Are you waiting to list your home until the "season" begins?  Because sales and prices tend to peak in the spring and summer, it's a common theory in many markets.


However, this year is different.  The conventional wisdom isn't correct this winter.


Here's why:  At the end of 2016, inventory levels plunged to multiyear lows.  Seller's are currently facing very little competition.


Mixed with that, buyer demand is abnormally strong for the off season.  The potential increase in mortgage rates and changes to mortgage policy has created a sense urgency among buyers.


Some buyer's are more in a rush to lock in a low rate sooner.  Plus, sellers may also worry about lending rates as well: an estimated 85% of sellers are planning to buy another home after they sell.


So here's the best tip for seller's.  If you are thinking of selling in 2017, the early bird may get the worm.  And the best new nest.


Lindy and Elaine Real Estate Team

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3 New Year’s Resolutions for Buyers in 2017


New Year’s resolution: Buy a home.

You've heard that plenty from your contacts. So, now how do they get there with their savings?
There are plenty of preparations would-be home buyers can make to put homeownership more within their reach in 2017. Here are three New Year’s resolutions to adopt to get on the path:

I will automate my down payment savings.

Buyers who are trying to save up the often-recommended 20 percent down payment will need to get savvy at saving, stat. First off, you often don’t really need 20 percent down but you do need to save. Here’s a way to commit: Automate your bank accounts so that you regularly set aside a small amount of your paycheck into a separate savings account dedicated as your “house fund.” Amassing enough for a down payment takes discipline and perseverance, but setting up automatic savings can make it easier, “If you never see the cash, you won’t spend it.”

I will clean up my credit.

Pay your bills on time. Keep up on credit card, car, and college loans. Mortgage lenders want to see that you aren’t sloppy with credit. You don’t need to avoid credit altogether, however. If you earn $200,000 a year but never pay your credit cards on you could be considered a credit risk. It’s also important to establish a credit history but try not to use more than 30 percent of your available credit.

I will budget wisely.

Downsize your budget now so you’ll be able to save more for your down payment and pay down any debts. Also, factor in added expenses that come with buying a new home, like furniture and accessories. If you know that a mortgage is going to take a bigger amount of your paycheck, create a budget that factors that in so you can get used to living on less disposable income.


Yes it takes commitment but we all know home ownership is investing in your future.


All the best in 2017!


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"True charity is anonymous".   This is a  phrase I heard often from my dad .  His point when saying it to myself and my siblings was to make us aware of the difference between someone doing something genuine or promoting themselves.


As realtors, marketing is a huge component of our business plan and there are various levels of it.  For example, Elaine and I love to give gifts to our buyer's when they take possession of their new home.  (Sometimes we forget so I'll appologize now if we've missed you.)  Another gift we like to give is on the one year anniversary.  These gifts we give for a number of reasons.  The obvious ones are that we appreciate the business and we are genuinely excited for you. In these two cases there is also a subliminal level of marketing even though that is not the intention.


Like so many other people we also give the gift of our time.  We chose charites or groups that are important to us as a way of giving back to the community we love.  We feel very strongly about this and we do it with sincerity.


The difference between marketing and promotion is that marketing is an overall plan to make potential clients aware of your service or product.  Promotion is a piece of the marketing strategy.  In real estate this could be in the form of an open house or posting on social media.


Then there's what I call "passive marketing".  This could be something offered that has a consequence of promotion.  An example of this could be when we offer our event tents for functions.  They are useful to the user but clearly a form of promotion as they have our business names plastered all over them.


Social media can be an amazing marketing tool.  It can also be grossly misused.  A good example of this is where an individual has done something for someone and feels compelled to share it publicly.  This turns a charitable action into shameful self promotion.  ("True charity is anonymous").


Another form of giving that is often misunderstood is the gift that is given with a business card attached to it.  Make no mistake,  this is pure promotion.  The giver needs to be honest with themselves about this and the recipient aware of it. There is nothing wrong with this but lets call it what it is.


We strive to be mindful of these differences and Promote ourselves professionally, Market with integrity and give from the heart.



"True charity is anonymous"


Lindy Skutnik

Lindy and Elaine Real Estate Team




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The change

Expanding a mortgage rate stress test to all insured mortgages.

What it is

As of Oct. 17, a stress test used for approving high-ratio mortgages will be applied to all new insured mortgages – including those where the buyer has more than 20 per cent for a down payment. The stress test is aimed at assuring the lender that the home buyer could still afford the mortgage if interest rates were to rise. The home buyer would need to qualify for a loan at the negotiated rate in the mortgage contract, but also at the Bank of Canada’s five-year fixed posted mortgage rate, which is an average of the posted rates of the big six banks in Canada. This rate is usually higher than what buyers can negotiate. As of Sept. 28, the posted rate was 4.64 per cent.

Other aspects of the stress test require that the home buyer will be spending no more than 39 per cent of income on home-carrying costs like mortgage payments, heat and taxes. Another measure called total debt service includes all other debt payments and the TDS ratio must not exceed 44 per cent.

Talk to your mortgage specialist to see what this means for you.


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REALTORS® are trained professionals who bring a wealth of experience and resources to their clients, whether that client is looking to buy their first home or is a seasoned seller. Expert knowledge of the communities in which they work, the ability to accurately price and market properties, and experience in negotiating buying and selling prices are just a few of the things you can expect from a licensed REALTOR®. 


Consider some of the advantages of using a REALTOR® when buying or selling: 


When Buying


•A REALTOR® has the knowledge, experience and resources to find properties in your price range and homes that match your individual needs.

•You can get information on schools, transportation and other services in different neighbourhoods, and access the MLS® service, which provides up-to- date details on a wide variety of properties in the markets you are exploring.

•A REALTOR® can help you understand property financing, taxes, insurance and the steps you'll have to take to complete a real estate transaction.

•You can save substantial time by allowing the REALTOR® to "preview" properties that fit your budget and expectations. This way, you may only have to visit a handful of homes to make a wise and informed selection.

•A REALTOR® will explain the various financing alternatives available and provide up-to-date information on interest rates and mortgage options.

•They will act as a mediator to off-set potential conflicts between you and a seller.

•A REALTOR® will draw up an offer to purchase and assist with all details required to make a successful transaction, including when to bring in other professionals (lawyer, lender, home inspector, insurance broker and others).


When Selling


•A REALTOR® is an expert in effective advertising and will cover all the costs as part of their service to you

•Your home will receive far-reaching market exposure through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®)

•You can depend on their support every step of the way.

•A REALTOR® will provide you with a full explanation of the selling process and what to expect from the beginning.

•A selling price will be established in consultation with you that will appeal to buyers interested in your type of home and neighbourhood.

•A REALTOR® will assess your home and provide you with tips on how to highlight its best features and make it more appealing.

•A marketing plan for your home will be developed to help it sell quickly at or near the asking price. In addition to MLS® listing and advertising in the newspapers and other media, most plans will include a number of open houses.

•A REALTOR® will save you time by separating the lookers from the buyers and ensuring that only serious buyers visit your home.

•When an offer is received, a REALTOR® will use their knowledge and experience to negotiate an agreement on your behalf and according to your instructions.

•If you accept an offer, the REALTOR® will participate in drawing up a legally binding contract that protects your interests, ensures any conditions to a binding agreement are fulfilled, and that all your questions and concerns are dealt with to your complete satisfaction.





Using the professional services of a REALTOR® is a smart business decision. Real estate transactions may be among the largest investment decisions you make. It's important to find the right REALTOR® to work with. 


There are 1000+ REALTORS® working north of the Malahat. Some are fresh new REALTORS®, looking to build a career and eager for clients. Others have been in the business for 20 years, or more, and are well established. Some REALTORS® specialize in a particular community or property type, such as townhouses or commercial properties. 


It's a good idea to meet with and interview several REALTORS®. You'll learn about how they do business, whether their personality is a good fit, and whether you have confidence in their ability to do the best job, for you. 


Before you enlist the help of a REALTOR®, you should have a clear set of objectives in mind. Be honest and open in discussing your financial situation and, if you're buying, carefully review the features you absolutely must have in a home, versus those features you'd merely like to have. 


Where to begin the search? Ask friends and colleagues for referrals. Check out REALTOR® websites. See who is actively listing similar properties. Visit a local real estate office, tell them what you're looking for, and let them help match you with a REALTOR®. 


Whomever you choose, be assured that REALTORS® abide by a Code of Ethics demanding high standards of professional conduct to protect the interests of their clients.





The Multiple Listing Service® is a co-operative marketing system that maximizes exposure of properties for sale. It is a central registry of properties used by REALTORS® to match buyers with properties for sale. Most homes sold in Canada are sold via the MLS® systems operated by real estate boards across the country. 


The MLS® system includes a sophisticated computer database of properties indexed by price, location, type of home, number of bedrooms, amenities and so forth. 


The VIREB MLS® maintains information on between 4800-7000 active listings of property for sale on the Island, and typically receives 77 new listings every day. Listings range from undeveloped lots to business opportunities or special properties. Listings are updated throughout the day. 



Why does it work? 


The strength of the MLS® system rests in the quality and accuracy of the information. Government, economists, financial institutions, appraisers and others all rely on MLS® data. This is because REALTORS® who submit the listing information, and MLS® staff at real estate boards who conduct quality control, are trained and educated in the complexities of real estate. 


REALTORS® know how to describe a property accurately and what information must be disclosed in an MLS® listing. For instance, if there is a restriction on the use of a property, something called an easement, this information must appear in the MLS® listing. 


Also, the MLS® connects buyers and sellers. If the MLS® system did not exist, sellers would have to choose an individual real estate brokerage to list their home and only that brokerage would have the information about it and the ability to show and sell it. If the MLS® system did not exist, buyers would have to go from REALTOR® to REALTOR® to view the listings of each individual brokerage. 


Many alternate systems and services exist to buy and sell homes and they all compete for customers. The MLS® is the REALTOR® option. 



How does MLS® benefit consumers? 


A large part of the REALTORS® job lies in finding properties that meet a buyer's needs. Using the MLS®, a REALTOR® can search the database for homes that suit budgets, location preferences and family requirements, and quickly put together a short list of suitable homes. This way a buyer can decide what home they want to see, what their options are and what types of properties the market has to offer. 


For sellers, the MLS®,  matches your property with as many qualified, motivated buyers as possible. The MLS® exposes your property to people most likely to purchase it and makes sure you won't waste your time showing your home to those who are not truly interested. When you make the decision to sell ensure you ask your REALTOR® about an MLS® listing. The MLS® will ensure wide exposure of your home to a broad range of interested people. 


What about 


The public website is not the MLS® system. Local MLS® systems are owned and operated by local real estate boards, for use by REALTORS®. is an advertising vehicle that gives consumers direct access to information about MLS® listings. The website is provided by REALTORS® across Canada to help market properties on behalf of their clients. The home listing information on streams from the MLS® but does not contain the full collection of information on the system. 



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At a recent 460 Sales meeting, we brainstormed ideas to help buyer's in an unccertain market. We believe that drawing upon everyone's knowledge and experience will better serve our client's in this market. That being said, we created a great list of tips to help buyer's in this unbalanced market. 


  1. Ensure you have solid financing in place
  2. Secure a temporary place to live in order to keep dates as flexible as possible
  3. Understand that your choices may be limited as we to what is currently available on the market
  4. Agree to work with one Realtor and ensure they are also committed to working for you
  5. Have your deposit money ready and easy to access
  6. Learn about the local market you're buying in, discuss the sales statistics with your Realtor to understand how to make a quick decision
  7. Work closely with your Realtor, follow through on contacting your home inspector, insurance and financing, do your homework!
  8. Be sure your Realtor will be available quickly to show you properties, if they're unable to then develop a plan for who they will have in their place to show you
  9. You also need to be available to view properties as soon as possible, on your lunch break, or after work
  10. Discuss listing price with your Realtor, understand that right now listing price may not always reflect true value of the home
  11. Be prepared for a multiple offer situation and understand how a multiple offer situation will play out
  12. Be prepared to write a clean offer, have financing secured, some buyers bring a building inspector with them when viewing so they don't have to have that as a subject in the contract
  13. If you are on the PCS (Private Client Services) then check it often (3 times a day) and on weekends and if you're not on the PCS then have your Realtor set you up on it!
  14. Make sure your Realtor will follow up on pending offers in case the other deal collapses 
  15. Be open to writing a back up offer
  16. Include your personal story with your offer, even a photo, this can make a difference if a seller is wanting someone who will be good to the neighborhood or raise a family in the home they raised their family in  


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Second Annual Ladysmith Loggers Sports Exhibition – Ladysmith

Sunday, September 18, 2016 – 3pm
This by donation only event is at the Transfer Beach Amphitheatre in Ladysmith. A great outdoor venue for the entire family overlooking the ocean. Watch CanLog professional loggers perform and entertain: axe throwing, log burning, 120′ pole climbing, saw bucking and many other loggers sports including a high pole act!  It starts at 3pm at the amphitheatre. There will also be chainsaw carver, fire department will have equipment there and fun for the kids. Bring your own lawn chair or blanket and relax. Hot dogs and drinks by donation!

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We are very fortunate to have the services of a fantasic professional organizer right in our own town! We  recently interviewed our local professional organizer Diana Laflamme with Refresh Your Space Organizing to learn more about how she helps clients and what the process can look like.


Helping a parent downsize for a move can be complicated. Where you see a houseful of stuff to sort and toss, your parent is apt to see treasures, essentials, and a lifetime of memories. Moving an older relative from their family home to a new – and usually smaller - residence is labor intensive for you and emotionally disruptive for them. Tempting though it may be, it’s not a good idea to surprise a family member by sorting through their stuff when they’re not around. If you try to make an executive decision about their belongings, chances are, you’re headed for a run-in with them or others in your family. This is where hiring a professional organizer can be helpful.


Diana Laflamme is Ladysmith’s local Professional Organizer. A newcomer to the area, she and her husband retired to the island 3 years ago. Organizing is in her nature, and she’s always been one to help family and friends turn messy clutter into an organized space. After a few years of retirement, Diana found she was wanting more to do with her time, and through a suggestion of her husband, she joined the Professional Organizers in Canada and turned her passion into a new career.


The Professional Organizers in Canada (POC) is the national association that represents professional organizers across the country. The POC provides supportive environment for members to share ideas, network and exchange referrals. The website also offers an online directory to help you research and connect with professional organizer and the FAQ section answers common questions people have about getting organized and professional organizers. In addition, the POC provides training programs for their members, hosts an annual conference and provides media releases to educate the public. You can rest assured that when you select a POC member to help yourself or your loved one, you know that this person is committed to professional excellence and adheres to a strict code of ethics.


Diana works with all types of people in various stages of needing help with organization. She has a special place in her heart for working with seniors, and takes the time to help them let go of belongings they may have held on to for years, and are needing to let go of in order to downsize. She says her favorite part of working with her senior client’s is learning their history and hearing their stories. Her compassion balanced with a firmness to the task at hand ensures her senior client’s will be heard, respected and still be able to move towards their organizational goal.


Bringing in a third party such as Diana can relieve the stress off the family. Often when trying to assist aging parent’s to downsize, a family member may be unable to help due to various reasons such as work schedule, location or family dynamics. Diana finds that every organizing situation is unique, but one thing they all have in common is the most challenging part and that is getting started. She will first come, meet the client, assess their situation and then determine a plan from there and what the service will cost. Diana likes to make it a fun and collaborative process. She will also assist clients in honoring their emotional attachment to belongings and help them come up with a way of letting go of the objects. She says seeing her client’s demeanor change through the process is very rewarding, from feeling burdened by all the ‘stuff’ that has gotten out of control to feeling free and at peace in their space. She finds it very rewarding seeing her client’s living in a healthier place.


If your loved one simply has too much stuff for a smaller space, broaching the topic of downsizing can be a scary thought. You might be wondering, how can I ask Mom and Dad to give up so many mementos they obviously cherish, and risk upsetting them? Indeed, the conversation – and the culling process itself – can be quite distressing. Enlisting trusted friends and family to help your loved one clear their clutter can be an enormous help. Having others around to share memories with can make the process less painful, for one thing. It can also make it less overwhelming and time-consuming – sometimes seniors are daunted by the size of the task, or feel physically incapable. Sometimes, though, the situation is so dire that professional help is warranted. Consider the services of a professional organizer such as Diana to help with the process and ease everyone’s stress.


Thank you again Diana for meeting with us and we look forward to learning more organization tips from you! 

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With a hot real estate market, we want to make sure that you get the most for your home. It's not a secret that depersonalizing and decluttering can have a big impact on the sale price of your home and also how fast it can sell. But where to begin!? 


The Professional Organizers of Canada share their top five strategies that residential organizers implement when helping clients get ready to sell their homes. See the link at the bottom for the original article. 


  1. Organize room by room: Organizing room by room will help make getting your home ready to sell manageable. Start with the rooms that often host the most clutter such as the spare bedroom, office or storage room.
  2. De-personalize: Remember that you're selling an asset not a home. Remove any personal memorabilia such as photos, trinkets or kid's toys. This will help prospective buyers envision themselves living there and stop them from feeling like they're intruding in your space when they look around.
  3. Look at horizontal surfaces and reduce the clutter: Buyers need to see that there's plenty of storage space available. Remove most of what sits on counter, table and dresser tops, mantles, tops of fridges, cupboard units, and large pieces of furniture like bookcases and entertainment units. Leave only a few coordinated, decorative items on a mantle or end table. Also look objectively at all closets and cupboards. If they look cluttered and crowded, review the contents and pack away excess items you want to keep, until after the house is sold.
  4. Create space: Purge and pack up anything you don't want, don't need or aren't using. Consider getting rid of niche decor items as different people have different tastes and this may turn the buyer off of the home. Pack these items away until after the house is sold. 
  5. Walk through your home with the eye of a buyer: Look for the first things that catch your eye, where the eye is drawn to and distractions. Focus on fixing these distractions as this can work towards the seller's advantage.

We are so excited to be interviewing Ladysmith's own professional organzier Diana Laflamme, with Refresh Your Space on Wednesday July 27, 2016. We will be getting information from Diana on how a personal organizer can help you with the sale of your home, or even just to help get control of the clutter in your life! If you have any questions you think we should ask her, please post in the comments and we'll be sure to add them to our list!


Diana is a mesmber of the Professional Organizers of Canada; a national registered non-profit association that provides education, business development tools and a code of ethics for all types of organizers across Canada. Currently representing over 500 Professional Organizers in more than 14 chapters nation-wide. POC also works to educate the public about the organizing industry and the benefits of working with a POC member.

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Are you looking for something fun to do this summer? Check out the 50th Annual World Championship Bathtub Race and Marine Festival in Nanaimo, BC July 22nd-24th 2016. What began in 1967 to celebrate Canada's 100th birthday and the Centennial year has become a world class event that attracts competitors and spectactors from all over the world. There's tons of live entertainment all weekend as well as a parade, fireworks and of course the bathtub race itself. It's definitely worth checking it out. There's fun for the whole family! For more information go to

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The “Real” & “Hidden” costs of moving.

You finished poring over listings and have finally found your perfect home. Your offer was accepted and you’ve been ecstatic with excitement and overcome with anticipation. After weeks of preparation, it’s time to make it all a reality, because it’s moving day!

With the cost of real estate rising, making yourself aware of any extra costs associated with moving is helpful when budgeting and will also eliminate any surprises that may pop up on the big day.

Here’s a list of the “real” costs – the ones you might be expecting on moving day – and some you may have overlooked…

The “Real” Costs

Hiring movers or renting a moving van

The first thing you’re going to consider is how to make this move happen. Are you going to hire a business to assist you? Or will you grab some family and friends, rent a big van, and do it all yourself?

When using a moving company, think about the extra costs like the distance to your new home, insurance, and even tipping your movers. For extensive moves, it goes a long way to treat your movers well. Buying them snacks and giving a good tip means they treat your stuff with extra care.

If you choose to move yourself, be aware that the cost of the van won’t be your only expense. You’ll also need to get some sort of insurance, with a possible day off work, and it might be nice to treat your friends, family, and whoever else is helping you that day to some snacks and refreshments throughout.

You may also consider shipping some items if it’s a long-distance move and you’re not a packrat.

Packing supplies

Don’t forget all the boxes, bubble wrap, tape, and other packaging supplies you’ll need to pick up for moving day.

Some companies may include these supplies in their fee or offer them at a cost, so have a chat with your moving company about preparation.

If you’re moving yourself, you’ll be on your own with these costs. Picking up spare boxes at the grocery store or collecting them over time could save you some money in this area. Just be sure the boxes you find are sturdy; the cost of broken knick-knacks falling out the bottom of an old box is more than the cost of a simple new box itself.

Cleaning costs

Whether you’re moving out of a rented space or have just sold your home, giving it one final scrub down is essential if you don’t want to lose your deposit or jeopardize any closing costs.

If you’re going to do it yourself, you’ll want to buy additional cleaning products and supplies in order to do an adequate job. There’s also the option of hiring a service. It’ll cost a bit more but could alleviate some stress leading up to your move.

The Hidden Costs

Storage costs

Are you a hoarder? A temporary storage pod or container may be essential if you have too many things to fit in a moving van or if you’re moving too much stuff into a smaller space. They’re handy because they give you extra time to load and unload your belongings but will carry an additional, ongoing fee.

Extra travel costs

Depending on where you’re moving to and the distance between point A and B, you may encounter some extra travel costs such as gas, hotel stays, and meals along the way.

These costs can add up the farther you need to travel to make it to your new home.

Child or pet care

If you have kids or pets, you may not have considered hiring a sitter to watch them on moving day.

Kids that aren’t old enough to be unsupervised during the move may get in the way or get hurt as people are moving heavy furniture throughout the house.

With your four-legged family members, keep in mind you’ll probably have at least one door in the house held open to accommodate your movers, making it an easy escape for those adventure-seeking dogs and cats.

Utilities and bill transfer fees

You should also be aware of the different transfer fees you’ll need to pay when you move. Hydro, utilities, and home phone services can all charge a fee that varies province to province when you change addresses.

With cable and internet, you may also need to consider a cancellation fee or additional service fee if they need to install anything at your new house.

Make sure you understand all the costs associated with your move so you’re not surprised on moving day.

Happy Moving!

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There’s a lot of first time homebuyer’s guides that describe getting pre approved, finding a realtor and looking for a house, but I haven’t found a lot of information on what can really help a first time homebuyer or any homebuyer for that matter, make a critical list of deciding factors to help narrow their search.  This checklist is a great starting point when you are first considering a home. Start thinking about the neighborhood, your lifestyle, interior and exterior features. It’s helpful to use a ranking score to really get specific on what features matter most, and what features you are willing to sacrifice if you find the perfect home but it doesn’t have everything on your wish list.

While our market is hot right now, having a specific criteria of what you are looking for will expedite your search as well as will save time when viewing homes. Being prepared this way can help reduce buyer’s remorse, as you have spent some time thinking ahead of what is really most important for you in your purchase.


The list should be wants and needs to help your realtor find your dream home. Buying a house brings up many questions and ideas of what’s important.

Which Neighborhood?

Choosing a home isn’t just about selecting or building your dream house, it’s also about finding the right neighborhood for you.

Things to consider when choosing your neighborhood:


Do you want to be in a family neighborhood?

Do you want to be near a playground?

Do you want to be close to your child’s school?

Do you want to be near trails you can hike and bike?

Do you want to be close to public transportation?

Do you want entertainment within reach?

Do you have easy access to loved ones?


Location Considerations: Rate items from 1-10 with 10 being the most important.


____ Neighborhood

____ Transit

____ Street Parking

____ Proximity to shopping amenities

____ Length of commute to/from work

____ Parks

____ Public Schools

____ Community Centers

____ Noise/Congestion

____ Mature vs. Growth Area

____ Zoning, future possibilities for development


Which features do you want?

What do you want your new home to have? Create a list of needs and wants for your new home. Making your every wish come true begins with the knowing what you really want in your next home.

Here’s a list of questions to keep in mind when choosing your dream home:


Do you want to entertain in a spacious dining room?

Do you want to park in a two-car garage?

Do you want to relax in front of a fireplace?

Do you want a backyard where your children or dog can play?

Do you want little to no yard maintenance?

Do you want a spacious laundry room?

Do you have to have a workshop or RV parking?


Property considerations: Rate items from 1-10 with 10 being the most important.


____ Single-family home

____ Townhome

____ Condo

____ Yard

____ Garage

____ Guest Parking

____ Deck/Porch/Balcony

____ Expandability

____ Energy efficient/utility costs

____ New Construction

____ Fixer-upper

____ Resell

____ Vintage

____ Brick construction

____ Frame construction

____ Views

____ Single floor or multi-level

____ Large lot or acerage

____ Privacy

____ Recreation facilities in multi-unit condos

____ Pool

____ Gym


Which interior considerations are must have? Here is a list of interior considerations for your dream home.

Do you want to have a rancher style?

Do you want a multi storey house with the bedrooms upstairs or downstairs?

Do you want the main living level upstairs or downstairs?

Do spend a lot of time cooking? Is a large kitchen important?

Do you want a basement you can finish yourself or would prefer everything completed?

Do you need a lot of storage space?

Do you entertain a lot and need room for family and other guests?



____ #Bedrooms

____ #Bathrooms

____ Master Bedroom

____ Master bath/ensuite

____ Closet space

____ Basement – finished or unfinished

____ Eat-in Kitchen nook

____ Gourmet Kitchen

____ Pantry in kitchen

____ New appliances

____ Dining Area/ Room

____ Den/ Office

____ Media or family room

____ Wood Flooring

____ Fireplace

____ Whirlpool bath

____ Guest closet

____ Foyer/entryway

____ Ceiling height

____ Thermal Windows

____ Central air

____ Forced air heat

____ Lighting


Now that you’ve completed all preliminary steps on the home buying checklist, you’re ready to start searching. Make sure to print this out to start your search.



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1. Paint (parts of) the exterior


We’re not talking the whole house here, but slapping a fresh coat of paint on your front door — or anywhere the paint is flaking or could use a touch-up, like garage doors or trim — instantly upgrades your home’s exterior. Replace any ratty screen doors. A new door knocker and new house numbers are a good idea as well. You want people to easily find the house.


2. Kick up your kitchen


“Buyers love stainless steel appliances. You almost always see that highlighted in a listing. If you have an old stove or dishwasher, swap it out for a stainless steel model. Updating light fixtures, replacing old cabinet hardware, or painting older cabinets white also makes your kitchen appear fresh and new without breaking the bank.


3. Replace the vanity in your bathroom


If you have a powder room that hasn’t been updated, replace the vanity with a newer model. You can easily do this for under $1,000, and it makes a big difference. Add new hand towels, a rug, and a shower curtain to complete the “renovation.”


4. Slipcover furniture that has seen better days


If your couch is looking a little threadbare or stained, but you aren’t ready to replace it just yet, buy a slipcover in a neutral shade to hide the imperfections. (Then forbid your family from sitting on it until after the open house!)


5. Make your bedroom feel like a hotel suite


You want to create a serene feeling. So that means corralling all the clutter (books on the nightstand, accessories on the dresser), storing extra pieces of furniture (like that treadmill that doubles as a clothes hanger), and cleaning off bathroom counters. If your duvet cover is old, consider buying a new one in a neutral shade and adding fresh accent pillows.


6. Freshen up your walls and floors


If you have hardwood floors, get them professionally polished before your open house. If you have carpeting, get it professionally steamed before potential buyers come calling. And while you’re at it, give your walls a once-over and wipe away any scuff marks. If a new paint job is necessary, consider a neutral shade or a paint colour that will make your space feel larger and brighter.


7. Perk up your patio


Add potted plants or flowers for a burst of colour and toss any broken outdoor furniture. Outdoor accent pillows are an inexpensive upgrade for loungers and chairs. If it’s summer, or you live in a warm climate, set the table too. This way, buyers can imagine themselves eating a meal on the patio or deck. Sold!



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