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Concerned about Condensation on Windows?

If you see a haze of condensation on your window, should you be concerned? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on a number of factors. First of all, an occasional build-up of condensation is normal and often the result of fluctuating humidity in the home. Usually, it’s nothing to worry about. If you’re using a humidifier, try adjusting the levels. If the humidity is being generated naturally, try placing a dehumidifier nearby. Also, remove any plants and firewood from the area, as they can release a surprising volume of moisture into the air. Do you see moisture in between the panes of glass that make up the window? If so, that means the seal has failed and moisture has crept in. Double and triple pane windows often contain a gas (argon, for example) that boosts the insulating qualities of the window. When the seal fails, the gas disappears, making the glass colder and often allowing condensation to creep in. Eventually, you’ll want to get it replaced. If you see moisture build-up anywhere on the frame of the window, particularly at the joints, that could be a sign of water leaking through. That’s an issue you should get checked out immediately by a window contractor.

Not-So-Obvious Reasons to Meet with a REALTOR®

When is the best time to meet with a REALTOR® like me?

Chances are, you would say, “When I’m thinking of buying or selling a home.” You’d be right, of course! However, there are many other good reasons to meet with me.

Here are just a few:

• You want a professional opinion as to the current value of your property, so you know what it would likely sell for in today’s market.

• You notice a home listed for sale in a desirable neighbourhood, and you’re interested in learning more — even if you’re unsure you want to make a move.

• You’re thinking of moving within the next couple of years, and you want to find a REALTOR® like me, that you can get to know and trust.

• You want some recommendations for preparing your home for sale and especially determining what repairs and other work needs to be done.

• You want an honest assessment as to the state of the local market, and the best time for you to buy or sell.

• You have real estate-related questions and you want to talk to an expert who knows the local market well and can provide you with answers.

As you can see, there’s a lot of value you can get from talking to me as your REALTOR®. Call today.

How to Reduce the Chance of Burglary by 90%

No one wants to deal with a burglary. It can be a difficult subject talk about but just how canyou reduce the chances of one happening?

Fortunately, burglaries are a well-studied phenomenon — especially by law enforcement. These studies have identified specific things you can do to cut the risk dramatically.

Here are some ideas:

• 34% of home break-ins occur through the front door. Experts recommend investing in a door with a top-quality locking mechanism. (The best are those that lock at three points of contact.)

• 50% of burglars will be deterred if your home has some sort of video monitoring system. A thief doesn’t want his face on YouTube!

• Unfortunately, signs and window stickers warning of an alarm system do not deter thieves. However, 62% of burglars will immediately run away when an alarm goes off. Always turn on your alarm system when you’re not home!

• 22% of burglaries occur through a sliding glass door or patio door. Make sure it’s locked and also use a solid metal jammer.

• Some thieves use frequency scanners to gain access to garages. Police recommend changing your remote entry code regularly and putting blinds or curtains on garage windows so thieves can’t see (and be tempted by) any valuables inside.

As you can see, there are many simple things you can do to reduce your chances of a burglary dramatically. The effort is worth it.

Should You Move or Renovate?

Three Things to Consider Determining if you should buy a new home or fix up your current one isn’t easy.

In fact, the decision can be steeped in so much drama they make reality TV shows about it!

So if you’re considering whether to move or improve, here are three things to consider.

1. Will a renovation truly fix what you don’t like about your property? If you’re tired of a small kitchen, for example, it might not be possible, given the layout, to make it any bigger. On the other hand, if you’re craving a spacious rec room with a cosy fireplace then a renovation could make that happen. Of course, there are some things you may want that aren’t specific to your house, such as an easier commute or nearby park. Those are features you may only be able to get by moving.

2. How much will a renovation cost? How does that compare to the cost of moving to a new home? It’s important to get accurate estimates of each so you can make a smart decision. This is where a good REALTOR® can help. Keep in mind that renovations have a habit of costing more than you originally anticipate. As mentioned earlier, the final result should be a home you want to stay in for quite some time.

3. Beware of compromising versus settling. Whichever decision you make — renovate or sell — you can expect to have to make at least some compromises. That’s normal. For example, consider adding an extension to your house. That’s a major renovation. Is it the ideal way to get the extra room you want? Do the benefits of renovating outweigh the benefits of finding a new larger home designed to include the space you need?

Yes, it’s a tough decision. If you’re in the midst of making it, call me today, to get the facts you need to make the best choice for you

The latest in Kitchen Fire Prevention, what you need to know

More fires start in the kitchen than in any other room. Those fires can be expensive; since even a minor incident, with no injuries, can result in significant damage.

That’s why it’s important to keep up with the latest in fire prevention.

The most recent research tells us:

• Never leave cooking food unattended. Doing so is the number one cause of kitchen fires.

• Make sure cooking appliances, especially deep fryers, are safety certified by the appropriate government agency.

• When using oil in a frying pan, always heat slowly at no more than a medium heat setting.

• Always turn off stove burners and other cooking appliances immediately after cooking.

• Never attempt to put out a grease fire with water. Use baking soda or a fire extinguisher.

• Never remove or cover up a smoke detector due to nuisance alarms. The one alarm that isn’t a nuisance may save your life.

Finally, experts say that if you can’t put out a fire immediately, get everyone out of the home and call emergency services.

How the Wrong Pricing Strategy Can Cost You Thousands

As you’re probably aware, the list price you set for your property has an impact on how quickly it sells — and how much you earn on the sale. What you may not realize is just how significant an impact it has.

Consider the following examples.

Example 1: You price your property well above its current market value. As a result, many buyers don’t bother to see it because it’s outside of their price range. Those who do see it are confused by the high price tag, (and may even be suspicious.) They may wonder, “What’s going on?” In this scenario, the home will likely languish on the market for weeks or even months. You might even have to lower the price dramatically to reignite interest.

Example 2: You price your property just a couple of percentage points lower than what is necessary to gain the interest of qualified buyers. That might not seem like much of a problem. How much can a couple of percentage points matter?

Those points matter a lot. On a $400,000 property, pricing your home just 2% lower than necessary could cost you $8,000 on the sale. That’s a serious amount of money!

Whether A Seller’s or Buyer’s market pricing your home RIGHT means having the RIGHT information.

Fortunately, a good REALTOR® knows how to set the right price. Call me today.

Suprising Ways Buyers Find Homes

Do you ever wonder how most people find the homes they eventually buy? You might imagine them driving by a “For Sale” sign or seeing a home for sale in the newspaper and then calling to enquire.

Of course, many buyers find out about listed properties that way. But, according to research by the National Association of Realtors, there are many other — sometimes surprising — ways buyers find their next dream home.

For example:

• 88% of buyers find a home with the help of a real estate agent.

• 90% of buyers search online as part of the home buying process. (Such as viewing a property’s profile on the agent’s website.)

• 69% of buyers searching for a home using Google, use a specific local term, such as “White Rock homes for sale”.

• 29-46% of buyers attend an Open House as part of their home hunting activities.

Overall, the research shows that buyers are using a multitude of ways — combining online and offline methods — to find homes. What does all this mean to you? If means that if you’re preparing your home for sale, you need to ensure your marketing plan takes into account all the ways buyers are finding properties — so you can be sure that they will find yours.

Looking for a REALTOR® who knows how to market your home for maximum exposure? Call me today.

Keeping Houseplants Alive when You’re Away

When you’re out-of-town, there are plenty of kennels and other facilities that will mind your dog or cat. In fact, the pet-care business is booming! However, the same options aren’t available for your houseplants. So what do you do? First, keep in mind that plants can go for several days or even a couple of weeks without water. This frequently happens in their natural habitats. So if you’re gone for just a few days, your flora will probably be fine.

Flowering plants tend to need the most water. Give them an extra dose just before you leave. Also, make sure they are in indirect, rather than direct sunlight. That will help them conserve water. If you’re going to be away for a week or more, consider one of the several products on the market that water plants automatically. Many of these allow you to adjust how much water each plant gets — and when. You’ll find plenty of do-it-yourself instructions for making your own automatic waterer on the internet, from plastic cups with tiny holes in the bottom to upside-down bottles with wicks. These might work, but you’ll want to test them first.

Of course, your best option might be to have a friend or trusted neighbour take care of the plants for you. Just be sure to give them clear instructions. Your houseplants will thank you.

What Home Inspectors See that You Can’t

When you make an offer on a home, it’s a smart idea to have a professional home inspector check it out from top to bottom. This inspection will ensure that the property doesn’t have any unexpected “issues”. After all, you don’t want to buy a home only to discover that the roof needs to be replaced, immediately, for thousands of dollars.

That being said, you might question whether you really need to invest the few hundred dollars it costs for a professional home inspection. “The home we want to buy looks like it’s in very good shape,” you might be thinking. “I can’t see anything wrong with it.” However, a professional home inspector can see things you can’t.

When you view a property that’s on the market, you might be able to notice obvious issues, like a crack in the foundation or a dripping faucet. If you’re experienced with home maintenance, you might even notice roofing tiles that look like they’re overdue for replacement. But you won’t pick up all the issues a home inspector can. A home inspector will, for example, use a special device to check for moisture build-up in the washrooms – which can be an indication of mould. He or she will also inspect wiring to make sure everything is safe and compliant with the building code. That’s not all. Like a determined detective, a home inspector will investigate the property’s structure, electrical and plumbing systems, insulation, and other components — and then report the findings to you.

In the end, a professional home inspection gives you peace-of-mind and protects your investment. So getting one is highly recommended — even for recently built homes. I can recommend a trusted home inspector for you. Looking for more ideas on making smart decisions when buying a home? Call me.

Should You “High Ball” Your Listing Price?

One of the most important decisions you make when selling your home is setting the listing price. That can be tricky. After all, if you price your property too low, you leave money on the table — perhaps thousands of dollars. On the other hand, if you price your home too high, many buyers won’t even bother to see it, believing it is too expensive.

Even with that reality, there are some sellers who contemplate setting a high listing price in the hopes of a windfall. They want some unsuspecting buyer to fall in love with the home and buy it — even though it’s overpriced.

That rarely, if ever, happens.

Instead, the listing often languishes on the market because its listing price is conspicuously much higher than its market value.

Think about it. If two similar homes, side-by-side, are for sale, and one is priced $40,000 higher than the other, wouldn’t you wonder what was going on? That’s exactly what the market thinks. “Why is that home priced so high?”

Of course, many buyers, who might otherwise be interested in the property, won’t even consider seeing it, simply because it’s outside their price range.

It gets worse. When an overpriced home sits on the market with no offers for several weeks, the price will often need to be adjusted down. That helps the situation a little. However, you’ve lost the excitement created by a “new listing.” Yours is now an old listing struggling to get attention.

There’s a better way…

Setting your list price at or near the market value is much more likely to generate interest from qualified buyers and maximize how much you make on your home.

That market value may even be higher than you think 

Interested in finding out how much? Call today.