9 Steps to Finding your Next Dream Home

If you’re thinking ahead to your next dream home, the road you need to take to get there may seem confusing. Do you search for listings online? Drop by Open Houses on the weekends? Call the number on For Sale signs?
Let’s break it all down! Here are the specific steps you need to take to ensure you find a home that fits your wants, needs and budget.

  1. Find out how much your current property will likely sell for on today’s
    market.
  2. Arrange for financing, so you know what you can afford.
  3. Select neighbourhoods you’d love to live in. (That may involve some
    fun exploring!)
  4. Decide on the type of home you want to buy. (For example: detached, three-bedroom, etc.)
  5. Prioritize the property features you want most, so you can be flexible
    if a feature is missing from a home listed on the market that is otherwise ideal.
  6. View properties on the market that closely fit your criteria, particularly new listings that may not yet be posted online. (Tip: Arrange to be immediately notified of new listings that are a good fit for you.)
  7. When you find a home you want, make an offer designed to get the
    property — without overpaying.
  8. Negotiate until you secure the deal. This may involve counter-offers.
  9. If the negotiation is skillfully done and all goes well, the home is yours.

As you can see, there isn’t a lot of mystery in finding your next dream home. You just need to take the steps and get the professional help you need
along the way.

Looking for a real estate agent that can get you to the finish line?
Call today! 416-779-8732

DIY Kitchen Staging Ideas that will Wow Buyers

The kitchen is one of those spaces that buyers tend to remember. They may forget the size of the third bedroom or whether or not there’s a closet in the front foyer, but the impression buyers form of your kitchen will linger on.

That’s why, when selling your home, staging the kitchen to look its best is so important. Here are some tips:

• Remove cookware, small appliances (like the electric mixer) and any other items from your countertop. Buyers like to see lots of surface space on countertops.

• Consider doing a few minor improvements, such as replacing old cabinet hardware or a stained and scratched kitchen sink.

• Freshen up the cabinetry. For worn wood cabinetry, there are many specialty staining and finishing products available that can be applied directly onto the old finish. Your cabinets will look almost new.

• If the kitchen space seems tight, experiment with reorganizing or removing furniture. For example, try having four chairs around the breakfast table instead of six.

• As much as possible, make sure everything in the kitchen is clean and shiny. Pay particular attention to the storage space under the sink. This is the cabinet door most often opened by buyers.

• If your kitchen mats are worn, replace them. This is a relatively minor expense that can have a big impact.

• When a viewing is scheduled, turn on the lights and open window curtains or blinds. You want your kitchen to look bright (but not blinding!).

These are all relatively simple improvements, yet each can make an enormous difference in how your kitchen looks to buyers. If your kitchen looks great – buyers will remember it!

*Morris Marketing*

Painting Products & Tips

You may think that once you’ve decided to repaint a room – or an entire home – you simply need to select your desired colours and paint types. But, for optimal results, you should also take a little time to plan ahead. For example, consider the proper tools as they will contribute to a more professional-grade finish. These include painter’s tape, canvas drop sheets, corner application pads, specialty trim rollers and an extension pole, as well as a resealable paint pen for touch-ups weeks or months later.

Furthermore, before you begin, you should learn about some of the best tried-and-true painting tips. For example, minimize mess by drilling small holes in the inside rim of your paint can to allow drips to return inside, rather than dribble outside the can. To save leftover paint in a standard paint can, stretch plastic wrap across the opening before tapping the lid securely into place. And, if you’ll be continuing to paint the next day or weekend, seal your brushes and rollers in plastic cling-wrap, then store them in the fridge or freezer (but allow them to warm up before unwrapping).

Above all, talk to your paint supplier to ensure you have everything you need to do the best job possible.

*Morris Marketing*

Charging Electric Cars at Home

As sales of electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid/electric vehicles (HEVs) increase every year, purchasers will demand greater accessibility to charging stations. Of course, the most convenient place to recharge is at home, but not all household electrical services will be able to handle the demand.

Homeowners will need to consider their available power for private charging and what it means for their vehicle. For example, new EV/HEV vehicle purchases might include an adaptor for a standard 120V household current, but that won’t likely provide enough power to fully charge a car battery overnight.

For faster charging, homeowners would need a dedicated 240V circuit, similar to the ones used by a standard electric clothes-dryer. Quicker, more powerful chargers, such as the type found at public recharging stations, are not currently viable for households. If a 240V circuit is accessible, check local building codes and by-laws for acceptable installations.

A fully enclosed garage with access to metered power is likely to meet these requirements, but always check first. Remember, even if the purchase of an electric vehicle is not in your immediate plans, a vehicle charger will be an added feature when it’s time to sell your home.

*Morris Marketing*

An Economical Countertop Option

It wasn’t that long ago that laminated countertops were considered a quick inexpensive fix, but wouldn’t last long and looked sub-standard relative to natural materials. Now, thanks to new technology that is capable of creating a laminate that imitates the look of wood or stone, times have changed.

The new high-pressure laminates (HPL), offer improved features over traditional thermally fused laminates (TFL). While they both offer an attractive selection of faux finishes that resemble natural materials at considerably lower costs, HPL are more resistant to dents, scratches and scuffs than TFL.

This resistance is attributed to a fusion process that offers better adherence to the substrate’s core. In addition, the toplayer of HPL is thick enough to permit embossing to create a look that more closely resembles the uneven relief of a natural surface. These features make HPL a better choice for horizontal surfaces that require more resistance to bumps and bangs, such as kitchen countertops.

However, because the material is not solid like marble or tile, it’s important to ensure that HPL edges and seams are not exposed to standing or running water.

*Morris Marketing*

Beyond Boxes: Packing Materials You May Need for your Move

As you can probably guess, when you’re preparing to move, you’ll need boxes and tape — and, perhaps some bubble-wrap or old newspapers to use
as protective wrapping for delicate items. But that may not be all you need.

Take a look at this list and see if you’ll want any of these on hand while you’re packing or on moving day.

• Colour markers for labelling boxes. (Tip: Colour coding boxes by room will make unpacking much easier.)

• Stretch wrap to protect larger items that can’t fit into a box.

• Small plastic bags to store dis-assembled parts, such as sofa legs, cabinet hardware, etc. (You don’t want to lose them!

• Moving blankets to protect floors.

• A dolly or hand truck to move heavy items. (You can rent these.)

• Mattress moving bag. This helps prevent stains and tears during your move. You can also buy specialty bags for sofas and tables.

• Reusable foam furniture sliders, to protect floors when furniture needs to be pushed into place.

• Foam corner protectors. This prevents furniture with sharp corners from banging and damaging other items during a move.

Planning ahead and having the right packing materials on hand will make
your move less stressful and, hopefully, damage-free!

*Morris Marketing*

6 Affordable Ways to Boost your Home's Curb Appeal

When buyers come to see your home, the first thing they notice is how your property looks from the curb. That first impression is powerful and lingering. If buyers don’t like what they see, it can influence how they judge the rest of your property, regardless of how great it looks on the inside. You definitely want to do whatever you can to boost curb appeal.

Here are six affordable ideas to consider:

  1. Driveway sealing. This makes the pavement look darker and less faded. It also helps cover up some of the cracks. Sealing won’t give you the “brand new” look of repaving, but it’s close — and significantly less expensive.
  1. Exterior window washing. Washing the front windows makes them look clean and bright. In fact, the effect can be stunning. There are window washing products that connect to your hose to make this job
    easier. Check your home improvement retailer.
  1. Maintaining shrubs, hedges and flower beds. Trimming the hedges, shrubs and other evergreens can make a big difference in how your property looks from the street. It’s like giving them all a haircut! Flowering plants can also brighten up the look.
  1. Front door painting. From the curb, a buyer’s eye is naturally drawn to your front door. If your entry system looks old and worn, consider a fresh coat of paint. It can make the entrance look almost new.
  1. Garage door painting. This is a bigger project that can take a day or two, but the effort might be worth it. For many homes, the garage door is the biggest item in the curb appeal panorama. Making it look better will have a big impact.
  1. Removing unsightly items. Look at your home from the street. Are
    there items in your field of vision that take away from the curb appeal?

For example, are there garbage cans and other items stowed along the
side of the property and visible from the road? If so, move them.

*Morris Marketing