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5 Ways to Make the Selling Process Stress-Free

April 10th, 2018 by queencityhomes

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 exactly as planned! So, it’s important to build in flexibility. For example, you may plan to see homes for sale on Saturdays, but if an opportunity comes up on a weeknight, give yourself room in your schedule to jump on it.
3. Eat well. There are numerous studies that connect poor nutrition with increased stress. When people are selling and moving, there’s a tendency to rely on quick fixes, such as hot dogs and pizza! Try to plan more nutritious meals that will keep everyone healthy and energized.
4. Get stuff done early. Doing things last minute, such as finding a real estate lawyer or getting rid of clutter, can quickly lead to stress and frustration. Whenever possible, get tasks done early. That way, you won’t have to worry about them.
5. Hire the right professionals. By far, the surest way to a stress-free move is to get the right professionals working for you: everyone from contractors to mortgage brokers to movers.

By the way, a big part of what I do for clients is help make every aspect of buying, selling and moving go smoothly. Contact me to learn how I can help you.

How a Professional Chef Would Remodel Your Kitchen

March 28th, 2018 by queencityhomes

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 example, you can replace the countertop with a larger one. Just adding eight inches in both directions will make a big difference.

Most chefs have more than one oven. If that’s impractical for you, consider buying a double-oven stove. Also, chefs prefer gas burners for quicker heat-up times and exacting control of cooking temperature.

One thing you’ll notice about chefs is they love stainless steel.
That’s because it’s easy-to-clean, hygienic and durable (assuming you take care of it).

Finally, because chefs spend so much time in the kitchen, they want the space to be attractive and comfortable. So, when remodeling, keep decor
in mind.

Even if you’re just an amateur chef, creating a chef-worthy kitchen will make the foodie in you smile.

10 Reasons to List Your Home This Month

February 27th, 2018 by queencityhomes

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 neighbourhood in which you’ve always wanted to live.
5. Your current property may no longer meet your needs.
6. Your neighbourhood may have changed in ways you don’t like.
7. You might be ready to downsize or upsize and you no longer want to put that off.
8. You may want to sell in the fall, so you can have a fresh start in a new home in the new year.
9. Depending on the type of home you’re considering, you could end up with lower mortgage payments or no mortgage at all.
10. You might want to move to a home that’s more conveniently
located near work, family and hobbies.

Of course, you may have your own reasons for listing this month. Why not discuss them with a real estate expert? Me. I can answer your questions and explain the options available to you.

Should You Rent Out Part of Your Home?

January 30th, 2018 by queencityhomes

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” featuring a kitchenette and bathroom — may also increase your property’s market value.

On the con side, you’ll have more costs and responsibilities as a landlord. For example, you might need to purchase extra insurance because basic home insurance policies typically do not cover rental units, even if you’re just renting out a room. You’ll also be responsible for dealing with repairs sometimes in the middle of the night.

Also, if you’re not careful about the renter you choose, you might end up with a “problem tenant”. For example, you could have a tenant who is consistently late on rent payments or simply stops paying. That can be stressful.

If you’re deciding whether or not to rent, be sure to check local laws and regulations. Many jurisdictions have very strict rules regarding renting out space in a residential property, and those rules change frequently. Make sure you get the latest information.

Using Neighbourhood Data to Help Sell Your Home

January 16th, 2018 by queencityhomes

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 “turnover rate”, and it’s handy data to have when listing your home.

Another bit of data that buyers can’t simply see is the local crime rate. But, most police departments keep those statistics. If your neighbourhood has a low crime rate, that’s an obvious plus to sellers.

Demographic data can also be helpful when selling your property. If your neighbourhood has a lot of families, for example, that’s going to be appealing to buyers with kids.

Even local development plans can play a role in making your home more attractive to buyers. If a new ramp to a major highway is in the works nearby, getting to work is going to be easier. That’s a big benefit to commuters.

Other types of data that can help sell your home include:

• Planned local construction.
• Proposals for neighbourhood improvements. (For example, a new playground.)
• Rates at which local property values are increasing.

Any information that shows the advantages of living in your area is going to be useful when selling.

By the way, this is the kind of information I put together to provide to prospective buyers when selling your home.

Contact me and I can help you sell your home. Call 306-530-9050 or email terrie@queencityhomes.ca.

Checklist for WOW-ing a Buyer during a Viewing

January 2nd, 2018 by queencityhomes

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 possible.
• As much as is feasible given the time, reduce clutter. Consider packing some items into boxes and storing them in the basement or garage.
• Get pets out of the house. You can take them for a walk, have a neighbour watch them, or take them to a good kennel.
• Turn on the lights, even during the day. You want each room to look bright.
• If there are any maintenance issues, such as a dripping faucet, let your Realtor know. Often, it’s best for buyers to be told rather than discover such issues themselves.
• Open the curtains, except in those rooms where the sun will be uncomfortably strong during the viewing.
• Move your vehicles from the driveway so the buyer can park there. (That can help them imagine living there, which is what you want!)
• Make sure your foyer is especially clean and uncluttered. It’s the first “room” the buyer visits.
• Avoid cooking just before a viewing. Even if the meal is wonderful, the aroma may linger. (Some people don’t like the smell of certain dishes, such as fish.)
• Freshen up the outdoor space. Mow the lawn. Sweep the walkway.

This viewing checklist will help you prepare your home quickly, so when the buyer comes in your front door, there’s a much better chance he or she will be impressed.

Common Household Items that Can Cause a Fire

November 21st, 2017 by queencityhomes

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.

3 Reasons to Talk to a Realtor Today

October 10th, 2017 by queencityhomes

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 discuss what your current property will likely sell for on today’s market, and determine the type of home you qualify to buy. That way, you’ll have some clarity and be able to make a more informed decision.

2. If you’re nervous about the selling process

If you haven’t sold a home before, you might be concerned about what’s involved in the process. You might even worry that putting your home on the market is going to be a lot of work and create a lot of turbulence for you and your family.

Fortunately, selling your home doesn’t need to be scary. In fact, a big part of my job as a Realtor is to make the process as smooth and trouble-free as possible.

So if you have concerns about selling your home, you should give me a call.

3. If you have questions

You likely have questions about the local real estate scene from time to time. You might have questions like: “How much did that home around the corner sell for?”; “Is now a good time to make a move, or should I wait until the market changes?”; and, “How much is my current home worth?”

When you have questions like those, you don’t need to dig for answers on your own. You can give me a call. As an expert in the local market, I can give you the answers you need.

BBQ Safety Tips You Should Know

September 26th, 2017 by queencityhomes

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.

What Do Interior Designers Do?

September 14th, 2017 by queencityhomes

If you want to transform a room into something that’s functional, beautiful and perfectly matched to your taste, then you might want to hire an interior designer.
It’s an interior designer’s job to come up with imaginative ideas that will wow you.
It’s a myth that interior designers just deal with paint colours, décor and furnishings. In fact, according to the Interior Designers Institute, these professionals have the training needed to handle all aspects of a renovation or remodeling project, including selecting and managing contractors. They can direct a project from beginning to end.
If you want to renovate your basement into a stunning home theatre and gathering place, an interior designer can:
• Draw out several concepts for you to choose from,
• Purchase the best building materials,
• Hire the contractors, and
• Manage the project.
He or she can even pick out classic movie pictures for the walls!
There are many professional associations that have “Find an Interior Designer” links on their websites. In Canada, it’s the Interior Designers of Canada (www.idcanada.org).
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