Seasonal Interest December 1, 2022

9 Tips for Surviving the Holidays

 

 

Every Holiday season is stressful, with the busyness between meeting up with friends, family and even those Christmas work parties. The feeling of being stretched out thin is inevitable—with the help of these 9 tips, I hope your holiday season can be as stress-free as possible.

Online Shop 

Skip all the lines and circle the parking lot, and shop online. Not only is everything you could ever want at the tip of your fingers—but it also conveniently arrives at your doorstep. Frequently online shopping allows for gift-wrapping options. Take full advantage of that service!

Celebrate Minimally 

Try to alleviate stress by planning fewer get-togethers and easier ones to host—even better yet, try to avoid hosting altogether and be a guest. If you are hosting, go to the fancy dining and centrepieces, and opt for guests to bring their dish, potluck style and keep decor to a minimum.

Only Buy for the Kids

Purchasing gifts for people can be a huge challenge, from deciding what to get everyone to the financial burden. Skip the adults and only buy for the kids of the family. Children will appreciate the gifts more, and it is more fun to buy and watch them open them. Speaking of gifts, opt for gift bags and tissue paper to save time wrapping.

Minimal Christmas Decorations

A Christmas tree is all you need to set the Christmas mood. Try not to go overboard with too many decorations. If you want to change things up, make your own decorations, from popcorn garland to paper snowflakes—get the whole family involved. 

Prepare in Advance

Preparation is your best defence to combat holiday stress. Up until Christmas, pre-bake and pre-cook as many things as possible for the big day. Make lists, plan all your meals, and stock up on extra snacks for drop-in guests. Consider getting some chocolate boxes and small monetary gift cards to have on hand if you’ve missed a gift here or there.

Stock Up in November

The end of November is quickly approaching, so hopefully, you already have some things stockpiled and prepared. Surviving the holiday season means gathering everything you need before the holidays are in full swing—stock up on the essentials like gifts and beverages before the store madness begins. You can easily do this before the start of December. 

Call People vs Christmas Cards

Instead of taking time out of your busy schedule to write and order Christmas cards—give those essential people in your life a call before the holiday craziness begins. You may not have talked to friends and family for a while, now’s your chance, even sending off a Facebook message might spark a delightful conversation.

Make Plans in Advance and Re-confirm

Plans are the key to a successful get-together. Make plans days or weeks in advance with your expected company. Re-confirm several times if certain people require it, and re-confirm a few days in advance to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Plan Ahead for DownTime

Regarding schedules, incorporate some quiet downtime into your busy schedule—whether a walk together or alone, a fun family activity like skating or building a snowman, or a drive around the neighbourhood to look at the Christmas lights.

 

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Nothing in life is perfect, and if you expect everything to run smoothly and go as planned, you are sadly mistaken. Don’t let the little things get in the way of your enjoyment of the holidays. Keep plugging away bit by bit until it’s over. 

There you go. I hope you are ready to combat the holiday season with these 9 helpful tips. All we can try is our best and make it through to January. 

If you need a home to celebrate the holidays in, contact your local REALTOR®.

 

Seasonal Interest September 30, 2022

Checklist to Secure Your Home While You Are Away

 

Travelling is always an exciting time, but how do you ensure your home is safe and secure while you enjoy a vacation away? You can do several things to prevent break-ins and decrease the risk of damage. 

 

Consider this checklist next time you travel:

 

  • Ensure all windows and doors are closed and locked, and double-check the basement and garage doors.

 

  • Timers for your lights are another solid investment. Install the timers indoors and outdoors. Set the on and off times to the natural rhythm of when your home lights would typically be on. Setting them to be on 24 hours daily is a clear sign something is a miss.

 

  • Securely lock up and put away all your valuables, such as jewellery, cash or other sentimental items. Avoid leaving valuables out in plain sights, such as near a window.

 

  • Never leave spare keys hidden around your property. Contact a trusted friend or neighbour to hold onto any extra keys while you are away in case of an emergency.

 

  • While you are at it, get that trusted friend or neighbour to check on your home while you are away. They can ensure that your house is still in one piece throughout your vacation, preventing frozen pipes, water damage and bringing your mail inside. Doing so will also give off the impression that someone is home. In winter, hire a company or friend to clear your snow, so it looks inhabited. Plus, it saves you the headache of shovelling when you return.

 

  • If you haven’t already, install an alarm system and security cameras. You can check on your home via your cell phone and alert your trusted person to anything amiss. Doorbell cameras are another excellent investment; alerts can be sent to your phone when people approach.

 

  • Shut off the water and unplug unused electronics if you go away for extended periods.

 

  • Check your fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors before you leave. Replace the batteries and ensure they are in good working order.

 

  • As exciting as going away is, avoid posting about it on social media until you return. You do not want to alert the public that your home is unattended. 

 

Use this checklist to plan the security of your home and give yourself a piece of mind while you are gone on vacation. 

 

If you are looking for a home (to be away from), contact your local REALTOR® today!

Selling September 1, 2022

4 Sure Fire Ways to Attract Home Buyers

 

 

We are currently in a seller’s market, but you still probably want to sell your property quickly to make top dollar on your house if possible. The first step is to get buyers interested in the property.

Here are four simple tips to get potential buyers interested in your property.

1. Boost the Way it Looks Online

 

Homebuyers have become savvier and are doing research online as a first step in the home buying process—over 90% of buyers look online before committing to a REALTOR®. Listing a house online is crucial these days, and the next step is social media ads targeted to your audience. Social media makes it easy for people to share the for-sale ad, which will significantly extend the reach of your listing.

The photos are the first thing people see when looking at your listing. It’s easy to snap pictures with your smartphone quickly but consider investing in a professional home photographer. Their knowledge of angles and lighting in a home will vastly improve your photos, making them more appealing. If you can’t afford a photographer, consider staging the house to make the most of your interior. Here are a few tips for setting yourself up for successful photos:

· Use bright natural lighting

· Touch up paint and update finishes in your home

· Focus on statement pieces and standout elements of the house

· Stick to a specific style or theme overall

· Remove personal items or clutter from areas if possible

Compare other homes for sale online, see how they look and view the pictures for inspiration. Not only will this help you with your photos, but also it will let you know what to avoid.

 

2. Keep Things Clean

 

Try to keep your house clean at all times to ensure buyers will have a positive experience. Your real estate agent should inform you when people are coming by to look at your home, but if it’s a last-minute viewing, it’s ideal to have a clean house and not worry about it.

Open houses are a great way to showcase your home. Make sure to declutter and clean it well before viewers arrive.

It’s important to note that people want to envision themselves living in your home—while it’s okay to keep your belongings out, buyers don’t want to be surprised by things like:

· Dust

· Mould

· Mildew

· Presence of pets

If you have moved out or currently live in the home, make sure you stop by regularly to tidy and check over things to prevent mould and mildew and make your home as attractive as possible.

 

3. Make Things Cozy and Warm

 

Excellent pictures attract buyers, but when they visit your home, you want it to feel inviting—staging and cleanliness only go so far. The moment your house feels uninviting, homebuyers will second guess their choice.

One easy way to add warmth in summer is to open all the blinds and curtains and let the natural light fill up the space. If it is wintertime, turn up the furnace an hour or so before people come for viewings to warm things up. These simple tricks will draw buyers in and add a sense of security and comfort to your space.

Consider setting out cookies, coffee or tea for added coziness. The smell of cookies always feels homey and inviting.

 

4. Curb Appeal

 

Potential buyers first notice the outside of your home and the front yard. Curb appeal not only boosts the asking price of your listing but will provide a sense of comfort to buyers.

There are lots of inexpensive ways to boost curb appeal. Check out these ideas:

· Paint your home’s exterior or door a bold colour

· Invest in a quality maintenance-free fence

· Replace the front door

· Groom and trim the existing greenery

· Replace roof or shingles

 

 

Implementing these few tips will boost your home’s interest and hopefully make it a quick sale for top dollar. If you need more suggestions or recommendations, contact your local REALTOR® today!

Seasonal Interest July 29, 2022

5 Local Places to try in Saskatoon this Summer

 

 

Summertime is here, which means one thing…it’s time to get outside and enjoy all Saskatoon has to offer. There are many places to eat in Saskatoon, and choosing one to meet up with family and friends can be challenging. Here are five local restaurants to try in Saskatoon that will win anyone over.

 

Indigenous Cuisine 

Bannock Express

 

Bannock Express is a locally owned indigenous restaurant. It started as a Farmer’s Market stall and now has a restaurant on Avenue B, shared with Botte Chai and Dulce Bakery. The menu features bannock-centric offerings, which all look delicious. If you need to cool down this summer and are downtown, the menu also features various lemonades! The Co-op also sells the restaurant’s signature bannock—so stop in there if you can’t make it downtown. Inside the business is a pinboard that encourages people to donate and provide meals to feed the less fortunate.

 

Burgers

Ace Burger

 

Ace Burger began its life as a food truck and transitioned into a restaurant that is located on Broadway. The patio is perfect for summertime meetups with family and friends to enjoy great burgers, hot dogs, poutines, chicken sandwiches and out-of-this-world fries. Modern and cozy vibes fill the space. On your way out, pick up an Ace Burger shirt and hat! They also offer take-out—a nice break from cooking on a hot Friday night.

 

Farm-to-Table

Odla

 

Odla is another restaurant gem found on Broadway. The owners of Farm One Forty started the place with their holistic approach to farming and food. The menu consists of high-end meals made with products from local farmers and producers—featuring a vast list of wines and unique cocktails. The atmosphere is casual, yet sophisticated. Check out their patio to relax and enjoy a fantastic meal. If dining in isn’t for you, they also have an extensive selection of “market items” that you can purchase to cook or reheat meals at home.

 

Korean & Japanese Fusion

Sticks & Stones

 

Sticks & Stones has a delicious menu with an array of Korean and Japanese fusion eats. It has a casual, yet modern vibe, conveniently located downtown. Stones is the perfect place to enjoy a warm bowl of Ramen and a tasty ice cold drink—exclusively open in the evenings, offering table reservations or ordering online. 

 

Pizza

Thirteen Pies Pizza + Bar

 

Thirteen Pies is open only in the evenings and is located downtown. The pizza is self-described as “Brooklyn style”—definition: it has a thin crust and is foldable to go down quickly. Their white sauce pizza is terrific, the drinks are divine, and the atmosphere is an upscale pub. If you are wandering downtown on a summer night and are looking for some late-night eats, pick this place—they offer delivery too.

 

From sushi to pizza, there is something for every taste bud in Saskatoon. Even better is supporting local businesses, producers, farmers and families. I hope that a few of these places spark your interest and you try them out this summer! 

If you need help finding real estate close to any of these hot spots, contact your local REALTOR® today!

 

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!

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!

BuyingJune 2020 June 11, 2020

Renting vs Buying: Which is Better for You?

From the day that you move out of your family house, you dream of the day when you finally stop paying rent and buy your first home. But, as you may have discovered, buying a home is not quite as simple as it seems! There is a lot to consider when deciding whether or not to make the move into homeownership.

By buying a house, you’ll be taking on all the pros of being a homeowner versus a renter. But you’ll also be taking on quite a bit of responsibility and giving up on some of the advantages that come with being a tenant. That’s why, before you start your home search, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of both renting and buying to decide whether or not you’re ready to become a first time homeowner.

Should You Buy or Rent: The Pros & Cons of Each

Repairs & Maintenance

First up in our comparison is every adult’s favourite topic of discussion about the home—repairs. As a tenant, the only thing you have to do when it comes to ongoing repairs and maintenance around the home and yard is call the landlord. They are typically responsible for taking care of any work that needs to be done—unless you’ve discussed an alternate arrangement—so you can just sit back and relax.

As a homeowner, though, repairs and ongoing maintenance are entirely your own responsibility. You’ll need to not only figure out what is wrong all on your own, but you’ll also be in charge of either fixing it yourself or calling in a professional to do it for you, costing you both time and money.

Decorating & Design

If you’ve ever wanted to switch up the light fixtures or even just paint a wall as a tenant, chances are you’ve experienced the headache of getting anything approved with your landlord. Since you don’t own the home as a renter, you need to ask permission from the owner before making any lasting changes. Otherwise, you could end up with a missing damage deposit when it comes time to move out.

If you own your home, though, any decor or design changes you wish to make, you can simply do! That picture-perfect bathroom accent wall you saw on Pinterest? Throw on some coveralls and get to work! The three-tiered deck you’ve been dreaming of? Stop by the hardware store and start building! The sky is your limit in your own house (well…the sky and your budget, of course!).

Flexibility

Decided you don’t like the neighbours and want to make a move? As a rental property tenant, just give your landlord the appropriate notice that you’ll be moving out and leave it all behind! As a homeowner, though, you’ll either need to sell the house to turn it into a rental property of your own to make a change.

Paying Rent vs Paying a Mortgage

While both renting and owning require you to make a monthly payment, they aren’t quite the same. Rent is similar to paying for a hotel room—it is an agreement between you and the property owner that you will financially compensate them for allowing you to stay in their space. A mortgage is more like making payments on your car—the more payments you make, the more of the home you own. This is called equity.

Another difference between the two payments is the amount being paid. Depending on the rental agreement between you and your landlord, your rent could be subject to change at your landlord’s discretion. This could leave you with a rent you can suddenly no longer afford, should an increase happen at the time of renewal. With a fixed-rate mortgage, though, you are guaranteed the same payments for the entire length of your term!

Pet-Friendliness

If you have a furry friend like me, you are no stranger to the struggle of finding a pet-friendly rental property. Most rentals don’t even allow for pets and those that do, often require an additional deposit on top of your down payment. But if you own your home, you can have as many pets as you want, no deposits or approvals required!

Insurance

Every landlord is required to purchase insurance for their rental properties that can cover the home in a variety of ways. This doesn’t, however, include any of your possessions as the renter. If you are renting a property, you have the option of purchasing your own tenant’s insurance to cover your belongings in the home, but it isn’t required! On the other hand, as a homeowner, you are required to purchase home insurance to protect your property.

Other Differences Between Renting & Buying

Tax Benefits – Every interest payment a homeowner makes on their mortgage is a tax deduction later!

Security – Owning a home, the only ones who have a key to your property are those you’ve given them to. As a renter, though, your landlord also has access at any time, along with anyone they’ve given a key to.

Appliances – As a renter, you are subject to whatever appliances are in the home, which may not be quite what you want. As a homeowner, you can choose whatever appliances fit your preferences and budget!

As a renter, you’ll never have the pride and autonomy that comes with home ownership, but there are quite a few advantages to renting that may be better suited for your lifestyle right now. So before making the switch, take some time to seriously consider the benefits and disadvantages of each to decide which is right for you.

And if buying a home is where your heart is at, though, I’m happy to help! Contact me and let’s get started on finding you your dream home today!