From Drab To Fab!

After several years of working from home I decided it would be a nice change of pace to take an office...

For those who know me well it will come as no surprise that the first order of business was a little makeover!  Picture me rubbing my hands together and squealing "Project!!" (a la Alicia Silverstone in Clueless, lol)

The lovely green faux finished paint job and flowered border had to go and unfortunately I only remembered to snap a picture after the top layer of the flower border was pulled off...


So I lined up some good friends (who I bribed with the promise of dinner when we were done) and we all met up at the office after it closed for the day! Fast forward through some pesky details like setting off the alarm, a slight problem I created with the phone system and my broker/owners having to come to my rescue, lol and straight to a picture of us about halfway done...

During (with the lovely Karen, Deb and April):

And finally the beauty shot......drum roll, please!

 My New Digs!

It looks even better in person so stop in and say hi! :)

Until Next Time…

Dress for Success!

There are 3 major factors in selling a home; location, price and condition.  Condition is really the only one that a seller can influence! Dress your home for success and you're maximizing its saleability which in turn could translate into a quicker sale and higher selling price.

I recently previewed 4 homes, 3 of which were staged to varying degrees and 1 that was not.  All were clean and appeared to be well maintained but I must confess that the unstaged home was a bit of a shock to the system! They were all comparable properties but I might leave it off the list when working with a client because it doesn't show as well...who know?

Now some of you may be thinking that staging is just fluff, that home buyers are buying the house and not the furniture and accessories; but home staging or the lack thereof, can at best, invoke powerful emotions in a potential buyer or at worst, disinterest!  What are the emotions you want buyers to feel when they walk into your home?

With so much television programming today dedicated to decorating, renovating and preparing a home to sell that walking into a home that's not staged can be a big disappointment!  This type of programming has raised the bar and buyers are looking to be wowed!

I really like this quote... "the cost to stage your home will be considerably less than your first price reduction".

I'd love to hear some other opinions on home staging, your personal experience, both good and bad...whatever ya got, please share it! :)

Until Next Time…

Finding Childcare in Your New Neighbourhood

When I first looked for childcare many moons ago, my options were newspaper ads and postings left at the local grocery store.  Life was so hard before the internet, lol!

If you've moved into a new neighbourhood and need to find childcare, the best place to start is with your local elementary school.  They will be able to tell you what the school zone boundaries are to ensure that when you are calling local home daycares and daycare centres that they are within those boundaries or service that school through private transportation.

Once you know your boundaries it's time to contact the local childcare facilities.  If you're looking for centre-based care it's as easy as a google search but if you're looking for home daycare it can often be more difficult to find unless they are all grouped together (see below).

Here are a few resources to get you started in the Durham Region:

  • Your local elementary school may have what is sometimes referred to as a "babysitting" list or a bulletin board where local providers can post their contact information.

  • Of course there's always and  and nothing beats a personal recommendation from a friend!

Until Next Time…
Kelly  is a free-to-search online directory of  local childcare providers, centres and nannies  is a free-to-search online directory of local childcare providers, centres and nannies

Re/Max First Time Buyer's Report 2011

Here's a carrying cost table to go along with the First Time Buyer's Report

You can find the full report here:  Re/Max First Time Buyer's Report

Obviously we're talking averages here for the GTA, to find out the specifics for the Durham region all you have to do is get in touch!

Five Per Cent Amount Monthly Income 
Market Average Price  Downpayment Financed Carrying Costs Required
Greater Vancouver $780,819 $39,041 $741,778 $3,479 $130,460
Victoria $489,113 $24,456 $464,657 $2,179 $81,722
Kelowna** $390,462 $19,523 $370,939 $1,740 $65,239
Edmonton $313,242 $15,662 $297,580 $1,396 $52,337
Calgary Metro** $410,664 $20,533 $390,131 $1,830 $68,614
Regina $266,701 $13,335 $253,366 $1,188 $44,561
Saskatoon $292,463 $14,623 $277,840 $1,303 $48,865
Winnipeg $228,822 $11,441 $217,381 $1,020 $38,232
Ottawa $334,357 $16,718 $317,639 $1,490 $55,865
Greater Toronto** $442,978 $22,149 $420,829 $1,974 $74,013
Hamilton-Burlington $329,305 $16,465 $312,840 $1,467 $55,021
Kitchener-Waterloo** $283,844 $14,192 $269,652 $1,265 $47,425
London-St. Thomas** $226,709 $11,335 $215,374 $1,010 $37,879
Québec City** $239,329 $11,966 $227,363 $1,066 $39,987
Island of Montréal** $354,549 $17,727 $336,822 $1,580 $59,238
Moncton $153,028 $7,651 $145,377 $682 $25,568
Halifax-Dartmouth $257,355 $12,868 $244,487 $1,147 $42,999
PEI $142,218 $7,111 $135,107 $634 $23,762
St. John's** $255,512 $12,776 $242,736 $1,138 $42,691
*Represents Gross Debt Ratio of 32 per cent, 5-year closed fixed-rate mortgage at 3.89 per cent, and a 30-year
  amortization period based on February  2011 year-to-date average price.  Income required does not take into 
  account property tax, heat or mortgage insurance.
Carrying Costs and Income Data Calculated by: Miles Kulik, Verico MHC Mortgage Services
Average Price Source: Canadian Real Estate Association, Local Real Estate Boards**

What Is A Buyer's Agent?

I found a great blog post on this topic and I just had to share....

This was originally posted by Alexandra Hunter in 2009 but her Real Estate blog  Ottawa Virgin Home Buyers   appears to have been abandoned....


Did you know all Realtors work on behalf of the seller of a home and not the buyer?

Did you know that by law, all Ontario Realtors are obligated to work in the best interest of their clients. This means that the Real Estate Agent showing you the beautiful home, listening to you talk about arranging your furniture, talking about financial details - is actually working for the Seller of that home.

Canadians now have two choices: customer relationship or client relationship.

A customer service agreement is a disclosure form that states that the Realtor is NOT working for you as a buyer, but is providing customer service (fair and honest treatment, factual information about the property that is not visibly evident and to answer any questions you ask about the condition of the property) to you.

As a customer you are virtually unrepresented and in the largest transaction you may ever make.

Why not use a Realtor?

On the other hand, Buyer Representation Agreements state that the Realtor is working for you and that you are bound to that Realtor for the term of the agreement with a holdover period.

In this case, your Realtor is bound to you with fiduciary duties, (loyalty, obedience, full disclosure, duty to use skill, care and diligence, duty to account for all monies) and protects your information. A big thing for me is that it also allows the Realtor to share her expert opinions, giving you full advantage of their knowledge and expertise.

There is nothing in the Buyer Representation Agreement that states that you have to buy anything. It only states that if you do that you will use this particular Realtor and that they will be compensated for the service provided.

The best part is that there is no fee to the Buyer client. Instead the Realtor gets paid by the seller’s agent, just the way it has always been. Yes, that’s right, all that hard work and we work for you for FREE!

How do you become a client? It’s easy—home buyers sign an exclusive Buyer’s Representation Agreement with a Realtor. Usually, the party agrees that they will work together for a specified period of time and within that time the Realtor agrees to represent that Buyer to the best of their ability! Why not use a Realtor?