Pre-Packing for your New Home

When selling your home, you can do yourself a favour and pack up the items you know you won’t need over the next few months. This time frame will allow you to accommodate a compatible closing date on your current home, and give you time to buy your new home without affecting your daily life. Figurines, books, extra blankets, or out of season clothing can be packed and piled neatly in a corner or basement. You should also add labels to ensure you know the contents, as well as what room the boxes should be placed in when you arrive at your new home. Pre-packing will also encourage you to donate or throw away some items as you sort through your belongings, and will help to present your home in the best light as your closets and rooms are pared down, allowing buyers to really see your home shine.


Part of selling your home is creating a welcoming presentation, and the amount of storage and appearance is a factor in this appeal. Your closets and rooms will become more spacious, and buyers will notice the pleasant feeling of smart organization and an attractive lifestyle!

Smart moving tips:

1. Avoid mixing items from different rooms in the same box.

2. The heavier the items, the smaller the box.

3. Don’t forget to label your boxes. Even better? Colour code them!

Happy moving!

Buying a Home? 5 Ways to make it a smooth adventure

Buying a home is an exciting experience. Whether it’s your first of your fifth time, it’s best to be prepared and to stack the deck in your favour. Here are 5 ways to do so in the year leading up to your purchase.


1. See a mortgage broker or agent. In fact, see at least two mortgage agents and become familiar with your current options for terms, rates and other benefits such as pre-payment options.

2. If you’re not familiar with your credit score, order a free report from Equifax or Transunion. Don’t like what you see? Make a commitment to pay down your debt, and put any extra cash in savings. Another advantage of checking your score is to make sure that your record is valid and correct and that you have not been a victim of identity fraud.

3. If it’s your first time buying a home, take advantage of investing in your RRSPs. Put up to $25,000 in your RRSPs and then “borrow” this money as part of your down payment. Ask your financial advisor for more details and benefits.

4. Contact a real estate agent you feel you can trust, discuss your plans with them, and get on the same page. As your REALTORS® we act in your interest in finding you a home, negotiating and, and working with you through the buying process. If you also plan to sell your existing home, we can also help to prepare you in that respect.

5. Before your feet hit the home buying strip, ask us how we can connect you with homes that fit your minimum criteria. This includes matching your budget (which you have greater confidence in after contacting a mortgage agent), the minimum number of bedrooms, and whether you want a freehold or condominium property. This way, you can see what the market has to offer in your price range, and get a feel for what options are available to you at different price points. We can send an updated list of properties (some that are not yet listed publicly) to your inbox daily, weekly or even immediately, depending your buying timeline. Ask us how.

Highlights on Skylights

Skylights are often overlooked when we are renovating or building a new home. It is typical to maximize our use of windows, but if we consider the many benefits of a skylight, you may find that having one installed is in your next renovation or new-build plans.


Here are 5 benefits of skylights:

1. The overhead natural light provides a calm ambience that can’t be replicated, connecting you to the outdoors. This means you can see birds flying above you, rain beating down in a storm or the stars at night.

2. You will find yourself turning on the lights less often, reducing the use of artificial lighting.

3. Skylights conveniently provide light without sacrificing privacy, such as in a bathroom.

4. They can be used strategically in a dark stairwell or other room not surrounded by an exterior wall, to keep your whole home balanced and well-lit.

5. Skylights provides a comfortable warmth, increasing the natural average temperature of your home.

If you do move forward with a skylight, have it installed by a reputable company who can advise you on the best location both in respect to your home and in a room, which will affect how much light you would get and how long it is sustained. When used strategically, skylights can truly enhance a homes interior and value.

Get Green!

A dark, plain or dreary room can be livened up immediately with the right plant. Big or small, plants create a pleasing addition any room and there is one out there for you. In addition, certain plants can remove up to 89 percent of harmful volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde found in building materials and furnishings, as well as xylem found in permanent markers. Particularly in the winter, when we have our doors and windows shut for the most part, air filtering plants will help brighten your spirits and revive you. From orchids to palms, check out this list of 7 indoor plants that will effectively filter your air.


For those of you who know yourself well, and have had many a plant die in a dark corner, these 15 indoor plants may surprise you— perhaps even making it to your next birthday. Hey, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Check out these hardy home dwellers.

Mold. An unwelcome guest.

Mold can become an issue in your home if you overlook some basic maintenance and care. Often recognized as a black stain or smudge that smells musty, it grows on materials that have moisture, and are most often found on window sills, carpets, and walls in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. In addition to being an unpleasant sight, mold releases tiny spores that can get inhaled and can cause various ailments including coughing, wheezing, allergic reactions, and general unease. Depending on the individual, the effects of mold may be more serious for seniors, children or those with compromised immune systems.


It is important to address moisture right away and be proactive in preventing mold. You can do so by making sure your bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry rooms are properly ventilated; that downspouts and gutters are directed and connected correctly; and keeping your home warm with good air circulation.

If you do inspect your house and find mold covering less than a square metre, you can take the necessary precautions to remove and clean it yourself. By using rubber gloves and a dust mask, you can help reduce the impact on your health.

One product that we have come across that not only cleans up the mold, but kills the spores and treats the surface to prevent recurrence is Concrobium Mold Control. It has yielded excellent results time and time again and find it has good value. It is available at several hardware stores, and sells for about $10 per litre.

If you have mold in your home, review more information here.

But remember if you have an extensive mold problem, call a professional to have it removed and don’t risk your health. Contact us for a referral to a trusted mold remediation company.

The Greatness of Grey

Oftentimes, fresh paint is all that’s needed to take a room from drab to dreamy, and that has definitely been the case with the resurgence of grey. The popularity of grey paint in homes over the past couple of years, has created a stylish sense of minimalism, drama, or elegance. But if you’ve ever tried to match your grey towels to curtains, you know that grey can be a challenging colour to master. With so many undertones, grey also tends to blur the lines between blue, green, and purple depending on lighting and the items around it.


Choose the right grey the first time. Before you run out to the hardware store, consider these fantastic tips from House Beautiful on picking the perfect grey paint so that your room doesn’t fall flat.

The Decorologist, a phenomenal interior decorator and Psychological Stager also cautions the use of neutral grays in rooms with lots of wood furnishing such a dining rooms, which may cause the whole room to lose its lustre. Make sure you check out her ideas for keeping your future grey or grey-inspired colours looking gorgeous.

Happy painting!

Play, Games, and Home Buying

As humans, our play instinct is a powerful force that is active in our everyday tasks—think of your Fitbit, using your loyalty card at the grocery store— or playing video games, apps like CandyCrush in your downtime. We are hard-wired to play, and we enjoy playing games. It engages us and prepares us for learning and life as children, young adults and beyond. And for many of you out there, you may be wondering (and hoping!) Can video game multi-media do more for us than simply occupy our spare time?


Our smart phones are an ever-available play resource, filled with thousands and thousands of games at our fingertips. And while there are risks of becoming a little too engrossed, English professor Neil Randall, who heads up the Games Institute at the University of Waterloo, believes that “games hold fascinating life lessons, in part because many games are based on repeated failure”. Not only that, but I’d like to point out that games, particularly video games, provide a controlled and somewhat predictable environment for failure or success. That is, if you get really good at sending warlock trolls to their demise as an Elven archer, you can expect that doing that a few hundred times will lead to greater riches, a new longbow and perhaps a shiny jewel or two.

So how does this transfer to real life? How can we use our gaming instinct to reach out goals? For many first-time home buyers, or those looking to up-size or renovate to achieve a more comfortable abode, there’s a lot of discipline, goal-setting, and repeated actions that lead to success. Reaching a goal of saving 5% or 20% of a home, or saving for that basement renovation is both rewarding but challenging. But you know that home ownership or moving or creating a home that better suits your family is a possible result. It helps if you can make a game of saving with rewards as you reach each increment. Here’s a great article to help you save, whether you’re a beginner or intermediate. And remember, when you’re not spending—you’re saving!

You may have great days, and you may have failures, but one thing you can feel good about: When you invest in a home, you’re investing your life. It means more leverage, building equity as you enjoy a place to rest your head, enjoy dinners with friends and family, and plant your apple tree this spring. It means a degree of stability where you’re able to put in a healthy down payment, and enjoy those rewards when it’s time to move, downsize, or take on a lush vagabond life in your Windstream, sailboat, or tandem bicycle. But not so fast, be sure to check out my article is on Apples to Apples- Smart renovations and When to Sell.

Now go on and become that next-level saver!