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Monday, March 13, 2017

Spring House Hunting Tips!


Tips For Spring House Hunting

Spring is in the air!  For many of us, it is time to start thinking about yard work and what projects you want to do around the house.  For others though, it signals a season of heart palpitations and panic.  Yes I’m referring to that often tense time of the year when bidding wars cause the blood to stir in many house hunters!  If you fall into this category, don’t worry – here are some tips to help get the home of your dreams: 

Get Pre-Approved – when thinking about purchasing a home, this is definitely one of the first steps that you should take.  Speak to a mortgage broker and find out what you will be able to afford.  Next, work with your broker to get Pre-Approved as this will actually give you buying power.  You will know what you will be able to spend on a home in the event of a bidding-war and it will also show that you are a serious homebuyer.

Work With Professionals – having a great professional team behind you is key.  It is important to work with an Accredited Mortgage Professional (AMP) and a reputable realtor.  Their experience and knowledge will help you to navigate the housing waters.  An experienced realtor will be able to best represent your interests in finding a home that is suited to you.  They will also be a valuable asset during negotiations.  An AMP has access to many lenders and specialty mortgage products.  They will be able to match the right product and lender with you to ensure you get the best mortgage rate you qualify for.

Kick The Tires (so to speak) – it has often been said that there are two ways to look at a house – with your head (realistically) and with your heart (emotionally).  It is hard not to get caught up in the look of a home and start to image where all of your things would go and how the kids and dog would love the backyard.  You need to keep in mind that sellers are trying to appeal to your esthetic values and tug on those heart strings.  It is important to look beyond the shiny new hardwood floors or paint job and check to see how the job was done.  Look beyond the surface appearance and look at the bones of the house.  If something looks out of place or not quite right, don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper.  Look up and look down to make sure you don’t miss anything.  (Mom always said to bring a marble with me when I was viewing houses.  You can use it to make sure that floors etc are level!)       

Ask Questions – a smart home-buyer will have a list of questions ready to ask as they view the house.  Make sure they are realistic and get to the bottom of what you want to know.  Ask about such things as the furnace, warranties and property taxes.  A few simple questions will go a long way to avoid any surprises in the future.


Copyright VERICO One-Link Mortgage & Financial - Owned & Operated by 4549440 Manitoba Ltd All rights reserved. TM & R trademarks of Verico Financial Group. | Privacy Policy 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Things You Can do to Make Your Home Ready for a Spring Sale!


Wash windows inside and out

A potential buyer may not realize why your home seems so inviting but will feel drawn to it if the windows are spotless.

Clean drapes, curtains & blinds and open every window

Get rid of all accumulated dust and spider webs. Crisp linens and a spring-time breeze through the windows invites the fresh spring air inside.

Polish floors to a high gloss

Your hardwood floors should be refinished, if necessary. Make your ceramic and linoleum floors twinkle and shine. Thoroughly clean all area rugs.

Replace old towels, throws, pillows

Towels, linens, throws and sofa pillows are inexpensive accents.  Discard towels & linens that are stained or torn.  Choose bold colors or patterns to add interest to the space.

Rake the yard & trim bushes

Clean out dead leaves and debris on your lawn & eves.  Don't let overgrown vegetation block the windows or path to the entrance. Cutting bushes and tree limbs will let the sun inside and showcase the exterior of your home.

Mow the lawn

Manicured lawns are edged and tell buyers you pay attention to small details

Buy brightly colored flowers pots

Spring is a great time to bring a splash to bring life back to your yard after a long winter

Offer an outside mat for cleaning shoes

Spring weather is often unpredictable. Place a large mat at the door so buyers can wipe their feet before entering your home.


Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Ten "must-do" house selling tips

Ten “must-do” house selling tips

Sep 04, 2015


by Christine Rae

1. Don’t get personal. Whether working with a professional stager or going it alone, cut all emotional ties. Visit each room, remember the memories and then pack the sentimentality away. It clouds judgement. Don’t look at your house from the perspective of it being yours, or this is who we are — buyers aren’t interested. Remove and store as many personal items as possible including  all family photos, certificates, diplomas and medicine.

2. Pack and store/dispose of two-thirds of every closet and cupboard. It is a great time to start deciding what you want to keep, donate or discard. Organized storage space is one of the most frequently requested interior features.

3. First impressions are the only ones that count. Buyers have choices. They make decisions about a property within a blink of an eye. Wherever the eye rests the sale begins.

4. Understand staging is about condition more than décor. Sure the house has to look and feel good, but remember buyers are savvy — they will deduct from the offer (if they make an offer) their own perceived value for deferred maintenance. So repair anything that needs it, replace any fixtures more than eight years old and then clean like your life depends on it (your equity will). Pack and store (off property) anything you won’t use in the next two or three months. Remember, buyers are buying their new house, not your old one.

5. Update the kitchen. This is the most important room in the house. If buyers fall in love here they will compromise anything on their “must-have” list when the kitchen exceeds expectations.

6. Keep all bedrooms gender-neutral, including kids’ rooms and the master. Don’t think, “Oh, they can make the mental shift.” They can’t, won’t and don’t. You have a three-minute opportunity to get this house sold, so why would you jeopardize a single second?

7. Bathrooms are the second most important room in the house so, if you have money, upgrade what you can, at least in the main bath. Change the old cabinet-style sink for a pedestal or furniture sink and remember storage is vital. In the extra space gleaned, consider installing an organised linen closet with deep pull-out drawers.

8. Odour and allergens alert! During the past 50 years, the rise in prevalence of allergic diseases has increased. Worldwide, sensitization rates to one or more common allergens are approaching 50 per cent. You don’t know whether the future buyer is one of them. So know when you live in your house, you will not be able to smell what others do. Assume the worst and prepare. The best option is no smells at all. Open windows, don’t use household or garden chemical products. If you have pets, remove them from the property for the duration of the sales process (spa, friend, family).

9. Lighting. Make sure every light bulb is energy efficient and at the highest wattage the fixture will take. Clean all the fixtures for maximum sparkle.

10. Seventy-four per cent of prospective buyers will drive by your property before they even think about viewing it and half of them will do it at night. What that means to you is considerable thought going into curb appeal. Never underestimate its power.  Curb appeal done well is like gift wrapping on a present. The National Association of REALTORS® says, “Great curb appeal sells more than half of all houses that go on the market.”

Outdoor lighting is vital. Light up the porch and be sure the numbers of the house are illuminated and visible from the street. Consider lighting pathways and spotlighting a feature of the property, such as a dramatic tree or the front façade. Landscape experts agree there is 100 per cent ROI (return on investment) for money invested in front, back and side yards. Curb appeal wraps around to resort/lifestyle living in the backyard, too.  It is one of the most undervalued aspects of market preparedness that can actually add dollars to your bottom line. Ninety-five per cent of people surveyed said outdoor living amenities are vital. Outdoor allure also extends to balconies, decks and patios.

Give people what they least expect —  they don’t know they want it, but when they see it they can’t resist. The more you can accommodate that, the easier it is to sell.

(Christine Rae is president of CSP International Staging Academy and the author of SOLD and Home Staging for Dummies. www.StagingTraining.com)



 WinnipegREALTORS®. All rights reserved. MLS®, Multiple Listing Service®, and all related graphics are trademarks of The Canadian Real Estate Association. REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and all related graphics are trademarks of REALTOR® Canada Inc. a corporation owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association and the National Association of REALTORS®. Privacy Policy

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Selling a home can be an emotional experience....

Selling a home can be an emotional experience impeding decision-making

Aug 28, 2015


by Joseph Richer

We’ve been through the home-buying process, but what about selling?

Is it harder to be on that side of the transaction?

What do we need to know to protect ourselves?

Whether buying is harder than selling, or vice versa, is very subjective.

But if you’ve already dipped your toe into the real estate market to purchase a home, you already have some understanding of what is involved in a real estate transaction.

However, selling a house is quite different from buying and can be an emotional experience as you say goodbye to a place you have called home, especially if you have many good memories there.

Therefore, there are some things you need to know to ensure that your interests are protected and your emotions don’t impede your decision-making.

First, selling a home relies heavily on marketing and exposure, and this takes some concerted effort.

Buyers have countless avenues to learn about homes for sale, especially in today’s digital age.

But as a seller, your home won’t sell if no one knows it’s available. So, how do you market your home? How do you make it stand out from the other one for sale down the street?

This is why it may be prudent to hire a registered real estate professional — a REALTOR® — who has knowledge of your area and can work with you on the best marketing strategy for your home and its unique features.

Make sure you have a thorough conversation with your sales representative about the list price for your property. Ask for recent listings for sales in your area and determine what other similar homes have sold for recently.

Be sure that you have all the information you require and that you are comfortable with the strategy, and then document it as a schedule to your listing agreement to avoid misunderstandings down the road.

And remember, they may provide advice, but you are responsible for setting the price and the strategy that is best for you.

A second big difference between buying and selling involves the payment of commission. In a typical real estate transaction sellers pay the commission, not just to their own brokerage but also to the brokerage representing the buyer.

However, there are other models of how a buyer’s brokerage gets remuneration.

Whatever is decided, it must be clearly set out in the listing agreement.

A third aspect to consider is that you, the seller, own the home right up until the completion date. Therefore, you are responsible for carrying all expenses, including mortgage payments, insurance, municipal taxes, utilities and maintenance until the transaction is finalized. This holds true even if you vacate the property a week or a month ahead of time.

Generally, the length of the closing period — the time between the Agreement of Purchase and Sale being signed and the new owner taking possession — is negotiable between the seller and the buyer.

There are other aspects of the transaction that are unique to selling a home, including:

• Setting an appropriate listing price, which is a very different task from determining an offer price as a buyer.

• Deciding which fixtures and chattels will be included in the negotiation and sale.

• Itemizing any items on lease or rental and the buyer’s obligations for those contracts.

• Disclosure of material latent defects (regardless of whether a buyer specifically asks about them) and any ongoing liability of the seller after the sale closes.

• Any risks associated with the buyer not meeting agreed conditions or not being able to close the sale.

All of these unique aspects of selling a home may make it worthwhile for you to seek advice from a registered real estate professional — a REALTOR®.

A REALTOR® can help you navigate the sale, get the best net price for your home and ensure a smooth transaction.

(Joseph Richer is registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario —  RECO. Richer oversees and enforces all the rules that govern real estate professionals in the province of Ontario.)


© WinnipegREALTORS®. All rights reserved. MLS®, Multiple Listing Service®, and all related graphics are trademarks of The Canadian Real Estate Association. REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and all related graphics are trademarks of REALTOR® Canada Inc. a corporation owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association and the National Association of REALTORS®. Privacy Policy


Monday, March 03, 2014

Caring for Houseplants...Tips & Tricks

 1. Shade dwellers. 

One of the most important things to understand about house plants is that most are shade or partial shade dwellers in their natural element. That’s what makes it possible for us to grow them indoors where our artificial lights and windows can never provide the illumination impact of the sun – even on a cloudy day. Some can take quite heavy shade, others, usually those that flower, need a sunny window. Know what you are buying and buy plants to suit the conditions in your home.


2. Water, water, water.  

Watering is the other issue that most affects indoor plants. Stressed out plants usually receive too much or too little water. How much and how often to water? There is no universal rule of thumb, just your own powers of observation and knowledge of what your plant needs. Most, however, are able to survive on a weekly watering. Often, even though this may not be their preferred treatment, they will acclimatize to the regimen you impose. They do best if you take the plant to the sink, let the water run through and then let the plant drain until it stops dripping. Some plants, such as ivy, don’t like to be wet but if they dry out, they die.


3. Water some plants sparingly. 

A number of plants prefer to dry out between watering. An example of this is the ZZ plant which also does very well in a low-light environment. Water too often and give it too much light and this plant will grow way too fast for your comfort. The ZZ plant can go a month or even longer without water. Succulents, too, prefer to dry out – they have their own water storage tanks in leaves, stems or roots or all three. Aralias really resent too much water and will drop their leaves if too wet. Aralias can be quite happy to go without watering for two to three weeks, depending on the medium they are planted in.


4.  Check the soil. 

Most tropical plants come planted in a peat-based soil mix which may dry out very quickly. This will affect the intervals between waterings. You can reduce watering frequency by adding top soil or a small amount of coco husk, which retains moisture, next time you replant. You still have to be observant, though. Water-logged soil can quickly drown your plants because roots can’t get enough oxygen from soaking wet soil. Too much water can also cause root rot.


5. How much light is too much or too little. 

Light requirements depend on the plant. A plant that needs bright light can be put on a windowsill. If it needs bright but filtered or indirect light, it can be placed a few feet away from a sunny window. The distance from the window, the direction of the exposure will all have an effect. If your new plant seems to be struggling, try moving it.


6. Make my African violet bloom, please. 

African violets are notorious for becoming sulky and refusing to bloom, especially after a repotting. They like to be in a crowded pot to bloom, but that doesn’t mean they like competition from the little suckers that sometimes form on the side of the root. Prune these off – you can add a bit of rooting compound and plant them up in another little pot. Try watering with very warm water and try putting your bloomless plant in a sunnier window or even under the shade or an incandescent lamp where the light will spill down on it. A fertilizer such as Schultz for African violets will also help.


7. Orchid help. 

First, don’t overwater. The Phalaenopsis orchids most of us buy like to dry out between waterings and they do need lots of air for their roots. In nature, they hang upside down with their roots exposed to the air and the rain, so you can see how much they appreciate good drainage. When they stop blooming, be patient. Don’t cut off the flower scape right away – often it will send out a new branch. If it dries out at the tip, cut this part off and wait. Don’t cut more than one-third of the stem back. Water with a 10 per cent mix of fertilizer. Be patient. This orchid will re-bloom and often. The bloom will last for months.


8. Eeek! What’s eating my plant? 

There is a long list of insects that attack indoor plants, the most common being mealy bugs, spider mites and fungus gnats. Mealy bugs are the most troublesome and often it’s just simpler to throw the plant away than to try and kill the bugs, which takes patience and time. They can also infect other plants. Mealy bugs look like bits of cotton usually on the underside of leaves. They lay eggs in leaf axils and other nooks and crannies. Spider mites don’t like humidity so if you see the tiny red bugs, spray them with water and an insecticidal soap. Keep doing this every few days until they disappear. Keep a sharp eye out though – like the mealies, they lay their eggs in hard-to-reach places. Fungus gnats are the ones that lay their eggs in the top inch of the soil and hatch into annoying little flies. To get rid of them you have to treat both the soil with an insecticidal drench and capture the flyers with a spray or with traps of yellow sticky paper or saucers of wine or vinegar.


9. Living on air and water. 

Tillandsias are cool plants that don’t have feeder roots and don’t live in soil. Instead, they take in moisture and nutrients from the air around them. To water, simply spray or run tap water over them and shake. They make wonderful arid displays that can be pinned to pieces of driftwood or placed in a glass ball.  Happy tillandsias will flower, some of them having very beautiful and unusual blossoms.


10. Grow clean air. 

House plants clean the air of chemicals, dust and other pollutants. Some specialize in the chemicals they prefer: English ivy, peace lily and Chinese evergreen will clean up benzene and formaldehyde; the spider plant and weeping fig will pull formaldehyde, xylene and toluene out of the air; the variegated snake plant and red edged dracaena will clean up benzene, fomaldehyde, tricholorethylene and ammonia from the air. The winners on the list are peace lily and the florist’s chrysanthemum because they will deal with all five pollutants.  House plants also absorb carbon dioxide and replace oxygen in the air.


- Dorothy Dobbie Copyright©



Pegasus Publications Inc

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Clutter Gives a Negative Image

Clutter gives a negative image of a house making it more difficult for vendor to sell

by Todd Lewys

It’s amazing the difference choice — or a lack of it — can make in a real estate market.

Two or three years ago, when housing inventory was low, sellers could literally put their home on the market without doing anything to it and know that it would sell. But that’s no longer the case.

Today, in an increasingly balanced real estate market with far more homes to choose from, it’s essential that sellers prepare their home properly for it to have a chance to sell in short order.

 That preparation entails making sure that the home presents well not only on the outside, but on the inside. While it might not be necessary to stage the home, it’s highly advisable to de-clutter its interior, said de-cluttering expert Susan Macaulay.

“I’d put it this way. When you’re getting ready to sell, you need to edit your belongings,” she said. “That means you need to create breathable space throughout your home. 

“Basically, you want to make sure you don’t show your home with all your personal items out,” said Macauley. 

“If your home is cluttered with all kinds of items, people will be distracted from seeing the home. People need to visualize living in a home. 

“If they open up a linen closet and towels and sheets fall out, chances are they’ll remember that, rather than how amazing the home was,” added Macauley.

REALTOR® David De Leeuw concurred, saying that a little organization can go a long way toward making a sale.

“What I try to impart on sellers is the notion that an organized home calms a buyer’s mind,” he said. “When you’re selling a home — especially in today’s market, where there’s far more choice than even a year ago — you only have one chance to make a good first impression. 

“Most buyers form their impression of your home within the first minute or two. If it isn’t a positive one, they will just have a quick look, and then move on to the next home,” added De Leeuw.

In many cases, a trained eye can spot clutter and remove it prior to a showing a home, added REALTOR® Charlene Urbanski.

“Sometimes, we see things with a more objective eye,” Urbanski said. “I had a client who had moved a large hutch into their bathroom to create extra storage space. The problem was that it took up over half the room. 

“Prior to showing the home, I had them take it out and store it out of the way. Doing that opened up the bathroom, and made for a more spacious, calm feel. 

“Doing things like that, or just cleaning up countertops and dressers can make a huge difference. It enables buyers to see a home in its best possible light,” she added.

The key to presenting a home properly is to go through it in advance to determine what needs to be removed to create as much breathable space as possible, added de-cluttering expert Macaulay.

“Go through your home ahead of time. Believe me, doing that will save you a lot of grief,” said Macauley. “Just listing your home for sale is stressful enough. 

“By going through your home in advance and clearing out the clutter, you’ll be able to come home after work and clean and tidy it in short order before a showing. 

“You should also get your home ready before your real estate agent comes over to do an appraisal. It will create less work for them, and for you,” she added.

De Leeuw said he couldn’t agree more.

“There have been many instances where I’ve told a client, ‘I can’t put your home on the market until you do this,’” he said. “There’s always work that needs to be done to make a home present properly — there’s no way around it. 

“Do it, and your home might sell in two weeks rather than two months, or longer,” he added. 

“I can’t stress this enough: an organized home puts a buyer’s mind at ease.”

 To do that, you have to think like a buyer, concluded Macaulay.

“You have to assess your home objectively, then de-clutter its key areas,” Macauley said. Doing that will allow buyers to think about all your home’s wonderful features rather than how messy it was. Create a positive impression, and your home will sell that much quicker.”


 © WinnipegREALTORS®. All rights reserved. MLS®, Multiple Listing Service®, and all related graphics are trademarks of The Canadian Real Estate Association. REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and all related graphics are trademarks of REALTOR® Canada Inc. a corporation owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association and the National Association of REALTORS®.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


As we contend with the cold winter season, it's a great time to refresh our memories about using our fireplaces safely. Winter is the worst time of year for home fires...

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013


It's time to dispel some organizing myths that may be keeping you stuck and getting in your way of a more organized life...

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