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Thinking Big in a Small Space

THINKING BIG IN SMALL SPACES
With a little help, you can still live large in a small space!

If you live in a small space, it’s important that you don’t feel boxed in.  The following tips will help transform your cramped quarters into something more expansive:

  1. Shady Solutions – Painting walls a soft shade and the ceiling bright white will give the illusion of added height.
  2. Is That a Door In Your Pocket? – Installing pocket doors is an easy and inexpensive way to create lots of extra useable space.
  3. Lighten Up – Keep window areas clear of heavy drapes to expand wall area and let the sun shine in as it helps a space feel larger.
  4. Mirror Mirror – Strategically placed mirrors will create the illusion of added space and they’ll also reflect light into adjoining rooms.
  5. Cut a Rug – Having the same type of flooring throughout your home will make it feel more spacious so avoid using too many area rugs.
  6. Hide & Seek – Maximize every hidden space you have by using shelving pockets behind doors or bed risers for that all important under the bed storage.
  7. Cut the Clutter – Have a place for everything so that the surfaces in your home don’t get cluttered.  Storage baskets for example are great for hiding remotes & magazines.
  8. Open Up – Arrange your furniture so you can see as much of the floor as possible.  Rooms with blocked views can feel cramped so move furniture away from entrances.

Whether you’re getting ready to put your home on the market or you just want to create more space for yourself, these easy and inexpensive tips will help give you a little extra breathing room.  By thinking big and getting creative, you can comfortably live large in even the smallest of spaces.

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Waterfront and residential sales slow to more average levels.

Residential non-waterfront sales activity recorded through the MLS® system of Muskoka Haliburton Orillia – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® numbered 206 units in July 2017.  This was down 14.9% from year-ago levels.

On a year-to-date basis, residential non-waterfront sales were still running 7% above the first seven months of 2016.  This was a record for the period.

Sales of waterfront properties came in 29% below last July.  On a year-to-date basis, waterfront sales were down 9.9% from the first seven months of 2016.  This was still the second highest level on record for this period.

“Sales have slowed noticeably this summer, going from record levels in the spring back to historically more average levels in the space of just two months,” said Mike Stahls, President of Muskoka Haliburton Orillia – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS®.  “That said, inventories in Cottage Country remain near record lows so the market is still very tight even with a number of buyers having moved to the sidelines this summer.”

The median price for residential non-waterfront property sales was $282,250 in July 2017, an increase of 5.1% from July 2016.  The median price for waterfront sales was a record $500,000 in July 2017, rising 25% from July 2016.

The dollar value of all residential non-waterfront sales in July 2017 totalled $62.5 million, falling 9.3% from July 2016.  The total value of waterfront sales was $155.4 million, edging up 0.2% from July 2016.  This was also a record for the month of July.

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THE POWER OF LEMON AID

The lowly lemon can make quite the impact around the house!

Load up on lemons if you’re searching for a powerful, environmentally friendly cleaner that can tackle virtually any household chore! Here are just a few ways they can make your home naturally sparkle:

  • lemon juice is great at absorbing stains on countertops
  • soak carpet stains for 20 minutes then rinse and blot
  • mix lemon juice with baking soda to create a scouring paste
  • heat a bowl of water with sliced lemons in the microwave for a few minutes before wiping it down

Lemons are an excellent alternative to toxic cleansers plus they’ll fill your home with a refreshing citrus scent!

A great tip for squeezing as much juice as possible from your lemons is to microwave them for 30 seconds, wait a minute, then cut and squeeze.

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Bank of Canada Raises Interest Rate in September 2017

Interest rate hikeBank of Canada increased the overnight interest rate target to 1 percent on September 6, 2017. The Bank Rate is thus adjusted to  1-1/4 percent and the deposit rate is 3/4 percent.

Stating that the Candian economics are strong and consumer spending remains robust, the interest rate increase was seen as warranted however individual segments will be monitored closely.

The press release from the Bank of Canada paints a strong economy on several fronts including a stable, lower inflation rate at about 2%, growing exports, a cooling housing market back to a manageable level, and continued solid income and employment growth.

Read the full Bank of Canada interest rate press release 

 

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City of Orillia Promotional Videos

I found these well done promotional videos on the City of Orillia downtown core. Note the excitement and plethora of activity. Orillia is certainly alive with events of every kind for the whole family to enjoy and actively participate in the fun. Orillia, or any of the surrounding townships, are a great place to live, work and play all year round.

Orillia, or any of the surrounding townships, are a great place to live, work and play. Let us show you what we see in this thriving region and why you should consider a move to this year round playground.

Just Contact Us and we will show you around!

 

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Renovations Add Value to Your Home

The Biggest Bang For Your Buck!

Whether renovating for yourself… for long term use, or in contemplation of selling, it is important to know where you should start and which items will offer a real payback.

Bathrooms and kitchens are always at the top of any list, and they are often the rooms that make the decision when buyers are comparing homes. However, never underestimate the value of a simple paint job to improve the appearance of a house.

When doing renovations, it is wise not to overspend (or under spend either) and be aware of current trends. The best advice is to hire a contractor or a specialist and do some comparison shopping first. For further information concerning contractors, we would be pleased to offer you our Concierge Service.

Below is the “Top 10 List” according to the Appraisal Institute of Canada (as of the date of their most recent online report).

 

Payback Potential Trends
  • Painting and décor, interior 73%
  • Main floor laundry room
  • Kitchen renovation 72%
  • Ground floor home office
  • Bathroom renovation 68%
  • Hardwood flooring upgrade in kitchen
  • Painting, exterior 65%
  • Whirlpool bath separate from shower
  • Flooring upgrades 62%
  • Built-in kitchen appliances
  • Window/door replacement 57%
  • Addition of kitchen cooking island
  • Main floor family room addition 51%
  • Non-neutral interior paint colors
  • Fireplace addition 50%
  • “Smart” house wiring
  • Basement renovation 49%
  • Home theatre room
  • Furnace/ heating system replacement 48%
  • Skylights

Painting & Décor (interior)

The most important thing to do when getting your home ready for sale is to ensure that it is clean, uncluttered and has a bright coat of paint. These will appeal to the most number of purchasers and are then in a position to visual their own belongings in the home without being distracted by strong colors or clutter etc.

Each house is unique and we would be happy to discuss and advise you on your specific situation.

The “Spruce-Up” for resale purposes

This option may only cost a few hundred dollars and a few hours of your time. Use this as a check list in getting your home ready.

  • Clean thoroughly. This means removing mould, mildew, cleaning grout, glass porcelain, and tile.
  • Give the room a fresh coat of paint.. in a bright color, preferably white or eggshell to make it appear larger.
  • Have carpets cleaned.
  • Purchase plastic trays and boxes to remove personal belongings from the site, so a potential purchaser can visualize their things in stead. Linoleum, a scratched or broken mirror, stained soap dish etc. Maybe the cabinet knobs would add a new look.
  • Organize drawers and shelves. Use some of those plastic trays for brushes etc.
  • Add finishing touches in the bathroom with a new soap dish, a new bar of soap, a new shower curtain and towels. Does the curtain rod or rings need to be replaced?

Perhaps your home would take on a new look with some of the following items;

  • Slip covers to hide worn or soiled fabric on chairs and couches
  • Curtain rods and curtains to match the covers
  • Cushions to compliment the décor
  • Area rugs to add some pizzazz or warmth
  • A few extra pictures or mirrors
  • Plants and flowers to finish it off.
  • If your home needs more than the basic “spruce up” or you would like to do a more in depth renovation, contact us and we will help you find a good renovations specialist.

 

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Pricing Your Home To Sell Right

It is very important to carefully consider your pricing options when you bring your property on the market.

Reasons & Consequences of Overpricing

The biggest detriment to selling real estate is the all too common problem of overpricing. Anxious sellers often want to know why their property is not selling. The answer is usually one of three things: Location; Lack of Marketing and Exposure; or Price. There may be extenuating circumstances or factors that come in to play, but these are the most common things, with the most common being Price.

Understanding the Factors that influence over pricing:

Why do we all sometimes make the common mistake of asking too much? There are several reasons. Obviously, we want the highest price possible for our home. Following are a few other thoughts:

  • Extensive renovations have been done, some of which are hidden costs. (Unfortunately, the full costs of renovations are very rarely recoverable and were done for an owner’s specific enjoyment and use); Sometimes there is a perceived emotional value.
  • Some owners expect that their present home should bring them enough money with which to purchase a more expensive home or in a more expensive area;
  • Perhaps an owner acquired the property in a higher market.
  • The price was based on hearsay or general knowledge, without the benefit of a proper evaluation by a real estate professional.
  • Building in bargaining room.

Proper Pricing

Market value is defined at the price a property will bring if exposed for sale on the open market allowing a reasonable time to find a willing purchaser who buys with the knowledge of all the uses to which it is adapted and for which it is capable of being used.

If a property is properly priced it will do the following:

  • Attract a greater number of potential buyers.
  • Increase your chances for a quicker sale and a better price.

Results of Over Pricing

Missing the Right Buyer

You may think that interested buyers “can always make an offer”, but if the home is overpriced, potential buyers looking in a lower price range will never see it to make that offer.Those who can afford the home at your asking price may recognize that they can get more for their money somewhere else. You may

Those who can afford the home at your asking price may recognize that they can get more for their money somewhere else. You may hear things like “It was too small for them” or “they want a main floor family room.. or an extra bedroom etc.”

What they are really saying is “They expected more for the Price”.

Here is a sequence of events you may expect if your home is overpriced:

  • Salespeople who know it is overpriced will show other properties instead;
  • Your home will sit on the market, while others sell;
  • Prospective buyers, seeing your home on the market for a long time, will begin to feel that there is something wrong with your home.
  • You will begin to get anxious and lose patience.
    Because of time constraints and obligations, you will then reduce the price to be competitive and sometimes if the market is changing you may “follow the market down”.
  • Your property may sell for more than it’s worth because it missed the excitement and became a stale listing. The purchaser was in positions to negotiate more aggressively.

The Role of the Realtor

The Realtor does not determine what your home is worth. Market Conditions, Solds, Competitions, and Trends Determine Value, and then together we determine the price.

Don’t pick the Realtor who promises you the highest price to get you to list with them. Pick the one who knows the market and substantiates the price with facts and experience, like Lakeview Realty Inc. We are here for you! Just Contact Us.

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Preparing Your Home For A Showing

As the saying goes…

“You never have a second chance to make a good first impression”

This is especially true when marketing your home. Try to view it through the purchaser’s eyes, and review this check list to see if it measures up. Preparing your home for showing takes some work.

Curb Appeal:

  • Lawn and Garden: mow, trim, weed, and clean away any dead foliage.
  • Extra vehicles: Remove from curb view.
  • Clean windows and sills.
  • Repair peeled and chipped paint on doors and trim.
  • Repair doors, windows, screens, and hardware.
  • Shutters should hang straight.
  • Doorbell works, door hand in good repair.
  • Locks work.
  • Gutters and downspouts in good repair and free of rust.
  • Add potted flowers or planters, wreath or new doormat at the entrance, if it would enhance.
  • Add new house number or brass fixture if it would enhance.
  • Paint the front door if needed.

Driveway, Walk and Front Entrance:

  • Patch holes, so there are no major puddles.
  • Clear snow and ice.
  • Front steps in good repair.
  • Front door opens and closes easily/ no squeaks.
  • Doorbell rings.
  • Exterior light works.

Decks and Porches

  •  Stain or paint.
  • Repair rot.
  • Secure railings.

Garage

  • Remove clutter.
  • Remote control works and door opens and closes smoothly.
  • Sweep floors, clean grease spots, store garden tools.

Interior Inspection

  • Clean all rugs and broadloom.
  • Clean all floors.
  • Clean all doors and frames (i.e. fingerprints).
  • Wash or repaint soiled walls. (Note if repainting the walls, it is best to “keep it bright”)
  • Patch and paint wall and ceiling cracks.
  • Fix grout and caulking in bathrooms and kitchen where necessary.
  • Wash all windows.
  • Clean lighting fixtures.
  • All windows should work freely.
  • Wash or clean all curtains and drapes if needed.
  • Organize closets, drawers, and basement.
  • Give away, sell, box or store excess clothing and toys
  • Repair and leaky faucets or toilets as required.
  • All drains should drain easily.
  • All mechanics and appliances should be clean and in good working order.
  • Re-glue loose wallpaper.
  • Burned out light bulbs should be replaced.
  • Use a dehumidifier in the basement if musty odor.
  • De-clutter countertops and cupboards.
  • Clean fireplace.

Now all the major items are repaired or checked, following is an outline of last minute items to show to the best advantage.

Final check list for showings:

  • Garbage containers emptied.
  • Towels clean and matching.
  • Kitty litter changed etc. and pets removed or contained.
  • All lights turned on.
  • Exterior light left on during the evening.
  • Air conditioner turned on in warm weather.
  • Fireplace lit or on in cooler weather, where possible.
  • Halls and foyers clear of obstacles.
  • Out-of-season coats, boots etc. put away.
  • Clear and polish coffee tables and furniture.
  • Straighten bookshelves.
  • Drapes opened during daylight hours.
  • Fresh flowers, potpourri, etc. arranged in various rooms.
  • Put linens on the table and perhaps arrange a setting in dining room or kitchen, where appropriate.
  • Jewelry and valuables locked away.

A few last minute tips:

  • Many purchases are made on an emotional basis. Keep your home warm and cozy, if in winter; or cool and fresh in the summer.. so it feels inviting.
  • Be courteous and friendly if you are home, but never force the conversation with a buyer. It is better if you can arrange to be out for showings, so the potential buyer feels more comfortable and can get a better feel for the home.
  • Don’t discuss price or terms with the buyer. Let the salespeople work with their customers or clients in your best interest.
  • Leave the feature sheets, surveys, and marketing material on display and notify me when you are running low.
  • Never let an agent show your home without a confirmed appointment from our office.
  • Never let anyone wander in off the street, no matter how interested they say they are. Give them our card and have them call us for an appointment and details.

These are the basic things that you should review and do where able or appropriate. There may be some other things that we can assist you with in terms of furniture arrangement and décor, that would make it easier for a purchaser to view your home.

If you need any assistance regarding names of dependable trades people or suppliers to help you get the job done, please don’t hesitate to ask. We are constantly adding to the list from satisfied clients. Visit our Concierge Services for more information

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Preparing Your Home For Sale

Spending the time and effort to prepare your home for sale can provide you with benefits you hadn’t imagined in both the length of time your home is on the market and the price you will realize for your home.

Most people ask us when we evaluate their home what things they need to do to prepare. The most important things are obvious. Do minor repairs, paint where necessary (neutral of course) and remove all clutter. There are a number of inexpensive storage boxes on the market that are attractive and useful, which you can use in your future home as well. It’s a good time to start sorting out and packing in moving boxes …or doing that garage sale that you have been planning for a while.

In the alternative, it is probably a good time to start sorting out and packing in moving boxes …or doing that garage sale that you have been planning for a while. “The Moving Store” has everything you need to begin the packing process, (such as different size cardboard boxes, tape guns, and labels etc.) It is also a good idea to have different colour labels for different rooms. (It makes it easier on moving day.)

If doing renovations.. the most important major renovations (as always) are kitchens, bathrooms and main floor family rooms.

We also have names of contractors, workmen, painters and flooring people that we have used and found reliable. Please click here to visit our Concierge Section.

Even if you are not planning on moving in the near future, but are some planning some improvements, make sure they are the right things.

We would be happy to visit and give our opinion on what to do and the current value of your home. Just Contact Us!

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Steps In Buying A New Home

Affordability

It is important to know what you can afford. Get pre-approved with a financial institution prior to beginning your search. Shop around to get the best rate and terms to suit you. It will make your offer stronger if you don’t require a condition for financing.In addition to the pre-approval, we will review

In addition to the pre-approval, we will review together with my section on Residential Resale Cost/ and procedures, so you can budget for the other closing costs involved.

Defining your needs 

If you are purchasing with someone else, sit down and discuss what is important to each of you and discuss which things are imperative, and where you will make compromises.

Picking a Neighbourhood 

Be open to alternatives we might suggest. There may be areas or pockets that you haven’t thought about. Or know about, that would meet your criteria.

Also consider different types of homes in your price range, at the beginning of your search. Know your options.

Choose an Agent & Agency Relationship 

Hopefully, at this point, you have chosen to work with us, or are if we have just met, you will see the information we have provided that we have the knowledge and expertise you are looking for.

After reviewing and discussing Agency and home it affects you, a decision will have to be made as to whether you choose to be a customer or a client in the buying process. More information is available from us on this topic.

Viewing & Choosing 

You will be notified by phone or e-mail attachments of all new properties that may meet your requirements as soon as they are processed. This is usually well in advance of the home is listed on a public site.

We will then make arrangements to view those you are interested in.

After viewing enough homes to feel comfortable with your decision, make the choice. It is difficult to find the absolute perfect home.

Decide on the one that meets most of your requirements and where you are prepared to make compromises or changes.

Preparing the Offer 

We will then prepare the offer, present it, and negotiate it on your behalf.

After Acceptance 

We will follow up after acceptance to satisfy any conditions, forward documentation to your lawyer and follow up with the process to closing.