Wednesday, February 12, 2020

How to Get the Home You Want

Before I give you some tips on how to get the home you want, I'd first like to take a moment to say thank
you to all my clients, friends and family! This accomplishment comes from all of your support and continuous referrals and love for what I do each and every day! I couldn't do what I do without you. I love helping people buy or sell their biggest purchase in life. The feeling you get when you know you have truly helped someone and made a difference in their buying or selling process is super rewarding!!! I am looking forward to helping many more families in 2020!!! Thank you all!♥️🤗

Now...are you wondering how to get the home YOU want? Well, some people can't afford to hold two mortgages so if you must sell your current home to afford a new one, consider putting it on the market before starting your search. You can often negotiate a better deal on a purchase if your property is under contract or you already have the cash in hand.

Here are three simple but effective tips to find the home of your dreams.

1. Get Ready
  • Talk to your mortgage professional about your financial situation and credit history to determine your loan options. It's important to know how much house you can afford based on your down payment and income. A strong letter of pre-approval can really add to your bargaining power.
  • Have a meeting with your real estate agent. Discuss your needs and preferences and establish the best method for your agent to send listings and communicate with you about available properties. Tap into his or her knowledge of the local market. When it comes time to act, your agent will represent your interests in negotiations and work to ensure a smooth transaction.
2. Shop Smart
  • Expect to pay more for a showplace; if you consider a fixer-upper, judge structural deficiencies more harshly than cosmetic flaws. It can be costly to replace major components or to change the layout, but redecorating with flooring, fixtures or paint is relatively easy and sometimes offers instant equity potential.
  • Location is Key. Even if the site seems perfect for you at the present time, think about whether it will appeal to a large pool of buyers if you should decide to sell in the future.
3. Go For It!
  • To write a winning offer without overpaying, look at the prices for comparable sales. Consider whether the property is in a high-demand area or if there is plenty of competition. Ask your agent to find out why it is for sale and if the seller seems motivated. If you accommodate the seller's preferred closing dates or other terms, he or she may be more flexible with the price.

Do Your Due Diligence
Schedule a home inspection after coming to terms. Many sellers expect to address issues related to safety or building codes, and additional repairs (or a credit) may be negotiated. Make sure all of your questions or concerns regarding the home's condition are answered through the inspection process.

If you need information regarding your mortgage, please read our past blog with our own Mortgage Specialist, Rhonda Lorimer here.

That's it for now. Thanks again for your continued support and for taking the time to read. Until next time - Keep It "REAL"

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Tax Time 2020 - What's New?

It's almost that time of year again and I have the inside scoop updates for the 2019 tax year, including information on small business taxes, retirement contributions and other hot topics. In this blog post, I will also help you avoid scammers pretending to be the Canada Revenue Agency with some safety tips. So, let's get started.

Check out some significant changes that may affect your tax returns for 2019 and 2020.

1. Planning to Retire? 
  • Maximum pensionable earnings increased for the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) in 2020: $58,700 up from $57,400 in 2019
2. New CPP Contribution Rates
  • Employer and Employee: 5.25%          Self-Employed: 10.5%
3. Maximum Yearly CPP Contributions in 2020 (NOTE: This money is still taxed as income!)
  • Employer and Employee: $2,898          Self-Employed $5,796 
4. Retirement Account Contributions Can Roll Over
  • If you didn't max out your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) contributions in 2019, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) lets you add the difference onto next years contribution.
5. Do You Own a Small Business?
  • The tax rate dropped to 9% on the first $500K of income compared to 10% in 2018.
6. Does Your Business Generate Passive Income?
  • If you make more than $50K, the 9% tax rate may not apply.
7. Common Small Business Deductions:
  • Home Office Expenses (can include interest on your mortgage)
  • Vehicle Expenses
  • Accounting and Legal Fees
  • Reserves or "Sinking Fund" (for reasonable amounts)
  • Office Rent
If you need a professional to help you get started on your taxes, call me for a great referral!

Now that we covered the tax time information, let's move on to the CRA scams and how to identify them.
In 2018, more than 4,000 victims lost out on over $15.2 million as a result of tax scammers pretending to be with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

  • Phone Call
  • Email
  • Text Message
  • Door-to-Door
  • Mail
  • Demanding personal information - social insurance, credit card or bank account numbers.
  • Referencing don't have
  • Threatening or coercive language
  • Demanding immediate payment, especially in the form of bitcoin or gift cards
  • You are prompted to visit a website outside of the official domain
  • Saying they're sending the police
  • Is this link legit? Hover over it to see where it leads before you click.
  • Am I sure this caller or sender is a CRA employee? The CRA will never pressure or threaten you to take immediate action.
  • Do I owe money to the CRA? If you know you don't, it's probably a scam.
  • Have I received an official statement of account recently? Government programs like Canada student loans or employment insurance will send you official statements - not a threatening phone call out of the blue.
There you have it. I hope this information is helpful to you and for anyone with older family members and friends, take the time to educate those about these scams. Those are the ones being taken advantage of. 

Until next time - Keep It "REAL"

SOURCES: Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Buffini & Company

Friday, January 17, 2020

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all my clients, friends and family! I hope you had a wonderful and memorable holiday season. It's a new year and a new decade! Now that it's begun and we've been having some wintry weather, there is no better time to give you some real estate tips for those winter showings.

  • It's a good idea to keep your entrance way, walkways, and driveway clear during the winter months. Be sure to shovel and/or plow the driveway and add some salt or sand. We do want people to fall in love with your home, but not literally.
  • While it is known to leave all lights on in the house for a showing, it is also a good idea to add a motion sensor to the doors where potential buyers may enter the home. A little extra lighting walking up the walkway on an icy path is great for those night time showings.
  • It is winter, however, you still need to keep the windows clean, baseboards fresh, furniture dusted and the garbage emptied. Also don't forget to re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks and make those faucets sparkle. With winter comes wet entrance ways with some added salt and sand so be sure to vacuum and wash the floors more often.
  • During the winter months, the natural daylight is limited. Be sure to open drapes and blinds during the day and turn on all lamps and lights in the evening. Also have the lights on in the closets, under the cabinets and on your appliances. This will make the home feel welcoming and cozy.
  • One of the worse things you can do when having your home on the market is to have your house too cold. Entering a freezing cold home may deter potential buyers so it is a good idea to set the temperature a little warmer than you would normally have it. If you have an HVAC system, be sure it is cleaned and up to date on the service calls.
  • While it is a good idea to have a clean home for potential buyers, it is also a good idea not to use overpowering smells that will linger. Some people have allergies and may also be sensitive to perfume, candles, febreeze (or other air deoderizers) and plug-ins. It is also probably a good idea to do your baking after the potential buyers have gone through as well so avoid all those overpowering scents and smells.
There you have it. Helpful wintry home tips. Thanks for taking the time to read and until next time - Keep it "REAL".

Take some time to read my past blog posts and if there is anything you'd like to know, let me know and I will do a blog post for it. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

I Am Grateful For...

Some of you may have heard me on Seaside FM last Thursday. I spoke about real estate and the market, clients and why I love to do what I do. So in this blog, I just want to take a few moments to thank you all for your support because I really couldn't do what I do...without you.

In saying that, I think it is only fitting to share with you something I received not too long ago which is the Science of Gratitude (Buffini Company)

Did you know a grateful disposition reduces the desire for wealth and material things, the risk of burnout and symptoms of depression, which in turn makes you happier? Well, I am here to tell you, studies have shown that to be true. If you would like to share your gratitude with others, here are three small acts you can do that have big impacts to help you practice gratitude every day.

Get Started:
  • Pick up a pen and a pack of blank cards
  • Send at least one note a week
  • Keep it positive, including at least one reason why you're grateful for that particular connection.
Studies show people who write notes are more satisfied with life and show fewer symptoms of depression.

Get Started:
  • Buy coffee for a coworker or doughnuts for the office
  • Be a genuine listener - look for opportunities to fill a need
  • Get lunch with a friend who is new to the area
Studies show more kindness means more happiness! When participants in one study performed acts of kindness for friends, family members and colleagues for seven days, they all reported higher levels of happiness and well-being.

Get Started:
  • Write three things you're grateful for on a sticky note, and glance at it regularly
  • Take a daily walk, and reflect on what you're grateful for
  • Keep a gratitude journal, updating at the beginning or end of your day 
Studies show counting our blessings increases well-being. Writing down what you're grateful for each week creates more life satisfaction and optimism for the week ahead.

There you have it. Let me start this chain of gratitude...I am grateful for YOU, and happy to help keep you accountable on your own gratitude journey! Finally, to quote Ellen DeGeneres "Be Kind to One Another". It's just that simple!

Until next time, Keep it "REAL"

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Fall Market Ready

Summer is wrapping up and vacations are over. Adults are back to their regular work routine and kids are back in school. Now that everyone is getting back to their normal, everyday routines, you may be thinking it's time to sell. Maybe you are relocating due to a job change, to be closer to family or because you're kids have grown and you simply want to downsize.

Whatever your reason is, the Fall market is just getting ready to take off (not that the Spring market has slowed down any this year) and I have a few tips to help you get your house ready for the second busiest market of the year. 

It is time to let go of summer and welcome the change in air temperature as well as the Fall colours and enjoy a month or two of whatever your "normal" is. And I think that is a great time to sell your home!

Here are some great helpful tips for attracting the Fall market home buyer.

1. Clean Up the Yard
Rake dead leaves and debris from your lawn. Cut back/trim shrubs and trees. Don't let overgrown shrubs block the windows or path to the entrance. Cutting back bushes will allow natural light inside and showcase the exterior of your home. Make the most of the Fall weather by cutting down summer vines and dead flowers as well. 
2. Create Fall Feeling Curb Appeal
The most popular Fall flowers are chrysanthemums (or mums), and they bloom for a long time. Marigolds are another idea for fall. You could mix and match yellow and orange mums and marigolds to give that Fall feeling. Plant them in pots and place them on the steps and along your walkway.
3. Clean Windows
Rain and wind from over the summer months can make your windows dusty and streaked by Fall. Wash the outside of your windows and take out the screens and hose them down. The home buyers will notice smudges so your windows need to shine and sparkle. Maybe your dogs bark and sneeze on the inside glass while watching kids play outside or others walking their dogs. It's a good idea to wash the windows inside and out every Fall. 
4. Check the HVAC
Change your filter so the air inside your home will smell fresh. Check the HVAC system before you turn on the heater. The home buyer will ask the inspector to check the system so it's better if you discover problems with your furnace and fix them before your house goes on the market.
5. Do You Have A Fireplace?
There is no better smell than smoke from a wood-burning fireplace in the crispness of the Fall air. Just remember to clean out the ashes before home buyers view. If you have a gas fireplace, light it when buyers come through. If the fireplace is filled with cobwebs because it hasn't been used for months, vacuum it out and wash it down.
6. Prepare Fall Edibles 
Speaking of Fall scents, you might set out freshly baked ginger molasses cookies or simmer hot apple cider on the stove. Maybe place a tray of cinnamon sticks on the counter. Or open a cookbook to a page of a hearty stew. And don't forget your bowl of fresh, crisp apples!
7. Use Fall Accent Colours
Accessorize your couch with bright red, orange and/or golden yellow pillows. Toss a fall-colored throw over a chair. Declutter and depersonalize each room then add bold-colored accent pieces in odd groupings such as 3's and 5's to the space. Create an autumn centerpiece for the dining room table by using pine cones and leaves around some red or orange candles. 
8. Light Up The House
It doesn't take long for the days to get shorter in the Fall so pull up the blinds, open the shutters, and push back the drapes on all the windows. Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and closet lights. Brighten darker rooms by turning on lamps, and for goodness sakes, turn off the TV.
So there you have it...a few ideas on how to transition your home for the Fall market. Thanks for taking the time to read. Until next time...Keep It "REAL"

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Not-So-Hidden Talents of your Real Estate Pro

As you've heard me say before, a home is one of the largest purchases you will make in your life. And I'm here to make it a positive experience you will never forget! You know I can help you buy or sell, but here are some other perks I can provide you.


  • Skills for a Smooth Transaction - I will use my exceptional sales and marketing skills during every point of the transaction. My goal is to negotiate a fair and competitive price whether it's for a home you are selling or the dream home you want to buy.
  • Save You Time and Energy - I'll handle all the hard work during your transaction - marketing, communication, paperwork - leaving you with less stress and more time for what you actually want to do.
  • A Real Estate Guide - I stay up-to-date on market trends and news to keep you informed. Whether you're currently in a transaction or just curious, I'm here to answer your questions and provide information on the market and industry.
  • Perks After the Sale - I'll pop by now and then with small items to brighten your day and stay in touch. I want to continue the relationship past the sale so you know I'm available to help with all of your real estate needs.
  • Network of Referrals for All Your Needs - My robust contact list of trusted professional is full of contractors, accountants, mortgage pros and other experts to assist you in any area of your life.
  • Make You a Hero - I am a part of a vast network of agents across Canada who can set your family and friends up with a great experience. If you need a referral for an exceptional agent outside our area, give me a call!
I am always available before, during and after your transaction and am happy to help guide you in any way I can. I aim to satisfy my clients. Have a look at a recent testimonial

Thanks for taking the time out of your day to read.
Until next time - Keep It "REAL"

Thursday, July 4, 2019

To Rent or Not To Rent...That is the Question!

Are you throwing around the idea of renting instead of owning your own home? Or maybe, you're tired of "throwing your money away" with renting and are ready to plant some roots?'s blog post is about the advantages and disadvantages of renting vs buying a home. Both options come with their own set of pro's and con's of course, so let's have a look at both for each situation. This will help you make a well-rounded decision that will best suit you and your needs.
RENTING a home

  • You can move as many times as you'd like before settling down. There is no long term commitment when renting. This is the best option if you don't plan on staying in one place for too long.
  • The landlord is responsible to pay the property taxes. He will also keep up with the maintenance as well as any repairs needed. That's right - you don't need to worry about any of those things when renting a property.
  • Renting allows you to establish your credit or repair any damaged credit you may have.
  • Renting can be cheaper than a mortgage payment. This may allow you to live in a more upscale neighbourhood. Not to mention, in a fancier home which otherwise, you may not be able to afford.
  • In some cases, utility costs are sometimes covered in the rent.
  • A tenant is bound to the lease agreement where barriers are in place. The tenant cannot make changes to the home or landscaping without the owner's consent.
  • When renting, the tenant has no return on investment as the property will never belong to them. The tenant is paying the homeowner's mortgage.
  • The tenant will have no control over increases in rent.
  • There is also no guarantee a lease will be renewed when it expires.

BUYING a home

  • Owning your own home offers security and equity along with growth in personal wealth.
  • The value of the home will increase over time which you can profit from, if and when, you choose to sell.
  • It's YOUR home. You have the freedom to use it without restrictions.
  • You have full creative control of your property. You can change the decor, landscape and renovate to suit your own personal style.
  • You have the option to refinance if you choose to due to unforeseen circumstances or if you want to make a large purchase (such as building a garage).
  • It is also possible to save money when you're a homeowner. If you operate a business out of your home, you can save money in tax deductions.
  • Owning your own home comes with huge financial responsibilities. This includes regular, monthly mortgage payments and house maintenance.
  • There are extra costs such as taxes, insurance, maintenance and other rates.
  • There is also a risk of not making a profit when selling your home. This can be due to a recession in the economy. Interest rates may fluctuate or the neighbourhood is no longer as sought after as it once was.

Renting is great for the new graduate going off to college looking for a temporary home. Someone who isn't quite ready to settle down yet. Where as buying a home may be better for the college graduate. Someone who has landed a secure job and is ready to plant roots and call some place "home". Either way, owning your own home is one of the best investments you will ever make in your life.

If you want a stress free, maintenance free lifestyle...then maybe renting is the option for you. Yet, maybe you fall into the "BUY" category and would love to own your own home. If this is the case, I'd love to help with your current or future real estate needs. No pressure either way. 

I hope you found some value in this post and I thank you for taking the time to read.
Until next time....Keep it "REAL"

Below are a few of my blog posts that can and will help you if buying or selling is something you're looking into.