Top 10 reasons to use a REALTOR®


  1. REALTORS® are licensed and trained professionals
  2. REALTORS® are legally bound by a strict Code of Ethics and high Standards of Business Practice
  3. REALTORS® have an Agency obligation to represent your best interests.
  4. REALTORS® assist you with the various issues involved with your transaction including financing, legal, appraisals, real property reports, title insurance and more.
  5. Only REALTORS® can provide instant notification to all buyers and sellers on market conditions and all new listings through CREB®’s auto-notification system.
  6. Only REALTORS® can list your home on – the number one real estate internet marketing site in Canada
  7. REALTORS® assist in determining the fair market value in buying or selling your home.
  8. REALTORS® can identify issues today so you can avoid surprises tomorrow.
  9. REALTORS® ensure that you understand every step of the transaction
  10. REALTORS® take the stress out of buying and selling your home.




Surprising Sales-Spoilers

It’s no shock when overpriced homes generate little to no interest, but here are a few surprising reasons why perfectly good properties spend more days on market than they need to.

  • Underpricing: In certain circumstances, modest underpricing can be an effective sales strategy. But when you want to sell quickly, pricing too low can have the opposite effect: buyers may well avoid your property thinking there must be something wrong with it. The goal is to price competitively – not too high, not too low. Where’s that sweet spot? Ask your real estate agent!
  • Over-Improving: Making improvements with an eye to boosting your home’s value is a great, worthwhile thing to do – provided you’re making the right kinds of improvements. The wrong kinds are those that would appeal only to a relatively narrow segment of buyers (think professional-grade kitchen) or turn your property into the most expensive one on the block or, for condo owners, in the building.
  • Seller Sabotage: Believe it or not, sellers themselves are sometimes the reason why homes don’t sell in a timely manner – or not at all. Sellers who aren’t emotionally ready to detach, for instance, might put buyers off by hovering during showings; sellers who aren’t serious about selling may make it hard for buyers to access their property by being inflexible on “appointment only” showings.
  • Cosmetic Issues: While it’s certainly not news to real estate sales representatives that cosmetic flaws can keep homes lingering on the market longer than necessary, sellers are often surprised to learn that many buyers simply can’t see past cosmetic flaws like dirt, clutter, or outdated décor – even if it means walking away from a home that meets all their needs.


Know Your Neighborhood

Changing what you don’t like about a neighbourhood is considerably harder than changing what you don’t like about a home. Here’s how to get the low-down on a neighbourhood before buying into it.

The Internet is a wealth of information. Use it to investigate local crime stats (not not just the amount but the type of crime as well); study up on local schools (a good idea even for those without children); and find out where essential amenities are located, for example. A municipality’s official website is a great starting point.

There are, however, many things the Internet just won’t tell you – especially if you don’t think to ask. That’s why talking to a local real estate professional is invaluable. Crucially, a sale representative can not only tell you everything you want to know about a neighbourhood as it exists now, but about how it may be changing. For instance, they’re in the know about demographic shifts that might impact demand for certain kinds of homes in coming years; future development that could make the area busier, or the arrival of a major employer that could boost the area’s appeal.

Of course, there’s no substitute for checking out a potential neighbourhood first-hand. Walk the area in addition to driving it – you’ll learn much more on food. Try to replicate your daily routine: is the commute manageable? Male multiple visits at different times of the day and week so you can see what rush hour or Saturday nights feel like, for instance. Talk to the locals, people are eager to brag about what they love about their neighbourhood – and vent about what they dislike!


Survey Says…

Property surveys aren’t just for when disputes between neighbors arise. Below are a few other occasions when having a survey performed is well worth the (modest) expense.

  • You’re seriously considering buying that house: How big is the lot? Where does it being and end? Are there any registered easements on the property? Or any encroachments? All these questions are crucial for buyers, and the answers are provided in a property survey. Surveys lend buyers peace of mind by illustrating exactly what buyers would – and wouldn’t – be getting for their money.
  • You’ve decided to sell your house: By getting a property survey done before going on market, you and your representative will know exactly what you are – and aren’t – selling, and be able to address any issues raised prior to listing. That means a smoother, shorter path to closing (especially for a buyer whose offer is contingent on a survey), making property surveys a helpful marketing tool.
  • You’re thinking of making improvements to your property: In addition to boundary lines, property surveys show the location of utility equipment like power cables and gas pipes. Knowing where these things are before you begin a project can save you a lot of heartache and expense; you don’t want to put up that fence or shed only to find out that it’s actually on your neighbors property


If I’d Only Known…

Buying a home can seem complex and often confusing business. These are four aspects of the process buyers wish they had better understood before hey purchased their homes.

  • Home-Financing Options: Unfortunately for many buyers, it’s not until after they’ve purchased that they realize how little they knew about financing, from conventional fixed – and adjustable-rate mortgages, to government programs, to alternatives like seller financing, there are more options than you might think. Before you commit to anything, work with your mortgage representative to discuss the options that fit best with your financial situation and long-term plans.
  • Apply for a Mortgage Loan: A lack of knowledge about the difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification, what information and documentation they needed to satisfy, and what they shouldn’t have done when applying for a loan has unnecessarily slowed down the home-buying process for many an inadequately informed buyer.
  • Closing Costs: There’s a lot to pay for in addition to a property’s purchase price, including legal fees, property taxes, title insurance and homeowner’s insurance. Buyers often find themselves caught by surprise at the last minute, scrambling to come up with the required funds or even unable to complete the transaction.
  • How Long it can Take: A lot of buyers believed it would take them less time to navigate their way through the home-buying process than it actually did. Finding just the right home takes time; once the hunt is over, buyers still need to be patient as they go from having their offer accepted to sealing the deal by signing those closing documents.

Selling Your Home with Pets


Almost everybody loves pets except the home buyer who is buying your house. Don’t ask me why, but that’s often how it works out. Home sellers who adore their pets have a hard time imagining the negative attitudes others harbor against pets. So, while this might be a bitter pill to swallow, if you want to get top dollar for your house, pay attention to how much you might lose with a dog or cat in residence.

#1 Preferred Pet Solution: You’re not going to like this but I’ll say it anyway, fully realizing that this very excellent piece of advice is likely to fall on deaf ears. The best thing to do to ensure top price for your home is to relocate your pets while your home is on the market. Putting them in the back yard, in the garage or in another room that you keep locked is insufficient, and it’s not fair to them. You need to remove them from the house.

  • Let a friend or relative care for Fluffy and Spike.
  • Board them at a kennel.
  • Send them on vacation.

Overcoming Negatives Associated with Your Pets: If you shrug off all professional advice and absolutely refuse to move your pets out of the house, then at least minimize the objections and nuisance factors, real or otherwise:

  • Cat Litter Boxes & Dog Potty Pads – Keep them out of sight and impeccably clean. Nothing turns off buyers faster than opening the door to the laundry room and being greeted by a full or stinky cat box.
  • Carpet & Floor Pet Stains – Hire professionals to remove the stains. Buyers will spot them and form unfavorable opinions about the rest of the house. If the stains can’t be removed, then remove the floor covering and replace it.
  • Pet Odors and Smells
  1. Cat urine is the worst. Without question. The. Worst. Bring in a neighbor to do a whiff test.
  2. Do not use air fresheners. People with allergies will react.
  3. Try enzyme cleaners such as Simple Solution , Nature’s Miracle or call a professional ozone company.

Remove Signs of a Pet: You may be required by state law to disclose that pets have lived in your home, but you don’t need to advertise that pets live at your house. Removing signs that you have a pet is simply smart practice. Why turn off a buyer at the get-go? It’s those first impressions that are so all-fired important.

  • Do not put photos online showing your cat asleep on the bed
  • Seal up doggie doors
  • Put away food and water bowls when not in use
  • Vacuum religiously, every day, sometimes twice a day
  • Pick up pet toys and put them away
  • Pack up cat trees and other signs of cat paraphernalia (you know who you are)
  • Remove photos of pets from refrigerator, walls and table tops
  • Pack up all cages, carriers and other tell-tale signs

Showing Your House – Put your pets into a carrier and attach a note warning buyers not to disturb them. The last thing you need is somebody sticking their hand inside the carrier and getting bit or scratched. You can’t predict how your pet will react when locked up and alone.

Have a quick pre-showing clean-up routine – After your house is cleaned “to the bone,” it’s much easier to tidy up in a hurry. Some tips are a quick swiffer for hardwoods, or vaccum job for carpet.  Keep a blanket on any/all furniture that your pet may cuddle up on. That way, it’s easily thrown in the washing machine, right before you have a showing.  It will do wonders eliminating pet fur as well as odors from your home. De-nose your windows!  We know how dogs love to stare out a front window or door to see which squirrels or birds are about for the day.  But, no buyer will think those cute little dog smudges are as cute as you do. Grab a quick spray of windex, and smudges are squeaky clean!

Curb your pet! – You never get a second chance to make a first impression!   Curb appeal is hugely important to buyers, so let’s make sure that all outside areas of your home are pet free as well.  From your front yard, your back yard, your courtyard, etc.  Make sure your puppy’s playground shows no signs of pets. Pay attention and remove all sticks, toys and ALL OTHER debris that may be present.

Getting Settled

Moving day has come and gone; you’ll be unpacking and decorating for months. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to make your new house or condo feel a little more like home

  • Maintain your routines: When your surroundings change, it’s important for you, your kids and even your pets to remember you haven’t changed. So be consistent: make a point of honoring the same rituals – bedtime(s), mealtimes, appointments such as date night or family game night – in your new home as you did in your old one.
  • Make sure everybody’s “comfort items” are at the ready upon arrival in your new home. For a toddler that may be a certain stuffed animal and for you it could be your favorite coffee mug. This tip is a lot easier to follow if you pay these items special attention while packing for your move – make sure they’re easily accessible.
  • Carve out a sanctuary space. Setting up your new home is a lengthy process. In the short term, make a priority of establishing one room, or even a corner of a room, with all the creature comforts. Ideally, this space is a relaxing retreat from cleaning, repairing, unpacking and all the other stresses that are part of settling into a new home.
  • Get outside and explore – on foot. Walking is the best way to get your bearings in a new setting; you won’t be distracted, you can dawdle, and you’ll be able to get places you can’t by car, all of which means you’ll see more. Discover your new favorite cafe or find the local gym so you can return to your pre-move routines.


September 2014 Absorption Rate Graphs

September 2014 – Absorption Rate Graph September 2014 - Detailed Absorption Rate Graph

September 2014 - Absorption Rate Graph

Preparing your home for winter!

Give your home a once-over and tend to winter preparation tasks and repairs before the year’s first frost. “Getting the exterior of the home ready for the cold winds, snow and ice is critical for keeping Old Man Winter out and keeping it warm and toasty inside,” says Reggie Marston, president of Residential Equity Management Home Inspections in Springfield, VA. By being proactive, you’ll lower your energy bills, increase the efficiency and lifespan of your home’s components, and make your property safer.

Windows and Doors

  • Check all the weatherstripping around windows and doorframes for leaks to prevent heat loss. Replace weatherstripping, if necessary.
  • Replace all screen doors with storm doors.
  • Examine wooden window frames for signs of rot or decay. Repair or replace framing to maintain structural integrity.
  • Check for drafts around windows and doors. Caulk inside and out, where necessary, to keep heat from escaping.
  • Inspect windows for cracks, broken glass, or gaps. Repair or replace, if needed.


Lawn, Garden, and Deck

  • Trim overgrown branches back from the house and electrical wires to prevent iced-over or wind-swept branches from causing property damage or a power problem.
  • Aerate the lawn, reseed, and apply a winterizing fertilizer to promote deep-root growth come spring.
  • Ensure rain or snow drains away from the house to avoid foundation problems. The dirt grade — around the exterior of your home — should slope away from the house. Add extra dirt to low areas, as necessary.
  • Clean and dry patio furniture. Cover with a heavy tarp or store inside a shed or garage to protect it from the elements.
  • Clean soil from planters. Bring pots made of clay or other fragile materials indoors. Because terra cotta pots can swell and crack, lay them on their sides in a wood carton.
  • Dig up flower bulbs, brush off soil, and label. Store bulbs in a bag or box with peat moss in a cool, dry place for spring replanting.
  • Remove any attached hoses and store them away for the winter to prevent cracks, preserve their shapes, and prolong their life. Wrap outside faucets with covers to prevent water damage.
  • Shut off exterior faucets. Drain water from outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads to protect against pipe bursts.
  • Inspect decks for splintering, decay, or insect damage and treat, if needed, to prevent further deterioration over the winter.
  • Clean leaves, dirt, and pine needles between the boards of wooden decks to thwart mold and mildew growth.
  • Inspect outdoor lighting around the property. Good illumination will help minimize the chance of accidents on icy walkways at night.
  • Check handrails on exterior stairs to make sure they’re well secured.


Tools and Machinery

  • Bring all seasonal tools inside and spray them with a coating of lightweight oil to prevent rust.
  • Weatherize your lawn mower by cleaning off mud, leaves, grass, and debris.
  • Move your snow blower and shovels to the front of the garage or shed for easy access.
  • Prepare the snow blower for the first snowfall by changing the oil and replacing the spark plug.
  • Sharpen ice chopper and inspect snow shovels to make sure they’re ready for another season of work.
  • Make sure you have an ample supply of ice melt or sand on hand for steps, walkways, and the driveway.


Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning

  • Inspect the firebox and flue system to ensure that they’re clean of any soot or creosote and that there aren’t any cracks or voids that could cause a fire hazard.
  • Check fireplace for drafts. If it’s cold despite the damper being closed, the damper itself may be warped, worn, or rusted. Consider installing a Chimney Balloon into the flue to air seal the area tightly.
  • Clean or replace the air filter in your furnace for maximum efficiency and improved indoor air quality.
  • Clean your whole house humidifier and replace the evaporator pad.
  • Bleed valves on any hot-water radiators to increase heating efficiency by releasing air that may be trapped inside.
  • Check that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
  • Remove air conditioners from windows or cover them with insulated liners, to prevent drafts.
  • If you have an older thermostat, replace it with a programmable unit to save on heating costs.
  • Install foam-insulating sheets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls to reduce outside airflow.
  • Make sure fans are switched to the reverse or clockwise position, which will blow warm air down to the floor for enhanced energy efficiency and comfort.
  • Flush a hot water heater tank to remove sediment, and check the pressure relief valve to make sure it’s in proper working order.
  • Examine exposed ducts in the attic, basement, and crawl spaces, and use a sealant to plug up any leaks.


Gutters, Roof, and Drains

  • Check for missing, damaged or warped shingles and replace, as necessary before you get stuck with a leak.
  • Check for deteriorated flashing at the chimney, walls, and skylights and around vent pipes. Seal joints where water could penetrate, using roofing cement and a caulking gun.
  • Check the gutters and downspouts for proper fastening, and re-secure if loose or sagging. The weight of snow and ice can pull gutters off the house.
  • Clean gutters of any debris. Make sure downspouts extend away from the house by at least 5 feet to prevent flooding of the foundation and water damage from snowmelt.
  • Clean leaves and debris from courtyard and pool storm drains to prevent blockages.
  • Ensure all vents and openings are covered to prevent insects, birds, and rodents from getting inside to nest in a warm place.

Done? Congratulations!  You’re officially ready for winter.

Original Source:

File Under “To Buy”

Make homebuying less stressful – get organized! Create a homebuyer’s file in which you can gather together all the paperwork and information you’ll need throughout the homebuying process, including (but not limited to):

  • Contact information for those people and services you’ll need throughout the process, like your real estate agent, mortgage representative, insurance broker, home inspector and moving company
  • Your credit report, as well as any correspondence you made or received in an effort to expunge omissions or errors (which are not uncommon) from your report.
  • Documents needed to process your mortgage loan, such as a letter of employment confirmation, pay stubs, bank statements, proof of additional income sources (e.g. rental properties, child support), tax returns, statements of assets (e.g. vehicles, real estate) and liabilities (e.g. student and credit-card loans).
  • The pre-approval letter you received from your mortgage lender, which tells you the specific amount of money you may qualify to borrow.
  • If you sign one with a real estate representative, a copy of the buyer’s agreement, which spells out the terms of agreement, compensation and the respective parties’ duties.
  • Copies of your needs and wants checklist, so you can take one to each property you view.
  • Any photographs you took or notes you made about properties you visited.
  • Information about prospective neighborhoods, such as details on schools, crime rates, recreational facilities, places of worship and transportation.
  • Property surveys, if you’re buying a house.
  • Copies of the rules and regulations for any homeowners association or condominium you’re seriously considering moving to.
  • Copies of inspection reports and appraisal reports.