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Are You Ready to Buy Up?

November 30th, 2016 by queencityhomes

No matter how much you love your current property, you may be dreaming of the day you can buy up into a better home in a better neighbourhood.
Is that day today, or, is it a few years down the road?
Here’s a quick way to make that assessment.
First, make a list of all the practical reasons why it might be time to move up. Those reasons might include features such as: more bedrooms, proximity to work and school, a larger backyard with trees, nearby parks and walking paths and better access to things you enjoy like theatre.
Next, make a list of the emotional reasons for making such a move. Those reasons might include memorable get-togethers with friends on a more spacious deck, an easier and less stressful commute to work, more family time with the kids and enjoyable Saturday golf at a nearby course.
Finally, take a financial snapshot to determine if you can afford to move up. You’ll need to get a good idea of what your current property will sell for in today’s market, average price of homes in your desired neighbourhood, and how much mortgage you’ll need.
Once you have all that down on paper, you’ll have a clear picture of your readiness. If the practical and emotional reasons for buying up are compelling, and you can afford to make the move, then you have your answer.
The time is now!
By the way, if you need help in making this determination – especially figuring out what your home will likely sell for, call today.

Knock, Knock. How to Avoid Door-to-Door Scams

November 16th, 2016 by queencityhomes

It’s early in the evening and there’s a knock on the door. You answer and are greeted by an official-looking man who claims he needs to see your utility bill to confirm you’re getting your energy rebate.

Do you let him in?

While he may be legitimate, he may also be using deception to sell you something you don’t want. Here are some suggestions for finding out:

  • Ask for a business card. Then, check if it has an address, phone number and website. If the salesperson refuses or just shows you his ID card (which anyone can fake), that’s a red flag.
  • Ask for the name of his employer. Sometimes salespeople will say they “represent the phone company”. That doesn’t mean they actually work for it.
  • Ask if you can call his company to confirm details before buying. If he refuses, or says the office is closed, shut the door.
  • Ask if you can consider the offer and call the office the next day to place your order.
  • If you’re really suspicious, ask him to come back later. Then, call the non-emergency police number. Police are aware of common scams in the area.

Most importantly, use your common sense. Door-to-door salespeople can be pretty persuasive, but if something doesn’t seem right to you, trust your gut. Say, “No thanks.”

Of course, if everything checks out with the salesperson, and the offer is a good one, consider taking advantage of it.

 

Selling a Home in a Crowded Market

November 3rd, 2016 by queencityhomes

When you’re about to sell your home, it may be disheartening to see so many other properties for sale in your neighbourhood. You may be thinking, “That’s a lot of competition! Will our property get noticed?”

Fortunately, there are many proven strategies for standing out in a sea of For Sale signs.

First of all, keep in mind that many home purchasers come from the REALTOR’S personal network of buyers who want to move into your area. So, choosing the right REALTOR® is crucial.

Second, remember that when there are other properties for sale on your street, curb appeal becomes even more important. There are many simple things you can do to make your property look great to those driving around looking at homes. Make sure your property looks as picture perfect as possible.

In a competitive market, it’s also more important than ever to highlight features of your home that are unique and enticing. If, for example, you have a large backyard deck and brand new hardwood flooring, make sure these are mentioned prominently on the feature sheet.

Finally, be as flexible as you can be when scheduling viewings and open houses. Don’t forget that other listed properties in your neighbourhood draw in buyers, who may notice your home. It’s not uncommon for a buyer to view a property and then scout the neighbourhood. So, you want buyers to be able to see your home on short notice and at a convenient time for them. If there are several other nearby properties for sale, it means things are hot from a real estate point of view. You want to roll out the red carpet to buyers.

Looking for help selling your home quickly and for the best price? Call today!

Finding an Honest Home Improvement Contractor

October 12th, 2016 by queencityhomes

You can’t call yourself a dentist unless you have specific hard-earned credentials. Just about anyone, however, can hang a shingle and call himself a home improvement contractor. That’s why choosing a reputable one is so difficult. Here are some tips:
• Find out if he or she is truly in business full-time. A part-time or occasional contractor may not have the experience necessary to do a great job.
• Ask about licenses and other credentials. Some contractors have accreditations from professional and trade associations.
• Review his or her project portfolio. A reputable contractor will have photos and other evidence of work completed for similar clients.
• Check online for reviews. If there are more than five poor reviews within the past three years — that’s a red flag.
• Ask for references. Then, call at least one.
Finally, the best contractors are those that get recommended by people you trust.
Looking for a contractor recommendation? Call today.

Should You Worry About Moisture on Windows?

October 5th, 2016 by queencityhomes

You’re standing by your window admiring the view. Then you notice it. Moisture has built-up around the edges of the glass. Should you worry?

It all depends on the reason for the build up.

Assuming you have traditional double-pane glass in your windows, there are a few things to look for if you notice moisture.

Often, moisture at the bottom of the windows is simply caused by too much humidity in your indoor air. If that’s the case, simply adjust your humidifier.

If the moisture is on the exterior of the window, typically there’s also no problem with the window itself. It may have rained recently or the outside humidity may have spiked causing the accumulation. Generally, there’s no reason for concern.

However, if the moisture is in between the two panes of glass, the seal has broken and surrounding air – along with its water content – has made its way in. This disrupts the thermal barrier of the window, reducing its energy efficiency. In fact, the glass might feel noticeably colder than your other windows on chilly days. In that case, you’ll need to replace the pane.

Similarly, if the moisture is coming in through only one spot — the bottom right corner, for example — then you might have a leak. If you have a wood frame or sill, you may also notice a growing water stain. It’s important to get leaks fixed quickly. There may be water damage occurring within the frame that you cannot see.

Creating a Pantry, when You Don’t Have One!

September 21st, 2016 by queencityhomes

A pantry is the ideal nook for storing extra food and other items ordinarily crammed into the kitchen. It’s also a nice design feature, as it harkens back to the days of country kitchens with spacious pantries.

 

You might be thinking, “That’s nice, but our home doesn’t have a pantry.”

 

That’s okay. These days, there are many ways to create a pantry in your home – even if it doesn’t have one! Here are just a few suggestions:

 

  • Add shelves to the laundry room. If you have the space, this is the ideal place to create a mini-pantry.

 

  • Purchase a portable pantry. There are many available on the market. Some are even disguised as cabinets you’d expect to see in living and dining rooms.

 

  • Purchase a movable pantry. These units are on wheels and can slide in and out of the kitchen with ease. Some are short enough to slide conveniently under a kitchen table.

 

  • Make use of an unused closet. These are rare in most homes, but if you have a closet that isn’t being used, it can easily be converted into a pantry.

 

As you can see, there are plenty of options available. You don’t necessarily need to build an extra room!

 

 

 

When it Comes to Offers, it’s Not Always about Price

September 7th, 2016 by queencityhomes

When considering which of two or more competing offers to accept for your home, there is no doubt price plays a huge role. After all, if Offer #1 is $10,000 higher than Offer #2, that’s an enticing difference that puts thousands of extra dollars in your pocket.

However, price isn’t the only thing you should think about when comparing multiple offers. There are other factors you need to consider as well.

For example, what conditions are in the offer? If Offer #1 is conditional upon the seller selling his current property for a specific amount, then what if that doesn’t happen? You could end up with an offer that dies and be forced to list your home all over again.

In that circumstance, accepting the lower offer may be your best move.

There’s also financing to consider. Most sellers will attach a certificate from their mortgage lender to show that they can afford the home and will likely secure financing with little difficulty. If you get an offer where the ability of the seller to get financing is in doubt, that’s a red flag.

The closing date is another important factor. Offer #1 might propose a closing date that’s perfect for you, while Offer #2 is four weeks later. If you’ve already purchased another home, you might require a month of bridge financing if you accept Offer #2. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but the costs and additional hassle are factors you should consider.

As you can see, assessing competing offers isn’t as easy as it looks. Fortunately, as your REALTOR®, I will guide you toward making the right decision.

How Much Time Should You Spend Viewing Homes?

August 31st, 2016 by queencityhomes

Figuring out how much time you should spend viewing properties for sale is a little like asking, “How long should I spend trying on shoes?”
The answer seems obvious: As long as it takes to make a decision!
Buying a home is significantly more complex than purchasing shoes – and the stakes are higher too! You need to make sure you have all the information necessary to confidently make the best decision.
There are basically three stages to viewing a property:
1. Macro
2. Micro
3. Professional
When you view a home on a macro basis, you’re looking at it from an overall perspective. For example, you may do a general walk-through to get a first impression and determine if the property has the basic features you need, such as the number of bedrooms and the size of the backyard.
Macro viewing is often the fastest stage in the viewing process and can sometimes take just a few minutes.
If you like what you see, then it’s onto the micro stage. At this stage you take a closer look at the details of the property. You might, for example, spend extra time in the master bedroom imagining how your furniture would look and fit.
The micro stage takes longer simply because the home is now on your shortlist. You’re interested and are considering making an offer.
Finally, the professional stage involves getting a qualified home inspector to go over the property with a fine tooth comb. That typically occurs after you’ve made an offer.
As your REALTOR®, I will guide you through a viewing so you’ll know what to look for and can make a smart, informed decision. Call today.

Should You Own a Fire Extinguisher?

July 21st, 2016 by queencityhomes

You’ve seen fire extinguishers in commercial environments, such as schools, stores and workplaces. Does it make sense to have one in your home?

According to the experts, yes. In fact, a fire extinguisher can quickly put out a blaze that would otherwise quickly grow out of control.

There are several types of fire extinguishers that are made especially for residential use. That means they put out the most common fires that occur in the home (Class A, B & K fires), and they are easy to handle and use.

Since most residential fires happen in the kitchen, that’s the best place to keep your extinguisher. Make sure everyone in your household knows where it is and how to use it.

Keep in mind that a home fire extinguisher is meant for small fires that are easy to put out, such as a pan of vegetable oil igniting on the stove. If you find you can’t control the blaze within a few seconds with the extinguisher, get everyone out of the home and call the fire department.

Also, never attempt to fight a major fire yourself. Leave that to the professionals.

Finding the List Price “Tipping Points”

July 7th, 2016 by queencityhomes

Setting the right list price for a home is a mystery for many sellers. How do you begin to determine what buyers are likely to pay for your property? After all, no two homes are exactly alike.

Yet, setting the right price is crucial. You need to avoid the two price “tipping points” that, if crossed, can cause you a lot of problems.

The first tipping point is a price that’s low enough for buyers to begin thinking something is wrong. They wonder, “Why is your price so low? What are you not telling us about your property?”

But that’s not even the worst problem with this tipping point. If you do get offers at that low price, you’ll have a bigger issue – leaving thousands of dollars on the table.

The other tipping point is setting your price so high it discourages buyers from giving your listing a second look. When your price is that high, you’ll get few enquiries and even fewer people coming to see your property.

Of course, you can lower your price later, if necessary. But experience shows that reduced prices make potential buyers skeptical. Most sellers who price high in the hopes of getting a windfall actually end up selling for much less than they would have if they had priced their properties correctly in the first place.

So what’s the right price to list your property? The answer is somewhere in-between those two tipping points.

Call today for help determining the right price for your property.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Association of Regina REALTORS® Inc.
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