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Is Furniture Holding you Back?

Are you looking for the perfect home to fit your couch, a Persian rug or maybe a dining room table?  Does this make sense to anyone, why are people buying homes for objects and not for those people who are living in the home?  Too many times I’ve seen families turn down the perfect home in the perfect neighbourhood because it won’t fit their bedroom set or their mirrored dresser. 


Don’t let your things rule your life, the people who live in that home now obviously have a bed and it seems to fit, so sell your larger than normal bed and buy one that fits in that perfect house, or trade with a family member if the item is important to the family.  I understand keeping a family heirloom, but if your home budget doesn’t allow you to buy a home with a living room that is 20x20 then maybe Grandma’s rug should go to a family member who has space for it and then you can find a home that is right for you and your family, not a rug that you feel obligated to keep.


Reality is budget is a large deciding factor in what kind of home you end up in and if you are forced to choose the home with the largest dining room to fit a table you never eat at, you may be giving up on other items that you need such as an extra bathroom, a large yard or even a home in a condition that you can move into right away.


The best suggestion I have to avoid being caught in buying a home for your items is to make a list of why you are moving from your current home, these are items that are driving you out of your current place and into a new one.  Once you know what is driving you out of your current home, what is on your list of need to have and nice to have, knowing the difference between need and want can be very difficult but make the process easier.  If you are buying the home with another person, I strongly suggest making this list together, you may find out that your spouse hates that large couch you inherited and buying a home with space for it makes no sense if it’s uncomfortable anyways.


Remember when you are looking for a home why you are moving, I’m sure your bedroom set didn’t wake up one morning and decide to move because it didn’t like your current neighbour, if you have to part with some items to move to where you want to be, I’m sure your happiness in the new home will outweigh the cost to replace an item that is too large for your new home.

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Is your Furniture Holding you Back?

Are you looking for the perfect home to fit your couch, a Persian rug or maybe a dining room table?  Does this make sense to anyone, why are people buying homes for objects and not for those people who are living in the home?  Too many times I’ve seen families turn down the perfect home in the perfect neighbourhood because it won’t fit their bedroom set or their mirrored dresser. 


Don’t let your things rule your life, the people who live in that home now obviously have a bed and it seems to fit, so sell your larger than normal bed and buy one that fits in that perfect house, or trade with a family member if the item is important to the family.  I understand keeping a family heirloom, but if your home budget doesn’t allow you to buy a home with a living room that is 20x20 then maybe Grandma’s rug should go to a family member who has space for it and then you can find a home that is right for you and your family, not a rug that you feel obligated to keep.


Reality is budget is a large deciding factor in what kind of home you end up in and if you are forced to choose the home with the largest dining room to fit a table you never eat at, you may be giving up on other items that you need such as an extra bathroom, a large yard or even a home in a condition that you can move into right away.


The best suggestion I have to avoid being caught in buying a home for your items is to make a list of why you are moving from your current home, these are items that are driving you out of your current place and into a new one.  Once you know what is driving you out of your current home, what is on your list of need to have and nice to have, knowing the difference between need and want can be very difficult but make the process easier.  If you are buying the home with another person, I strongly suggest making this list together, you may find out that your spouse hates that large couch you inherited and buying a home with space for it makes no sense if it’s uncomfortable anyways.


Remember when you are looking for a home why you are moving, I’m sure your bedroom set didn’t wake up one morning and decide to move because it didn’t like your current neighbour, if you have to part with some items to move to where you want to be, I’m sure your happiness in the new home will outweigh the cost to replace an item that is too large for your new home.

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What is the difference between Home Staging and Interior Decorating?

Home Staging is a highly effective and proven real estate marketing strategy used to aid in selling a home that is listed for sale. Home Staging is about merchandising the product (the home) to appeal to its target market, in order to secure an acceptable offer in the least amount of time. Home Staging is about appealing to the buyer, not the homeowner's personal tastes.

 

Interior Decorating is for the homeowner’s enjoyment, reflecting and appealing to their individual style, taste and needs. It encompasses all, or a combination of, selecting finishes, colour schemes, furniture, fabrics, lighting, artwork and accessories as well as their final placement within the space. Interior Decorating is very personal to the homeowner.

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Your Couch is a Beast!

Is your couch so large that it's affecting the sale of your home?  We all know that we want the largest, softest, most comfy couch when we veg out and watch TV.  Cuddled up with our blankets, popcorn bowls, books, remotes, dogs and kids, the need for a large couch space is apparent, but is your beast of a couch slowing your home sale?

 

Often I find clients trying to fit their furniture in the home for sale and if the furniture in their potential new home is much larger than what they have, they will find it hard to think that their furniture will fit.  Less truly is more, letting people know that there is room for a full couch and a loveseat is great, but they don't need to see your mammoth couch and 2 more matching lazy boys too! 

 

Here are some tips on picking the right couch for the space that you have:

 

If you have high ceilings, choose a couch with a tall back or oversized back cushions to help soften the rooms starkness

 

If you have a small living space, try an apartment sized sofa, or a loveseat paired with 2 chairs to give a conversational space, odds are that people won't notice it's not a full sized couch if it's laid out right

 

If your space is open and you have it broken into 2 room spaces - consider a sectional couch if the space is large, it will help your mind break up the space into 2 different rooms and make it feel more spacious, there is nothing worse than an open concept home with too much furniture

 

If you have a lot of furniture, consider removing it for selling your home, take out that bulky couch and matching chair, they take up too much space and probably look worn anyways - that's why they are so great for relaxing, but that worn in look doesn't sell homes.

 

If you need to rent furniture to make your space work , the small cost for the month that you may need to rent will pay off.  The better your home looks, the quicker it sells and the quicker you can go back to regular life and well, packing!

 

 

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Your Photos are Distracting

We’ve all heard that your home needs to be devoid of personal photos when your home is for sale, but do you know why?  There are lots of reasons why your personal photos can affect the sale of your property.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen buyers more interested in the family photos on the wall then in the space of your home. I often hear comments such as “oh I think I know them” or “Look at that Mullet! Come here honey and look!”  Not only are they distracting themselves, but their spouse as well and now neither of them is looking at the home.  I can tell you that I’ve been guilty of the exact same thing with funny family photos, but when I ask a client later what they thought of a certain home; they almost always forget what the features were of the homes with the photos.

Your photos may not only be distracting but can give away your motivation for moving, possibly you were just married and there is only one person on title of the home. As a real estate agent/Investigator, I’m able to determine that most likely this home is not the preferred home of the recently married spouse and that he/she is motivated to sell this house to get into a home that belongs to both of them to start their newly married life.  Some family photos can show how many kids you have and how old they are, from that I can tell if a family needs to move since they no longer fit in the home.  Even if they have done a great job de-cluttering to make the home look spacious, the number of people in a home can tell me they are motivated to move for extra space.

A handful of times I have found art to be just as distracting.  In those times, it has been extreme.  For example I was in a home where to artist was the owner and every square inch of the walls was covered in her art and self-portraits, while the art was well done, it was too much and we ended up counting the number of art pieces in the home which totaled over 70 on the walls. 

Another distraction can be the family calendar, some families write very detailed items on their calendars, often very personal details.  I would suggest that all personal items be put away, photos, calendars, artwork and anything else that may distract the buyers or give any insight as to your motivation to move.

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Why do you love your Home?

People move for so many reasons and often it’s a growth in the family, job change or affordability.  Even if it is obvious why they are moving, maybe a baby on the way in an already full house, I always ask why they love their house.  Often those owners think back to the time when they first purchased the house and talk about the yard, the open concept, location and various other great factors about the house.  I want to make sure that when selling the house that those reasons for falling in love with this home in the first place are front a centre when the house is listed.

 


To highlight those areas, often I will ask clients to pack up a large portion of their items and make the house feel like it did when they first saw it. Life can take over and make those features that you originally loved about a house a little lack luster.  If the client is willing I can also advertise the property in a unique way to include a little about the house and it’s history including what it has meant to you and your family.  This often works best in a home that has been owned by a family for quite some time and they have seen some life events in the home, weddings, babies and any other important events that would make a potential buyer feel more connected to the house.  I recently read an article about a realtor that listed a house that the owners called The Mint House due to its mint green exterior; this theme was used throughout the advertising and even the staging in the home.

 


Bring back the shine of your house again when you list it for sale, let your realtor know what makes your home unique and interesting , so those potential buyers can fall in love with your house, just like you did when you first bought it. Who knows you might even get to enjoy that feeling in your last few months in your house too!

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5 Tips for Prioritizing Renovation Projects

Sometimes the scope of work involved in a fixer-upper home becomes a lot clearer once you’ve finally moved in. All of those “easy-fixes” that you noticed during the inspection suddenly become a very long, intimidating list of “to-dos.” It’s easy to get overwhelmed!

 

Our house if caulk-full of projects. Some are big, costly and complicated while others are minor, cheap and cosmetic. It’s precisely this variance that makes prioritizing so tricky. I hate the colour of the kitchen cabinets, the downstairs toilet needs to be replaced, and I’d love to add crown molding to the bedroom. What takes priority?  

 

I’ve noticed over the years that some people jump right in, starting multiple projects in a crazed fit of productivity, but never really end up finishing anything. Others get paralyzed and don’t start any projects, anticipating of a “major overhaul” in the future.

 

In my experience, striking a balance between needs and wants, acceptance and intolerance can go a long way in making the ownership of a fixer-upper less stressful – I might even go as far as to say enjoyable (especially as projects start to get crossed off the list!).

 

So, here are my top tips for making your project list more digestible (and actionable!):

  1. Function Over Form. Looking over your list, consider what is actually broken vs. what simply doesn’t look good. Fixing a leaking drain pipe should take priority over painting the ugly cabinet that it’s hiding inside. Start with the functionality of the things you use on a day-to-day basis or problems that are causing further damage by not being mended – you don’t want your list getting even longer!
     
  2. High Traffic Areas. If the basic functions of your home are in order, I like to start with projects that fall into high traffic or public facing areas. Consider where you spend most of your time and prioritize projects that improve the functionality and enjoyment of these spaces. A fresh coat of paint in the living room is often an easy place to start.
     
  3. I Hate It! Your home should be a place where you feel at ease. If you walk in everyday loathing one particular thing, bump that project up your list and change it as soon as you can. That said, it’s a fact that there are going to be areas of your home that you’ll have to accept as they are for some time; so don’t play the “I hate it” trump card too early or too often.    
     
  4. Longevity & Resale. Likely resale isn’t the first thing on your mind if you’ve just moved in, but you shouldn’t disregard the ongoing value of your home as you pick your renovation projects. Sinking $15K into a media room is enticing, but tackling a really outdated bathroom first might be smarter in terms of your home’s value. When investing in projects, don’t forget to consider how long the project is intended to last and budget accordingly -- is this a temporary fix or a permanent solution? 
     
  5. Budget & Skill. While it might be nice to tackle our entire to-do list in one foul swoop, in reality it usually takes time to save up and get the work done. Consider which items on your list require more savings and skills (like a kitchen remodel) and start saving now! As you work toward these bigger projects, keep up your motivation and develop new skills by crossing a few of the smaller, less expensive projects (like painting or small repairs) from your list one at a time. Small projects really do add up over time -- trust me!

What’s the first project you tackled or hope to tackle in your new home? What’s the one thing you wish you could change right now?

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Let's do the Time Warp Again

On a recent visit to Graceland I was shocked to see how dated the home was.  I’m honestly not sure what I was expecting, but I thought a home that millions of people flock to would have a bit less shag and a bit more space.  We really did enjoy our time at Graceland and found it very interesting, but it got me thinking about those few homes I show a year that are like walking into a time warp.

 
I’m sure everyone has heard about shag carpet, spindled walls and golden rod tubs but how many people actually keep these things in their homes, Elvis does and a I’m sure there are still a few homes in KW left that are like walking into a time warp.  I often find these homes to be a good time when taking clients through, who doesn’t love to laugh at some purple and green shag on the floor and the walls, how about furniture that has been so well preserved with its plastic covers that it makes the 70’s feel like it was yesterday.  I’m going to do my best this year to take some photos of these hidden gems and share them when our paths cross.


Inevitably these homes sell and find a buyer who is willing to give them some love from this century, but these homes all have a place and a buyer who will love them.  I always remind buyers that not every home that was built comes with walk in closets, ensuite bathrooms, tubs that will allow you to soak in them or main floor laundry.  Just because these homes weren’t built with these features it doesn’t make it defective and I can assure you that people lived then and can still live today without these features.


I leave you with some photos that we were able to sneak of our trip to Graceland and remind you just like I need to be reminded from time to time, that not everyone has a huge home with all the modern conveniences and  that we don’t all need that either.  Join me in doing the time warp again and find that older homes with original décor and features still have charm today.

 

A shot of me across the street from Graceland, while it's hard to see, it's the white house on the hill.

Elvis' Living Room, note the 15 Foot White couch on the right and the large stained glass!  If you'd like a replica of this stained glass, they sell it in the gift shop.

Elvis' TV Room, you can't see it, but these may have been the very first flat screens, he had 3 large TV's stuck in the wall and a monkey statue on the table.

 

This is George listening to the tour and visiting Elvis' Pool Room, a place to hang out with his buddies and play around, the whole room is done in fabric, walls, ceiling and the furniture all match!

 

This is the "Jungle" Room, complete with shag on the floor, and ceiling (see below photo) and a large water feature on that brick wall.

Shag Carpet on the ceiling of the jungle room, believe it or not, this is not the first time I have seen this!

 

 

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Dryer vents could be a fire hazard

Question:

What is the proper way to vent a clothes dryer?

Answer:

Here are some facts from the United States Fire Administration.

Dryer exhaust should vent directly outside the home. In some new homes, washers and dryers are placed in non traditional areas of the house, including upstairs bedrooms, hallways and closets. These new sites generally require longer dryer vents in order to reach an outside wall and may contain sharp turns and bends that snake through the home.

Remember:

                 Dryer vents should not be longer than the equivalent of 25 feet ( five feet is added to the actual        vent length for each 90 degree bend in the vent).

                 When lint has to pass through an exhaust that is under a floor or through walls and is more than 6 feet long, it is almost impossible for all the lint to be propelled out of the vent.

                  Lint can also accumulate in pockets along the vent where it is harder to reach and clean.

Smooth walled metal duct is the best choice. In fact, almost all manufacturers now state in their manuals not to use plastic flexible dryer ducts between the vent and the clothes dryer. Many existing homes as well as some new construction, continue to use plastic flexible ducts. The plastic itself can provide additional fuel for a fire. Even flexible foil vents are not the best choice for venting clothes dryers. Flexible vents can sag, allowing lint to build up and catch fire if it comes in contact with a sufficient amount of heat. If a fire starts beneath the dryer when the motor overheats, then the drafts from the dryer can pull that fire up into the duct and venting, allowing a house fire to develop.


To avoid problems, make sure you disconnect, clean and inspect the dryer and venting at least once a year, or hire a professional company to clean the dryer components.

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