Uncategorized June 1, 2022

The Open House: Should You Do It When Selling?

Open houses can be a bit of a controversial topic in the real estate world. Some professionals insist that they are necessary, others want nothing to do with it, and some are in the middle, having open houses occasionally. Holding an open house when selling your home can have some great benefits, but they also have disadvantages. Being aware of the advantages and limitations of open houses can help you decide what you want and what risks you want to take on. 

 

Pros of Open Houses When Selling a Home

Attract Buyers at the Start of the Homebuying Process – Buying a home is not a process that everyone is familiar with, and open houses can be an easy first step. Especially for first-time homebuyers who may not know where to get information or whom to contact when looking for a home. Open houses can be a way to attract new buyers, which is helpful for any home seller. 

Additional Exposure – Exposure is the name of the game when selling your home. Having a solid marketing plan to get as many potential buyers’ eyes on your house is the key to getting a good offer. Open houses can be an excellent way to get additional exposure and advertising. 

Reduce Pressure on Buyers – Open houses are often very low-pressure environments where buyers can tour the home with little to no pressure. Some buyers like to analyze a home in detail without having a time constraint or someone showing them around. 

Show Off Your Advantages – If you have put considerable time and energy into upkeep in your home, an open house is a great way to show off those features. Visitors will appreciate the unique features of your home or just the general upkeep. This could help your home stand out on the market or over other listings in your neighbourhood. 

 

Cons of Open Houses When Selling a Home

It May Not Sell Your Home – The percentage of homes that actually sell due to an open house is less than 2-3%. While you may get a good turnout, open houses aren’t necessarily going to attract buyers who are at the offer stage yet. 

Attracting Unqualified Buyers – Anyone can attend an open house, whether they are financially capable of buying a home or not. Not everyone that attends the open house will be qualified to put an offer on it. 

Possible Theft – The reality of an open house is that you will have strangers coming through your home, and you don’t know their intentions. It’s always a good idea to put away any valuables or objects you don’t want to lose. 

 

When considering whether or not to host an open house when selling your home, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons and decide what is best for you. An open house can be a great opportunity to better market your home to buyers. Still, it isn’t for every seller, and it’s not necessary for selling your home. If you are unsure, talk to a local real estate expert about your situation and goals. And, of course, you can always contact me if you have any questions or need any advice!

Selling May 2, 2022

How to Set up for the Best Listing Photos (And Why it Matters!)

In the digital age, 80% of buyers first start their house search online. Having great photos that accentuate your home’s best features is the best way to get buyers’ attention and give them the best impression of your home for sale. But taking good photos can feel intimidating if it’s not something you’re familiar or comfortable with. As part of my professional marketing plan, though, I enlist the help of a professional real estate photographer who can help you take the best photos of your property and put it in a good light. That being said, here are some things you can do to get your home photo-ready.

 

Tidy, Tidy, Tidy

The number one tip to a good photo is a decluttered space that shows off the room. After all, buyers want to see the area around your possessions, which can be difficult with too much clutter. If you have furniture in the rooms, make sure that minimal objects are placed in or around it. Keep the space as neutral as possible, and the furniture helps show what the room can be used for, rather than the main feature.

 

Find the Best Lighting

Lighting really matters when taking a good photo. Look at the lighting sources in your room and have it prepared when the photographer shows up. Windows and natural light can be great to give your room a soft and natural feel. 

If it is a cloudy or overcast day, consider what artificial light your room has. What are the overheads like? Do they effectively light the room? If not, do you have lamps or floor lighting that could enhance the space? You could also consider turning on lighting features like fireplaces to add to the ambiance of the photo. 

 

Think About Composition

Have you already moved out your furniture, or is it still in the space? Either option can work, but you may have different considerations depending on your answer. If you have moved furniture already, this can be great for helping buyers get a complete picture of what the room looks like. However, it may be difficult to judge the size of the room without anything in it, so home staging may be something we want to consider. Even if you have moved, appliances in the kitchen and bathroom should be clean and tidy. 

If you still have furniture, think about the way it is positioned in the room, and see if there are smaller pieces you can move to give a better view of the size of the space. Also, consider objects such as coffee tables or shelving and how you’ve displayed objects on them. These types of furniture shouldn’t be empty. Instead, a couple of tasteful decor items can help to make the home feel welcoming. Be sure to limit these items or create groups of threes for visual appeal. 

 

Consider the Colours

While it is always good advice to keep your space filled with neutral colours, adding a couple of accents can be nice to enhance your space. If you have some items that add a burst of colour, think about where you want them and how that might help create a more eye-catching photo. If you’re unsure, sticking with neutrals and basics is always the safe bet. 

 

As always, listing photography can be tricky. And while these tips may help enhance your photos, the biggest thing you can do is keep your space clean and let the professionals do the rest! If you have any questions or concerns, I am here to offer my professional real estate advice to help put your house in the best light and answer any questions you may have.

BuyingMarket UpdateSeasonal InterestSelling April 1, 2022

What is the Best Time to Move?

You’ve seen it. It’s everywhere! Inventory remains at an all-time low in Saskatoon, and with interest rates also staying attractively low, demand remains high. With eager buyers jumping at the opportunity to buy a home, prices are rising, piquing many homeowners’ interest in selling. 

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer hoping to take advantage of the fantastic interest rates or a seller hoping to get more for your home, you’ve likely asked, “Is it a good time to move?” There are a lot of factors to take into account when considering the best time to move. If you’re currently deciding when to move, here are some of the factors to consider:

 

Why Are You Moving?

Depending on why you are moving or considering a move, your timeframe for when to move could change considerably.

#1 – You Are Relocating for Work. If you are moving to Saskatoon for a new job or position, you are likely working with a set deadline. This means you will have strict guidelines both in searching for a home and planning a move when it comes to dates. If you are simply moving within the city to lessen your commute or make it more convenient, you will have considerably more flexibility.

#2 – Looking for a Better Neighbourhood. Another reason why many families choose to move is to find the perfect neighbourhood. While this doesn’t give you any time constraints to work within, it’s important to note that it can take some time if you are particular about the neighbourhoods you are searching in. You may need to wait for the perfect property to come on the market.

#3 – Moving to a Bigger Home. Growing families often find themselves searching for more space, which may mean moving to a bigger home. While a great reason to be making your move, it shouldn’t interfere with any timing you may be planning for.

#4 – Downsizing to a Smaller Home. When the kids have all flown the nest, and you no longer need the 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom house, it might be time to downsize. Again, similar to moving to a bigger home, this shouldn’t interfere with planning the timing of your move.

#5 – Taking Advantage of Interest Rates. If you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage with an attractive interest rate you don’t want to miss out on, you will need to expedite your home search to fit your locked-in rate’s deadline. These typically stay in effect for 60-90 days, which will be about when you should plan to buy a new home. However, if you’d prefer to push off the move beyond that time, you can always talk to your REALTOR® about moving the possession date to a time that works better for you.

#6 – Making the Most of Market Trends. If you have a home to sell and Saskatoon is in a seller’s market, you may want to take advantage of that to get more value for your home. Especially in a high-demand market, this could mean a quicker move, so talk to your REALTOR® about how quickly you might expect to sell. That way, you can get a better idea for planning your move.

 

The Best Time of Year to Move

Knowing how the reason you are moving influences the timing of your move, you can start to plan the “when” of it all. Each season has pros and cons for moving, so here’s what to consider when deciding the best time of year to move for you and your family.

Spring is traditionally when the real estate market in Saskatoon begins to get busiest. The weather starts to warm, people start coming out of the homes they’ve been trapped in all winter and are eager for a change of scenery. Some pros to moving in spring are that you’ll be settled into your new home in time to relax for the summer holidays, and the weather tends to be much more temperate—not too cold and not too hot. However, it can also be a hectic time for kids in school, particularly those in high school facing exam season. Moving companies are also getting busier, so you may need to be more flexible with dates to make it work.

Summer, particularly early summer, tends to be the busiest moving season as homebuyers who bought in spring come up to their possession dates. Moving in summer can be a great thing—the kids are out of school, it may be easier to take vacation time, and the weather is usually warm and sunny. However, moving companies are in their highest-demand season, which means you may have a harder time picking dates and can even expect to pay a little more than slower seasons.

Fall is when the Saskatoon real estate market tends to slow down as kids return to school and the vacation replies start to disappear. This cooler market may make moving in fall the ideal choice for you, with less demand for moving companies and typically easier conditions for buying a house. Plus, you will be nice and settled in just in time to show off to friends and family over the holidays! However, it can also be a little more complicated if you have kids in school, especially if you might be moving to a new school district.

Winter is usually the slowest season in real estate, with colder weather keeping people indoors. This can make moving in winter more attractive, with market conditions at their least stressful and moving companies at their most available (sometimes even offering discounted rates!). However, you will need to battle the elements on moving day, something most of us avoid during winter in Saskatchewan, and you may be in the process of moving over the holidays, which can already be stressful enough.

 

So, when it really comes down to it, there is no true “best time to move,” only the best time for you and your family. No matter when you decide to make your move, though, there are a few tried and true ways to make it as easy as possible. Your experienced REALTOR® will be able to walk you through all of the best tips and tricks for a stress-free move. And if you still need help deciding when to do it, they can help with that, too!

Seasonal InterestSelling March 4, 2022

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

Though the blustery winter weather we’ve been seeing over the last few weeks in Saskatoon might have us thinking spring is still months away, we’re actually only a couple of weeks out. Soon enough, the longer days will bring warmer weather, and the long-anticipated seasonal thaw will begin. And with that thaw comes some essential home maintenance that will need taking care of!

 

Check & Clean Eavestroughs

With the wind and snow blowing around all winter long, things are bound to end up on the roof and in our eavestroughs. These little valleys are not only preventing water damage during spring and summer rains but are particularly important in helping the thawing snow and ice find their way to the ground as they melt. That means, even when it’s still a little chilly out, a trip up the ladder may be to ensure they are working at 100%.

Check the eavestroughs and downspouts for any blockages and clear them away. Secure any loose joints to prevent drips, and make sure the downspouts point away from your foundation. The last thing anybody wants to wake up to is a flooded basement!

 

Change Filters

After working hard to heat your home from the famous Saskatchewan winter chill, your furnace is bound to need a little TLC. Change out the furnace filter to keep it in good working order for those chilly spring evenings. Change out the range hood filter while you’re at it, and clean out your heat recovery unit, too!

 

Inspect Entryways & Windows for Gaps

Sure, warmer weather means enjoying more time in our outdoor space, breathing in the fresh air, but it also means the return of every homeowner’s nightmare: pests. Take some time to check your doorways and windows for any gaps or holes where bugs or rodents could sneak through. If you find any, seal them off to keep unwanted guests out. (The insect and rodent variety, of course…)

 

Check Soil Settlement at the Foundation

The one thing the winter thaw is particularly good at is washing away soil where we might actually want it to stay. One place that can often get hit pretty hard: around your home’s foundation.

Once the snow has cleared enough for you to see, take a walk around your home and see how the soil is settled. If it looks more like a moat a prince would have to cross to get to the castle, water damage may be on the way as the water drains toward your foundation. To combat it, simply fill it in until you see a nice, gentle slope that will encourage water to drain away from the house rather than into it.

 

Other Spring Home Maintenance Tasks

Test Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors – If you’ve got littles, spring is also a great time to run fire drills with them to prepare them in case of emergency!

Inspect the Roof – Once the snow has melted away through your sparkling clean eavestroughs, break out the ladder again to check your roof for any repairs that may need to be done. You can also use this time to inspect the siding around the house for any spots that may need to be re-secured.

Clean Fireplaces & Chimneys – If you’re lucky enough to have an incredible, fully-functional wood-burning fireplace, chances are it’s been working double-time over the past few months. Before retiring it for the season, clean it out and consider having it serviced if you haven’t had it done recently.

Check Sump Pump – If you have one, make sure it works correctly and pushes water away from your foundation, not toward it.

Spring Cleaning – While the weather’s not too cold and not too hot, take some time to give your home a spring makeover! Clean windows inside and out, wash off window and door screens and consider spraying off your siding, deck, and siding for some added curb appeal—especially if you’re thinking of selling your home.

 

Though we may feel like hibernating until the hottest days of summer, don’t sleep on these essential spring home maintenance tasks. Not only will they keep your home in tip-top shape, but they’ll also set you up for that easy-breezy, worry-free summer you’ve been waiting so patiently for!

August 2021FinancialHome DecorSelling August 2, 2021

4 Tips For Budgeting a Home Renovation

Renovations, especially when preparing your home for sale, can make or break how quickly your property will stay on the market. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of choosing new finishes for home projects or be blindsided by unforeseen hiccups that can dramatically increase costs. Deciding on how much to spend on home improvement projects can be tricky—lucky for you, I have compiled some tips that will help you stay on track and minimize any unwanted surprises!

Set Your Spending Limit

According to Zillow, you should spend no more for each room than the percentage of what that room values in the overall house value. For example, the kitchen generally makes up to 15% of the overall property value. If your home is worth $200,000, you will want to cap remodelling expenses at $30,000.

Another good guideline is not spending more than 10-15% of your home’s value on a single room. Any more than that will not proportionally add to the value of the home. HomeAdvisor states the average cost to renovate a kitchen at $4,000 – $60,000, a bathroom at $2,500 – $25,000, and a basement at $11,000 – $30,000. Keep in mind that older homes will often cost more to renovate if wiring and plumbing aren’t up to code.

You will also need to determine how you are financing your project! Your renovation budget will need to fit within the limit of available funds, whether it is by cash, loan or credit.

Prepare for Hidden Costs

This tip is possibly the most important of them all, so listen closely. Once you have concluded how much you can afford to spend, set aside 10-20% of your available funds for any unexpected expenses that may arise. You might have heard of the phrase, “things happen,” and it definitely applies to home renovations. Things go wrong or cost more than what was initially predicted, and by setting aside these funds at the beginning, you know that you will still have enough cash to cover no matter what happens.

Prioritize & Make a Plan

So long as there is no expertise required, consider doing some tasks yourself to help reduce labour costs. Things like pulling up tile, removing old cabinets, ordering your own fixtures and finishes, shopping for used or refurbished items, and doing your own painting are all easy to do yourself.

 

You’ve used all these tips and added value to your home, so now what? You don’t want to risk pricing too high in risk of not selling. Contact your favourite local REALTOR® for a free home evaluation!

Home DecorJuly 2021Selling July 2, 2021

Top Home Decor Design Trends for 2021

Home design trends are constantly changing, but with the state of the world over the past year and a half, we can identify some common themes emerging. We see many rethinking the functionality of their homes and the concentration on building a safe, calm, and joyful space to centre us in throughout the various recent and tumultuous events. Here are some key trends that you can easily incorporate into your living space or make it more appealing to potential buyers if you are planning to sell your home!

Say Goodbye to Exclusively Formal Rooms

Have a formal dining room or living room you only use once every 6 months? The focus is now on livable luxury and versatility in design. This means rethinking our less-used spaces and embracing furniture concepts that play double duty—we’ve seen many formal dining rooms turn into home offices and school rooms. However, this is also your sign to turn that space into something totally your own that sparks joy. Always wanted a craft room? Maybe a library to live out your Beauty & the Beast dreams? Go for it!

Embrace Natural Materials

This is the return of nature and earthy inspiration to really become one with that zen mindset. Pieces like cream coloured ceramics, marble coffee tables, wicker baskets, rattan headboards, and unfinished wooden furniture help create a comforting and organic look and feel. Earthy tones and warm, soothing colour palettes like wine reds, sagey greens, and golden yellows have also increased popularity.

Become a Plant Parent

Speaking of natural, 2020 was back to basics. Hands up if it was your mission to successfully make a loaf of delicious sourdough bread and adopt a few plant babies! Yeah, I see you, Saskatoon. We’re definitely seeing this continuing the trend through 2021.

Incorporating plants into your décor honestly does wonders to help refresh the air and brighten your mood. Easy-to-care-for plants and textured pots work like magic to bring some life to a space, and edible gardens are perfect for a sunny kitchen window sill.

Maximize Natural Sunlight

Be aware of the lack of Vitamin D from being cooped up indoors—sunlight is scientifically essential to our happiness. Yes, really! And studies have shown that it can actually have a direct effect on a homebuyer’s first impression of the home, especially when staging to sell.

With the goal of calm and centred living space, gone are heavy window dressings. Instead, try a semi-opaque cotton curtain with some tassel trim for a subtle texture.

Solid Statement Walls? Forget About It

Wallpaper is not just for your grandmother anymore. It has officially made a comeback! Add some personality to your space with a statement wall, or use it to line your cabinets or shelving. Want a less permanent option in case you are renting and planning to buy a home? Peel and stick wallpaper is an exceptional way to play with your space without the commitment.

More is More

Granny Chic has a nice ring to it, right? The year 2021 has marked the rise of the “grandmillennial” trend, described as a revival of the homey design elements that you may find at your grandparent’s house. This includes velvets, floral wallpaper, brass, delicate china, antique paintings, and other vintage touches. And don’t be afraid to mix patterns, either.

This style can evoke a sense of tradition, comfort, and nostalgia. Combining old-world elements (antique paintings) and the new world comforts (modern lighting fixtures) can also create a perfect timeless mix.

 

No matter what your home ownership goals may be this fall, whether it’s buying a new house or selling your existing one, keep these top design trends in mind for either. From dolling up your new digs or staging for selling success, these simple changes can keep your home looking modern, chic, and effortless!

Home DecorJune 2021Seasonal Interest June 4, 2021

Top 5 Benefits of Owning of Home

I’m not going to beat around the bush; a house is a big purchase and a huge life milestone. You want to make sure you are making the right choice. Have you been wondering if it is worth it to take the leap? Are you overwhelmed by all the information out there? While there are many benefits of owning a home versus renting one, here are some of the top ones you’ll want to consider!

#1 – It’s a Great Way to Build Equity

First off, what does equity mean? Equity refers to the probable market value of your property against any liens (such as a mortgage). The longer you own a home and pay towards the balance of any liens, the liens will gradually decrease as the property value and your equity in the home increase. The larger the home equity you have, the more borrowing and purchasing power you earn towards loans for home improvements, funding your children’s education, or other consumer goods such as a car.

While you build your equity as a homeowner with regular payments, your credit score will also receive a nice boost!

#2 – Your Investment Gets Better With Time

 Investing in buying a house provides a better return than most other investments, such as a car. Depreciation begins as soon as you drive the car off the lot, where owning a home behaves in the opposite, appreciating in value over time (depending on market conditions).

Though even an experienced local REALTOR® cannot predict precisely what will happen with your home value in the coming years, they can provide past values for the neighbourhood. Looking towards the trends on values on homes in the area will help gain some understanding of what you can expect.

#3 – Less Expensive Than Renting in the Long Run

Yes, really! When buying a home, there are, of course, many upfront costs—down payment, appraisal fees, homeowner insurance, etc. And, similarly, you are paying a certain amount per month. However, as stated in the first point, you are paying to own the home, and your personal net worth increases. Whereas, with rental properties, you are paying to use the landlord’s property to live.

Check out Renting vs. Buying: Which is Better For You for a more in-depth comparison!

#4 – Plant Your Roots

Options for rental properties are often limited in terms of location. Buying and owning your home means you get to CHOOSE where you want to live; the neighborhood and proximity to schools, parks, your employer, and other amenities. By this choice, you can be sure you will have pride in ownership, not only in your property but your community, by forming relationships with fellow neighbors, local services & politicians and taking part in community events.

#5 – Freedom to Customize Your Space

This might be the last on the list, but it is certainly not the least. Actually, this might be the best reason of them all! While renting, you are at the mercy of your landlord in terms of colour and style choices made and cannot alter them. Ownership offers you the freedom to make changes. Paint the walls, rip up that carpet, install a secret door—the choice is yours! To make the deal even sweeter, not only will these changes make the house feel more like home, but they can elevate your property’s value as well.

Of course, there are countless other benefits and considerations for purchasing a house. However, the best way to ensure you are finding the perfect home for you and your family is to work with your very own REALTOR®.

Don’t have one? I’d be happy to help—contact me today!

BuyingMay 2021 May 6, 2021

4 Tips for Buying a House

Buying a house isn’t like buying a kitchen appliance. You don’t have the luxury of researching, reading reviews, price matching, and using all of that to choose the absolute right fit before bringing it home. And if it doesn’t quite fit as well as you thought, you have the opportunity to return it for an exchange or refund.

Instead, when buying a home, you are limited to the ever-changing availability of the real estate market inventory, which may or may not contain a home that fits all your wants and needs. This is especially true in a seller’s market, like we are currently experiencing in Saskatoon real estate. And if you do find one outside of your budget, saving up just a little more and coming back to it usually isn’t an option. There are no reviews other than those of the sellers, and if you feel like you’ve made a wrong choice, a refund is not an option. So how do you know you’re making the right choice?

Well, here are just a few tips for buying a house to help you along the way:

Tip #1 – Keep Looking Until You Find the Right Home in Your Price Range

Every market is different, and you may need to concede some of the items on your wish list to find the right house. Things like the neighborhood your dream home is in, the year it was built, and its condition can drastically change its value.

Don’t give up! And rely on the advice of your REALTOR®—they’re a seasoned professional. A house is one of the most significant investments you’ll ever make, so you shouldn’t need to feel like you are settling simply because you are in a rush.

Tip #2 – Pay Attention to Location & Layout

Hate the decorations? Disgusted by the paint colors? Get over it! These are all things that can be fixed later on. However, nothing can be done about a bad neighbourhood, crummy floor plan, or a 20-minute commute to the closest grocery store, so don’t compromise on those.

Look for a neighbourhood and layout that fits your lifestyle. And for a good deal on buying a home, be open-minded about that dated kitchen tile.

Tip #3 – Think About Home Value Growth

Don’t just go for a pretty porch or spacious yard; look for a property that will grow in value over time. Do some research on the history of home values and businesses in that neighbourhood and the surrounding area, or ask your REALTOR® about the trends they have seen. Are home values rising? Is the number of businesses increasing? Those are good signs!

And if you can, try to find a house at the bottom price range in the best community you can afford. No one wants to be stuck trying to sell a $300,000 home to future buyers who are shopping in a $200,000 neighbourhood.

Tip #4 – Ask Questions During Showings

Ask tons of questions when you’re touring the house to make sure it’s genuinely your ideal home. Your real estate agent should be able to help you develop a list of relevant questions to ask, but here are a few standards to keep in mind just in case:

What is included in the sale? Does the price include things like appliances, light fixtures, or the hot tub?

When were the appliances updated last? Look at the plumbing, HVAC, septic tank, fridge, oven, and the washer and dryer.

How old is the roof? When was the last time it was looked at for any potential damage or leaks?

Are there signs of any pest infestations or water damage? Quite often, these can be visible at face value, but ask the sellers if there may have been anything they may have encountered beneath the surface.

What is the home like in winter and summer? Is there a south-facing window that turns the living room into a sauna without a good pair of blinds? Is there a draft that doubles the electricity bill in the winter just to stay warm?

 

Of course, there are countless other tips that I could give you for buying a house, many of which I mentioned in my Official Guide to House Hunting. However, the best way to ensure you are finding the perfect home for you and your family is to work with your very own REALTOR®.

Don’t have one? I’d be happy to help—contact me today!

April 2021Home Decor April 1, 2021

Making the Most of Your Outdoor Space

Well, Saskatoon, it looks like we’ll be spending another summer close to home. With the real estate market as hot as it is right now, it’s evident that some people are taking the opportunity to upgrade their living situations. Imagine finding a home with a great outdoor space—kids’ playset included. Or what if it has a pool? How amazing will your summer be with access to your very own backyard oasis?

If it’s possible to change your primary residence to suit your desired lifestyle better, that is a great option. If you are unable to find your family’s perfect home, what can you do to improve your outdoor space? The good news is, there’s plenty you can do to enhance the outdoor area you do have while you are waiting to move!

Furnishings: Need a place to relax and enjoy your outdoor space? Purchase hardy outdoor furnishings that stand up well to our climate.

Heat It Up: A fire pit or fire table can turn your outdoor space into an inviting gathering place. Adding a heat source to your outdoor space will also increase the amount of time you can enjoy it.

Spruce Up Your Gathering Space: If you have a deck, consider sanding and restaining it to freshen it up. If you have a patio, use a pressure washer to make your blocks look new again and take care of weeds or grass growing between the blocks.

Light It Up: Not only can lights transform the look of outdoor space, but they can also add nighttime safety and security.

Add a Water Feature: A water feature can be a great focal point, easy to install and maintain and come in many affordable options and sizes. Choose from tabletop fountains to large rock features. A successful outdoor space takes all senses into account, including sound. And there is no sound more relaxing than moving water!

Make a Walking Path: Use mulch, stones slabs, or paving stones, to lead to a bench or chair in your favorite spot.

Create Privacy: There’s nothing better about living in Saskatoon than the friendliness of familiarity you’ll feel with your neighbours. But sometimes, you just want to relax without worrying that Wilson next door will hassle you the moment you open the patio door! Adding a fence can help create privacy from neighbors and boundaries from other areas of your home. In urban climates, you may want to add a privacy wall to your deck or patio as well. Creating privacy will give your outdoor space a sense of coziness.

Add Potted Plants: Simple, yet effective, adding potted plants adds an extra touch of green into your outdoor oasis, whether you’re working with a full backyard or cozy condo balcony. Plus, if you’re thinking about selling, it can be an easy way to boost your home’s curb appeal for sale, too!

Create a Shady Place: When the sun is too hot to handle, have a place you can go to escape.  A pergola, canvas pole tent, curtains, or a taut piece of canvas will do the trick.

No matter what your outdoor space may look like, there are plenty of ways to boost its appeal while you are waiting to move. And if you find it still just doesn’t feel right, we can always, of course, speed up the timeline and start your home search sooner!

BuyingFebruary 2021 February 25, 2021

How to Choose “The One”: Your Guide to Finding Your Family’s Perfect Home

Some people may make the mistake of rushing into renting or buying a property, only to realize later on that there’s something that they dislike or is missing. I’m not talking about missing shingles or whether it is up to code or not—a proper home inspection can easily catch that. I am talking about those key features and lifestyle elements you and your family are looking for that take the property from house to home. Those should play just as important of a role in your home search as whether the plumbing has been installed correctly.

Below are my best house hunting tips to ensure you choose a property that you will love.

#1 – Does it Check Your Boxes?

My best advice before you even begin your house hunt is to evaluate your current home. Create a list of items you love and that work well for you and your family. Then, create a list of things you don’t like about it or things you would like to change. These lists will help you decide on your “must haves” and your “want to haves.” and will be the lists you take house hunting with you. The home that checks most, if not all, of your boxes will be high on your potential buy list.

#2 – Renovation Potential

Does the house you like need work? Are you capable of taking on the renovation by contracting it out or adding on some sweat equity? This can be one of the best ways to ensure you will love the home now. Of course, a major renovation means you can make changes to the layout, adding or removing rooms as you desire, but even minor renovations, like changing the countertops or flooring, can help you fall in love and stay in love with a property.

#3 – Evaluate Size & Storage

Size demands can go both ways. Too small, and you will feel like you’re bursting at the seams and will need to upsize sooner than you had planned. Too large, and you will find it hard to make the home feel “homey”—there’s a lot of furniture required to fill a large home and you may become frustrated with the amount of daily maintenance required. And for storage, can you ever have too much storage? (Well, I guess there comes a point where you need to purge those junior kindergarten halloween costumes…)

Your home should be just big enough for your family and have the desired space to store your belongings.

#4 – Investigate the Neighbourhood

If you enjoy talking with your neighbors over the fence, walking for exercise, or meeting at the local coffee shop, see if your new neighbourhood can offer that. Is the home close to the places important to you, like your parents’ house, work, schools, and activities? If it’s not, will it bother you to drive 30 minutes to an hour to and from each day?

#5 – Pay Attention to Your Feelings

Do you get that warm and fuzzy feeling when you walk in the door? Does the home “speak” to you? Does it feel like home? Can you envision your family living there?  Have you already begun imagining furniture arrangements?

#6 – Be Realistic

The house you end up with may not be your dream house. It’s imperative that you end up with a house you’re going to be happy living in, but you might also have to adjust your expectations if the home you want isn’t one you can afford. Working with an experienced local REALTOR® will help you determine if your budget will meet your wants and needs. But knowing the difference between the two is key. You may have to pass on some of your wants to have in order to get your needs.

 

It can be a delicate balance between taking the time to make sure a house is right for you and making sure you get to it before someone else does, especially in a seller’s market. I will ensure you look at all the houses that align with your budget, needs, and wants. Then, together, we will weigh both the practical and emotional factors. Think about the pros and cons of the houses you’re considering but consult your gut as well. Sometimes, when it’s the “the one,” you just know.