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It's Easy to Sell a House...Right? : April 2020 Kitchissippi Issue


It’s Easy to Sell a House...Right?

I recently sold a million-dollar property in 7 days, it was easy! It had the right number of bedrooms, great curb appeal, was in a desirable neighborhood and sold for a record-breaking price for the neighborhood. What people don’t know, is that behind the SOLD sign was months of planning and hard work by both the sellers and myself, the agent.

Like every good result, we started with a plan. First comes the cleanse. Not the exorcism kind but rather the contents. Old clothes, furniture and what turned out to be a treadmill, not a drying rack, was donated, sold or trashed. Then it’s time to fix that broken kitchen cabinet, repair the plumbing leak and tighten that loose handrail you’ve been meaning to get to for 20 years. Painting, removing old carpets and even changing that hard to open front door came next. Nothing like a difficult front door to make an instant bad impression with a potential buyer. After everything's been sorted through, donated and freshened up, it’s staging time. This doesn’t mean filling the house with rental furniture. It could be as simple as working with what you have and rearranging things to show off the space better.

Advertising the property for sale is almost the final step. It's not just the realtor sign on the lawn, it’s promoting your property through social media, print, MLS, and local, international and Global publications, everything to get your home maximum exposure. With the house looking great and the for sale sign on the lawn, all that’s left are open houses and private showings. Before you know it, a SOLD sign is posted on the lawn.

You can tell your friends and neighbors, “Yeah, the sign went up and before we knew it, the house SOLD…easy eh?”

The Not So Perfect Home : March 2020 Kitchissippi Issue


 It looks easy to sell a house

I recently sold a million dollar property that checked off all the boxes. It had the right amount of bedrooms, great curb appeal and in a desireable neighborhood. It sold in 7 days! Easy eh?

What people don’t know, is that behind the SOLD sign was months, sometimes years of planning and hard work by both the sellers and the agent.

The first phase was a cleanse. Old clothes, furniture, thirty year old text books or what turned out to be a exercise tread mill under the clothes drying on it, get either donated, sold or thrown out. Then it’s time to repair that leaking toilet, fix the hanging kitchen cabinet, replace dead light bulbs or tighten that loose handrail you’ve been meaning to get at for 20 years.

Painting, remove old carpets, maybe even change that hard to open front door hardware. No worse first impression then trying to unlock a difficult front door.

Then it’s staging time. This doesn’t mean filling the house with big box store art work and furniture. It could be as simple as working with what you have and rearranging things to show off the space better.

Time for professional photography. You may think you shoot great photos with your flip phone but a pro has the right equipment, understands lighting, angles and the best way to shoot your home.

Advertising for getting the word out that your home is for sale is next. Besides the realtor sign on the lawn, promoting your property through social media, print, MLS, and local, international and Global publications will get the maximum exposure.

Now the tough part. Keeping the place looking great.

Much like the golf ball in the tall grass, can they make it work or should they take a stroke and move the ball. Can the buyer work with the tired kitchen or should they move on to the next property.

Understanding and defining those expectations will make the search for a home that much easier. Much like the son in-law lie, it won’t be perfect but you can make it work.

Open House : February 2020 Kitchissippi Issue


The Open House

Open houses can be fun and exciting for both the Realtor and a potential buyer, especially when the home is presented well.

This past January, I hosted an open house for a property that I had only just listed a few days before. The home was relatively small, and the family of four, including two active boys, lived in every inch of the home.

I had visited with the owners several times prior to listing the property to discuss how to strategize selling the home, including how best to present the home for the sale. From painting to decluttering and getting all the unfinished projects complete, the owners worked tirelessly to prepare the house. We would discuss what items could stay, what would go, as well as how best to place furniture so that the home had a fresh, clean, open feel.

I explained that a potential buyer will open every cupboard, closet and appliance, looking to see how they live. What they see in those small details is how they’re going to see the whole house. For example, if a closet is stuffed with clothes hanging on a saggy rod, this could be interpreted as not enough closet and storage space.

Once the home was ready to sell, professional photos were taken, a well put together listing sheet was prepared and invitations were sent out to Realtors and their prospective buyers.

The first public open house had over 50 people coming through offering comment after comment about how well the home showed.

Three days later, the home was sold above asking price.

If you’re thinking of selling, talk to a Realtor on how best to get your home ready for that first, and maybe only, open house!

Discover your Hygge : December 2019 Kitchissippi Issue

Discover your Hygge

Ever heard of Hygge(pronounced Hue-guh)? No, it’s not a new diet or a type of exercise. Hygge, according to is a Danish term for acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cosy, charming or special.  

For me, our covered porch is where I first got my Hygge 27 years ago. I had sat down on the porch steps deciding whether this house was the one to buy. I didn’t like the brick colour, the ugly kitchen or the pink coloured living room.

But sitting on those steps, I had this warm, welcome feeling. With all of the things I disliked about the house, I had this emotional connection to the porch which told me that I had arrived and this was home. It was my Hygge moment.

Hygge is this intangiable feeling that doesn’t always strike when you think it will. I recently showed a client a property for sale that I was sure she would love. It checked off all the boxes her and her husband were looking for in a home. It had everything on their wish list. The right amount of bedrooms, an entertainers living room, a gourmet kitchen, a great neighborhood and in the right price range.

I was sure this was the one but my client said it didn’t feel right. To my surprise, the next house we looked at which had about half the wish list boxes checked off was the one. My clients purchased the home and they continue to love it today. They found their Hygge.

So whether it’s a front porch or a place by the fire, I hope you find your Hygge this holiday season. Wishing you all the best for 2020.

Stop Cooking with Cheese : November 2019 Kitchissippi


Stop Cooking with Cheese

We cried when she left and we cried when she came back. I’m speaking about our daughter who left home seven years ago to live in Australia. She just arrived back home and more specifically back in our house with her Aussie boyfriend by her side.

With the jet lag now gone, government paperwork completed, they are now on the hunt for jobs in their respective professions. It won’t be long before they find their own place and once again leave home.

My wife and I had been talking about downsizing since all three of our kids left home. We have a big house, perfect for a growing family not empty nesters.

With the arrival of our new roommates as well as our other two daughters and their partners popping in a couple times a week plus Sunday dinners, the thought of selling and downsizing may not be the best option.

In fact, according to Statistics Canada August 2017 census, the share of young adults living with their parents was the highest in Ontario, where the proportion of adults between the ages of 20 and 34 who were living with their parents was 42.1% in 2016, up from 35.0% in 2001—a 20.3% increase over the 15-year period.

So with all the talk of downsizing, maybe upsizing is the better option. There was a time when it was the norm for multi-generational families to live together. Within some cultures, it is assumed grandparents, parents and their kids families live under one roof.

Some developers even build in-law suites and separate dwellings complete with their own entry/apartment, designed for multiple family living.

So instead of thinking smaller, like so many empty nesters, maybe I should think bigger. That or use the tried and tested method from that old Dairy Farmers commercial, “Stop cooking with cheese”, then maybe they’ll leave.

In It to Win It? Do Your Real Estate Homework : January 2019 Kitchissippi Issue


In It to Win It? Do Your Real Estate Homework

It’s a whole new year, and whether you’re looking to sell or buy a property in 2019, get in it to win it!

Last month, I wrote about getting your home in shape to sell: Cleaning up, fixing the odds and sods, decluttering and doing whatever else is required to make your home presentable to sell.

Historically, houses in Ottawa sell at their highest value in the spring. Should you be considering selling, now is the time to align yourself with a Realtor who knows your neighborhood, your street and even your style of home. Have them walk through the property and be open to any recommendations they may have to sell the home quickly and for top dollar.

From there, a Realtor will bring in a professional photographer to take photos, prepare feature sheets for buyers, finalize the listing price with you and prepare to bring your home to market.

If you’re on the flip side and looking to buy a home rather than sell, you first need to make sure your financing is in place. If you’re financing the purchase of a home, you need to meet with your lender who will explain your borrowing limit based on your income, equity in your existing property, downpayment, and more.

It is also important to have a home inspector at the ready to view a home you’re interested in. Your Realtor will have recommendations for inspectors and contractors to view the home when needed. Knowing what you can afford to pay and having a home inspection report in hand prior to submitting an offer on a property may give you the edge you need in a competitive real estate market.

So if you’re looking to sell or buy a home in 2019, do your homework and get in it to win it!

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