Want to Buy a Home This Spring? Get Started Now!

If you’d like to buy and move into a beautiful new home this spring, then your countdown has already started!

While the spring might seem far away now, the rush of real estate’s biggest season will be here before you know it. There are many things you’ll need to do to get prepped and ready to buy a home.

Here are a few things you should get started on now in January so you’re ready for the spring market!

Get your finances in order: Now is the time to pull up your budget, your paystubs, your debt, and your credit score. First, make sure that your credit score is strong and that your debt is in a manageable spot. Your lender will look closely at both of these things and it will play a part in your interest rate and your qualification for a mortgage. Then make sure that your expenses, income, and budget are all lined up. Lastly, check on your savings account for your down payment and closing costs and make sure that it’s in good shape.

Get organized: You’ll need all of your financial paperwork around your taxes, income, debts, and assets handy for your lender. Gather all that paperwork now and organize it in folders or a binder so you’ll be prepared to get pre-approved when you’re ready to start looking at homes.

Start doing your real estate homework: Your agent will guide you through every step of the buying process, but it’s so helpful for buyers to have some background knowledge of the real estate process. You’ll feel much more confident and informed if you read up on the steps of buying a home and what you should be looking for as a buyer.

Find the right agent: It’s recommended that you interview at least 3 real estate agents so you can get an idea of what communication and working style best meets your needs. You’re looking for a knowledgeable, experienced agent you can trust and feel comfortable working closely with!

If you want to get started on your journey to buying a new home this spring, click here to get your FREE copy of the Buyer Guide!


Tips for Hosting a Stress Free Holiday Party

Planning a festive gathering but want to skip the stress? Here’s how to throw a fabulous holiday party with ease, inspired by tips from Martha Stewart:

Get those invites out early! The holiday season is hectic, so ensure your guests can pencil you in by sending invitations ahead of time.

Utilize what you already have at home. Scour your cupboards for party essentials like plates and decorations. This not only saves money but also adds a personal touch to your party setup!

When it comes to food and drinks, it’s better to have more than less. You’ll avoid the worry of running low, and guests will appreciate the abundance.

Don’t shy away from asking for help. Friends and family are often happy to contribute, making the party more fun for you and memorable for everyone. With these tips, you’re all set to host a stress-free, joyous holiday celebration!

Make sure to bookmark this link so you have ideas for your holiday party!



4 Tricks to Save Money While Building a Home

Building a home is becoming more and more common and with good reason! You can design your home exactly the way you want it, complete with your favourite flooring, appliances, and finishes.

But the process of building a home from start to finish can add up quickly, especially when you add in all the extras like those luxury finishes or specialized rooms. While there are many ways to splurge while building a new home, there are also several opportunities to actually save money on building so you can put that money to use elsewhere! Let’s go through the 4 best tricks to save money on the building process.

1. Build up not out: If you want more square footage, you might think that the only way is to build out the floor plan on the same level and expand horizontally. But building out requires more foundation, more roof, and extra lot space. These three things can make up the bulk of your home cost. Instead of building out, consider building up by adding a floor. This will help you add square footage without the added cost of expanding the foundation or roof.

2. Group your wet rooms together: Wet rooms are all of your rooms that require plumbing–think your bathrooms, laundry room, and utility room. By grouping these rooms together, you’ll have your plumbing lines in the same spot. This will decrease the amount of plumbing you need to run throughout the house, which can get expensive!

3. Consider your flooring: Tile and real hardwood floors are nice, but they can get extremely expensive, especially when used throughout the home. Instead of these pricer options, use luxury vinyl plank (also known as LVP). LVP has the look of real wood or tile, but it’s much cheaper. It’s also great with pets and kids and is growing in popularity, so you have lots of options!

4. Look at different building materialsSome builders default to the most expensive building materials like stone and brick. But you can get similar looks at a fraction of the cost with a stone or brick veneer. If you’re not a fan of brick or stone, you can look at other lower-cost building materials like stucco, vinyl or hardy board, or siding.


4 Tips to Navigate Home Construction Delays

Building a new home and construction delays often go hand in hand. Delays and changes to the construction timelines are commonplace due to things like material supply chain delays, labor-related delays, or the home simply needing more work than originally anticipated. 

If you’re not prepared, these kinds of delays can throw off your plans and cause chaos, ultimately resulting in more stress and challenges. But with these 4 tips, you’ll be prepared to navigate home construction delays and will have the knowledge you need to handle and plan for unforeseen delays.

1. Set realistic expectations and flexible timelines. Work closely with your builder to understand their timeline and what goes into each part of the construction. If you have questions about a certain portion of the timeline, ask! If there are certain milestones that need to be hit by certain dates, make that clear to your builder so you’re working from the same expectations. From there, you can set your expectations–but remember to be flexible. Delays happen and can’t always be foreseen.

2. Focus on communication: Sometimes delays happen because communication breaks down between the builder and the buyer. To avoid this, make sure you have a designated contact person at your builder who will be your go-to liaison to answer questions. Then, set a regular check-in schedule with this contact. Standard check-ins will ensure that you’re always apprised of what’s going on with your build, and when delays do happen, you can alter course quickly.

3. Understand the why: Though flexible timelines, clear expectations, and communication will help avoid delays, they are still bound to happen. When something does come up, work with your builder to find out why it happened. Once the builder has determined the cause, you can work together to see if other delays will happen as a result and how to avoid them.

4. Have a contingency plan! This is probably the most important tip. Having a contingency plan will help you avoid the headache of scrambling to find housing if your home isn’t built in time. Plan for delays and for the build timeline to be longer than expected, and have a solid Plan B to fall back on in case a big delay does happen.

Your real estate agent will be by your side throughout the entire build process and will help you navigate those delays.


6 Questions to Ask Your Contractor

As a homeowner, it’s nearly guaranteed that you’ll need the help of a contractor at some point. Contractors bring the expertise and experience you need to have a successful home project completed. But not all contractors are the same!

While there are amazing contractors out there who are pros at what they do and at running the business side of things, some other contractors can either be a nightmare to work with or may leave you with poorly done work. That’s why it’s imperative that you ask any contractor these 6 questions to make sure the contractor is a good fit.

1. How long have you been in business? A contractor who has run their business for a while is more likely to be doing good work and will have more experience. Be cautious around new businesses that don’t have many reviews or references.

2. How long have you worked with the subcontractors? Most contractors will subcontract out some of the work, especially for large projects. You should check on the subcontractors and make sure that the working relationships between the contractor and the subcontractors is good by asking this question.

3. How many other projects are you working on? It’s common for projects to exceed the originally quoted timeline. This often happens because of delays in materials, but it can also happen if a contractor has overbooked their team. Asking this question will help you get an idea of how long the work will take.

4. What is the expected payment system? Every contractor is different when it comes to money. Some want 50% upfront and 50% at the end of the project, others will put you on a payment plan throughout the length of the project.

5. What kind of insurance do you carry? Working with an insured contractor is critical if you want any peace of mind. Make sure your contractor carries all of the required insurances for their work as this will protect you in case of an error or accident.

6. Who is my point of contact? Many contractors will work with you directly while others will have you work with an account manager. Make sure you know who the best person to contact is so you can get your questions answered quickly.

A great contractor is like a great real estate agent–basically your best friend! If you want recommendations for contractors in our area, reach out to our team!


4 Things Every Homebuyer Should Know

When you’re going through the real estate process, you’ll have the expert help of a real estate agent to guide you. But, like most things in life, the journey is a whole lot easier when you’re informed and have a foundation of knowledge to draw on.

This is one of the reasons why buyers should check out the Buyer Guide, which has a ton of great info and provides an overview of the real estate process. But chances are that you haven’t heard much about 4 things that can really impact your home buying experience because no one really seems to be talking about them. Let’s change that!

The Power of Pre-Approval: A pre-approval is basically a stamp of approval from a lender that says that you’re likely to qualify for a certain amount of a mortgage loan based on your financial situation and history. This is a big deal for sellers because it means that if they select your offer with a pre-approval, your financing is much more likely to go through and the deal has a much higher chance of successfully closing.

Hidden Gems in an up-and-coming neighbourhood: Buying a low-priced hidden gem–a property with great potential that doesn’t require a total remodel–in a neighbourhood that’s not yet popular is a smart real estate strategy. Why? As the neighbourhood gets more popular and more amenities pop up, the house will appreciate in value due to the location. This means that you can build equity quickly and make a great return on your investment when you sell.

Future Resale Factor: When you’re looking at homes, don’t forget to focus on the future resale factor of the property. You’re making an investment when you buy a home, so it’s important to make sure that it will net a positive return on investment when you go to sell. Ask your agent to help you find properties with features that will add to its future resale factor.

The Art of CompromiseBuying a house is a way of making a business deal with the sellers. As with most deals, negotiation and compromise is the way to create a deal that works for both sides of the table. Before putting an offer down, ask yourself what you’re willing to compromise on and then expect to negotiate over those compromises. This is another reason why it’s important that your agent is a skilled negotiator!


8 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Painting

With the colder season approaching, now is the perfect time to do a few projects around the house and get your space looking great before the rush of the holidays. One of the best ways to take a room from dinghy or dated to fresh and bright is through paint!

When sellers ask how to boost their home’s value, painting is one of the first suggestions offered. That’s because the way a room looks and feels is entirely dependent on the colour of the walls and ceiling. Now that you know why painting is such a great fall home project, you’ll want these 8 painting tips to make the painting process as easy as possible.

  1. Safeguard belongings: Take all of the easily moveable things out of the space with a focus on anything breakable or fabric. While no one wants an accident to happen, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
  2. Fill holes: Look over your walls and find any holes from hangings that need to be filled. For small holes, spackle or drywall compound will do the trick.
  3. Repair cracks: Check out your walls and ceiling for any cracks and patch them up. If you find any large cracks, it’s a good idea to get an inspector to check them out.
  4. Add caulk: Next, take a look at anywhere caulk is applied (baseboards, windows, door frames) and caulk anywhere there’s a gap.
  5. Clean and prime: Don’t skip this step! Cleaning and priming your walls will make the actual painting part go so much faster and you’ll use less of your paint–saving money in the long run.
  6. Tape it all up: Once your walls are dry and ready to go, tape it up and drape tarps/drop cloths over any large pieces of furniture.
  7. Gather your supplies: You’re nearly ready to paint. Make sure to gather all your supplies into the room to make everything easily accessible.
  8. Paint!

These tips will help you make your space look like it was painted by a professional without the expense. With just a gallon of paint or two and a little time, you can refresh your home and make it the space to be as the weather gets colder.


Why Real Estate is Still the Best Investment: A Financial Analysis

You've heard the cliché a thousand times: "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." Well, consider this blog your invitation to diversify, with a spotlight on why real estate remains a rock-solid choice. Forget the get-rich-quick schemes; let's talk about long-term gains and financial fortitude. 

Tangible Assets: The Beauty of Bricks and Mortar 

Investing in stocks is all well and good until market volatility gives you whiplash. Real estate, on the other hand, gives you a tangible asset—something you can see, touch, and utilize. There's a measure of control and stability that's reassuring. 

Cash Flow: The Gift that Keeps on Giving 

Rental properties offer the beauty of consistent cash flow. You've got a monthly income that often exceeds your property's expenses, leading to a steady, passive income stream. Try getting that from your stock portfolio.

Tax Advantages: The Icing on the Cake 

Now, I'm no accountant, but even I can't ignore the plethora of tax benefits that come with real estate investment. Depreciation, property tax deductions, and capital gains benefits are just a few fiscal perks. 

Leverage: Maximizing ROI 

With real estate, a small percentage down payment opens the door to a valuable asset, allowing you to leverage your investment. That means a higher potential return on investment (ROI) compared to the initial amount you put in. 

Appreciation: The Long Game 

Historically, real estate values have consistently appreciated over time. That makes it a fantastic long-term investment. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, and your real estate empire won't be either—but give it time. 

Equity Build-up: Two Birds, One Stone 

If you've financed your property with a mortgage, each payment builds equity. It's like a forced savings plan, all while you're potentially making money from the property. What's not to love? 

Diversification: A Portfolio's Best Friend 

Real estate offers excellent diversification for your investment portfolio. It often has a low correlation with other financial assets, providing a cushion against market volatility. 

The Realtor Factor 

Think of your realtor as the conductor of your financial orchestra. A knowledgeable agent can guide you through property selection, negotiation, and long-term planning, turning your investment dreams into achievable goals. 

Investing in real estate isn't just about buying property; it's about securing financial freedom and stability. But hey, don't just take my word for it. If you're ready to take the plunge—or even if you're just testing the waters—lets chat. We'll crunch the numbers, scrutinize the data, and chart a path that aligns with your financial aspirations. 


The Emotional Side of Real Estate: Managing Stress During Transactions

Let's talk about the elephant in the room—the emotional whirlwind that accompanies the complexities of real estate transactions. Sure, you've read countless guides on valuations, inspections, and negotiations, but what about navigating the emotional rollercoaster? Here's what you need to know to keep your sanity intact. 


Accept that Emotions Will Play a Role 

Whether you're a buyer or a seller, emotional investment is inevitable. You're not just selling or buying property; you're transitioning between life chapters. Recognize the emotional aspect, so you're better prepared to handle it. 


Sellers: Detach and Depersonalize 

Selling a home where you've built memories can feel like parting ways with an old friend. It's essential to detach and depersonalize. Look at your property as a 'house' and not as 'your home.' This perspective makes it easier to negotiate and make objective decisions. 


Buyers: Beware of Emotional Spending 

Ah, the excitement of finding what seems like your dream home—don't let it sweep you off your feet just yet. Emotional spending can lead to rash decisions like overshooting your budget or neglecting essential inspections. Keep your emotions in check; your wallet will thank you later. 


The Dread of Uncertainty 

Most stress during transactions stems from uncertainty. Will the deal go through? Will I get the mortgage approval? The way to manage this dread is through planning and choosing a realtor with years of experience—someone who can anticipate problems before they escalate and fantastic problem solving and negotiation skills if things get complicated, which they sometimes do. 


Stress-Busters: What Your Realtor Should Be Doing 

An experienced realtor will buffer stressors by serving as an effective communicator between all parties involved. We're not just here to facilitate a transaction; we're here to make it as emotionally seamless as possible. 


Learn to Take a Break 

In the thick of negotiations, inspections, and whatnot, don't forget to breathe. Step away from the real estate apps and go for a walk, watch a movie, or do anything that helps you relax. Trust the process and your realtor's expertise. 


Stay Flexible 

Stress multiplies when you have rigid expectations. The timeline may not always go as planned. Adjustments may need to be made. Flexibility can go a long way in reducing your stress levels. 


The emotional side of real estate is like the dark side of the moon—always there but rarely discussed. The key is to balance emotion with rationality, which is easier said than done. But that's what you have me for. If you're ready to dive into the real estate market but dread the emotional toll it could take, let's chat. I promise, it'll be as drama-free as possible—or at least, the kind of drama that ends in a happy resolution.



Secret Homeowner Tip

Here’s one of the best tips that can be shared with homeowners. If every homeowner understood how important this tip is, it would change the real estate game!


Here’s the tip: Maintain your home! It sounds simple, but it is SO important. Keeping up on home maintenance will help you preserve and increase the value of your home. When you own a home, it’s your responsibility to make sure the property stays in good shape. No one else is there to take care of the maintenance or fix things up. There’s no landlord—it’s all you. 


Now, the best way to do home maintenance is to stick to a schedule and keep an eye on your home’s systems. Get a home inspector you trust to come out every few years to check out your home’s systems and the areas you might not normally see. The inspector will give you an inspection report, likely with a few areas for you to fix or improve. 


It’s important to do this with a real home inspector because they have such a wealth of knowledge and experience. Even if you’re a pro handyman, a home inspector will likely see things that you may have missed. It’s also a good idea to be present during the home inspection too so you can see what the inspector sees. 


Once you get the home inspection report, read through it carefully and make a list of what needs to be fixed up or improved. Then, take the list and fix those items up as soon as possible. If you stick with this tip, your home and your future self will thank you! 


If you let maintenance take the back burner and put off fixing home problems, there’s a very, very high chance that those issues will snowball and turn into a more serious problem. Then, you’ll be stuck putting way more time, energy, and money to fix what could have been a weekend project. 


Again, this probably sounds simple, but you wouldn’t believe how many homeowners don’t keep up on home maintenance. While life gets busy and taking care of house stuff can get pushed down the list, it’s important to keep your home’s value high and maintain the property. Now, if you’ve maybe let a few things slip, take this as your sign to fix them up now! 


If you’re on the road to homeownership, keep this tip front of mind. It will make owning a home much easier and less stressful while keeping your home’s value in tip-top shape so you can sell it for the max profit down the road. Want more homeowner tips? Let’s chat!


How the Neighbourhood Affects Your Property Value: What You Need to Know

When it comes to real estate, location is everything, and I mean everything. Sure, a renovated kitchen might fetch you a higher asking price, but the neighbourhood you live in is the real power player in determining your property's value. Let's dig into this often underestimated factor.


Proximity to Amenities 

Have you noticed homes near popular amenities like shopping centers, parks, and top schools tend to command higher prices? Convenience is king in the real estate world, and homes that offer easy access to these amenities are in high demand. 


Crime Rate 

A low crime rate is not just good for your peace of mind; it's good for your property value. Areas with low crime rates tend to hold or appreciate in value much better than high-crime neighborhoods. Do your due diligence before you buy. 


School Districts 

If you're in the 30-50 age bracket, there's a likely chance you have or are planning to have kids. The quality of local schools is a significant factor for many homebuyers. Even if you don't have kids, a good school district can positively influence your home's value. 


Future Developments 

If a significant development is planned near your neighbourhood, it can dramatically affect your property value. It could be a positive influence, like a new shopping centre, or a negative one, like a landfill. Either way, it's better to know before you put that down payment. 


Noise and Nuisance Factors 

Little things like traffic noise, proximity to airports or train tracks, and the condition of nearby properties can also impact your property's value. While you might overlook the noise of a passing train, potential buyers might not be so forgiving. 


Public Services 

Quick access to public services like fire departments, hospitals, and libraries can add value to your property. It's another layer of convenience that prospective buyers will consider in their decision-making process. 


Economic Indicators 

Job growth and stability in your area can also play a role. A thriving local economy with low unemployment rates can lead to higher property values as more people move in to seek employment. 


Today we’re talking about how you can increase your home’s value so you can get the highest return on investment when you sell your home. Doing some work on your home before listing it for sale is a great way to attract more buyer attention and sell your home for more than it would have originally netted. 


These four easy ways to increase your home’s value should be of particular interest for homeowners who want to sell soon, but it’s good information for everyone to have! 


First, focus on upgrading your home’s finishes. Finishes make a huge impact on how people perceive your home, and new finishes will make your home feel fresher and more modern. You can look at updating your paint to a bright, neutral color, switching your cabinet pulls to something stainless steel and modern looking, and changing your light fixtures to bring in more light. 


Next, take a look at storage and how you can increase the usable square footage of your property. Smart storage solutions are a great way to attract buyer attention because so many homes desperately lack good storage. Look around your home and see where you can add some storage with built-in shelves or show off the space with smart staging. You can also consider finishing out unfinished areas in your home—like your basement or garage—to add more storage spaces for buyers. 


Third, you can spend some energy making your home more energy efficient, especially if your home is older. Consider updating the windows to double-pane or energy efficient options. You can also add better insulation to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. If you have older appliances, especially for fridges or freezers, think about upgrading the appliances to energy-smart appliances. These are all great things to highlight in the home listing! 


Lastly, you can give your home a new look on the outside by spending some time on curb appeal. Buyers truly do make split second decisions on homes as soon as they see the exterior, so it’s smart to spend a little time and money to make sure the outside of your home looks as nice as the inside. Adding a fresh coat of paint to the exterior or adding some new landscaping goes a long way. 


Your real estate agent can provide specific recommendations of upgrades and renovations you can do to increase your home’s value and get the max profit when you sell your home. If you want to see what a professional would recommend, let’s connect!

The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are member’s of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.