them fill you in on the facts. 
 

image

5 Things You Need To Do Before Your Home Goes Up for Sale

Let’s take a look.

Are you wondering about the things you need to do before your home goes up for sale?

When you are drowning in things to do before your home goes up for sale – just take a breath and prioritize. You don’t need to do everything ( nor will you have the time or spare money to do everything) you just need to do the right things.

So what are the right things – here are 5 top tips for you right here.

 

Selling your home is no simple endeavor, and there is a lot that needs to be done before you can put your house on the market. When you have viewings, you are going to want to present your home in the best light possible, to increase your chances of making a sale., quickly and for top dollar.

If you don’t know where to start, here are five things that you need to do before your home goes up for sale.
 

  1. Get Rid Of Clutter 

Getting rid of all of your clutter is important for a few reasons. Firstly, it means that you will have less to take with you to your new property and secondly it will make the act of packing easier.

There is also the fact that a cluttered home isn’t going to look great in pictures or in person for showings, and may actually put people off buying your home as they assume you haven’t looked after it.
 

  1. Increase Your Curb Appeal 

First impressions matter and that includes the first impression that potential buyers will have of your home. The last thing that you want is for people to drive up to your house and not feel welcomed to buy it, so you have to take the time to make it look as good on the outside as it looks on the inside.

This means keeping your front garden tidy and having a nice front door. Not a big thing to do but it will certainly be impactful. Neglecting thee areas
could cost you dearly when it comes to making a house sale! 

  1.  De-Personalize Your Home

You don’t want viewers to walk into your home and feel like intruders because your home is all about you. You need it to be neutral and like anyone and everyone could live there. This might means getting rid of your bright yellow door and painting over your brightly colored wall mural, or perhaps just removing family photos and staging the inside of your home.

4. Increase Your Value

You want to get as much for your home as you possibly can, so it’s important for you to add value to it wherever you can. Repairing structural damage and improving what you have is an important step, as potential buyers will notice if things feel rundown. If you have extra funds, updating a bathroom or giving the walls a fresh coat of paint goes a long way!

  1. Clean Everywhere 

You can’t avoid it any longer; if you want to sell your home you’re going to have to clean absolutely everywhere before the viewings start. This includes your windows and guttering, as well as everywhere inside your home. It definitely isn’t fun, but no one is going to want to buy a home if it’s covered in dust and looks grimy.

*

Selling your home is incredibly complicated, but the work starts well before it goes on the market. You want your home to look and feel appealing, or you won’t get any offers. If you follow the tips above though, you should be alright!